Linkee-poo looks at all the poppies

"Donald Trump Jr. stormed out of an event promoting his new book yesterday after he was heckled by a protester and supporters angered by his refusal to take questions." Heckled from the left and the right.

"Archaeologists have uncovered a viking grave with two bodies in two boats, buried one hundred years apart." (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

"A Virginia doctor allegedly performed hysterectomies and tied a patient's fallopian tubes without consent, federal authorities said in court documents." Monsters sometimes wear white coats.

"'Mindfulness, cognitive behavioral therapy and clinical hypnosis appear to be the most useful for reducing pain,' says study author Eric Garland, a professor at the University of Utah. The reductions in dose were modest overall, he says, but the study is a signal that this approach is beneficial."

"A group of former students from five of Detroit’s worst-performing public schools is suing the Michigan Department of Education and Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for their constitutional right to access literacy."

"Melissa Reeves, a professor at Winthrop University and former president of the National Association of School Psychologists, talked with NPR's Lulu Garcia-Navarro about changes in how school shooting drills are carried out and her concerns about how drills can impact the psychological development of young children." With tornado or fire drills, nobody comes along with a tornado or sets fire to the schools. However, in "active shooter drills" the active shooter part is sometimes acted out.

"This is a film shoot held by Athena Security. It’s one of several companies creating artificial intelligence software to identify weapons. AI requires a lot of data to learn what is a gun — and what isn’t. But there aren’t enough images in the public domain of people holding weapons, and very few are from the perspective of security cameras. So Athena is creating its own data by filming the footage itself." Uhh... Not sure this is what we should be doing. Including the part about the robot. But I'm sure it will totally not malfunction or misidentify threats. Also note, they're trying to teach the machine learning algorithm how to spot a gun, but there's very little consideration on teaching it how to correctly identify things that are not guns.

"On Earth, helium is generated deep underground through the natural radioactive decay of elements such as uranium and thorium. 'It takes many, many millennia to make the helium that's here on the Earth,' says Sophia Hayes, a chemist at Washington University in St. Louis. The helium seeps up through the Earth's crust and gets trapped in pockets of natural gas, where it can be extracted."

"A US financial regulator has opened an investigation into claims Apple's credit card offered different credit limits for men and women." Oopsie.

"Investors have recently put fears about the pace of global growth aside, opting for optimism on a 'phase one' US-China trade deal. But muted economic data expected out of Europe this week could change the mood."

"The British economy avoided falling into recession in the third quarter of the year, but annual growth is running at a near-decade low rate as a result of ongoing uncertainty related to Britain’s departure from the European Union and a subdued global backdrop, official figures showed Monday."

"But those who vaped, the study found, had higher levels of unhealthy LDL cholesterol, on average, compared with nonsmokers. And levels of healthy HDL cholesterol were lower among people who used both traditional and e-cigarettes." Welcome to the autonomic nervous system's para-sympathetic side. As I've stated on twitter, all vaping is is changing your drug pusher. Some people have used e-cigs to wean themselves from nicotine, and that's great for them. However, if your vape juice contains nicotine, claiming you've stopped smoking is like saying because you now rub cocaine on your gums instead of snorting it that you've kicked the habit. Vaping is "safer" only the aspect that it's less likely to burn your bed/chair/house down.

"The water is already low at a Florida freshwater spring, but Nestlé wants more." You may remember Nestlé's CEO who once said that potable water is not a human right.

"May 27, 2018… It’s Memorial Day weekend. It has been 22 months since the flood… There is rain in the forecast." There will come soft rains. One of the problems of climate change… we're living in the wrong places. I suggest looking at this link on a computer, I'm not sure you can get the impact of the layout on a phone. It is intensely video and photo oriented, but besides the subject, I'm sharing the link in the vein of, "this is how you can tell stories on the internet." Well done, NPR.

"If you're serving a life sentence but momentarily 'die' and are then resuscitated, does that mean you can walk free?… That's what a convicted murderer is claiming in Iowa. He says he's been in prison for four years too long. But on Wednesday, a three-judge panel of the Court of Appeals of Iowa gave that idea a firm no." Okay, so I know this is a popular story about how people have died and were brought back. There is no coming back from death. What is more accurate description of what is happening is you are in the process of dying and that process is reversed, or the condition causing the impending death is corrected.

"The self-driving Uber SUV involved in a crash that killed a Tempe, Ariz., woman last year did not recognize her as a jaywalking pedestrian and its braking system was not designed to avoid an imminent collision, according to a federal report released this week… 'The system design did not include a consideration for jaywalking pedestrians,' the report said." AI my ass.

"The Environmental Working Group has found that high levels of perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) and other perfluorinated chemicals (PFAS) have been detected in tap water at Trump National Golf Course in Bedminister, New Jersey. PFAS are often called 'forever chemicals,' because they don't break down once they enter the environment and can cause build-up in the blood and organs of people exposed to them. President Donald Trump has frequently used the private club for meetings with public officials and referred to the compound as 'the summer White House.'" Maybe we shouldn't eat the rich. They're probably toxic. Betcha they have a filtration system in place by next summer. Meanwhile in Flint, Michigan… (Grokked from Dan)

How goes Brexit? "In a major shift, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage said Monday his party will not run against Conservative candidates in almost half of the U.K. seats available in Britain’s Dec. 12 election to make sure it doesn’t split the pro-Brexit vote." Facing a loss for their own ideology, they decided not to cut off their own noses.

"Denmark will temporarily reinstate border controls with Sweden and step up police work along the border after a series of violent crimes and explosions around Copenhagen that Danish authorities say were carried out by perpetrators from Sweden."

"Evo Morales has stepped down as Bolivia's president after the military encouraged him to leave the post to ensure stability following weeks of protests against his disputed re-election." Probably the nicest coup ever.

And now to Hong Kong… "A Hong Kong anti-government protester was shot by police Monday… Elsewhere, a man was set on fire following an apparent dispute over national identity in the semi-autonomous Chinese territory, which has been wracked by five months of protests. The man was in critical condition in a city hospital."

"As first reported by NY1 Noticias, the armored personnel carrier was spotted Wednesday morning on Forest Avenue near Norman Street in Ridgewood. Agents wearing ICE jackets were seen standing around the street, as a gunner stood watch in the middle of the vehicle." Look at all the little kids playing soldier. Unfortunately they're carrying real weapons and engaging in a terror operation. (Grokked from Steven Brust)

"The Supreme Court will have the fate of these four DREAMers and some 660,000 others in its hands Tuesday when it considers the Trump administration's decision to end the DACA program, which has provided a reprieve for some undocumented immigrants brought to the United States as children. A ruling on the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is expected next spring in the midst of the 2020 presidential election."

