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

Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Linkee-poo Wednesday June 30

"After a century of wielding extraordinary economic and political power, America’s petroleum giants face a reckoning for driving the greatest existential threat of our lifetimes… An unprecedented wave of lawsuits, filed by cities and states across the US, aim to hold the oil and gas industry to account for the environmental devastation caused by fossil fuels – and covering up what they knew along the way." This mirrors the fall of Big Tobacco, except that in the end, we all get cancer. And I'll note, there is still a large and diverse industry based around nicotine addiction.

"As Western states weather a record-shattering heat wave, President Joe Biden will convene a meeting Wednesday of governors, private sector partners and Cabinet officials to prepare for the upcoming wildfire season." Prepare? Why that's madness after four-years of reactionary actions.

"A Rhode Island resident has been diagnosed with a rare tick-borne disease that can cause muscular weakness or even paralysis, state public health officials said Tuesday… The case of Powassan virus disease was confirmed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the state Department of Health said in an emailed statement."

"For the first time, Wisconsin health officials are releasing new data on the effectiveness of the COVID-19 vaccine… State officials reported that 95% of recent COVID-19 deaths involved people who were not fully-vaccinated… Health officials said they predicted the numbers from the start."

"SpaceX was seconds away from launching its 20th mission of this year Tuesday when the countdown was halted due to an aircraft entering the launch range, delaying the mission by at least a day… Elon Musk took to Twitter to voice his frustration about the delay, reiterating prior criticisms he has made about regulations around the business of launching rockets." Just like with his forcing employees to work at Tesla, Elon doesn't think regulations should really limit his choices, just everyone else's.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin said Wednesday that an incident involving a British destroyer in the Black Sea couldn’t have triggered a global conflict even if Russia had sunk the warship because the West knows it can’t win such a war." That's a pretty dangerous mindset for as supposed world-leader. Say, how's that ruble doing, my Russian friends?

"San Francisco’s homelessness department is pushing to continue an expensive tent encampment program that it says is crucial for keeping people off the sidewalks, despite its high price tag of more than $60,000 per tent, per year."

"Maricopa County should 'never have approved' the election machines that were subpoenaed in the audit of the county's 2020 election if such an audit review found the machines couldn’t be reused, Arizona Senate President Karen Fann said Tuesday." Notice how she ignores "chain of custody" issues.

"Supporters of former President Donald Trump — fueled by Trump’s false claim that he did not lose the 2020 election — are behind a new push to review the results in states including Michigan, Georgia, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The new drive is worrying state election administrators, who say the efforts will further inflame conspiracy theories and erode faith in the American democratic system."

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R) is hosting former President Donald Trump on Wednesday at the Texas-Mexico border, where Abbott is using an unprecedented May 31 border 'disaster' declaration to spend state funds on a border wall he has pledged to build. Abbott amended his order on Monday, giving the 34 border counties a chance to opt out of his emergency declaration and other counties a chance to join — 11 counties dropped out, and five new counties joined, some of them 300 miles or more away from the border." There is so much wrong in this story it's impossible to pick just one thing.

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Wednesday’s encounter with Trump along the border, which will likely grab plenty of coverage from coast to coast, comes after Abbott in recent weeks has also signed bills restricting the teaching of critical race theory in his state and allowing Texas to carry weapons without a license… It also comes two weeks before the state legislature – under orders from the governor – will return for a special session to pass legislation tightening voting access rules, another GOP priority." Notice that having plenty of coverage coast to coast is an important part of this story. Also note the other two important themes in the story, "Abbott was arguably outshined earlier this year by fellow conservative Gov. Ron DeSantis of Florida as the leader of the Republican resistance in the GOP-controlled states against President Biden and his Democratic administration… But in the past few weeks Abbott has become a major thorn in the side of the new president — all while he gears up for a 2022 bid for a third term steering Texas, with a potential 2024 GOP presidential run looming in the distance." Along with challenges from Abbott's right in the coming election. It's all performative.

"ProPublica has obtained a vast cache of IRS information showing how billionaires like Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett pay little in income tax compared to their massive wealth — sometimes, even nothing… Taken together, it demolishes the cornerstone myth of the American tax system: that everyone pays their fair share and the richest Americans pay the most. The IRS records show that the wealthiest can — perfectly legally — pay income taxes that are only a tiny fraction of the hundreds of millions, if not billions, their fortunes grow each year."

"Ronald Fischetti, a lawyer representing former President Trump in his stand-off with New York prosecutors, expects the Manhattan District Attorney's Office to bring criminal charges against Mr. Trump's company, the Trump Organization, in the coming days, but told CBS News he does not foresee charges against the former president himself."

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday June 29

"The most extreme heat wave ever recorded in the Pacific Northwest continues to shatter records for another day. Millions of people are currently under excessive heat warnings — many of them sweltering through triple-digit temperatures without air conditioning in a region that usually enjoys mild summers… Behind the misery is a weather phenomenon known as a heat dome." Thunderdome was just waiting to be used.

"Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is coming back for a sequel season on Amazon Prime. The company announced today that it’s greenlit a sequel to its adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s fantasy novel, and that Michael Sheen and David Tennant will reprise their roles as the angel Aziraphale and demon Crowley, respectively." I'll be in my bunk. #pleasdontsuck

"A panel of 12 lawyers from around the world has proposed a legal definition for a new crime that the lawyers want to see outlawed internationally: ecocide, or widespread destruction of the environment."

"Incessant and haunting high-pitched creaks echo along the hills of the countryside surrounding Winzen's farm. They're from a bucket-wheel excavator, a machine that's taller than the Statue of Liberty, longer than Madison Square Garden and heavier than the Eiffel Tower. It holds aloft a wheel 70 feet in diameter with 18 massive buckets along its edges, each of them capable of digging six-and-a-half tons of soil."

"A black hole swallowing a neutron star — a star more massive than our sun but only about the size of a city — has been observed for the first time ever." You know that scene in Jurassic Park where the cup of water starts vibrating?

"Walmart on Tuesday said it will start selling its own private brand of analog insulin with prices that are up to 75% below the cost of competing products. Insulin prices have escalated for years, making them unaffordable for some people with diabetes." Don't make me like or praise Walmart.

"There was a sense of back to normal when the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear masks… On Friday, the World Health Organization came out and said masks should stay on." Po-TAYT-to, po-TOT-to.

"The Delta variant is here. First identified in India, this more transmissible form of the novel coronavirus has spread to at least 77 countries and regions and now makes up more than 20 percent of all U.S. cases. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified it as a 'variant of concern.' If vaccination rates fail to keep pace with its spread, experts say, the variant could lead to new COVID surges in parts of the country where a substantial proportion of the population remains unvaccinated." And from the inside, the healthcare industry really can't take another spike well.

"Kids are practically immune" they continue to say, the virus says, "hold my beer"… "There has been a COVID-19 outbreak at a central Illinois summer camp… At least 85 cases of the virus are confirmed among staff and teens at the Crossing Camp in Rushville." A coworker's kid is going through Army bootcamp this summer, out of his platoon, only 4 are not infected.

"The quality of face masks healthcare workers wear makes a huge difference to their risk of coronavirus infection, Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust research has found… Wearing a high grade mask known as an FFP3 can provide up to 100% protection." Just anecdotal, that FFP3/N99 masks, before the pandemic, that's what I would wear (when I had a beard), because the N95 wouldn't seal well over a beard. We haven't had them in stock for over a year now (and it's why I'm clean shaven these days).

"Electronic cigarette giant Juul Labs Inc. will pay $40 million to North Carolina and take more action to prevent underage use and sales, according to a landmark legal settlement announced Monday after years of accusations that the company had fueled an explosion in teen vaping." Vaping is smoking which is nicotine use. The only difference is that one used a higher temperature than the other.

