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, February 28, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Feb 28

"Climate change is on course to transform life on Earth as we know it, and unless global warming is dramatically slowed, billions of people and other species will reach points where they can no longer adapt to the new normal, according to a major report published Monday… The UN-backed report, based on years of research from hundreds of scientists, found that the impacts from human-caused climate change were larger than previously thought. The report's authors say these impacts are happening much faster and are more disruptive and widespread than scientists expected 20 years ago."

"The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday in a major environmental case that could hobble the ability of federal agencies to regulate air pollution — and potentially, much more."

About that kid who had his legs and finger amputated after eating left-over lo-mein… "'There’s absolutely no history in the medical literature of this kind of bacteria being transmitted by food,' said Dr. William Schaffner, a professor of infectious diseases at Vanderbilt University Medical Center and medical director of the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases. 'It’s baloney.'… (The food) was, Schaffner said, a bit of a red herring and a common part of emergency medicine. Doctors must sort through a mountain of symptoms and medical histories quickly to figure out how best to treat patients. And if someone comes in vomiting, it’s natural to ask about recent meals." Sorry about spreading misinformation. And yes, we see this all the time in medicine. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Facebook parent company Meta says it has uncovered Russian efforts to undermine trust in the Ukrainian government and a separate attempt to hack Ukrainian military officials and journalists using its platform… The two campaigns were both small in scale and caught in the early stages, the company said." I was feeling lonely. Waves to my Russian friends.

"Meanwhile, Ukraine’s president has signed an application for his country to join the European Union, in a bid to solidify his country’s bond with the West."

"Switzerland broke its historically neutral status to sanction Russia over its invasion of Ukraine… In a statement on Monday, Switzerland's Federal Council said it would adopt sanctions against Russia effective immediately. The measures, it said, would match those of the European Union, of which Switzerland is not a member." That's gonna leave a mark.

"There is growing evidence that Ukraine is managing to inflict significant casualties on Russian forces as they try to advance deeper into the country -- and that the swift strike Russia hoped to carry out on the capital, Kyiv, has been slowed by intense and popular resistance."

"Russia’s president summoned the defence minister, Sergei Shoigu, and military chief of staff, Valery Gerasimov, to a public meeting on Sunday and ordered them to 'transfer the deterrence forces' – a reference to nuclear weapons – 'of the Russian army to a special mode of combat duty'." Gen X collectively yawns.

"A group of Ukrainian soldiers stationed on an island military outpost who were presumed dead after a terse and profane interaction with a Russian warship last week may still be alive, Ukrainian officials announced Sunday."

"When Costa asked Lindell who drafted the papers, he responded: 'That's none of your business. A bunch of lawyers did. I never read them.'… Lindell then laced into a range of debunked conspiracy theories involving Dominion Voting Systems… The businessman said that he 'never' discussed the issue of martial law with Trump, and then told Costa 'to go back watching your old rotten news.'… Lindell then started yelling at Costa and deriding him as a 'traitor,' prompting others to jump into the mix."

"Nearly 14 months after a mob of Trump supporters stormed the U.S. Capitol, the first trial of a defendant charged in connection with the deadly attack opens Monday in federal court… Guy Reffitt, a Texas man who authorities say belongs to the self-styled Three Percenter militia movement, is charged with five counts, including obstruction, civil disorder and entering Capitol grounds with a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty."

Friday, February 25, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Feb 25

"Photos show the calamity as Russia invades Ukraine."

"Thousands of Ukrainians crossed into neighboring countries to the west in search of safety as Russia pounded their capital and other cities with airstrikes for a second day."

"According to Ukrainian authorities, Russian forces have seized the Chernobyl nuclear reactor in northern Ukraine, where the world’s worst nuclear disaster took place in 1986 — and where vast reserves of dangerous nuclear waste remain entombed."

"Russia should be cut off from the SWIFT bank-messaging system as a punishment for invading Ukraine, three countries in the eastern part of the European Union said on Thursday. Their call was echoed by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who is calling on the international community to help protect his country's sovereignty." That sanction would have real teeth to it.

"Punishing sanctions were never going to stop Russian missiles, tanks and bombs. But the Biden administration hopes they offer an early edge in the first showdown of a new and dangerous 21st century coda to the Cold War… Hours after Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine, the US drew battle lines for what is sure to be a bitter standoff with the Kremlin likely to last at least until President Joe Biden or Russian President Vladimir Putin leaves power."

"There were segments of Russian society, however, that were critical, and more than 1,000 people gathered in the center of Moscow Thursday evening, chanting 'No to war!' as passing cars honked their horns, according to The Associated Press… Protesters also took to the streets in several other cities, including St. Petersburg, all defying a warning from the Investigative Committee, a kind of Russian answer to the FBI, that they would face criminal action and even jail time."

"President Biden has selected Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson as his Supreme Court nominee to fill the seat left when Judge Stephen Breyer retires."? I'm now picturing Lyndsey Graham in golden armor, "Release the Racists!" Don't worry, racists, just like clowns, are already here.

"A tilted black hole spinning around a misaligned axis has been discovered in our galaxy, challenging theories of black hole formation… The black hole and its companion star form a system called MAXI J1820+070, which lies some 10,000 light-years away from Earth. The system was first spotted by NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory in 2018. But recent optical observations by the Nordic Optical Telescope in the Canary Islands revealed that the black hole behaves in ways that defy astronomers' expectations."

"The bird flu cases are among the latest in the U.S. that have put farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs on high alert, fearing a repeat of a 2015 bird flu outbreak that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion."

"Turns out, Hank the Tank wasn't on a one-bear crime spree — he had accomplices… And thanks to DNA evidence clearing his name, Hank won't be killed or moved to a sanctuary… According to the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, DNA samples show that at least two other bears have broken into area homes." Ocean's 11, but with bears.

"The Centers for Disease Control is set to 'significantly' ease mask-wearing guidelines put in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19, according to published reports. The change means most Americans will no longer be advised to wear masks in indoor public settings."

"In 2016, thieves pulled off one of the biggest bank heists in history without even cracking a safe. A hacking team known as "The Lazarus Group" tried to steal nearly a billion dollars from the Bank of Bangladesh by exploiting the SWIFT network. SWIFT is the encrypted messaging system that over 11,000 banks in more than 200 countries use to move trillions of dollars every week." The Planet Money podcast with a story about SWIFT and how modern heists could be performed. Burning Chrome.

"Florida's House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday that would prohibit 'classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity' in the state’s primary schools."

"Florida's House of Representatives passed a controversial bill on Thursday limiting when and how teachers and school staff can discuss gender and sexual orientation in the classroom… Opponents – many of whom have taken to calling the measure the 'Don't Say Gay' bill – say it will make life harder for LGBTQ youth, who already face a higher rate of bullying and a higher risk of suicide than their straight, cisgender peers." But then there is this part… 'It would also guarantee parents access to their children's education and health records and require that schools notify parents "if there is a change in the student's services or monitoring related to the student's mental, emotional, or physical health or well-being and the school's ability to provide a safe and supportive learning environment for the student.'" Dear parents, because of the intransigence and culture war conducted by your state and national representatives, your child is at risk from harm when it comes to the prevalence of high-powered firearms in the community and the easy access you've granted your children.

"According to PEN America, a nonprofit that advocates for freedom of expression, 39 states have introduced over 160 bills in the past year limiting what schools can teach about race, politics, American history, sexual orientation and gender identity. For some educators in those states, that's made teaching about Black History Month especially fraught."

"The Postal Service Reform Act of 2022 would help shore up post office finances by ending the unusual and onerous legal requirement to fund 75 years of retirement health benefits in advance. In return, it would require future Postal Service retirees to enroll in Medicare." Well, you know, we could also end the caps on income for payment of Medicare/Medicaid benefits.

"Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., attacked Biden on Thursday, telling reporters that the deadly U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan last year had been 'an invitation to the autocrats of the world that maybe this was a good time to make a move,' as WFPL's Ryan Van Velzer reported." Well thank the gods Biden hasn't worn a tan suite or we might be in WWIII by now. But mostly this is to try and distract from Republican complicity with Trump which has emboldened Putin to take these actions before Biden could repair all the damage Trump did internationally.

"The conflict in Ukraine and backpedaling were the main themes of Tucker Carlson’s show Thursday after the Fox News host was slammed for defending Russian President Vladimir Putin, and dragging U.S. President Joe Biden, in the lead-up to Russia's invasion of the Eastern European nation." Eating crow.

"The latest blow to the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965 came this week in Arkansas, where a federal judge appointed by former President Donald Trump dismissed a case over new statehouse maps. The NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union argued that the maps diluted the power of Black voters. But the judge said he found no way for the outside advocates to proceed… 'Only the Attorney General of the United States can bring a case like this one,' wrote Judge Lee Rudofsky… The ACLU said the decision flouts decades of precedent and vowed to appeal."

Thursday, February 24, 2022

Linkee-poo, absolutely nothing

Well, what shall we talk about.

"The emergency U.N. Security Council meeting was meant as an eleventh hour effort to dissuade Russia from sending troops into Ukraine. But the message became moot even as it was being delivered."

"Russia launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday, hitting cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as civilians piled into trains and cars to flee. Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a 'full-scale war' that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout already reverberated around the world."

"NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg warned Thursday that the military alliance would defend every inch of its territory should Russia attack a member country, as he slammed Moscow for launching a brutal act of war on Ukraine."

"Russian stocks crashed by as much as 45% and the ruble hit a record low against the dollar on Thursday… The Moscow market rout was triggered by news that Russian troops had launched an attack on Ukraine, a move that is likely to trigger a new wave of 'full scale' sanctions aimed at President Vladimir Putin's inner circle and Russia's oil-dependent economy."

"What does Putin want in Ukraine? The conflict explained…" Well, somewhat. What's missing here is the collapse of the ruble and the growing opposition to Putin's reign from within Russia.

"President Joe Biden, vowing the world will "hold Russia accountable" for the attack underway in Ukraine, will spell out a set of sanctions on Thursday once meant to deter such an assault… Set to address the nation Thursday afternoon, Biden is expected to unveil new measures that could cut off Russia from advanced technology, announce new restrictions on large financial institutions and slap sanctions on additional members of the inner circle of Russian President Vladimir Putin." Other than freezing all access to the international monetary system or the seizing of accounts oligarchs have external to Russia, it probably won't do much (although the sanctions against the Russian Military Bank actually has some bite to it).

"After experiencing spring-like conditions with rain and mild temperatures earlier this week, we’re back to winter as another round of ice and accumulating snow makes its way into Northeast Ohio." Weeee.

"Scientists can't pinpoint the exact year that an asteroid came out of the sky to wipe out the dinosaurs but they're sure now that the huge space rock struck Earth in the Northern Hemisphere springtime… And they think the seasonal timing may have been a critical factor that influenced which animal groups managed to live through the calamity." Ah, springtime in Paris…

"Repeating fast radio bursts are among the more rare and recent mysteries in the cosmos, and the latest discovery of a repeater confounds astronomers' evolving understanding of the bright flashes of energy from deep space that last for just milliseconds."

"According to a release from the University of Louisville, it happened in Vancouver, Canada, when an 87-year-old patient with epilepsy had a fall. Dr. Raul Vicente of the University of Tartu and his colleagues continuously monitored the patient with electroencephalography. The goal was to detect the seizures, but during the recording of the brain waves, the patient had a heart attack and passed away… Now, the graphs and images of the last 15 minutes of that patient's life are revealing amazing details about what happens as we die. Evidence shows the brain has bursts of activity similar to memory flashbacks. So the idea of someone's life 'flashing before their eyes' may have some truth to it."

"On the heels of concerning new lab and animal experiments suggesting that BA.2 may be capable of causing more severe disease than the original Omicron strain, two new studies are helping to show how well human immunity is defending against this strain in the real world."

"Spot gold jumped more than 3% higher on Thursday as Russian forces attacked Ukraine on the orders of President Vladimir Putin… Gold was trading at $1,922.40 per troy ounce at 11:25 a.m. EST, up 0.7% on the previous day. Earlier in the morning the precious metal was trading at $1,968.01 per ounce, up 3.17% and the highest since late 2020, as investors piled into safe-haven assets and equity markets globally tumbled into the red. Oil and soft commodity prices were sharply higher. Brent crude surpassed $100 for the first time since 2014."

"Stocks fell sharply Thursday as Russia attacked Ukraine, causing global energy prices to jump and sending investors fleeing for the safety of fixed income assets… The invasion comes as global equity markets were already reeling because of decades-high inflation stemming from the pandemic." And yes, this is a part of the war.

"The former head of the Texas power grid on Wednesday testified that he was ordered by Gov. Greg Abbott to keep power prices at the maximum price cap during last winter's winter storm, the Houston Chronicle reports."

"On recent earnings calls, massive corporations have posted huge profits and promised continued price increases, even as inflation continues to rise to rates not seen in decades… For example, Starbucks celebrated a 31 percent increase in profits at the end of 2021 — but it still plans to hike prices this year, the New York Times reported earlier this month. Tyson Foods, the meat processing behemoth, raised its prices 19.6 percent overall, driving record stock prices for the company." What's driving inflation?

"Now, Farber and her attorneys have filed a civil suit against the LAPD for wrongful arrest and detainment – a violation of her Fourth and Eighth Amendment rights – after authorities failed to properly confirm her identity and denied her the ability to be released on bail."

"A group of US truckers embarked in a convoy of vehicles on Wednesday on a 2,500 mile cross-country trip from Barstow, California to Washington DC to protest against coronavirus restrictions… The group, which is calling itself the 'people’s convoy', is one of several starting from different parts of the country and due to start arriving in the US capital at various points through to late next week – all inspired by the demonstrations that recently paralyzed Canada’s capital city, Ottawa, for weeks."

"Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday he is removing emergency powers police can use after authorities ended the border blockades by those opposed to COVID-19 restrictions as well as the occupation of downtown Ottawa."

"Authorities are investigating the distribution of antisemitic and racist flyers in Colleyville, Texas, where a gunman took worshippers hostage at a synagogue last month. Colleyville is one of dozens of cities across the U.S. that have reported similar distribution of flyers in recent weeks." We've also had a problem locally in Middlefield, OH.

"Details of accounts linked to 30,000 Credit Suisse clients all over the world are contained in the leak, which unmasks the beneficiaries of more than 100bn Swiss francs (£80bn)* held in one of Switzerland’s best-known financial institutions."

"A desperate note sent from a mother with her child to her elementary school has led police in the Las Vegas area to a toddler's remains… The note sent Tuesday morning with the child was a cry for help, with her mother writing that she was being held captive by her boyfriend and that she believed her other child might be dead, Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department said in a news release on Wednesday."

"After former President Donald Trump was cut off during a call-in interview on Fox News Thursday night, he returned to the airwaves shortly afterwards with a gaffe about the US military… 'You know what's also very dangerous is you told me about the amphibious attack by Americans,' Trump mistakenly said on 'The Ingraham Angle.'" Clueless is as clueless does. He then tried to make this about himself.

"Two prosecutors working on a sweeping criminal fraud probe of the Trump Organization have resigned, the Manhattan District Attorney's Office confirmed Wednesday."

"The resignations come as the new Manhattan district attorney, Alvin Bragg, has 'indicated to them that he had doubts about moving forward with a case against' former President Donald Trump, the Times said, citing conversations with people with knowledge of the matter."

