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Weekend link dump for March 29

“Copper is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. In the 19th century, exposure to copper would have been an early version of constantly sanitizing one’s hands. Since then, studies have shown that copper is able to destroy the microbes that most threaten our lives. It has been shown to kill a long list of microbes, including norovirus, MRSA, a staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, virulent strains of E. coli that cause food-borne illness, and coronaviruses—possibly including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Joe Biden and his platform are a lot more progressive than you might think.

“In a time when there are no sports to bet on due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bovada gamblers are wagering en masse on HBO’s Westworld Season 3″.

Great article about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the best of the Treks.

Yeah, I don’t have much hope that the 2020 Olympics will happen. And indeed, they’re gonna be postponed, maybe till 2021.

“So how much would this cost? The calculation is fairly simple: Since a drop in annual GDP of 7.5% is well within the realm of possibility, and since unemployment compensation typically amounts to a little more than half of what workers normally earn, they believe the cost to the government would be around 3.75 % GDP. In other words—a lot.”

“We have arrived at a situation in which critical care for the gravely ill and dying is directly at odds with testing at scale. The problem is there’s simply no way to stabilize the situation and get through the coming months without testing at scale or more specifically testing for the purposes of surveillance.”

“I think we will discover our destiny was to serve as a bridge between the old and the new rather than a force in our own right. We’re here to keep the porridge from getting too hot or cold. For the next twenty years or so, Gen X will have the most power in the country, but we’ll be living in a world we hardly recognize. It’s a big responsibility, it’s not what we expected, but I think we’re up to the challenge.”

“The failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party.”

“And now for a little heartwarming example of how shared hatred can unite total strangers while raising some much-needed coin for the less fortunate. Comedian and former Gilmore Girls producer, Kevin T. Porter, started an initiative on Friday that thousands of others have been getting behind. He shared a tweet with his followers, stating that he would be donating money to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank––with a catch. Everybody who had a story about Ellen DeGeneres being a big old meanie should tweet him––and for every story he received, he’d match it with $2. Who says a global disaster can’t bring people together?”

“People say Contagion is prescient. We just saw the science. The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn’t a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when. It’s really hard to get people to listen. I mean, Trump pushed out the admiral on the National Security Council, who was the only person at that level who’s responsible for pandemic defense. With him went his entire downline of employees and staff and relationships. And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.”

“Plenty of American workers aren’t being told to work remotely—even though they could.”

“The coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population, according to scientists who are closely studying the novel pathogen’s genetic code. That relative stability suggests the virus is less likely to become more or less dangerous as it spreads, and represents encouraging news for researchers hoping to create a long-lasting vaccine.”

“What do state and federal laws say about quarantines? And what happens if you break them?”

“Twitter temporarily locked the account of The Federalist Wednesday after the conservative opinion site published a piece, written by a dermatologist based in Oregon, that proposed the deliberate spread of the coronavirus in order to boost immunity to the disease.” An unlicensed dermatologist, by the way, so you can be sure he’s the expert we’ve been waiting for.

RIP, Manu Dibango, Afro-Funk saxophonist.

RIP, Fred “Curly” Neal, legendary member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

RIP, Jimmy Wynn, former MLB player with the Astros and Dodgers and other teams, known as The Toy Cannon.

“At the Department of Veterans Affairs, workers are scrambling to order medical supplies on Amazon after its leaders, lacking experience in disaster responses, failed to prepare for the onslaught of patients at its medical centers.”

“At the same time, estimating that R0 has increased from 2.5 to 3.1 is . . . very, very bad. It means that on average, every infected person infects three other people, not 2.5 other people—which makes the spread of the virus much wider and faster. Without any control measures, for example, it means that after ten generations a single person will be responsible for 80,000 infections instead of 10,000 infections.”

Don’t vote for assholes.

Hey, remember all those spring breakers in Florida? Know where they went afterwards? Everywhere. Better hope none of them brought a bug home with them.

RIP, Bubbha Thomas, renowned Houston jazz musician and educator.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance remains grateful for nonstop Internet access as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 22

“How the GOP’s War on Government Paved the Way for Trump’s Deadly Incompetence”.

“Small disruptions create small societal shifts; big ones change things for good. The O.J. Simpson trial helped tank the popularity of daytime soap operas. The New York transit strike of 1980 is credited with prompting several long-term changes in the city, including bus and bike lanes, dollar vans, and women wearing sneakers to work. The 1918 flu pandemic prompted the development of national health care in Europe.”

“The 10 Trader Joe’s Products that Shoppers Won’t Buy Even During a Pandemic”.

The word of the day, and possibly of the year, is superspreaders. This is why large public gatherings have to be shut down.

“New evidence suggests that blue whales are making a comeback”.

“Biden says he’ll name a black woman to the Supreme Court. Here are five names he could pick.”

“So, keep your eye out for this flip of the switch. Conservatives may seem blasé now, but it’s unlikely to last. Before long, they’ll be the ones suffering from the most anxiety and Trump will stoke their fear as much as he can in an effort to keep his job.”

Support Shadowserver. The Internet needs it.

“I am in the one-trillion-to-two-trillion-dollar camp, preferably by dinner time. I think they should be just throwing money at people and businesses that are in the front line. Cash has to be given out to households. Cash has to be given out to small businesses. Cash has to be given out to gig workers. I don’t know what the figures are for Uber drivers, but they are probably catastrophic.”

“After repeatedly dismissing the coronavirus pandemic as a liberal hoax designed to bring down the president, Fox News appears to have finally woken up to reality. On Tuesday, the network joined others in practicing on-air social distancing, telling viewers that such measures were crucial to curbing the spread of infections.”

RIP, Lyle Waggoner, actor best known for Wonder Woman and The Carol Burnett Show.

Gritty is the hero we need but don’t deserve.