"A painting donated to Greece by Pablo Picasso will go back on display at the newly renovated National Gallery in Athens following its recovery more than nine years after it was stolen and the arrest of a 49-year-old construction worker as a suspect."

"A venomous pet snake escaped and remains on the loose in Raleigh… Raleigh Police Department sent out an urgent alert Tuesday morning after the zebra cobra was spotted on someone's front porch." Look, I understand the appeal, and the the twisted cultural logic around what is a pet, but seriously, stop doing this.

"You might assume that Wall Street boss James Gorman and falafel-maker David Shadaha don't have much in common. But after months of remote work, they share a goal: to get bankers back into their New York buildings." Money money money.

"Home prices in April saw an annual gain of 14.6% in April, up from a 13.3% increase in March, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Home Price Index." Wow, that's gonna make a big pop.

"But the Speights didn't get the help they needed, and their experience echoes those of low-income disaster survivors across the country. FEMA's own analyses show that low-income survivors are less likely than more affluent people to get crucial federal emergency assistance, according to internal documents NPR obtained through a public records request."

"California added five more states, including Florida, to the list of places where state-funded travel is banned because of laws that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ community, the state attorney general announced Monday."

"Maricopa County, Arizona, announced Monday that it will not reuse any of the voting equipment that was in the hands of the contractors hired by the Republican-controlled state Senate to conduct its so-called audit of the 2020 presidential election results." Of course not. Also, Dominion should really change up their security systems.

"Lawyers for the Trump Organization met again Monday with prosecutors in the Manhattan District Attorney's Office in a last bid to forestall a potential indictment stemming from a long-running investigation into the former president’s company."

"Donald Trump told supporters he would march on the Capitol with them on 6 January – then abandoned them after a tense exchange with his chief of staff, according to the first excerpt from Landslide, Michael Wolff’s third Trump White House exposé… Wolff’s third Trump book is among a slew due this summer." They are also attempts to introduce deniable plausibility.

"House GOP bristles as a Jan. 6 investigation lands in its lap… Many Republicans want to avoid the select committee on the Capitol riot — except for the firebrands who want a seat to discredit it all."

"Former President Donald Trump is facing a wall of accountability and truth as new revelations and investigations expose his abuses of power, delusional lies about the election and business conduct to ever greater scrutiny." By now you should know that reality and truth have nothing to do with Trump.

"With the law enforcement spotlight on the group, Proud Boys Chairman Enrique Tarrio envisions his organization focusing on local political races rather than national ones." Here comes a flock of wolves in sheep's clothing.

Monday, June 28, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday June 28

"The Pacific Northwest is baking in a record-breaking heat wave, with an all-time high of 108 degrees Fahrenheit reported Saturday in Portland, Oregon… Along the West Coast, more than 20 million people are under a heat warning or advisory, from the Canadian border to the Mexican border."

"The death toll from the collapse rose to nine on Sunday after first responders pulled four more bodies from the site of the Champlain Towers South, a 12-story condo building built in Surfside, Florida, in 1981. Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Sunday that additional human remains were also removed from the rubble."

"China's space agency has released video of its Zhurong rover trundling across the surface of Mars… The pictures were acquired by a wireless camera that the robot had placed on the ground… The new media release also includes sequences from Zhurong's landing in May, showing the deployment of its parachute system and the moment of touchdown."

"'It's 24/7. The lights are really bright out here at night. It's just constant sound and presence of people,' says Stephanie Bilodeau, a conservation bird biologist with the non-profit Coastal Bend Bays and Estuaries Program. 'I wouldn't want to be nesting near any of this if I were a bird.'" On SpaceX's Starbase and who they're pissing off some of their neighbors.

"The first two generating units of the world’s second-biggest hydroelectric dam were officially turned on Monday in southwestern China, the government announced… The Baihetan Dam on the Jinsha River, a tributary of the Yangtze, is part of Chinese efforts to curb surging fossil fuel demand by building more hydropower capacity at a time when dams have fallen out of favor in other countries due to environmental complaints."

"Kryger says no couple should feel embarrassed about the practice: "For a lot of couples, sleeping apart can be the best thing for their relationship." However, experts agree sleeping separately impacts the family as a whole, and it's important parents address the sleeping arrangements with their kids."

"Emergency rooms are not typically places you check in for the night. If you break an arm, it gets set, and you leave. If you have a heart attack, you won't wait long for a hospital bed. But sometimes if your brain is not well, and you end up in an ER, there's a good chance you will get stuck there. Parents and advocates for kids' mental health say the ER can't provide appropriate care and that the warehousing of kids in crisis can become an emergency itself."

You have to get to the bottom of the article to get this part… "It should be said that this is not a problem specific to Apple. Many devices, from radios and headphones to Fitbits and vape pens have been known to cause magnetic interference. The Food and Drug Administration also acknowledges this, advising people to keep certain consumer electronic devices, such as certain cell phones and smart watches, at least six inches away from implanted medical devices."

"Under the Affordable Care Act, only routine screening tests are covered, and because Bryant's Cologuard result was positive, her colonoscopy was coded as a 'diagnostic' test, which was not fully covered by her insurance… She would have been fully covered if she had not used Cologuard first… CBS News surveyed 11 of the largest health insurers in the U.S. to see what they would do in situations like Bryant's. Seven did not respond. The four who did said coverage decisions vary, and how much a consumer will pay depends on how doctors code the colonoscopy procedure." And then add in that if she had the colonoscopy first, as a "diagnostic" test, but then did find polyps or cancer, the test would have changed to a treatment and she still would have been on the hook for the expense. Obamacare was a good first step, but it was only the first step. But instead of really blaming the insurance companies and our screwed up healthcare system (also note how the insurance companies state how the same colonoscopy could be coded different ways and might be covered under some of those), they blame ColoGuard.

"Instead, 10 months after Sputnik V’s approval, Russia's vaccination rate is one of the lowest in countries where vaccines are widely available… Just 14 percent of Russia’s 146 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose, compared to 53.5 percent of Americans, according to Our World in Data, a monitoring project based at the University of Oxford."

"The Delta variant, a strain of Covid-19 believed to be more transmissible and dangerous than others, is likely to break out in some US communities, a health expert told CBS's Face the Nation… Those pockets will be ones with low vaccination rates and low rates of prior infection, Gottlieb said, like in many rural and southern communities."

"With summer in full-swing, businesses that count on that seasonal traffic are finding themselves having to cut back, not because of a lack of customers from the pandemic, but from a lack of workers." Note that Ashtabula County is an economically depressed area, and has been for over a decade. We're still dealing with the fallout of the 2007-2009 recession.

"A new modular home being built at 147 St. Andrews Drive has brought multiple complaints and raised the ire of some neighborhood residents." A little local NIMBYism and I've gotta say, the residents are 1) fucked if their goal is to stop construction and 2) dead wrong about their precious property values and 3) seriously, where have they been the last twenty years. Seriously, we dealt with these issues when I was a councilman. The residents are totally off their base here and mostly dealing with feeling that they paid way to much for construction instead of being fearful about the modular home. Because pre-construction, or factory built, is the future for construction. As it is, even supposedly "stick built" homes now buy prefab roof joists and in some cases, wall sections. The unfortunate part of this is "modular home" covers a wide range of techniques and systems.

"Last Fourth of July some fireworks stores went dark because they ran out of product. The same thing may happen again this year. Demand for consumer fireworks is near all-time highs, but logistics bottlenecks are cutting the supply by about 30%, boosting prices and robbing some retailers of a chance to cash in what might otherwise have been their best year ever, according to Mike Collar, president of Winco Fireworks, one of the largest U.S. importers." But I'm sure we'll still have a lot of fireworks going off in the neighborhoods.

