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

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Linkee-poo April 26 late edition

Harry Belafonte, and so it goes.

The when do I earn out" web app to figure out how many books you'll need to sell to earn out your advance.

"We’re proud to announce that the Scalzi Family Foundation will be this year’s Gen Con Writers’ Symposium Legendary Sponsor!"

"Astronomers have captured the first image showing a powerful jet being launched from the edge of a black hole’s event horizon into intergalactic space."

"Auroras were reported across parts of Europe and Asia. In the U.S., skygazers took in the sights from Wisconsin, Washington state, Colorado, California, New Mexico and even Arizona — mostly a reddish glow instead of the typical green shimmer." And of course it rained here in Ohio.

"Now, two historians are suggesting that while parts of that story are accurate — Watson and Crick did rely on research from Franklin and her lab without their permission — Franklin was more a collaborator than just a victim." And they're basing their case on an unpublished news article (which can be read, an unvetted and fact checked article). If she was a collaborator, why wasn't she named as coauthor or even a researcher on the paper describing the double helix structure of DNA? No, this is an attempt to "clean up" the reputations of Watson and Crick.

"He and his family and dogs could get out in less than an hour, they figure, should more heavy rain or hot weather melt so much mountain snow that gushing water overwhelms the rivers and channel that surround their tight-knit, rural Central California community and give it its name, the Island District."

"Florida Surgeon General Joseph Ladapo personally altered a state-driven study about Covid-19 vaccines last year to suggest that some doses pose a significantly higher health risk for young men than had been established by the broader medical community, according to a newly obtained document."

"The Texas Department of Agriculture is ordering its employees to comply with a new dress code, mandating they abide by it in a "manner consistent with their biological gender." An ACLU attorney says it violates federal law that bans employment discrimination based on one's sexual orientation or gender identity."

"A student denied entry to their Nashville high school prom is getting another chance to take part in the annual tradition thanks to their community… B Hayes, an 18-year-old student at Nashville Christian School, was banned from going to their prom because they wore a suit and not a dress."

"Aimenn Penny, a 20-year-old from Alliance who is a member of a 'white lives matter' group that espouses racist and neo-Nazi views, tried to burn down the Community Church of Chesterland early on March 25, authorities allege in court documents unsealed Monday… According to the criminal complaint, Penny said he tried to burn down the church using Molotov cocktails because he wanted to 'protect the children and stop the drag show event.' He also regretted that it didn’t work, authorities said."

"Zephyr, who represents parts of Missoula, is the first transgender woman elected to the legislature. She's been blocked from speaking since last Tuesday when she told supporters of a bill to ban gender-affirming care for minors that she hoped they would see 'blood on [their] hands,' alluding to studies that show that transgender health care can reduce suicidality."

"The formal punishment decided Wednesday bans Zephyr from attending or speaking during floor sessions. She will only be allowed to vote remotely in the remaining days of the legislative session. It's a lesser punishment than expulsion, which was also on the table, according to House leadership."

"Just like that, the Chevy Bolt is gone in a flash… General Motors CEO Mary Barra announced in an earnings call Tuesday… it was in order to shift operations at its assembly plant in Orion Township, Mich., toward the production of two electric trucks: the GMC Sierra EV and the Chevy Silverado EV." Again, the American manufacturers year passenger car development to foreign companies while the focus on trucks and their higher margins.

"Geraldine Tyler bought her condo in Minneapolis in 1999 and lived there until 2010, when at age 81 she moved to a senior assisted-living center at the urging of her children. After that, she stopped paying taxes on the condo, which she still owned… By 2015, she owed $15,000 in unpaid taxes, interest and fees… The county took possession of the property under state law and sold the condo at auction for $40,000. But like at least a dozen other states, it did not pay Tyler the surplus $25,000 from the sale."

"The contradictions that make up Israel — its economic and military prowess and its deep divisions and rancorous politics — were on full display Tuesday as the country mourned its fallen soldiers and began celebrating its 75th Independence Day."

"A mob in the Haitian capital beat and burned 13 suspected gang members to death with gasoline-soaked tires Monday after pulling the men from police custody at a traffic stop, police and witnesses said… The horrific vigilante violence underlined public anger over the increasingly lawless situation in Port-au-Prince where criminal gangs have taken control over an estimated 60% of the city since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moïse."

"Oklahoma's Republican majority ultimately blocked many of the proposals teachers walked out for in 2018. But this session, something unexpected is happening: The state's Republicans are now backing record-level education funding measures, including teacher raises and a slew of pro-labor bills." Amazing what happens when :: checks notes :: you can't attract enough people to fill teacher slots.

"Seventeen apartment buildings were evacuated Saturday in a Russian city near the Ukrainian border after an explosive device was found at the site where a bomb accidentally dropped by a Russian warplane caused a powerful blast this week, authorities said."

"Benjamin Franklin said the only certainties in life are death and taxes. Sifting through receipts, deciphering confusing codes, and filling out forms is an annual ritual that's about much more than money. The history of the income tax and the battle over who should pay how much is about what we value as a nation. In this conversation (on the podcast Throughline) with historian Molly Michelmore we'll explore the past, present, and future of the income tax."

"Fox News settled with Dominion Voting Systems for over 780 million dollars on Tuesday. On this week’s On the Media, the impact media moguls, and their families, have had on our culture at large. Plus, the bigger lessons we can learn about money and free speech from the revelations surrounding Clarence Thomas."

"The former head of a Michigan marijuana licensing board pleaded guilty to bribery Tuesday, acknowledging he accepted at least $110,000 in exchange for approving applications for the lucrative business."