Let Lizzie McGuire be the grownup she would now be.

What is ESPN to do right now?

“Biden Should Pick Warren as VP, Immediately”.

“close your eyes. imagine how you think a penguin walks down stairs. wrong. it’s better than that.”

“How did the U.S. fumble its response to the coronavirus so colossally, even with so much lead time? Why, with the number of diagnosed COVID cases in the U.S. climbing toward 4,000, do we still not have nearly enough tests? A large part of the blame lies with President Trump, who has not wanted widespread testing, apparently out of an obsession with keeping the number of confirmed COVID cases low.”

Buzz Aldrin, ladies and gentlemen. A national treasure.”

RIP, Alfred Worden, Apollo 15 astronaut who orbited the moon. Here’s a lovely tribute to him by science writer Amy Shira Teitel.

Four words: Drive-through strip clubs. You’re welcome.

Playboy has announced that it’s closing down its flagship magazine for the rest of 2020. It seems unlikely, given the wording of the announcement and the state of print magazine-making, that it will ever return.”

RIP, Kenny Rogers, country music legend.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance interrupts its practice of social distancing to bring you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 15

Beware The Ides of March. Especially the horn section.

“I took a deep dive into the Trump administration’s failure to bring any new Voting Rights Act cases in the first three years of his term. This dry spell of new public VRA enforcement is unprecedented, and it sets Trump’s DOJ apart from that of previous administrations, Democratic and Republican alike.”

“For the first time in more than 4 years, NASA is now accepting applications for future astronauts. Aspiring moon to Mars explorers have until March 31 to apply.”

“In essence, we see a tale of two towns in rural America, putting food on our tables: One is thriving because of a diversity of foreign-born labor. The other town is worried about its future because its pipeline of foreign-born talent has been shut down by the Trump administration.”

The Game of Thrones showrunners will make cameo appearances on Westworld (season 3 premiers tonight). And if the Westworld showrunners have a sense of humor, they will be run through with swords, or beheaded, or both.

“The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report — a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report.”

A firsthand report from Shanghai about coronavirus response.

“But as the world now faces a pandemic, it has never been more essential to recall that norm-setting performance and to admit what has been demonstrated on a daily basis about the public official who carries ultimate responsibility for the public safety of American citizens: Donald Trump is incapable of truth, heedless of science, and hostage to the demands of his insatiable ego.”

RIP, Max von Sydow, actor who was in everything from The Seventh Seal to The Exorcist to Flash Gordon to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones.

By the way, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is now forty-two years old.

“Coronavirus Prevention: Prince Song Lyrics To Help You Wash Your Hands The Full 20 Seconds”.

“We now have H-1B data for all four quarters of fiscal year 2019, which emphasizes a trend that’s been underway for the entirety of the Trump administration: denial rates for the visa are way up compared to the pre-Trump years, and consulting and business-services firms are seeing the biggest impact.”

RIP, Eric Taylor, Houston singer-songwriter.

If you’re going to buy hand sanitizer, be sure you’re getting a hand sanitizer that’s actually effective against coronavirus.

“Baseball grew up in the United States, and women’s baseball has been repressed all the while. With the spread of the sport across the world, women have found more opportunities to participate in other countries.”

Be sure to check out Ayomi Sato’s curveball after you read that previous story.

Somehow, Jim Bakker is still a thing. And he’s as big a fraud and grifter as ever.

Vote now in the March Badness bad song tournament. I personally would dispute the inclusion of a few of these tunes, but overall that’s a really impressive amount of song suckitude.

“As the novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on societies and economies around the world, many are wondering if the return of summer might put a crimp in the virus’s spread across northern countries, including the United States. The short answer is that a summertime lull in this coronavirus is possible – but it’s far from a sure thing, and any benefits might be limited.”

How some of the people in Austin who normally depend on South by Southwest for their income are coping after its cancellation.

“Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services. In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs.”

Don’t be Patient 31.

Some of the Twitter reaction to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announcing their COVID-19 diagnosis.

“President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US government’s coronavirus testing apparatus, which has lagged badly behind other developed nations, would soon get an assist from Google. The search and advertising giant will create a website, Trump said, that would help Americans figure out if they need a test for the virus, and if so where they can find one. The only problem: There is no nationwide site like the one Trump described. And Google had no idea the president was going to mention one.”

“Kissing of the world-famous Blarney Stone in Cork, one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions, has been suspended for the first time in its history.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 9

You can do a sufficient job of washing your hands in the time it will take you to read this week’s Texas Progressive Alliance blog roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 8

“Did Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight Lower 2016’s Voter Turnout? A New Paper Says Yes.”

“Now, as fears about the coronavirus spread, at least one historian is worried the Trump administration is failing to heed the lesson of one of the world’s worst pandemics: Don’t hide the truth.”

“I will repeat this, but really important: cases coming out of the US WILL EXPLODE in the coming days. This is NOT a cause for panic. These EXISTING cases are finally being diagnosed, since testing is now more broadly available.”

“No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk”.

“Pornographic content accounts for 96% of deepfake content online, according to a report by the company Deeptrace, which is developing tools to unmask fake content.”

Wash Ur Hands.

Helping older folks spot fake news. Now if we could just get them to turn off Fox, we’d really have something.

The Case For Limiting Your Browser Extensions. I limit mine to “none”, tbh.

“Anti-Vaxxers Are Terrified the Government Will ‘Enforce’ a Vaccine for Coronavirus”.

“Trump Officials Scared to Anger Trump If They Tell the Truth About the Coronavirus”.

RIP, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

RIP, Kelly Rodman, one of three female MLB scouts.

How Bad Do You Have To Be To Lose An Abortion Restriction Case With This Supreme Court?”

One Seattle school district is closing for two weeks due to coronavirus.

