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

Monday, January 31, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Jan 31

"The Northeast continues to face dangerous cold Monday as it digs out of record snow from a bomb cyclone storm that sapped power to more 100,000 customers in Massachusetts alone and canceled some 5,000 US flights."

"The National Weather Service Miami-South Florida warned the public on Sunday that immobilized iguanas could fall out of trees due to unusually cold temperatures across the region… 'Iguanas are cold-blooded. They slow down or become immobile when temps drop into the 40s (4-9 Celsius). They may fall from trees, but they are not dead,' the service said on Twitter."

"More than 100,000 Americans died from diabetes in 2021, marking the second consecutive year for that grim milestone and spurring a call for a federal mobilization similar to the fight against HIV/AIDS."

"New cases are falling significantly nationwide as the omicron loses steam, but hospitalizations are still near pandemic highs… New infections have fallen more than 30% since mid-January, but Aubrey says it's still a "pretty intense scene" in the places that are just now experiencing their peak… Nearly 18,000 people with COVID-19 are being admitted to hospitals every day, and about 2,300 people are dying a day nationwide."

"More than a year after a bout with COVID-19, Rebekah Hogan still suffers from severe brain fog, pain and fatigue that leave her unable to do her nursing job or handle household activities… Long COVID has her questioning her worth as a wife and mother."

"An Upstate man has been declared inactive on a kidney transplant list after he said he has no plans to receive the COVID-19 vaccine… Jason Wilson, of Easley, has had kidney failure since he was 10 years old."

How it's playing in the conservative media (in this case, Fox News)… "A North Carolina man who said a hospital refused to carry out a kidney transplant because he's unvaccinated against COVID-19 is willing to 'die free' rather than comply with the vaccine requirement."

"Cheslie Kryst, the 2019 winner of the Miss USA pageant and a correspondent for the entertainment news program 'Extra' has died at age 30… Police said Kryst jumped from a Manhattan apartment building and was pronounced dead at the scene Sunday morning."

"We’re in the midst of an energy transition. Renewable power and electric vehicles are getting cheaper, the grid is getting greener, and oil and gas companies are getting nervous… That’s why the fossil fuel giants are looking towards petrochemicals, and plastics in particular, as their next major growth market."

"Prosecutors in the federal hate crime case against the men who murdered Ahmaud Arbery filed notices Sunday that they've made plea deals with two of the three men convicted in the case… Any such agreement would have to be approved by the court, and Arbery's parents would most likely have influence. Prosecutors did not reveal details of the plan, they only served notice that a deal was ready for the U.S. District Court in Brunswick, Georgia, to hear." Dear prosecutors, you have a conviction in the lower court's criminal case. There is no need to work on a plea deal for the federal hate crimes charges unless it's to change their pleas to guilty and to accept the maximum punishment (in that case, the plea deal just saves us the cost of the trial).

"Locals in the city called either Londonderry or Derry, Northern Ireland, are marking 50 years since Bloody Sunday, in which British soldiers fired upon a crowd of protesters in what's now considered one of the most pivotal events of The Troubles."

"The interim findings of an investigation into Covid-19 lockdown-breaking parties at Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s office and residence have sharply criticized the culture in Downing Street… The 12-page interim report, published in a redacted form on the government’s website on Monday, makes clear that lockdown parties 'should not have been allowed to take place,' while others 'should not have been allowed to develop as they did.'"

"Russia is willing to risk 'real financial harm' and all-out war to achieve its political objectives in Ukraine, defense analysts have said… Moscow has denied that it plans to invade neighboring Ukraine, a former part of the Soviet Union, despite having assembled around 100,000 troops at the border." Brinksmanship was stupid in the 80s, it's even dumber in the 2020's.

"A Cincinnati-area venue has booted a scheduled rally featuring far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) following a surge of complaints, The Cincinnati Enquirer reported Saturday… As for Vance, he has pulled off a transformation, morphing into an avid supporter of Trump, whom he once bashed as 'noxious,' 'reprehensible' and an 'idiot.'" This timeline just keeps getting dumber and dumber.

"Former President Donald Trump on Saturday warned of 'the biggest protest we have ever had' in the United States if prosecutors 'do anything illegal' in their investigations into him and his businesses… Speaking at a rally in Conroe, Texas, on Saturday, Trump spoke about the local and federal probes targeting his businesses and political activities, including lawmakers investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol."

Sunday, January 30, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Jan 30

Howard Hesseman, and so it goes.

"People across the Northeast U.S. are spending Sunday digging out from the massive storm that swept across the region beginning on Friday, dropping snow from the Carolinas to Maine."

"Ubisoft’s official foray into the world of Non-Fungible Tokens has not had the best start; the announcement was trashed by fans, and the company’s 'garbage' NFTs were largely ignored upon release. In a new interview with Australian site Finder, though, Ubisoft say the blame for this lies with us, not them." Ah, blame the users. It's a winning strategy. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"When a series of deep pits were discovered near the world heritage site of Stonehenge last year, archaeologists excitedly described it as the largest prehistoric structure ever found in Britain – only for some colleagues to dismiss the pits as mere natural features." (Grokked from Deborah Beale)

"Microglia are amoeba-like cells that scour the brain for injuries and invaders. They help clear dead or impaired brain cells and literally gobble up invading microbes. Without them, we'd be in trouble… In a normal brain, a protein called beta-amyloid is cleared away through our lymphatic system by microglia as molecular junk… But sometimes it builds up. Certain gene mutations are one culprit in this toxic accumulation. Traumatic brain injury is another, and, perhaps, impaired microglial function." Chasing the Alzheimer cause.

About that whole, "Maybe Africa has reached 'herd immunity'" thread… "Of course, whether Africa is truly now in a less dangerous position depends on a "key question," says Emory University biologist Rustom Antia. 'How long does the immunity that protects us from getting ill last?' Antia has been studying what would need to happen for the coronavirus to become endemic."

"Omicron has filled up U.S. hospitals with more COVID-19 patients than any other surge of the pandemic. But there's been a shift in how the illness behaves since the days of delta, with many cases, even hospitalized ones, milder and quicker to treat… As with earlier variants, COVID-19 can still be a dangerous, unforgiving disease for patients who are vulnerable either because of underlying medical problems or because they're not vaccinated. But it's also increasingly clear that omicron is less likely to inflict the same level of damage as the delta variant." But it's still sending people to the hospital, and it's infecting many more people (including those who already had COVID).

"Americans' paychecks continued to rise at the end of 2021. But along with that, so did prices… But, adjusted for rampant pandemic-era inflation, the salary increases don't look as shiny anymore. Inflation-adjusted wages and salaries fell by 1.9% for the 12 months ending in December." Can't win for losing.

"'Exposure is not an accepted form of currency at the bank,' she says. 'I mean, principally it's a mathematical problem. You can't pay your rent; you can't pay your phone bill; you can't get on the subway for exposure.'"

"From coast to coast, young Starbucks baristas are pushing to unionize their cafes, flexing their collective power against the coffee giant in a fight that could change the broader restaurant industry and its workforce." The kids are alright.

"A federal judge on Thursday invalidated a massive oil and gas lease sale for 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico after a coalition of environmental groups sued the Biden administration to stop it… The ruling cancels 1.7 million acres of oil and gas leases from that sale, according to data from the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management."

"Some of the nurses and doctors at the biggest hospital in Ethiopia's war-torn Tigray region are having to beg for food to feed themselves, one of the medics has told the BBC… They have not been paid for eight months, forcing them to find other ways of supporting their families, he said."

