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

Tuesday, November 30, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Nov 30

Sorry so late and a meager haul (lots of NPR). Rural broadband issues today.

The New Yorker interview of Mel Brooks on writing his memoir.

"Former Defense Secretary Mark Esper has filed suit against the Pentagon, which he says has ordered him to redact portions of an 'unvarnished and candid memoir' that he hopes to publish about his days in the Trump White House."

"It's not exactly classified information — former president Donald Trump and the intelligence community didn't get along. But in an updated book, Getting To Know The President, the story is told from the inside… The author is a former CIA officer, John Helgerson, who spent 38 years at the agency. The publisher is the CIA's in-house research center. And the book is available for free on the CIA website."

"As I see it, there are two very different audiences for Get Back, Peter Jackson's new documentary about The Beatles' Let It Be sessions. There are the most rabid fans, who will watch it and recognize instantly the stuff they've never heard or seen before. And for them — well, for us, because I'm part of that group — this Disney+ docuseries is a true treasure. For everyone else, the first part of The Beatles: Get Back may be slow going."

"A new article published in the journal Science found that trees in urban areas have started turning green earlier than their rural counterparts due to cities being hotter and also having more lights… '[I] found artificial light in cities acts as an extended daylight and cause earlier spring greening and later autumn leaf coloring,' author Lin Meng said."

"Over the past two weeks, omicron has spread to at least seven of South Africa's nine provinces, quickly overtaking the country's outbreak — and thus, it appears, outcompeting delta, says virologist Pei-Yong Shi of the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston… 'Based on the epidemiology data, it seems like the new variant has advantages in transmitting over the previous variants,' Shi says." Of course all the caveats are still here (it's early, we have limited data, blah blah). But there it is.

"The U.S. is enacting travel bans in an effort to limit the spread of the new omicron variant of the coronavirus, which the World Health Organization warns poses a 'very high' global risk."

"They came for an Oasis tribute band and stayed for a massive snowstorm… The Tan Hill Inn in Northern England offers camping, glamping, weddings and now: Snow days… Dozens of people, mostly strangers, spent the weekend snowed in together at the remote pub after heavy snowfall blocked the exits."

"Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama are getting a new vote on whether to form the company's first unionized warehouse in the United States… A U.S. labor-board official is ordering a re-vote after an agency review found Amazon improperly pressured warehouse staff to vote against joining a union, tainting the original election enough to scrap its results. The decision was issued Monday by a regional director of the National Labor Relations Board. Amazon is expected to appeal."

"For their first Christmas in the White House, the Biden family will celebrate with the theme of 'gifts from the heart' for their holiday decor." The White House Xmas doesn't look like the waiting room to Hell this year! I'm sure we will soon here how this is terrible, unAmerican, and not really celebrating Christianity well enough for the conservatives. Maybe something along the lines of "while America is suffering from shortages and inflation, the Bidens show how out of touch they are for not getting trees and decorations at the local Walmart like the rest of America."

"The phone call between Rep. Lauren Boebert, R-Colo., and Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., was meant to defuse tensions after the Republican made Islamophobic comments about the Democrat… Both congresswomen agree the call did not go well." Shocked, shocked I am…

"Lawmakers return to Washington, D.C., with a familiar end-of-the-year agenda — a pileup of important bills and not a lot of time to act on them… The most immediate issue is avoiding a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, but they also need to address the nation's borrowing authority and annual defense policy bill… Democrats have also set Christmas as their own deadline for passing the roughly $2 trillion domestic spending bill that includes climate, health care and child care programs. This massive bill is the second piece of President Biden's 'Build Back Better' agenda. (The $1 trillion infrastructure bill was signed earlier this month and Biden has begun an effort to tout its value to communities around the country.)" Ugh, sloppy reporting again… "Federal agencies run out of money at midnight on Friday…" No no no no fucking no. Agencies run out of the authority to spend money at midnight on Friday. "Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen notified Congress earlier this month that they have until Dec. 15 to increase the nation's borrowing limit or risk defaulting on the country's bills…" that's when we run "out of money." But even that isn't true, we just don't have enough to pay all the bills. While we like to equate the federal government "budget" to our own "budgets" it's not the same.

"Hours before the deadly attack on the US Capitol this year, Donald Trump made several calls from the White House to top lieutenants at the Willard hotel in Washington and talked about ways to stop the certification of Joe Biden’s election win from taking place on 6 January… The former president first told the lieutenants his vice-president, Mike Pence, was reluctant to go along with the plan to commandeer his largely ceremonial role at the joint session of Congress in a way that would allow Trump to retain the presidency for a second term." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"Debate over the 2020 presidential election rages on in the political swing state of Wisconsin, where a prominent Republican lawmaker wants to strip the state's bipartisan elections agency of its power — and give it to the Republican-controlled Legislature." Danger, Warning, Will Robinson.

"Instead, at almost every turn, Trump was helped by people who had little liking for him as a human being or politician, but assessed that he could be useful for purposes of their own. The latest example: the suddenly red-hot media campaign to endorse Trump’s fantasy that he was the victim of a 'Russia hoax.'" Everything old is new again.

Monday, November 29, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday Nov 29

Stephen Sondheim, and so it goes.

"It's the first study of its kind, the scientists said, that combines Einstein's theory of general relativity with realistic models of the densities of main-sequence stars. The results will help us understand what is happening when we observe the flares of light from distant black holes shredding unfortunate stars… And the simulations, supporting a paper that was published last year, are also gorgeous as heck."

"The World Health Organization is warning that the new omicron variant of the coronavirus poses a 'very high' global risk because of the possibility that it spreads more easily and might resist vaccines and immunity in people who were infected with previous strains."

"Dutch border police have said they’ve arrested and detained a couple who left a coronavirus quarantine hotel and were trying to leave the country… The couple, a man from Spain and woman from Portugal according to Dutch media reports, had been asked to quarantine after one of them tested positive for Covid on arrival in the Netherlands on a flight from South Africa." Again, it's too late for travel bans (but quarantines are still good), more than likely the Omicron (Persied 8) variant has already spread worldwide and we don't know if South Africa was actually where it emerged.

"Before she became sick with a coronavirus infection in January, Semhar Fisseha was a healthy, active 39-year-old… She took walks every day and planned summer vacations with her nine-year-old daughter. Now, even activities that many people take for granted can come at a big cost." The Long COVID story, lots of people are going to learn about Spoon Theory.

"Jack Dorsey is stepping down as CEO of Twitter, the social media company he co-founded in 2006. He will be replaced by Twitter's chief technology officer, Parag Agrawal, a 10-year veteran of the company."

"For nearly a half century abortion has been a constitutional right in the United States. But this week the U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments in a Mississippi case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade and subsequent decisions… Those rulings consistently declared that a woman has a constitutional right to terminate a pregnancy in the first two trimesters of pregnancy when a fetus is unable to survive outside the womb. But with the abortion right now in doubt, it's worth looking back at its history."

"So for an entire decade, whether Ohio voters tilted to Democratic or to Republican or a toss-up, when it came to Congress, nothing changed. The makeup was the exact same 12-4 split no matter how the voters voted. In the world’s oldest democracy, the voters basically didn’t matter."

"Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, a Republican, has signed into law a congressional map that creates 15 new districts in the state, but anti-gerrymandering advocates are slamming the map saying it was drawn to keep a Republican stronghold in Ohio… The plan has 12 seats that either heavily favor or lean in favor of Republicans. That's 80% of the districts in a state that voted for former President Donald Trump with 53% of the vote in 2020… Voter rights groups say Republican lawmakers went out of their way to carve the map in a way that gives them an advantage."