“Now that Biden might be the nominee, Trump is already casting him as mentally unfit for the presidency. But Trump might not perceive the space to get away with this if the press corps had not thus far failed, in some very fundamental sense, to reckon with just how mentally unfit for the job Trump is himself.”

RIP, Charles Berry, NASA flight surgeon who helped select the country’s first astronauts and devised tests to see if they could survive the demands of space.

What if they held the Olympics and nobody attended the Games?

“Correctional Facilities Are the Perfect Incubators for the Coronavirus”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes everyone exercised their right to vote in the primaries as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 1

“Begun, the streaming wars have. Worse and far more harmful than the cable wars of years past. And with the new content wars will come a fresh internet hell.”

“But why? What makes this cycle so unusual? This is a lot of what my book is about, so I wanted to explain this a bit here. I claim that the processes for deciding the two things a party needs to figure out before making a nomination — what it wants and who is most likely to get it for them — have been messed up. The culprit is negative partisanship generally, and Donald Trump more specifically. Allow me to explain.”

RIP, “Mad” Mike Hughes, who claimed to be skeptical about the world being round and who attempted to fly to the edge of outer space to see for himself.

“Companies around the world are embracing what might seem like a radical idea: a four-day workweek.”

“This remains a sticky situation. How do you cover someone running for president when that someone is your boss? And how do you cover him if he doesn’t want you to?”

RIP, Katherine Johnson, one of the history-making, barrier-breaking NASA mathematicians depicted in Hidden Figures.

RIP, Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt.

JJ Watt versus the NFL’s CBA proposal. For those of you who are not Extremely Online.

Some good links for staying informed about coronavirus, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“Only the Fist Bump Can Defeat the Coronavirus”.

“Houston’s trash-can-banging scheme has brought controversy, shame, and villainy to MLB. It’s also the sport’s most successful marketing campaign in years.”

Four words: Leaning Tower of Dallas, which has its own snarky Twitter feed. You’re welcome.

The Hot Pockets heiress gets sentenced to prison and spawns a delightful Twitter thread.

Some hand-washing advice. Read it, learn it, live it.

“What we do expect is a couple of things. First, we want a president who’s likely to listen to experts and let them speak to the public. Second, we want a president who’s going to appoint the best possible people to deal with the crisis.”

RIP, Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe’s.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 24

The Texas Progressive Alliance has no non-disclosure agreements to disclose, but it will disclose this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for February 23

“On Feb. 14, 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft captured one of the most iconic photographs of the space age; to commemorate the moment’s 30th anniversary, NASA has digitally dusted off the image.”

High Fidelity, which was released in 2000, doesn’t just reflect back on Cusack’s breakthrough movie. It functions as the close of an unofficial trilogy that begins in 1989 with Say Anything and continues through 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank. In all three, Cusack plays a man who’s trying to figure out his life, not just who he is but what he stands for, and the later in life the story catches up with him, the more dire his situation becomes.”

“In one sense, femcels are similar to male incels in that they claim to have trouble finding someone to have sex with or date because of their looks or personality. But while everyone feels that way from time to time, femcels believe the physical, mental and cognitive inadequacies they have are unique and extreme.”

“The environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a decade ago was much worse than previously believed, according to a new study.”

RIP, Tony Fernandez, former MLB player who won a World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Let me begin by explaining the Wyle-Schwartz Theory of Political Primaries, so named for the political scientists Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle, who are possibly better known for writing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island.”

“When we think of bad New York Times coverage of the 2016 campaign, we normally think about their obsessive coverage of her emails, but more generally they were also incredible gullible and generous in their coverage of Trump.”

“So… yeah, what should be done to federal judges accused of misconduct is a hot button issue in the legal industry.”

I too would ask Brian Cox to tell me to eff off in the voice of Logan Roy if I ever met him.

“Mysterious radio signals from space have been known to repeat, but for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth.”

RIP, Kellye Nakahara Wallett, actor best known as Nurse Kellye on M*A*S*H.

Being Susan Collins. Furrowed brow and deep concerns optional.

There’s a Staples near my house, and if they put a podcast recording studio inside it, I’d have to give some serious thought to using it.

“Remember when AG Loretta Lynch recused herself from the Clinton email investigation after a few minutes idle chitchat on the tarmac with Bill Clinton? Haha, suckers!”

RIP, Ja’Net DuBois, Emmy Award-winning actor and singer, who composed and performed the iconic theme song to The Jeffersons, “Movin’ On Up”.

“Trump does everything bigger and bolder than any predecessor dared — and all nakedly in the open, fearing no consequences from a Republican Party he fully commands.”

The sign-stealing scandal is a perpetual motion machine, a sordid, self-sustaining story that’s uniquely engineered to make more headlines, both now and for the foreseeable future.”

RIP, Sy Sperling, founder and president of the Hair Club for Men.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 17

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you that early voting for the Texas primaries begins this week as it brings you the roundup.

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Weekend link dump for February 16

If you’re a fan of Lost and some other shows, you’ll be able to stream them for free soon.

“The New Majority Behind Sex Work Decriminalization”.

Finally got around to reading Diana Moskowitz’s story about the Netflix show Cheer and the uncomfortable truth about concussions in cheerleading. It’s worth your time, whether or not you watch that show.

“These folks are essentially asking the president to hate their enemies for them so that they can remain true to Jesus’s commandment to love their enemies.”

Really, almost any alternate primary system would be better than the one we have now.

RIP, Bob Boykin, who has served as the voice of Big Tex from the Texas State Fair since 2012.

All the EGOTs, including those who got them on technicalities.

Four words: Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos. You’re welcome.

“The semiannual national tradition of staying up a few hours past bedtime to know who will control our government is over. From close races to voting by mail to human error, it’s becoming clear that counting votes no longer fits neatly into prime-time television windows. Reporters and politicos should prepare to practice patience when handling and digesting the results.”