"Now, the six men accused of carrying out one of the biggest jewel thefts in history are preparing to go on trial in Germany starting Friday, January 28. But the mystery of what happened to the treasures they are alleged to have stolen endures." The Green Vault heist.

"At least 10 people were injured when a snow-covered bridge in Pittsburgh collapsed early Friday, just hours before President Biden was due to visit the city to highlight his push for infrastructure improvement."

"A proposal aimed at limiting how various race-related concepts are discussed in classrooms and workplace training sessions received initial backing Wednesday in the House, inching forward Gov. Ron DeSantis’ push against critical race theory… The Republican-dominated House Judiciary Committee approved the bill (HB 7) in a 14-7 vote. In part, the proposal seeks to prevent workers or students from being subject to training or instruction that 'compels' them to believe a slew of ideas spelled out in the bill." Just conservatives trying to make sure nobody learns truthful history or engagement with the world they live in.

"A Pulitzer-Prize winning graphic novel about the Holocaust has been banned by a Tennessee school district, prompting blowback from critics who say it's essential to teach children about the genocide… The 10-member McMinn County School Board voted unanimously earlier this month to remove Maus from its curriculum and replace it with an alternative, which hadn't yet been decided at the time of the vote." It's just like the 80s all over again.

"'This is why people don't take these people seriously,' (Fox News commentator and conservative wonk Candice) Owens said. 'They're taking all of these things that nobody was offended by. It's like they have to get rid of them and destroy them because they're bored. You know, they're absolutely bored. They're trying to destroy fabrics of our society, pretending that there's issues.'" What heinous atrocity has the left committed now that is surely bringing apocalypse down upon us? Minnie Mouse is wearing a pantsuit. These fucking people.

"Lansdowne has a message for her senator, Joe Manchin, a Democrat whose strong opposition to extending the enhanced credit for another year was a leading cause of the Senate's failure to pass the party's sweeping spending package last month… 'Go speak to the working class and see how they feel,' she said. 'I will tell you, it helped a lot. And now I'm in a predicament where I can't work because there is no child tax credit to help me with day care.'" Manchin does give a shit.

Thursday, January 27, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Jan 27

"A major nor’easter appears to be on the way to southern New England." Again.

"You see the term 'Mid-List' author thrown around a lot, but we don’t ever really talk about what it means, so I thought I’d share my thoughts about it from my perspective. After all, I am a midlist author, so I probably have some insight." (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The Oatmeal with "Eight Marvelous and Melancholy Things I've Learned About Creativity. Heartily endorsed. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"That amount of anarchy — and the government's inability to stop it — doesn't appear to have passed muster with China's notoriously strict censorship rules, though." I guess it made them anxious.

"Your natural gas cooking stove may leak climate-warming methane even when it is turned off, warns a new Stanford University study… That's important because methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than even carbon dioxide, though it doesn't linger in the atmosphere nearly as long."

"Now, researchers in the United States said Wednesday they were able to trigger the regrowth of an amputated leg in a type of African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis), in what they described as a 'step closer to the goal of regenerative medicine.'" While frogs are not normally able to regrow limbs, their DNA can do tricks ours can't. Note the plot twist in Jurassic Park.

"The spinning space object, spotted in March 2018, beamed out radiation three times per hour. In those moments, it became the brightest source of radio waves viewable from Earth, acting like a celestial lighthouse… Astronomers think it might be a remnant of a collapsed star, either a dense neutron star or a dead white dwarf star, with a strong magnetic field -- or it could be something else entirely."

"Now, the Pratchett estate has given Jack Monroe, a writer in the UK, permission to use Vimes’ name for the Vimes Boots Index, a price index that will track the 'insidiously creeping prices of the most basic versions of essential items at the supermarket.'" That's fantastic. Not only because an actual, honest inflation index has long been needed, but that the quote used is exactly in the book that I realized Terry Pratchett had leveled up (again), and I love that quote (note, the quote is from Guards! Guards!, although it may also be in Men at Arms - I haven't gotten that far in my re-read, catch all the books of the Discwold series).

"Last year saw the fastest economic growth since Ronald Reagan was president. But for many people, 2021 felt less like "Morning in America" and more like a restless night, dogged by fitful dreams about the ongoing pandemic… The Commerce Department reported Thursday that the nation's gross domestic product grew 5.7% last year — the biggest increase since 1984. But the growth arrived in fits and starts, with hopes for a steady recovery repeatedly dashed by successive waves of infection."

"U.S. stocks rose Thursday as investors mulled over a better-than-expected fourth-quarter GDP report and an update from the Federal Reserve on its rate hike plan."

"Amazon warehouse workers on Staten Island have enough support for a union election, federal officials have ruled. That could mean the second unionization vote for Amazon this year…The National Labor Relations Board says it has found 'sufficient showing of interest' among Amazon workers at a Staten Island warehouse to set up a vote. The board's ruling on Wednesday comes days before Alabama warehouse workers begin their revote on whether to join a union."

"A maelstrom has spun up around a U.S. Postal Service mailbox that sits in the parking lot of an Amazon warehouse in Bessemer, Ala… It's been studied and reviewed, covered in an Amazon-branded tent, then uncovered and moved. Now, as some 6,100 warehouse workers prepare to re-do their high-profile union election by mail, organizers want the mailbox gone."

"McDonald’s on Thursday reported quarterly earnings and revenue that missed analysts’ expectations as higher costs weighed on its profits… Operating costs and expenses rose by 14% in the quarter. Those higher costs include wage hikes by McDonald’s and many of its franchisees to attract and retain workers in a tough labor market. The ingredients for menu staples like its Big Macs and McNuggets are also becoming more expensive." Note they lead with wage hikes, when it's actually the ingredient and production costs that are driving this. Also… "The company’s general and administrative expenses also rose, ticking up 9%, primarily due to higher incentive-based compensation as McDonald’s exceeded its own performance expectations." That's the bonus and higher wages in the executive suites.

"China is demanding the U.S. end 'interference' in the Beijing Winter Olympics, which begin next month, in an apparent reference to a diplomatic boycott imposed by Washington and its allies… The Foreign Ministry said Minister Wang Yi made the demand in a phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday Beijing time."

"In 1938, a brilliant young Black scholar at Oxford University wrote a thesis on the economic history of British empire and challenged a claim about slavery that had been defining Britain’s role in the world for more than a century… But when Eric Williams – who would later become the first prime minister of Trinidad and Tobago – sought to publish his “mind-blowing” thesis on capitalism and slavery in Britain, he was shunned by publishers and accused of undermining the humanitarian motivation for Britain’s Slavery Abolition Act. It was not until 1964 that the work found a publisher in the UK, but it has been out of print here for decades."

"Henry 'Michael' Williams, 32, was charged with being a felon in possession of a firearm after authorities say he sold the weapon that Malik Faisal Akram used when he entered Congregation Beth Israel in Colleyville, Texas, on Jan. 15 and held the synagogue's rabbi and three others hostage for hours."

"Britain and other Nato allies are considering a request from the US to deploy hundreds more troops to support member countries in eastern Europe in advance of any Russian invasion or attack on Ukraine… UK defence sources indicated that the US wanted contributions to help reinforce Nato’s eastern flank, from the Baltic states to Romania and Bulgaria in the south, as the Ukraine crisis continues."

"As concern rises that Russia is preparing to attack Ukraine, the United States is not bending to major demands by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Wednesday."

One of the more hilarious side stories to this US-Russia tensions is how Fox News went from "Biden can't be tough on the Russians" to "OMG, why is Biden getting us into a war with the Russians, we should just let them have the Ukraine" in the space of a few weeks. Putin has got the GOP and Fox News by the balls.

