I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Linkee-poo Saturday January 27

Charles Osgood, and so it goes.

"Given that there was a decided lack of transparency at the previous Worldcon for the disqualification of several potential finalists, which has caused quite the fracas online and in fandom, this is a positive and necessary step on the part of the Glasgow Worldcon in order to restore confidence in the Hugo voting process. I’m very happy they did it. This one sentence does a lot of work, and it’s good work to see." John Scalzi on the coming Worldcon and Hugo fun.

"NASA is retiring Ingenuity, its mini Mars helicopter, a week after it was damaged during its 72nd flight. The spindly overachiever made history as the first aircraft to complete a powered, controlled flight on another planet."

"A Florida woman, unable to get an abortion in her state, carried to term a baby who had no kidneys… She said her pregnancy was proceeding normally until November, when, at 24 weeks, an ultrasound showed that the fetus did not have kidneys and that she had hardly any amniotic fluid. Not only was the baby sure to die, her doctors told her, but the pregnancy put her at especially high risk of preeclampsia, a potentially deadly complication." This is the result of the growing authoritarian theocracy in the US.

"He and a group of colleagues have arrived at an answer. They estimate in a research letter published Wednesday in JAMA Internal Medicine that 64,565 pregnancies have been caused by rape in the 14 states where abortion is banned… The figure, while an estimate that may spark some debate, is an important data point since the Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Supreme Court decision overturned the federal guarantee of abortion rights. While there once was political consensus that abortion should be permitted in cases of rape, that has changed. Few states with total bans on abortion have exceptions for rape. Those that have exceptions require victims to report the rape to authorities, something that research shows happens only in a small fraction of sexual assaults."

"Panozzo and her husband's experience exposes a loophole in the law meant to guarantee zero-cost preventive services: Health care providers may bill how they choose as long as they abide by their contracts with insurance — including for whatever goods or services they choose to list, and in ways that could leave patients with unexpected bills for 'free' care." When a coding error becomes a business process and the rise of "private equity" in healthcare. "Having lived abroad with her family for almost 10 years, she said, 'I could function in a health care system in German better than I could here in English.'" And if that isn't a call for reform, I don't know what is.

"Drug companies often increase prices at the start of the new year, and 2024 seems to be no exception. There have been about 600 price hikes so far in January, according to the drug price nonprofit 46Brooklyn Research… But the increases haven't been as steep as they were in some previous years. In the 2010s, drug price hikes were typically much bigger — up to 10% on average." PR isn't always just press releases.

"At least eight people have been diagnosed with measles in an outbreak that started last month in the Philadelphia area. The most recent two cases were confirmed on Monday… The outbreak began after a child who'd recently spent time in another country was admitted to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) with an infection, which was subsequently identified as measles. The Philadelphia Department of Public Health considers the case to be 'imported' but did not say from where." Oh fuck.

"A new study has found that no cases of cervical cancer have been detected in young women who have been fully-vaccinated as part of the HPV immunisation programme… The Public Health Scotland (PHS) research said the HPV (human papillomavirus virus) vaccine was 'highly effective' in preventing the development of the cancer." That's a wonderful result, however I will point out that the cohort of women immunized is at the early part of the window (26-27) and "Cervical cancer is the most common cancer in women aged 25 to 35 years of age in Scotland." Also, most cervical cancers are found between ages 35-44. But yes, this is a good report and adds credence to increased immunization programs.

"A prominent cancer center affiliated with Harvard said it will ask medical journals to retract six research papers and correct dozens of others after a British scientist and blogger found that work by some of its top executives was rife with duplicated or manipulated data." Oopsie.

"People who took an anti-malaria treatment that Donald Trump touted as a cure for Covid-19 in the early days of the pandemic and waning days of his presidency were 11% more likely to die from the virus, according to a new scientific study."

"The mutation, called JN.1, is a subvariant of Omicron that was first detected by the World Health Organization in late August. At the time it appeared to be spreading slowly but as temperatures have dipped, JN.1 has spiked."