"Lawmakers return to Washington with a familiar end of the year agenda — a pile up of important bills and not a lot of time to act on them… The most immediate issue is avoiding a partial government shutdown at the end of the week, but they also need to address the nation's borrowing authority and annual defense policy bill."

"Specifically, the lawmaker said a number of moderates are upset with how McCarthy, of California, has embraced some of the extremists in the GOP conference and warned it could hurt the party in swing districts and undermine their chances of winning back the majority." Dear "moderate" Republicans (formerly the "hard right"), the party has left you. It's not coming back.

"Democrats in Congress are banking that President Biden's Build Back Better agenda — the largest expansion of the social safety net in decades that includes a wide range of programs to address health care, child care, elder care and climate change — is the ticket to keeping their majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterm elections."

Friday, November 26, 2021

Linkee-poo Black Friday Nov 26

Robert Bly, and so it goes.

NPRs 2021 books of the year.

"Detroit isn't alone — communities across the country are seeing an increase in the severity and frequency of flooding due to climate change, testing the limits of water infrastructure built for a more moderate climate. The federal infrastructure bill, recently signed by President Biden, addresses that with billions of dollars for flood prevention."

And then there's the other problem, when too little water falls and toxins accumulate. "Dozens of other public water utilities in Iowa also treat drinking water for nitrates. Water Works has upgraded its facility and constructed deep wells to store more water and it's looking at building additional groundwater wells. Federal clean water laws exempt agricultural runoff. The utility filed a lawsuit five years ago to try and amend the Clean Water Act, so farmers would have to implement more environmental practices but it was ultimately dismissed."

"The launch of the $10bn (£7.5bn) James Webb space telescope has been delayed again, after an incident during the final preparations to place the telescope on top of its launch vehicle… The spacecraft was scheduled to be sent into orbit on 18 December but now it will not launch before 22 December."

"The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a health advisory Wednesday that cases of influenza have been rising among young adults in recent weeks… While flu cases are still low nationally, more than 90 percent are among children and young adults ages 5 to 24, according to the CDC."

"South African scientists have detected a new COVID-19 variant in small numbers and are working to understand its potential implications, they said on Thursday… The variant - called B.1.1.529 - has a 'very unusual constellation' of mutations, which are concerning because they could help it evade the body's immune response and make it more transmissible, scientists told reporters at a news conference." Sits in the corner whistling nervously. (Grokked from Seanan McGuire)

"The discovery of a new coronavirus variant sent a chill through much of the world Friday as nations raced to halt air travel, markets fell sharply and scientists held emergency meetings to weigh the exact risks, which were largely unknown."

Too late… "Belgium has confirmed a case of the new, heavily mutated variant of the virus that causes Covid-19, according to one of the country’s leading virologists… Marc Van Ranst, who works with the Rega Institute for Medical Research, said a sample was confirmed as the novel B.1.1.529 variant in a traveler who returned from Egypt on Nov. 11. The patient first showed symptoms on Nov. 22."

"Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said on Friday that Israel is 'on the threshold of an emergency situation' after authorities detected the country’s first case of a new coronavirus variant and barred travel to and from most African countries."

"Whatever happened to Novavax and Sanofi's COVID-19 vaccines? Many people thought at the beginning of the pandemic that these were the two most likely vaccines to succeed."

"Merck said on Friday updated data from the study of its experimental COVID-19 pill showed lower efficacy in reducing the risk of hospitalization and deaths than an earlier interim analysis, cutting them by 30% in the study… The drugmaker released interim data in October showing a roughly 50% reduction in hospitalizations and deaths in 775 patients. The updated rate on Friday is based on data from over 1,400 patients."

"Three German political parties agreed to form a new government on Wednesday, with left-leaning Social Democrat Olaf Scholz set to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor following lengthy coalition negotiations… As part of the coalition agreement, the country plans to raise its minimum wage to €12 ($13.46) an hour, from the current rate of €9.60 ($10.77) an hour."

"While high gas prices have pushed President Biden to tap into the US's strategic oil reserves, America's neighbor to the north is also dealing with a shortage of another so-called 'liquid gold'… The Canadian group Quebec Maple Syrup Producers recently announced it was releasing about 50 million pounds of its strategic maple syrup reserves — about half of the total stockpile."

"Rescue crews have found a survivor in a Siberian coal mine where dozens of miners are presumed dead after a devastating methane explosion, a senior regional official said on Friday."

"Britain and France traded fresh accusations Friday after at least 27 people drowned while trying to cross the channel separating the two countries in small inflatable boats, a disaster that delivered tragic impetus to calls for action on a long-simmering migrant crisis."

"President Emmanuel Macron has told Boris Johnson to 'get serious' or remain locked out of discussions over how to curb the flow of people escaping war and poverty across the Channel."

"A month after a coup ousted civilian leaders in Sudan, protesters demanded a return to civilian rule. And the military seems to be walking back its power grab… The military has reinstated the civilian prime minister, but as recently as today the streets were once again filled with protesters calling on the military to stop its involvement in running the country."

"The 'Afghan Girl' made famous after featuring on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985 has been granted refugee status by Italy's Prime Minister Mario Draghi, according to an Italian government press office statement."

"The sacred road, once named 'The Path of God,' connects the Temples of Karnak in the north with Luxor in the south. Paved in sandstone blocks, the 1.7-mile-long road is lined on both sides with more than 1,050 statues of sphinxes and rams. They've spent centuries buried under the desert sands, but slowly, over many years, Egypt's renowned archaeologists are bringing them back into the light of day."

"In the aftermath of Kyle Rittenhouse's acquittal in Kenosha, Wis., last week, advocates are turning back to the case of Chrystul Kizer, who is also arguing it was self-defense when she killed her adult sexual abuser, set his house on fire and stole his car in 2018… Kizer, who was 17 at the time, is accused of shooting Randall P. Volar III in the head; Volar had previously been arrested on child sexual assault charges."

"Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Friday that a group of Ukrainians and Russians was planning a coup against him at the beginning of December… Speaking at a news conference, Zelensky said the coup was being planned for December 1 or 2, and there is audio of Ukrainian and Russian plotters discussing the plan."

"The three white men who chased down and killed Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old Black man who was jogging through their Georgia neighborhood last year, were all found guilty of murder charges."

"The Democratic-led House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol has issued five new subpoenas to several ex-Trump allies, including Roger Stone and InfoWars founder Alex Jones… The committee said the subpoenas are focused on the planning and financing of Jan. 5 and Jan. 6 rallies in Washington, D.C., the subsequent march and deadly riot."

"Multiple sources told Rolling Stone that Kylie Kremer, an organizer for the (Jan 6) rally that took place at D.C.'s Ellipse park, had an aide buy three burner phones a few days before Jan. 6. Kremer said that it was 'of the utmost importance' that the phones be purchased with cash, one source, who was a member of the March for Trump team, told the magazine." Like you do when you're totally law abiding citizens about to exercise your first amendment rights. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Greene, who previously told reporters she would be laying out a list of demands to earn her speaker vote, mentioned some of the challenges that lay ahead in McCarthy's quest for the speaker's gavel. Among her demands, the Republican told Gaetz she wants fellow GOP Reps. Adam Kinzinger of Illinois and Liz Cheney of Wyoming kicked out of the House Republican Conference for serving on the January 6 committee, something McCarthy has so far resisted. She also said she has no respect for current GOP leadership." This is what happens when you allow the whackaloon fringe into the party.