"Chief Justice John Roberts has declined an invitation from Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, to testify before the panel, calling such testimony by chief justices 'exceedingly rare.'… The Senate panel had planned to hold a hearing on May 2 to examine what Durbin called "common sense proposals" to hold Supreme Court justices to the same ethical standards as the rest of the federal judiciary, and Durbin had invited Roberts 'or his designate' to take part."

"In interviews with dozens of Republicans, the vast majority – even among the staunchest opponents of abortion– rejected the idea of Congress pursuing a national ban and said leadership has no plans on the horizon for it to be a centerpiece of their agenda, despite passing federal restrictions on the procedure in previous years when they were in power." They're just waiting until there is no chance of opposition (when they control both houses and the White House). Part of this is the reality that Biden would not sign it into law and they don't have the votes to overrule that veto. The other, big part, is they recognize that they've gone too far and there is a backlash.

"North Dakota on Monday adopted one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the country as Republican Gov. Doug Burgum signed legislation banning the procedure throughout pregnancy, with slim exceptions up to six weeks' gestation… In those early weeks, abortion would be allowed only in cases of rape, incest or medical emergency, such as ectopic pregnancy."

"The House of Representatives is expected to vote on a bill as early as Wednesday drafted by House Speaker Kevin McCarthy that links lifting the country's debt ceiling with spending cuts and a series of GOP policy changes… 'We'll be ready to move as early as today,' House Majority Leader Steve Scalise told reporters Wednesday. 'We want to get this done as soon as possible. But more importantly, we want President Biden to finally start getting engaged in this process.'" And then they didn't have the votes.

And then they did… "House Republicans narrowly passed sweeping legislation Wednesday that would raise the government’s legal debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion in exchange for steep spending restrictions, a tactical victory for Speaker Kevin McCarthy as he challenges President Joe Biden to negotiate and prevent a catastrophic federal default this summer."

"Fox News on Monday ousted prime-time host Tucker Carlson, whose stew of grievances and political theories about Russia and the Jan. 6 insurrection had grown to define the network in recent years and make him an influential force in GOP politics."

"That's according to political historian Nicole Hemmer… She tells Morning Edition that Carlson's exit may magnify a 'level of distrust' between Fox News and audience members who are skeptical of the network's call of the 2020 presidential election." Same as it was for Glenn Beck, Bill O'Reilly and the rest. Meanwhile OANN and Newsmax are struggling to gain audience.

"Before ousting Tucker Carlson, Fox News had twice fired wildly popular hosts – and both times the network recovered better than the stars it cut loose." Fox News doesn't need advertisers, they get most of their cash flow from the amount they charge cable providers. The gain viewers because Fox gives those people what they want, someone telling them their hate and fear are justified and they shouldn't be ashamed of their racism.

Saturday, April 22, 2023

Linkee-poo Saturday April 22 early morning

"But experts fear the darker side of the easily accessible tools could worsen something that primarily harms women: nonconsensual deepfake pornography." Having been tinkering with ai art generators and looking at what others are doing, too late. This horse has already left the barn. Hell, there's practically a whole ground swell industry now, which can be difficult to avoid. After nearly 15 years on twitter, in the past 2 months I have reported >50x the number of accounts for violation of ToS (of which I have not heard anything about those reports) that the entire previous 14.5 years. I have blocked an uncountable number of accounts which were doing nothing else.

"Hollywood writers have voted to authorize a strike if their talks with The Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers don't end in a new three-year contract. The current contract expires just before midnight on May 1. The Writers Guild of America has been at the table with the studios, negotiating over how much they're compensated for working on films, TV shows and streaming series."

"SpaceX's Starship rocket cleared its launch platform but failed to separate from its booster, exploding four minutes after liftoff during an inaugural test flight on Thursday." Not only did it go boom, but because the launch was rushed they destroyed the launch platform.

"Under a cloudless sky, about 20,000 eclipse chasers watched a rare solar eclipse plunge part of Australia's northwest coast into brief midday darkness Thursday with an accompanying temperature drop."

"The Ohio River forms in Pittsburgh's backyard, where the Allegheny and Monongahela rivers converge to create a waterway… The river is much healthier than it was 50 years ago… But the river… is still under threat, according to a report released this week from the conservation advocacy organization American Rivers."

"Around 2015, North Atlantic right whales began disappearing from the waters where they spend summers feeding." And the melting glaciers on Greenland may be a cause. And all the episodes/stories in this series on "Beyond the Poles: The far-reaching dangers of melting ice."

"Spring is here and temperatures are heating up. That means cases of tick-borne illnesses, particularly Lyme disease, are on the rise in the U.S. And the problem is only being exacerbated by prolonged warmer weather across a wider swath of the country, driven by climate change." Ta-da!

"A new report released by UNICEF finds that 67 million children across the world missed out on either some or all routine vaccinations between 2019 and 2021, and 48 million children didn't receive a single dose during this time period."

"Finally, she was getting a treatment that was helping at Rogers Behavioral Health in Oconomowoc, Wis., a small town 35 minutes west of Milwaukee… But a little over two months into her stay, just as Rose was starting to feel better, the family's health insurance – Medical Mutual of Ohio – declined to cover any further treatment."

"After spending almost a year-and-a-half in near-total isolation some 230 feet underground, Beatriz Flamini emerged from a cave in southern Spain and asked: Who's buying the beer?… The climber and mountaineer had entered the cave in Granada on Nov. 21, 2021, determined to spend 500 days alone — monitored from afar by a group of scientists — to explore the effects of isolation on the human body and mind."

"Musk told Fox News host Tucker Carlson in a segment aired Monday night that he plans to create an alternative to the popular AI chatbot ChatGPT that he is calling 'TruthGPT,' which will be a 'maximum truth-seeking AI that tries to understand the nature of the universe.'… The idea, Musk said, is that an AI that wants to understand humanity is less likely to destroy it." I just can't stop laughing at this asshole. And I guess "Truth…(whatever)" is the conservative marketing tag like "i(whatever)" was Apple's schtick.