"Marijuana’s popularity boom in red states isn’t breaking through with conservatives on Capitol Hill, pinching an already narrow path to federal legalization… A growing number of Republican senators represent states that have legalized recreational or medical cannabis — six approved or expanded marijuana in some form just since November. But without their support in Congress to make up for likely Democratic defectors, weed falls critically short of the 60 votes needed to advance legislation." Don't expect the federal government to approve marijuana, even medical marijuana, anytime soon. Why? It's part of the Nixon strategy of the War on Drugs. See, hippies use weed, which is why they're Bad™.

"The U.S. military on Sunday conducted airstrikes on facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region, drawing vows of retaliation from the militants and protests of a 'blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty' from the country's military. The targets were facilities Iran-backed militias have used in unmanned aerial vehicle or drone attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq, according to a statement from Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby."

"Marine Le Pen’s far-right party has suffered a serious electoral blow when it failed to win a regional election in its stronghold in the south of France… The Rassemblement National (National Rally) had pinned its last chances on taking the Provence-Alpes-Côte-d’Azur region (PACA) after emerging victorious from last week’s first-round vote, although by a small margin."

"Xavier Bertrand, a politician from the center-right Les Republicans party, won Sunday’s regional vote with around 52% of support in the northern region of Hauts-de-France. He beat the candidate from the far right, who got around 26% of the votes, according to exit polls published by France’s interior ministry."

"Classified Ministry of Defence documents containing details about HMS Defender and the British military have been found at a bus stop in Kent… One set of documents discusses the likely Russian reaction to the ship's passage through Ukrainian waters off the Crimea coast on Wednesday… Another details plans for a possible UK military presence in Afghanistan after the US-led Nato operation there ends." Oopsie… maybe.

"Everyone in North Korea is heartbroken over leader Kim Jong Un's apparent weight loss, said an unidentified resident of Pyongyang quoted on the country's tightly controlled state media, after watching recent video footage of Kim."

"But Tasharn only got to this point through a combination of sheer determination, luck and a great deal of financial aid. Her salary working for the D.C. government wasn't enough to qualify for a mortgage, and her husband is unemployed. So she was able to secure more than $100,000 in down payment assistance — from the D.C. government and a foundation, called birdSEED — which helped whittle her payment down to a manageable $1,900 a month." Even from NPR there's the myth that if you work hard, and make sacrifices, you too can have the American Dream. But notice how much of a social net and assistance they needed to get that home. And I can't even imagine paying that much a month on just a mortgage.

"Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has dismissed comments in which the Georgia Republican extremist Marjorie Taylor Greene called her a 'little communist' and said she should be locked up, tweeting: 'First of all, I’m taller than her.'" "The Trump family has trouble with depositions. In 2007 testimony, Donald Trump was repeatedly shown to be a liar. In February, Donald Trump Jr. was deposed in the Trump inauguration scandal lawsuit, and on several key points, under oath, he provided false testimony. A review of documents filed in that case and other material obtained by Mother Jones shows that Ivanka Trump also testified inaccurately during her deposition in this lawsuit."

"DeSantis is crisscrossing the country to deliver red-meat speeches. Iowa leaders begged him to visit. He just beat Trump in a key straw poll. And now the popular governor is getting close to overshadowing the former president in the 2024 presidential sweepstakes… All of that could be dangerous for DeSantis’ political health, as Trump continues to ponder a new bid for the White House and remains capable of kneecapping any Republican he sees as a threat." Despots don't share the spotlight.

"Democrats have pledged the fight for voting rights is far from over, but activists told the Guardian it did not feel like Biden and Democrats were meeting the moment and treating the fight for voting rights with the urgency it deserved."

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Saturday June 26

"So as summer unfolds, it's important for people to keep cool and protect themselves from the extreme heat… To get a sense of how to do that and what to look for, NPR's All Things Considered spoke with Kristina Dahl, a senior climate scientist with the Union of Concerned Scientists, about which groups are most at risk, the early symptoms of heat-related illness and what cities and individuals can do to mitigate the risks."

"From the Pacific Northwest to the Northeast, the heat is on this weekend, and by next week soaring temperatures could travel as far north as the Arctic Circle."

"Yet many tropical forest societies found immensely successful methods of food production, in even the most challenging of circumstances, which could sustain impressively large populations and social structures. The past two decades of archaeological exploration, applying the latest science from the land and the air, have stripped away canopies to provide new, more favourable assessments." Rethinking cities of the past.

"Chinese researchers have unveiled an ancient skull that could belong to a completely new species of human… The team has claimed it is our closest evolutionary relative among known species of ancient human, such as Neanderthals and Homo erectus." They're popping up all over.

"A U.S. government report on UFOs said Friday it found no evidence of aliens, but acknowledged 143 reports of 'unidentified aerial phenomena' since 2004 that could not be explained."

"The World Health Organization (WHO) forecasts that people most vulnerable to COVID-19, such as the elderly, will need to get an annual vaccine booster to be protected against variants, an internal document seen by Reuters shows."

"The US white ex-police officer convicted of murdering African-American man George Floyd in Minneapolis in May 2020 has been sentenced to 22 years and six months in jail… The judge said Derek Chauvin's sentence was based "on your abuse of a position of trust and authority, and also the particular cruelty shown" to Mr Floyd."

"The lack of trees reflects some of her neighborhood's problems. Mount Pleasant was hard-hit as people and money left for the suburbs over the past 50 years. 'We have a lot of abandoned houses,' (Shirley Bell-Wheeler) says, 'and when they went through and tore down all the abandoned houses, they also tore down the trees on the curb.'" We're (planning on) planting trees in Cleveland.

"A structural engineering report provided to the Champlain Towers condominium association in 2018 found widespread problems that required extensive repairs 'in the near future.'"

"A Colorado man hailed as a hero for shooting a suspect who fatally gunned down a police officer this week was killed by police while holding the suspect's rifle, police said Friday." More guns leads to more death.

"A man wielding a knife in the German city of Würzburg has killed three people and injured several others, according to local authorities…Videos on social media showed the man armed with a large knife being confronted and subdued by passers-by."

"The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday sided with the TransUnion credit reporting company, ruling that thousands of consumers whose names were improperly flagged as potential terrorists cannot sue the company for damages… By a 5-to-4 vote, the court ruled that Congress does not have the power under the Constitution to establish statutory rights and the power to enforce those rights with private lawsuits." The court rules we can't hold the companies that control substantial portions of our lives to account.

"Already, Republicans are hardening in opposition to Biden's scheme of passing the $1 trillion infrastructure deal — which hasn't been written yet — alongside a much larger package containing the remainder of his agenda that will require only Democratic votes."

"Six Democrats so far have announced they will be leaving the House in 2022, most in swing districts where the lack of an incumbent likely makes it tougher for the party to hold the seat… But party strategists say that figure is smaller than they expected, delivering a morale boost for Democrats as they brace for a midterm election that could dismantle their narrow majority. And some swing-seat members in Texas, Pennsylvania and Florida — many of whom were openly mulling futures outside the House — are now expected to stay put."

"The Justice Department is suing Georgia over the state’s new election law, alleging Republican state lawmakers rushed through a sweeping overhaul with an intent to deny Black voters equal access to the ballot."

Friday, June 25, 2021

Linkee-poo Friday June 25

John McAfee, and so it goes.

"There are now 159 people unaccounted for in the partial building collapse in Surfside, Fla., Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava said Friday — a rise from 99 people a day earlier… Three more deceased people were found in the rubble, bringing the number of fatalities so far to four."

"Scientists say they have discovered a new kind of early human after studying pieces of fossilized bone dug up at a site used by a cement plant in central Israel."

"While dinosaur fossils have previously been found in the Arctic, it was unclear whether they lived there year-round or were seasonal visitors… Now experts say hundreds of fossils from very young dinosaurs recovered from northern Alaska indicates the creatures reproduced in the region, suggesting it was their permanent home."

"'There's a link between increased stress and tinnitus either initiating or worsening,' says Eldre Beukes, an audiologist at Lamar University, so she wasn't surprised by the pandemic's effect. Her research shows that people with preexisting tinnitus who experienced loneliness, isolation or increased worries were most likely to report a worsening during the pandemic… Here are techniques to try and facts to know about the condition."