Monday, November 22, 2021

Linkee-poo Monday Nov 22

"At least five people have been killed and more than 40 injured after a car ploughed into a Christmas parade in the US state of Wisconsin, police say… School bands and a dance troupe of grannies were among those marching through the city of Waukesha when a red SUV came speeding down the road."

"Two mothers who died of herpes after giving birth could have been infected by a single surgeon, the BBC has found… The families, who were told there were no connections between the deaths, are calling for inquests to be opened."

"A month ago, new coronavirus cases in the United States were ticking steadily downward and the worst of a miserable summer surge fueled by the delta variant appeared to be over. But as Americans travel this week to meet far-flung relatives for Thanksgiving dinner, new virus cases are rising once more, especially in the Upper Midwest and Northeast."

"As Covid cases surged over the summer, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian took action: Unvaccinated workers would have to pay an extra $200 a month for their health insurance, starting Nov. 1… It felt less onerous than the vaccine mandate imposed on workers by rival United Airlines. But still, it was audacious." Well, that's one way to do it.

"Republican lawmakers across the country look determined to take on the Biden administration's insistence that employers require their workers to get vaccinated against COVID-19." Remember the arguments for limiting both abortion and birth control access in healthcare plans? About how business owners should have a say in the health and medical care of their employees?

"White House health officials are set to announce on Monday that 95% of the federal workforce is in compliance with the Biden administration's vaccine mandate, a senior administration official said… Over 90% of workers have received at least one shot and the other 5% have submitted exception applications that were already approved or are pending."

"Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has criticised three nights of riots over anti-COVID measures, calling the unrest 'pure violence' by 'idiots' and vowed to prosecute those responsible… The riots in several cities around the country since Friday were 'violence under the guise of protest', the prime minister said. He added he would always defend the right to protest, but 'I will never accept is that idiots use pure violence against people … who keep this country safe,' he told Dutch media."

"Target will no longer open its stores on Thanksgiving Day, making permanent a shift to the unofficial start of the holiday season that was suspended during the pandemic." Good.

"Many homebuilders went out of business after the housing crash, and that has led to a historic housing shortage. And now investors large and small are jockeying to snap up homes as the tight supply keeps pushing prices higher… So big companies such as Redfin and Opendoor, countless individual speculators, real estate agents and some more predatory outfits have been contacting homeowners, just on the slim chance that they might be willing to sell to some random person calling on the phone."

"In recent years, Amazon.com Inc has killed or undermined privacy protections in more than three dozen bills across 25 states, as the e-commerce giant amassed a lucrative trove of personal data on millions of American consumers… Amazon executives and staffers detail these lobbying victories in confidential documents reviewed by Reuters."

"Missing Chinese tennis star Peng Shuai told Olympic officials in a video call from Beijing that she was safe and well, the International Olympic Committee said Sunday after Peng reappeared in public at a youth tournament in Beijing, according to photos released by the organizer."

"About 80 people rushed into a Nordstrom store near San Francisco on Saturday and stole merchandise in what authorities called an 'organized theft.'… Police in Walnut Creek said Sunday that they arrested three people in connection with the incident at the luxury department store, including one person allegedly in possession of a gun."

"More than a dozen people stormed a Louis Vuitton store in a Chicago suburb and were caught on surveillance footage grabbing bags and wiping shelves clear, according to police."

"The Transportation Security Administration said in a later statement that an individual had been undergoing a bag search at the airport's main security checkpoint when a TSA official opened a compartment carrying a gun… 'The passenger lunged into the bag and grabbed a firearm, at which point it discharged,' TSA said."

"Electric SUVs generally are among the least reliable vehicles on the road, but it’s not because of the batteries or electric motors that power them… Instead, it’s because of glitch-prone electronics including climate controls and power equipment, the annual auto reliability survey of subscribers by Consumer Reports found… In contrast, compact and plug-in gas-electric hybrids led by the Toyota Prius and Prius Prime and the Honda Insight were the most reliable category, said Jake Fisher, senior director of auto testing for Consumer Reports."

"Kyle Rittenhouse’s claim that he is 'not a racist person', made to Tucker Carlson, landed in an atmosphere of controversy and condemnation ahead of the interview airing in full on Fox News on Monday night… Rittenhouse, 18, was acquitted on Friday on charges stemming from killing two men and wounding one during unrest after the shooting of a Black man by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last year. Rittenhouse is white, as were the men he shot."

"A notorious U.S. Capitol riot suspect and white supremacist livestreamer who goes by the alias 'Baked Alaska' faces new charges in Arizona after allegedly defacing a Hanukkah display at the state capitol." What a fucking tool. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Two longtime conservative Fox News commentators have resigned in protest of what they call a pattern of incendiary and fabricated claims by the network's opinion hosts in support of former President Donald Trump… In separate interviews with NPR, Stephen Hayes and Jonah Goldberg pointed to a breaking point earlier this month: network star Tucker Carlson's three-part series on the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol that relied on fabrications and conspiracy theories to exonerate the Trump supporters who participated in the attack." No, I'm not congratulating them. They're just the rats leaving a sinking ship.

"Republicans in Georgia are set to approve a new congressional map that adds to their representation in the U.S. House even as they voted to trim their own majority in the state legislature." Gerrymandering as a regard action to losing popularity.

It's by David Brooks, so take that as it is… "Finally, there is something extremely off-putting about the NatCon public pose. In person, as I say, I find many of them charming, warm, and friendly. But their public posture is dominated by the psychology of threat and menace. If there was one expression of sympathy, kindness, or grace uttered from the podium in Orlando, I did not hear it. But I did hear callousness, invocations of combat, and whiffs of brutality." The extreme right is gearing for war and using the state to impose their will on the majority, but David thinks they're still good drinking companions instead of seeing them as the later-day Nazis they are.

Friday, November 19, 2021

Linkee-poo Thursday Nov 19

"The Comedy Wildlife Photography Awards have been unearthing hilarious and heartwarming photos of creatures basically being their best selves since 2015."

"Flu outbreaks on college campuses most likely indicate a bad flu season ahead, but experts say the unpredictable nature of the flu virus means it’s too soon to know for sure how this season will unfold."

"In a new statement, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the vials found in a Pennsylvania lab contained vaccinia, the virus used in the smallpox vaccine." Ah, the method of tricking people into becoming vaccinated, label the vaccine as the virus and people will clamor to have you inject them with it. Brilliant.

"Ann Arbor will require all public restrooms in the city to carry menstrual products under a new ordinance that takes effect in January… It means pads and tampons, as well as soap and toilet paper, will have to be available for free in every public restroom throughout the Michigan city."

Why are large medical bills a problem, example #1486. "She was terrified of a potential bill from the same ER in Pulaski, Tenn., that had treated her husband. So even though she was deliriously ill, she hit the road in search of cheaper treatment, asking her parents to drive her. They headed south. The first stop was an ER in Huntsville, Ala., but it was so full of COVID-19 patients that she would have had to wait all day. Then they drove north nearly an hour to Maury Regional Medical Center, a public hospital in Columbia, Tenn., where she was diagnosed with Rocky Mountain spotted fever, a potentially deadly tick-borne infection. She got treatment with appropriate antibiotics and IV fluids… 'I would have had organ damage or possibly death in a few days,' she said… And then the bills came."

"As cases of Covid-19 rise throughout the U.S., health officials warn that an increasing number of fully vaccinated people are being hospitalized or going to the emergency room. The concern about waning immunity against severe Covid infection comes as the Food and Drug Administration is expected to authorize a Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine booster shot for all adults 18 and older."