"'Someone was gently running their palm in a circular motion to soothe me the way a mom does with her child,' McMillan recalled. 'Those few minutes of physical contact, at a time when I felt like I had lost all my bodily autonomy, that was what got me through the biopsy.'" As a caregiver, these are the most fraught moments. Reaching out like this could cost us our jobs (unwanted touch, interference with a procedure), but there are times when one human touching another human is the best form of medicine you can provide. And yes, letting a patient know they aren't going through these things alone can mean the difference between a successful outcome and a patient having a panic attack, crashing, or giving up hope. This is also why I stopped trying to minimize the surgery scar on my left forearm. Patients often ask about it, so it gives them something else to focus on while the medic is setting an IV, it offers comfort to those facing a cancer diagnosis, it tells them, "I've been through this, and you can get through this too."

"They are here for a distribution of coupons for the Fruit and Veg Boulder program, run by county health department staff and community groups. These distributions happen every three months – a family of two gets $40 a month in coupons, families of four and up get $80. They can be used pretty much anywhere in town where you can buy fresh produce – from big grocery stores to farm stands."

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Wednesday that it was proposing a rule to bar banks, credit unions and other institutions from immediately denying a customer's transaction for insufficient funds to cover it and then levying a fee on top of that."

"'The pitch of these containers is, "Well, we're saving them." But it doesn't make any sense,' said San Francisco-based architect Mark Hogan of OpenScope Studio, who has publicly shared his concerns about shipping container housing. 'You'd be much better off recycling the container into steel and then build out of steel studs — like the normal way you'd build a building.'"

"The U.S. economy continues to defy expectations… The nation's gross domestic product — the broadest measure of economic activity — grew at an annual pace of 3.3% in October, November, and December, according to a report Thursday from the Commerce Department… That was substantially faster than forecasters had expected."

"Oxfam spells out just how well billionaires are faring: 'The world's five richest men have more than doubled their fortunes from $405 billion to $869 billion since 2020 —at a rate of $14 million per hour— while nearly five billion people have been made poorer.'"

"The Federal Trade Commission says the company behind the popular tax filing software TurboTax engaged in 'deceptive advertising' when it ran ads for free tax services that many customers were ineligible for."

"As the new year begins, the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR) announced today its latest tally of municipal broadband networks which shows a dramatic surge in the number of communities building publicly-owned, locally controlled high-speed Internet infrastructure over the last three years… Since January 1, 2021, at least 47 new municipal networks have come online with dozens of other projects still in the planning or pre-construction phase, which includes the possibility of building 40 new municipal networks in California alone." While I've "solved" my broadband issue here, municipal owned broadband providers is one of my pet interests. They work better, provide better service, and do it at a low cost.

"In fact, more such households and many others also now struggle to pay rent, according to a newly released report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University. It finds that in 2022, as rents spiked during the COVID-19 pandemic, a record half of U.S. renters paid more than 30% of their income for rent and utilities. Nearly half of those people were severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their income." The rent is too damn high.

How "gun control" could help. "A US appeals court has ruled that a $10bn lawsuit filed by Mexico against US gun manufacturers can go ahead, reviving a long-running legal battle… Mexico's government argues that the "flood" of illegal guns across the border is a result of "deliberate" business practices by the US gunmakers."

"It was hardly the last serious accident at SpaceX. Since LeBlanc’s death in June 2014, which hasn’t been previously reported, Musk’s rocket company has disregarded worker-safety regulations and standard practices at its inherently dangerous rocket and satellite facilities nationwide, with workers paying a heavy price, a Reuters investigation found. Through interviews and government records, the news organization documented at least 600 injuries of SpaceX workers since 2014." This isn't the cost of space travel, this is negligence and a sociopathy that translates to not caring about employee health.