"Every summer, health officials warn Americans to be on the lookout for disease-carrying pests such as mosquitoes and ticks. But few people are aware of the kissing bug… Triatomine bugs, commonly known as kissing bugs, are vectors for a dangerous parasite that can cause a debilitating illness in humans called Chagas disease. If left untreated, theinfectious disease can become lifelong and painful, and in some cases lead to death."

"Nearly all COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. now are in people who weren't vaccinated, a staggering demonstration of how effective the shots have been and an indication that deaths per day — now down to under 300 — could be practically zero if everyone eligible got the vaccine."

"As the U.S. emerges from the COVID-19 crisis, Missouri is becoming a cautionary tale for the rest of the country: It is seeing an alarming rise in cases because of a combination of the fast-spreading delta variant and stubborn resistance among many people to getting vaccinated… Intensive care beds are filling up with surprisingly young, unvaccinated patients, and staff members are getting burned out fighting a battle that was supposed to be in its final throes."

"From Australia to Israel and around Europe, health officials announced new restrictions ahead of the weekend as they report clusters of outbreaks and try to mitigate further transmissions. These decisions come as the more transmissible delta variant of the coronavirus becomes the dominant strain in several countries… The picture looks very different in the U.S., where many places are still reopening despite warnings from health officials."

"A year after several American businesses sprang up to manufacture much-needed masks and N95 respirators within U.S. borders, many of those businesses are now on the brink of financial collapse, shutting down production and laying off workers… The nationwide vaccination campaign, combined with an influx of cheaper, Chinese-made masks and N95 respirators, has dramatically cut into the companies' sales and undermined their prices." Here we go again.

"The historic calls for police accountability, reform and attempts at racial reckoning have left police departments nationwide struggling to keep the officers they have and attract new ones to the force… The crisis comes as many cities continue to grapple with the fallout from the pandemic and sharp increases in shootings and murders."

"A key inflation indicator that the Federal Reserve uses to set policy rose 3.4% in May, the fastest increase since the early 1990s, the Commerce Department reported Friday… Though the gain was the biggest since April 1992, it met the Dow Jones estimate and markets reacted little to the news. Stock market futures indicated a rise of about 150 points for the Dow at the open, while government bond yields were mostly flat."

"As pandemic life recedes in the U.S., people are leaving their jobs in search of more money, more flexibility and more happiness. Many are rethinking what work means to them, how they are valued, and how they spend their time. It's leading to a dramatic increase in resignations — a record 4 million people quit their jobs in April alone, according to the Labor Department." I wonder if that's why some restaurants can't find workers? Nah, that can't be, it's the government giving them money and people being soft. "More than 740,000 people who quit in April worked in the leisure and hospitality industry, which includes jobs in hotels, bars and restaurants, theme parks and other entertainment venues." Yeah, just people being soft, the industry doesn't need to change.

"Convenience is one clear blessing. But when a city is built for cars, those who can't afford one or who can't drive get left behind. In Cleveland, almost a quarter of all households don't have access to a vehicle. And the reliance on cars over public transportation means more carbon dioxide pumped into the air, warming the planet." Ah, we're "planning" again. Great. As someone who used a bus and the rail system to commute in Cleveland for 5 years I can tell you it was good (I chose where I lived so I could use the bus to get to work, so I was fortunate to be able to do that). But every time they plan for more, we get less.

"The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, responded sharply to questions from Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., on Wednesday about the examination of critical race theory in the U.S. military."

"After weeks of negotiations, President Biden and a bipartisan group of senators have announced a deal on infrastructure spending… The agreement focuses on investments in roads, railways, bridges and broadband internet, but it does not include investments Biden has referred to as "human infrastructure," including money allocated for child care and tax credits for families."

"A New York state court has suspended Rudy Giuliani from practicing law after concluding that he made false statements alleging rampant fraud to try to overturn former President Donald Trump's loss in the 2020 election."

"Rudy Giuliani did not show up for a court hearing Thursday in a $1.3 billion defamation case against him that took place hours after his New York law license was suspended due to his alleged 'false and misleading' claims about the 2020 election." Note he is a defendant in this case, not a lawyer representing someone else.

"Former vice-president Mike Pence used a speech late on Thursday to go much further than he has before in public to rebuke Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the Republican defeat in the 2020 presidential election, while adding he will 'always be proud' of playing his part to certify Joe Biden’s victory." He was a big boy that day.

"The top US general repeatedly pushed back on then-President Donald Trump's argument that the military should intervene violently in order to quell the civil unrest that erupted around the country last year. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Mark Milley often found he was the lone voice of opposition to those demands during heated Oval Office discussions, according to excerpts of a new book, obtained by CNN, from Wall Street Journal reporter Michael Bender." I have a feeling "Shut the f--k up, Stephen" is going to be a t-shirt soon (if it isn't already).

"Having spent months in semi-retirement after his election loss in 2020, Trump is set this weekend to kick off a series of political events. Aides and confidants say the goal is to boost his standing in anticipation of a possible future run and to scratch that never-soothed itch he has for publicity. But it’s also to exact some revenge… On Saturday, Trump will hold a Make America Great Again rally outside Cleveland, Ohio in support of longtime aide-turned-Republican congressional candidate Max Miller, who is vying for the seat held by Rep. Anthony Gonzalez, a Cleveland native who voted for the second impeachment of Trump after the Jan. 6 riot on Capitol Hill."

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday June 24

"At least one person was killed and several others were injured after a 12-story residential building partially collapsed in southern Florida's Miami-Dade County early Thursday morning, authorities said."

"After staging weeks of protest and being called 'reprehensible' by a federal judge, 153 workers of a Houston-based hospital system lost their jobs Tuesday for refusing to get vaccinated against COVID-19." Get the goddamn shots (if you can). (Grokked from John)

"The 'delta variant' has come to dominate headlines, having been discovered in India where it provoked an extreme surge in Covid-19 cases before spreading around the world… But now a mutation of that variant has emerged, called 'delta plus,' which is starting to worry global experts." "Worrying global experts" is such a non-sensical statement as the news media latches on to any slight variant of this 2 year old story to try and generate some interest. Viruses mutate, it's what they do. What this shows is the people reporting on this disease don't have the basic knowledge required to fully inform the public. You have to get halfway through the article before you find any relevant information. It's new. We don't have data. Could be worse.

"Dating abuse can happen to anyone — it doesn't matter if the teen is a good student, plays sports or seems happy. A teen in an abusive relationship may not understand what's happening or have the experience to know what to do — so adults are critical… Here are a few tips for adults who can help." Yeah, that first one, "Normalize conversations about relationships and sex" is going to trip up a lot of people (and frankly is a part of the problem).

"Initial claims for unemployment insurance remained elevated last week as employers struggled to fill a record number of job openings… First-time filings totaled 411,000 for the week ended June 19, a slight decrease from the previous total of 418,000 but worse than the 380,000 Dow Jones estimate, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

An indigenous group in Canada says it has found 751 unmarked graves at the site of a former residential school in Saskatchewan… The Cowessess First Nation said the discovery was 'the most significantly substantial to date in Canada'."

"Indigenous chiefs and human rights organizations have accused Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro of enabling such killings through state policies that they say encourage the destruction of the Amazon for profit while failing to protect Indigenous people’s rights. They have asked the International Criminal Court to investigate whether the far-right leader's actions — including weakening dozens of environmental protections and encouraging private development of the Amazon, leading to the displacement of Indigenous people and contributing to climate change — constitute crimes against humanity."

"International condemnation is growing over an airstrike that killed dozens of people in Ethiopia's war-torn northern Tigray region earlier this week, as Africa's second-most populous nation tallied ballots to decide its next leader."