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Feb 23

"The U.S. sanctions join those announced earlier by the U.K. and the European Union as a joint response to Russian President Vladimir Putin's decree on Monday that recognizes two regions in Ukraine as independent. Later on Tuesday and into Wednesday, American allies Australia, Canada and Japan also announced their own set of sanctions against Russian individuals and institutions."

"Russian troops have moved into the eastern region of Ukraine that Russia has now recognized as "independent," according to the Prime Minister of NATO member Latvia and sources familiar with the latest US intelligence assessments… 'According to the information at my disposal, Putin is moving additional forces and tanks into the occupied Donbas territories,' Latvian Prime Minister Arturs Krišjānis Kariņš told CNN's Jim Sciutto on Wednesday. 'By any definition that's a crossing of a sovereign territory into a neighboring country.'"

"A warming planet and changes to land use patterns mean more wildfires will scorch large parts of the globe in coming decades, causing spikes in unhealthy smoke pollution and other problems that governments are ill prepared to confront, according to a U.N. report being released on Wednesday."

"One such Arp galaxy that is exploding with new stars is in this Hubble Space Telescope image of the Arp 143 system. The two galaxies in this system collided head-on, fueling the triangular-shaped burst of star formation. The pair contains the distorted, star-forming spiral galaxy NGC 2445 at right, along with its less flashy companion, NGC 2444 at left."

"Patients who need prompt lifesaving treatment often don't have time to find an in-network hospital. In the past, health plans sometimes have said they would pay for emergency care even if it's out of network. The No Surprises Act now makes this a legal requirement in every state. The provider and insurer are supposed to negotiate a reasonable payment, leaving the patient out of the equation… But what if the insurance company denies the care is for an emergency? Or the hospital doesn't supply the paperwork to prove it?"

"Over the next two weeks, some of the biggest U.S. corporations accused of 'turbocharging' the opioid epidemic could finalize payouts to victims and governments worth roughly $32 billion." The epidemic isn't over.

"So the question is: Should you get a fourth dose to beef up protection again?… A preliminary study from Israel, published last Tuesday, suggests that for the general population, the answer is likely no. A fourth shot of the same vaccine — in this case Pfizer-BioNTech or Moderna — offered very little extra protection against infection compared with only three shots."

"Although many Americans may prefer that the U.S. stay out of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine, the brewing violence and political fallout are already hurting their wallets. Gasoline prices, which have hit eight-year highs — could surge even further if the hostilities escalate or if U.S. lawmakers pass another round of sanctions… The economic impact could also move beyond the gas pump, Wall Street analysts warn. Sanctions or export controls against Russia could make current semiconductor shortages even worse, while restrictions on wheat or metals could drive the fiercest bout of inflation in decades to climb even higher. "

"Oil prices are swinging dramatically, with recent peaks pushing close to a major milestone: $100 a barrel… The possibility of Russia invading Ukraine is the driving force, but more is at play than the risk of war. And complicating predictions further, the possibility of a deal with Iran is hovering in the background."

"Germany said it was halting certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline following Moscow's actions in eastern Ukraine on Monday… The 750-mile pipeline was completed in September but has not yet received final certification from German regulators. Without that, natural gas cannot flow through the Baltic Sea pipeline from Russia to Germany."

"A former New York City police union president who’s clashed with city officials over his insulting tweets and combative behavior is expected to surrender Wednesday to face criminal charges connected to a raid last year on his home and union office, two law enforcement officials said."

"On Monday, a 4-year-old boy tried to shoot two Unified police officers who were taking his father into custody, allegedly because the father had told him to." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Alabama lawmakers on Tuesday night approved legislation that would bar transgender students from using school bathrooms and locker rooms that match their current gender identity… The bill mandates K-12 schools require students to use multi-person restrooms and locker rooms that match the sex on their original birth certificate."

"When Facebook removed dozens of groups dedicated to Canada’s anti-government “Freedom Convoy” protests earlier this month, it didn’t do so because of extremism or conspiracies rife within the protests. It was because the groups were being run by scam artists."

"Florida is a big draw for snow birds from around the country looking for warm weather in the depths of winter. But Republicans are flocking to the state to pick up connections and campaign cash year-round."

"An aide to former President Donald Trump described a 2019 White House gathering with the then-president and Ginni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, as the 'craziest' meeting he'd ever attended, according to The New York Times Magazine."

"The Pentagon has approved the deployment of 700 unarmed National Guard troops to the nation's capital as it prepares for trucker convoys that are planning protests against pandemic restrictions beginning next week."

"Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) called out fellow House Republicans on Tuesday for criticizing President Biden's response to Russia invading Ukraine… Meanwhile, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) criticized former President Trump, saying by calling Russian President Vladimir Putin a genius, he 'aids our enemies.'"

"Former President Donald Trump praised Russian President Vladimir Putin's moves in Ukraine, calling him 'savvy,' after the Kremlin recognized the independence of two breakaway, Russian separatist-controlled regions in eastern Ukraine." Just a former president kissing the ass of a dictator. Totally normal. Good thing Trump isn't Putin's hand-puppet and that Putin didn't help him win the White House or this would look real bad.

Tuesday, February 22, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday Feb 22

"The latest on the Ukraine-Russia crisis…"

"Three decades ago, the newly independent country of Ukraine was briefly the third-largest nuclear power in the world… Thousands of nuclear arms had been left on Ukrainian soil by Moscow after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991. But in the years that followed, Ukraine made the decision to completely denuclearize… In exchange, the U.S., the U.K. and Russia would guarantee Ukraine's security in a 1994 agreement known as the Budapest Memorandum."

"Fossil hunters in Scotland say they have recovered the remains of the world’s largest Jurassic pterosaur, adding the creature – known informally as a pterodactyl – also boasted a mouthful of sharp teeth for spearing and trapping fish."

"Soot pollution is accelerating climate-driven melting in Antarctica, a new study suggests, raising questions about how to protect the delicate continent from the increasing number of humans who want to visit… Researchers estimate that soot, or black carbon, pollution in the most popular and accessible part of Antarctica is causing an extra inch of snowpack shrinkage every year."

"It's not easy for a 500-pound bear to sneak around a neighborhood — and it sounds impossible for one to break into a house through a small window. But the animal known as Hank the Tank is no ordinary bear: California's wildlife agency says he has broken into at least 28 homes in South Lake Tahoe, adding that he's responsible for '152 reports of conflict behavior.'"

"Following the Bing children into their 40s, the new study finds that kids who quickly gave in to the marshmallow temptation are generally no more or less financially secure, educated or physically healthy than their more patient peers. The amount of time the child waited to eat the treat failed to forecast roughly a dozen adult outcomes the researchers tested, including net worth, social standing, high interest-rate debt, diet and exercise habits, smoking, procrastination tendencies and preventative dental care, according to the study published in the Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization." (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"Experts have warned against how to properly store leftover rice because items such as rice and pasta contain a bacterium called Bacillus cereus. The bacteria produces a toxin when heated and left out too long, according to the CDC. In 2019, a teenager died in his sleep after eating leftover pasta that wasn't refrigerated overnight, a case that was reported in the Journal of Clinical Microbiology… The medical team learned that although the Massachusetts student had received a first dose of the meningococcal vaccine, he never received the recommended booster. His roommate also ate the leftover food and vomited but didn't have life-threatening reactions."

"In January, high school students walked out of their Columbia, Missouri, classrooms to pressure their school board to reinstate a mask mandate. With COVID prevention policies expiring statewide, their experience — and a whole history of student-led walkouts — might prove instructive."