Why we can't have nice things… "Her grades suffered as a result. In her junior year, she turned to her pre-med adviser for help. 'She was like, well, you know, you're just not going to get into med school with that GPA, so I think you should consider something else. And she didn't really present me with many resources or options other than just giving up,' Spigner says." Been there, have the t-shirt. But being male and white, it was still easier for me.

"The case before the court involves a mail carrier in rural Pennsylvania. The man was told that as part of his job he’d need to start delivering Amazon packages on Sundays. He declined, saying his Sundays are for church and family. U.S. Postal Service officials initially tried to get substitutes for the man’s shifts, but they couldn’t always accommodate him. When he didn’t show, that meant more work for others. Ultimately, the man quit and sued for religious discrimination."

"Oftentimes, the solution isn't as simple as just trying to spend less or learning how to budget. "I've talked to a lot of people who are struggling with debt right now…" So if you find yourself in debt, you're not alone. Watch the video above or on YouTube for tips on how to approach paying off your debt and how to navigate emotional conversations about money."

"Global ice cream maker Ben & Jerry’s said Tuesday it supports a plan to unionize by the workers at a retail shop in the same city where the brand, known as much for its social activism as its products, was founded."

"The CEO of an office furniture giant landed at the center of a social media storm this week after she told her staff to focus on being better employees instead of asking whether they'd lose their bonuses." Of course, her bonus had already been paid. If you work for any medium to large company, this is a familiar story this year. Our "big news" is that instead of getting our "performance based raises" in July, we're getting them in June (we were supposed to get them in January, after they were moved from last year's August date, if you're counting that's a year and a half).

"President Joe Biden signed an executive order on Tuesday that contains more than 50 directives to increase access to child care and improve the work life of caregivers." One of the first steps to solving the economic crisis.

"The controversy has residents of this town of 10,000 grappling with big questions about creativity and liberty as it tries to preserve its rural character. Like other White Mountain communities that draw skiers, nature lovers and shoppers, Conway is under development pressure, making the sign dispute fraught with worries that any concession to commerce could change what they hold dear." Small town caught up in discussion of what is art and poorly written ordinances. Here's my take, no, this is not art, this is a commercial sign (this does not denigrate what the students did, it's a great piece). The "art" mirrors the corporate identity of the shop (coloration, the "rays" of the sun, etc) and so becomes an extension of the shop's front sign. However most zoning ordinances have ways to allow exceptions, there should be one made here, some minor "penalty" should be made for not getting permission in advance. Also, the town very much has the right to limit "art" in the public space (it has no right to limit it in private or for installations that are not "permanent").

"Facebook users can now apply for their share of a $725 million privacy lawsuit settlement if they had accounts from May 2007 to December 2022… Facebook's parent company, Meta, is doling out the payments to settle a lawsuit alleging it allowed Cambridge Analytica, a former British political consulting firm used by the 2016 Donald Trump presidential campaign, to access about 87 million users' personal information."

"Southwest Airlines planes were briefly grounded nationwide Tuesday for what the airline called an intermittent technology issue, leading to more than 2,200 delayed flights just four months after the carrier suffered a much bigger meltdown over the Christmas travel rush."

"Zients said Republicans were being irresponsible by 'tying two things together that should never be tied together' — the debt limit and budget discussions… 'I think the off-ramp is very clear. It's the same off-ramp that was taken with no drama three times in the previous administration when President Trump was in the White House,' Zients said." Here we go again, because conservatives haven't learned the lesson from the last 3 times they did this.

"A French publisher has been arrested on terror charges in London after being questioned by UK police about participating in anti-government protests in France… Ernest Moret, 28, a foreign rights manager for Éditions la Fabrique, was approached by two plainclothes officers at St Pancras station on Monday evening after arriving by train from Paris to attend the London book fair."

"Senators passed changes to Iowa’s child labor laws early Tuesday to allow 14- to 17-year-olds to work longer hours and in restricted fields with parental permission… The bill also allows minors to work until 9 p.m. during the school year and until 11 p.m. during the summer — both two hours later than current law — and lets teens work up to six hours a day, up from the four hours currently allowed." The future conservatives want.

"Russia’s military acknowledged that a bomb accidentally dropped by one of its warplanes caused a powerful blast in a Russian city not far from Ukraine’s border, injuring two and scaring local residents." Oopsie.

"The Supreme Court on Friday preserved women’s access to a drug used in the most common method of abortion, rejecting lower-court restrictions while a lawsuit continues."

"Reports that (Tennessee) House Speaker Cameron Sexton, R-Crossville, bought a home in Nashville have sparked accusations that one of Tennessee's most powerful leaders no longer lives in the district he represents and has inappropriately received thousands of dollars in state-funded expense payments."

"A state lawmaker in Tennessee resigned suddenly for an ethics violation that became public Thursday, two weeks after he joined fellow Republicans in expelling two Black Democratic legislators for protesting in support of gun control on the state House floor."

"Oklahoma's governor is seeking the resignation of four county officials after a newspaper's audio recording apparently captured some of them complaining about two of the paper's journalists and knowing hit men and where two holes are dug."

"An Oklahoma sheriff’s office says a newspaper’s audio recording in which the sheriff and other county officials are reportedly heard discussing killing two journalists and hanging Black people was illegal and predicted felony charges will be filed." Wrong tactic to take, but then bullies don't know how to back down.

"An Oklahoma county commissioner resigned on Wednesday after being caught on a recording allegedly making violent and racist remarks and jokes with members of the McCurtain County Sheriff's Office… McCurtain County Commissioner Mark Jennings submitted a curt resignation letter written on lined notebook paper at about 8:30 a.m. local time."

