There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Sunday, August 28, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday August 28

"The Inkubator is Literary Cleveland’s free annual festival for writers and readers. Generate new writing, improve your craft, and advance your career." Full disclosure, I know some of the presenters and panelists.

"Book publishers just spent 3 weeks in court arguing they have no idea what they’re doing."

Mur Lafferty and Alasdair Stuart talk about the trial and some of the brouhaha surrounding it on the Ditch Diggers podcast.

"While no humans will be aboard NASA's Artemis I mission, the Orion spacecraft won't be empty. Snoopy, Girl Scout badges, LEGO minifigures and tree seeds are just some of the thousands of mementos that will be aboard when the mission launches Monday."

"Authorities in Nebraska are trying to determine who released 16 million gallons of water by opening a dam on an irrigation channel one night this month — and why."

"The rule, issued by the California Air Resources Board, will require that 100 percent of all new cars sold in the state by 2035 be free of the fossil fuel emissions chiefly responsible for warming the planet, up from 12 percent today. It sets interim targets requiring that 35 percent of new passenger vehicles sold in the state by 2026 produce zero emissions. That would climb to 68 percent by 2030." Why hasn't Arizona gone solar?

"The race now is for automakers to increase the production of electric vehicles, but that alone won't be enough… Analysts say the industry faces several challenges in ending sales of gas-powered cars by 2035." A really bad piece of reporting by NPR. The first problem they point to is "The average price of an electric vehicle is currently $66,000 — well beyond the means of many people." This is a industry talking point. The base model Ford Lightning comes in at $48,000 ($40,000 with the tax benefit). The base model Chevy Bolt comes in at $30,000. And the base model of the Nissan Leaf is about the same. Are these cheap? No. And this doesn't include the electrical work your house might need (if older), but that $60,000 figure is including a class of cars that are now out of the range of the average buyer. As for their other concerns, yes, those were true… five years ago. This is a press release for the gasoline car industry.

"Today, a paper is being published that appears to offer a low price combined with a big boost in several of those measures. The aluminum-sulfur batteries it describes offer low-priced raw materials, competitive size, and more capacity per weight than lithium-ion—with the big plus of fully charging cells in far less than a minute. The one obvious problem it has right now is that it needs to be at 90° C (nearly the boiling point of water) to work." (Grokked from John)

"The state of Utah is suing the Biden administration over its restoration of the original boundaries of two large national monuments — Bears Ears and Grand Staircase Escalante — after former President Trump slashed protections for them in 2017." Of course they are.

"It’s a story being played out on shorelines all around the world as once idyllic beach communities are washing away, and residents are struggling to adapt… But a partial solution being tried around the world is also being done here: establishing oyster colonies to form natural barriers that blunt the force of waves and help stabilize eroding shorelines."

"As the Colorado River shrinks, the seven states in the western United States that rely on it for water and power need to cut their use dramatically to keep the biggest reservoirs from getting critically low, according to federal analysts… But a recent deadline for a plan to conserve an unprecedented amount of water came and went without many specifics from either the states or the federal government on how to achieve the cutbacks."

"It's not often you find a bright side to drought, but in Texas, the heat and lack of rain have uncovered dinosaur tracks from 113 million years ago… The tracks were unveiled at Dinosaur Valley State Park in Glen Rose, Texas — about an hour's drive from Fort Worth. The park is known for its dinosaur tracks, but these newer ones are usually covered with water from the Paluxy River and aren't visible."

"That means as billions of dollars in new federal funding becomes available to address the problem (of underground lead pipes), some places are in a better position than others to quickly apply for funds and start digging… Those that wait are at risk of being left behind." Not surprised.

"Google employees are receiving regular notifications from management of Covid-19 infections, causing some to question the company’s return-to-office mandates… The employees, who spoke with CNBC on the condition of anonymity, said since they have been asked to return to offices, infections notifications pop up in their email inboxes regularly. Employees are reacting with frustration and memes." Now do hospitals. Two weeks ago we only had 1 notification. That's a record low.

"A Colorado mother accused of plotting to kidnap her son from foster care after her teen daughter said she started associating with supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory was found guilty of conspiracy to commit second-degree kidnapping on Friday."

"Democratic Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts on Sunday slammed Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for suggesting interest rates should go up to combat inflation in the US, saying he could 'tip this economy into recession.'" Well, that's exactly how the Fed controls inflation.

"Chaz Andrews has wanted to join the Army since he was 19, but he has failed the service’s academic test more than 10 times over the past decade… Now, at age 29, Andrews thinks he has a real shot to pass, thanks to a new Army program that gives lower-performing recruits up to 90 days of academic or fitness instruction to help them meet military standards."

"The Columbus school board and the district's teachers' union have reached a 'conceptual agreement' to end the strike that began Monday… The Columbus Education Association said the agreement was reached Thursday at 2:38 a.m., more than 13 hours after negotiations began on Wednesday afternoon."

"Almost a month has passed since the winning numbers were drawn in the $1.34 billion Mega Millions lottery, but the lucky person who won has yet to come forward and claim the prize… While you might think that the winner would come forward immediately, lottery officials say it's not unheard of for there to be some time between when the numbers are drawn and when the winner comes forward."

"Severe rains and flooding have killed at least 1,033 people, including 348 children, and left 1,527 more injured in Pakistan since mid-June, officials said on Sunday… The country's National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) added that 119 people had died and 71 injured in the last 24 hours alone."

"Six of the 43 college students 'disappeared' in 2014 were allegedly kept alive in a warehouse for days then turned over to the local army commander who ordered them killed, the Mexican government official leading a Truth Commission said Friday… Interior Undersecretary Alejandro Encinas made the shocking revelation directly tying the military to one of Mexico's worst human rights scandals, and it came with little fanfare as he made a lengthy defense of the commission's report released a week earlier."

"Four Iranian-backed militia members were killed in U.S. strikes in Syria on Wednesday in response to attacks by the group in recent weeks, the U.S. military said Thursday."

"The death toll from an accident when a truck drove off a dike and slammed into a community barbecue in a village south of Rotterdam rose to six Sunday and police said a further seven people are in hospital, including one in critical condition."

"Hospitals and doctors around the country are facing harassment and even death threats over the medical care they offer to transgender kids. In many cases, they have been the subject of posts by a Twitter account called Libs of TikTok, as well as stories in conservative media outlets casting gender-affirming care as child abuse and mutilation."

"All but two states have so-called 'pay-to-stay' laws that make prisoners pay for their time behind bars, though not every state actually pursues people for the money. Supporters say the collections are a legitimate way for states to recoup millions of taxpayer dollars spent on prisons and jails."

"Earlier this month, residents and business owners filed a lawsuit against the city of Phoenix. They say city leaders aren’t doing enough to address a growing encampment of people experiencing homelessness. That growth has been explosive in the past year, as the number of unsheltered people living there has more than tripled… Just a few blocks from Arizona’s Capitol building, the streets are lined with shopping carts, blankets and discarded furniture." Of the many problems with this reporting is this, "'It’s a little bit dangerous too,' (a cleaner) said. 'We’ve seen a lot of people get shot, get killed around here too. You just gotta be careful around here.'" Yet there is no check on actual statistics. Have there been more killings, or is this just the common perception of people that these places would "naturally" have more crime and this person is just expressing that belief? We don't know.

"Fox Corp CEO Lachlan Murdoch is suing the owner of a small Australian political news site for defamation over a column that held him responsible for the rhetoric on Fox News ahead of the Jan. 6 siege of the U.S. Capitol last year."

"Texas politicians and CEOs often tout the state as 'low-tax' because workers here aren't forced to pay the local government a percentage of their income, in contrast to places like California. However, recently resurfaced data shows that may only apply if you're a wealthy resident here. A popular post recently shared on Reddit's main economic forum displayed a graphic that explained how Texans actually pay more in taxes than Californians do, unless those Texans are in the top one percent of all earners." Just more of the upside down world conservatives live in.

