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

Friday, June 24, 2022

Linkee-poo Friday June 24

"The U.S. Supreme Court officially reversed Roe v. Wade on Friday, declaring that the constitutional right to abortion upheld for nearly a half century, no longer exists… Writing for the court majority, Justice Samuel Alito said that the 1973 Roe ruling and repeated subsequent high court decisions reaffirming Roe 'must be overruled' because they were 'egregiously wrong,' the arguments 'exceptionally weak' and so 'damaging' that they amounted to 'an abuse of judicial authority.'" Whelp, here we are. I would expect that for those state legislatures that are still in session who have not previously affirmed a right to an abortion will have legislation banning abortions by the end of the day. Those legislatures out of session will have a call for an "emergency" session by Monday. Next up, gay marriage and interracial marriage.

"The Mercury-bound probe BepiColombo has taken its second look at its target planet today during a superclose flyby designed to slow the spacecraft down and adjust its trajectory."

"Bacteria typically live out their teeny-tiny lives in the microscopic realm, but now scientists have found a gargantuan one the size and shape of a human eyelash… The new find is 'by far the largest bacteria known to date,' says Jean-Marie Volland of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Laboratory for Research in Complex Systems. 'These bacteria are about 5,000 times larger than most bacteria.'"

"A bunch of small but hungry bugs might hold the key to saving the planet thanks to their uncanny ability to devour polystyrene — the material behind plastic foam. These so-called 'superworms' could one day help rid landfills of this waste and thus put a dent in one of the drivers of global warming."

"Media coverage of climate change can influence Americans to adopt more accurate beliefs about the environment, but the information doesn't stay with them for long, according to a new report… After reading accurate articles about climate change, Americans may see it more as a problem that impacts them and lean toward supporting the government's climate change policies… But those changes are quickly reversed when participants are exposed to articles that doubted climate change." Or, disinformation works because they've been priming that well for 50 years.

"Nearly 20 million lives were saved by COVID-19 vaccines during their first year, but even more deaths could have been prevented if international targets for the shots had been reached, researchers reported Thursday."

"The union representing United Airlines pilots has approved a tentative deal that would give the aviators pay raises of more than 14%, making it the first major U.S. carrier to reach a deal since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic and setting the bar for the rest of the industry… The agreement comes as the airline and others grapple with a shortage of pilots, which some carriers say have forced them to trim flight schedules."

"United Nations human rights workers documented over 200 cases of enforced disappearances of civilians between February, when the Russians launched their invasion, and late May. Mainly the perpetrators are Russian military or affiliated armed groups."

"U.S. artistic swimmer Anita Alvarez was finishing her routine in the solo free final at the World Aquatics Championships on Wednesday when the two-time Olympian suddenly sank to the bottom of the pool, unconscious."

"After passing a nearly $3 billion plan that would extend pandemic school meal waivers through the summer and next school year, the House will have to vote on the bill a second time after the Senate sent it back with changes… Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., blocked the bill in the Senate, urging lawmakers to bring back the 'reduced price' category of the National School Lunch Program." Fuck Rand Paul.

"The National Labor Relations Board is asking a court to reinstate seven Starbucks workers who were allegedly fired illegally because they were involved in union organizing… If approved by a judge, the NLRB filing would allow the former Starbucks employees, who worked at multiple Buffalo, N.Y. locations, to return to work while anti-union allegations against Starbucks are heard in court, a process that can take months. The case is set to be heard on July 11."

"The Department of Education said Thursday that it plans to reinstate Title IX regulations tossed out by the Trump administration. Proposed changes would combat sexual discrimination in schools by boosting victim protections and modifying language to include sexual orientation and gender identity for LGBTQI+ students."

"The Biden administration has agreed to cancel an estimated $6 billion in federal student loan debt for about 200,000 borrowers who have claimed they were defrauded by their college… The administration had previously approved $25 billion in loan forgiveness for 1.3 million borrowers. Around 43 million Americans have federal student loan debt."

"The court's ruling will cut back on an individual's protections against self-incrimination by barring the potential to obtain damages. It also means that the failure to administer the warning will not expose a law enforcement officer to potential damages in a civil lawsuit. It will not impact, however, the exclusion of such evidence at a criminal trial."

"Marianne lives with her partner, two dogs, and two sons — Eli, age 11, and toddler Charlie. She says she feels at peace with her life, but admits she sometimes wonders about how it might have turned out differently — if she'd made a different decision, more than a decade ago." Two sisters, and how choices are made, secrecy ties our hands, and what we all stand to lose.

"Three months after the ruble's value fell to less than a U.S. penny amid the toughest economic sanctions imposed on a country in modern history, Russia's currency has mounted a stunning turnaround. The ruble has jumped 40% against the dollar since January." This is the illusion of fractions. The ruble is still worth less than 2 pennies. When it's that far down, even minor changes can make a "big" impact (in percentages). But just to be clear here, we're still talking about a difference that in the US is a rounding error and cause to use the "take a penny, leave a penny" tray. And that "improvement" comes at a stiff long term cost.

"However, Herschmann noted that the pardon Gaetz was angling for may have been intended to also protect him from the sex trafficking investigation swirling around him." Matty, maybe you want to sit this one out. Jordan, you too.

"A handful of House Republicans who strategized with Donald Trump about overturning the 2020 election hotly denied seeking pardons after the Jan. 6 select committee released testimony Thursday stating they’d pursued clemency from the former president after the Capitol attack… Several top Trump aides during the post-Jan. 6 period, including special assistant Cassidy Hutchinson and aide Johnny McEntee, described outreach to White House officials from multiple members of Congress seeking clemency: Reps. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.), Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), Scott Perry (R-Pa.), Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) and Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.)."

"In a clip of the documentary from filmmaker Alex Holder, which was obtained by CNN, Pence reacts to an email he is shown by a member of his staff. The documentary says the then-vice president was shown a draft of the House resolution demanding that Pence invoke the 25th Amendment to remove Trump from power… But a Pence spokesman said that characterization was false. 'In the documentary, Vice President Pence was reacting to a confirmation that his letter was sent to Speaker Pelosi rejecting her ploy to invoke 25th amendment,' the Pence spokesman said."

"'Just say it was corrupt and leave the rest to me and the Republican congressmen,' former President Trump said, according to testimony Thursday from Richard Donoghue, former acting deputy attorney general, in the fifth Jan. 6 committee hearing… Donoghue, who took contemporaneous notes on that conversation, and several others with the former president, emphasized that it was an "exact" quote. Trump made the remarks in the transition period between the 2020 presidential election he lost and the Jan. 6 insurrection."

"Trump planned to install a new acting attorney general, Jeffrey Clark, to help spread his false claim that President Joe Biden’s electoral victory was rigged through widespread fraud, the committee said… Three ex-DOJ officials — former acting Attorney General Jeffrey Rosen, former acting Deputy Attorney General Richard Donoghue and former assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel Steven Engel — said they threatened to resign over the scheme and said hundreds of others would do the same."

"Skeptics call the Congressional hearings on the January 6th siege of the U.S. Capitol show business. On Fox News, critics call them 'show trials.'… Yet the House select committee investigating the attack is achieving something rare on Capitol Hill: Hearings that are surprisingly tangible, understandable, and substantive instead of the typical Congressional ping-pong match of clashes, arguments and even more arguments about whose turn it is to argue." You mean not having conservatives on the committee who's sole purpose is disruption and obfuscation might actually mean work is getting done?

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