"Missouri has new a law that claims to invalidate all federal gun control laws — and prohibits state and local cooperation with enforcement of those laws… But can a state actually invalidate a federal law?… No." But it can put a lessor priority on enforcement by local officials. It's like the legalization of marijuana laws. It's still illegal at a federal level, and federal officers can arrest you for violations of federal law. But while most drug laws are enforced at a local level, most gun laws (other than concealed carry or use of firearms during the commission of another felony) are enforced at a federal level (by the ATF) already. And because it may not be pointed out elsewhere, a felon possessing a firearm is in violation of a federal law. With this Missouri law, that means local law enforcement cannot charge a convicted felon of possession.

Why the judiciary is important… "A federal judge has dismissed claims that former White House officials conspired to forcibly remove peaceful protesters last year from Washington, D.C.'s Lafayette Square so that then-President Donald Trump could pose for a photo holding a Bible at a nearby church."

"The Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that a Pennsylvania high school violated the First Amendment rights of a cheerleader by punishing her for using vulgar language that criticized the school on social media… The 8-1 opinion upheld lower court rulings against Mahanoy Area High School’s decision to suspend then-student Brandi Levy from her junior varsity cheerleading squad for one year over two Snapchat posts she sent while off school grounds."

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Wednesday that police cannot always enter a home without a warrant when pursuing someone for a minor crime."

"In Afghanistan, a crisis is mounting. Taliban and other insurgents are targeting Afghan citizens like Khan who aided U.S. forces. As U.S. and NATO troops completely withdraw from Afghanistan within the next few weeks — the U.S. symbolic deadline is Sept. 11, but forces are expected to be out next month — thousands of Afghans who worked as interpreters, translators, drivers, cooks, cultural advisors and staff for the U.S. military and other U.S. government agencies fear being stranded."

"Democrats have pledged not to give up. 'In the fight for voting rights, this vote was the starting gun, not the finish line,' Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader in the Senate, said on the floor during Tuesday’s vote. Senate Democrats plan to hold a series of hearings in states like Georgia that have passed voting restrictions to highlight the need for federal legislation. Biden also promised more action next week. 'We are going to be ramping up our efforts to overcome again – for the people, for our very democracy.'"

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Progressive Democrats are stewing after one of their top priorities, a massive elections bill, stalled in the Senate Tuesday – and they're directing their ire at several targets, including Republicans, the Senate filibuster and even President Biden, who they allege didn't do enough to stump for the legislation." Owning the libs has become the raison d'etre of the GOP.

"Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday she would create a new committee to investigate what she said are 'many questions' about the events leading up to the Jan. 6 insurrection at the Capitol and the federal response to that day."

"Advisers to former President Donald Trump were reportedly hoping his battle with COVID-19 last year would give him a 'newfound appreciation for the seriousness' of the virus — only for it to ultimately become clear he 'hadn't changed at all.'" He feels he beat it with his superior genetics, no reason for him to change.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Linkee-poo Late Edition

"Dozens of baby squid from Hawaii are aboard the International Space Station, for a study which scientists hope can help bolster human health during long space missions." You know this is how you get baby Cthulhu, right?

"NASA wants to change that — if not at the International Space Station, then the moon and Mars — and stop throwing away tons of dirty clothes every year, stuffing them in the trash to burn up in the atmosphere aboard discarded cargo ships. So it’s teamed up with Procter & Gamble Co. to figure out how best to clean astronauts’ clothes in space so they can be reused for months or even years, just like on Earth."

"Almost two-thirds of wind and solar projects built globally last year will be able to generate cheaper electricity than even the world’s cheapest new coal plants, according to a report from the International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena)… The agency found that the falling cost of new windfarms and solar panels meant 62% of new renewable energy projects could undercut the cost of up to 800 gigawatts (GW) worth of coal plants, or almost enough to supply the UK’s electricity needs 10 times over."

Oh look, it's a rabbit hole… "JP Morgan will instruct US staff to register their vaccine status on an internal web portal this week… Staff may be allowed to tick a box saying they would rather not disclose their status - although the bank hopes only a small number will do so." And down we go.

"About 36 million American families on July 15 will start receiving monthly checks from the IRS, as part of the expanded Child Tax Credit. Eligible families will receive up to $1,800 in cash through December — however, the tax credit has a complication that may prompt some families to opt out." This sounds like it's more of an advance on your return.

"Russia said one of its warships in the Black Sea fired warning shots and a warplane dropped bombs Wednesday to force a British destroyer out of an area near Crimea that Moscow claims as its territorial waters, but Britain denied that account and insisted its ship wasn’t fired upon." Yeah huh! Not uh!

How goes Brexit? "Immigration enforcement officials will begin giving EU citizens who live in the UK a 28-day warning to apply to remain, the government says… But the Home Office will allow people indefinite time to complete an application for settled status if they have a reasonable excuse for delay."

"Miraculously—or predictably, if you ask proponents of the four-day workweek—the company seemed to be getting the same amount of work done in less time. It had scaled back on meetings and social events, and employees increased the pace of their day. Nicole Miller, who works in human resources at Buffer, also cited 'the principle of work expanding to the time you give it': When we have 40 hours of work a week, we find ways to work for 40 hours. Buffer might never go back to a five-day week." We've been teased with the 4 day work week for 3 decades now. And just last week the tweet about "when you're young, the best thing for your career is to work weekends" was trending (note, unless you own the business, it's never best for your career to volunteer to work weekends). And I'm sure this fall we'll see many think pieces about how people are working 60-80 hours "to make up for time/profits lost to the pandemic." Just because this isn't my first rodeo. People at the hospital like to talk about working 4 tens, or 3 twelves instead of 5 eights, until they actually have to do it. If I would be paid the same as I make for 40 hours, I wouldn't mind working 3 twelves, actually. Fuck, I work four 14 hour days, two eights every other weekend, and one 4-8 hour day. Three twelves would be a cake walk. But this is all before we get to managing day care for kids and everybody else's schedules.

"Citing the recent discovery of the remains of 215 children on the site of a former residential school in Kamloops, B.C., U.S. Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland announced Tuesday that her department is launching a program to investigate potential burial sites associated with what were called Indian boarding schools in America." If you think the culture wars were hot before… JFC on a pogo-stick. Can't wait to see the conservative craziness that is about to be unleashed.

"After other residents spoke both in favor and against the proposal (of using a child's preferred pronouns), former state senator Dick Black criticized the (Loudoun County, Va., School Board) over its alleged backing of the policies as well as critical race theory. Residents cheered Black, prompting the board to close public comments by a vote of 9-0." The local level, where the real action is going on. This is why all elections and all levels of governance are important.

"For a White House that has been intensely focused on stamping out Covid-19 and shepherding trillions of dollars in spending on infrastructure and social-welfare programs through Congress, the violence presents a host of challenges that administration officials have so far struggled to get their arms around. First and foremost: determining how to stanch the bloodshed without exacerbating existing tensions on policing or hampering criminal justice reform efforts — a top Democratic priority… For now, the White House’s main response is to focus on the weapons doing most of the killing."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Loudoun County parents are speaking out against critical race theory in their school district with one mother, Rachel Pisani, telling 'Fox & Friends' Wednesday that they will not stop until they are heard." Yes, parents won't stop until their voices are heard over their right to :: checks notes :: teach their children to hate each other. No they don't care that CRT is not taught anywhere else but law schools, CRT is a stand in for teaching about race from a non-white perspective.

Oh look, actual voter fraud! "Snodgrass was busted after a Delaware County election worker questioned the signature on his father’s ballot. A subsequent investigation revealed the ballot had been mailed to H. Edward Snodgrass on Oct. 6 — a day after the 78-year-old retired businessman died." Wait, it's another Republican. Never mind. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Three years of probation, 40 hours of community service and $500… That is the punishment federal prosecutors have requested for the first Capitol rioter expected to be sentenced in court, Anna Morgan-Lloyd, a 49-year-old Donald Trump supporter from Indiana."