"An 84-year-old white man in Kansas City, Missouri, was charged Monday with first-degree assault for shooting a Black teen who mistakenly went to the man’s home to pick up his younger brothers." That only took way too fucking long to charge him.

But this guy was arrested right away… "A 20-year-old woman was shot and killed by a homeowner in upstate New York on Saturday after the car she was in accidentally went to the wrong address, local authorities said on Monday." Guess what the difference was (other than the local)?

"A man who drove his car into counterprotesters at a 2017 white nationalist rally in Virginia was convicted Friday of first-degree murder, a verdict that local civil rights activists hope will help heal a community still scarred by the violence and the racial tensions it inflamed nationwide."

"An arbitration panel has ordered MyPillow chief executive Mike Lindell to pay $5 million to a software engineer for breach of contract in a dispute over data that Lindell claims proves that China interfered in the U.S. 2020 elections and tipped the outcome to Joe Biden."

"Fox News agreed Tuesday to pay Dominion Voting Systems nearly $800 million to avert a trial in the voting machine company’s lawsuit that would have exposed how the network promoted lies about the 2020 presidential election."

"At 9 a.m. in a federal building downtown, just a few blocks from the courthouse where Donald Trump was arraigned, the field-tripping House Judiciary Committee began a hearing focusing on the man who supposedly has become one of the greatest menaces facing America: Alvin Bragg, the Manhattan district attorney… As Jim Jordan, the jacketless committee chairman, declared in an apocalyptic opening statement: 'For the district attorney, justice isn't blind, it's about looking for opportunities to advance … a radical political agenda. Rather than enforcing the law, the D.A. is using his office to do the bidding of left-wing campaign funders.'"

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Linkee-poo Wednesday April 19th early morning

"The publisher's only suggested edit was to the author's note: Scholastic had crossed out a key section that references 'the deeply American tradition of racism' to describe the tale's real-life historical backdrop — a time when the U.S. government forcibly relocated more than 120,000 Japanese Americans to dozens of internment sites from 1942-1945."

"In the remote Arctic almost 30 years ago, a group of Inuit middle school students and their teacher invented the Western Hemisphere’s first new number system in more than a century. The 'Kaktovik numerals,' named after the Alaskan village where they were created, looked utterly different from decimal system numerals and functioned differently, too. But they were uniquely suited for quick, visual arithmetic using the traditional Inuit oral counting system, and they swiftly spread throughout the region. Now, with support from Silicon Valley, they will soon be available on smartphones and computers—creating a bridge for the Kaktovik numerals to cross into the digital realm." Something new has been added. (Grokked from Dan)

"A European spacecraft rocketed away Friday on a decade long quest to explore Jupiter and three of its icy moons that could hold buried oceans."

"Late Friday night into early Saturday morning, many Alaskans witnessed a strange spiral moving through the sky over the state. Some said it looked like an alien spaceship or a portal to an alternate universe… In reality, it was likely — as many on Social Media pointed out — rocket exhaust."

"Finland’s much-delayed and costly new nuclear reactor, Europe’s most powerful by production capacity, has completed a test phase lasting over a year and started regular output, boosting the Nordic country’s electricity self-sufficiency significantly."

"The tiny rain-fed wildflowers, no bigger than a few inches, are so vivid and abundant across California this year that their hues of purple and yellow look like paint swatches from space."

"But this week, research published in Nature Microbiology might finally provide a clue that could satisfy Rubin and others… The paper suggests that UTIs can actually change the DNA in the cells lining the urinary tract. Those cells can then change size and start an immune response that actually makes them more susceptible to repeated infections."

"The U.S. has named a veterinary tranquilizer as an 'emerging threat' when it’s mixed with the powerful opioid fentanyl, clearing the way for more efforts to stop the spread of xylazine."

"A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports reveals that infection with SARS-CoV-2 significantly impacts cognitive function in patients with preexisting dementia, causing rapidly progressive dementia. Researchers investigated 14 patients with various types of dementia and found that following COVID-19 infection, the differences between dementia subtypes became blurred, and cognitive deterioration progressed rapidly." Note that 14 people is an incredibly small sample.

"Today, about 2,000 American adolescents annually get bariatric surgery — the term includes several kinds of procedures done to the digestive track to limit the amount of calories a person can take in. And the American Academy of Pediatrics recently endorsed advanced treatment for severe obesity in kids — including surgery or medication for kids as young as 13." Just as an fyi, bariatric surgery, especially by itself, does not come without risks, and is not always successful.

"Despite a pair of historical failures last month that put the nation’s banking industry into crisis mode, the nation’s biggest banks posted strong profits last quarter, helped by higher interest rates and a U.S. economy that keeps growing and adding jobs even as the Federal Reserve attempts to curb inflation."

"The result of the one-two punch of higher prices and interest rates is that it’s taking Americans much longer to pay off their car loans — which include crossovers, SUVs and pickup trucks — and more buyers are being pushed out of the car market altogether."

"Global and Chinese automakers plan to unveil more than a dozen new electric SUVs, sedans and muscle cars this week at the Shanghai auto show, their first full-scale sales event in four years in a market that has become a workshop for developing electrics, self-driving cars and other technology."

"The federal tax credits for electric vehicles, which have been a cause of confusion for automakers and car shoppers alike for months, are about to go through another big change… Starting Tuesday, fewer vehicles will qualify for the current $7,500 tax credit. Some will get a $3,750 credit instead, and some cars will no longer get any credit at all, thanks to battery sourcing requirements that are kicking in."

How goes Brexit? "Labour analysis of Environment Agency data, ranked by constituency by website Top of the Poops, shows that in 2022 raw sewage was discharged into cabinet ministers’ constituencies for 180,759 hours. This equates to an average of 64 sewage dumps a day, or a new sewage dump taking place every 22 minutes."