"Many of the individuals recently charged by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' new election crimes unit told investigators they had no idea that with their felony convictions, they were unable to vote when they cast ballots in the 2020 election… Their experiences shed new light on Florida's controversial program for felons to restore their voting rights." All of these cases have already been discovered.

"New findings from university researchers and Google, however, reveal that one of the most promising responses to misinformation may also be one of the simplest… In a paper published Wednesday in the journal Science Advances, the researchers detail how short online videos that teach basic critical thinking skills can make people better able to resist misinformation."

"Congressman Adam Kinzinger, the Illinois Republican who has been one of the most vocal critics of Donald Trump, called out his party for criticizing Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email server while continuing to defend the former president’s decision to take sensitive government information to his home at Mar-a-Lago."

"The Office of the Director of National Intelligence will review materials taken from former President Donald Trump's home in Florida for potential national security risks… A spokesperson for ODNI told NPR that intelligence leaders will assess what level of harm could come from releasing documents seized from Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort."

"Many of the GOP’s biggest donors are among those who funneled anonymous contributions to former U.N ambassador Nikki Haley’s nonprofit as she lays the groundwork for a prospective 2024 presidential bid, according to previously unreported tax documents obtained by POLITICO."

"President Joe Biden on Wednesday named Kim Cheatle, a veteran Secret Service official, to be the agency's next director as it faces controversy over missing text messages around the time thousands of supporters of then-President Donald Trump stormed the U.S. Capitol."

Set up… "A judge ruled Thursday that an Arizona initiative expanding voting access and rolling back a host of restrictions enacted by the Republican-controlled Arizona Legislature and GOP Gov. Doug Ducey will be on the November ballot, barring a successful appeal to the state Supreme Court, which ordered the judge to explain his ruling."

Chaser… "A voter initiative rolling back Republican-backed election law changes and expanding voting access will not appear on the November ballot, the Arizona Supreme Court ruled Friday, issuing a final death knell after an on-again off-again series of court rulings."

Saturday, August 27, 2022

Linkee-poo Saturday Aug 27

"German officials launched what they say is the world’s first fleet of hydrogen-powered passenger trains Wednesday, replacing 15 diesel trains that previously operated on nonelectrified tracks in the state of Lower Saxony… The 14 trains use hydrogen fuel cells to generate electricity that powers the engines. The German government has backed expanding the use of hydrogen as a clean alternative to fossil fuels."

"The U.K. energy regulator on Friday is set to announce the latest price cap, which is the maximum amount that gas suppliers can charge customers per unit of energy. It could mean people pay up to 3,600 pounds ($4,240) a year for heating and electricity, according to analysts’ forecasts."

"Average long-term U.S. mortgage rates rose this week as inflation worries remained at the fore and the slowdown in economic growth weighs on the housing market… Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac reported Thursday that the 30-year rate increased to 5.55% from 5.13% last week. Last year at this time, the rate stood at 2.87%."

"U.S. securities regulators are questioning Twitter about the way it determines how many fake accounts are on its platform… The Securities and Exchange Commission in June asked the company about its methodology for calculating false or spam accounts and 'the underlying judgments and assumptions used by management.'"

"Dollar Tree and Dollar General reported rising sales in the second quarter as four-decade high inflation drove more customers to bargain chain stores for everything from lightbulbs to groceries… Dollar stores tend to sell items in small quantities, not big packages, allowing low-income customers to buy a little at a time."

"The National Labor Relations Board says Starbucks is violating U.S. labor law by withholding pay hikes and other benefits from stores that have voted to unionize." Naughty naughty.

"Republican Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey and the GOP leaders of the state House and Senate are urging the state Supreme Court to overrule lower court judges and block three voter initiatives from the ballot." Man it takes a long time for the article to explain the 3 initiatives are about limiting predatory debt collection, a transparency in politic spending measure, and an initiative to roll back many election laws passed recently.

Somebody brought the receipts. The White House twitter account scolds conservatives who are reeling about the government forgiving student loans by reminding people how much these elected representatives took out in PPP (Paycheck Protection Program) loans that were forgiven by the government. a Politico article about it. Keep it up.

Thursday, August 25, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Aug 25

Sorry, still rushed for time so it's a little lopsided and incomplete.

"California is poised to set a 2035 deadline for all new cars, trucks and SUVs sold in the state to be powered by electricity or hydrogen, an ambitious step that will reshape the U.S. car market by speeding the transition to more climate-friendly vehicles." I've been watching this market, specifically for electric mopeds and motorcycles and there has been a tremendous change in the last year. Before now, the best (non-toy, road certified) electric bikes have been $15-32,000. Now there are moderately good models from $7-15,000 if you need something highway certified and around $2,000 if you have a city commute (speeds up to 35mph, 40 mile range). While the front runner for the moderate bikes (Sondors Metacycle) have just started shipping they also had to raise their prices from about $6,000 for fully delivered to $6,500 full-delivered (which is down from their initial price hike), the top end (HD LiveWire) has come down from $32,000 to an entry model at $22,800. Frankly, I love the original LiveWire (styling and specifications, it was to electric motorcycles what the Lightning is to the car EV market, expensive, but the way it should be done), but if I still had the daytime design job I would have already put down money for the Metacycle (price is on par with an entry 500cc motorcycle, although performance and range is less, but still more than I would need for a commute or casual joy riding).

"Russia’s invasion of Ukraine will accelerate the world’s shift to renewable energy because of price shocks in oil and gas, a U.S. climate envoy said Thursday."

"Years late and billions over budget, NASA’s new moon rocket makes its debut next week in a high-stakes test flight before astronauts get on top… The 322-foot (98-meter) rocket will attempt to send an empty crew capsule into a far-flung lunar orbit, 50 years after NASA’s famed Apollo moonshots."

"A coalition of environmental groups sued the Environmental Protection Agency on Thursday over its refusal to regulate some older coal ash dumps, claiming they are polluting air and groundwater."

"Scientists have created 'synthetic' mouse embryos from stem cells without a dad’s sperm or a mom’s egg or womb… The lab-created embryos mirror a natural mouse embryo up to (8.5) days after fertilization, containing the same structures, including one like a beating heart."

"A federal appeals court on Thursday said Arkansas can’t enforce its ban on transgender children receiving gender affirming medical care… A three-judge panel of the 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed a judge’s ruling temporarily blocking the state from enforcing the 2021 law. A trial is scheduled in October before the same judge on whether to permanently block the law."

"A federal ruling that gender dysphoria is covered by the Americans with Disabilities Act could help block conservative political efforts to restrict access to gender-affirming care, advocates and experts say… A panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week became the first federal appellate court in the country to find that the 1990 landmark federal law protects transgender people who experience anguish and other symptoms as a result of the disparity between their assigned sex and their gender identity."

"On a hot, humid East Coast day this summer, a massive container ship pulled into the Port of Baltimore loaded with sheets of plywood, aluminum rods and radioactive material – all sourced from the fields, forests and factories of Russia."

"During the nearly three-hour service, Ferreira praises Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro and displays photos of himself alongside the right-wing leader on a giant screen displayed behind the altar… Later, in an interview with NPR, he says evangelicals are drawn to Bolsonaro because he promotes conservative family values and opposes abortion and same-sex marriage."

"EU lawmakers have a new, post-Brexit reason to be annoyed with Britain: British sewage overflows seeping into the English Channel and North Sea… Heavy rainfall after weeks of dry weather overwhelmed parts of Britain’s sewage system last week, causing untreated wastewater to be discharged into rivers and seas. The problem is a long-running issue in Britain, where regulators are investigating possible permit violations by six major water companies and environmental groups allege the firms have failed to make needed repairs."