"In a country (Mexico) whose climate is infamous for being exceedingly hostile toward journalists, a spate of murders has disillusioned an already cynical press corps, prompting journalists to publicly speak out about the dangers they face on the job. Across the country, journalists and human rights advocates demonstrated on Tuesday night in favor of press freedom. They held signs that read "journalism at risk" and paid tribute to their fallen colleagues -- those who have lost their lives for simply reporting the news."

"North Korea on Thursday fired two suspected ballistic missiles into the sea in its sixth round of weapons launches this month, South Korea's military said… Experts say North Korea's unusually fast pace in testing activity underscores an intent to pressure the Biden administration over long-stalled negotiations aimed at exchanging a release of crippling U.S.-led sanctions against the North and the North's denuclearization steps." Someone's feeling lonely.

"A federal judge appeared unconvinced on Wednesday that Donald Trump should be allowed to testify at a trial of a US Capitol riot defendant who is arguing the former President could be a helpful witness… Judge Reggie Walton said that having Trump and his allies testify would not necessarily help Dustin Thompson's defense, which plans to argue that Trump and others goaded his supporters to storm the Capitol. Thompson is accused of entering the Capitol and stealing a coat rack."

"Justice Stephen Breyer will step down from the Supreme Court at the end of the current term, according to people familiar with his thinking… President Joe Biden and Breyer are scheduled to appear together at the White House Thursday as the Supreme Court justice is set to announce his retirement, a source familiar with the matter confirmed to NBC News." Within the political sphere there are two thoughts emerging. The first is the GOP will try to quickly pass whomever Biden selects to keep from energizing the Democratic base right before the mid-terms. The other thought is that they'll have to fight like hell lest their own base think they've gone soft, as well as an attempt to get a moderate liberal (also because Biden is widely believed to appoint a black woman to the court). I'm favoring this second thought more. Say, 70-30.

"A Manhattan restaurant where Sarah Palin was spotted dining indoors while unvaccinated over the weekend confirmed that the former Alaska governor returned to dine outdoors on Wednesday, just a few days after testing positive tor Covid… At issue are current local guidelines that advise people who tested positive to remain in isolation for five days after their positive test." Because of course she wouldn't remain in isolation.

"As a half-dozen voting rights advocates filed into the Lincoln County Board of Elections to deliver a petition that temporarily halted plans to shutter polling places, the tension between them and elections director Lilvender Bolton was nearly palpable… After spending the afternoon anxiously watching the front door for the petitions she knew were coming, going over the events that had brought national scrutiny to the question of voter access in her rural east Georgia county, Bolton gave a defiant stare as she took the thick stack of papers into her tiny office, ending the awkward handoff." This isn't a fight about what the media is portraying. This is a fight about access to the vote for everybody. It's just in most cases it's against the GOP limiting voter access (and representation) in communities of color (which they believe will mostly vote Democratic). On the Democratic side, we want everybody to vote.

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Jan 26

Peter Robbins, and so it goes.

"A SpaceX rocket is on a collision course with the moon after spending almost seven years hurtling through space, experts say… The booster was originally launched from Florida in February 2015 as part of an interplanetary mission to send a space weather satellite on a million-mile journey."

"The center of our Milky Way galaxy is home to a multitude of intriguing features -- including nearly a thousand mysterious magnetic strands, according to a new telescope image… The pairs and clusters of strands stretch for nearly 150 light-years in length and are equally spaced. The bizarre structures are a few million years old and vary in appearance. Some of them resemble harp strings, waterfalls or even the rings around Saturn."

"A federal appeals court in Virginia heard a landmark case Tuesday that seeks to hold major fossil fuel companies accountable for their role in climate change. The court's decision in the case will have implications for a raft of similar cases brought by cities, counties and states across the country."

"The study, published Tuesday in the journal Nature Communications, found that people who go on to develop long Covid have lower levels of certain antibodies in their blood soon after they are infected with the coronavirus."

"Two-thirds of people recently infected with the Omicron variant say they had already had Covid previously… The findings come from a large, continuing study, React, swab-testing thousands of volunteers in England… More work is needed to know how many are true reinfections - but the results reveal the groups that appear to be more likely to catch Covid again… They include healthcare workers and households with children or lots of members under one roof."

"But the drug is in short supply. The federal government controls distribution. It has shipped around 300,000 doses to health care providers and has ordered 1.2 million doses to date. Around 7 million people in the U.S. could benefit from the drug… The Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the process, did not respond to questions about supply and distribution… The scarcity has forced some doctors to run a lottery to decide who gets it."

"The Federal Reserve is expected to signal at its meeting this week that it is ready to raise interest rates as soon as March and that it will consider other policy tightening, reversing the easy policies it put in place to fight the pandemic."

"Treasury Department officials warned on Monday that this year's tax season will be a challenge once the IRS starts processing returns on January 24. That's largely due to the IRS' sizable backlog of returns from 2021. As of December 23, the agency had 6 million unprocessed individual returns — a significant reduction from a backlog of 30 million in May, but far higher than the 1 million unprocessed returns that is more typical around the start of tax season."

"Here’s how it works: two vehicles position themselves far enough apart to support the container, which is lowered by a crane. The vehicles then use their short- and long-range cameras to navigate the rails. Because each rail vehicle has everything it needs, it doesn’t have to be part of a long train. In theory, one container supported by two Parallel Systems vehicles could move from origin to destination by itself. In reality, though, they’ll likely end up traveling in platoons." Lots of talk about the train, very little about the rail infrastructure. So, again, solving the wrong end of the problem.

"The data allowed him to build a statistical model analyzing the change in reported property crimes in relation to the growth of the camps… 'On average, an increase in the number of tents and structures in (a homeless camp) is not associated with any increases in property crime — very close to zero,' Lanfear says… He's still finalizing his project, which has yet to be published, and he admits people may have trouble accepting his conclusion."

"Shane Lee Brown is suing the police departments in Las Vegas and Henderson, Nev., and several officers after they jailed him for six days, instead of a white man with a similar name who is taller, nearly twice as old and a convicted felon."

"The bill sponsored by Book, a Democrat, gets its first committee hearing Tuesday. It would strengthen Florida's revenge porn law by making it a felony to buy, sell or trade stolen sexually explicit images from someone's phone or other digital devices. It would also make disseminating altered or created sexually explicit images, known as deepfakes, a felony."

"Russia warned Wednesday it would quickly take 'retaliatory measures' if the U.S. and its allies reject its security demands over NATO and Ukraine, raising pressure on the West amid concerns that Moscow is planning to invade its neighbor." That's cute. You really forget how brinksmanship works when you don't do it all the time.

"Russian authorities have added imprisoned opposition leader Alexei Navalny and some of his top allies to the country's registry of terrorists and extremists, the latest move in a multi-pronged crackdown on opposition supporters, independent media and human rights activists." Stay safe, my Russian friends.

"Donald Trump had about $93 million in cash during the final year of his presidency, a sum substantially smaller than he had claimed to have in the bank in previous years, Forbes reported Monday." It's all a giant grift.

"A panel of federal court judges has blocked Alabama's new congressional map, drawn by Republican state lawmakers, from taking effect… In an opinion released late Monday, the judges sided with plaintiffs, including the ACLU of Alabama and the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), writing that under the map, 'Black voters have less opportunity than other Alabamians to elect candidates of their choice to Congress.'"

Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday Jan 25

Andre Leon Talley, Thierry Mugler, and Thich Nhat Hanh, and so it goes.