“I think he feels like the chains are off now. It’s like things have taken a turn. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be hush hush is now just… out in the open.”

“Pulling Liu’s name from the nomination to the Treasury position doesn’t just punish her for failing to give Trump’s associates the kid-glove treatment they deserved. Pulling her name also keeps her from giving public testimony, either on the kind of sentence Stone and Flynn deserved or on how she feels about the actions that have been taken toward her former office and former colleagues.”

RIP, Paula Kelly, dancer and Emmy-nominated actor for her role on Night Court.

“Was The Conners even the right show to choose for this type of live episode? The utter disinterest of most of these characters was so severe that it arguably defeated the entire purpose of the episode. Maybe black-ish would have been a better fit.”

“McClatchy Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper publishers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday, another harbinger of America’s deepening local news crisis.”

“This is precisely what Vindman did. He did not go to the press, which might have been morally justified but not prescribed by military training. Vindman saw something he believed was illegal and reported it to White House lawyers. That is precisely what they’re trained to do. Later, he received a congressional subpoena to provided testimony and he complied with that subpoena, which is literally what you are supposed to do and indeed must do. We are far into the legal-moral wilderness in which we now seem to see subpoenas as suggestions or requests.”

RIP, Paul English, longtime drummer for Willie Nelson.

RIP, Joseph Shabalala, founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

RIP, Clayton Williams, Texas oilman and onetime candidate for Governor, who lost to Ann Richards.

RIP, Katsuya Nomura, Japanese baseball legend.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 10

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows the state of the union is very much under threat as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for February 9

“So because Republicans have now become the party of intransigence, that is the new norm and gets a pass when it comes to accountability. The burden is placed on Democrats to conjure up some magic trick to stop Republicans from employing a strategy that has worked marvelously for them—partly because the media fails to identify the source of the problem.”

“Supporting USA Softball is valid and a good thing to do, but there are women who want to play the sport that Major League Baseball plays, and the league should do more for them.”

The tragic case of Jim Tyrer.

“I want to say this as clearly as I can: This is not an argument against impeaching Donald Trump, or calling witnesses. This is an argument that nullifies the legitimacy of the impeachment power so long as the president’s party can maintain discipline.”

TV By The Numbers is no more. I miss the Cancel Bear already.

“Now that acquittal is a sure thing, it’s become safe to quietly admit that Trump was guilty all along. The modern GOP is just chock full of profiles in courage.”

There are plenty of options to replace those dumb Iowa caucuses with a much better primary system.

If you dislike Valentine’s Day and have some unresolved feelings about an ex, the San Antonio Zoo has an activity just for you on February 14.

“Still, there was something a bit unseemly about major media figures taking to cable news and social media to blast the state party for failing to satisfy their curiosity about the outcome on a more personally convenient schedule. For it was the media that turned the Iowa caucuses into a decisive event in presidential politics beginning in 1972, when journalists interpreted George McGovern’s third-place finish in a sparsely-attended vote (behind Ed Muskie and “uncommitted”) as a game-changing moral victory, and it’s heavy media coverage every four years that gives what might otherwise be an obscure and unimportant event its outsized influence on the behavior of voters in subsequent contests, setting some candidates on a path to the White House and driving others out of the race entirely with 99 percent of the national delegates still unselected.”

On differential response and polling results.

“They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the president did was wrong, grievously wrong.”

RIP, Kirk Douglas, legendary movie star best known for Spartacus.

Welcome back to Earth, Christina Koch.

“Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg—each claiming to be champions of the planet—are running for president. If either of them really cared about the planet, there’s a better way to show that: by spending the money they’re currently blowing on their presidential campaigns on supporting Democrats in just about any other race, in the hopes of making climate change–fighting legislation a reality in 2021.”

“A 25th birthday might not be as significant a milestone as one’s 18th or 21st. Sadly, for your mother, Sybrina Fulton, for you and for all of us, you only had the opportunity to celebrate 17 birthdays. The rest were stolen from you. From Sybrina. From us.”

“We have grown used to being cynical about politicians. That is often warranted by those who seem to put their own interests above those they represent. But at least for today, in a vote that will define their professional careers, Mitt Romney and Doug Jones did the opposite. They voted to defend what is right and true because, as Representative Adam Schiff said, it matters. You don’t need to agree with either of them on anything else to commend their courage.”

“The Boston Red Sox traded their franchise player for a man who is listed on a police report as being present when a girl was raped, and no one in sports media seems to care. PED suspensions are reported with a player’s name for years. This incident has been essentially forgotten.”

RIP, Ruby Mosley, longtime community activist known as “The Mayor of Acres Homes”.

RIP, Roger Kahn, baseball writer and author of the book “The Boys of Summer”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of Feburary 3

The Texas Progressive Alliance admits that it has done everything to bring you this week’s roundup, but doesn’t see anything wrong with it.

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Weekend link dump for February 2

What might have happened in the next season of some TV shows that got canceled. Gotta say, as a fan of “Castle”, I’m glad the Season 9 that might have been never did happen.

“[Alan] Dershowitz’s career is a testament to the effects that celebrity, affluence, and fame can have on even the most formidable legal minds. His client in the Senate trial won’t be Trump, or even the presidency as an institution, but power itself.”

“Everything You Need to Know About the Potential Sale of .Org”.

“I grew up watching Sound of Music at least once a year with my evangelical Christian family. That was the 1970s and ’80s, when it was on the short list of officially sanctioned movies deemed acceptable and edifying for good Christian families. Watching that movie taught me that the Nazis are always the bad guys and that refugees and those who help them are always the good guys. This is no longer a noncontroversial position in American evangelicalism.”