"Many brought their own sack lunches this school year, because unlike the last two, not every child is eligible for free meals provided by the school… During the pandemic, schools were able to provide meals for free to kids regardless of income as a part of COVID-19 assistance passed by Congress to reduce food insecurity. This meant that nationally, an estimated 10 million kids who would have previously paid for school meals were able to get them free. But Congress did not agree to provide universal free lunches for a third school year."

"A federal judge this week sided with a student at Cleveland State University in Ohio, who alleged that a room scan taken before his online test as a proctoring measure was unconstitutional."

"Pete Arredondo, the police chief in charge of the law enforcement response to the May 24 shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, has been fired… After a nearly 90-minute termination hearing held behind closed doors Wednesday evening, the Uvalde Consolidated Independent School District's board voted unanimously to terminate Arredondo's contract effective immediately. They also found there was good cause for him not to receive pay for the time he was on unpaid administrative leave since July 19."

"A jury on Tuesday convicted two men of conspiring to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer in 2020, in a plot prosecutors described as a rallying cry for a U.S. civil war by anti-government extremists… The jury also found Adam Fox and Barry Croft Jr. guilty of conspiring to obtain a weapon of mass destruction, namely a bomb to blow up a bridge and stymie police if the kidnapping could be pulled off at Whitmer's vacation home."

"Democrat and longtime politician Charlie Crist has won the primary for governor in Florida and will face Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis in November, according to a race call by The Associated Press."

"Progressive activist Maxwell Frost, one of the first members of Generation Z to run for Congress, has won his Democratic primary, according to a race call by The Associated Press… Frost's win nearly secures his path to Congress since the Orlando-based seat is considered a solidly Democratic district. Frost will face off against Republican Calvin Wimbish in November."

"President Biden believes that a post-high school education should be a ticket to a middle-class life, but for too many, the cost of borrowing for college is a lifelong burden that deprives them of that opportunity. During the campaign, he promised to provide student debt relief. Today, the Biden Administration is following through on that promise and providing families breathing room as they prepare to start re-paying loans after the economic crisis brought on by the pandemic." The fact sheet from the White House. While most news reports (and public commentary) are focusing on the $10-$20,000 forgiveness sums (which will eliminate debt for 20 million people), the parts about changing how the PSLF program works and how income is calculated for the income related repayment plans (plus covering interest that isn't met by the minimum payments) and then cancelling debt after 20 years of repayment is the real story here. The rules about keeping down tuition increases I can't talk about (because they haven't been written yet), but that is also huge if it works. It isn't the jubilee some were looking for, but damn that's a great deal.

"The increasingly pointed and personal barbs come as Oz is trailing Fetterman in polls in the November matchup that could help decide Senate control. Democrats see the contest to succeed retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey as among their best opportunities nationally to pick up a seat… Fetterman’s latest high-profile trolling of Oz on social media has focused on Oz’s effort to spotlight the country’s high inflation by shopping for 'crudités' — raw vegetables cut up and served as an hors d’oeuvre — in a state with cities that pride themselves on cheesesteaks and pierogies, potato-filled dumplings." The "crudité" video was hilarious, getting the store name wrong, buying asparagus for raw vegetables, and asking if there was a salsa shortage after showing the shelf packed with salsa. Not to mention the store saying they repeatedly told Oz and his crew that prepared vegetable trays were available for about half of what Oz had added up.

"The judge presiding over a special grand jury that’s investigating possible illegal attempts to influence the 2020 election in Georgia is wading into a fight over whether Gov. Brian Kemp has to testify before the panel."

"The Justice Department on Wednesday released a memo from 2019 laying out the case for not prosecuting former President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice in connection with then-special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation."

"The Justice Department on Thursday submitted to a judge a redacted version of the affidavit it relied on when it federal agents searched the Florida estate of former President Donald Trump to look for classified documents."

Scenes from a Commute

The waning Moon and Venus.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Aug 24 Early Bird Edition

The Harris - de Lint Recovery Fund gofundme. MaryAnne Harris is married to Charles de Lint, and is in the hospital with Powassan virus, a tick-borne disease. Even though Canada has a great healthcare system, it is not infinite and MaryAnne is in need of long term care for recovery. Her partner, Charles de Lint, is a seminole figure in urban fantasy and was once exceptionally kind to an extremely ignorant young author at a World Fantasy in Wisconsin. He is also a kickass author and MaryAnne is his first reader and editor. (Grokked from Lisa Nohealani Morton)

"Despite glitches for some people trying to watch via Fire TV Sticks, HBO announced that the first episode of its Game of Thrones spinoff House of the Dragon recorded the network’s biggest premiere of all time, recording 9.986 million viewers across linear and HBO Max streaming on Sunday night in the US alone." There were some rumblings online, and I think HBO is touting this number because, if I read the tea leaves correctly, next week's numbers will be down. I'm sure you can find the commentary if you want, but let me just note that HBO is going to be HBO.

"Firebaugh, Calif., sitting right on the San Joaquin River, is a great place to raise a family, says city manager Ben Gallegos. He's lived in this Central Valley community for most of his life… But now he's preparing the city for a force of nature potentially more destructive than the fires and drought Californians are used to — a megastorm." While I certainly agree with the concern of this city manager, I will also point out that preparing for a megastorm will also mean an infrastructure program (and spending) that will benefit the community in regular times. Especially if their infrastructure is about 100 years old now.

"With China’s biggest freshwater lake reduced to just 25% of its usual size by a severe drought, work crews are digging trenches to keep water flowing to one of the country’s key rice-growing regions."

"The world’s newest and biggest space telescope is showing Jupiter as never before, auroras and all… Scientists released the shots Monday of the solar system’s biggest planet."

"Two astrophotographers have teamed up to produce an out-of-this-world photo of the moon, capturing over 200,000 shots to create a single image… Andrew McCarthy and Connor Matherne collaborated last November to push their photography skills to the limit. Their finished product was posted online Saturday, and is currently gaining lots of attention on Reddit."

"The winged, spindly-legged bloodsuckers have long been the bane of backyard barbecues and, in tropical nations, carriers of serious disease. Now, with climate change widening the insect’s range and lengthening its prime season, more Americans are resorting to the booming industry of professional yard spraying."

"Ge Bai, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recently published research on this topic and said hospitals in the U.S. often set their cash prices lower than the prices they charge to treat commercially insured patients."

"On Monday, the drugmakers Pfizer and BioNTech announced that they've asked the Food and Drug Administration to authorize an updated version of their COVID-19 vaccine — this one designed specifically to target the omicron subvariants that are dominant in the U.S."

"Dr. Anthony Fauci, who played a critical role in steering humanity through the two pandemics of our time, AIDS and COVID-19, announced Monday he is stepping down from his role in the federal government."

"Multiple states now mandate or encourage the buttons, and a growing number of districts are shelling out tens of thousands of dollars per school for them — part of a widespread scramble to beef up school security and prevent the next tragedy. The spending spree includes metal detectors, security cameras, vehicle barriers, alarm systems, clear backpacks, bullet-resistant glass and door-locking systems." Checks the internet, yep, teachers are still begging for help to buy basic school supplies like pens and paper.

"The euro has fallen below parity with the dollar, diving to its lowest level in 20 years and ending a one-to-one exchange rate with the U.S. currency."

"And it appears the company doesn’t want to halt its reach anytime soon. In recent weeks, Amazon has said it will spend billions of dollars in two gigantic acquisitions that, if approved, will broaden its ever growing presence in the lives of consumers."

"But over the last couple weeks, I've gotten a crash course on the black market for stolen cars, and I've come to learn that it's actually not the nice ones that are the most frequent targets. It's the clunkers. If you think about it, that's pretty messed up. It means that the people who can least afford to have their cars stolen are more likely to have their cars stolen."

"For the first time in nearly 50 years, the district's unionized teachers are striking, the Columbus Education Association (CEA) announced… On Sunday, the union voted to go on strike after weeks of negotiations over new contract language with Columbus City Schools went nowhere. The union says it was pushing for guaranteed air conditioning, 'appropriate class sizes' and full-time art, music and physical education teachers in the city's elementary schools."