"Amy Schneider broke yet another 'Jeopardy!' record on Monday, knocking fellow star Matt Amodio out of the second-place spot for consecutive wins on the quiz show. Schneider, the first woman to earn $1 million in winnings on the show, has now won 39 games and $1,319,800."

"The James Webb Space Telescope, the most powerful telescope ever built, has reached its final destination in space. Now comes the fun part."

"NASA's Perseverance rover managed to spit out pieces of rock that had been blocking its Mars-sampling gear since late December."

"The Barrow-in-Furness Borough Council is looking for the next landlord of Piel Island, a scenic, 50-acre landmass half a mile off England's northwestern coast that is home to wildlife, castle ruins and a centuries-old pub. The local government is hoping to award the 10-year lease to one lucky applicant by the time the 2022 season starts in April."

"Top officials at the World Health Organization are expressing conflicting views this week on the likelihood that the Omicron variant's dominance might signal an end of the coronavirus pandemic." Narrator's voice: it wasn't the end.

"Pfizer has begun a study comparing its original COVID-19 vaccine with doses specially tweaked to match the hugely contagious omicron variant."

"The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is likely to restrict the use of COVID-19 antibody treatments from Regeneron and Eli Lilly as they are ineffective against the Omicron variant, the Washington Post reported on Monday… The FDA action will involve revising the emergency use authorizations for the monoclonal antibodies, the report said, citing two senior administration health officials."

"Early research suggesting that a popular non-psychoactive compound derived from marijuana might help prevent or treat COVID-19 warrants further investigation in rigorous clinical trials, researchers say… Several recent laboratory studies of cannabidiol, or CBD, have shown promising results, attracting media attention." Yeah. Maybe.

"A Boston hospital says it won't consider performing a heart transplant on a patient who refuses to get vaccinated against COVID-19, CBS Boston reports… DJ's family says he was at the front of the line to receive a transplant but hospital policy stipulates that he's no longer eligible because he hasn't received the vaccination… And David Ferguson says his son simply won't." Receiving a spot on the transplant list is not an easy thing to do. There are tons of restrictions and qualifying indicators. Not willing to save your own life by getting a vaccine is an indicator this patient is not willing to do what is necessary to successfully live as long as possible with the transplant. We have an overabundance of people needing transplants compared to organs being made available. This is the result of his decisions.

"Neil Young demanded Spotify remove his music over what he views as coronavirus vaccine misinformation being spread on the streaming platform by star podcaster Joe Rogan, according to Rolling Stone." Neil doesn't need your shit or your pennies.

"A Manhattan restaurant is looking into its enforcement of vaccine requirements for indoor dining, after Sarah Palin allegedly dined there indoors while unvaccinated… Palin is in New York City for her defamation trial against the New York Times, which was delayed Monday morning after she tested positive for Covid-19."

"London's Metropolitan Police say they are investigating a 'number of events' in Downing Street and Whitehall over the pandemic amid claims of Covid rule-breaking at the heart of the UK government… Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick told the London Assembly's Police and Crime Committee on Tuesday that officers were looking into potential offenses after being given information by the team investigating a number of alleged parties."

"Cultivated or cultured meats are real animal products made in labs and commercial production facilities. Right now, the process is costly, but researchers and entrepreneurs say over time manufacturing will become more efficient and less expensive. If consumers switch to cultivated meat, it could help reduce greenhouse gases from agriculture and ease climate change."

"Consumer goods giant Unilever has confirmed it will cut about 1,500 jobs globally as part of an overhaul of its management and structure… The Marmite-to-Domestos maker said the 5% cut in the workforce would not affect shopfloor jobs in factories." And here we go.

"A group of former ThedaCare employees will be allowed to start their new jobs at Ascension Northeast Wisconsin after a judge's ruling Monday." This has been an interesting case to those of us in healthcare.

"But it's pretty clear that, at least for the vast majority of Americans quitting their jobs, that's not the case. Americans are not en masse rejecting consumerism, moving off the grid, and living off the land. Most still need money. Some of those quitting are older workers deciding to retire early in large part because their finances have been buoyed by surging stock and housing markets. Others are secondary earners who have stayed home because they have had to take care of kids while schools have closed due to COVID-19 — or because, more simply, working face to face during a pandemic sucks."

"U.S. Rep. Sheila Cherfilus-McCormick was sworn in as the first Black woman to represent the predominantly Democratic 20th District in Florida on Tuesday, but her Republican opponent she defeated by a landslide the week before, still has not conceded the race." Pointed to because one: gee, a Democrat won in a landslide but it's not big news because it doesn't fit the narrative of the GOP regaining control everywhere. And two: hey look, a Republican refuses to concede (not that it really matters as long as the election is certified). It's like all those predictions of conservatives refusing to acknowledge they lost are coming true.

"A Wisconsin appeals court has temporarily blocked a judge's order that would have banned the use of absentee ballot drop boxes in the swing state… The court issued its decision Monday afternoon. Assuming it stands, it would mean drop boxes can continue to be used for Wisconsin's Feb. 15 primary."

"The mangling and misappropriation of historical facts reached another dismal new low over the weekend, when anti-vaccine advocate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. suggested the stubbornly unvaccinated are worse off than Anne Frank… 'Even in Hitler Germany (sic), you could, you could cross the Alps into Switzerland. You could hide in an attic, like Anne Frank did,' said Kennedy in a speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Sunday." Whackaloon quotient remains sky high.

"In the nearly two months since a conservative majority of justices on the Supreme Court indicated openness to dramatic new restrictions on abortion, money has poured into the political fundraising arm of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List."

"During the chaotic two months following the 2020 presidential election, groups of Republicans in seven states won by Joe Biden met and signed documents falsely asserting that Donald Trump was or may be the rightful recipient of their state's Electoral College votes… The efforts, which in many cases seem to have been coordinated by high-ranking members of Trump's campaign team, weren't successful… Attorneys general in at least two of the seven states where the Republicans met, Michigan and New Mexico, say they have referred investigations regarding the separate slates of electors up the ladder to federal prosecutors."

Monday, January 24, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Jan 24

"Today's the day: Nearly a month after launch, the James Webb Space Telescope will arrive at its deep-space celestial destination on Monday (Jan. 24)… Webb will be orbiting Earth-sun Lagrange Point 2 (L2), which is about 930,000 miles (1.5 million kilometers) away from our planet. Here, the spacecraft can use a minimum of fuel to orbit thanks to its alignment with the sun and Earth."

"Many patients don't understand that they can rack up huge bills almost as soon as they walk through the doors of an ER." And if you leave "against medical advice," even if you met your deductible, more than likely you will be on the hook for the entire amount.

"The head of the World Health Organization (WHO) warned on Monday that it was dangerous to assume the Omicron variant would herald the end of COVID-19's acutest phase, exhorting nations to stay focused to beat the pandemic."

"The Biden administration on Friday opened a phone line for people to order free at-home COVID-19 tests… The phone number — 1-800-232-0233 — follows the launch earlier this week of a website to order the tests, and is available for those who may have difficulty accessing the internet or need additional help to place their orders."

"How much should you trust the results of a rapid antigen test? That's a question many people are asking these days amid recent research and anecdotes suggesting these tests may be less sensitive to omicron. Researchers are working fast to figure out what's going on and how to improve the tests."

"During a Friday press briefing, Walensky said the agency is working to 'pivot the language' for being fully vaccinated. She explained that the goal is to ensure Americans are caught up on their vaccines."

"Four inmates at an Arkansas jail have filed a federal lawsuit after they say medical staff gave them the anti-parasitic drug ivermectin to treat COVID-19 without telling them what it was. The inmates said they were told the medicines they were taking were 'vitamins,' 'antibiotics' or 'steroids.'"