“But the biggest thing is we shouldn’t lose track of what a disgrace this is. Bolton, as we’ve suspected, denied critical information to a lawful and constitutional judicial inquiry while making it available for what is at the end of the day a private business venture. There is just no conceivable justification for this from any, any perspective. It is really a disgrace.”

Jemele Hill eulogizes Kobe Bryant and how he evolved as a person after he retired from the NBA.

“If Bolton does testify, he not only refutes the linchpin of Trump’s defense, he also potentially implicates a wide array of other officials.” (Scratch this if this is obsolete by Sunday.)

“But now, the executive privilege argument is no longer available. Trump’s tweets directly denying the substance of Bolton’s reported allegations waive any privilege that might have protected them from public disclosure. Privilege is meant to keep a president’s secrets confidential. If the president reveals those secrets or publicly discusses the conversations himself, there is no longer any need to protect them from disclosure.”

“That person knew, as did all who inhabit Quote Whores boxes everywhere, the value of being well-known and seen-often-on-TV.”

“The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show”.

RIP. John Andretti, NASCAR driver.

RIP, Fred Silverman, longtime TV producer who gave us Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and so much more.

“The New Orleans Saints apparently had a hand in determining which local priests were on a pedophile list, according to lawyers for sex abuse plaintiffs suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans.”

There’s still a lot more House Democrats can do once the Senate and Mitch McConnell finish giving Trump a get-out-of-any-form-of-accountability card.

Jeopardy! legend James Holzhauer revisits betting on baseball.

RIP, Mary Higgins Clark, bestselling author.

RIP, Edgar Henderson, Disney animator who produced cartoons for the original Astrodome scoreboard.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance double checked the calendar and can confirm that it is in fact still January as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for January 26

“Trump May Be Even More Unpopular Than His Approval Rating Shows”.

“This passage is one of many reminders that the equation of Christianity with homophobic, racist, misogynist and false beliefs did not originate with any of these writers. It’s an equation that some parents, teachers and church leaders make again and again: To be a good Christian you must not be gay. To be a good Christian you must submit to your husband. To be a good Christian you must believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old. To be a good Christian you must vote Republican. Their children have simply taken them at their word.”

OMG, this Twitter thread of a person watching The Princess Bride for the first time is amazing.

Turns out, paying for Medicare for All isn’t that hard to do.

“The next aircraft carrier to be built will be named for the grandson of slaves and a son of sharecroppers.”

“Which tech companies are really doing the most harm? Here are the 30 most dangerous, ranked by the people who know.”

“The start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is a reminder that the American political system does include safeguards and norms that are meant to protect the citizenry from corruption and misdeeds in the highest offices of the land. What happens in the Senate over the next few weeks will show whether these measures still matter.”

“35 vintage photos taken by the EPA reveal what American cities looked like before pollution was regulated”. (Spoiler alert: They were so, so dirty.)

“But I think people need to focus a bit more on the fact that this trial isn’t just about winning an acquittal for Trump, but also about keeping him minimally viable as the Republican presidential nominee.”

“Jack Van Impe started his ministry 68 years ago, assuring his followers that the Rapture, Argmageddon, and the End of Time were poised to occur at any moment. At no moment in any of those 68 years did the Rapture occur.”

RIP, Terry Jones, legendary actor and director with the Monty Python troupe.

RIP, Jim Lehrer, longtime journalist for PBS.

“Two Trump Lawyers Dismissed His Own Constitutional Argument Against Impeachment”.

Karlie Kloss is Jared Kushner’s sister-in-law. She will not be voting for Donald Trump. Good luck at the next Thanksgiving, Karlie.

Jay Sekulow is the Emily Litella of impeachment.

“It hurts the brain to think that Ukraine would eagerly blame themselves for something that Russia did, but that was the demand Trump made of them. Did Trump know it was untrue? Was he asking for something legitimate in his own mind, as Lindsey Graham argues?”

RIP, Carol Serling, widow of Rod Serling and keeper of the Twilight Zone flame.

“The House opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump mark the first time lawmakers have explicitly presented the entirety of their evidence about Trump’s handling of Ukraine aid — and thus far, they’ve been nothing short of damning.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance will be stepping back from its primary duties as a member of the royal family, but will continue to bring you the weekly roundups.

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Weekend link dump for January 19

A deep and myth-busting dive into the life of the notorious Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

“After Floridians approved an initiative to restore voting rights to approximately 1.4 million people with felony convictions, Republican lawmakers immediately moved to sabotage the historic effort. The GOP-controlled legislature passed a law along party lines that effectively required a poll tax from a majority of those poised to regain their right to vote. The GOP’s brazenly partisan measure, however, appears to be backfiring. Democratic counties are taking advantage of a compromise buried in the statute to give residents their voting rights. Meanwhile, Republican counties are taking a hard line against suffrage—meaning a substantial majority of Floridians who do manage to register to vote are likely to be Democrats.”

“Password sharing has serious economic consequences. In 2019, companies lost about $9.1 billion to password piracy and sharing, and that will rise to $12.5 billion in 2024, according to data released by research firm Parks Associates.”

“George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue Is In The Public Domain And Gerswhin’s Nephew Is Worried Someone Might Turn It Into Hip Hop“.

“A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.”

Make sure your Windows 10 machine installs the latest security patch.

“So the White House was not reporting the weather; it was just running a weather rerun, so to speak, as news and government outlets are known for doing because it creates absolutely no public problems at all.”

Yeah, I’m sure this is why Meghan Markle said “screw it, we’re outta here”.

“This is the literal polar opposite of reality.”

“Last week, there were 47 Holocaust survivors living in Dallas, according to the museum. Today there are 46. No longer will Repp share his stories with groups that visit the museum, or schoolchildren from all over this state whose teachers request his presence. One more living connection to that genocide is gone, one more bond erased.” Rest in peace, Jack Repp, born Itzik Rzepkowicz in Poland, Holocaust survivor.

Jeopardy!‘s all-time low scorer (non-Wolf Blitzer division) comments on the “Greatest of All Time” tournament.

So, how about that Equal Rights Amendment, huh?

“In trying to be above taking sides, the mainstream media does Trump a favor by making order out of his chaos.”

RIP, Christopher Tolkien, author and son of JRR Tolkien.

And that was the completely bat$#!+ crazy week that it was in Major League Baseball.

RIP, Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer.

Congratulations to Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach on a big league staff in MLB history.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance will not be taking restaurant advice from former Mayoral candidates as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for January 12

“Imagine a city the size of Washington D.C. going an entire year without any pedestrians or cyclists being killed on its streets. That’s exactly what happened in Oslo, where officials reported this week that zero pedestrian or cyclist fatalities occurred on the city’s roads in 2019.”

“More than a year after his death, a cache of computer files saved on the hard drives of Thomas Hofeller, a prominent Republican redistricting strategist, is becoming public.”

Do not blindly share memes or tweets on social media without verifying that they are factual, and not just something that aligns with your personal bias.”

“That’s an epiphany. That’s the Epiphany we celebrate today.”

“Moral of the story: Companies that experience a ransomware attack — or for that matter any type of equally invasive malware infestation — should assume that all credentials stored anywhere on the local network (including those saved inside Web browsers and password managers) are compromised and need to be changed.”

Baby Yoda isn’t Yoda. Just so you know.

RIP, Nancy Carol Lewis Jones, American manager for Monty Python and publicist for a slew of classic rock acts.

Time to say Goodbye to Windows 7, if you haven’t already.

The Iran crisis is over. Or it isn’t. I dunno.

“What knockers!” “Oh, thank you.”

Yankees offseason facial hair: a thread”.

This will forevermore be known as “Megxit”.

RIP, Buck Henry, actor, director, and award-winning screenwriter best known for The Graduate and Get Smart.

Behold the power of naked philanthropy.

You can thank – or blame – Twitter for the Jeopardy! GOAT tournament.

Goalies scoring goals is the best sports highlight.

RIP, Neal Peart, drummer and lyricist for Rush. I saw them four times in concert in the 80s and 90s, and they were awesome. A great talent and a terrible loss.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 6

The Texas Progressive Alliance refuses to play the game of how close events from our memories are to events from history as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for January 5

Welcome to the third decade of the 21st century…

Do better, Chuck Todd. And if you don’t know how, get out of the way and let someone else do it.

“Americans may feel as though Christmas lasts forever, but at worst the holiday spreads out over two months, from Halloween until January 2. We do, however, have one truly endless season: campaign season. According to CNN, the 2016 presidential campaign took 597 days, which seems accurate if you believe the campaign ended on Election Day 2016, which everyone knows it did not. It’s still going strong and will continue going strong until at least Election Day 2020. In Japan campaigns last 12 days, in Australia they last 33 to 68 days, and in America they last forever.”

“But if you think of the GOP as being organized around identity groups, these policies hang together quite well. The clear beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s actions have been businesses and corporations whose leaders back the president (such as those in the coal industry), conservative Christians, farmers, gun rights enthusiasts, people wary of increases in the number of foreign-born Americans and Islam, people wary of movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo, pro-Israel activists and residents of rural areas.”

The histories hidden in the periodic table.

Seriously, just fire Bret Stephens already. Among many other things, he sucks at his job.

Fervently wishing Rep. John Lewis all the very best.

“Despite this turbulence, 2019 was the year that UFOs managed to propel themselves into an uneasy political legitimacy”.

Donkeys love violin music, thus proving there are some worthwhile things left in this world.

“As a result [of the Trump tariffs], US manufacturing has seen job losses and higher prices for consumers.”

“In honor of the end of this year, I wanted to give a thread summary of the state of Devin Nunes’ lawsuits, both for those who don’t know exactly what’s going on and those who could use a refresher.”

Here are your 2019 Golden Duke Award wnners.

And here are your 2019 Worthy Award nominees.

Have you been drawn into a debate about whether or not we actually are in a new decade? Well, this will settle that argument.

RIP, David Stern, former NBA Commissioner.

RIP, Don Larsen, former Yankees pitcher who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

News flash: We are old. So very, very old.

“The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans in the Senate will rush to acquit Trump. I outline here why I think that overstates the case, and that the process has any number of variables in which things may change.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a very happy New Year.

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Weekend link dump for December 29

“Baseball’s plan to kill off dozens of [minor league] affiliate teams is a clear act of collusion.”

“Among millennials, fewer than half identify as Christians. More than 40 percent identify as nothing in particular.”

“Netflix Reportedly Lost 1 Million Subscribers to Disney+”.

“This is an extreme case of what, actually, is a pretty normal habit, though it sounds kind of strange when written down: People regularly speak as their pets, babies, or even, yes, stuffed animals, in order to communicate with people around them.”

Very glad to see Charlie Pierce on the road to recovery.

“Democrats, for the most part, are engaging with the factual record; Republicans, for the most part, are not. These positions are manifestly not equivalent. Treating them as such does not serve any useful concept of fairness; instead, it rebounds clearly to the advantage of the one side (Republicans) for whom nonsense being taken seriously is a victory in itself.”

“White evangelicals were mostly partisan Republicans in 1980, but because we were Cold Warriors, not culture warriors.”

4 false claims in under 30 words: Kevin McCarthy’s IG report tweet is an exercise in gaslighting”.

Donald Trump’s one-line cameo in Home Alone 2 was edited out of a Canadian TV broadcast, and people reacted exactly as you’d expect them to.

RIP, Allee Willis, songwriter who composed the theme to Friends.