"U.S. regulators on Friday moved to open up COVID-19 booster shots to all adults, expanding the government’s campaign to shore up protection and get ahead of rising coronavirus cases that may worsen with the holidays."

"A fresh look at the possible origins of the Covid-19 pandemic points straight back to the Huanan seafood market in the Chinese city of Wuhan, a scientist who has been studying the pandemic from the beginning asserted Thursday… The researcher, Michael Worobey of the University of Arizona, has put together a painstaking timeline of all the known cases of SARS-Cov-2 before it was known a pandemic was starting."

"Austria will become the first country in western Europe to reimpose a full coronavirus lockdown this autumn to tackle a new wave of infections, and will require its whole population to get vaccinated as of February, the government said on Friday."

"Here's a whirlwind tour of the past, present and future of vaccine mandates, with some surprises along the way."

"But one of the lessons from inflationary eras past is that voters are less interested in causal responsibility than in forcing a change. In other words, if you are in office now, you are holding the bag."

"At a September school board meeting in Southlake, Texas, a parent named Tara Eddins strode to the lectern during the public comment period and demanded to know why the Carroll Independent School District was paying counselors 'at $90K a pop' to give students lessons on suicide prevention… Two days after Eddins made the remarks, Southlake Families PAC — a group that has fought to stop a diversity plan at Carroll — sent an email to supporters calling on the school district to 'Leave mental health and parenting to parents.'" Why we can't have nice things.

"President Biden on Thursday hosted the Canadian and Mexican heads of state for a trilateral summit — the first North American leader summit of its kind since 2016." End the fucking trade wars.

"Despite pleas for a peaceful surrender, the four-day manhunt for ex-Baltimore County Police Officer Robert Vicosa and his two kidnapped daughters ended in tragedy Thursday, with both girls dead… When police approached the car, they discovered all four people inside had been shot, Maryland State Police spokeswoman Elena Russo said at an evening news conference."

"The city of Aurora, Colo., has agreed to pay $15 million to the family of 23-year-old Elijah McClain, a Black man who died after being stopped by police, manhandled and drugged. His family had filed a civil rights lawsuit… City leaders say they are prepared to sign the agreement as soon as the McClain family completes a separate process on dividing up the settlement." At this point I believe the best concrete hope for police reform will be the insurance companies.

"Polish Border Guard spokeswoman Anna Michalska said on Friday that a group of 500 people had tried to enter the European Union member state on Thursday evening, aided by Belarusian authorities who had earlier cleared the main camps at the border… '[The Belarusians] were bringing more migrants to the place where there was a forced attempt to cross,' Michalska said… 'At the start, there were 100 people, but then the Belarusian side brought more people in trucks. Then there were 500 people.'" This is not a normal migration situation, this is an attempt by Belarus to destabilize Poland and the EU. Unfortunately the migrants are the ones who will be most harmed in this play.

"The head of the Women's Tennis Association is questioning the authenticity of an email he received purporting to be from Chinese star player Peng Shuai, who hasn't been heard from since she made sexual assault allegations against a top Communist Party official two weeks ago."

"But Rittenhouse’s attorneys seized on a subsection of the Wisconsin law that states the ban on minors possessing dangerous weapons applies to minors armed with rifles or shotguns only if those weapons are short-barreled."

"House Democrats have voted to pass President Joe Biden's sweeping $1.9 trillion social safety net expansion legislation, a victory for the party even as the legislation faces a tough road ahead in the Senate… Senate Democrats have no margin of error to approve the legislation and key lawmakers -- most prominently moderate West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin -- have expressed concerns over elements of the plan as policy fights loom on the horizon."

"People close to both men first noticed the palpable shift in Trump's posture toward DeSantis earlier this year as enthusiasm for the Florida governor swelled among donors and GOP operatives who praised his laissez-faire response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The more DeSantis' popularity soared, the more obsessed Trump became with receiving credit for his political celebrity." You can not be as popular as the big guy. That's also a way to be on the outs.

Thursday, November 18, 2021

Linkee-poo is a hazy shade of winter

"Thousands of farm animals have died and many more are trapped by floods in desperate need of food and water after the Pacific north-west storm battered a major hub of Canadian agriculture… Abbotsford, one of Canada’s most intensively and diversely farmed areas, was among places hardest hit. Home to more than 1,200 farms, it supplies half of the dairy, eggs and poultry consumed by British Columbia’s 5.2 million residents." Wow, good thing global climate change isn't real or this could be a real problem going forward (note: global climate change is real, and yes, this is going to be a major problem going forward). Conservatives asked us to "look at the cost of mitigating climate change and what benefit it might have." Well, motherfuckers, here is the cost of not doing anything. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Harry Potter fans have something big to look forward to in the new year. The cast and crew of the movies will be reuniting for a look back on the franchise. But one person you shouldn't count on seeing? Author J.K. Rowling."

"An increasing number of attacks by (wild boars), including one that bit a police officer last week, triggered an operation Wednesday night in a district less than half an hour’s drive from Hong Kong’s financial center. Experts used dart guns to capture seven wild boars, which were later put down via medicine injections, the Agriculture, Fisheries and Conservation Department said in a statement." Wild pigs are very dangerous animals, but they're also very delicious.

"The longest partial lunar eclipse in nearly 600 years will grace the night sky late Thursday night and early Friday across the entire country, weather permitting… According to NASA, the eclipse will last three hours and 28 minutes, the longest partial eclipse of this century and the longest in 580 years."

"By now, you've likely heard of the metaverse… The thing is, the word and concept aren't new. Neal Stephenson coined the term in his 1992 science-fiction book Snow Crash, in which people use avatars to explore an online world. A number of small metaverses have since developed, where people meet, play games and even watch live shows… Some of those early adopters aren't happy with a large corporation staking claim."

"Apple today announced Self Service Repair, which will allow customers who are comfortable with completing their own repairs access to Apple genuine parts and tools." And yes, this benefit is brought to you by lawsuits.

"Linda Holmes, who has worked as a technician with LiceDoctors for five years, came straight from her day job at a hospital after she got the call from a dispatcher that the Marker family needed her ASAP… According to those in the world of professional nitpicking, Pediculus humanus capitis, the much-despised head louse, has returned… Colds and more serious bugs like respiratory syncytial virus, or RSV, are also back. That may leave some to wonder: With all the COVID prevention measures in place, how are kids sharing these things?"

"A Maryland resident who recently returned to the country on a flight from Nigeria has tested positive for monkeypox, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. It is the second confirmed case of the rare disease in the U.S. since an outbreak infected 43 people in 2003."

"More than 100,000 people in the U.S. died of a drug overdose during the first year of the pandemic, a nearly 29% increase from the same time period in 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday. The vast majority of those deaths were due to opioids, particularly synthetic opioids like fentanyl."

"When Greta Christina fell into a deep depression five years ago, she called up her therapist in San Francisco — someone she'd had a great connection with when she needed therapy in the past. And she was delighted to find out that he was now "in network" with her insurance company, meaning she wouldn't have to pay out of pocket anymore to see him… But her excitement was short-lived. Over time, Christina's appointments with the therapist went from every two weeks, to every four weeks, to every five or six." No do physical therapy as well.

"A steep rise in Covid-19 cases in Europe should serve as a warning that the US could also see significant increases in coronavirus cases this winter, particularly in the nation’s colder regions, scientists say… Evidence shows vaccine-conferred protection against hospitalization and death remains high several months after inoculation, vaccines for children older than 5 can reduce Covid transmission, and new antiviral medications hold the promise of making Covid-19 a treatable disease."