"Cases are spiking on college campuses because, despite the rapid spread of the omicron variant, most schools are beginning their spring semesters in-person. Just 14% of colleges are beginning the semester online, according to new data from the College Crisis Initiative. This time last year, before there were vaccines, about 40% of colleges started online."

"Months of research and dozens of interviews by AL.com found that Brookside’s finances are rocket-fueled by tickets and aggressive policing. In a two-year period between 2018 and 2020 Brookside revenues from fines and forfeitures soared more than 640 percent and now make up half the city’s total income." This is a crime.

"This Monday marks the beginning of tax filing season, when the IRS will begin accepting 2021 income tax returns from individuals and businesses. Most people have until April 18 to submit them this year… As it starts to accept this year's returns, the IRS is still working through millions filed last year. And that's just one of its problems."

"But looking back, Wilkinson thinks Google's luxurious on-site perks have made workers too dependent on the company, a situation he calls 'dangerous.'" Gee, ya think?

"The cryptocurrency market had around $130 billion wiped off its value over the last 24 hours, as major digital coins continued their multi-day sell-off." Sad trombones.

"The Biden administration is considering sending as many as 5,000 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe, a U.S. official confirmed to NPR, in what would be a step-up in American military involvement in the region amid growing fears of a Russian invasion of Ukraine." Look, guys, That 80s Show isn't as good as you think it is.

"The United Arab Emirates intercepted two ballistic missiles launched by Yemen's Houthis over its capital Abu Dhabi early Monday, in what the Iran-backed group warned would be part of a continuous campaign to target the Emirati capital."

"The Taliban and western diplomats have begun their first official talks in Europe since they took over control of Afghanistan in August."

"The Supreme Court agreed Monday to revisit the question of affirmative action in higher education, deciding to hear a case challenging Harvard and the University of North Carolina's use of race in college admissions." Because why wouldn't they.

"Black lawmakers walked out in protest Friday and withheld their votes as the Mississippi Senate passed a bill that would ban schools from teaching critical race theory… The state superintendent of education has said critical race theory is not being taught in Mississippi schools and legislators have offered no evidence to show it is… Republicans said the theory teaches 'victimhood,' while Democrats said the ban could squelch discussion of Mississippi's racist history."

"The sermon, titled 'How Satan Destroys the World,' zigzags between familiar grievances of conservative Christians, such as abortion and transgender people's rights. But what makes this church different, and others like it across the nation, is its embrace of the secular agenda of the far right. They believe that masks and vaccinations violate religious freedom, that the participants in the Jan. 6 capitol riot were proud patriots, and the Biden administration is evil and illegitimate." These are not "churches." Time to tax the fuck out of these people.

"A Capitol riot defendant claims he was barred from Airbnb and Lyft, and lost his TSA precheck pass after his arrest, according to a legal filing… He is due to be sentenced on Friday, and in a formal request to the court for leniency his lawyers described how the plea has already disrupted his life as an accountant living on Bellmore, Long Island." Don't do the crime if you can't do the time.

"The House panel looking into last January's attack on the Capitol is investigating a plan that would have directed the secretary of defense to seize voting machines in battleground states, Jan. 6 Committee Chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson, D-Miss., told Face the Nation on Sunday."

Thursday, January 20, 2022

Lost Week

Sorry for the radio silence. Things have been very busy and I haven't been able to keep up with the paying work, let alone the extra time it takes to root out the linkee-poos. The rest of the week is also going to be a wash out as well and I probably won't have the chance for anything new until Monday.

The only bright spot is the emails I get from "Patriot" news sites (ie, disinformation clickbait for ad dollars) have also been dark this week. Either they're recalibrating, or the major proprietors finally got caught up in the arrests for Jan 6th. No I don't read their articles, just the headlines from the emails they send. And no, I didn't sign up, they're sent to the day job email of the person who had the job before me, and whom I still get in my inbox (although these automatically go to the spam folder).

Sunday, January 16, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Jan 16

"The man who took hostages at a Texas synagogue on Saturday and died after a stand-off with police was 44-year-old British citizen Malik Faisal Akram, the FBI said in a statement on Sunday… There was 'no indication' that other individuals were involved in the incident, the bureau added."

"A massive underwater volcano that erupted just before sundown Friday sent waves several feet high smashing into the shores of the island nation of Tonga and thousands of miles across the Pacific Ocean from Australia to Canada, including the U.S. West Coast."

What your favorite sad Dad band says about you. Never change, McSweeneys. (Grokked from Amy Walter)

From Elizabeth Bear… "Pro tips for surviving radiotherapy."

"Researchers at ETH Zurich have demonstrated in the lab how well a mineral common at the boundary between the Earth's core and mantle conducts heat. This leads them to suspect that the Earth's heat may dissipate sooner than previously thought."

"As of Saturday, the Ohio Department of Health said 30,922 coronavirus deaths have been reported with at least 2,357,990 cases since the start of the pandemic… The reason for the exponential increase is due to a backlog of positive COVID-19 test results."

"France's parliament gave final approval on Sunday to the government's latest measures to tackle the COVID-19 virus, including a vaccine pass contested by anti-vaccine protestors."

So how's that "we have to get the kids back to in-class education" going? "Watson, who is 25 and an uncredentialed substitute with a degree in Theater Arts, says the "vacancy" calls are on the rise as burned-out teachers and experienced substitutes have abandoned the field. Meanwhile, the fill-in requests have jumped from one or two days on a single assignment to 20 days."

"A month-old ransomware attack is still causing administrative chaos for millions of people, including 20,000 public transit workers in the New York City metro area, public service workers in Cleveland, employees of FedEx and Whole Foods, and medical workers across the country who were already dealing with an omicron surge that has filled hospitals and exacerbated worker shortages."

"Mark Schlissel has been removed as president of the University of Michigan due to an alleged "inappropriate relationship with a university employee," the school said Saturday on its website."

"Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is negotiating a plea deal in his corruption case, a person involved in the talks said Sunday… The deal, which could be signed as early as this week, could usher Netanyahu off the Israeli political stage for years, paving the way for a leadership race in his Likud party and shaking up Israeli politics. Any deal could spare Netanyahu an embarrassing and protracted trial over an issue that has gripped the nation and risks tarnishing his legacy."

"The U.S., Russia and China all have them. And now, North Korea claims to as well: hypersonic weapons… These aerial vehicles go a step further than the kind of ballistic missiles that Pyongyang has periodically tested over the years. They can fly fast and maneuver in ways that make them extremely difficult to detect and destroy."

"The Ohio Supreme Court has struck down the new Republican-drawn state legislative maps as illegal partisan gerrymanders, ordering a panel of elected officials to redraw them quickly for the May election."

"(Texas) Election officials in some of the state’s largest counties are rejecting an alarming number of mail-in applications because they don’t meet the state’s new identification requirements. Some applications are being rejected because of a mismatch between the new identification requirements and the data the state has on file to verify voters." So you're saying the new voter IDs laws are working as designed, which is to disenfranchise as many voters as possible. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"DirecTV is dropping One America News Network from its lineup, a surprise move that's sure to deal a massive blow to the network that rose to prominence during the presidency of Donald Trump… Bloomberg reported Friday that the satellite TV provider notified the owner of OAN, Herring Networks Inc., that it would no longer carry the company's two channels when their contract expires. The other channel, A Wealth of Entertainment, dubs itself a lifestyle channel that features luxury goods." Now do Newsmax and Fox News. Why is it important? "In 2020, an OAN accountant testified that 90% of OAN's revenue came from a contract with AT&T owned platforms such as DirecTV, Reuters reported." Fox News also gets most of its funding from cable TV subscription fees, which is why boycotts of advertisers have been less successful lately.