"The Biden administration is closing out a three-week push to highlight the benefits of infrastructure investments in local communities by awarding nearly $300 million to help repair or replace more than a dozen bridges across the country."v "Authorities in northwestern New Mexico on Friday released body camera footage of police officers opening fire and killing a homeowner after they showed up at the wrong address in response to domestic violence call… The video released by the Farmington Police Department — just over a week after the April 5 nighttime shooting — showed officers arriving at the home. They walked up to the front door, passing the address that was posted on the home and illuminated by an exterior light, knocked on the door and announced themselves."v "Webster’s case illustrates chronic bureaucracy in the prisons system and the difficulties in getting anyone off death row. There’s sometimes additional reluctance to act in death row cases given the nature of inmates’ crimes."v "Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito on Friday placed a hold on a lower court ruling that restricts access to the abortion drug mifepristone until Wednesday night. Alito also instructed that any responses be filed by April 18 at noon."

"The Supreme Court on Thursday refused to block a settlement in a long-running suit involving the adjudication of applications for the cancellation of student loan debts at 151 for-profit colleges."

"Teixeira is accused of leaking classified government documents and sharing them on social media platforms. Some of the documents include information about the war in Ukraine and were revealed online last week. The Department of Justice launched an investigation into the matter, which Attorney General Merrick Garland has said is ongoing."

"Former President Donald Trump was expected to visit the offices of New York’s attorney general Thursday for his second deposition in a legal battle over his company’s business practices… The lawsuit is unrelated to the felony criminal charges filed against Trump by the Manhattan district attorney, which led last week to his historic arraignment, the first for a former president."

I'm not sure who is running the opposition campaign against Justice Thomas, but damn is it successful. So far, most of what has been "rumored" has been proven, and if he weren't on SCOTUS, he most likely would have been gone by now.

Thursday, April 13, 2023

Linkee-poo Thursday, April lucky 13

Al Jaffee, and so it goes.

"NPR said Wednesday it will stop sharing content on Twitter after the social media company labeled NPR “state-affiliated media,” a term also used for Russia- and China-based propaganda outlets… The news outlet’s organizational accounts will no longer post new content on its 52 official Twitter feeds, becoming the first major U.S. news organization to do so since Elon Musk took over Twitter late last year."

"U.S. District Judge Daniel L. Hovland in Bismarck, North Dakota, halted the regulations from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers pending the outcome of a lawsuit filed by the 24 states, most of which are led by Republicans. The regulations were finalized in December 2022, repealing a rule implemented during President Donald Trump’s administration but thrown out by federal courts." Who needs clean water anyway?

And who needs clean air anyway? "The EPA says its proposal will reduce ethylene oxide emissions by roughly 80% by targeting 86 medical sterilization facilities across the United States. The companies will also have to test for the antimicrobial chemical in the air and make sure their pollution controls are working properly."

"An evacuation order affecting more than 1,000 people remained in place Wednesday night around a large industrial fire in an Indiana city near the Ohio border where crews worked to douse piles of burning plastics."

"Several hundred people rallied against plans for a large-scale wind energy project in southern Idaho, hoping to convince federal agencies to reject the proposal by Magic Valley Energy… Rancher David Looper… told the crowd he loves living in Idaho because the state has few regulations, but said the lack of rules has also drawn national corporations looking to make a buck." Also, it's so nice to see Idahoans so concerned about (checks notes) "their minorities."

"The Biden administration will propose strict new automobile pollution limits this week that would require at least 54% of new vehicles sold in the U.S. to be electric by 2030 and as many as two of every three by 2032, according to industry and environmental officials briefed on the plan."

"For the last four decades, Medicare has covered hospice services – including grief counseling, spiritual support and pain management – for terminally ill people. The benefit has helped more than 25 million Americans die more on their own terms, often at home, with the support of chaplains, social workers, nurses and others… Research shows hospice can reduce unwanted medical interventions, improve families' satisfaction and, in some cases, save Medicare thousands of dollars." So let's privatize it. Ugh. No, how about instead of throwing up our hands and saying, "you handle it" we actually fix the program, update it for the current needs and concerns, and then fully fund it. Privatizing care has never reduced costs or increased patient satisfaction.

"Downing a spoonful of bubblegum pink amoxicillin is a regular part of being a kid, but a nationwide shortage of the antibiotic is making a particularly bad season of strep throat tougher." I can't remember all the times we've had difficulty finding prescriptions, and now it seems like every other day I overhear a conversation about this in the hospital.

"Now lawmakers in at least a dozen states and the U.S. Congress have pushed legislation to curtail the financial burden that’s pushed many into untenable situations: forgoing needed care for fear of added debt, taking a second mortgage to pay for cancer treatment or slashing grocery budgets to keep up with payments… Some of the bills would create medical debt relief programs or protect personal property from collections, while others would lower interest rates, keep medical debt from tanking credit scores or require greater transparency in the costs of care." I'm sure all this is cheaper than having single-payor.

"This week on Throughline, we explore the origins of federal student loans, the promises the government made, and how an idealistic vision transformed into what some have called a monster."

"Thousands of professors, part-time lecturers and graduate student workers at New Jersey’s flagship university went on strike Monday — the first such job action in the school’s 257-year history."

"The Biden administration is urging U.S. meat processors to make sure children aren’t being illegally hired to perform dangerous jobs at their plants… The call comes after an investigation found more than 100 kids working overnight for a company that cleans slaughterhouses, handling dangerous equipment like skull splitters and razor-sharp bone saws." How about we start putting executives in jail?

"U.S. consumer inflation eased in March, with less expensive gas and food providing some relief to households that have struggled under the weight of surging prices. Yet prices are still rising fast enough to keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates at least once more, beginning in May."