"Chemicals cost more than just money: Today, petrochemical production spews out nearly 2% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. Now, researchers have taken an important step to vastly reduce that footprint, by using bacteria and waste gases from steel plants, rather than petroleum, as the starting ingredient for dozens of commodity chemicals. So far, the process has been used for three commodity chemicals. But because researchers may be able to expand it to others, it could help the chemical industry escape its reliance on fossil fuels, and effectively remove carbon from the skies."

"Twenty years after 3G was first introduced in the United States, paving the way for a new generation of mobile apps, the network is officially being phased out… AT&T is set to pull the plug on its 3G network Tuesday, with other major US carriers expected to follow suit later this year. The move impacts everything from older phones to home alarm systems and roadside assistance systems."

"The U.S. Women's National Soccer team has reached a proposed settlement in its class action equal pay lawsuit against the U.S. Soccer Federation… U.S. Soccer has agreed to pay a lump sum of $22 million in back pay to the players, ESPN reports, which will be distributed in a manner proposed by players and approved by the court. The federation will also put $2 million into a fund for USWNT players' post-career goals and charitable efforts, with each player able to apply for up to $50,000."

"This winter, the Federal Trade Commission warned about an increase in student loan scams. Those scams prey on confusion. President Biden said during his campaign that he was open to forgiving some student debt, but that hasn't happened yet… In the meantime, the federal government put federal student loan payments on pause during the pandemic. With that pause now set to expire at the beginning of May, people are anxious and scammers are swooping in."

"A jury in Brunswick, Ga., unanimously found defendants Travis McMichael, his father Greg McMichael, and their neighbor William 'Roddie' Bryan guilty on all counts in a federal hate crimes trial… The jury deliberated for four hours. At the heart of this case was a question of whether or not race was a motivating factor in why the three defendants chased and shot Ahmaud Arbery as he ran through their coastal Georgia neighborhood in February 2020."

"Indeed, the app’s UX design nudges people to choose a three hour 'limit'… This daily time limit setting pops up a notification to the user once their app activity hits their preferred limit, reminding them to be conscious of how much time they are spending on the app — and maybe making it easier for them to choose to quit out of the app voluntarily."

"A fire aboard a ship carrying cars in the mid-Atlantic is dying out, a Portuguese navy officer said Tuesday, and the huge vessel is expected to be towed to the Bahamas."

"As oil rapidly approaches $100 a barrel, JPMorgan warned Tuesday that a spike in energy prices and other ripple effects from the Russia-Ukraine crisis could hurt both the stock market and the economic recovery."

"Germany on Tuesday halted the certification of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline designed to bring natural gas from Russia directly to Europe, after Russian President Vladimir Putin recognized breakaway parts of eastern Ukraine and ordered troops into the region."

"Tesla says its company-backed insurance, now on the market in just five states, may reach 45 by the end of the year. GM, which revived its old GMAC insurance unit as OnStar Insurance in 2020, says it hopes to hit $6 billion in yearly insurance revenue by decade’s end."

"The Supreme Court on Tuesday agreed to take up the case of a graphic designer in Colorado who creates websites to celebrate weddings but does not want to work with same-sex couples out of religious objections."

"A clip of Eric Trump calling his father from the stage of a political rally has gone viral because of the former president’s somewhat lacklustre response to being told by his son that he loves him."

"What this all shows is that the primary focus of Trump's fundraising since leaving office is to benefit him -- not the Republican Party… The money Trump has doled out so far is an absolute pittance compared with how much he has raised. And while he has endorsed more than 100 candidates in the 2022 election cycle, he's proved far more willing to issue a statement of support than to, well, put his money where his mouth is."

"The Supreme Court said on Tuesday that it will not take up former President Donald Trump's case challenging the disclosure of his White House documents to the House January 6 investigation, a formal conclusion to his unsuccessful bid to keep those records secret."

Monday, February 21, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Feb 21

"On February 20, 1962, astronaut John H. Glenn became the first American to orbit the Earth during the three-orbit Mercury-Atlas 6 mission, aboard the spacecraft he named Friendship 7."

"As the new Lord of the Rings series gears up for its September launch on Amazon, the company finds itself navigating treacherous, if familiar, waters and has already triggered a fierce debate over race by introducing characters of color into JRR Tolkien’s fantasy world." More like Lord of the Eyeroll, amIright? I guess too many of Tolkien's fans are wed to the idea of the Southrons being the only "swarthy" people in Middle-Earth. It's hard to take these white-supremacists seriously. It's a story that includes dragons, elves, dwarves, hobbits, orcs, various demi-god like races and characters, and you're upset a few non-white people show up?

"Historically, Black cowboys have been largely forgotten when it comes to pop culture depictions of old-time cowboy culture — think John Wayne or the Marlboro Man. In reality, Black cowboys have always been an important part of cowboy history, as some estimates suggest that as many as 1 in 4 cowboys were Black."

"Midwestern soil is fertile because it typically freezes in the wintertime, halting microbes and other organisms that break down organic matter. But as winters get warmer, soils remain unfrozen for longer periods of time and begin to lose nutrient value… Warmer winters also mean precipitation is more likely to fall as rain rather than snow, which can quickly saturate the ground and create muddy conditions, said Dennis Todey, director of the USDA Midwest Climate Hub in Ames, Iowa."

"A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected for the first time in a backyard flock in Maine."

"An estimated 10 million men and boys have a diagnosed eating disorder - about a third of all reported cases, according to the National Eating Disorder Association. Yet because the condition is largely seen as a women’s health problem, men often struggle to find help."

"While the study found eating raw veggies could protect against heart disease, cooked vegetables did not. Any benefit went away when researchers factored in lifestyle factors such as physical activity, educational level, smoking, drinking, fruit intake, red and processed meat consumption, and use of mineral and vitamin supplements… 'Instead, our analyses show that the seemingly protective effect of vegetable intake against (cardio-vascular disease) risk is very likely to be accounted for by bias ... related to differences in socioeconomic situation and lifestyle,' Feng said." Well, maybe.

"So some states have picked up the banner and are creating their own public option plans. But they, too, are facing formidable opposition from the health care establishment, which is resisting the pressure to reduce costs on the back end so that consumers can pay less… Washington state, in its second year of offering the nation's first public option health insurance plan, has learned an important lesson: If you want hospitals to participate, you're probably going to have to force them."

"As the omicron surge continues to decline in the U.S., infectious disease experts are keeping a close eye on an even more contagious version of the variant that could once again foil the nation's hopes of getting back to normal… The virus, known as BA.2, is a strain of the highly contagious omicron variant that appears to spread even more easily — about 30% more easily."

"One person was killed and five other people were injured when an armed resident confronted protesters outside his home in Portland, Oregon, late Saturday… Police said some of the protesters were also armed, although they didn't make clear whether gunfire erupted from both sides of the confrontation."

"The liquidation market has more than doubled since 2008, reaching a whopping $644 billion in 2020, according to data from Colorado State University… But in 2021, a record 16.6% of all merchandise sold was returned, up from 10.6% in 2020, according to the National Retail Federation. For online purchases, the average rate of return was even higher, at 20.8%, up from 18% in 2020. Processing a return can cost retailers up to 66% of an item’s original price, according to returns solution company Optoro."

"Legendary investor Carl Icahn is known for his aggressive campaigns to shake up Corporate America. Now, he's leveraging his reputation to tackle an issue close to his heart: the welfare of pigs… McDonald's (MCD) said Sunday that Icahn had nominated two new directors to its board. The move 'relates to a narrow issue regarding the company's pork commitment,' the fast food chain said in a statement."

"The U.S. has intelligence that Russian commanders have received orders to proceed with an invasion of Ukraine, with commanders on the ground making specific plans for how they would maneuver in their sectors of the battlefield, a U.S. official told CBS News."