"Elon Musk, the electric car company’s chief executive, said he would 'build products outside of Tesla' unless the board raises his stake to 25 percent." Sounds like someone is a little hard up for cash. I hope the board tells him to go pound salt. (Grokked from John)

"A state law banning gender transition treatment for minors and prohibiting trans athletes from competing in girls' sports will go into effect, in spite of a veto from Gov. Mike DeWine. The Ohio Senate voted along party lines to override that veto, putting the law in place starting this spring." Remember when Republicans were about small government and fiscal prudence? Well, I guess I know what will be on the Fall ballot for a Constitution Amendment. Just let me know where I can sign the petition.

"A church in Ohio, whose pastor was criminally charged for allowing unhoused people to sleep at the church, has filed a federal lawsuit on the grounds of religious discrimination… Dad's Place is located in Bryan, Ohio, about an hour outside of Toledo. Last year, the church began to offer temporary housing for people living on the street. The city ordered the church to stop, citing zoning and safety concerns. But the pastor, Chris Avell, refused." These days I rarely side with religious organizations and their political causes, but I agree with the church here. Although I do agree with the city that the church needs to fix their code violations.

"An Ohio toddler was sent to the hospital with burns and was struggling to breathe after police raided what may have been the wrong address and used flash-bang devices, according to the boy's mother who shared doorbell footage that contradicts the police account."

What happens under "strong man rule." "An unlikely charge of intent to commit treason landed Meir Baruchin, a grey-haired, softly spoken history and civics teacher, in the solitary confinement wing of Jerusalem’s notorious 'Russian Compound' prison in early November… The evidence compiled by police who handcuffed him, then drove to his apartment and ransacked it as he watched, was a series of Facebook posts he’d made, mourning the civilians killed in Gaza, criticising the Israeli military, and warning against wars of revenge." There can be no criticism, no matter how small.

"Email sheds new light on Texas House candidate Jared Woodfill’s role in Southern Baptist leader’s sex abuse scandal… Woodfill has been endorsed by Attorney General Ken Paxton despite his connection to Paul Pressler, a prominent religious figure accused of rape."

"The New Hampshire attorney general's office is investigating recorded calls that appear to use a voice crafted to sound like President Biden to tell voters not to cast their ballot in the state's presidential primary on Tuesday." The deep fake attacks have begun.

"The signal feature of the 2016 election is that it settled the question of whether US conservatism — the actual movement, I mean, not the people in Washington think tanks who claim to be its spokespeople — is animated by a set of shared ideals and policies. It is not… For many years, many people have convinced themselves otherwise. A lot of people believe to this day that the Tea Party uprising and the subsequent eight years of hysterical, unremitting, norm-violating opposition to Barack Obama was about small-government philosophy and a devotion to low taxes and less regulation, and had nothing to do with social backlash against a black, cosmopolitan, urban law professor and his diverse, rising coalition… But that kind of credulity can only stretch so far, and Donald Trump has stretched it to the snapping point."

"People identify with provocative, sometimes violent movements and displaying symbols of those movements. And the symbols usually have one thing in common. They reflect anger or distrust towards the government or towards society as a whole." We used to have a word for that, psychopaths.

"A New York jury on Friday ordered former President Donald Trump to pay a total of $83.3 million to E. Jean Carroll for ruining her credibility as an advice columnist when he called her a liar after she accused him of sexual assault." It'll certainly be appealed, but to do so, Trump will have to post a bond for the total amount.

"Punchbowl News first reported that McConnell told Republican senators the politics 'have changed' because former President Trump wants to build his reelection campaign around immigration. 'We don't want to do anything to undermine him,' McConnell reportedly said."

"Former Trump White House official Peter Navarro was sentenced Thursday to four months in prison for contempt of Congress for defying a subpoena from the House committee investigating the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol attack."