"Since there’s so much [waves hands everywhere] crazy coming up all of a sudden, let me break down the theory of how the overturning of the election was supposed to go down…" A twitter thread.

"Since the insurrection on January 6, warnings of a second American Civil War have been sounded. This week, On the Media explores whether the civil war talk is an alarmist cry, or actually a sober assessment. Plus, hear how the myth of 'the Dark Ages' paints an unfair portrait of medieval times."

"Former President Donald Trump's administration alarmed career civil servants at the Census Bureau by not only ending the 2020 national head count early, but also pressuring them to alter plans for protecting people's privacy and producing accurate data, a newly released email shows."

Friday, January 14, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Jan 14

"A new quarter featuring legendary poet and civil rights activist Maya Angelou and other trailblazing American women has officially started shipping to banks on Monday, the U.S. Mint announced. Angelou is the first Black woman to appear on the quarter."

"A team of astronomers led by the Harvard & Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA) has now mapped the Local Bubble with the highest precision yet – and found that the Local Bubble was likely carved out of the interstellar medium by a series of supernova explosions millions of years ago."

"The past seven years have been the hottest ever recorded globally 'by a clear margin,' according to findings released Monday by scientists with the European Union's Copernicus Climate Change Service. Though 2021 was not quite as warm as other recent years, scientists warned that global greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise… Last year, the researchers said 2020 was 'effectively tied' for the warmest year on record — just behind 2016, which took first place. Now 2021 ranks fifth, sightly ahead of 2015 and 2018."

"A breeding colony of 60 million fish has been discovered in Antarctica's ice-covered Weddell Sea -- a unique and previously unknown ecosystem that covers an area the size of Malta."

"Conservationists and veterinarians are warning that plastic waste in an open landfill in eastern Sri Lanka is killing elephants in the region, after two more were found dead over the weekend."

"According to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) was recently detected in a hunter-harvested deer in northwestern Alabama. This makes Alabama the 28t state CWD has been documented."

"Dozens of hospitals and trauma centers across the country say they're in dire need of blood donations after what the American Red Cross is now calling a nationwide blood crisis… The Red Cross said in a statement this week that the dangerously low blood supply levels are posing a concerning risk to patient care, resulting in medical staff making difficult decisions on who receives blood transfusions and who will need to wait until more blood is readily available."

"The Epstein-Barr virus has long been suspected of playing a role in development of MS. It’s a connection that’s hard to prove because just about everybody gets infected with Epstein-Barr, usually as kids or young adults -- but only a tiny fraction develop MS."

"The omicron surge is jamming up hospital emergency rooms with patients who are waiting long hours or even days to get a bed."

"A study looking at health data across the entire population of Scotland found that pregnant women who had not been vaccinated against COVID-19 and caught the disease were much more likely to suffer severe complications — for themselves and their infants — than those who had been vaccinated and got COVID. Yet despite the growing evidence, vaccination rates among pregnant women remained much lower compared to the general population."

"The U.S. Supreme Court struck down the Biden administration's vaccine-or-test rule Thursday, declaring that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration had exceeded its authority… But at the same time, the court upheld a regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that mandates vaccines for almost all employees at hospitals, nursing homes and other health care providers that receive federal funds." Their reasoning is a bunch of horseshit.

"Some of the compounds in cannabis may prevent the entry of the coronavirus into healthy human cells, according to a study published in the Journal of Nature Products… The research was conducted at Oregon State University and led by Richard van Breemen, a scientist with Oregon State’s Global Hemp Innovation Center, College of Pharmacy, and Linus Pauling Institute." Don't think it's gonna help legalize weed, but whatever. Plus I have a feeling that the amounts required to have an effect would be enormous.

"Retail sales fell much more than expected in December as surging prices took a big bite out of spending, the Commerce Department reported Friday… The advance monthly sales report to close out the year showed a decline of 1.9%, considerably worse than the Dow Jones estimate for just a 0.1% drop."

"One day after Prince Andrew lost his bid to quash a sex-abuse lawsuit, he has been stripped of his military affiliations and royal patronages, Buckingham Palace announced Thursday."

"Downing Street has apologised to Buckingham Palace for two staff parties in No 10 on the night before Prince Philip's funeral… The gatherings, first reported by The Telegraph, took place on 16 April 2021 and went on until the early hours… The PM's spokesman said it was 'deeply regrettable that this took place at a time of national mourning'… Boris Johnson was not at either party - but he faces questions over alleged Covid rule-breaking at No 10."

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken says the U.S. is planning 'things that we have not done in the past' if Russia invades Ukraine… His comments follow days of diplomatic talks and a deadlock on resolving the crisis brewing along the Ukraine-Russia border."

"Dozens of Ukrainian government sites have been hit by an ominous cyberattack, with hackers warning people to 'be afraid and expect the worst'…The attack took over websites of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cabinet of ministers and security and defense council, posting a message on screens in Ukrainian, Russian and Polish that read: 'Ukrainian! All your personal data was uploaded to the public network. All data on the computer is destroyed, it is impossible to restore it.'"

"The US has alleged Russia has already positioned saboteurs in Ukraine to carry out a 'false flag' operation to use as a pretext for a Russian attack, which Washington says could begin in the coming month."

"The loan servicing giant Navient has agreed to cancel $1.7 billion in student loan debts owed by roughly 66,000 borrowers, as part of a settlement announced Thursday with 39 state attorneys general… The settlement ends a years-long legal fight with states in which Navient faced two serious allegations. First, the company was accused of steering student borrowers into expensive forbearances instead of more flexible, income-driven repayment plans." They're getting off too cheaply.

"When the superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools announced earlier this week a cyberattack would lead to the cancellation of classes for around 75,000 students, he noted that the district's technology department had been fending off attacks 'for the last few weeks.'"

"Florida State Board of Administration official killed in apparent road-rage shootout." Moar guns make us safer. And after a thorough investigation this story remains mostly the same, that's a fair use of the self-defense law. (Grokked from Chess)

"A Waukesha County judge has ruled that absentee ballot drop boxes are not allowed under Wisconsin law, a ruling that could potentially remove an option for voting ahead of the state's crucial midterm elections." Another pile of horseshit reasoning.

"Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer delayed votes on a pair of voting rights bills, pushing back a debate over the chamber’s rules that will decide the fate of election reforms the Democratic Party sees as vital to protecting U.S. democracy."

"Democrats in Washington are beginning to accept the reality that they do not have the votes to pass President Biden's long-shot effort to enact new voting rights bills… President Biden traveled to Capitol Hill on Thursday in an attempt to sway Sens. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Joe Manchin, D.-W.Va., to agree to change the Senate filibuster in order to pass the legislation… Biden conceded after the closed-door meeting that his efforts likely were not enough." This is the way Democracy dies.

"The Republican National Committee has informed the Commission on Presidential Debates, which has hosted presidential and vice presidential debates for general elections for over three decades, that it will change its rules to prohibit the party's nominees from participating in CPD debates." If you can't win, leave.

"The Justice Department has charged 11 defendants with seditious conspiracy related to the Capitol attack on January 6, 2021, including the leader of the Oath Keepers, Stewart Rhodes." Well well well. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

And a CBS news story with more… "The Justice Department charged 11 people, including the founder of the right-wing militia known as the Oath Keepers, with 'seditious conspiracy' for their alleged roles in the January 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol, the most serious charges brought to date relating to the riot."