Linkee-poo Wednesday June 23

"Much of the brittle, upper crust of Venus is broken into fragments that jostle and move – and the slow churning of Venus’ mantle beneath the surface might be responsible."

"It might be tempting to shrug at the scorching weather across large swaths of the West. This just in: It gets hot in the summer… But this record-setting heat wave's remarkable power, size and unusually early appearance is giving meteorologists and climate experts yet more cause for concern about the routinization of extreme weather in an era of climate change." We're boned.

"The Great Barrier Reef could have its prestigious World Heritage status downgraded after a report from the United Nations said Australia wasn't doing enough to protect it from the effects of climate change… Australia, which attracts millions of snorkeling tourists and beachgoers each year, vowed Tuesday to fight any change of status that could hurt its travel industry or see the U.N. step in to take tougher measures to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions." The Great Barrier reef is a living system, and if it dies, then it's no longer the world heritage site. Seems pretty simple.

"'We were sleeping and woke up by a sound inside our kitchen,' said Ratchadawan Puengprasoppon, a resident of Hua Hin district in western Prachuap Khiri Khan province. 'So we rushed downstairs and saw this elephant poked its head into our kitchen where the wall was broken.'… Her wall already had a hole in it from when an elephant had smashed into her house last month, she said. The damage had not yet been repaired when the elephant showed up on Saturday and stuck its head through the hole."

"Young Americans are less likely to get vaccinated against COVID-19 than their elders, a new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study showed." Also waves from exurbia.

"Of the six people infected, five were hospitalized. One employee who was in the hospital died and another employee who was not hospitalized also died, Hopes told CNN's Erin Burnett… The only exposed employee in the IT office who was vaccinated did not get infected, Hopes said." Get the goddamn shot (if you can).

"Employers in California's Santa Clara County, including Christopher Ranch, are required as of June 1 to ascertain if their workers have been vaccinated and check in every 14 days on those who say they have not or who decline to answer." And, of course, they aren't happy about that.

"Amazon marks millions of unsold products for destruction each year in the UK, according to a new investigation by British television program ITV News. ITV found stacks of boxes marked 'destroy' that were filled with electronics, jewelry, books, and other new or gently used items in one warehouse’s 'destruction zone.'"

"Facebook researchers say they've developed artificial intelligence that can identify so-called 'deepfakes' and track their origin by using reverse engineering." Uh huh, sure. Remember the last Facebook AI claim (content monitoring) that turned out to be a few thousand low-wage workers in foreign countries doing the hard work?

"A driver in a pickup truck plowed into bicyclists during a community road race in Arizona on Saturday, critically injuring several riders before police chased the driver and shot him outside a nearby hardware store, authorities said."

"Yet the UNC-Chapel Hill board of trustees declined to act upon (Nikole Hannah-Jones) proposed appointment. That tenure proposal ran aground on race, politics and, perhaps surprisingly, on a clash between diverging views of journalism." "Fairness" and "impartiality" favor those in power, who got to that position by ignoring fairness and impartiality.

"Russian President Vladimir Putin has said the 2014 popular uprising that saw former Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovich forced from office was the result of a “coup” orchestrated by the United States and supported by Washington’s European allies and appealed for greater cooperation on the continent." No, you're the puppet.

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday June 22

"About 25 million years ago, giant rhinos more than 16 feet tall roamed the Earth. They are considered the largest land mammal that ever lived — but their evolutionary history and dispersal across Asia have left scientists puzzled… Paleontologists have now found fossils for a new, sixth species of the extinct giant rhino, Paraceratherium linxiaense, which are shedding light on how the animal moved across China, Mongolia, Kazakhstan and Pakistan."

"NASA continues to work on resolving an issue with the payload computer on the Hubble Space Telescope. The operations team will be running tests and collecting more information on the system to further isolate the problem. The science instruments will remain in a safe mode state until the issue is resolved. The telescope itself and science instruments remain in good health."

"The FDA’s surprise approval of the drug, Aduhelm, despite near-unanimous opposition from an independent advisory panel, has the potential to explode the federal budget and move an already simmering debate over drug prices in Congress and the White House onto the front burner."

"A worrying spike of coronavirus infections in Europe is being driven by the Delta variant, according to global health leaders, even as immunization rates in some countries are on the way up… Increased cases reported in the U.K. and Portugal have forced officials to reimplement lockdown restrictions or hold off on lifting pandemic mandates. Officials in France, Germany, and Spain say they are closely monitoring clusters of infection tied to the Delta variant."

"With Covid vaccination penetration in the US likely to fall short of Joe Biden’s 70% by Fourth of July target, pandemic analysts are warning that vaccine incentives are losing traction and that 'two Americas' may emerge as the aggressive Delta variant becomes the dominant US strain." I can only imagine this is how the Eloi and Morlocks started.

"The number of deaths related to Covid-19 has passed 500,000 in Brazil, the second-highest in the world, as experts say the outbreak could worsen amid slow vaccination and the start of winter… The virus continues to spread as President Jair Bolsonaro refuses to back measures like social distancing."

"Ohio's Republican-controlled legislature is on the verge of imposing a state law to dramatically restrict the rights of cities and towns to build and operate municipal broadband networks… The Ohio Senate on June 9 approved a budget bill that contains an anti-municipal broadband amendment. It's not a done deal yet, and advocates for public networks are urging the legislature to strip the amendment from the final budget. The budget bill is expected to be hammered out within the next two weeks." Fuckers. If the public sector were so superior to government work this 1) wouldn't be necessary and 2) wouldn't be being pushed by industry.

"Businesses around the country are wrestling with similar challenges in getting their goods… The Port of Los Angeles just logged its busiest month in history, handling more than a million shipping containers in May, more than half of them loaded with imports from Asia."

"Documents stored in safes in the Prime Minister’s Office were shredded on Sunday, in violation of the law, shortly before Prime Minister Naftali Bennett took office."

"A federal magistrate judge in Iowa on Thursday ordered the employees at a dairy farm owned by the father and brother of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Cal.) to produce documentation concerning their immigration status in the family’s protracted defamation lawsuit filed against Esquire magazine and journalist Ryan Lizza. The court also singled out attorney Steven Biss—known for representing the Republican lawmaker in a series of failed defamation suits against news organizations—for his 'puzzling and troubling' explanation about a deposition of a dairy farm employee." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"In a speech from the Rose Garden last year alongside then-President Donald Trump, MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell said his company would produce and distribute face masks to do their part in the COVID-19 pandemic… Now, the conservative figure is saying the operation has cost him millions of dollars and that they have millions of masks they can't get rid of. Lindell told The Daily Beast this week that the mask-making effort cost him and his company a combined total of $7 million." Poor little rich man.

"Georgia's Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced that more than 100,000 names will be removed from the state's voter registration records… This mass removal, or voter 'purge,' mainly targeted those who filled out a change of address form (about 67,000) or had election mail returned (about 34,000), the AP reported. Voters can also be purged if they are declared 'inactive' meaning they have not participated in an election in a certain number of years." Yes, they're still trying to steal the election.

"Trump’s relentless false claims that the vote was 'rigged' against him sparked a campaign to terrorize election officials nationwide – from senior officials such as Raffensperger to the lowest-level local election workers. The intimidation has been particularly severe in Georgia, where Raffensperger and other Republican election officials refuted Trump’s stolen-election claims. The ongoing harassment could have far-reaching implications for future elections by making the already difficult task of recruiting staff and poll workers much harder, election officials say."

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday June 17

Want to know what a SF/F/H convention is like, but don't want to spend the money first? Okay, well supposedly Tor Con 2021 is offering recordings of their panels. Unfortunately Tor:Con is a branded tornado prediction tool for the Weather Channel, so Googling is a PIA.