"A former head of security at Twitter has filed whistleblower complaints with U.S. officials, alleging that the company misled regulators about its cybersecurity defenses and its problems with fake accounts, according to reports by The Washington Post and CNN."

"Germany’s natural gas storage facilities are now more than 80% full, showing steady progress despite a drastic reduction in deliveries from Russia amid the war in Ukraine." Hmm, sounds like Nord Stream 1 is about to have some more "troubles."

"An explosion in the outskirts of Moscow has killed the daughter of a key ally of Russian President Vladimir Putin… Daria Dugina, 29, was driving a Toyota Land Cruiser Sunday when the vehicle exploded. Authorities in Russia have launched a criminal investigation."

"A man has died after falling from a peak in the Austrian Alps as he was trying to take a photo of a companion with whom he had reached the summit, police said Tuesday." Auntie Mame?

"The chief executive of embattled Israeli spyware maker NSO has stepped down as part of a corporate reorganization, the company announced Sunday." Ah, we've arrived at the second envelope.

"More than 11,000 people like Cardoza have been released from federal prison in the last couple of years, to ride out the pandemic at home, often with their families and loved ones. But that situation can be precarious… Cardoza's return to prison turned the family upside down. She's now been back at Danbury for 14 months. Alvarez said she never got the chance to explain herself or challenge that single positive drug test."

"White House officials have been weighing -- and leaning toward -- the cancellation of up to $10,000 in student loan debt per borrower tied to an income threshold, CNN has learned… According to multiple sources familiar with the discussions, the plan is designed to offer the forgiveness to individuals who earn less than $125,000 per year."

"A school district in southwestern Florida has made headlines for rejecting a donation of dictionaries because of a freeze on new books in its libraries and classrooms… That freeze is temporarily in place while officials navigate a new state law that gives parents more control over the selection of reading and instructional materials in schools."

"Tennessee’s disgraced former House Speaker Glen Casada and his top aide were arrested Tuesday on federal charges including bribery, kickbacks and conspiracy to commit money laundering with federal funds." Ohio feels your pain, Tennessee.

"A South Dakota ethics board on Monday said it found sufficient information that Gov. Kristi Noem may have “engaged in misconduct” when she intervened in her daughter’s application for a real estate appraiser license, and it referred a separate complaint over her state airplane use to the state’s attorney general for investigation."

It's not all Republicans, though… "A local North Carolina grand jury on Monday advanced its consideration of possible criminal charges against state Attorney General Josh Stein and two aides over an investigation into a political ad targeting Stein’s 2020 election opponent."

"Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano made national headlines this summer for his ties to Gab, a social-media site closely associated with the Christian nationalist movement, and once used by the man accused in the mass shooting at Pittsburgh's Tree of Life Synagogue." On Christian Nationalism.

"Citing alarm toward the Republican Party’s widespread embrace of 2020 election conspiracies, a moderate GOP Colorado state senator has switched his affiliation to Democrat, enhancing that party’s prospects to retain its majority in the chamber in the November midterms."

"In a motion filed in federal court in Florida, Trump also is seeking to prevent the government from further reviewing the documents that were taken until a special master is appointed, and he wants the government to provide more details on items that were taken during the search."

"Fox Corp CEO and Executive Chairman Lachlan Murdoch — already busy fighting two multi-billion dollar defamation lawsuits aimed at Fox News here in the U.S. — has threatened a news organization in his family's home country of Australia with legal action… Now the Aussie political news site Crikey has a message: Bring it on."

Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Aug 17

Sorry, lots of disruptions of the day trying to hustle. Until next Tuesday I'm working freelance in the mornings and at the hospital at night. So probably no new postings until next Tuesday.

The Apex Publications kickstarter campaign.

Also the Zombies Need Brains kickstarter.

And I believe I pointed to this one earlier, the Uncanny Magazine kickstarter.

"Author Jamil Jan Kochai searched for more than a decade for Susan Lung — the second-grade teacher who had changed his life over 20 years earlier. And on Saturday night, in one of those 'life is better than fiction' twists, the two were finally reunited at one of his book-reading events."

"States in the Colorado River Basin have failed to meet a federal deadline to conserve an unprecedented amount of water. The lack of consensus on how to wean off the river’s dwindling supply puts the water source for 40 million in the Southwest in jeopardy… In June, federal officials said the seven Western states that rely on the river needed to cut their water use by a tremendous amount — 2 to 4 million acre-feet — and they threatened to take action if the states couldn’t agree. Bureau of Reclamation commissioner Camille Calimlim Touton gave the states 60 days to commit to new conservation measures."

"Europe's hot, dry summer means that the water level on the Rhine, Western Europe's most important waterway, is at a record low, making it too shallow for many ships to pass — a problem for a country that depends on the river for 80% of its water freight. Millions of tons of commodities are moved through the Rhine and shipping disruptions are certain to further impact Germany's economy, already reeling from global supply chain disruptions and record high energy costs stemming from Russia's invasion of Ukraine."

So far, this ecology study has released around 108 pounds of the gas, which has about the same impact as burning more than a million pounds of coal… That may not seem like a big deal in the grand scheme of global emissions, but government scientists working at federal parks and forests have objected to using this gas on public lands — especially since this major study is designed to go on for 30 years and alternative gasses are available… This kerfuffle has so far played out quietly within government agencies. But it comes at a time when all kinds of researchers are thinking about the climate effects of past practices, with some saying that scientists who understand the urgency of the climate crisis have a special obligation to set an example to the public by reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of their own work."

"The Americas were declared polio-free in 199… But now there's a new case that indicates community transmission in the United States for the first time since 1979: An unvaccinated young adult in Rockland County, N.Y., contracted the highly contagious virus and was paralyzed as a result."

"CDC Director Rochelle Walensky is reorganizing the agency, saying it didn’t react quickly enough during the Covid pandemic, according an internal review of the agency’s operations released on Wednesday."

"Medicare doesn't cover hearing aids; neither do most insurance policies. That's why advocates are welcoming a new federal rule allowing over-the-counter sales of the devices, hoping the move cuts prices and makes it easier for people with hearing loss to improve their lives…By mid-October, consumers could see over-the-counter devices in drug stores that are far more affordable than prescription aids that routinely cost thousands of dollars, thanks to the rule the Food and Drug Administration announced on Tuesday."

"Boston Children’s Hospital has become the target of a harassment campaign based on inaccurate information about its transgender surgery program. Hospital staff say the campaign includes aggressive calls, emails and death threats for some providers."

"Rising costs and falling confidence in the U.S. economy are fast becoming a toxic cocktail for the housing market. As a result, a growing number of buyers are backing out of deals they’ve made with homebuilders and sellers of existing homes." Hello bubble busting.

"This week’s podcast extra is about podcasts, but this story has its roots in the early days of rock 'n' roll. Alan Freed was a celebrity DJ on WINS in New York, famous for helping popularize the nascent genre through the 1950s. But, unbeknownst to his listeners, record promoters were secretly bribing Freed and other popular disc jockeys across the country for extra air time for their artists — in a rampant practice known as 'payola,' which eventually caught the eye of regulators… According to Bloomberg reporter Ashley Carman, a similar culture of pay-to-play is taking hold in the world of podcasting. Her latest piece is titled, 'Podcast Guests Are Paying Up to $50,000 to Appear on Popular Shows.'"

"Now, the Inflation Reduction Act that President Biden signed Tuesday extends a tax credit for wind energy production through 2025. That's a welcome move for the wind energy industry because since the 1990s, extending that tax credit has only been temporary leading to major ramp-ups in production followed by abrupt halts. Industry leaders now feel like they can plan long-term."