"Weeks after the collapse of two big banks, small business owners are feeling the pinch… Bank lending has dropped sharply since the failures of Silicon Valley and Signature Banks. That not only hits businesses. It also threatens a further slowdown in economic growth while raising the risk of recession… Credit, after all, is the grease that helps keep the wheels of the economy spinning. When credit gets harder to come by, businesses start to squeak." As a reminder, 2007-2008 started when liquidity dried up and banks stoped lending to each other. So much for our "intrepid and brave" business leaders.

"Turmoil in the banking system after two major banks collapsed led many Federal Reserve officials to envision fewer rate increases this year out of concern that banks will reduce their lending and weaken the economy."

"After acquiring (Twitter), Musk carried out mass layoffs as part of cost-cutting efforts. He said Twitter’s workforce has been slashed to about 1,500 employees from about 8,000 previously, describing it as something that had to be done… Asked if he regretted buying the company, he said it was something that 'needed to be done.'" As someone who has been on twitter, the majority of this pain has been self-inflicted wounds. And given that one of Musk's "goals" was to reduce the bots, the exact opposite has happened, so I'm not sure what he means by "needed to be done." Needed by whom and for what purpose? Before the last month this was idle speculation. Lately it's become more relevent. And the question should be asked, did Musk go on to purchase Twitter as part of a foreign intelligence operation?

"Norway’s government said Thursday that it was expelling 15 Russian diplomats from the country, saying they were suspected of spying while working at the Russian Embassy in Oslo."

"The father of a a Russian girl sent to an orphanage after drawing an antiwar sketch at school has been extradited from Belarus back to Russia, a human rights group reported Wednesday. He faces two years in prison there." You know you're winning when you have to put kids in jail for a drawing.

"U.S. spies caught Russian intelligence officers boasting that they had convinced the oil-rich United Arab Emirates 'to work together against US and UK intelligence agencies,' according to a purported American document posted online as part of a major U.S. intelligence breach."

"Sudan’s military warned Thursday of potential clashes with the country’s powerful paramilitary force, which it said deployed troops in the capital and other cities." You know, the powerful paramilitary force that Sudan's military stood up to attack Darfur and then used to bolster their coup.

"Llano County commissioners in the Texas Hill Country are weighing whether they will shut down their library system instead of complying with a federal judge’s order that they must return 17 banned books to the library shelves… Officials scheduled a special meeting on Thursday during which they will discuss shutting down the three library branches." And people are talking about it like this wasn't the actual plan by conservatives for all these years.

"A federal appeals court preserved access to the abortion pill mifepristone for now but reduced the period of pregnancy when the drug can be used and said it could not be dispensed by mail."

"(Iowa) Attorney General Brenna Bird’s office said it has suspended payment for emergency contraception for sexual assault victims while they are reviewing state policy… 'While not required by Iowa law, the victim compensation fund has previously paid for Plan B and abortions…' Under Iowa law, the state is required to pay for medical examinations for sexual assault victims."

"A Texas man says three women helped his now-ex-wife obtain pills for an abortion last year 'without his knowledge,' and he's suing them for $1 million each… The wrongful death lawsuit, believed to be the first of its kind since the U.S. Supreme Court curtailed abortion rights last summer, highlights concerns about digital privacy and reproductive health. And it comes as a battle over the future of access to medication abortion plays out in the federal court system."

"But a fight between the two is brewing in the Florida Senate. An existing state law, supported and promoted by the Miami-based A Safe Haven, allows parents to surrender newborns to firefighters and hospital workers without giving their names. A new bill, supported by the Indiana-based Safe Haven Baby Boxes, would give fire stations and hospitals the option to install the group’s ventilated and climate-controlled boxes, where parents could drop off their babies without interacting with fire or hospital employees."

"An alternate juror in the trial of a U.S. Army sergeant convicted of murder said Wednesday that Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s rush for a pardon is an 'egregious overreach' to wipe aside the jury’s unanimous decision over a 2020 shooting during a Black Lives Matter protest." It wouldn't be political theater if it wasn't overreach.

"A woman believed to be one of the 20 wives of a polygamous sect leader jailed in Arizona faces federal charges for allegedly sending threatening emails to child welfare workers in a bid to get her two daughters released from state foster care."

"A ProPublica report on a railroad cost-cutting approach called Precision Scheduled Railroading (PSR) concludes that a strategy that employs longer trains with fewer employees puts profits ahead of safety in the freight rail industry." We all knew this. Didn't we all know this?

"Pearson and Jones are returning to the legislature on an interim basis, but they can both run in a special election to regain the seat until the next general election, in 2024… Pearson and Jones were kicked out of the House on April 6. Jones was reinstated to his seat on Monday."

"Recuperating U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California asked Wednesday to be temporarily replaced on the Judiciary Committee, shortly after two House Democrats called on her to resign after her extended absence from Washington."

"At today's pre-trial hearings in the billion-dollar Fox defamation lawsuit, the Delaware judge overseeing the case declared he would sanction Fox News and launch an investigation into Fox's apparent repeated failures to disclose information, including about the role of Fox founder Rupert Murdoch."

Monday, April 10, 2023

Linkee-poo Monday April 10

"Recently, archaeologists excavated an unusual set of talismanic nails from a mountaintop necropolis on the outskirts of Sagalassos in southwestern Turkey. In an early Roman imperial tomb, 41 broken nails were found scattered among the cremated remains of an adult male who had lived in the second century A.D. and was buried in situ. Twenty-five of the nails were headless and deliberately bent at right angles; the others were complete roundheaded nails with the shanks twisted multiple times. The unusual funerary practice is the subject of a new study published in the journal Antiquity." The use of iron nails as funerary objects in the ancient (and not so ancient) world.