"The Russians and their proxies have used digital technology on the battlefield not only to assist artillery in rapidly acquiring and engaging targets, but also to disrupt communications and wage psychological warfare, like sending threatening text messages to soldiers. Beyond the front lines, Russian efforts have knocked out government websites and spread damaging disinformation in towns and cities across the country. Digital warfare has threatened more of Ukrainian society since 2021 than traditional munitions."

"Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison has accused China of shining a laser at one of its surveillance planes, referring to the incident as an 'act of intimidation'… Morrison told media on Monday that his government had not received an explanation from China over the incident that took place on February 17, which Australia considered 'dangerous and reckless'."

"America is growing more geographically polarized — red ZIP codes are getting redder and blue ZIP codes are becoming bluer. People appear to be sorting."

"Donald Trump’s Truth Social app has launched on Apple’s App Store today. Things don’t appear to be going very smoothly, however… Many of those downloading the app have been unable to use it, due to a variety of error messages when attempting to register an account." This makes it, what, their 3rd or 4th attempt at a social media site? (Grokked from John)

"Carone is one of a large cohort of pro-Trump Republican conspiracy theorists and election deniers running for public office this fall in Michigan, where his baseless claims about a stolen election continue to roil the political landscape… Among those candidates, Carone might be the best known nationally. In an affidavit from November 10, 2020 — six days after the AP called Michigan for Joe Biden — she alleged that some ballots were counted 4 or 5 times; that more than 100,000 ballots were then 'found' after vans dropped off food for the poll workers; that poll workers were filling out ballots on behalf of voters; and that her managers, who were responsible for overseeing the voting site where she was present and submitting the data, were incompetent… Carone, who was a Dominion Voting Systems contractor, failed to provide any proof for these claims."

"Fox News contributor Sara Carter has walked back her entirely fictitious claim about a woman dying after being trampled by a Canadian authority on horseback amid ongoing trucker-led protests… While the claim wasn’t accurate, the tweet was red-meat for her over 1.3 million conservative Twitter followers, who quickly amplified the baseless death as evidence of Canadian government wrongdoing."

Sunday, February 20, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Feb 20

"After a mild end to the weekend for many states, Old Man Winter will make a comeback as we start off the new workweek… 'Temperatures will be 10 to 20 degrees below average over the northern tier states by Monday morning,' the Weather Prediction Center said Saturday."

"Enter neuromorphic computing, a closer match to the design principles and physics of our brains that could become the energy-saving future of AI. Instead of shuttling data over long distances between a central processing unit and memory chips, neuromorphic designs imitate the architecture of the jelly-like mass in our heads, with computing units (neurons) placed next to memory (stored in the synapses that connect neurons). To make them even more brain-like, researchers combine neuromorphic chips with analog computing, which can process continuous signals, just like real neurons. The resulting chips are vastly different from the current architecture and computing mode of digital-only computers that rely on binary signal processing of 0s and 1s." Except that the neuromorphic chip is still controlled by a standard digital processor and it's that digital processor that is modulating it's expectations to match the neuromorphic chip's functionality.

"'Within seconds we realized, oh my God, a pack of killer whales is attacking a blue whale,' Totterdell, who is lead researcher for the Cetacean Research Centre in Australia, told NPR."

"A highly pathogenic avian influenza has been detected in a non-commercial backyard flock of birds on Long Island in New York, federal authorities confirmed Saturday."

"A proposed 2-mile-long bridge across the New River in downtown Fort Lauderdale, Florida, would cut through a historic Black community and hamper its redevelopment if approved, city officials say." Same tune, only with more handwringing.

"There may be plenty of reasons to confirm President Joe Biden’s nominees to the Federal Reserve, but economists say concern that the central bank won’t act to rein in inflation shouldn’t be among them… It is virtually guaranteed that the Fed will hike interest rates next month to combat rising prices even if Sarah Bloom Raskin, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson are yet to be confirmed by the Senate, according to three economists who spoke with CNBC."

"After making more than 100 arrests on Friday, interim Ottawa Police Chief Steve Bell said 47 more arrests were made on Saturday and that the total stands at 170. The police department also said 53 vehicles had been towed and 22 license plates seized."

"Russia extended military drills near Ukraine’s northern borders Sunday amid increased fears that two days of sustained shelling along the contact line between soldiers and Russa-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine could spark an invasion."

"The former boss of a French model agency accused of rape and under investigation on suspicion of supplying underage girls to the late American financier Jeffrey Epstein has been found dead in prison."

"Mainstream journalists keep falling for crypto scams that can end up costing their audiences a fortune. On this week’s On the Media, hear why all of us might want to become at least a bit literate in crypto-technology. Plus, the story of an American pundit living in Moscow, who’s being paid to be Russian TV’s favorite punching bag."

"The race was already on the political radar for Democrats and for Republicans, who see the South Texas congressional district as a potential pickup opportunity, when an FBI raid of Cuellar's home and office last month added another element to the contest. He has denied wrongdoing."

Friday, February 18, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Feb 18

"U.S. military pilot Gail S. Halvorsen — known as the 'Candy Bomber' for his candy airdrops during the Berlin airlift after World War II ended — has died at age 101." Stands and salutes.

"Millions of people have been told to stay at home as Storm Eunice brings disruption and record gusts to the UK… High winds have led to power cuts, flights cancellations, hundreds of schools closures, and blanket travel warnings across the country."

"George Takei dedicated the money he received from the federal government to the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles. Now, he's a passionate supporter of redress for descendants of enslaved people in the U.S."

"The US Department of Agriculture (USDA) today announced that tests have confirmed highly pathogenic avian flu in poultry in two more states, involving a commercial broiler farm in Kentucky and a backyard facility in Virginia."

"The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday that it is investigating certain powdered infant formula following four customer reports of children contracting serious infections… In a news release, the FDA said infections stemming from the bacterium Cronobacter sakazakii and the strain Salmonella Newport have been linked to powdered infant formula produced in Abbott Nutrition’s Sturgis, Michigan, facility."

"Malawi has declared an outbreak of polio after a young child in the country’s capital, Lilongwe, developed the disease in the first case of the wild polio virus in Africa in more than five years."

"Six African countries – Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Tunisia – will be the first on the continent to receive the technology needed to produce their own mRNA vaccines from a scheme headed by the World Health Organization."

"Amazon workers in New York will vote on unionization next month, as the company now faces two potentially groundbreaking union elections at once."

"Ford’s Mustang Mach-E, the automaker’s bold bet to lead its transformation into selling more electric vehicles, replaced the Tesla Model 3 as Consumer Reports’ 'Top Pick' for an electric vehicle in 2022… The designation is further validation of CEO Jim Farley’s belief Ford can not only compete with Tesla but also beat Elon Musk when it comes to EVs."

"A ship carrying cars from Germany to the United States caught fire in the Atlantic Ocean on Wednesday, forcing the crew's 22 members to abandon the vessel and leave it burning and adrift."

"Police began arresting protesters Friday in a bid to break the three-week siege of Canada’s capital by truckers angry over the country’s Covid-19 restrictions… Some protesters surrendered and were taken into custody, police said. Some were seen being led away in handcuffs."

"Police arrested organizers Tamara Lich and Chris Barber around Parliament Hill, but officers were not moving in force on the demonstrators. Police took Lich into custody late Thursday."

"Spiking tensions in eastern Ukraine on Friday aggravated Western fears of a Russian invasion and a new war on the edge of Europe, with a humanitarian convoy hit by shelling and pro-Russian rebels ordering the evacuation of civilians from the conflict zone."

"With 150,000 Russian troops circling Ukraine's borders and U.S. officials warning that a major invasion could take place any day, President Biden has signaled to the American public that it, too, may feel effects if Russia chooses to invade Ukraine."

"A Texas grand jury indicted 19 Austin police officers on charges of aggravated assault with a deadly weapon for their actions during 2020 protests over racial injustice that spread nationwide following the killing of George Floyd, according to people familiar with the matter."