"But what’s odd is that this district — the one about to make Pennsylvania history — is hardly in a deep red stronghold. In fact, it’s about an hour outside Philadelphia, in an area that’s relatively diverse… The Central Bucks School District is Pennsylvania’s third-largest — located in a bucolic swath of suburbia. It is certainly not the first place you’d look for an anti-LGBTQ backlash. And yet, that’s exactly where you’ll find it." That's because book banning is about white supremacy. and you can find that in abundance in suburbia. And white supremacy, and white grievance, is at the heart of the modern conservative movement.

"An old threat has returned to classrooms across the country — and it’s made of pages and ink. On this week’s On the Media, hear what it means to ban a book, and who has the right to choose what kids learn. Plus, meet the student who took his school board all the way to the Supreme Court in the 80s."

"'The trial court found, based on the non-adversarial presentation below, that appellant (the teen) had not established by clear and convincing evidence that she was sufficiently mature to decide whether to terminate her pregnancy,' said the ruling, fully shared by Judges Harvey Jay and Rachel Nordby and partially joined by Judge Scott Makar. 'Having reviewed the record, we affirm the trial court’s decision under the deferential standard of appellate review set out (in the consent law).'" Mature enough to become pregnant, and mature enough to raise a child, but not mature enough to make a decision to have an abortion. Adult people on an appeals court came to this conclusion.

"A Florida prosecutor is suing Gov. Ron DeSantis for removing him from office… The state attorney from Tampa, Andrew Warren, was ousted earlier this month by DeSantis. The Republican governor said he acted because of statements Warren had signed pledging not to prosecute people for violating abortion restrictions or a law prohibiting gender-affirming care for minors."

"In June of this year, seven weeks before the FBI raided former President Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago estate in search of classified materials, former Defense Department appointee and outspoken Trump loyalist Kash Patel vowed to retrieve classified documents from the National Archives and publish them on his website… Trump had just issued a letter instructing the National Archives to grant Patel and conservative journalist John Solomon access to nonpublic administration records, according to reporting at the time." This is hilarious. Including this part… "'I know what's there' in the Archives, said Patel. 'I can't still talk about them, but the whole process is going to be: Identify the documents, whether it's Russiagate, Hunter Biden, impeachment, Jan 6th -- and put them out.'" If, as he claims, Trump declassified these documents, and that's their rational for "getting them out there", why the fuck can't he talk about them? He can't talk about them because they're not declassified, and he knows if he does, he will be prosecuted. This is about generating smoke where there is no fire.

"Even if Trump tells you, most of the time he's about as coherent as a rat trapped in a hot box and his story changes from minute to minute as his feverish brain scampers madly about trying one excuse after another until he fastens onto a narrative that works for his fanatical dogmatic supporters." Jim Wright on the Trump documents.

"Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is calling for the Espionage Act to be repealed amid a federal investigation into the possible mishandling of government records and classified documents that were found at former President Donald Trump's Florida home… 'The espionage act was abused from the beginning to jail dissenters of WWI. It is long past time to repeal this egregious affront to the 1st Amendment,' Paul wrote." What a tool.

"Former president Donald Trump is trying to bury the January 6th committee’s findings, but his old allies aren’t helping. Meanwhile, we take a look at the governor of Florida’s polarizing press strategy, and why reporters think presidential hopefuls are no longer returning their calls."

"Rudy Giuliani, who was told by Atlanta prosecutors that he is a target in their probe of former President Donald Trump's 2020 election subversion schemes in Georgia, appeared behind closed doors for grand jury testimony in the investigation Wednesday."

Sunday, August 14, 2022

Linkee-poo Sunday Aug 14

"Author Salman Rushdie was off a ventilator and able to speak despite the stabbing attack against him, his agent confirmed to The Associated Press on Saturday night… Rushdie, 75, was attacked Friday morning in Chautauqua, N.Y., by a man who rushed the stage where the author was to speak, New York State Police said. Rushdie was transported to a local hospital by helicopter with a stab wound to the neck and chest."

"The continental United States in July set a record for overnight warmth, providing little relief from the day’s sizzling heat for people, animals, plants and the electric grid, meteorologists said."

"Tumbling temperatures this weekend could be here to stay. Canadian air, combined with a rare nor'easter could keep it feeling like September in the Northeast into next week… Thanks to a new air mass moving southward from Canada, temperatures throughout this weekend in much of the Northeast are expected to be noticeably lower than during the first two weeks of August." Sigh. Yes, I'm sure a "rare" weather event will permanently alter the expected course of weather. Just like you never know if the Sun will come back up after it sets. But yes, it's the middle of August, we are on the downhill run to the equinox. Things should be, in general, cooling off for the Northern hemisphere.

"Laboratory tests following a mass die-off of fish in the Oder River detected high levels of salinity but no mercury poisoning its waters, Poland’s environment minister said Saturday as the mystery continued as to what killed tons of fish in Central Europe… Anna Moskwa, the minister of climate and environment, said analyses of river samples taken in both Poland and Germany revealed elevated salt levels. Comprehensive toxicology studies are still underway in Poland, she said."

"The CDC says that if you were exposed to COVID, 'instead of quarantining' you should wear a 'high-quality mask' for 10 days and get tested on day 5. If that test is negative, the CDC thinks you're good to go. And if you think you are sick and that it might be COVID-19, 'isolate' until you get test results. The CDC states: 'If your results are negative, you can end your isolation.'… The FDA, however, now says that one negative test isn't enough. Here's what the FDA advised in a 'safety communication' released on August 11: If you have symptoms, you should take another test 48 hours later. If you don't have symptoms, you should take three tests, each 48 hours apart. Only if all those tests are negative should you consider yourself to be COVID-free." Now extrapolate that into a healthcare setting and you get plenty of ED docs saying, "Well, he says his home test was negative, so we're not isolating this pt with flu-like symptoms." And yes, that's an actual thing.

"Newspaper publisher Gannett Co. confirmed Friday that it’s laying off some of its newsroom staff, part of a cost-cutting effort to lower expenses as its revenue crumbles amid a downturn in ad sales and customer subscriptions." The decimation of news outlets, particularly print, continues unabated.

"Whole Foods co-founder and CEO John Mackey fears that socialism is on the rise in the U.S.… 'My concern is that I feel like socialists are taking over,' Mackey, who is set to retire from the Amazon-owned grocery chain at the end of the month after 44 years at the company, said in a podcast this week with Reason Magazine… Socialists have 'taken over education. It looks like they've taken over a lot of the corporations. It looks like they've taken over the military. And it's just continuing — so I'm deeply concerned,' he added." This can be better summed up as, "Living in the C-Suite severs your ties to reality."

"Two Amazon-owned companies — Ring and Hollywood studio MGM — are teaming to create a TV show in the mold of 'America’s Funniest Home Videos' using viral footage from Ring’s doorbell and smart-home cameras." Ah the corporate "here's some shit we found on the floor, you interested?" mode of capitalism continues on.

"Weeks after followers of an influential cleric stormed parliament, Iraq’s political crisis shows no signs of abating, despite rising public anger over a debilitating gridlock that has further weakened the country’s caretaker government and its ability to provide basic services."

"A federal jury awarded Republican Roy Moore $8.2 million in damages Friday after finding a Democratic-aligned super PAC defamed him in a TV ad recounting sexual misconduct accusations during his failed 2017 U.S. Senate bid in Alabama."

"In a speech on the House floor, (House Minority Leader Kevin) McCarthy asked, “Is America better off today than they were two years ago?” which referenced a question Reagan asked during a 1980 presidential debate with then-President Jimmy Carter… Although McCarthy’s question was strictly a rhetorical device that he probably assumed would agitate Democrats, he probably wouldn’t like the answers Twitter users gave to his inquiry." As Forest Gump said, stupid is as stupid does.

"Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, the Arizona Democrat who single-handedly thwarted her party’s longtime goal of raising taxes on wealthy investors, received nearly $1 million over the past year from private equity professionals, hedge fund managers and venture capitalists whose taxes would have increased under the plan."