"Amateur astronomers, get out your datebooks… The next total solar eclipse visible from the U.S. will occur just shy of one year from now on April 8, 2024… For just a few minutes, the moon will pass directly in front of the afternoon sun and cover it up, creating the unusual celestial phenomenon of the total solar eclipse."

"Rusher is the project manager for the land which was recently acquired by Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and she's taken community members on countless hikes like this one to show them why this old golf course should be part of the national park."

"An estimated 53 million Americans are acting as unpaid caregivers to loved ones, according to the National Alliance for Caregiving and AARP's Caregiving in the U.S. 2020 report. That means 1 in 5 people you know have had their lives upended to ensure the health and safety of loved ones. This often comes at the expense of their own mental, physical and emotional health." Tips on how to navigate this time. I'm seeing a lot more of this at the hospital with family bringing in their older relatives and being at their wits end.

"Casiano knew that Texas banned abortions, but she didn't think those laws would apply in a situation where the fetus was certain to die. But the laws do apply." The option for abortion is healthcare.

"For example, if you have a respiratory infection in the U.S., doctors can identify the pathogen causing the infection only about 40% of the time. There's growing evidence that the other 60% of infections could be caused by animal viruses such as a dog coronavirus found in Malaysia, Haiti and Arkansas, or even possibly the same virus Hause and his colleagues found in those pigs. Recent studies have made clear that this virus floats in the air at farms and is likely infecting people who work there." Something new has been added.

"When President Biden inked the $1 trillion deal to give roads, bridges and transit systems a boost, union officials and business leaders said a large scale investment in infrastructure was long overdue… But nearly a year and a half later, and about a third of the way through the funding's lifetime, economists and hiring managers point out that all that infrastructure money won't do any good if there aren't enough people qualified to do the work."

"The U.S. job market is showing signs of softening as rising interest rates and slowing economic growth begin to take their toll on hiring… Employers added 236,000 jobs in March, according to a report from the Labor Department Friday. That's down from 326,000 jobs that were added the month before."

"Police fired clouds of tear gas against unruly protesters in Paris and other French cities Thursday as hundreds of thousands of people returned to streets across the country to vent anger against President Emmanuel Macron’s contested pension reforms."

"Top-secret Pentagon documents with details about the war in Ukraine have been published on at least two social media sites, Twitter and Telegram… The revelation set off alarm bells at the Pentagon, which is trying to determine how the material was leaked or stolen."

"Swedish prosecutors said Thursday a state actor was the most likely culprit for the explosions that incapacitated the Nord Stream gas pipelines in the Baltic Sea last year, an act deemed as sabotage. However, they cautioned that the identity of the perpetrator was still unclear and hinted that it was likely to remain so." Not really big news, as, yes, it would take someone with access to skills and technology that would require immense capital.

"Federal agents and military personnel conducting a training exercise at a Boston hotel interrogated an unsuspecting civilian after they entered the wrong room by mistake… Authorities confirmed to NPR that no one was injured in the incident, which happened around 10 p.m. Tuesday night and is now under review by the FBI and Department of Defense." Oopsie. Also, why are special forces training in a commercial hotel?

"An NPR investigation found that the explosion at the schoolhouse in Fallujah was a tragic accident — the worst Marine-on-Marine "friendly fire" of recent decades. Officers determined almost immediately that the explosion was caused by an errant 81 mm mortar fired by the victims' own comrades, yet the families of the dead men weren't told for years, despite Marine Corps regulations. Some of the wounded have never been told."

"The Kansas Legislature finally rallied enough votes on Wednesday needed to override Democratic Gov. Laura Kelly’s veto of a bill banning transgender girls and women from girls and women’s sports at public schools and colleges… Kansas now stands with 19 other states that have enacted laws limiting transgender girls to participating in sports that align with the gender they were assigned at birth. The Kansas law does not affect transgender boys."

"One of America's fundamental narratives is that it is a land of equal opportunity and upward mobility for all; that any citizen, no matter their background, can ascend from "rags to riches." But in light of how many are locked in extreme poverty, what's meant to be an inspirational promise looks more like a cruel joke. Why does the myth persist?" On the Media looks at poverty. Again.

"American roads are deadlier than they were before the pandemic and many are looking at changes in police traffic enforcement as a cause… Deaths spiked during 2020, and the fatality rate — deaths per million miles traveled — is still about 18% higher now than in 2019." I dunno, maybe refrain from killing people over minor traffic stops might be a good idea.

"Texas Gov. Greg Abbott said Saturday that he is seeking to pardon a U.S. Army sergeant who was convicted of murder in the 2020 fatal shooting of an armed protester during nationwide protests against police violence and racial injustice." Ah, the party of Law and Order.

"The rapid escalation between Disney and DeSantis this week comes in the aftermath of a Central Florida governing board that had been controlled by Disney passing a series of agreements that ensured Disney would keep a large degree of power despite a new law passed in February that created a new board controlled by the governor… The moves stunned the DeSantis administration and the governor’s hand-picked board, which has since hired lawyers to examine whether it should challenge the legality of the agreements." Dude, Disney keeps handing you your ass. Maybe stop digging. I know, I know, Streisand Effect in play here.

"The Tennessee House’s youngest Reps. Justin Jones, D-Nashville, and Justin J. Pearson, D-Memphis — who are both Black — have been expelled from the chamber for their participation in gun control protests last week on the House floor. Meanwhile, Knoxville Rep. Gloria Johnson, who is white, narrowly escaped the same fate."