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly and privately in the days following the deadly riots at the US Capitol that President Donald Trump admitted personally bearing some responsibility for the attack -- one of several reasons why the select committee on January 6 wants to hear from the House's top Republican."

Monday, January 10, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Jan 10

Bob Saget, and so it goes.

So there is this persistent believe among newly minted writers that people at publishing houses will "steal their ideas" when they submit. This is not true. One, ideas are a dime a dozen. Two, because working with professionals they don't do stupid shit like that. And three, because this is what happens when someone tries… "An Italian man has been arrested in New York for impersonating figures from the publishing industry online, in order to fraudulently obtain unpublished manuscripts of novels and other books."

On the Media podcast with… "In 2013, 26-year-old software developer and political activist Aaron Swartz died by suicide. He had been indicted on federal charges after illegally downloading 4.8 million articles from JSTOR, a database of academic journals, and potentially faced a million dollar fine and decades in jail. While his death made headline news, Swartz had long been an Internet folk hero and a fierce advocate for the free exchange of information. In his book, The Idealist, writer Justin Peters places Swartz within the fraught, often colorful, history of copyright in America. Brooke talks with Peters about Swartz's legacy and the long line of 'data moralists' who came before him." Including a discussion about the history and purpose of copyright and a little about "information wants to be free."

"Uccellini spent a great deal of his time as director on improving technology at the weather service. But the agency's biggest challenge is effective messaging about the weather, especially extreme events, Uccellini says."

"Global spread of autoimmune disease blamed on western diet… New DNA research by London-based scientists hopes to find cure for rapidly spreading conditions." Maybe. Although many diseases have already been linked to a "western diet" (ie. fast food/cheap carbs).

"About 24% of US hospitals are reporting a 'critical staffing shortage,' according to data from the US Department of Health and Human Services, as public health experts warn the Covid-19 surge fueled by the Omicron variant threatens the nation's health care system."

"That lack of regular communication has spurred criticism of the agency. In recent days, public health experts have called out CDC for confusing isolation and quarantine guidance, and asked the agency to communicate more often and more clearly."

What is it lime inside hoispitals, well it's not always like this… "Newly released video shows an anti-vaxxer violently attacking COVID-19 clinic workers in California… The incident occurred Dec. 30 in Tustin, outside a clinic operated in a parking lot by Families Together of Orange County… The suspect, identified as 43-year-old Thomas Apollo, reportedly called the clinic workers 'murderers.' Apollo grew angrier after a security guard asked him to wear a mask, accusing workers of being complicit in a COVID-19 'hoax' and saying he was 'not a sheep.'" But to say this shit doesn't happen is to lie. Mostly the violence is more restrained and it's not always about COVID. Although this weekend I was called several names to my face by a few patients. Mostly I try not to react, and that throws them off their guard. "You know you're a mf'in son of b#$ches, right?" "Yes sir, can we have to return to the cart so I can take your chest x-ray?"

"The new year has gotten off to a very bad start in Kazakhstan. On Jan. 1, the government lifted a price cap on fuel, setting off a sudden and steep increase in the cost of liquefied petroleum gas, which most people in the Central Asian nation use to run their vehicles. That move sparked widespread protests that turned violent as security forces cracked down." But it's not really about gas prices.

"American and Russian officials held high-stakes talks Monday about the build-up of troops near Ukraine's border, as fears mount over a possible Russian invasion… US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov's meeting wrapped up after more than 7 hours in Geneva, Switzerland, after holding a working dinner on Sunday evening."

"House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she believes a deal can still be reached with West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on President Biden's $1.75 trillion social spending plan after negotiations were put on ice last month." While they believe the goal can be met with negotiations, I think in this case we need a bigger stick and not a bigger carrot. And Manchin is vulnerable.

"It’s been one year since the armed insurrection at the Capitol, what do we know now about how it happened? On this week’s On the Media, hear about the signs that reveal militia groups were preparing for that day — or something like it — long before January 6th. Plus, how the attack may have transformed the far-right in America." Micah Loewinger updates his reporting on how the right used Zello to coordinate the attack, how it's now being used against them, and a possible path from here.

"Donald Trump's lawyers on Monday will try to persuade a federal judge to throw out a series of lawsuits by Democratic lawmakers and two police officers alleging that the former president incited the deadly Jan. 6, 2021, assault on the U.S. Capitol."

"The Ohio Republican Jim Jordan is the second sitting congressman to refuse a request for cooperation from the House select committee investigating the Capitol attack… In a Sunday night letter to the committee chair, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the Trump ally accused the panel of 'an outrageous abuse' of its authority."

Friday, January 7, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Jan 7

Sidney Poitier, and so it goes.

"A group of scientists announced Thursday that they captured the explosive end to a red supergiant star's life for the first time, documenting its death throes as it collapsed into a type II supernova. Scientists from Northwestern University and the University of California, Berkeley, who released a study on the star's death, called the findings a 'breakthrough' in their understanding of how the massive stars die."

"An international team led by astronomers from the Max Planck Institute of Astronomy (MPIA) recently noticed a massive filament of atomic hydrogen gas in our galaxy. This structure, named 'Maggie', is located about 55,000 light-years away (on the other side of the Milky Way) and is one of the longest structures ever observed in our galaxy."

"At Lake Powell, the nation's second-largest reservoir, record low water levels are transforming the landscape, renewing a longstanding dispute over the land the reservoir drowned — a canyon labyrinth that novelist Edward Abbey once described as 'a portion of earth's original paradise.' For half a century, environmental groups and Colorado River enthusiasts have implored water managers to restore Glen Canyon by draining the reservoir."

"A new scientific study shows that vaccination can cause changes to the timing of menstruation. But it also shows the effects are temporary, more akin to a sore arm than a serious adverse event."

"With infections at all-time highs in the U.S., the clinical picture is now coming together and starting to confirm what other countries have found — a typical case of omicron not only presents slightly differently but also likely carries a lower chance of getting seriously ill… Scientists at Case Western Reserve University have preliminary evidence that the risk of being admitted to the hospital or the intensive care unit during the omicron surge in the U.S. is about half of the risk observed during the delta surge. And this reflects what doctors across the country are now seeing firsthand with their patients." Stare in "my ER is full" mode (although, full truth, last night it wasn't, but we've had single days like that before).

"But many factors can affect how likely a COVID-19 test is to accurately spot an infection. Here's the latest on how these two types of tests work and why they might sometimes offer different results…"

"Another supreme battle at the U.S. Supreme Court Friday: In a special session, the justices are hearing expedited arguments in cases challenging two major Biden administration regulations aimed at increasing the number of vaccinated workers… The cases are in a preliminary posture, but how the court rules will very likely signal how these issues are ultimately resolved."

"Among Tufts' 195-member class of 2025, Lima is one of 26 students who identify as Black or African American — a major jump from nine the year before. And across the country, the number of first-year Black students is up 21%, an unprecedented spike since 2020."

"The U.S. economy added far fewer jobs than expected in December just as the nation was grappling with a massive surge in Covid cases, the Labor Department said Friday… Nonfarm payrolls grew by 199,000, while the unemployment rate fell to 3.9%, according to Bureau of Labor Statistics data. That compared with the Dow Jones estimate of 422,000 for the payrolls number and 4.1% for the unemployment rate."

"Euro zone inflation hit a new record high in December, raising more questions about the European Central Bank’s monetary policy… Preliminary data showed Friday that the headline inflation rate came in at 5% for the month, compared to the same month last year. The figure represents the highest ever on record and follows November’s all-time high of 4.9%."