"Winter is almost here. After weeks of steady decline, Covid-19 cases appear to be on the rise again… Is a surge inevitable? How should families think about the winter ahead? What can they do to prepare and get through this period safely?"

"The Farm Bureau's calculations include turkey, stuffing mix, sweet potatoes, rolls with butter, peas, cranberries, a veggie tray, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, coffee and milk, with enough for leftovers. The turkey itself costs 24% more than last year, the group says; it's $23.99 for a 16-pound turkey… In order to find the average costs, the Farm Bureau used volunteer shoppers between Oct. 28 and Nov. 8. — but the group, which lobbies on behalf of the agricultural industry, acknowledged that prices have already fallen in the time since the survey was conducted."

"The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits fell for the seventh straight week to a pandemic low of 268,000… U.S. jobless claims dipped by 1,000 last week from the week before, the Labor Department reported Thursday."

"Some further thoughts on inflation and what to do next. Inflation has of course come in much higher than Team Transitory predicted — the Fed was predicting only 2.4% PCE growth as late as March. So the inflation worriers have in a way been vindicated, but… The details of what's happened are very different from what they predicted early this year." A Paul Krugman tweet thread about the economy. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Deere & Co. workers approved a new contract Wednesday that will deliver 10% raises immediately and end a monthlong strike for more than 10,000 employees… The United Auto Workers union says 61% of the members approved the deal with the tractor maker on their third vote, even though this offer was strikingly similar to one that 55% of workers rejected two weeks ago." It is often very small things that make the difference between a yes and a no vote. And the report again focuses on the pay, which is usually the least of the problems (although in some cases the pay increases, or lack thereof, is a major stumbling block).

How goes Brexit? "The number of people who have been sent back to Europe after travelling to the UK across the Channel in small boats has plummeted since Brexit, an immigration minister has admitted to MPs… Tom Pursglove, a minister for the Home Office and the Ministry of Justice… replied: 'On returns related to small boat arrivals … the answer in this year is five.' Later he added: 'There is not a returns agreement with the European Union in place at the moment'… More than 23,000 people have arrived in the UK this year after crossing the Channel in small boats. This is almost three times the total of about 8,500 in 2020." Well done.

"The government has scrapped the Leeds leg of the HS2 high-speed rail line as part of a package that ministers promise will transform services… Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has told the Commons the overhaul will bring faster journeys up to 10 years earlier than planned… HS2 trains were to run on a new East Midlands-Leeds high-speed line, but will now run on existing routes… Critics accused Mr Shapps of breaking investment promises." We're not going to do anything, but you'll have better service. How does that work?

"A Chinese American teenager who was fatally shot by Pennsylvania State Police last year had his hands in the air when troopers opened fire, new videos reveal, prompting calls for an independent investigation… The videos, recorded by the State Police, show the final moments of Christian Hall’s life on the afternoon of Dec. 30, 2020." There is nothing "justifiable" about this. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Turns out, Harvard students aren’t that smart after all." Duh. Exclusivity doesn't mean better.

"Julius Jones, 41, who has maintained his innocence for more than two decades, is scheduled to receive a lethal injection Thursday at the State Penitentiary in McAlester for the 1999 slaying of a Paul Howell, a businessman in the affluent Oklahoma City suburb of Edmond."

"Florida Republicans approved a sweeping bill Wednesday to hobble coronavirus vaccine mandates in businesses, rejecting claims that they were sacrificing public health to hand Gov. Ron DeSantis a win in his fight against White House virus rules." A state law doesn't trump a federal law (or rule). Although now this places Floridians in the position of either being fined by the federal government, or punished by the state government. Also this… "Separately, lawmakers passed a bill to stop the state health officer from being able to mandate vaccines during a public health emergency." Because despite conservative chest beating, yes public health officers do have that power and can enforce it.

"President Biden has nominated Saule Omarova, a law professor at Cornell University, to be the next head of the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (OCC), which is responsible for regulating the assets held by more than 1,000 banks… Progressive Democrats applauded that announcement, seeing in her a person who would bring a tougher approach to banks at an agency that has been criticized for being too friendly with he sector. But Republican critics, including Sen. Patrick Toomey, R-Pa., see someone else: a 'radical' nominee who wants to nationalize banking."

"The House passed a resolution punishing Gosar by a vote of 223 to 207, with Republicans Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois joining all Democrats in support of the measure and one Republican voting 'present.' After the resolution was approved, Gosar stood in the well of the House chamber while House Speaker Nancy Pelosi read aloud the formal rebuke against him."

Tweet of my heart: @OutAndAbouter Do not go gently into that good night rage rage against the meticulously researched, peer reviewed, double blind science that could have saved your fucking life you obnoxious twat. (Dying of the light). (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Linkee-poo Late Edition Wednesday Nov 17

"Just four days after landmark climate talks in Scotland in which Joe Biden vowed the US will “lead by example” in tackling dangerous global heating, the president’s own administration is providing a jarring contradiction – the largest ever sale of oil and gas drilling leases in the Gulf of Mexico."

"The rule, which would take effect in January 2022, effectively leaves patients out of the fight. Providers and insurers have to work it out among themselves, following the new policy… In releasing the rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services pointed to an analysis of the Congressional Budget Office that the No Surprises Act would lower health insurance premiums by about 1% and shave $17 billion off the federal deficit… But now many doctors, their medical associations and members of Congress are crying foul, arguing the rule released by the Biden administration in September for implementing the law favors insurers and doesn't follow the spirit of the legislation." The new Surprise Medical Bill rule came as a surprise to some lawmakers.

You'll never know what you'll find in the back of the freezer. "Vials labeled as smallpox were discovered at a Pennsylvania lab, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday… The frozen vials 'were incidentally discovered by a laboratory worker while cleaning out a freezer in a facility that conducts vaccine research in Pennsylvania,' a CDC spokesperson said in a statement to NBC News."

"European researchers looked at a single embryo that was 16 to 19 days old, donated by a woman who ended her pregnancy. Until now, experts said, researchers have lacked a full understanding of this stage of development because human embryos at this stage are difficult to obtain. Most women don’t yet know they’re pregnant by this point and decades-old global guidelines have until recently prohibited growing human embryos in a lab beyond 14 days."

"A federal agency that was run by a college friend of Jared Kushner and assigned $100 million to spend on fixing the Covid supply chain crunch has so far failed to invest a single dime, according to a new government watchdog report."

"In early 2020, scientists set out to do something that had never been done before. Their mission: to develop an effective and safe COVID-19 vaccine in less than a year. (That's three years faster than a vaccine for a new emerging disease had ever been developed.) Now that we have a few different vaccines, it might seem inevitable that it would happen this way. But there was no guarantee that any of them would work or that they would make it to market." The Planet Money Podcast on how we got to Operation Warp Speed.

"The racially restrictive covenant that Selders uncovered can be found on the books in nearly every state in the U.S., according to an examination by NPR, KPBS, St. Louis Public Radio, WBEZ and inewsource, a nonprofit investigative journalism site. Although the Supreme Court ruled the covenants unenforceable in 1948 and although the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act outlawed them, the hurtful, offensive language still exists — an ugly reminder of the country's racist past."

"President Joe Biden on Wednesday called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate if 'illegal conduct' is to blame for surging gas prices hurting Americans' pocketbooks." Ooo.

"The Texas State University student accused of setting a fire at an Austin synagogue faces federal charges of arson with intent to damage a house of worship… In court documents unsealed Monday, federal authorities allege Sechriest had planned the attack for weeks. The documents include images of a journal seized at Sechriest's house that investigators say show he intended to burn down the temple."

"Two of the three men convicted of killing the civil rights activist Malcolm X are expected to be exonerated as Manhattan's top prosecutor moves to clear their names… District Attorney Cy Vance and lawyers representing the two men announced that they 'will move to vacate the wrongful convictions' of Muhammad Aziz and Khalil Islam on Thursday — a move that debunks the official account about the assassination of the fiery orator who was murdered on stage in 1965 in a hail of bullets in front of hundreds or people, including his daughters and pregnant wife." Many times the arc of moral universe bends toward justice too slowly.

"Speaking from the NH 175 bridge in Woodstock, N.H., Biden talked about the importance of the legislation to American families. 'Clean water, access to the internet, rebuilding bridges — everything in this bill matters to the individual lives of real people. This is not something abstract,' Biden said as a light snow fluttered around him." Please don't suck at this.

"If Joe Biden was looking for respite from the tricky global challenges he has faced in recent months, he may not find harmony closer to home. The leaders of US, Canada and Mexico meet on Thursday in Washington, with plenty differences to resolve… Our (BBC) correspondents in Toronto, New York and Mexico City give their perspectives on the so-called Three Amigos summit."

"The House of Representatives voted to censure hardline Republican Rep. Paul Gosar, R-Ariz., and remove him from his two committee assignments… The vote was mostly along party lines, 223-207. Two Republicans, Reps. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., joined all Democrats to censure Gosar, while Rep. David Joyce, R-Ohio, voted present." I see Rep. Steve Scalise chickened out.

"Jacob Chansley, the self-styled 'QAnon shaman' who became one of the faces of the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol after storming the building in a fur headdress with horns, has been sentenced to nearly three and a half years in prison for his role in the riot." The clown prince is out for another 31 months.

Busy busy Steve

Things continue to be busy for me at the moment, so linkee-poo postings may be erratic (or skipped) for the foreseeable future (like until Xmas). Sorry for the disruptions, folks. We're fine, just lots of work and our attention is necessarily being drawn to a whole lotta other places.

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Linkee-poo Tuesday Nov 16

"Scientists have found something strange has been happening among sensitive bird species in the Brazilian Amazon in recent years… Not only were the birds declining in number, but their bodies were also shrinking in size."

"The Pacific Northwest saw another onslaught of heavy rainfall and high winds on Monday that forced evacuations and closed schools across the region… An atmospheric river walloped the area late last week, with nearly ceaseless rain, and its tail end is 'coming with one last strong push,' the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported."

"Heavy rain and flooding in a southern province in Egypt have left three people dead and more than 500 others hospitalized from scorpion stings, state-run media reported. Downpours, hail and thunder in the province of Aswan over the weekend forced local authorities to suspend school classes Sunday, Gov. Ashraf Attia said… The storms forced scorpions from their hiding places into many houses across the province, Attia added."

"Those are two crucial steps in a growing area of study known as 'suicide postvention.' Just as there's research on how to prevent mental health crises and interventions for people who are actively suicidal, research is also developing around the effective steps that can be taken after a suicide to help communities grieve, restore a sense of stability and limit the risk of more deaths."

"Across corporate America, relations between companies and their labor unions range from chilly to ice-cold. Not at Kaiser Permanente – the California-based healthcare giant. Kaiser has long been seen as having the nation’s best labor-management partnership. Now the partnership finds itself in crisis as 34,000 Kaiser Permanente healthcare workers prepare to strike on Monday, in what would be the largest walkout in this fall’s strike wave… Saying that its labor costs were far above its competitors, Kaiser initially proposed raises of 1% a year for three years and cutting the pay of new hires to 26% below those of its current employees."

"These days during the coronavirus pandemic, with the holidays fast approaching, jampacked container ships have gotten stuck in traffic at ports, which is choking the economy. Delayed containers have become both a symptom of and a contributor to global supply chain problems. But if one looks back, cargo has generally moved more easily and cheaply now than it did before these big boxes came around, making them almost indispensable to the global economy." The humble shipping container.

"Warehouses have become a key middle link in the country's supply chain. Couches, phones, floorboards and virtually everything else a shopper might buy passes through them. Today, the U.S. is dotted with more warehouses than ever. But they are overcome by the lack of workers to get stuff in and out fast, by the lack of truck drivers and rail cars to haul things away — and above all, by the extraordinary abundance of goods."

What supply chain problems? "Walmart (WMT) on Tuesday said sales at US stores open for at least one year increased 9.2% during the three months ending October 31 compared with the same period a year ago. The company raised its full-year sales guidance, expecting sales to come in above 6% for the year."

"U.S. shoppers accelerated their level of spending in October even as the prices of goods jumped at their fastest pace since the 1990s, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday… Retail sales, a measure of how much consumers spent on goods ranging across categories from autos to sporting goods and food and gas, increased 1.7% for October, compared with 0.8% the previous month."

"If markets were competitive, companies would keep their prices down in order to prevent competitors from grabbing away customers… But they’re raising prices even as they rake in record profits. How can this be? They have so much market power they can raise prices with impunity… Viewed this way, the underlying problem isn’t inflation per se. It’s lack of competition. Corporations are using the excuse of inflation to raise prices and make fatter profits."

"Germany's energy regulator has suspended the approval process for the controversial Nord Stream 2 natural gas pipeline from Russia to Germany… It said the pipeline's operating company needed to be compliant with German law before it would certify the €10bn (£8.4bn) project."

"The Russian military destroyed a defunct satellite on Monday, showering low Earth orbit with shrapnel and causing astronauts to shelter on the International Space Station as the debris cloud passed by… U.S. officials from the Pentagon, State Department and NASA condemned Russia’s anti-satellite weapon (or ASAT) test as 'reckless' and 'dangerous,' while U.S. Space Command confirmed that the test created more than 1,500 pieces of debris. The test destroyed the defunct, Soviet-era Kosmos 1408 spy satellite."

"A trademark lawsuit against the Cleveland Guardians Baseball Company, LLC baseball team brought by the Guardians Roller Derby has been resolved… When the suit was filed, it claimed, “Two sports teams in the same city cannot have identical names”… It turns out, they can and will."

"Reagan’s rightwing speechifying didn’t save Goldwater, but it did earn Reagan a glowing reputation among Republican groups in California, which led to his being recruited to run for governor of California in 1966. During that campaign, he wed his fringe politics to early dog whistle themes, for instance excoriating welfare, calling for law and order, and opposing government efforts to promote neighborhood integration. He also signaled blatant hostility toward civil rights, supporting a state ballot initiative to allow racial discrimination in the housing market…" An older Salon article, but well worth the reread. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Family members of some victims of 2012's Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have won a court battle against right-wing media personality and conspiracy theorist Alex Jones and his Infowars website… A Monday ruling from a Connecticut court — which found Jones and the other defendants liable for defamation — brought swift reaction from an attorney representing the families Sandy Hook victims, high-profile politicians and those defending Jones in the suit."

"Talking to reporters after his court appearance, Bannon chalked the charges up to little more than a political witch hunt overseen by his political opponents… 'I'm telling you right now, this is going to be the misdemeanor from hell, for Merrick Garland, Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden,' he said alongside his defense attorney David Schoen, who is perhaps best known for his representation of Trump during his second impeachment trial." Fuck Steve Bannon and his Nazi wannabe attitude.

Monday, November 15, 2021

Linkee-poo once had the rarest rose that ever deigned to bloom

Petra Mayer, and so it goes.