"Nardini’s confirmation is a terrifying new milestone for Trump: One out of every four judges at the circuit court level is now a Trump appointee. Here’s another statistic: In less than three years, Trump has appointed 45 appeals-court judges, while President Obama appointed 55 appellate judges in his eight years in office. The explanation for Trump’s success is the same for Obama’s failure to appoint more: Mitch McConnell." Stacking the court. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"Giuliani forgot my name almost immediately, but we kept in touch… Two days after publication, on the evening he attended a Yankees playoff game with Alan Dershowitz, Giuliani — President Donald Trump’s 75-year-old informal cybersecurity adviser — accidentally texted me what appeared to be a password: Eight characters, beginning with the name of a networking company and including a capital letter, a special character, and a number. Multiple IT experts confirmed it could be nothing else, and, given the iPhone’s messaging setup, impossible to type with your butt or in any other unwitting way." Giuliani's blunders are the new Kremlinology.

"A lawyer for Rudy Giuliani's indicted associate Lev Parnas said Giuliani directed Parnas to issue an ultimatum earlier this year to a representative of incoming Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, warning him that if the new government didn't announce an investigation into Joe Biden, the US would freeze military aid and Vice President Mike Pence would not attend Zelensky's inauguration." It's like a race to see who will thrown whom under the bus.

"For news audiences, key details about the Ukraine affair have been told, so far, twice: First, in leaked and preliminary accounts of what witnesses told investigators behind closed doors, then in the full transcripts released last week of their depositions… This week, some witnesses will tell their stories for a third time, in open hearings scheduled before the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence." Keep saying it until people understand.

"Trump has spent weeks questioning the whistleblower's motives and slamming the account for being inaccurate. But as this annotation shows, most of the complaint has been corroborated during closed-door depositions of administration officials, through public statements and from a rough transcript of the call itself, released by the White House."

Linkee-poo and with glasses high we raised a cry for freedom had arrived

Where were you when the Wall came down? "This year, Germany commemorates the 30th anniversary of the fall of the wall. Anyone who travels to Berlin can visit the remains of the 155-kilometer structure at the following locations, which are all free."

"Ten people at a care facility in Oklahoma were hospitalized after they were injected with insulin instead of a flu shot, police said." And this is why you read labels at least twice and you never use something that is not labeled correctly.

"Dan Jepson, an archaeologist with the Colorado Department of Transportation, says all of these cultural resources were discovered as a result of the highway project itself. Under federal law, potential sites for things like road expansions must be surveyed and then sometimes excavated to see what important historical features might lie below the ground. And that's how these pit houses were found." But the road is going through anyway.

"A study of 104 children from ages 3 to 10 found similar patterns of brain activity in boys and girls as they engaged in basic math tasks, researchers reported Friday in the journal Science of Learning." Just in case you still held on to the popular myth as described by Barbie, "Math is hard, let's go to the mall." It's societal training and the biases those form that keep women down and adjust what we see later in life.

"After a article drew howls and derision online for claiming the Obama White House received complaints from top CIA officials for holding weekly 'political correctness' meetings, the author of the book admitted that he didn’t understand that the initials 'PC' actually stood for 'principals committee.'" Research? Who has time for that when you gotta smear lefties. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

Facebook's political ad policy does include a clause about encouraging violence. "But, judging from a new ad out Wednesday, the Trump campaign didn’t get the memo — and Facebook isn’t serious about policing at least one of the two types of advertisements it said it would." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A professional referee says in a lawsuit filed Thursday that disgraced doctor Richard Strauss masturbated in front of him in a shower after a wrestling match at Ohio State University, and he reported the encounter directly to Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, who was then the assistant coach… 'Yeah, that’s Strauss,' Jordan and then-head coach Russ Hellickson replied, according to the lawsuit, when the referee, identified in court papers as John Doe 42, told them about the incident." So much for his "I didn't know" defense.

"Iraq’s top Shi’ite Muslim cleric urged security forces on Friday to avoid using excessive force to quell weeks of anti-government unrest as authorities grapple with the country’s biggest crisis in years." But hey, at least they have a copay when the see a doctor now.

"President Emmanuel Macron of France has described Nato as 'brain dead', stressing what he sees as waning commitment to the transatlantic alliance by its main guarantor, the US." Perfectly normal, I guess.

"A New York judge has ruled that President Trump must pay $2 million in damages to settle claims that the Trump Foundation misused funds. The money will go to a group of charities, and the foundation is in the process of dissolving." Only $2M for the $19M they spent on themselves and the campaign? But then this judgement is only over one of the fundraisers they held.

"President Donald Trump's behavior can be so erratic that most top administration officials have pre-written resignation letters ready to submit, an anonymous author claiming to be a senior official in the Trump administration says in a book scheduled to be published this month… To complicate matters, the president's decision-making abilities are getting worse with time, according to excerpts of 'A Warning' that were obtained and read Thursday night on MSNBC's 'The Rachel Maddow Show.'" Well, that certainly narrows down who Anonymous could be. The truth is, the first thing you do as a presidential appointee is write your resignation letter without a date. That's been true of most administrations since Reagan. The president then holds them in a drawer to be brought out when needed. You serve at the pleasure of the president. So this person is not someone who has lots of political experience. But this is from the same supposed inside-resister who wrote an op-ed way back when. So this could be real, or it could be the Q-anon of the left with a better business plan.

"The federal judge presiding over longtime Donald Trump adviser Roger Stone's criminal trial told jurors on Thursday not to watch 'The Godfather' during the trial… Prosecutors said that (Stone) threatened Credico to make sure he didn't cooperate with investigators, urging him to 'do a Frank Pentangeli.'" Apparently Credico is an impressionist, but he doesn't do a Pentangeli, who in the Godfather Part II lies to Congress to cover up for the Corleone family and then kills himself.

"'Prepare to die ...' Stone wrote in one text to Credico that included an obscenity." Part-time crooks.

"Mark Zaid, the attorney for the Ukraine call whistleblower, on Thursday defended a series of tweets from 2017 in which he predicted a "coup" against President Trump and promised to 'get rid of him' -- saying in a statement the tweets referred to 'a completely lawful process.'" Paranoia strikes deep.

"'I am writing to respectfully request that you counsel your client on the legal and ethical peril in which he is placing himself should anyone be physically harmed as a result of his, or his surrogates', behavior,' Bakaj wrote, adding that the president is 'engaging in rhetoric and activity that places my client, the Intelligence Community Whistleblower, and their family in physical danger.'"

"Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has been subpoenaed to appear Friday morning before the House Intelligence Committee as part of the impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump, an official working on the inquiry told CNN." I doubt he's smart enough to show up.

"Ultimately, Republican leaders in Washington and Florida settled on a simple course of action. They would beat Rooney at his own game, doing nothing to undermine him openly but instead orchestrating a whisper campaign aimed at sowing doubts about his devotion to the president. The focal point would be Florida’s 19th, Rooney’s bloody red district, which Trump had carried by 22 points. That way, if and when Rooney broke ranks, the uprising back home would appear instant and organic. The recoil wouldn’t just scare Rooney straight; it would provide a cautionary tale for any Republican tempted to follow his lead." Gotta keep 'em in line.