"'Hustle culture' is facing an existential crisis with millennials." Except, the article can't even point to millennials as being the main move against "hustle" except that these are the only people they talked to (or the people they talked to only looked at millennials), extols the virtues of "hustle" and just can't grok why someone wouldn't want it. So, in a way, without meaning to, the article becomes a meta meditation on hustle and reads like "what's up with kids these days", which is odd, because it looks like it was written by these kids. Also, again, note the erasure of Gen X.

"As 2022 begins, most people in Afghanistan don't have enough food to eat. Millions are facing hunger and starvation amid a multiyear drought and an economic crash following the Taliban takeover in August. The onset of winter has only made things worse."

"Security forces appeared to have reclaimed the streets of Kazakhstan's main city on Friday after days of violence, and the Russian-backed president said he had ordered his troops to shoot to kill to put down a countrywide uprising… A day after Moscow sent paratroopers to help crush the insurrection, police were patrolling the debris-strewn streets of Almaty, although some gunfire could still be heard."

"American women helped lead the international fight to include women's ski jumping in the Winter Olympics, and the U.S. team was once ranked No. 1 in the world… But in a major blow to the program, American women failed to garner enough points in qualifying competitions to send any athletes to the Beijing Games."

"Top executives at utility giant Florida Power & Light worked closely with the political consultants who orchestrated a scheme to promote spoiler candidates in three key state Senate elections last year, according to documents obtained by the Orlando Sentinel… The records show that the consultants who controlled Grow United Inc., the dark-money nonprofit at the center of the “ghost” candidate scandal, billed FPL for more than $3 million days before they began moving money through the entity."

"Cyber Ninjas, the company that led a partisan review of 2020 ballots in Arizona, is closing down following a scathing report by election officials and the threat of $50,000 a day in fines… 'Cyber Ninjas is shutting down. All employees have been let go,' Rod Thomson, the company's representative, said in a text message Thursday evening." I don't think it was the report shutting them down, but… "Maricopa County Superior Court Judge John Hannah said he would impose a $50,000 fine against Cyber Ninjas every day until it hands over documents related to the so-called audit after the Arizona Republic newspaper filed a public records request, The Associated Press reported Thursday."

"How the hell did we get here?… It's been a year since January 6th, 2021." Jim Wright on the anniversary.

Why are we still here? "First, there's a problem with how Americans are consuming information… Second, Republican elected officials have enabled Trump's lies… McCarthy and McConnell… Trump going unchallenged…"

"Reps. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) took to the spotlight on Thursday to offer a reflection on last year's Capitol riot that varied pretty drastically from most others today… The two Republicans first appeared on Stephen Bannon's podcast to declare 'we're ashamed of nothing,' as Gaetz put it, per Axios. 'We're proud of the work we did on Jan. 6 to make legitimate arguments about election integrity,' Gaetz continued, with Greene's agreement." Fuck these two traitors.

Thursday, January 6, 2022

Linkee-poo one year on

"Thursday marks one year since a mob of supporters of former President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol building hoping to block lawmakers from certifying Joe Biden's 2020 election win… Biden marked the anniversary with a scathing speech at the Capitol in which he strongly condemned the violence and said Trump 'has created and spread a web of lies about the 2020 election.'" Getting warmer…

"Pope Francis has criticized couples who choose to have pets instead of children as selfish, arguing that their decision to forgo parenthood leads to a loss of 'humanity' and is a detriment to civilization." Go forth and multiply becomes ya better have kids, or else.

"Even if you do try to report your results, the information isn’t likely to move the needle on the public’s understanding of the virus. That’s because they’re not included in the data health officials use to produce their reports and policies… So the more people test themselves at home, the less the official numbers about new infections and positivity rates (that is, the percentage of tests that detect the virus) will provide an accurate picture of the public’s health." Jazz hands!

"Covid-19 hospitalizations among children in the US are soaring, fueled by the Omicron variant and the holidays, and adding pressure to already-strained health systems and schools." And again, no consideration is given to the long term effects of COVID.

"Dozens of protesters were killed and hundreds injured during clashes in Kazakhstan, a police official from the largest city Almaty said Thursday, as troops from a Russian-led military alliance of post-Soviet states begin their operations in the Central Asian country to help quell the unrest."

"America's faith in the integrity of the election system remains shaken by the events of Jan. 6, with only 20% of the public saying it's very confident about the system, a new ABC/Ipsos poll finds. This is a significant drop from 37% in an ABC News/Washington Post poll conducted in the days after the insurrection last year."

"Here is a look back at some of the moments that occurred on that day."

"As the nation reflects on the year since a violent mob attempted to stop the certification of election results, there will be gatherings for those who believe the attack was an attempted coup and who are alarmed by the passage of restrictive voting rules in several states… There will also be events for those who falsely maintain that former President Donald Trump won the 2020 election and who consider those arrested in connection to the riot 'political prisoners.'"

While a lot of the remembrance will involve discussions of conservative and liberal views, Jan 6, 2021 can also be seen in terms of white supremacy and definitely the continuation of 9/11/2001.

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Jan 5

Sorry, busy Steve is still very busy.

"An NHL staffer had a cancerous mole removed after a fan of the opposing team spotted it from the stands and urged him to get it checked out. He now credits her with saving his life, and the teams are awarding her a scholarship for medical school this fall."

"Things might seem pretty grim on the pandemic front right now. The U.S. is only a few days into the third calendar year of the pandemic and nearly 500,000 new COVID-19 cases are being counted daily… Wachter chairs the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, and took to Twitter last week to share his thoughts and predictions on how the country 'could be in good shape, maybe even great shape in six to eight weeks.'" Here I'm going to disagree with the good doctor. See all those cases? Every single one is an opportunity for SARS-CoV2 Omicron to mutate again. Also, the healthcare system has a good chance of collapsing before then. And, how quickly can Omicron (or any other mutation) re-infect a person. So, yes, given all the other factors, we should be through the first wave of Omicron in another 4 to 8 weeks. Doesn't mean this is over. The anti-viral pills? You have to start then early or they're no use (and out tests suck at early detection).

"A jury found Elizabeth Holmes guilty of defrauding investors out of hundreds of millions of dollars. The verdict on Monday capped the downfall of one of Silicon Valley's most dynamic and scandal-plagued young executives who promised to revolutionize blood testing with an innovative technology that required just a small sample of blood pricked from a patient's finger."

"New York Attorney General Letitia James recently subpoenaed former President Donald Trump and his two eldest children, demanding their testimony in connection with an ongoing civil investigation into the family's business practices, according to a court filing made public Monday."

Because I expect there to be a lot of hagiography and attempting to rewrite the record of January 6th, 2021 in the next few days, "The attack on Norris is an example of erratic and sometimes threatening behavior by (Ashli) Babbitt, who was shot by a police officer while at the vanguard of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol. Former President Donald Trump and his supporters have sought to portray her as a righteous martyr who was unjustly killed… But the life of the Air Force veteran from California, who died while wearing a Trump campaign flag wrapped around her shoulders like a cape, was far more complicated than the heroic portrait presented by Trump and his allies." We all are more complicated than our public impressions, but before we start extolling the virtues of someone under questionable circumstances, the full picture should be understood. Besides, she was shot while attempting to breach a secured perimeter in the Capitol during an insurrection.

Jim Wright with a recap of last year and what must be done.

"A timeline of how the Jan. 6 attack unfolded — including who said what and when."

"Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., has vowed the Senate will forge ahead on voting rights legislation and will vote on changing the rules of the upper chamber by Jan. 17 if the GOP once again blocks the bill." Now we see if there's follow through.