"For more than two decades, Thomas has accepted luxury trips virtually every year from the Dallas businessman without disclosing them, documents and interviews show. A public servant who has a salary of $285,000, he has vacationed on Crow’s superyacht around the globe… The extent and frequency of Crow’s apparent gifts to Thomas have no known precedent in the modern history of the U.S. Supreme Court… These trips appeared nowhere on Thomas’ financial disclosures." Look, when you're a part of the government, especially when you're high in the structure, you no longer as just a "private citizen." Your life is open. This is part of the trade off. So even if Crow offered these like he would offer to "any other close friend" it doesn't fucking matter. It doesn't matter if Thomas and Crow discussed cases before the court. You have to report it. It's time for Justice Thomas to go.

Friday, April 7, 2023

Linkee-poo Friday April 7th early morning

"Now, 12 of California’s 17 major reservoirs are filled above their historical averages for the start of spring. That includes Folsom Lake, which controls water flows along the American River, as well as Lake Oroville, the state’s second largest reservoir and home to the nation’s tallest dam." Just a reminder, while surface water is abundant, it takes decades to replenish aquifers. Also, the conditions that brought this year's water can reverse quickly.

"Human attempts to kill cockroaches with sugary poison have had an unintended consequence: It has cramped the bugs' sex lives… But now, some roaches appear to have tweaked the recipe for the sweet substance that males use to woo females — allowing the bugs to be fruitful and multiply once more." Evolution for the win.

"A new exhibit hosted by Museum of Templo Mayor in Mexico City marks the 45th anniversary of the discovery of a monolith depicting Coyolxauhqui, the Mexica lunar goddess. The finding was a milestone for Mexican archaeology, as it shed light on Mexica civilization before the Spanish conquest."

"Nearly five decades after being captured and held in the Miami Seaquarium, Lolita the orca will finally be able to return to the Pacific to live out the rest of her days… During a news conference (last month), the Miami Seaquarium announced its plans to move the nearly 5,000-pound killer whale — who was initially called Tokitae, or Toki — to her original home in the waters of the Pacific Northwest."

"Just before Christmas, federal health officials confirmed life expectancy in America had dropped for a nearly unprecedented second year in a row – down to 76 years. While countries all over the world saw life expectancy rebound during the second year of the pandemic after the arrival of vaccines, the U.S. did not."

"A second country in Africa has recently reported cases of Marburg, an infectious disease that has high fatality rates and, according to the World Health Organization, epidemic potential. The news has lent urgency to ongoing efforts to develop a vaccine for Marburg — and concern among public health officials that earth's changing climate could be fueling the outbreaks."

"Amazon is cutting another 9,000 workers, adding to the massive downsizing happening across an embattled tech sector that is uncertain about the economic future… The layoffs will happen 'in the next few weeks,' according to CEO Andy Jassy, who announced the cuts in a memo shared with staff and uploaded in a blog post on Monday."

"A lawsuit that Louisiana and other Republican-leaning states filed challenging figures the Biden administration uses to calculate damages from greenhouse gasses was dismissed Wednesday by a federal appeals court."

"Are tech companies moving too fast in rolling out powerful artificial intelligence technology that could one day outsmart humans?… That's the conclusion of a group of prominent computer scientists and other tech industry notables such as Elon Musk and Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak who are calling for a 6-month pause to consider the risks." Yeah, that ain't gonna happen. A lot of free time in the last two weeks has been spent diving into AI. While it is amazing, it's also crap. But people are so used to such pablum that the AI's look positively genius because their pablum is slightly more specific.

"Russia’s commissioner for children’s rights, who is being sought for war crimes for deporting children from Ukraine, told a U.N. meeting Wednesday that the children were taken for their safety and Moscow is coordinating with international organizations to return them to their families."

"Israel is in a pivotal moment of crisis, triggered by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's plan to weaken the independence of the country's judicial system and make its judges more subject to political control… Netanyahu postponed the final vote of the legislation that had been slated for Monday. In a national address lasting around seven minutes, he said he would hold discussions and bring the legislation up for a vote sometime after lawmakers return from a recess at the end of April."

"An atheist and secular humanist is suing multiple officials in charge of the agency that runs West Virginia’s jails and prisons, accusing the state of violating his constitutional rights by requiring Christian-affiliated programming as a condition of release."

"More than 150 Catholic priests and others associated with the Archdiocese of Baltimore sexually abused over 600 children and often escaped accountability, according to a long-awaited state report released Wednesday that revealed the scope of abuse spanning 80 years and accused church leaders of decades of coverups." And nary a transgender person or drag queen to be found among the lot.

"The video, shared with Texas Public Radio by a human rights worker who asked to remain anonymous due to their work with the Mexican government, appeared to show guards at the detention facility walking away as the fire raged… It's not clear what happened before or after the video was taken."

"Twitter has labeled National Public Radio as 'state-affiliated media' on the social media site, a move some worried Wednesday could undermine public confidence in the news organization."

"After clearing both legislative chambers, Idaho could become the first state in the country, according to Planned Parenthood, to criminally charge those who help pregnant minors get an abortion across state lines without parental consent."

"Transgender youth in Idaho are one step away from being unable to obtain cross-sex hormones, puberty blockers or gender-confirmation surgery… State senators passed a bill Monday afternoon 22-12 making it a felony for doctors to prescribe these medications, facing up to 10 years in prison if convicted. Gender-confirmation surgeries aren’t performed on minors in Idaho – something the legislation’s sponsors have admitted."

"A former senior producer for Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson and Maria Bartiromo is offering herself as a star witness for Dominion Voting System's $1.6 billion defamation suit against the network."

"Every year, sixth-grade students at Tallahassee Classical School have been taught and shown a picture of Michelangelo's 'David' statue, but this month, things went awry — sparking an apology letter to parents, an emergency school board meeting and a principal's resignation… On Monday even the museum that houses the sculpture in Italy took notice"

"It's been a busy news week, and it's only Wednesday. Michel Martin and I are here in Studio 31 in Washington, D.C., and we've called former federal prosecutor Shan Wu, who's going to help us to analyze the Trump indictment."