"With the impeachment inquiry heading into its public phase, Republicans are road-testing yet another deeply absurd defense of President Trump: They are conceding that, yes, there may have been a quid pro quo, but there’s no proof Trump himself was behind it." I don't think my "okay, Bob" line is enough of an eye roll for this. In this impeachment we don't need to ask, "What did the president know, and when did he know it." It was him on the call, he was the one who directly suspected the aid to Ukraine, Giuliani stated he was acting at the direction of the president, the VP made sure Ukraine got the message. This is all in the public record.

However there is a quote from Watergate that is very apt. From Deepthroat (aka Mark Felt), "The truth is, these aren't very bright guys, and things got out of hand."

Linkee-poo Thursdays

"EduSense is minimally obtrusive. It uses two wall-mounted cameras -- one facing students and one facing the instructor. It senses things such as students' posture to determine their engagement, and how much time instructors pause before calling on a student. 'These are codified things that educational practitioners have known as best practices for decades,' Harrison said." This is some top level Orwellian shit. And I'm not being hyperbolic here. This is Winston Smith's workout in front of the TV. (Grokked from Ali A Olomi)

"A proposed (Las Vegas) ordinance to criminalize camping or sleeping on downtown streets when beds are available at established shelters passed Wednesday night against a backdrop of protests in and around city hall." Criminalizing the poor.

There's a fungus among us. "In a new study in Nature Microbiology, McCall and her co-authors found that the fungal diversity was actually higher in urban homes, and it might be because of peoples' cleaning products and urban lifestyles."

"The Ohio Senate passed two anti-abortion bills Wednesday, including one that would require physicians to notify patients that an abortion can be reversed -- a procedure that hasn’t been scientifically proven." Conservatives, getting between you and your doctor and making that doctor tell you bullshit.

"The powerful gene-editing technique known as CRISPR has raised a lot of hope in recent years for its potential to offer new ways to treat many diseases, including cancer. But until now, scientists have released very little information about results of tests in patients." Note the caveats outlined in the article. Also, if you'll remember, the first tests using a previous form of genetic manipulation had serious side-effects.

"Two former employees of Twitter were charged with spying for Saudi Arabia by snooping into thousands of private accounts seeking personal information about critics of the Riyadh government, according to court documents filed Wednesday in San Francisco."

How go the Trade Wars? "China says it has agreed with the US to cancel existing trade tariffs in phases." Uh, yeah. I'll wait for the tweet.

"Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday the United States was not fulfilling its pledge to remove a Kurdish militia from a Syrian border region and he will raise the issue when he meets President Donald Trump next week."

"The Kentucky Republican Party filed a complaint with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) Wednesday accusing Democrat Matt Jones of 'serious violations' of campaign regulations." Too bad Mitch McConnell is one of the architects of dismantling the FEC by not approving commissioners so the FEC now does not have a quorum to vote to either start a new investigation or to impose sanctions or fines. Instant Karma is gonna get you. But then Jones hasn't file paperwork for running, and this is just an attempt to silence an effective critic.

"President Trump's former attorney general and long-time Alabama Republican senator is expected to announce he is once again running for the seat he held for 20 years, according to two GOP sources. Sessions is facing a Friday filing deadline to declare his candidacy." Because of course he is.

Projection is endemic in conservative circles. "President Donald Trump encouraged supporters to elect the Republican candidate in Louisiana’s gubernatorial runoff at a campaign rally in Louisiana Wednesday night, portraying the Democratic party as 'totalitarian' and 'willing to do illegal acts' in order to remove the president from office."

"FOX News host Bret Baier played a recording of Rand and his father Ron Paul defending whistleblowers & then asked Rand Paul if he thinks whistleblowers should only be protected if he agrees with them." What I think is hilarious is he tries "both side-ism" then goes on to defend his hypocrisy… all while misstating that those who were against Snowden are now wanting to protect Trump's whistleblower. I was there, Rand. It was conservatives going after Snowden. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"John Bolton trying to 'walk that tightrope' over role in Trump's impeachment inquiry."

Sen. Lindsey Graham, "'What I can tell you about the Trump policy toward Ukraine: It was incoherent, it depends on who you talk to, they seem to be incapable of forming a quid pro quo, so no I find the whole process to be a sham and I'm not going to legitimize it.'" Too dumb to commit the crime is not a defense.

"To Trump himself, Sondland was once a Never Trumper who first globbed on to the low-energy Jeb before shifting his undying loyalty to little Marco. When neither of those Republican gods were able to confer any honor upon his wealthy shoulders, Sondland did what any principled conservative would do: he wrote a $1m check to Trump and asked for an ambassadorship." That doesn't even rise to the level of "situational ethics." But the Trump Administration fingered Sondland for the fall, but they forgot to tell Sondland.

"Democrats say they have questions about her knowledge of how much Pence knew about efforts by Trump and those around him to push Ukraine to launch investigations into Joe Biden and his son, as well as 2016 election interference. There is no evidence of wrongdoing of either Biden in Ukraine… Though Pence was not on that call, he has met with and held a call with Zelensky himself." President Pelosi?

"President Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, said on Wednesday that he had assembled a legal team to represent him in the criminal investigation into his activities related to Ukraine, an announcement that came after weeks of sputtered attempts to find a lawyer willing to take him on as a client." You know it's bad when people say, "ya know, I'd rather not have my name tied to this very public case."

Linkee-poo Wednesday

Ernest Gaines, and so it goes. "Cuyahoga County Library System and Cleveland Public Library confirmed on Twitter to News 5’s Homa Bash that they are among the many libraries across the country affected by Macmillan Publishers' decision to limit the sale of its e-books to local libraries."

"One year ago, on Nov. 5, 2018, NASA's Voyager 2 became only the second spacecraft in history to reach interstellar space, the region between the stars… Monday, several new research papers in the journal Nature Astronomy described what scientists observed during and since Voyager 2's historic crossing."

"Dieting can mess up the body's connection to hunger cues. In fact, chronic dieting can often end up complicating our relationship with food more than it helps us reach a desired weight: Research suggests that the vast majority of people who lose weight on restrictive eating plans, especially ones that are unsustainable, end up gaining it back." Unfortunately most of us have grown up with a poor relationship with food.

"Conflicting recommendations on when and how average-risk adults should get screened for colon and rectal cancer could leave you confused -- but new guidance aims to make sense of it all."

"Archaeologists have identified the remains of a stone wall in Iran about the length of the famous Hadrian's Wall that was built across England by the Romans."

"Experiencing traumatic things as a child puts you at risk for lifelong health effects, according to a body of research. The CDC's new report confirms this, finding that Americans who had experienced adverse childhood experiences, or ACEs, were at higher risk of dying from five of the top 10 leading causes of death."

"'Disclosures 101 for Social Media Influencers' (from the FTC) offers guidance for when and how influencers should disclose ads. According to the document, it is the responsibility of influencers to be transparent." They're not so much rules as they are guidelines.