You're going on the list! "The U.S. added Chinese messaging platform WeChat and online marketplace AliExpress to its list of notorious markets for counterfeiting and piracy, an annual compilation of the worst intellectual-property abusers and counterfeiters."

"The Senate voted 65-27 Thursday evening to approve a stop-gap spending bill to fund the government through March 11… The short-term punt is intended to buy lawmakers time to work out a more all-encompassing spending agreement that would fund the government through the end of the fiscal year on Sept. 30. Top negotiators on the House and Senate Appropriations Committees say they have reached an agreement on a spending framework that will need broader approval in the coming weeks."

"'Donald Trump doesn’t fit that model,' (NY Supreme Court Judge Arthur) Engoron flatly declared. 'He’s not being discriminated against based on race, is he? Or religion, is he? He’s not a protected class,' the judge added… 'If Ms. James has a thing against him, OK, that’s not in my understanding [of] unlawful discrimination. He’s just a bad guy she should go after as the chief law enforcement officer of the state.'" The judge is having none of it.

"Trump’s lawyers are almost certain to appeal Judge Arthur Engoron’s ruling Thursday that Trump and his two eldest children, Ivanka and Donald Trump Jr., have 21 days to comply with a subpoena seeking their testimony in a probe by New York Attorney General Letitia James… Barring a successful legal challenge, Trump would face a decision between answering questions under oath or remaining silent and invoking his Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination — a tactic he has equated with evidence of guilt."

"Former President Donald Trump's attorney Alina Habba asked a lawyer from New York Attorney General Tish James' office whether they would 'go after Hillary Clinton' in a hearing about whether the former president should be forced to sit for a deposition about his company's finances." Seriously bad lawyering.

"The House Oversight Committee is asking the General Services Administration to consider terminating the lease for the Trump International Hotel in Washington, DC, before the former president's business can sell it, in light of allegations that the Trump Organization submitted false financial statements to the federal government." That's gonna leave a mark.

Thursday, February 17, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Feb 17

"'The Souq El Blat is the heartbeat of the medina,' proclaims Mourad Boughanmi, a medicinal herb seller in this historic quarter of Tunis. Indeed, for centuries, its herbs have sustained the bodies of people living here. Bundles of wild thyme, sage, poppy, garlic and eucalyptus have lined the walls of this shadowy souq for at least 700 years." (Grokked from Teri Windling)

"Rio de Janeiro state's government has confirmed 94 deaths from floods and mudslides that swept away homes and cars in the city of Petropolis. But even as families prepared to bury their dead, it was unclear Thursday how many bodies remained trapped in the mud."

"Four major oil companies aren't taking concrete steps to live up to their pledges to transition to clean energy, new research has found… The study, published Wednesday in the journal PLOS One, found that Chevron, ExxonMobil, BP and Shell used terms like 'climate,' 'low-carbon' and 'transition' more frequently in recent annual reports and devised strategies around decarbonization. But their actions on clean energy were mostly pledges and the companies remain financially reliant on fossil fuels." Well, see, they're scheduling the meeting to talk about the meeting where they'll propose the conference that will probably launch their new initiative. Or at least outline a possible future path.

"The parents accused of abducting a six-year-old girl who was found in a stairwell earlier this week took her while her sister was at school, police said… Paislee Shultis was found alive in a sealed area under a wooden staircase of her grandfather's home in Saugerties, New York, on Tuesday."

"The remains of a miniboat launched by New Hampshire middle schoolers have been discovered by a sixth-grade student in Norway, 462 days and more than 8,300 miles later."

"Dozens of papers have examined the lingering mental health effects of COVID-19, but many have measured conditions such as depression and brain fog only a few months after infection. Now, a giant new study shows people who contracted COVID-19 faced substantially higher risks of neuropsychiatric ailments 1 year later, including brain fog, depression, and substance use disorders. The report, based on millions of people who used the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) health system early in the pandemic, is published today in The BMJ."

"Due to 'recent trends and regulatory guidance,' Disney said its California and Florida resorts will begin easing health and safety protocols. Disney World and Disneyland do not require proof of vaccination to enter… However, the company said that guests who are not fully vaccinated must continue to wear their face coverings in all indoor locations, such as indoor attractions and theaters." Good luck with that.

"Tesla CEO Elon Musk accused the Securities and Exchange Commission of harassment in a calculated effort to “chill” his right to free speech in its oversight of his communications with shareholders as part of a 2018 agreement that settled civil securities charges against the billionaire." No, Elon, as the CEO of your company you have to control yourself. You have to behave and not defraud your investors. It's called "being an adult."

"Walmart Chief Financial Officer Brett Biggs said shoppers aren’t trading down to cheaper brands, buying smaller packs or skipping over discretionary items — but said they are paying attention to rising prices… 'We haven’t seen any marked changes at this point in how they’re shopping,' he said in a Thursday interview with CNBC. But, he added, 'we do know, we’ve seen and we heard through our own studies that people are certainly focused on inflation and they’re seeing that in their daily lives.'"

"New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy and the state's NAACP chapter are expressing concern about police officers' response to a fight between two teenagers at a local mall. In video captured of the fight, two officers are seen pinning down and handcuffing a Black teenager while the other teenager sat and watched from a nearby couch, CBS New York reports."

Who is white? "The federal government officially categorizes people with origins in Lebanon, Iran, Egypt and other countries in the MENA region as white… But that racial identity has not matched the discrimination in housing, at work and through other parts of daily life that many say they have faced."

"The Pensacola Police Department says it has launched an internal affairs investigation after parents say a child was hurt while in police custody following last week's police-involved shooting."

"Cross-examination of Tou Thao got tense Wednesday as the ex-officer snapped at the prosecutor for asking why he didn't tell Derek Chauvin to get off George Floyd's neck and back during the 9 minutes and 29 seconds… 'I think I would trust a 19-year veteran to figure it out,' Thao said on the stand."

"Officials from the U.S. and NATO say they have not seen a major withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine's borders, despite the announcement this week by President Vladimir Putin that Russian military officials had ordered some troops to return to their home bases." This is my shocked face.

"Secretary of State Antony Blinken, in a dramatic appearance at the United Nations, shared a grim assessment Thursday of what Russian forces could do to Ukraine if the Kremlin launched an invasion… 'We don’t know precisely how things will play out. But here’s what the world could expect to see unfold. In fact, it’s unfolding right now,' Blinken began in his address to the UN Security Council." Bang a gong.

"U.S. President Joe Biden warned Thursday that Russia could still invade Ukraine within days and Russia expelled the No. 2 diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow, as tensions flared anew in the worst East-West standoff in decades."

"A showdown appeared to be shaping up in Ottawa's nearly three-week siege by truckers protesting the country's COVID-19 restrictions as police in the capital warned drivers on Wednesday to leave immediately or risk arrest… The big rigs parked outside Parliament represented the movement's last stronghold after demonstrators abandoned their sole remaining truck blockade along the U.S. border."

"Nearly 16,000 federal student loan borrowers who were misled by for-profit colleges will have $415 million in debts erased, according to the U.S. Department of Education. These borrowers — who attended DeVry University, ITT Technical Institute and other schools — will receive relief through a legal provision known as borrower defense, which promises loan relief for defrauded borrowers."

"The party’s brand is so toxic in the small towns 100 miles northeast of Pittsburgh that some liberals have removed bumper stickers and yard signs and refuse to acknowledge their party affiliation publicly. These Democrats are used to being outnumbered by the local Republican majority, but as their numbers continue to dwindle, the few that remain are feeling increasingly isolated and unwelcome in their own communities." It's not the party's brand that is toxic, it's the behavior of conservatives.

"To listen to conservative media over the past five days, you would think there was now smoking gun evidence that Hillary Clinton's campaign was guilty of illegally spying on Donald Trump." They call some outlets "mainstream media", but Fox, Newsmax, OANN and the rest could be called the "misinformation media."

"Former U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke misused his position to advance a development project in his Montana hometown and failed to disclose details of his involvement when questioned by ethics officials, a federal investigation has found." Until people are prosecuted or punished for violating the rules, this will continue.

Tuesday, February 15, 2022

Linkee-poo Tuesday Feb 15

"Even though most mines in the U.K. have closed, their centuries-old story isn’t necessarily over. In Scotland, work is underway to look at how the water that has flooded old, disused mines can be used to provide decarbonized heating to buildings."

"Across the West, widespread drought has left elk, deer and even wild turkeys hungry and in poor condition — even a bit desperate… Wild elk are even attacking farmers’ haystacks in Washington and Oregon. Record snow across much of the Northwest’s mountains has driven animals down to the lowlands — in gangs. And climate scientists say things may only get worse in the future." Oh noes, gangs of animals (puts on the soundtrack to West Side Story). Actually, it is a serious problem, for both animal and human.

"The Western U.S. and Northern Mexico are experiencing their driest period in at least 1,200 years, according to the new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. The last comparable – though not as severe – multi-decade megadrought occurred in the 1500s, when the West was still largely inhabited by American Indian tribes."

"Farms that raise turkeys and chickens for meat and eggs are on high alert and taking steps to increase biosecurity, fearing a repeat of a widespread bird flu outbreak in 2015 that killed 50 million birds across 15 states and cost the federal government nearly $1 billion… The new fear is driven by the discovery announced Feb. 9 of the virus infecting a commercial turkey flock in Indiana. The 29,000 turkeys in the flock were killed to prevent the spread of the virus."

"Last September, Tennessee's Board of Medical Examiners unanimously adopted a statement that said doctors spreading COVID misinformation — such as suggesting that vaccines contain microchips — could jeopardize their license to practice medicine… But before any Tennessee physicians could be reprimanded for spreading falsehoods about covid-19 vaccines or treatments, there was blowback: Republican politicians threatened to disband the medical board."

"COVID-19 booster doses are largely holding up against the ultratransmissible omicron variant, despite the fact that protection inevitably wanes over time, according to a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention… Still, with the boosters' inevitable waning and omicron's ability to dodge some immune responses, fourth doses may be needed in the future to sustain or improve protection against COVID-19, the study authors note."

"An unruly passenger on a flight bound from Los Angeles to Washington, D.C., tried to open the door of the aircraft on Sunday, causing the plane to divert to Kansas City, Mo… The passenger, who also tried to rush the cockpit, attempted to open the forward passenger door before a flight attendant used a coffeepot to subdue the individual, according to a spokesperson for the Association of Professional Flight Attendants."

"The producer price index, which measures final demand goods and services, increased 1% for the month, against the Dow Jones estimate for 0.5%. Over the past 12 months the gauge rose an unadjusted 9.7%, close to a record in data going back to 2010… Excluding food, energy and trade services, co-called core PPI climbed 0.9% for the month, well ahead of the 0.4% estimate. For the 12-month period, the measure increased 6.9%. Both core and headline PPI gains over the year were 0.1 percentage point lower than the record levels hit in December 2021."

"Now that it's 2022 — and China's deadline to buy boatloads of American-made stuff has passed — Bown recently crunched the numbers to see how much China ended up actually buying. 'In the end,' Bown says, 'China actually bought none of the additional $200 billion of exports that it promised in the agreement.'… But it's actually worse than that. While China did ramp up its purchases of U.S. agricultural products, when it comes to buying U.S. products and services overall, it still hasn't even returned to buying the amount of stuff it had bought from America before the trade war began." This is my shocked face. Also, that's not the only bad news.

"Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre have reached an out-of-court settlement in her sexual abuse lawsuit against him, according to a court document filed by Giuffre's attorneys Tuesday… The parties anticipate filing a stipulation of dismissal of the case within 30 days, according to the letter addressed to federal Judge Lewis Kaplan… The sum of the settlement will not be disclosed, the letter says."

"Police in Albuquerque arrested a man suspected of stabbing 11 people as he rode a bicycle around the city over the weekend, leaving two victims critically injured, authorities said."

"Like many of the women, Xu was there to freeze her ovarian eggs. But unlike the others, she was unmarried and went alone — which didn't go over well… The public hospital refused to have her eggs frozen, citing its rule allowing only married women to do so… Xu is suing the Beijing Obstetrics and Gynecology Hospital at Capital Medical University, arguing that no national law says a woman must be married to have the procedure. She filed suit in October 2019 and has gone to court hearings, but is still awaiting a decision."

"Relatives of nine victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting have reached a settlement with Remington, the maker of the rifle used in the massacre, marking the first time a gun manufacturer has been held liable for a mass shooting in the United States… The families won $73 million in the settlement, according to the Associated Press. It comes after a protracted legal battle over how the gunmaker marketed its firearm."

"A federal judge announced Monday afternoon that he would dismiss former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin's defamation lawsuit against The New York Times, saying her legal team had failed to reach the high standards required for public figures to make their case."

"Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday that he is invoking the Emergencies Act, which gives the Canadian government the authority to take steps to 'restore order' amid the blockades by truckers and others protesting the country's COVID-19 restrictions… 'These blockades are illegal, and if you are still participating the time to go home is now,' Trudeau told reporters after a virtual meeting with province leaders, The Associated Press reported."

"U.S. intelligence officials on Tuesday accused a conservative financial news website with a significant American readership of amplifying Kremlin propaganda and alleged five media outlets targeting Ukrainians have taken direction from Russian spies."

"German Chancellor Olaf Scholz met with Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in Kyiv on Monday, pledging solidarity with that country amid fears of a Russian invasion… Speaking at a news conference with his counterpart, Scholz said Ukraine's sovereignty is non-negotiable, adding that he expects Russia to take clear steps to deescalate tensions."

"Weeks ahead of the state's March 1 primary, local election officials in Texas are sending mail-in ballots back to thousands of voters who had turned them in, citing issues with ID requirements created by the state's controversial new voting law… In Harris County — Texas' largest county, which is home to Houston — election officials said they'd received 6,548 mail-in ballots as of Saturday and had returned almost 2,500 — nearly 38% — for correction because of an incorrect ID." So you're saying the law is working as intended.

"Mazars USA, the longtime accounting firm for the Trump Organization, former President Donald Trump's family business, ended its relationship with the company last week and called into question the trustworthiness of a decade's worth of financial statements prepared for the Trump Organization."

Monday, February 14, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Feb 14

Ivan Reitman, and so it goes.

"Russia’s top diplomat advised President Vladimir Putin on Monday to keep talking with the West on Moscow’s security demands, a signal from the Kremlin that it intends to continue diplomatic efforts amid U.S. warnings of an imminent Russian invasion of Ukraine." What is Vlad's preoccupation with long tables?

"White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said Sunday that Russia's ramp-up of forces around Ukraine over the past few days indicates Russian President Vladimir Putin could give an order for military action 'essentially at any time.'"

"NASA has detected the most energetic light ever seen on Jupiter and, in the process, solved a 30-year-old mystery."

"Oil prices have been climbing ever since the global economy started to recover from Covid-19. Now, as the United States warns that Russia could imminently invade Ukraine, they're pushing even higher." Hey, remember when oil was over $130 a barrel during the GW Bush administration? Good times, eh?

"A 79-year-old man is finally expected to stand trial this week, eight years after he fatally shot a man who was texting in a Florida movie theater."

"Donald Trump has endorsed rightwing Republican candidates who support his baseless claims of a stolen election for key posts in Michigan, raising the prospect of a Trumpist takeover of how the key battleground state might run its elections… Trump and his allies are backing numerous candidates in the coming midterm elections across the US, including in other vital states like Arizona and Georgia."

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Feb 13

"However, it turns out we were all wrong. A Falcon 9 rocket is not going to, in fact, strike the Moon next month. Instead, it's probably a Chinese rocket."

"U.S. District Judge James Cain of the Western District of Louisiana sided with Republican attorneys general from energy producing states who said the administration’s action to raise the cost estimate of carbon emissions threatened to drive up energy costs while decreasing state revenues from energy production."

"Wilson, 65, contracted the virus in November 2020. Her illness, she said, was mild, and she was feeling ready to go back to work as a nurse in St. Louis by early December… That's when her heart problems began… Fortunately, Wilson was not having a heart attack. But she did develop long-term heart problems, including high blood pressure, putting her at risk for further cardiovascular issues… Despite her age, she had no prior medical history to suggest she was at risk for heart disease — other than Covid-19."

"By the thousands, Americans have been seeking religious exemptions in order to circumvent COVID-19 vaccine mandates, but generally they are doing so without the encouragement of major denominations and prominent religious leaders."

"Based in Birmingham, Alabama, O'Neal employs about 100 people at its Ambridge factory about 25 miles outside Pittsburgh. Cassida said the plant usually manages to fill positions, although he noted that now an unusually high number of applicants never shows up for interviews or respond to job offers. Existing workers, meanwhile, are more likely to leave for higher pay, or they stop showing up for their shifts."

"Although the $46.5 billion Emergency Rental Assistance Program has paid out tens of billions of dollars to help avert an eviction crisis, some tenants, like King, who received help are finding themselves threatened with eviction again — sometimes days after getting federal help. Many are finding it nearly impossible to find another affordable place to live."

"The Ambassador Bridge, the busiest border crossing between the U.S. and Canada, has moved an important step closer to reopening after police cleared and arrested a lingering group of protesters demonstrating against COVID-19 vaccine mandates… Police in Windsor, Ontario, the Canadian municipality just across the bridge from Detroit, said early Sunday that 'arrests [were] being made' and 'vehicles [were] being towed.' They urged the public to avoid the area of the bridge."

"The mayor of an upscale city outside Cleveland is making headlines again for a remark at a recent City Council meeting that allowing ice fishing shanties on a city lake could lead to prostitution." Someone seems to have a fixation.

"The U.S. government suspended all imports of Mexican avocados 'until further notice' after a U.S. plant safety inspector in Mexico received a threatening message, Mexico’s Agriculture Department said in a statement." Avocado production has been infiltrated by some of the Mexican drug cartels.

"A former U.S. Air Force staff sergeant and alleged member of the "boogaloo" extremist movement pleaded guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of a federal security officer in the San Francisco Bay Area amid large 2020 protests against police brutality." The lunatic right-wing using the cover of left-wing protests to commit crimes.

Trolling… "Clinton highlighted the latest merchandise being offered by her nonprofit Onward Together — a cap sporting the phrase 'But Her Emails' — in an Instagram post and tweet on Friday."

"A federal cybersecurity agency is reviewing a report that alleges security vulnerabilities in voting machines used by Georgia and other states and says the document shouldn’t be made public until the agency has had time to assess and mitigate potential risks."

Friday, February 11, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday Feb 11

"A Chicago grandmother was rescued from a 17-hour hostage ordeal after police were alerted for the unlikeliest of reasons: a missing solution to the day's Wordle challenge… Denyse Holt, 80, was alone at home in Illinois on 5 February when a naked and mentally ill suspect entered her home… Her daughter in faraway Seattle noticed something was amiss when Ms Holt failed to send her daily Wordle."

"A Russian athlete is once again at the center of a doping scandal — one that has embroiled the Winter Olympics in Beijing… According to a statement released by the International Testing Agency, star Russian figure skater Kamila Valieva took a doping test on Dec. 25 and later tested positive for a performance-enhancing heart medication." Oopsie.

"Scientists have built a school of robotic fish powered by human heart cells… The fish, which swim on their own, show how lab-grown heart tissue can be designed to maintain a rhythmic beat indefinitely, a team reports in the journal Science." Heart muscle, a hybrid of skeletal and smooth muscle, can sustain beating by themselves without external nerve stimulation.

"SpaceX CEO Elon Musk spoke for over an hour Thursday night in a hotly anticipated discussion about Starship, which the company hopes will one day take humans to Mars and that will play a key role in NASA's plans to return humans to the moon for the first time in a half century. Still, not many new details were shared." Why announce this now without any details? Because Thursday morning… "The state of California' Department of Fair Employment and Housing is suing Elon Musk's company Tesla over racism and harassment toward Black employees at their plant in Fremont, Calif., according to a lawsuit filed by the state this week." And there's nothing new at Tesla to promote.

"The Biden administration’s effort over the past month to develop a new Covid-19 strategy has sparked an internal debate about how far to go in lifting mitigation measures like masks and how to know when the country is entering that new phase of the pandemic."

"Almost a third (32 of every 100) of older adults infected with covid-19 in 2020 developed at least one new condition that required medical attention in the months after initial infection, 11 more than those who did not have covid-19, finds a US study published by The BMJ on February 9, 2022… Conditions involved a range of major organs and systems, including the heart, kidneys, lungs, and liver as well as mental health complications."

"The head of Indianapolis-based insurance company OneAmerica said the death rate is up a stunning 40% from pre-pandemic levels among working-age people… Davison said the increase in deaths represents 'huge, huge numbers,' and that’s it’s not elderly people who are dying, but 'primarily working-age people 18 to 64' who are the employees of companies that have group life insurance plans through OneAmerica." (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

"The study bolsters evidence from small case reports and it confirms that placenta damage rather than an infection of the fetus is the likely cause of many COVID-19-related stillbirths, said Dr. Jeffery Goldstein, a pathologist at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine."

"Russia is massing yet more troops near Ukraine and an invasion could come at any time, perhaps before the end of this month's Winter Olympics, Washington said on Friday."

"The U.S. isn't planning a military operation to help its citizens leave Ukraine, President Biden says, and they should do so on their own. 'American citizens should leave now,' Biden said as Russia amasses a military force around its neighbor."

"President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Friday to create a pathway to split $7 billion in Afghan assets frozen in the U.S. to fund humanitarian relief in Afghanistan and to create a trust fund to compensate Sept. 11 victims."

"Federal lawmakers are calling for an inquiry into the Interior Department's handling of a contract that was awarded to a former administrator to review deaths at tribal jails, nearly half of which happened on his watch… It comes after NPR and the Mountain West News Bureau published a story earlier this week that found the department's former top cop, Darren Cruzan, and his company, landed an $83,000 contract to review 16 in-custody deaths at tribal detention centers overseen by the Interior Department's Bureau of Indian Affairs."

"The Biden administration urged Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government Thursday to use its federal powers to end the truck blockade by Canadians protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions, as the bumper-to-bumper demonstration forced auto plants on both sides of the border to shut down or scale back production."

"The Canadian Superior Court of Justice issued an order halting access to funds collected via the GiveSendGo website, Canadian outlet Global News reports. Protesters had raised millions via "Freedom Convoy 2022" and 'Adopt-a-Trucker' campaigns on the site, but government officials in Ontario asked the court to stop organizers from accessing and doling out those funds, a request that was granted Thursday, Ivana Yelich, a spokeswoman for the office of the Premier of Ontario, told the outlet."

"The Department of Homeland Security says it has received reports that truck drivers who are protesting vaccine mandates will block roads in major cities in the coming weeks. The protests could potentially affect the Super Bowl in Los Angeles on Sunday and the State of the Union address in Washington, D.C., on March 1, according to an internal memo from DHS obtained by NPR."