"The U.S. Supreme Court, in a 5-4 vote, granted the Biden administration's request to vacate the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals' injunction in a case involving razor wire placed along Texas' border with Mexico… The move paves the way for federal officials to remove the wire." This shouldn't have been a split vote, the Constitution is very clear about the Federal Government being responsible for immigration enforcement. That the dissenters are all "originalists" should be all you need to know about what bullshit that is.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Linkee-poo for Saturday January 13

"A huge ancient city has been found in the Amazon, hidden for thousands of years by lush vegetation... The discovery changes what we know about the history of people living in the Amazon."

"Long before the advent of the Apple Watch, Levine began picking apart the energetic costs of daily activities, performing tightly controlled experiments involving body sensors and other technology to understand the implications for metabolic health."

"Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have published evidence that suggests the popular weight loss and diabetes drugs Wegovy and Ozempic may also reduce a person’s risk for colorectal cancer." Yeah, why don't we wait until we have a decade's worth of data first.

"A new generation of blood tests is poised to change the way doctors determine whether patients with memory loss also have Alzheimer's disease... The tests detect substances in the blood that indicate the presence of sticky amyloid plaques in the brain — a hallmark of Alzheimer's. So these tests have the potential to replace current diagnostic procedures, like costly PET scans and uncomfortable spinal taps."

"One key comment jumped out for those who follow health policy: Retton said she was uninsured, blaming that lack of coverage on 30 orthopedic surgeries that count as 'preexisting conditions,' a divorce and her poor finances... Nonetheless, her situation can be informative because the reasons she cited for not buying coverage — preexisting conditions and cost — are among the things the Affordable Care Act directly addresses." It's hard to reverse a lifetime of learning.

"Factory workers at Tesla have been told to expect pay raises this year, a move that comes as the United Auto Workers union tries to organize the electric vehicle maker’s U.S. plants." I'm sure it's just a coincidence. And just another example of how unions benefit all workers, even those not in unions.

"Inflation ticked up a little in December on the back of higher costs for housing and car insurance... The overall cost of living in December was up 3.4% from a year ago, a slightly larger increase than the 3.1% rate in November, according to data from the Labor Department on Thursday."

"The number of Americans applying for unemployment benefits inched down to its lowest level in nearly three months last week as the U.S. labor market continues to flex its muscle in spite of elevated interest rates."

"Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has promised Israeli citizens that the military offensive in Gaza will press on until reaching a 'definitive victory over Hamas' following its deadly Oct. 7 attack that killed more than 1,200 people in southern Israel... But skepticism is growing in Israel about the kind of military victory that can really be achieved." It's an impossible goal to achieve militarily, and with every strike, Israel strengthens support for Hamas and drives Palestinians into their arms. If you really wanted to disable Hamas, Israel would need to offer Palestinians a better option for their survival. Hamas is not generally loved among Gazans, but between one evil and the other evil killing you wholesale, there's not much of a choice there.

"Post-pandemic burnout is at worrying levels among Christian clergy in the U.S., prompting many to think about abandoning their jobs, according to a new nationwide survey." I would be interested to see a breakdown of this data with political activism from the pulpit.

"We won't prosecute women who have miscarriages," they said. "The Trumbull County prosecutor’s office said grand jurors declined to return an indictment for abuse of a corpse against Brittany Watts, 34, of Warren, resolving a case that sparked national attention for its implications for pregnant women as states across the country hash out new laws governing reproductive health care access in the wake of Roe v. Wade being overturned." Of course they will. Yes, there are different problems with this case, but seriously anyone paying attention these last 3 decades could have told you this will happen. And then it becomes a matter of "she didn't mourn properly or fully."

"The Transportation Security Administration says it found a record number of firearms at airport security checkpoints in 2023. A total of 6,737 were intercepted — or an average of 18 firearms per day — 93% of which which were loaded, the agency says."

See something, say something they said. "Sean Hodgson watched and worried as his best friend of nearly two decades unraveled. His former roommate and fellow U.S. Army reservist’s anger and paranoia were mounting, he had access to guns, and he refused to get help. So Hodgson did the hardest thing of his life: He sent a text about Robert Card to their Army supervisor."

"Shortfalls in required monitoring by American officials mean the U.S. cannot track more than $1 billion in weapons and military equipment provided to Ukraine to fight invading Russian forces, according to a Pentagon audit released Thursday." While they speculate on fraud and arms marketing, actually 59% is about in line with all of the Pentagon's budget that they can't account for IIRC. The Pentagon is notoriously bad at tracking materials and money.

"The mayor of a Texas border city at the center of Republican Gov. Greg Abbott ‘s aggressive measures to curb migrant crossings accused the state Thursday of a new escalation as state troopers closed a large public park along the Rio Grande without asking permission." Ah, I see the problem here. You think Texas' border "response" is about good governance and not about flexing military might with authoritarian rule.

"Tennessee House Republican leaders went on the defensive Thursday after surprising people who showed up to watch their lawmakers kick off this year’s work by asking some of them if they had a ticket to get in. The new and previously unpublicized requirement has only fueled lingering criticism that the GOP supermajority is unfairly flexing its ability to silence those with differing political views." JFC, just the peevishness of their responses.

"A Republican member of the Maryland State Board of Elections is resigning after being arrested by the FBI this week on felony and misdemeanor charges relating to his alleged conduct during the attack at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021."

"Hard-right House Republicans on Thursday met with Speaker Mike Johnson and pressured him to renege on the spending deal he cut with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., just days ago." Let's see, does the House still have that rule that one member can ask to unseat the speaker? Yep, I think it still does.

"Hunter Biden has been accused of nine felony and misdemeanor tax offenses. The charges stem from what federal prosecutors say was a four-year scheme to skip out on paying the $1.4 million he owed to the IRS and instead use the money to fund an extravagant lifestyle that by his own admission included drugs and alcohol."

"Bomb threats and false reports of shootings at the homes of public officials, state capitols and courthouses have surged in recent weeks, including some connected to court cases against former President Donald Trump."

"Trump spoke as the judge was trying to find out if the former president would follow rules requiring him to keep his remarks focused on matters related to the trial. Asked whether he would comply with the guidelines, Trump defied the judge and simply launched into his speech." If only we could cut him off during all his tirades.

"The Justice Department on Friday asked the Supreme Court to order Texas to stop blocking Border Patrol agents from a portion of the U.S.-Mexico border where large numbers of migrants have crossed in recent months, setting up another showdown between Republican Gov. Greg Abbott and the Biden administration over immigration enforcement."

"Former President Donald Trump was ordered Friday to pay nearly $400,000 in legal fees to The New York Times and three investigative reporters after he sued them unsuccessfully over a Pulitzer Prize-winning 2018 story about his family’s wealth and tax practices."

"While critics have been challenging what the Justice Department has called 'the most successful piece of civil rights legislation ever adopted by the United States Congress' since shortly after it was first enacted in 1965, many voting rights experts say the Supreme Court's current conservative supermajority has inspired new legal strategies."

"As a massive winter storm sweeping the United States threatens to impact the Iowa caucuses, Donald Trump supporter Laura Loomer suggests Republican challenger Nikki Haley is "using HAARP" to foment the cyclone and derail the former US president's campaign. This is false; scientists have repeatedly refuted the notion that the atmospheric research program can manipulate the weather." Here we go again.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Linkee-poo for January 11, 2024.

"Tor Publishing Group announced today that Tor.com will become Reactor…"

"A crippling fuel leak forced a U.S. company on Tuesday to give up on landing a spacecraft on the moon."

"Africa’s birds of prey have experienced a widespread population collapse that risks unforeseen consequences for humans, according to a new study."

"Last year was the hottest ever recorded, according to temperature data going back to 1850. And it beat the previous record by a wide margin, according to new data released by the European Union's weather and climate monitoring agency, Copernicus." We're boned.

"The unclaimed dead of Hinds County, Mississippi, are buried along a dirt road on the grounds of a jail work farm, their graves marked with just a metal rod and a number… Every few months, inmates dig new graves and add new bodies to the hundreds already buried in unkempt plots." When the government just doesn't care to do its job.