"One might expect locals to oppose a tax increase to educate migrant kids born thousands of miles away. After all, this is Donald Trump country — he won Moore County by 75%. The president wants fewer low-skilled immigrants like these, who he says compete with Americans for jobs and drive down wages… But Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric clashes with economic reality out here in the hardworking Panhandle." Funny how when it comes to their own pocketbook they become very practical. But then, this is the "exception rule" in practice. Certainly our immigrants aren't the problem and shouldn't be deported, even if they may not speak English.

"Workers at Microsoft Japan enjoyed an enviable perk this summer: working four days a week, enjoying a three-day weekend — and getting their normal, five-day paycheck. The result, the company says, was a productivity boost of 40%." Funny how that works. And note, these were not four 10-hour days. Also note, this might not translate everywhere. There is no magic to the 5-day workweek, it's the default negotiating position of turn-of-the-20th-century unions as compared to the 6 or 7-day workweek they had. They said 2 days off would work nicely, can we have that (although sometimes they didn't ask nicely). And management (after many deaths and lost profits) finally agreed. That's why the workweek is 5 days.

So Stephen Easterbrook, as he steps down as McD's CEO has asked for privacy. "Former McDonald's CEO Stephen Easterbrook is getting an exit package of almost $42 million after his relationship with an employee was found to violate company policy. The size of his compensation puts a new focus on the widening gap between the pay at the top and the bottom of the corporate ladder." Fuck his request for privacy. Tell me again why we shouldn't tax these assholes into obscurity.

"A newly surfaced video of an ABC News anchor's unguarded remarks about the network's coverage of the late Jeffrey Epstein has thrown ABC on the defensive." Although it's being pushed by Project Veritas, which calls all parts of the video into question.

"Turkey has announced back-to-back airstrikes on positions of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iraq, claiming to have inflicted casualties on the outlawed group as Ankara faced setbacks in its ongoing offensive against Kurdish fighters across the border in Syria." Escalation and expansion.

Remember when it was about "bringing our soldiers home"? "Though President Donald Trump ordered the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria, the next mission in the country has already begun. As troops have left northern Syria over the past few weeks, new soldiers have begun moving in, heading to a remote base in the eastern part of the country."

"Democrats were celebrating Tuesday night, while President Donald Trump and Republicans were left to explain why they were behind in one of the reddest states in the nation." It's not all wine and roses, but not bad. Bevin was not very well liked, and even for that the election was close. On the flip side, Mississippi's race shouldn't have been as close as it was.

"Virginia Democrats continued their winning streak under President Trump on Tuesday and took full control of the statehouse for the first time in more than two decades."

"The purpose of the president's rallies in Mississippi, Kentucky and now Louisiana has been to push GOP gubernatorial candidates over the finish line in off-year elections. But Trump has tied those candidates’ fortunes to his own bid for reelection next year. And experts note his campaign also benefits as he stumps for others."

"At a rally in Kentucky on Monday, Republican Senator Rand Paul urged the press to 'do your job and print his name,' which prompted the audience to break into chants of 'do your job!'" Rand Paul reminds us once again that despite his supposed "libertarian" independence, he's just as much of a dick as the rest of them. At this point, all of the items mentioned in the whistleblower's complaint have been corroborated by other witnesses. There is no need for the whistleblower to come forward.

"Litt and several other legal experts who talked to NPR said Trump uttering or tweeting the name could in theory trigger an article of impeachment for retaliating against a whistleblower, but it would not run afoul of any federal criminal statutes." Unless the whistleblower is a covert agent, or the spouse of one (coughValeriePlamecough).

"The U.S. ambassador to the E.U. revised earlier testimony to the House committees leading the impeachment probe, saying he now recalls telling a top Ukrainian official that the release of military aid 'likely' required the country to announce anti-corruption investigations into President Trump's rivals." Funny how the prospect of perjury charge can lead one to remember things. And that's why the first series of interviews are done in private.

"House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., is considering changing the lineup of the House Intelligence Committee to include some of President Trump's most vocal defenders in Congress." But only for the impeachment hearings.

Linkee-poo Tuesday

"Morning Edition turns 40 on Tuesday. Over the years, NPR's morning newsmagazine program has covered seven presidents, two Persian Gulf wars, the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and nine Star Wars movies."

"What would a Hocus Pocus sequel even look like without the Sanderson Sisters? Thankfully, it’s not an idea we’ll have to ever entertain, because Winifred, Mary, and Sarah all want to come back! In a comment on Instagram (screenshot below), Sarah Jessica Parker confirmed that she, Bette Midler, and Kathy Najimy have all said 'yes' to Hocus Pocus 2." When I first saw Hocus Pocus I strained several cranial nerves with the eye-rolls. But over the years I've come to love the movie despite the over Disney schmaltz. Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kathy Najimy took what they had and decided the only way it would work would be to go overboard, which they did. You can see they're all having fun making the movie. And that's what makes that movie worth watching.

"On a cold Monday morning in New Mexico, Boeing's Starliner spacecraft took flight for the first time. Under the power of its main launch abort engines, the capsule accelerated to 650mph in just 5 seconds during a demonstration of its escape system." Except for one chute failing to deploy, it looked good. Although it'll be good to wait to hear about how rough the landing was with only 2 chutes (which I believe is actually a separate test).

"The Trump administration has formally notified the United Nations that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement. The withdrawal will be complete this time next year, after a one-year waiting period has elapsed." We're boned.

"A team of Trump administration advisers – consisting mostly of appointees from private industry – are urging 'modernization' of national park campgrounds, with a vision of food trucks, wifi and even Amazon deliveries." Because they want people to be able to make choices. Listen, fucksticks, people who go to the parks are already making a choice to go without those things. Do the parks need upgrading? Oh, you bet they do. But not this stupid shit. Also, this will be used as an argument to "privatize" the parks. That's another bullshit idea. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Who needs regulations? "The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed relaxing two Obama-era regulations on waste products from coal-fired power plants, a move environmental groups say would prolong the risk of toxic spills or drinking water contamination." Better living through poisoning the population.

"The world's two nuclear superpowers have never unleashed their atomic arsenals against one another, but two longstanding agreements that have helped keep the United States and Russia from doing so now appear to be on the verge of collapse." There is no such thing as a winnable nuclear war.

How go the Trade Wars? "Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that global frictions should be resolved through discussions, and encouraged cooperation rather than separation." Uh, yeah, Bob.

On the other hand, "Xi Jinping's message to Hong Kong: You're stuck with Carrie Lam."

"'At the end of any economic cycle, we often get warnings that appear to be unrelated,' (Blackstone strategist Joseph Zidle) wrote in a recent note. 'It’s in hindsight that we realize that they were not at all random.' Investors saw this during the runup and aftermath of the housing bubble, he added, and we’re seeing it now." Look at all those canaries lying on the floor.

"Voters in four states head to the polls today. These off-year contests may not be as high profile as the 2020 presidential and congressional elections will be a year from now, but they could offer some important hints on how voters are feeling about President Trump, impeachment, guns and more." Well, voters in all states head to the polls (go and vote), but these three are where the parties are testing their messaging and new technology. Results will also be seen as a test of where the American voting public is in regards to impeachment. Two are deeply red states (Kentucky and Mississippi), and one is a purple state (Virginia).