“It’s been clear for a while that political satire in the U.S. has a Trump problem. The jokes are getting redundant, but even worse, the president seems immune to them.”

RIP, Gertrude Barnstone, Houston artist and civil rights activist.

RIP, Daddy-O Wade, Texas artist who created the iconic San Antonio North Star Mall cowboy boots.

RIP, Don Imus, pioneering radio shock jock.

RIP, Lee Mendelson, TV producer who created A Charlie Brown Christmas and the other Peanuts specials.

“So we can be filled with hope by realizing that we have the capacity to be good and kind and decent. And we can be filled with dismay by realizing that we’re only able or willing to be that way in short bursts.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance wish all who celebrate a very Merry Christmas.

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Weekend link dump for December 22

Good call, Hallmark Channel. But really, you should have known better.

The New England Patriots are here to remind you that when it comes to cheating, the Astros are a bunch of pikers.

“The end result of their Christian faith is the unshakable conviction that nothing could be stupider than expecting people to live by the teachings of Christ.”

“Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security”.

“Lawsuit Raises Questions About Rick Perry’s Role in Ukraine’s Energy Sector”.

“In 2017, President Trump made nearly 1,999 false or misleading claims. In 2018, he added another 5,689, for a total of 7,688. Now, with a few weeks still left in 2019, the president already has more than doubled the total number of false or misleading claims in just a single year.”

“For years, I have stubbornly resisted the urge to engage in a conspiracy-theorist-style attempt to map all the made-up kingdoms of princess movies onto the real geopolitical history of Europe. But I have finally met my match in the form of Aldovia, the setting for Netflix’s Christmas Prince series, which makes so little sense that I spent an hour last night frantically Googling historic maps of eastern Europe and trying to figure out whether anybody at Netflix has ever even heard of the Hapsburgs.”

“So the answer to Burge’s question is almost tautological: Young white evangelicals will not turn their backs on Trump because not questioning Trump is what makes them young white evangelicals.””The idea of two Trumps has always been a thin fiction, and the letter to Pelosi rips through it like tissue. It’s Mr. Trump in his voice, while sitting at President Trump’s desk in the Oval Office and using his official stationery.”

“The idea of two Trumps has always been a thin fiction, and the letter to Pelosi rips through it like tissue. It’s Mr. Trump in his voice, while sitting at President Trump’s desk in the Oval Office and using his official stationery.”

“Here are the GOP defenses I have heard so far to articles of impeachment, along with the knee-jerk responses I have been shouting at my television.”

“Below, Vox presents a list of 10 memes that captured the zeitgeist, from those that summed up entire ideological positions to others that seem, on the surface, inane — but reveal a lot more than you expect about the decade’s cultural journey.”

“Ordinary venal corruption can be impeachable. Some serious crimes that are not tied to a President’s official duties might be impeachable. But the crimes Trump is accused of – and of which he is clearly guilty – are definitional examples of the kind of wrongdoing impeachment was designed to combat.”

Woo hoo! The Far Side is online!

“How Weird Is It That a Company Lost Hundreds of Millions in Cryptocurrency Because Its CEO Died?”

Oh, JK Rowling. You really need to do better than that.

“So, it is true that the Senate sets the calendar and place of the trial, but they don’t have much latitude about this unless they’re willing to change their rules. The most important thing is that the can’t do anything until Pelosi appoints the managers and sends the notice. So, in this sense, she makes the call and she sets the time.”

“It’s that time again: The 2019 Golden Duke Awards are upon us.” And in the Local Scandal category, Bonnenghazi gets a nomination.

So just what is figgy pudding, anyway?

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance applauds the House of Representatives for doing their Constitutional duty as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff took a closer look at the Democratic filings for Congress and state offices.

SocraticGadfly offers a twofer related to world affairs, first saying goodbye to Jeremy Corbyn then calling out Wikipedia creator Jimmy Wales for his sliming of Corbyn and other general sliminess.

======================

And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Idiotprogrammer announces a Climate Change Candidate Forum sponsored by the Katy chapter of Citizens’ Climate Lobby on Monday January 6.

John Coby salutes Briscoe Cain’s primary opponent.

Paradise in Hell fears we are in the Clown Era of world leadership.

Dan Solomon informs us that Alex Jones has always known exactly what he is doing.

Taddy McAllister wants to know what happens to recycling after it’s picked up from the curb.

The TPA wishes Juanita and Mr. Juanita a speedy recovery after they were rear-ended in Austin.

The TPA also wishes Tony Buzbee many happy days on his private jet, which is clearly the best place for him to be.

Weekend link dump for December 15

“Below we have a roundup of the various Baby Yoda tattoos that have been published to social media by people from as far away as Florida, California, Alaska, and Russia. And while 39 tattoos might seem like a lot for such a new show, just think how many there will be when the rest of the world gets to see Baby Yoda on their screens. The UK, for example, doesn’t get Disney+ until March 31, 2020. The Baby Yoda tattoo craze should be even more bonkers by then.”

“The hidden moments of reclaimed freedom that make any job bearable are being discovered and wiped out by bosses everywhere.”

RIP, Caroll Spinney, puppeteer who played Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird.

RIP, Rene Auberjonois, versatile actor known for Benson, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and much more.

Please be careful when photographing trains.

“It’s a big deal that conservative legislators are introducing a bill to protect the LGBTQ community with the backing of some religious conservative groups. But in trying to do so, they’ve likely created something that will upset just about everybody else, from the more extreme religious right, to mainstream LGBTQ advocacy groups.”

RIP, George Laurer, inventor of the UPC.

Anti-vaxxers gonna anti-vaxx. However they want to phrase it, it’s all the same thing.

RIP, Paul Volcker, former Fed chair.

RIP, Pete Frates, who helped popularize the ALS Bucket Challenge.

“This is the kind of thing one can say only if one has a certain confidence that the witnesses in question will not, in fact, testify.”

“Vladimir Putin is a ruthless authoritarian who will do anything to maintain his power. But that is the opposite of a problem for Trump’s supporters. In fact, it’s what they like about both Putin and Trump.”

The question is not “why are people gluing tiny cowboy hats on pigeons’ heads?” The question is why haven’t people been doing this all along?

“It would be easy to freak out about Space Force because of the ridiculous name or alternatively to just dismiss it as bureaucratic reshuffling. I think it’s a mistake to do either.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance is doing its constitutional duty by bringing you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for December 8

All roads lead to Rudy.

“The first and most important thing to understand about these deals is that there is no possible set of mitigating circumstances that might make the negotiations remotely ethical.”

“Giuliani had been doing business in Ukraine long before Trump’s ascent to power. We’re now learning the full measure of his work there in the last two years.”

RIP, Dorothy Seymour Mills, author and baseball historian.

RIP, Seymour Siwoff, sports statistics pioneer and longtime head of the Elias Sports Bureau.

“How the Hmong diaspora uses the world’s most boring technology to make something weird and wonderful”.

Martin O’Malley is a role model.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the field goal that having more coaches who understand win probability wouldn’t fix, but making them worth two points instead of three would certainly shake things up.

“A U.S. president has at his disposal the most authoritative information available on Earth. Yet Trump doesn’t seem to want it. Disdainful of credentialed professionals, Trump has taken extraordinary steps, and spent taxpayer dollars, standing up dubious ideas of his own creation.”

“Impeachment is bringing out President Trump’s instincts as marketer in chief, as he seeks to turn a perilous, shame-inducing inquiry into an aggressive fundraising and mobilization tool.”

Just read Lisa Page’s story. Seriously, just read it.

The case against buying a Ring video doorbell.

The Case of the Felonious Bread“.

Man, people have feelings about that Peloton ad.

Devin Nunes is a boundless idiot.

RIP, DC Fontana, author and longtime writer for multiple Star Trek series.

“It’s troubling that this even needs to be said, but because legislators in Ohio apparently don’t know: you cannot re-implant an ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancies are potentially life-threatening complications where a fertilized egg implants itself somewhere outside of the uterus, usually in the fallopian tube.”

“Sadly, but with confidence and humility, with allegiance to our Founders and our hearts full of love for America, today, I am asking our Chairmen to proceed with articles of impeachment.”

“Here are photos of Trump with Prince Andrew, who he says he does not know”.

“People talk about whether the Democrats should go small or go big. I think it’s more whether they should go fast or go slow. (After all, it’s easy enough to add on an obstruction article based on the Mueller Report. The work is already done.) I think they’re right to go fast, even as I agree that the arguments to the contrary are powerful and compelling.”

“Even if we adopted that hypothetical that an imaginary President Trump had been a basically normal President who just did this one really nuts, terribly thing, it would still be impeachable. But it would be different. The contrary is the case though. We have four years of evidence that this is who he is; this is what he does; and that he thinks he is entitled to do so. Indeed, when after three years he finally beat the rap on the first crime, he literally went back to the well the very next day. The July 25th phone call was the day after Robert Mueller’s fairly tepid testimony. This is profoundly important for understanding the danger the country faces from Donald Trump.”

Weekend link dump for December 1

“This article is not about PED allegations. Roger Clemens doesn’t belong in the Hall of Fame for an entirely different reason, and one which merits far more attention than it has thus far received.”

“Doctors have placed humans in suspended animation for the first time, as part of a trial in the US that aims to make it possible to fix traumatic injuries that would otherwise cause death.”

Smallpox was gone, just over 250 years after inoculation was introduced to the West. Before that, it had been around for thousands of years, and inoculation had existed as a folk practice for centuries. What happened? Here are some factors.”

Meet King Kelly, Hall of Fame catcher from the 19th century, first celebrity athlete, and innovative cheater.

Here are all the books that should be on your nightstand.

“Two years after its launch, I still believe in the message, the protest quality, and the storytelling capacity of #EmptyThePews and similar hashtags as a means of inspiring people to confront the threat to democracy, human rights, and pluralism represented by right-wing evangelicalism and the Christian nationalism it fosters. As more stories of leavers of high-demand, anti-pluralist, fundamentalist religious groups are highlighted in the public sphere, we might begin to see prominent media outlets and personalities grappling seriously with the nexus of authoritarian religion and the authoritarian politics currently on the ascendant in America.”

“Under Trump, LGBTQ Progress Is Being Reversed in Plain Sight”.

“Mitch’s inaction is directly harming his home state. There’s no question in my mind.”

“This is a little bit like a baby with a hammer, or a monkey with a typewriter.”

“Just ask yourself where this game ends. Do demonic powers explain opposition to all politicians supported by Graham and Metaxas, or to Trump alone? Would they argue that all Christians (and non-Christians) who oppose Trump are under the influence of Satan? What about when it comes to specific issues? Should we ascribe to Beelzebub the fact that many Americans differ with Graham and Metaxas on issues such as gun control, tax cuts, charter schools, federal judges, climate change, the budget for the National Institutes of Health, foreign aid, criminal justice and incarceration, a wall on the southern border, and Medicaid reform?

Why the hell does Tucker Carlson have a job here in the first place? The reality is this is someone who said white supremacy is a hoax and why does Fox allow him to still be here in the first place?”

“The fundamental question raised by the impeachment hearings isn’t: What did Trump do? The hearings have added details and witnesses to the account first offered by the whistleblower and later confirmed by the White House call record, but the narrative stands largely unchanged. Instead, the question raised is: Why is the Republican Party accepting, and even defending, what Trump did?”

How to deliver Christmas presents in a future without chimneys.

Joanne Rogers, widow of Fred Rogers, is a mensch. More here and here.