"Several prominent museums have been unable to display their collections online since a cyberattack hit a prominent technological service provider that helps hundreds of cultural organizations show their works digitally and manage internal documents… The Museum of Fine Arts Boston, the Rubin Museum of Art in New York and the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art in Arkansas were among the institutions confirming that their systems have experienced outages in recent days."

"How did a young man born 2,000 years ago near what is now southern Russia, end up in the English countryside?" Well, the M5 is kinda troublesome…

"Microscopic pieces of plastic are everywhere. Now, they've been found in bottled water in concentrations 10 to 100 times more than previously estimated."

"Dear Struggling in Ohio: 'You're not alone.' Love, the sewer district." Social media for the win.

"Getting and staying focused can be a challenge in the best of times. But with everything going on in the world, concentrating can often feel down-right impossible."

"ProPublica’s Claim File Helper lets you customize a letter requesting the notes and documents your insurer used when deciding to deny you coverage. Get your claim file before submitting an appeal."

"By taking biopsies from long COVID patients before and after exercising, scientists in the Netherlands constructed a startling picture of widespread abnormalities in muscle tissue that may explain this severe reaction to physical activity." COVID 19 is a mitochondrial disease.

"As a physician and infectious disease epidemiologist, I've seen a lot of COVID-19 patients during the course of the pandemic, and there's a question I hear over and over… How is it possible that my partner – or child or sibling or roommate – tested positive for COVID, and even though I slept in the same room or lived in the same house, I didn't come down with the virus?"

"Flannery turned out to be a consortium of Silicon Valley venture capitalist billionaires led by a former trader from Goldman Sachs. When pressed, they announced plans to build a new city from scratch in windswept farmland about 50 miles northeast of San Francisco in Solano County. They called the project 'California Forever' and released colorful renderings of idyllic tree-lined streets and plazas — but no details beyond a pledge to create a 'walkable' community powered by alternative energy." When billionaires don't understand that the law applies to them as well.

"The Department of Justice released new details of a settlement with engine manufacturer Cummins Inc. Wednesday that includes a mandatory recall of 600,000 Ram trucks, and that Cummins remedy environmental damage it caused when it illegally installed emissions control software in several thousand vehicles, skirting emissions testing." Naughty naughty.

"Sales of sugary drinks fell dramatically across five U.S. cities, after they implemented taxes targeting those drinks – and those changes were sustained over time. That's according to a study published Friday in the journal JAMA Health Forum."

"Last week, the National Retail Federation (NRF) removed language from their April report after reporting showed that their major claim about 'organized retail crime' (ORC) was based on faulty data. The language they removed came from the Coalition of Law Enforcement and Retail (CLEAR) and stated that 'nearly half' of the total inventory loss to retailers in 2021 'was attributable to ORC.' Organized retail crime, or ORC, is a term to describe shoplifting conducted coordinated groups of people stealing items for the purpose of personal enrichment. Organized retail crime has been increasingly targeted by lawmakers aiming to crack down on the crime with stiffer penalties and more jail time. The National Retail Federation’s retraction highlighted that data behind an apparent crisis in retail crime is baseless." Outside NYC, shoplifting is decreasing everywhere. The "ORC" number was started by :: checks notes :: the guy responsible for countering ORC (you know, no conflict of interest there).

"For years, rumors spread on social media that Steven Reece Lewis, the chief executive officer of a now-shuttered cryptocurrency hedge fund called HyperVerse, was a 'fake person' who 'doesn't exist.' After its investigation, The Guardian has confirmed that no organization cited on his resume 'can find any record of him.'"

Why does everyone say the economy is bad, Paul Krugman? "Republican assessments of the economy soared when Donald Trump took office. Even during the pandemic recession, when unemployment rose to almost 15 percent, Republicans had a more favorable view of the economy than they did in the Obama years. And when Joe Biden came in, almost all Republicans declared that the economy was bad — a view that has barely budged in the face of good macroeconomic news… Democrats are not Republicans’ mirror image." Funny that.