"A staff member for Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer used access he had previously been granted while working for the South Carolina Democratic Party to download data about rival Kamala Harris' campaign, state party officials said Monday." Well, at least he handled it well (immediately reported it, although he should have let others delete the information).

"Fox News host Sean Hannity on Monday claimed that President Donald Trump 'doesn't poll well,' before then attacking his own network's polls over unfavorable results for the president." That's hilarious. Just an editor note here, polling at this time, over a year before the election, is complete bullshit.

"President Trump has lost another legal fight in his efforts to keep his tax returns private. The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled Monday that Trump's accounting firm must turn over the returns to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr." To the Supreme Court we go.

"President Trump's friend and political adviser Roger Stone is set to go on trial Tuesday in a proceeding that could reveal just how close Trump world got to the Russian interference in the 2016 election." Is that the theme of Jaws I hear?

"First, early Sunday afternoon, Trump held a media availability in which it took him less than a minute to contradict himself about his dealings with Ukraine. He falsely claimed 'nobody' with direct knowledge of the phone call… came forward to complain about it, but then in the next breath acknowledged that witnesses 'only came forward when you [i.e., the media] asked, and some of them are Never Trumpers.'… That claim, too, was false." There is no strategy.

Also, just going to say this here, with all these people on the call, or knew about the call, it's almost impossible to believe VP Mike Pence also didn't know.

So, how's the "release the transcripts" argument going? "Ousted former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch told congressional investigators that she was warned to 'watch my back' by a senior Ukrainian official, according to the newly released transcript of Yovanovitch's closed-door deposition before Congress."

Linkee-poo Monday

"The winners for the 2019 World Fantasy Awards have been announced, including Lifetime Achievement recipients Hayao Miyazaki and Jack Zipes. Congrats to the finalists and winners…" It's still kinda weird that I know people IRL and several more from social media who are on this list of finalists and some of the winners.

"They were also perplexed by another issue: Voyager 2 revealed that Neptune is warmer than Uranus, despite being farther from the sun. As physicist Brian Cox discussed in his BBC documentary, The Planets: "The source of this extra heat remains a mystery." But does that mean we have a double-puzzle on our hands, and can one mystery help to explain the other in some way?"

"According to the new analysis, roughly three times as many people are at risk from being inundated by rising seas than previously reported — 150 million people are now living on land that will be below high tide by 2050. And this is a hopeful scenario, where warming is held to 2 degrees C and the ice sheets don’t collapse in the near future. In a more pessimistic scenario, the numbers double to 300 million people flooded out by 2050. That is roughly equivalent to the entire population of the United States going underwater in the next three decades." We're boned. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Simulating a catastrophic failure, Boeing is gearing up to fire an unpiloted Starliner crew capsule's abort engines Monday morning, triggering a high-speed boost from ground level to a height of more than 4,000 feet to prove the spacecraft can safely propel a crew to safety in the event of a low-altitude emergency."

"Around 13,000 years ago, giant animals such as mastodons, mammoths, saber-toothed cats and ground sloths disappeared from the Earth. Scientists have found evidence in sediment cores to support a controversial theory that an asteroid or a comet slammed into Earth and helped lead to this extinction of ice age animals and cooling of the globe." Not all asteroids strikes are like the Chicxulub event.

"The days are getting shorter with fall in full swing and winter right around the corner. With the changing seasons, people are at a higher risk for SAD, which is a type of depression that comes and goes with the seasons. SAD typically starts in the late fall or early winter and goes away in the spring or summer, according to the National Institute for Mental Health (NIMH)."

"The Trump administration is trying to take away health care from millions of Americans. Yet nobody is campaigning on, fundraising off, or publicizing this imminent threat. That’s astounding. But any day now, aided and abetted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump administration is poised to stick a knife in the heart of what remains of the Affordable Care Act. At minimum, this president will be throwing 20 million people who obtained insurance under the ACA off of their plans. That should be something we are reminded of daily." (Grokked from Eric VanNewkirk)

Who needs regulations? "Air pollution in the north of India has 'reached unbearable levels,' the capital Delhi's Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal says… In many areas of Delhi air quality deteriorated into the 'hazardous' category, with the potential to cause respiratory illnesses."

How go the Trade Wars? "Many were hoping that at least some 'substantial conclusion' to the years-long negotiations over the 16-member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership would be reached in Bangkok. Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations are in Thailand for the 35th ASEAN Summit as well as meetings with major trading partners like China and India."

An undercover investigation by BBC News Arabic has found that domestic workers are being illegally bought and sold online in a booming black market… Some of the trade has been carried out on Facebook-owned Instagram, where posts have been promoted via algorithm-boosted hashtags, and sales negotiated via private messages." They were using hashtags. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

So, back in July "U.S. President Donald Trump offered his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin help in putting out vast wildfires that are raging in Siberia, the Kremlin said late on Wednesday, a move it said Putin took as a sign that battered ties can be restored." (Grokked from Brent Bowen)

And yet he's once again threatening to cut aid to help with California's wildfires. If you don't get it by now, I'm not sure you're paying attention.

"McDonald’s (MCD) board voted to remove CEO Steve Easterbrook, the fast-food giant announced on Sunday, citing 'poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee.'" Okay, so let's say this clearly and loudly, when there is a power differential, "consent" is not fully possible. And as a leader, manager, corporate officer, or anyone with power over another employee or service person, you should never mess around with someone who is (or possibly could be) in the chain of command below you. Or as we used to say when I was younger, "don't dip your pen in the corporate ink."

So, how's that pulling out of the Iran deal going? "Iran has launched a new generation of advanced centrifuges to enrich uranium, the nation's nuclear chief announced Monday, the latest in a series of violations of the nuclear deal signed between Tehran and world powers in 2015."

"ICE has asked for permission to begin routinely destroying 11 kinds of records, including those related to sexual assaults, solitary confinement and even deaths of people in its custody. Other records subject to destruction include alternatives to detention programs, regular detention monitoring reports, logs about the people detained in ICE facilities, and communications from the public reporting detention abuses." It may sound like they're holding records for a long time, but not when there are possible crimes involved. (Grokked fro Levin Armwood)

"The nature of the news misinformation problem may be changing. As consumers become more skeptical about the national news they encounter online, impostor local sites that promote ideological agendas are becoming more common. These sites exploit the relatively high trust Americans express in local news outlets — a potential vulnerability in Americans’ defenses against untrustworthy information." You'll notice I hardly ever use "local" news sites, and it's for this very reason. When I do link to a local news site, I also take the time to look at a lot of stories they cover, just to make sure it's not a spoof, and if I'm not over 75% sure it's legit, I don't use it (local news to me is an exception, because I know which news outlets to trust locally). Also note which political party appears to be creating the majority of fake news sites.