"World leaders signed off on a new climate change agreement after two weeks of intense negotiations in Glasgow, Scotland. While some countries committed to more ambitious cuts to heat-trapping pollution, many nations did not agree to rein in emissions fast enough for the world to avoid the worst damage from climate-driven storms, heat waves and droughts… Still, the summit's progress means that goal could still be within reach, experts say — if countries follow through on their promises." That's a huge fucking "if".

"But he soon discovered that the shade from the towering panels above the soil actually helped the plants thrive. That intermittent shade also meant a lot less evaporation of coveted irrigation water. And in turn the evaporation actually helped keep the sun-baked solar panels cooler, making them more efficient." But note it took a change in zoning and everyone needed to be sold on the idea.

"Influenza is sweeping the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus, with 528 cases diagnosed at the University Health Service since Oct. 6… The outbreak is so sudden and large — 313 cases were identified the week of Nov. 8 alone and 37% of flu tests that week were positive — that it's drawn the attention of federal health leaders."

An On the Media podcast short… ?"In the world of journalism, death is a metric that’s important. It indicates significance, newsworthiness, and tragedy. But death is also an inevitable part of the human experience. This is a fact that journalist Katie Engelhart highlights in the title of her new book The Inevitable: Dispatches on the Right to Die. Brooke Gladstone spoke to Engelhart about the complicated ethics of physician-assisted deaths and the surprising parameters within which people can end their lives."

"A doctor from Texas who spread COVID-19 misinformation on her personal Twitter account has had her privileges suspended… Dr. Mary Bowden of the Houston Methodist Hospital posted a series of tweets praising the antiparasitic drug ivermectin as a COVID-19 treatment. She also called vaccine mandates 'wrong.'" If you can't (or won't) sort truth from fiction, you really shouldn't be a doctor.

"At only 7 years old, Ji-Young is making history as the first Asian American muppet in the 'Sesame Street' canon. She is Korean American and has two passions: rocking out on her electric guitar and skateboarding. The children's TV program, which first aired 52 years ago this month, gave The Associated Press a first look at its adorable new occupant."

"When a 21-year-old Native American woman from Oklahoma was convicted of manslaughter after having a miscarriage, people were outraged. But she was not alone… Brittney Poolaw was just about four months pregnant when she lost her baby in the hospital in January 2020."

"The SAFE Alliance in Austin helps survivors of child abuse, sexual assault and domestic violence. Back before Texas' new abortion law went into effect, the organization counseled a 12-year-old girl who had been repeatedly raped by her father… The girl was eventually able to get help, but if this had happened after Sept. 1, when the state law went into effect, her options would have been severely curtailed, Nelson says."

"This week, On the Media takes a look at one sector that’s been booming: cryptocurrency and, in particular, NFTs. Hear how a technology invented to give artists more control over their work has become a tool for speculators hoping to win big." So there was this thing several centuries ago about rich people having shoes that curled up at the toes as a way of displaying their importance and wealth. It eventually was taken to the point where they really couldn't walk without tripping themselves, so the King of France had to intervene and legislate how long toes on shoes could be. Don't know why I'm reminded of that story with this.

"Middle managers who are millennials are particularly likely to be feeling the squeeze. A MetLife study showed millennial managers are far more likely than managers of any other generation to report burnout. That’s partly due to growing up in a culture that glorifies overwork, plus being a generation saddled with care responsibilities for both parents and children. And with the pandemic nearing the two-year mark, it’s no wonder that millennial middle managers are finding themselves exhausted, demoralised and stressed." I was a middle manager at the same inflection point for Gen-X, and you know how our burnout was framed? We were all slackers. And in this article they're still blaming the younger managers and not addressing the fundamental problems in business. And this is why, when I am asked, I will not allow myself to be placed in that position again. And that does create some stress, especially at the hospital. But that is also where I have been most vocal that I absolutely do not want a management position. However, there is no other concept within management because they think everyone wants to be the boss. What I love is when they tell me, "you have leadership potential". Ha! Well, yeah, I was an officer, I held a management position that was above the level of the people I now report to, I've been a councilman, I own my own businesses (small as they are). I should fucking hope I did have leadership potential. But then I'm also expected to act as if I have 8 years seniority (which I have), when they're only giving me the actual benefit of 1.5 years of seniority (for vacation and position selection). Hi, let me point out the problem with that and with the culture that doesn't think I was a real employee for those first 6.5 years as (usually) their only PRN (as needed) employee. Can I solve some of their management issues and give them direct answers and solutions? You bet your bippy (am I wrong sometimes, yes). Do I? Fuck no. Pay me first. I will not be backed into management again and give away my talent and skills. I should say, I actually do tell them, but I don't take the time to reiterate or push my thoughts to them. If they listen or understand what I say, good for them (they don't usually). I'm not going to make the political moves to gain stakeholder acceptance of my viewpoint.

"A year ago, many of us stayed home or went to small gatherings for turkey, stuffing and Mama Stamberg's cranberry relish, but this year, the wide availability of coronavirus vaccines in the U.S. is making more people feel comfortable flying longer distances for Thanksgiving… If you're among them, brace yourself for long lines in crowded airports and jam packed flights, because the early pandemic days of half-empty planes are long gone."

"On today's episode, the once-in-a-generation infrastructure bill. What's in it? Who might get some of the money? We visit a snowy rural airport, a scary-but-important bridge and some orphaned infrastructure that is destroying the world." The Planet Money podcast.

"The Federal Bureau of Investigation is acknowledging that hackers compromised its email servers and sent spam messages. But the bureau says hackers were unable to access any personal identifiable information or other data on its network."

"An explosion outside Liverpool Women's Hospital on Remembrance Sunday has been declared a terror incident by police… A taxi exploded and was engulfed in flames just before 11:00 GMT at a drop-off zone near the entrance, killing the passenger and injuring the driver who has been named locally as David Perry… Four men have been arrested in the city under the Terrorism Act."

"It’s a hidden crisis that has existed for years inside one of the most well-funded institutions on the planet and has only worsened during the coronavirus pandemic. As many as 160,000 active-duty military members are having trouble feeding their families." Funny how these stories only really gain traction during democratic administrations.

"Conrad, unsurprisingly, did not show up for work that Monday. He had a two-day head-start on law enforcement, and managed to avoid capture for 52 years… It wasn't until earlier this month that U.S. Marshals based in Cleveland discovered that a man named Thomas Randele was, in fact, Conrad. Randele lived in Lynnfield, Mass., and had been living in a suburban neighborhood since the 1970s until he died of lung cancer in May at the age of 71."

On the Media Podcast… "For decades, Silicon Valley leaders have been borrowing ideas from science fiction — from the metaverse to the latest tech gadgets. On this week’s show, hear why they might need to start reading their source material more closely. Also, why the midterm election results tell us so little about what’s coming next in American politics. And a forgotten behemoth of American literature gets a closer look." Very much for the first segment, "Paul Waldman, opinion columnist at the Washington Post and senior writer for The American Prospect, on why off-year elections need historical context." The fight for the narrative context of Nov 2022 has already begun. Also for the second segment… "Jill Lepore, Harvard historian and New Yorker staff writer; Gene Seymour, culture critic with work in Newsday, the Nation, the Baffler, and more; and Annalee Newitz, science fiction author and science journalist, on the makings (and potential mishaps) of the metaverse."

"James Ho, Stuart Kyle Duncan and Cory Wilson are among six judges appointed by former president Donald Trump to the US court of appeals for the fifth circuit, skewing one of the most conservative – and influential – courts in America even further to the right… The consequences of Trump’s reshaping of the federal judiciary are being felt acutely at the fifth circuit on issues ranging from abortion to immigration to the coronavirus pandemic. The court’s willingness to entertain Republican extremism has effectively made it their principal legal bulwark against Joe Biden."