"A large Pew survey out this week shows just how bad it's gotten. (Pew interviewed 6,174 Americans. For context: most good national polls only interview about 1,000 people or so.)… The survey's biggest finding? Democrats and Republicans agree: they really don't like Republicans and Democrats." Gee, ya think?

"CLAIM: Former President Barack Obama took 30 million documents, many of them classified, to Chicago upon leaving the White House… AP’S ASSESSMENT: False. Obama administration records are exclusively held and maintained by the National Archives and Records Administration, the federal agency confirmed on Friday. Millions of unclassified documents were transferred after Obama left office to a NARA facility in Chicago, but neither Obama’s personal foundation nor the facility set to house his presidential memorabilia have control over those papers."

"For the first two centuries of U.S. history, outgoing presidents simply took their documents with them when they left the White House. The materials were considered their personal property… But for the past four decades, every presidential document — from notebook doodles to top-secret security plans — is supposed to go directly to the National Archives as the material is considered the property of the American people."

"Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Sunday the Department of Justice will need to be transparent in proving the importance of the unprecedented search of Donald Trump's Mar-a-Lago last week but also criticized the response from other Republicans who he said inflamed animus against law enforcement… 'And so, I was happy that they did come out and unseal the documents on the search,' Hogan said. 'I think it was a step in the right direction. But I think we still have a lot of unanswered questions and we're gonna continue until people understand more.'" Because it's always never enough for the right. This is the political form of sea lioning. Just keep barking and people will think there's a problem, and you waste the oppositions time and energy answering questions you have no real interest in knowing the answers to.

"An armed man clad in body armor who tried to breach the FBI’s Cincinnati office on Thursday was shot and killed by police after he fled the scene and engaged in an hourslong standoff in a rural part of the state, the Ohio State Highway Patrol said." We may need to launch a rocket to measure the whackaloon quotient these days.

"The director of the FBI had strong words Wednesday for supporters of former President Donald Trump who have been using violent rhetoric in the wake of his agency's search of Trump's Mar-a-Lago home… Christopher Wray, who was appointed as the agency's director in 2017 by Trump, called threats circulating online against federal agents and the Justice Department 'deplorable and dangerous.'"

"Armed Trump supporters gathered outside the Phoenix FBI office after what they call the "unlawful" search of Mar-a-Lago."

"A man drove into a barricade near the US Capitol in Washington DC on early Sunday morning, fired several shots into the air after his vehicle ignited, and then shot himself to death, according to police… Officials were quick to note they had not determined a motive for the man’s actions, though they did say there was no indication he was targeting any Congress members, who were in recess at the time."

"Donald Trump has hired a prominent Atlanta criminal defense attorney known for defending famous rappers to represent him in matters related to the special grand jury that’s investigating whether the former president illegally tried to interfere with the 2020 election in Georgia."

"Kansas’ elections director says the state will go along with a request for a hand recount of votes from every county after last week’s decisive statewide vote affirming abortion rights, even though there was a 165,000-vote difference and a recount won’t change the result." This will now happen every single time conservatives don't win. The good thing here is that Kansas (as well as other states) requires the complainant to file a bond to cover the costs of the recount first.

"Wisconsin’s Republican Assembly leader on Friday ended a 14-month, taxpayer-funded inquiry into the 2020 election by firing his hand-picked investigator. Assembly Speaker Robin Vos’ firing of Michael Gableman came just three days after the lawmaker narrowly survived a primary challenge from an opponent endorsed by former President Donald Trump and Gableman."

"Facing prison time and dire personal consequences for storming the U.S. Capitol, some Jan. 6 defendants are trying to profit from their participation in the deadly riot, using it as a platform to drum up cash, promote business endeavors and boost social media profiles."

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

Linkee-poo Wednesday Aug 10

Olivia Newton John and David McCullough, and so it goes.

"How do you stay cool without an air conditioner?… We asked NPR readers from hot countries (including the U.S.!) to share their tips on how to cope with the heat."

"Some of the world's richest men are funding a massive treasure hunt, complete with helicopters and transmitters, on the west coast of Greenland… The climate crisis is melting Greenland down at an unprecedented rate, which -- in a twist of irony -- is creating an opportunity for investors and mining companies who are searching for a trove of critical minerals capable of powering the green energy transition."

"A beluga whale that was rescued after being stuck in France's Seine River for more than a week died while in transit to the sea, officials have confirmed… The cetacean had been stuck in the freshwater lock at St.-Pierre-La-Garenne, some 45 miles northwest of Paris, since August 2. Its health deteriorated after it refused food, according to wildlife protection associations monitoring the situation."

"The Affordable Care Act has survived many challenges in court, but the case of Kelley v. Becerra – now before a federal judge in Texas – threatens to undermine one of the most popular provisions in the law, which requires most health plans to provide coverage for preventive care with no copays… If the judge rules in favor of the plaintiffs, access to free birth control, cancer screenings, vaccines, PrEP (HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis), counseling for alcohol misuse, diet counseling for people at higher risk of chronic disease, and many more preventive services would be in jeopardy, according to the nation's leading doctors' groups, which have sounded the alarm." Sometimes the absolute ignorance, cruelty, and selfishness of people leaves me astounded.

"At its current pace, Medicare’s Hospital Insurance trust fund will run out of money in 2028, according to the June 2022 Medicare trustees report. That’s a two-year extension on the previous estimate, but experts say it’s still not good news, and the government needs to stop twiddling its thumbs. Here’s what you should know."

"A Nebraska woman has been charged with helping her teenage daughter end her pregnancy at about 24 weeks after investigators uncovered Facebook messages in which the two discussed using medication to induce an abortion and plans to burn the fetus afterward." The difference between now and pre-1972 is the prevalence of the surveillance state (waves hi to my friends at Ft. Mead and Russia - through their intermediaries in Italy).

"Vasculitis is an autoimmune disorder, meaning that it's the result of the body being attacked by its own immune system. There are several types of vasculitis, and while it's not clear which affected Kutcher, all forms involve swelling in the walls of blood vessels and can result in a variety of conditions."

"British health authorities say they will offer a polio booster dose to children aged 1 to 9 in London, after finding evidence the virus has been spreading in multiple regions of the capital, despite not confirming any cases of the paralytic disease in people."

"When it comes to inflation, the good news is that gas prices are dropping. The bad news is that other costs continue to climb faster than wages, and that's putting a strain on many family budgets across the country."

"Stocks rose sharply on Wednesday after a key inflation reading showed a better-than-expected slowdown for rising prices… The headline consumer price index for July rose 8.5% year over year, and was flat compared to June. Economists surveyed by Dow Jones were expecting increases of 8.7% and 0.2%, respectively."

"Ford Motor on Tuesday said it is increasing the starting prices of its electric F-150 Lightning pickup due to 'significant material cost increases and other factors.'… The Detroit automaker said the price increases – between $6,000 and $8,500, depending on the model – will not impact customers who have ordered a vehicle and are awaiting delivery. They will affect an undisclosed number of reservation holders who have not yet ordered a truck."

"In a growing challenge to Russia’s grip on occupied areas of southeastern Ukraine, guerrilla forces loyal to Kyiv are killing pro-Moscow officials, blowing up bridges and trains, and helping the Ukrainian military by identifying key targets."

"The prospect of a nuclear catastrophe spurred growing international alarm Monday after shelling hit a Russian-controlled power plant in Ukraine that is almost twice the size of Chernobyl."

"Powerful explosions rocked a Russian air base in Crimea and sent towering clouds of smoke over the landscape Tuesday in what may mark an escalation of the war in Ukraine. At least one person was killed and several others were wounded, authorities said."

"The three men serving life in prison for Ahmaud Arbery's murder were again handed lengthy prison sentences Monday on federal hate crime charges."

"A Little League batter rose from a beaning to console the upset pitcher in a dramatic scene at a Little League regional tournament game Tuesday in Waco, Texas."