"Spencer’s old friend, Milo Yiannopoulos, published an audio clip to YouTube late Sunday where Spencer can be heard using antisemitic slurs like 'kike' and boasting that his ancestors 'fucking enslaved those pieces of shit.' Spencer also says 'I rule the fucking world' and suggests that anyone who isn’t white needs to be controlled through force." In a stunning turn of events it appears the alt-right/Neo-Nazis are just the same old Nazi shits in a new bag. That the tape is now being released (was recorded in 2017) by Milo Yiannopoulos is an interesting twist. Is Milo making a stab at becoming respectable (since he star among the alt-right had kinda plummeted)? I'm not sure he deserves a second chance. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Giuliani, the Trump personal lawyer at the center of the firestorm as Trump faces likely impeachment, met with former Ukrainian diplomat Andriy Telizhenko, who alleges that Ukraine's government conspired with the Democratic National Committee to hurt Trump in 2016." And not only are they trying to start an investigation into the Bidens, they're also trying to rehabilitate the reputation of Paul Manafort. Also note that Telizhenko is also trying to reform his reputation from being a Russian spy. I'm not sure I brought enough bread crumbs for this. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Democrats are primed to pivot to a critical new phase of impeachment -- building a public case that President Donald Trump abused his power -- to ensure no shows by administration witnesses don't blunt their momentum."

"When it has come to scandals, Donald Trump has always been able to tweet his way around them. His supporters are all that matter, it is they who will bring him a second term in the White House the president believes." When you're used to bluffing your way out of trouble for so long, you forget there are limits to that strategy.

"In a series of increasingly angry tweets Mr Trump said congressional testimony from inquiry witnesses should not be released publicly."

"President Trump suggested Sunday that Republicans should release their own versions of transcripts of interviews in the House's ongoing impeachment inquiry." Um, Mr. President, that's not what transcripts are. But sure, conservatives, why haven't you been leaking the information that exonerates the president? I mean except for the one witness saying he didn't see anything as a crime, that's about it. Why is that?

"The whistleblower whose complaint sparked House Democrats' impeachment inquiry into President Donald Trump is now offering to answer written questions from House Republicans under oath."

Linkee-poo is a fan and lives for our music

"Heath Gmucs has worked as a press operator at Cleveland’s Gotta Groove Records for about nine years. Now, he's turning the mostly automated process of making vinyl into customized, hand-crafted works of art." Wow.

"The plan that Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren just released is another enormous win for us. It will help persuade our friends and families and neighbors to support Medicare for All, and in the not-too-distant future, to convince Congress too. Here’s why." Just a reminder, overhead costs for most health insurance plans run between 12-20% (most around 15%). Medicare overhead costs are 2%. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A new bill in the Ohio Legislature would cap the out-of-pocket amount diabetics pay for their insulin. Legislators heard from a woman who lost a child because she couldn't afford the drug." Yeah, I want to see the actual text of the bill first.

Why? Because… "Several Ohio House Republicans are backing a bill that they say provides options to avoid 'surprise billing', when patients get unexpected big invoices from out of network providers after visiting an in-network hospital or health care facility." This bill does exactly squat. "(Sponsor, Rep. Holmes) said creates options for out-of-network providers such as anesthesiologists or ER doctors. They can choose to be paid the in-network rate, to negotiate a different rate, or go to a third party for 'baseball style' arbitration with the insurer." All this does is eliminate the option for the consumer to sue and is expecting the insurance company to go to bat for the patient against a provider who has no business contact with the insurer. Tell me the last time you saw that. This is just so they can shrug and say, "We tried."

Meanwhile, along the Trump Wall on the souther border (mostly replacing outdated shorter border fences)… "Smuggling gangs in Mexico are reportedly using power tools to cut large holes in walls at the southern US-Mexico border, according to a new report from The Washington Post." And they're using ladders to climb over other sections. Like nobody could have foreseen this (actually it was a popular joke). Of course they say when they add the sensors to the wall they'll be able to (checks notes) know where it needs repaired. Not only is it costly to build, it's the gift that keeps on sucking our budget dry. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Jim Wright)

"'He sniffed that weakness, that they were not going to really, you know, enforce anything,' fellow Trump biographer Gwenda Blair said. 'They were not going to take away his license. They couldn’t. It sounds awfully simple-minded, but that’s it. He figures it out so that for people to go against him it’s going to make them look bad: It’s going to make them look bad that they ever approved his casinos, it’s going to make the bankers look bad that they ever gave him his loans, it’s going to make the Republican Party look bad that it ever got behind him.'" How do you not make money running a casino? Well, if you're over leveraged and willing to pay yourself before anyone else it's pretty easy.

"This isn’t a 'court of law,' but there is a method and a procedure to follow. Furthermore, the Democrats have not blocked due process. They have been following rules that a Republican majority codified in 2015. Even when the Democrats provide what the Republicans say they want—a resolution to authorize formal impeachment proceedings—they change their minds. The Republicans, moreover, sit on all the committees investigating the president for impeachable offenses. They could do their own leaking if that helped Donald Trump." And now, according to the writer, House Republicans are afraid that Sen. Majority Leader McConnell might decide that the GOP is better off without Trump, will turn on them and leave them and their unwavering support of the president in the lurch. I don't think that'll happen. At best, McConnell will publicly state he won't hold any Senator to the party line (allowing them to vote without fear of party reprisal). If that happens we go from "removal won't happen" to "a non-zero chance it might." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska) on Thursday head-butted a camera after people with the progressive group MoveOn trailed him down a congressional hallway to an elevator, persistently asking whether it was acceptable for a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election." Frustration levels are approaching a breaking point. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"BuzzFeed News sued the US government to see all the work that Mueller’s team kept secret. We have published the first installment, with revelations about the Ukraine conspiracy theory, Michael Cohen, Paul Manafort, and more." (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Cnn also has some. "President Donald Trump and other top 2016 Trump campaign officials repeatedly privately discussed how the campaign could get access to stolen Democratic emails WikiLeaks had in 2016, according to newly released interview notes from Robert Mueller's special counsel investigation." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Linkee-poo, happy NaNoWriMo

"A night of trick-or-treating ended with a 7-year-old girl critically injured after she was shot Thursday night in Chicago."

"Here are five tips to help you spot misinformation."

"Total bill: $29,894.50, including $16,480 for room and board in a semiprivate psychiatric room and $3,999 for the ER. After the hospital reduced the bill because her insurance didn't cover mental health, she owes $21,634.55." Welcome to President Trump's "lower cost healthcare plans." Tell me again how we have the greatest healthcare system in the world.

"Measles can erase the immune system's memory, leaving us vulnerable to diseases we were previously protected against, new research has found." Well, fuck.

"The brain waves generated during deep sleep appear to trigger a cleaning system in the brain that protects it against Alzheimer's and other neurodegenerative diseases… Electrical signals known as slow waves appear just before a pulse of fluid washes through the brain, presumably removing toxins associated with Alzheimer's, researchers reported Thursday in the journal Science." Get your sleep.

"Google has just announced that it’s buying wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. In a blog post announcing the news, Google SVP of devices and services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is 'an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.'" Well, so much for FitBit. Full disclosure, I wear one for the hospital.

Who needs clean water regulations? "The area has made news for decades for its notoriously dirty water supply. But now, efforts to fix that have led to another crisis: Many are unable to afford their water bills." It's also something we struggled with in our village. And it's a crisis we continue to face as our main water-tower ages out of service.

"On a windy night in Billings, Mont., Patricia Iron Cloud and about 60 others were protesting the Keystone XL pipeline ahead of a public meeting on Oct. 29. It was the public's first and only chance to meet with U.S. State Department officials about a new environmental analysis of the Keystone XL pipeline." Killing the environment for profit.

"The strong winds that have fanned the multiple fires raging across California are expected to subside Friday, giving firefighters a better chance at containing the blazes."

"An armed shoplifting suspect in Colorado barricaded himself in a stranger's suburban Denver home in June 2015. In an attempt to force the suspect out, law enforcement blew up walls with explosives, fired tear gas and drove a military-style armored vehicle through the property's doors… A federal appeals court in Denver ruled this week that the homeowner, who had no connection to the suspect, isn't entitled to be compensated, because the police were acting to preserve the safety of the public."

"One of Chicago’s longest teachers strikes in the last half century is finally over."

How bad is rape culture? "A Barcelona court's decision to acquit five men accused of gang-raping a 14-year-old girl of the charge of sexual assault has provoked outrage… The court ruled out rape because the victim was in an 'unconscious state' and the accused had not used violence or intimidation."

How goes Brexit? "The UK's election campaign hasn't officially started yet. But that didn't stop US President Donald Trump from weighing in on what's expected to be one of the most unpredictable election campaigns in living memory." One Russian backed politician backs another.

"British euroskeptic politician Nigel Farage tried to ramp up the pressure on Conservative Prime Minister Boris Johnson on Friday, saying his Brexit Party will run against the Conservatives across the country in next month’s election unless Johnson abandons his divorce deal with the European Union." That's an interesting take to obscurity. It's also an interesting twist and example on why support without control doesn't work all that well for a large covert operation (stares in Russian).

"U.S. employers added a solid 128,000 jobs in October, a figure that was held down by a now-settled strike against General Motors that caused tens of thousands of workers to be temporarily counted as unemployed… The government also revised up its estimate of job growth for August and September by a combined 95,000, suggesting a healthier employment market than many had thought." Well that's good. Considering estimates were only for 75,000 or so jobs, that's a good number. It's not a "strong" number, as some are saying. I'm old enough to remember when 125,000 was considered "maintaining".

"The White House appears to be abandoning its plan to freeze the fuel efficiency standards of cars at 2020 levels, reversing a cornerstone policy of Trump’s campaign, reports The Wall Street Journal. The administration is now considering a 1.5 percent annual increase instead." Weak tea.

"Late at night, heavily armed CIA-backed Afghan paramilitary forces will land in a village to carry out a raid in Taliban-controlled areas looking for militants. They'll bomb their way through the walls of a compound, then separate whoever they find into groups of women and young children, and men and boys. They'll question the men, and detain some of them. Others will be shot execution-style." The CIA is fantastic for a lot of things. Training, equipping, and supporting militias and government police forces isn't one of them. In fact, most of their efforts end in war crimes. Its history since its inception has proved this point. And mostly it's because they don't think the laws apply to them (which in many other areas, they intentionally ignore the law… spying, after all, is illegal).

The president becomes a Florida retiree. To bad he didn't retire to do it. And while he states that it's because he'd been "treated badly", my guess is he doesn't want to pay the tax penalty his own tax bill brought about on him (with limiting deductions on state and local taxes paid on the federal tax forms).

"Vice President Mike Pence routinely used a private email account to conduct public business as governor of Indiana, at times discussing sensitive matters and homeland security issues." And he was hacked. Hypocrisy is endemic in the GOP. Hell, as a village councilman I had to be careful about which email account was used for what business. (Grokked form Chuck Wendig)

"The House of Representatives voted Thursday 232-196 to pass a resolution formalizing its impeachment inquiry into President Trump. Just two Democrats voted no — Reps. Collin Peterson of Minnesota and Jeff Van Drew of New Jersey." And there it is.

"President Donald Trump told attendees at a House Republican fundraising event that he didn’t believe first lady Melania Trump would cry for him if he ever got shot." I got nothing. (Grokked from Christopher Moore)

"Just less than a month after President Trump named Rudy Giuliani to be his cybersecurity adviser back in 2017, Giuliani had to seek out help at an Apple Store in downtown San Francisco to unlock his iPhone because he had forgotten his password, NBC News reports." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Say, what was that application Trump's kids used to avoid government scrutiny of their messaging? "Senior government officials in multiple U.S.-allied countries were targeted earlier this year with hacking software that used Facebook Inc’s WhatsApp to take over users’ phones, according to people familiar with the messaging company’s investigation." Whistling past the graveyard. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"George Papadopoulos… became a major player in the FBI's investigation into the Trump campaign's ties to Russia and pleaded guilty to lying to federal investigators. He served time in federal prison and wrote a book… Papadopoulos filed paperwork Tuesday to run as a Republican for the soon-to-be-vacant seat currently held by Rep. Katie Hill, D-Calif., who announced her resignation over the weekend." The problem? He tweeted that California’s 25th congressional district would be up for grabs 2 hours before Red State published the intimate photographs that led to Katie Hill retiring.

"But there may be even more to this moment than that. The vote in the House may focus public awareness on what is going on. It may be the event that gives many Americans the sense they need to start paying attention." You know, like what happened when open hearings started for Nixon and Clinton. Mostly because the average American is woefully uninformed and doesn't have the time, energy, or drive to become more informed. But they'll watch a good mudslinging event.

"James Burnham, arguing for the Justice Department, replied that the dispute between the House Judiciary Committee and McGahn should not be resolved through litigation. He argued that the Constitution and more than two centuries of interactions between the White House and Congress hadn’t required courts to weigh in… 'So the House can never go to court?' Jackson asked… 'As a general proposition, that’s correct,' replied Burnham, a former White House aide under McGahn who is now serving in a senior position in the Justice Department’s civil division." No kings or landlords, motherfucker.

"Republicans have long dismissed the evidence of Donald Trump’s political impropriety — both before and after he took office — as simply sour-grape concoctions from critics unable to come to grips with the results of the 2016 election. But it's becoming increasingly clear that Republicans may not be handling the results of the 2018 midterms all that well themselves." These are totally bullshit arguments and mostly run out by the White House that Democrats are trying to get a "re do" of 2016. If the president didn't abuse his office, didn't attempt to personally profit from what could be seen and emoluments, and basically wasn't a dick we wouldn't be here. But the president has done all of that and more. To ignore it is to condone the actions.

"NPR's Steve Inskeep speaks with Deputy Assistant to the President and the White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Hogan Gidley about the White House's response to the impeachment process." No transcript yet, but definitely worth the listening.

"The National Republican Congressional Committee sent packing boxes to several House Democrats who represent battleground states to signify they'll need them as 'moving boxes' next November, prompting Capitol Hill police to investigate them as suspicious packages." Apparently no-one at the NRCC thought that having boxes show up outside of congresspeople's doors would be suspicious. Also this exposes exactly what the GOP is worried about. While they like to talk about the blowback from the Clinton impeachment, what they're really worried about is what happened to the conservative brand after Nixon's resignation. (Grokked in a roundabout way from Kathryn Cramer)

"More Americans approve of the impeachment investigation into President Donald Trump than disapprove of it, though only about a third say the inquiry should be a top priority for Congress, according to a new poll from The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research." It's still not above 50%, and there's the obligatory breakdown in the usual lumps.

Tweet of my heart: @emptywheel Shorter Tim Morrison:… I don't think the very disturbing thing Trump did broke the law but I'm getting the fuck out of the Administration before it all caves in. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Linkee-poo does the Mash

The Throughline podcast on Zombies. "Zombies have become a global phenomenon — there have been at least ten zombie movies so far this year. Which made us wonder, where did this fascination for the undead come from? This week, how one of our favorite monsters is a window into Haiti's history and the horrors of slavery." From colonialism and racism through George Romero and social commentary. Also a good overview of how horror works as a literary/creative tradition. Although missed in here is the rise of HIV and how that helped kickstart the zombie movie in the 80s.

"A fire has destroyed all the main structures of Shuri Castle, a Unesco World Heritage site on Japan's southern island of Okinawa." Oh fuck.

"Engineers at Penn State University have pioneered a new method that swiftly charges a lithium ion electric vehicle battery, adding roughly 200 miles of driving range in just ten minutes. Crucially, the method does not produce damaging side effects that limit the battery's lifespan." Closer and closer. (Grokked form Tobias Buckell)

"In June, the Food and Drug Administration announced that one patient had died and another was sickened from a fecal transplant, spurring the agency to set new safety guidelines for the procedure. But the announcement, which offered little information on the two cases, left doctors clamoring for more details… A report published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine fills in the gaps."

"Electrical activity from the brains of a pair of human subjects was transmitted to the brain of a third individual in the form of magnetic signals, which conveyed an instruction to perform a task in a particular manner." For your nightmare material.

In the writing world, there has been a lot of discussion about our troubled past and how some of the founding authors (and many current ones) exhibited profound racism and misogyny. How can we love the Cthulhu Mythos world when Lovecraft was a flaming asshole? Writing wasn't the first I struggled with these issues. The Troughline podcast… "50 years ago the world watched as man first landed on the moon, an incredible accomplishment by the engineers and scientists of NASA. But what if some of those same engineers and scientists had a secret history that the U.S. government tried to hide? This week, the story of how the U.S. space program was made possible by former Nazis." Von Braun was a willing and enthusiastic Nazi. And if you think that's bad, it'll blow you mind when you delve into the history of modern medicine and some of the advanced surgical procedures.

In case you forgot just how fucking insane the Cold War and Detante was, here's a short tweet storm, "OTD (yesterday) in 1961, the Soviet Union tested the largest-ever thermonuclear bomb—a 50-Mt RDS-220 (originally designed for 100 Mt). The device, later dubbed 'Tsar Bomba' in the West, was dropped by a Tu-95 Bear bomber and exploded ~13,123 feet above Novaya Zemlya inside the Arctic Circle." These design of thermonuclear devices continued, mostly to make them smaller and lighter, although this was the largest explosion test. For comparison, the Minuteman III, the workhorse of America's ICBM flight, carried 3 independently-targeted reentry vehicles each of which could deliver a 170 Kt device to within 1.5 miles of it's programmed target (or half a mega-tonnage of explosive). We currently have about 400 deployed (we made over 1000). That's 200 Mt (or 4 Tsar Bombas), and that's just one type of missile. The Tsar Bomba's explosion, a political stunt meant to shake the West, dissipated mostly in the atmosphere. The Minuteman III MIRVs would detonate closer to the ground. There is no such thing as a winnable nuclear exchange. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"At least 70 people have died after a gas canister exploded in a train in Pakistan, authorities said."

How go the Trade Wars? "Leaders from the United States and China encountered a new obstacle in their struggle to end a damaging trade war on Wednesday, when the summit where they were supposed to meet was canceled because of violent protests."

"The Federal Reserve on Wednesday cut interest rates for the third time since July, but Chairman Jerome Powell signaled that it is done reducing borrowing costs for now. That’s bad news for President Donald Trump, who has loudly called for rates to drop to zero — or even lower — to boost the economy as he heads into his reelection campaign." A Fed Chair makes ambitious remarks? That's so strange.

"North Korea fired two 'unidentified projectiles' into the waters between South Korea and Japan on Thursday afternoon, the South Korean government said in a statement." I'm so glad we've brought North Korea into the world community and our president has such a good relationship with Kim Jong Un.

"The Pentagon released newly declassified video and images Wednesday of the daring, two hour raid targeting ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi that shows US forces taking small arms fire from multiple locations as their helicopters approached the compound." And president Trump finally thanks the troops the way he should have.

"Speaking Tuesday at an Obama Foundation summit in Chicago, Obama said that he worries that some in the Democratic Party's left flank are too worried about ideological 'purity' among their fellow Democrats."

"The impeachment inquiry enters a new open phase with a House vote on a resolution formalizing the impeachment inquiry. The measure drafted by House Democrats lays out the ground rules for public hearings, provides procedures for the president and his counsel to respond to evidence and sets out the process for considering articles of impeachment in the Judiciary Committee and the full House." But of course the Republicans are still claiming it's all a sham, even mocking having a vote. That's because they know exactly what will happen and what positions they'll need to defend when it comes to the Senate and they'll do everything they can to avoid it.

"Sitting inside the White House, Mitch McConnell gave Donald Trump some straightforward advice: Stop attacking senators — including Mitt Romney — who likely will soon judge your fate in an impeachment trial." They really need to keep this "Republicans don't see anything wrong with how the president is behaving" thing going. It's a risky gambit, and one that if the Democrats play it right, could taint the GOP for a generation.

"President Donald Trump's refusal to sign an August memo releasing funds for Ukraine offers the latest evidence that the money was paused not as part of a security review -- as administration officials previously claimed -- but instead solely at the discretion of the President." Wow, there's a whole lotta smoke around this gun.

"Earlier this year, GOP senators pledged to quickly quash any articles of impeachment passed by the House. But as the Democrats compile more evidence that Trump withheld military assistance from Ukraine to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate former Vice President Joe Biden, they are adopting a more sober tone." Democrats need to tie this albatross around the GOP's neck if the conservatives decide loyalty to party trumps loyalty to the country and the Constitution. They need to call the bluff of the "concerned Senator is concerned." The Democrats need to make the crimes so clear, and explain how these crimes erode the very concept of democracy, that any "no" vote will be evidence of culpability and conspiracy in crime.