"Under federal law, when multiple lawsuits involving 'one or more common questions of fact' are filed in separate courts, the petitions are consolidated and heard by one court chosen at random. The procedure is often used to handle product liability and antitrust cases, when thousands of lawsuits may be consolidated and heard by a single court… Challenges to the OSHA rule have been filed in almost every U.S. Circuit court, and each one of those courts will get one entry, regardless of the number of cases filed in each court. According to the law, all of the entries will be placed in a drum, and the clerk of the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation, based in Washington, D.C., shall randomly draw one."

"Democrat Beto O’Rourke is running for governor of Texas, pursuing a blue breakthrough in America’s biggest red state after his star-making U.S. Senate campaign in 2018 put him closer than anyone else in decades."

"Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat and the longest serving US senator still in office, announced Monday he won't seek reelection for a ninth term next year, after serving in the chamber since 1975." Ah, it's retirement announcement season again.

"Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, surrendered to federal authorities on Monday to face contempt charges after defying a subpoena from a House committee investigating January’s insurrection at the U.S. Capitol."

The On the Media Podcast with… "The satire site The Babylon Bee, a conservative Christian answer to The Onion, stirred controversy when some readers mistook its headlines for misinformation. In this episode of WNYC/The Atlantic's The Experiment, religion reporter Emma Green sits down with the editor-in-chief, Kyle Mann, to talk about where he draws the line between making a joke and doing harm, and to understand what humor can reveal about American politics." Funny how a lot of conservative humor is punching down. Also when "to own the libs" becomes a self-referential punch line.

Friday, November 12, 2021

Linkee-poo will go make some new disasters, that's what I'm counting on

"A penguin has found itself on the shores of New Zealand, at least 3,000 kilometres (1,864 miles) away from its natural habitat of Antarctica… The Adélie penguin, who has now been affectionately named Pingu by locals, was found looking lost on the coast." Brooklyn?! I'm dyin' over here.

"In 1858, sewage clogging London's Thames River caused a 'Great Stink.' A century later, parts of the famed waterway were declared biologically dead… The river today is 'home to myriad wildlife as diverse as London itself,' Andrew Terry, the director of conservation and policy at the Zoological Society of London, writes in a forward to the report published Wednesday. Terry points to 'reductions in pressures and improvements in key species and habitats.'"

"A new therapy, developed by researchers in the USA, has successfully reversed paralysis and repaired severe spinal cord injuries in mice. The animals regained the ability to walk only four weeks after a single injection of the treatment."

"Patients like LaDue have researchers scrambling to figure out why some people experience persistent, often debilitating symptoms after catching SARS-CoV-2. It remains unclear how often it occurs. But if only a small fraction of the hundreds of millions of people who've had COVID-19 are left struggling with long-term health problems, it's a major public health problem."

"A recent study in the United Kingdom found that COVID affects one in seven children months after they were infected. Symptoms can include headaches, anxiety, lung issues and fatigue… Katharine Clouser, a pediatric hospitalist, said her team is seeing an increase in the number of kids with long-hauler symptoms. Clouser and her team at Hackensack Meridian Health in New Jersey opened one of the first pediatric COVID recovery centers in the state last spring."

"In a TikTok video that has garnered hundreds of thousands of views, Dr. Carrie Madej outlined the ingredients for a bath she said will 'detox the vaxx' for people who have given into Covid-19 vaccine mandates." Sobs uncontrollably. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"The country is still in a pandemic that's killing more than 1,000 Americans every day. And a body of evidence shows masking, in combination with other safety measures, effectively cuts COVID-19 transmission in K-12 schools. Masks are cheaper than renovating school buildings to improve ventilation or create outdoor learning spaces, and they're (still) easier to get ahold of than COVID-19 tests, which can also be used to preempt transmission."

"A group of 10 states has filed a lawsuit against the Biden administration and its requirement that health care workers in the U.S. to be vaccinated against COVID-19, saying the mandate is 'unconstitutional and unlawful.'" As a healthcare worker I am vaccinated up the wazzo against a host of diseases. To claim some special carve out for COVID-19 is farcical on it's face.

"A record 4.4 million Americans quit their jobs in September as the sheer volume of available jobs is empowering workers to have their pick… Workers are quitting in search for better pay or better jobs, representing a fundamental shift in America's labor market."

"The busy Christmas shopping season is almost here. Unfortunately, a lot of holiday merchandise is tied up in traffic, and Bonnie Ross is starting to sweat." Why, it's almost as if our economy was built in such a way that expansion became unsustainable because of the inequities built into the system.

"Elon Musk sold another block of Tesla shares Thursday… In two additional filings, Musk disclosed early Friday that he had sold another $687.3 million worth of the stock Thursday. That brings his sales of stock for this week to 5.2 million shares for a total of $5.8 billion… Last weekend, Musk conducted a Twitter poll asking the public if he should be selling 10% of his shares of the stock in order to increase the taxes he owed. He said he would abide by the results, and 58% agreed he should sell."

"Belarus has threatened to cut off its transit of gas supply to Europe if the EU imposes sanctions over a migrant crisis at its western border… The bloc has accused Russian-backed President Alexander Lukashenko of weaponizing the thousands of people currently gathered in freezing camps at the border with Poland to undermine EU security and distract from domestic political pressures, an allegation Belarus denies." He seems nice. Putin will let him go to the end of his chain and bark, and then reassure the EU that he won't cut off supply.

"'If we're going to start a precedent, starting yesterday, where we're going to bring high-profile members of the African American community into the courtroom to sit with the family during the trial in the presence of the jury, I believe that's intimidating and it's an attempt to pressure -- could be consciously or unconsciously -- an attempt to pressure or influence the jury,' attorney Kevin Gough said Thursday in court in Brunswick, Georgia… Gough the next day offered 'my apologies to anyone who might have inadvertently been offended' by the remarks." He totally didn't mean for his remarks to be taken as a racists statement by anyone who may not be a racist themselves.

"Buchan, an analyst at the British climate-advocacy group Stop Funding Heat, is part of a global team of activists and online researchers that has been tracking false and misleading claims about climate change while world leaders have met in Glasgow… The London-based Institute for Strategic Dialogue, which has long studied online extremism and terrorism, led the effort."

"Former Trump White House chief of staff Mark Meadows is facing a criminal referral to the justice department for contempt of Congress after he failed to appear for an immediate deposition on Friday morning before the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack."

"A federal appeals court Thursday granted former President Donald Trump's request to temporarily block the National Archives from turning over his White House records to the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol."

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy has watched in silence as Republican Rep. Paul Gosar tweeted a fantasy anime video depicting him killing a Democratic colleague and brandishing swords at President Joe Biden… He has kept his distance as some of the 13 House GOP lawmakers who voted last week for a bipartisan infrastructure bill have been targeted by the far-right, with one of them, Rep. Fred Upton of Michigan, revealing that he received death threats." Paralyzed by the reality of the precarious position he's placed himself in. Don't worry, he'll over react and come out swinging in a few weeks causing destruction and discord.

"Donald Trump defended rioters at the Capitol on 6 January who threatened to 'hang Mike Pence', his vice-president, according to recorded remarks released on Friday… Trump was speaking to the ABC chief Washington correspondent, Jonathan Karl, for his book Betrayal: The Final Act of the Trump Show, which will be published on Tuesday. The recording was released by Axios."