"(Tor) Nightfire will be open to (unaccented) novel and novella submissions from June 15, 2021 (9AM EST) to June 22, 2021 (9AM EST)."

"Wednesday was forecast to get only hotter, with Death Valley predicted to soar to a blistering 128 degrees… With temperatures rising to 10 to 30 degrees above average, dozens of records were demolished Tuesday across Wyoming, Utah, South Dakota, Nevada, Arizona and Southern California." And it's only June.

War, huh, yeah, what is it good for? "But he also expressed deep rage and sorrow over the scars left by the nation's 50-year-long War on Drugs. 'What good is it doing for us?' Hinton asked… As the United States' harsh approach to drug use and addiction hits the half-century milestone, this question is being asked by a growing number of lawmakers, public health experts and community leaders." Absolutely nothing.

"Initial jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week despite an ongoing recovery in the U.S. employment market, the Labor Department reported Thursday… First-time filings for unemployment insurance for the week ended June 12 totaled 412,000, compared with the previous week’s 375,000. That was the highest number since May 15."

"Members of the Ohio House expelled Rep. Larry Householder, the federally indicted Republican ex-speaker, Wednesday in a bipartisan vote that invoked their powers to remove a member for the first time in 150 years."

"The Democratic-led House of Representatives on Wednesday easily approved legislation to commemorate Juneteenth, the national remembrance of the end of chattel slavery in the United States, as a federal holiday."

"You may be used to seeing your calendar punctuated by the various holidays that occur throughout the year… But on one New Jersey school district's calendar, each one of these days will be listed, simply, as 'day off.'"

"The House voted Thursday to repeal the 2002 authorization for war in Iraq as Congress moves to rein in presidential discretion on using military force." Well that only took :: checks watch :: 19 years.

"The U.S. Supreme Court upheld the Affordable Care Act for the third time on Thursday, leaving in place the broad provisions of the law enacted by Congress in 201o. The vote was 7 to 2… The decision threw out the challenge to the law on the grounds that Texas and other objecting GOP-dominated states were not required to pay anything under the mandate provision and thus had no standing to bring the challenge to court." That's interesting, as since the mandate has been zeroed out, then nobody can claim harm (unless they have an ACA plan, which they could have not bought and have paid no penalty, so no harm again). The attempt was specious at best (if you have one hello grain of salt to go with it), and it's good to see at least logic still holds sway.

And then it fails… "The Supreme Court on Thursday said that Philadelphia violated the First Amendment when it froze the contract of a Catholic foster care agency that refused to work with same-sex couples as potential foster parents because the agency believes that marriage should be between a man and a woman." Say, what religion do most of the members of the Supreme Court belong to?

And then this asshole is back again… "A Colorado baker who won a partial victory at the U.S. Supreme Court in 2018 for refusing to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple violated the state's anti-discrimination law by refusing to make a birthday cake for a trans woman, a state judge has ruled."

Continued Disruptions

Do to necessary bandwidth restrictions for other projects and the amount of work flowing into the design job, expect disruptions of the schedule and poor service until June 25. Welcome to crappy rural broadband.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Linkee-poo Wednesday June 16

"As NASA gears up for the Artemis I mission around the Moon that will pave the way to send the first woman and the first person of color to the lunar surface, we have an important task for you (yes, you!). Artemis I will be an uncrewed flight test of the Space Launch System (SLS) rocket and the Orion spacecraft ahead of the first flight with crew on Artemis II. We want your help to select a name for the suited manikin, or Moonikin in this case, that will fly aboard Orion to help gather data before missions with astronauts!" Unfortunately Suity McSuitface is not one of the options. Or since he will be accompanied by other phantoms, Ghosty McGhost.

"The three members of the first crew to be sent to China’s space station say they’re eager to get to work making their home for the next three months habitable, setting up testing and experiments and preparing for a series of spacewalks."

"The next SpaceX launch will feature a milestone, as the Pentagon is allowing Elon Musk’s company to send a national security satellite to orbit with a reused rocket for the first time… SpaceX is set to launch the GPS III SV05 satellite for the Space Force on Thursday from Florida, using the Falcon 9 rocket booster that launched the GPS III SV04 satellite last November. The company’s Falcon 9 rockets are partially reusable, as SpaceX regularly lands the boosters – the largest and most expensive part of the rocket – and then launches again."

"A massive fire at a Rockton, Illinois Chemtool plant continues to burn for a second day Tuesday… The massive chemical plant went up in flames around 7 a.m. Monday and firefighters say it could burn for several days." Better living through chemistry.

Ma href="https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/06/09/1003980966/women-now-drink-as-much-as-men-and-suffer-health-effects-more-quickly">"For nearly a century, women have been closing the gender gap in alcohol consumption, binge-drinking and alcohol use disorder. What was previously a 3-1 ratio for risky drinking habits in men versus women is closer to 1-to-1 globally, a 2016 analysis of several dozen studies suggested." You've come a long way.

I made a comment about Biogen rushing an unproven, dangerous drug to market (Aduhelm) to bilk insurance companies. I'm not the only one who thinks that… "Less appreciated is how the drug’s approval could trigger hundreds of billions of dollars of new government spending, all without a vote in Congress or indeed any public debate over the drug’s value. Aduhelm’s manufacturer, Biogen, announced on Monday that it would price the drug at an average of $56,000 a year per patient, a figure that doesn’t include the additional imaging and scans needed to diagnose patients or to monitor them for serious side effects." If we include government programs on of the largest of insurance companies in the country would be Medicare/Medicaid (second only to the Pentagon's programs including the Veterans Administration).

"Yet a key question remains unanswered: How long does COVID-linked parosmia last? Scientists have no firm timelines. Of the five patients interviewed for this article, all of whom first developed parosmia symptoms in late spring and early summer of last year, none has fully regained normal smell and taste."

"I cautioned in that same email that we would need to look at the question much more closely and that our opinions could change within a few days based on new data and analyses — which they did." On some of those early emails with Dr Fauci.

"The U.S. government has bought another 200 million doses of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, the drugmaker said on Wednesday, including an option to buy experimental shots that may be in development."

"The European Union decided Wednesday to add the United States to its safe travel list, meaning it will be easier for American citizens to take a vacation in one of the 27 member states, two EU sources have confirmed to CNBC."

"The U.S. is banning the importation of dogs from more than 100 countries for at least a year because of a sharp increase in the number of puppies imported into the country with fraudulent rabies vaccination certificates."

"The lumber bubble has started to pop… After skyrocketing to record highs in May, futures for July delivery dropped more than 40%." This is after a huge spike earlier this year. No word on the lumber tariffs with Canada, though.

"U.S. homebuilding rebounded less than expected in May as very expensive lumber and shortages of other materials continued to constrain builders' ability to take advantage of an acute shortage of houses on the market."

"The Biden administration said it is approving 18,000 loan forgiveness claims from former students of ITT Technical Institute, a chain that closed in 2016 after being dealt a series of sanctions by the Obama administration. The new loan discharges will clear more than $500 million in debt."

"The Southern Baptist Convention tamped down a push from the right at its largest meeting in decades on Tuesday, electing a new president who has worked to bridge racial divides in the church and defeating an effort to make an issue of critical race theory."

"The United States and European Union said Tuesday they have resolved a 17-year-long fight over aircraft subsidies, agreeing to suspend tariffs for five years stemming from the Boeing-Airbus dispute."

"Overnight, tensions between Israel and Hamas erupted into violence, posing a potential threat to the brief period of peace reached between the two just weeks ago… Israeli jets struck two targets in Gaza early Wednesday. In a tweet, which included a video of the attack, the Israel Defense Forces said its 'fighter jets struck Hamas military compounds last night, which were used as meeting sites for Hamas terror operatives. Hamas will bear the consequences for its actions.'"