"Native Americans in Massachusetts are calling for a boycott of a popular living history museum featuring Colonial reenactors portraying life in Plymouth, the famous English settlement founded by the Pilgrims who arrived on the Mayflower."

"More human remains were found at Lake Mead, according to officials Saturday… Park rangers responded to reports of human skeletal remains uncovered at the lake's Swim Beach — the fourth set found at the lake since May."

"Police in Albuquerque said they arrested the "primary suspect" in the killings of four Muslim men in New Mexico's largest city – deaths that raised fears in the community and led to increased security at mosques and schools."

"Two anti-government extremists sought to spark a 'second American revolution' by kidnapping Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a prosecutor told jurors Wednesday, as the government gets a second opportunity for convictions in an alleged plot to shock the country into chaos before the 2020 election."

"New York City Mayor Eric Adams is criticizing Texas Gov. Greg Abbott for sending busloads of migrants to the city, saying that Abbott 'used innocent people as political pawns to manufacture a crisis.'"

"But at rallies set to take place this month in Arizona, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, featuring Gov. DeSantis as the star speaker, firearms will be strictly prohibited — and not by liberals."

"The ad misleadingly paints what is more accurately characterized as nearly $300 billion in savings for consumers and taxpayers… The American Prosperity Alliance has almost no online profile. Its website provides only a link to the ad, and no identifying information or even any pages beyond the homepage." Oh dark money stories, I really didn't miss you.

"The House panel investigating the U.S. Capitol insurrection interviewed former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and met briefly with Pennsylvania’s Republican nominee for governor Doug Mastriano on Tuesday as it probes Donald Trump’s efforts to overturn the 2020 presidential election."

"Federal investigators searched Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago residence in Florida on Monday bearing a warrant that broadly sought presidential and classified records that the justice department believed the former president unlawfully retained, according to two sources familiar with the matter."

"Monday's FBI raid on the home of former President Donald Trump — including his safe, according to Trump — has raised eyebrows and questions about what the search could indicate about a possible criminal investigation into the former president and those around him… The raid concerned presidential records that Trump removed from the White House when he left office in January 2021, according to Christina Bobb, an attorney representing Trump."

"Susquehanna Valley Congressman Scott Perry (R-10) told Fox News that the FBI seized his cellphone Tuesday… Perry said in a statement provided only to the network that he was approached by FBI agents who handed him a warrant and asked for the phone." So, in my head, I'm picturing a scene in the DoJ of people brainstorming how to proceed in getting to the bottom on Jan 6 and other crimes committed by Trump and allies while he was president. And then the news that Alex Jones' lawyers gave all the contents of Jones' phone to the plaintiffs, and several agents suddenly sat upright and said, "Wait, they weren't smart enough to wipe their phones?" Followed by furious activity to get search warrants.

"Trump arrived at New York Attorney General Letitia James’ offices Wednesday morning, but sent out a statement more than an hour later saying he declined to answer the questions under the rights and privileges afforded to every citizen under the United States Constitution." Funny, I seem to remember TFG had some things to say about people who "took the 5th."

"Rudy Giuliani will not appear as scheduled Tuesday before a special grand jury in Atlanta that’s investigating whether former President Donald Trump and others illegally tried to interfere in the 2020 general election in Georgia, his lawyer said… A judge last month had ordered Giuliani, a Trump lawyer and former New York City mayor, to appear before the special grand jury Tuesday."

Monday, August 8, 2022

Linkee-poo Monday Aug 8

"The Federal Trade Commission (on May 11, 2022) took action against apparel company Lions Not Sheep Products, LLC, and its owner Sean Whalen for falsely claiming that its imported apparel is Made in USA. According to the FTC’s complaint, the company added phony Made in USA labels to clothing and accessories imported from China and other countries. The FTC’s proposed order requires Lions Not Sheep and Whalen to stop making bogus Made in USA claims, come clean about foreign production, and pay a monetary judgment." It's a grift all the way down. (Grokked from Xopher)

"'Republicans have just gone on the record in favor of expensive insulin,' Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said after Republicans voted to remove an insulin price cap from the Inflation Reduction Act. 'After years of tough talk about taking on insulin makers, Republicans have once against wilted in the face of heat from Big Pharma.'"

Funny, I didn't know CPAC had cosplay… "As dozens of onlookers stood by, some with tears in their eyes, a barefoot man in an orange jumpsuit and red MAGA cap sobbed in a cage in a convention center in Dallas." Conservatives have tried the "it wasn't us, it was Antifa" and "it was just a normal visit" lines which didn't gain any popular traction. Now they're fully embracing January 6th as their cause. Fuck these traitors.

"It turned out that the generals had rules, standards, and expertise, not blind loyalty. (Trump)’s loud complaint to John Kelly one day was typical: 'You fucking generals, why can’t you be like the German generals?'" JFC, so many thoughts, including that maybe a constitutional crisis in the exact opposite direction of what Trump wanted might have been necessary. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Sunday, August 7, 2022

Linkee-poo Saturday Aug 7

"Mr. (Jim) Steinman, a lifelong bachelor who had been in declining health for years, left no instructions about what he wanted done with the house after his death. Now his longtime friends are putting the property up for sale — with a provision: It is being sold 'as-is,' which in real estate lingo normally means 'in terrible condition.' In this case, it means that the sale includes nearly all of Mr. Steinman’s personal belongings, which remain in the house: the gothic furniture, spooky artwork, wall-mounted records, grand piano, even closets full of clothing." (Grokked form John)

"First, to the many nervous fans of The Sandman among you… Relax. They nailed it."

"One of the largest antitrust trials ever to hit the publishing industry is unfolding in a federal courthouse in Washington. The Department of Justice says that the proposed merger announced in 2020 between Penguin Random House and Simon & Schuster would stifle competition."

"A street-outreach team from Tapestry Health delivered what's becoming a routine warning. Xylazine is an animal tranquilizer. It's not approved for humans, but it's showing up in about half of the drug samples that Tapestry tests in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. It's appearing mostly in the illegal fentanyl supply but also in cocaine." Something new has been added.

"A French industrial fabric producer that poisoned drinking water supplies with PFAS 'forever chemicals' across 65 sq miles (168 sq km) of southern New Hampshire misled regulators about the amount of toxic substance it used, a group of state lawmakers and public health advocates charge."

"The Chinese company didn't steal this technology. It was given to them — by the U.S. Department of Energy. First in 2017, as part of a sublicense, and later, in 2021, as part of a license transfer. An investigation by NPR and the Northwest News Network found the federal agency allowed the technology and jobs to move overseas, violating its own licensing rules while failing to intervene on behalf of U.S. workers in multiple instances… Now, China has forged ahead, investing millions into the cutting-edge green technology that was supposed to help keep the U.S. and its economy out front."

"The White House (Thursday) declared monkeypox a public health emergency."

"U.S. employers added an astonishing 528,000 jobs last month despite flashing warning signs of an economic downturn, easing fears of a recession and handing President Joe Biden some good news heading into the midterm elections."

"At first glance, it looks like many Americans got big pay raises since the Covid-19 pandemic started… But in reality, only workers in two industries -- leisure and hospitality and retail trade -- are actually coming out ahead, once inflation is taken into account."

"A racist text message sent by a police officer has prompted officials in a small Alabama town to disband their police department and fire the police chief and assistant chief… Vincent Mayor James Latimore on Thursday confirmed that Police Chief James Srygley and Assistant Chief John L. Goss had been dismissed, reported."

"Police arrested several people who were in a large SUV that drove through a Native American celebration in New Mexico, causing multiple injuries along a parade route crowded with families. Two Gallup police officers were among those hurt."

"China declared Friday it was stopping all dialogue with the United States on major issues, from climate change to military relations, in a day of rapidly escalating tensions over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's visit to Taiwan. The White House summoned China's ambassador to protest what it called China's 'irresponsible' actions since the visit."