"It wasn’t a cakewalk for Chris Rufo… The right-wing thought leader delivered a smooth and articulate call to 'lay siege' to the nation’s system of higher education at UT’s Republican donor-funded Salem Center on Nov.13. But by the end of the Q&A, a trio of university professors had neutered his message." All bluster, no brain.

"Former county clerk Kim Davis, who refused to issue marriage licenses in Kentucky to same-sex couples, must pay a total of $260,104 in fees and expenses to attorneys who represented one couple, according to a federal judge’s ruling."

"A ‘faith-based’ leader of Moms for Liberty in Philly turns out to be (subscription required) a registered sex offender. But don’t worry: He says he was framed." Funny how that keeps happening.

"The Republican Party of Florida officially ousted its former chair Christian Ziegler in a closed-door meeting Monday. The party also announced they have elected Leon County Republican Party chair Evan Power as his replacement… Ziegler is currently facing a rape investigation and other charges that he denies. The situation prompted the party to remove him after calls for his ouster from Republican elected officials across the state coupled with Ziegler's suspension last month."

"In the 32 years since Justice Thomas came through the fire of his confirmation hearings and onto the Supreme Court, he has assembled an army of influential acolytes unlike any other — a network of like-minded former clerks who have not only rallied to his defense but carried his idiosyncratic brand of conservative legal thinking out into the nation’s law schools, top law firms, the judiciary and the highest reaches of government."

"The hard-right Republicans on the 11-person county board swept into office last year after defeating more-moderate GOP incumbents in a primary. The old commissioners had for years focused on keeping taxes low and the county’s biggest multinational employers happy. Their replacements reflected an increasingly populist and conspiratorial GOP — remade in the image of Donald Trump… They complained that they couldn’t trust (leader of the health department) Hambley. They accused her of supporting mask mandates and pushing coronavirus vaccines that they believed were unproven and possibly unsafe. They said her employees had encouraged dangerous, sexually perverse behavior by attending a local Pride festival, where they tested attendees for sexually transmitted diseases and administered the mpox vaccine." When religion gets involved with politics, it's never a good outcome.

"Lawmakers in the Maine House rejected an effort on Tuesday to launch impeachment proceedings against Secretary of State Shenna Bellows over her decision to remove former President Donald Trump from the Republican primary ballot."

"In arguments that extended for more than an hour, three judges for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit pressed Trump's attorney on his sweeping claims of immunity from federal prosecution."

"The No. 2 official at the Pentagon was kept in the dark about Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin's hospitalization even after she was filling in for him, according to a senior defense official." See, that part is the real problem.

"Congressional leaders have reached an agreement on a framework to avert a shutdown and keep the federal government funded until the end of the fiscal year." And not two days later… "Without support from the most conservative members of his party, Johnson will have to rely heavily on Democratic support to avert a government shutdown. That could threaten Johnson's plan to add conservative policy provisions to the bill, like restrictions on abortion rights."

"The presidential nominating contests kick off in less than two weeks with voting in Iowa on Jan. 15. That's followed by New Hampshire on Jan. 23." Here we go again.

"Christie ended his presidential campaign after his stance on Trump's leadership and role in the Republican Party proved to diverge too far from where the GOP currently stands. Numerous conservatives had additionally been calling on Christie to end his campaign for weeks, so that former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley, who's been surging in the polls, could have a stronger chance to beat Trump for the GOP nomination."

"Trump posted an article on his Truth Social account from a right wing outlet that claims Haley is ineligible to be president because her parents were not U.S. citizens when she was born… While her parents became citizens after her birth, Haley was born in South Carolina. Under the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, being born in the United States makes her a natural-born citizen. She is therefore eligible to become president." Can't wait for the calls to see her birth certificate.