"Jeff Porter, superintendent of a wealthy suburban school district in Maine, had no idea that his community was about to become part of a national battle when in the summer of 2020 a father began accusing the district of trying to 'indoctrinate' his children by teaching critical race theory… To Porter, the issue was straightforward: The district had denounced white supremacy in the wake of George Floyd’s murder by police, but did not teach critical race theory, the academic study of racism’s pervasive impact."

"China has flown 28 warplanes into Taiwan-controlled airspace, the biggest sortie of its kind since the Taiwanese government began publishing information about the frequent incursions last year."

"Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., who was introducing a bill to reduce Fauci’s salary to $0 and have him account for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, led the attacks. The proposed legislation, called the Fire Fauci Act, stands no chance of passage in a House controlled by Democrats."

"Democratic Congressman Brad Schneider of Illinois said he will not proceed with a resolution to censure Republican Congresswoman Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia for comments she made about the Holocaust."

"The rat-a-tat revelations raise more questions than they answer about why the Justice Department -- the federal agency charged with upholding America's rule of law, regardless of politics -- was so into the business of people the then-President viewed as his enemies."

"The White House has published its first ever national strategy for countering domestic terrorism five months after a violent mob stormed the US Capitol in Washington… The framework released on Tuesday by the national security council describes the threat as now more serious than potential attacks from overseas but emphasises the need to protect civil liberties."

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "But that’s not what our leaders are doing. They’re doing just the opposite. They’re working hard to divide us into warring camps with lies. They’re telling us a story that is completely — and very much intentionally — disconnected from reality. They’re claiming that something called white supremacy, a term they never define, is the greatest threat we face. A greater threat than Al Qaeda or ISIS. Our thoroughly craven attorney general told us that very lie today." Carlson is the purveyor of the zombie fallacy. No matter how many times something is explained, his viewpoint disproven, the cold hard reality of the world imposed on him by, well, reality, he doesn't get it. He professionally, and expertly, doesn't get it. We know the answers to all his questions, but Tucker will never know, because he can never know to keep his worldview, and substantial paycheck, intact. And then he goes on to set up the argument that January 6th was an inside job. So it's time to cut the crap. Tucker Carlson is actively working against America. He is a seditionist, and a fascist, and is, quite frankly pushing the narrative of our nation's enemies. He is troll and beneficiary of white privilege and white supremacy wrapped in a suit of smugness giving you the look of a puppy who just bit into a plastic pork chop.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday June 15

"As with all our summer polls, this one isn't a straight-up popularity contest… Rather, it's a curated list built from your recommendations and picks from our expert panel of judges — a fantastic group of authors, librarians, publishers and all-around book nerds. And instead of a ranked list, it's grouped into categories that we hope will help you find just the right books for the kids in your life."

"A tiny skull entombed in 99-million-year-old amber that became the subject of scientific debate last year was initially thought to belong to the world's smallest dinosaur species… However, the high-profile March 2020 scientific paper that unveiled the discovery of Oculudentavis khaungraae was retracted later that year. New research published on Monday, based on another, better-preserved amber specimen, suggests that the skull was from a prehistoric lizard."

"Philips is recalling breathing devices and ventilators due to foam that might degrade and become toxic, possibly causing cancer, the Dutch medical equipment maker said on Monday… The recall involves specific Philips Bi-Level Positive Airway Pressure (Bi-Level PAP), Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) and mechanical ventilator devices to address potential health risks related to polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam that is in the machines, Philips said in a news release."

"Doctors who work in Arizona and Nevada burn centers are warning of injuries from contact with super-heated roadways and other surfaces as the first extreme heat wave of the year extends across the U.S. West."

"Three communities in Arizona have been asked to evacuate after a fire that crews have been working for days to contain jumped the containment line… The Telegraph Fire grew overnight, burning through 104,755 acres with containment down to 68%, fire authorities said during a community meeting late Monday."

"The latest results build on findings from a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study that suggested the novel coronavirus may have been circulating in the United States last December, well before the first COVID-19 case was diagnosed on Jan. 19, 2020."

"The head football coach at Cardinal High School in Middlefield is the target of a criminal investigation, alleging he altered the grades of students." (Law and Order opening credits sound here)

"U.S. retail sales dropped more than expected in May, with spending rotating back to services from goods as vaccinations allow Americans to travel and engage in other activities that had been restricted by the COVID-19 pandemic… Other data on Tuesday showed an acceleration in producer prices last month as supply chains struggle to meet demand that is being unleashed by the reopening of the economy. In addition to vaccinations, demand is also being fired up by trillions of dollars from the government and record-low interest rates."

"The free trade agreement means it will cost less for British businesses to sell products like cars, Scotch whisky and confectionery into Australia, the U.K. government said Tuesday."

"'We are seeing a historic surge of cargo volume coming into our ports,' says Tom Bellerud, the chief operations officer of The Northwest Seaport Alliance, which manages all cargo processing at the ports of Seattle and Tacoma. 'The terminals are having a difficult time keeping up with processing all the cargo off these vessels fast enough.'"

"The Girl Scouts have an unusual problem this year: 15 million boxes of unsold cookies." OMG! Are any of them Do-si-Dos?

"The way Airbnb has handled crimes such as the New York attack, which occurred during a bitter regulatory fight, shows how critical the safety team has been to the company’s growth. Airbnb’s business model rests on the idea that strangers can trust one another. If that premise is undermined, it can mean fewer users and more lawsuits, not to mention tighter regulation."

"In the first public accounting of its kind in decades, an Associated Press investigation has found that at least 1,900 U.S. military firearms were lost or stolen during the 2010s, with some resurfacing in violent crimes. Because some armed services have suppressed the release of basic information, AP’s total is a certain undercount."

"Investigators determined the waylaid grenades were last seen eight month(s) prior on an ammunition train that rolled out from Florida. Someone had stolen them somewhere on the rails to Pennsylvania, another example in an Associated Press investigation that shows how the military's vast supply chain is susceptible to theft." What's a few armor piercing grenades more or less?

"At the start of the pandemic, headlines signaled the end of days for the Golden State: 'California doom: Staggering $54 billion deficit looms,' the AP declared… Yet that's not what the data shows. California’s economy is the opposite of doom." A twitter thread about not believing the hype (from an opinion column, but backed up with facts). Especially when someone touts the "Texas Miracle." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The U.S. Supreme Court ruled Monday that some crack cocaine offenders sentenced to harsh prison terms more than a decade ago cannot get their sentences reduced under a federal law adopted with the purpose of doing just that… At issue in the case was the long and now notorious history of sentencing under the 1986 Anti-Drug Abuse Act, which established harsh mandatory prison sentences based on the amount of drugs that the defendant possessed or sold. The triggering amount, however, was different for crack cocaine used most often by Black people, and powder cocaine, used most often by whites."

"Trump may be out of office, but the GOP's campaign to limit voting rights, free speech, and reproductive rights is still in full-swing. On this week’s On the Media, where do you focus your attention when there are little fires everywhere? Plus, a look at a chilling new look for America: the 'authoritarian mullet' — culture war in the front, the destruction of democracy in the back. And, how critical race theory became a right-wing bogeyman."

"The Democratic-led House Judiciary Committee will open an investigation into efforts by the Trump-era U.S. Department of Justice to seize metadata from devices belonging to members of Congress, journalists and the then-White House counsel… Word of the partisan probe came as current Attorney General Merrick Garland, said the DOJ will 'strengthen' its policies on obtaining records from lawmakers."

"The Oregon House voted Thursday to expel Rep. Mike Nearman for his role in the Oregon Capitol breach last December. He’s the first member of the state House to be expelled in its 160-year history… The vote was 59-1 in favor of House Resolution 3 which called for Nearman's expulsion. The only vote against the resolution was from Nearman."

"The 232 pages of documents detail the unprecedented pressure campaign that Trump, along with his chief of staff and other allies, conducted to get senior officials at the Justice Department to challenge the results of the election in the face of Trump's loss to Democrat Joe Biden."