"China announced Friday it was ending all contact with the United States on major issues — including crucial climate cooperation that led to the international 2015 Paris accord — as tensions and public rebukes ratcheted higher over House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s visit to Taiwan."

"For months now, the governors of Texas and Arizona have been sending charter buses full of migrants and refugees to Washington, D.C.'s Union Station, just a few blocks from the Capitol building… When they disembark, they find neither the local nor federal government there to meet them."

"I could go on, but the point is that name changes can be intimidating even in the easiest possible scenario. And, when you're trans, nothing is ever the easiest possible scenario. If you're looking for guidance in your name change journey, this step-by-step guide can help."

"A Texas jury decided Friday that conspiracy theory purveyor Alex Jones will pay one family $45.2 million in punitive damages after spreading lies about the 20212 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School."

"Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema announced late Thursday she will 'move forward' with Democrats' massive climate, prescription drug and spending bill, after party members appeared to reach an agreement about Sinema's concerns with the legislation."

"In what has essentially become an information war for the future of democracy, people driven by misinformation are acting on it to harass election workers and subvert the will of the voters. And election officials have struggled to find an effective message to fight back."

"That was on the way to the Conservative Political Action Conference's annual gathering in Dallas, where Orbán gave the kickoff address on Thursday afternoon — despite a speech last week widely decried as racist, even by one of his top aides. She resigned in protest… Orbán sloughed off such criticism on Thursday… 'Don't worry, a Christian politician cannot be racist, so we should never hesitate to heavily challenge our opponents on these issues,' Orbán told his Texas audience. 'Be sure: Christian values protect us from going too far.'" Ah, this must be the spiritual armor I've heard so much about.

"As standalone anecdotes, these might not be a huge deal. However, they are also a part of a trend of Republican candidates ignoring or actively avoiding legacy media — particularly national outlets… The phenomenon is impossible to quantify, but many Republican candidates are showing that they don't want – or need – to get their messages out via legacy media outlets. That can reduce the scrutiny they face while running for public office, hampering voters' ability to make informed choices."

"On Thursday, during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing, FBI Director Christopher Wray admitted to Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) that the bureau’s 2018 investigation into sexual assault allegations against then-Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was a sham. The FBI had sent all relevant tips (the FBI’s assistant director, Jill Tyson, said there were about 4,500) to Donald Trump’s White House. From there, Trump’s team then decided whom the FBI could interview as part of its sexual misconduct investigation into Kavanaugh before he was confirmed."

Thursday, August 4, 2022

Linkee-poo Thursday Aug 4th

"The directors of Batgirl have said they are upset their film was axed months before its planned release, by Warner Bros Discovery… 'We are saddened and shocked by the news. We still can't believe it,' directors Adil El Arbi and Bilall Fallah wrote on Instagram."

"On Tuesday, Variety reported that the film had been planned under WarnerMedia CEO Jason Kilar and Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff, and was scheduled to be initially released on the HBO Max streaming platform. Since then, David Zaslav has come in as CEO of the newly formed Warner Bros. Discovery company, and has reversed their streaming-first corporate plans. The fate of Batgirl, according to Variety, seems to have been tied up in those strategy wars — but that jettisoning Batgirl would allow Warner Bros. Discovery to write the project off on its taxes."

"When you glance into a waterway, you probably expect aquatic life and the occasional piece of trash. But the reality in many urban metropolises is that lurking beneath the surface of any waterway could be an astounding number of... bicycles."

"The amount of coral in some areas of the Great Barrier Reef is at its highest in 36 years, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Marine Science… From August 2021 to May 2022, the central and northern regions of the Great Barrier Reef had hard coral cover levels of 33% and 36%, respectively. Coral cover decreased by 4% in the southern region, due to an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish."

"On July 13, ERCOT was within ~1400MW of outages. Reserve margin was (less than)2%. The PUC & ERCOT called for conservation at noon. In the 24 hrs before that call, an add'l 2.6GW of coal & gas plants went offline, driving the total 'dispatchable' sources unavailable to ~15GW." Despite what the talking heads want you to believe, with ERCOT, wind and solar are the most reliable energy sources in Texas. Now only if they had more of it. (Grokked form Robert J Bennett)

"The Apollo-Soyuz mission was the first joint space mission between the U.S. and Soviet space agencies. Spacecraft from each country docked in orbit, and the world watched as Soviet cosmonauts and American astronauts embraced more than 100 miles from Earth. The mission was a powerful symbol of de-escalation after years of Cold War geopolitical tensions… Decades later, the U.S. and Russia jointly built the International Space Station, an enduring symbol of global scientific collaboration in space. But that long partnership may be coming to an end."

"Researchers at Yale University say they have been able to restore blood circulation and other cellular functions in pigs a full hour after the animals' deaths, suggesting that cells don't die as quickly as scientists had assumed." Note that all they've really seen is that some cells respond and work on the macrobiotic level. What could be seen is just lingering enzymes continuing to function. Besides, we all know to restore life you need to fly kites in a convenient lightning storm.

"The Associated Press obtained thousands of pages of sealed court documents that show in detail exactly how the (Mormon) church’s 'help line' can divert abuse complaints away from law enforcement, leaving children in danger."

"The Bank of England on Thursday hiked interest rates by 50 basis points, its largest single increase since 1995, and projected the U.K.’s longest recession since the global financial crisis."

"Embattled electric truck startup Lordstown Motors on Thursday reaffirmed plans to begin commercial production of its first vehicle this quarter and roll out the first customer deliveries by the end of the year… Lordstown CEO Edward Hightower said production of the Endurance pickup will be slow and largely reliant on capital availability. He said the company only expects to produce about 500 vehicles through early 2023 — an extremely slow production ramp-up by industry standards."

"Georgia taxpayers can now list embryos as dependents on their tax returns… In a news release on Monday, Georgia’s department of revenue said it would begin to 'recognize any unborn child with a detectable human heartbeat … as eligible for [an] individual income tax dependent exemption'." (Grokked from John)

"Congress ordered the Federal Aviation Administration to establish minimum dimensions for airplane seats within a year when the agency's funding was renewed in October 2018… The FAA has yet to comply… But this week the agency will take a step toward creating a new seat size regulation. The FAA is announcing an advanced notice of proposed rulemaking – a signal flare to interested members of the public that the agency is considering implementing that minimum size for airplane seats after all." Here's a PDF of the announcement. Unfortunately seems to be glitching when I search for it. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"China has fired missiles near Taiwan as part of huge military drills following a visit by senior US politician Nancy Pelosi to the island… Taiwan said China launched 11 ballistic missiles into waters around Taiwan's north-east and south-west coasts… Japan said five Chinese missiles landed in its waters as well, calling for an "immediate stop" to the exercises."

"Lawyers for Alex Jones appeared to have accidentally sent over the entire contents of the Infowars founder’s phone to the lawyers for the plaintiffs in his defamation trial, according to court proceedings Wednesday." Oopsie. "Do you know what perjury is?" Classic. "On an open microphone in a recess, (Mark) Bankston (a lawyer for the parents suing Jones) asked his fellow lawyers: 'You know what nobody’s thought about yet? What happens when that phone goes to law enforcement?'" I'm sure that was just accidentally caught on a hot mike.

"Lawyers representing families of Sandy Hook massacre victims who are suing conspiracy theorist Alex Jones said they received child pornography in documents they were sent by the Infowars founder, according to court papers filed Monday in Connecticut." They just send you that stuff in email (early internet joke, circa 1995).

"An attorney representing two parents who sued conspiracy theorist Alex Jones over his false claims about the Sandy Hook massacre said Thursday that the U.S. House Jan. 6 committee has requested two years’ worth of records from Jones’ phone."

"U.S. Senators delivered overwhelming bipartisan approval to NATO membership for Finland and Sweden Wednesday, calling expansion of the Western defensive bloc a "slam-dunk" for U.S. national security and a day of reckoning for Russian President Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine."