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Texas blog roundup for the week of September 21

The Texas Progressive Alliance mourns the passing of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 20

“Several elements of those historic failures exist today: political disunity, economic collapse, the possibility of a razor-thin electoral margin, and corrupt challenges to the results. But none of those other transitions incorporated all of that at once, and a deadly pandemic. And none of them featured someone like Donald Trump. Whether he wins, loses, or just decides that he’s won, the whole nation must prepare to navigate treacherous territory this winter.”

“According to documents obtained by Motherboard from state departments of agriculture, at least hundreds, perhaps thousands of Americans planted the [mystery seeds from China].”

“The American system of government has proven to be far more fragile and norms-dependent than most public policy professionals and politics nerds had thought possible. It may only take one more president of limited moral constraints to topple it entirely. And given that impeachment and removal have proven to be an empty threat, the only deterrent to a future Trumplike president and their enablers will be the fear of being held legally and financially accountable for wrongdoing after leaving office.”

“All startups seek to disrupt and disintermediate a smug status quo, or originate and dominate an entirely new niche. But what makes a brand a bland is duality: claiming simultaneously to be unique in product, groundbreaking in purpose, and singular in delivery, while slavishly obeying an identikit formula of business model, look and feel, and tone of voice.”

“Over the years, this page has commented on the scientific foibles of U.S. presidents. Inadequate action on climate change and environmental degradation during both Republican and Democratic administrations have been criticized frequently. Editorials have bemoaned endorsements by presidents on teaching intelligent design, creationism, and other antiscience in public schools. These matters are still important. But now, a U.S. president has deliberately lied about science in a way that was imminently dangerous to human health and directly led to widespread deaths of Americans. This may be the most shameful moment in the history of U.S. science policy.”

“Are you used to identifying, all the way down to your soul, with your Hogwarts house, but you also don’t want to support transphobia? Here are some alternate ideas for you!”

“High in the toxic atmosphere of the planet Venus, astronomers on Earth have discovered signs of what might be life.”

“In the libel, journalism and risk world there’s the pre-Gawker suit world and the post-Gawker suit world. Some of difference is actual changes in case law. But it’s not mostly that. It’s also the climate of uncertainty created by the outcome of the Gawker case – a major publication really was sued out of existence without even the ability to appeal the judgment or get a review on the law. The case was funded by a billionaire who wanted to retaliate for coverage he didn’t like. It is also because of novel legal strategies and the increased willingness of the extremely powerful to use the courts to get the press to heel.”

“But if there is a line Donald Trump could cross that would forfeit the loyalty of his core supporters—including, and in some respects especially, white evangelical Christians—I can’t imagine what it would be. And that is a rather depressing thing to admit.”

The epic rock battle between Dave Grohl and Nandi Bushell is the purest, most wholesome, and most life-affirming content on the Internet.

RIP, Ronald Bell, musician and co-founder of Kool and the Gang.

“I’m sure you know this by now, but the reason ABBA wore those wild costumes was because Swedish tax law would only let you write off costumes/clothes as business expenses on your taxes if you couldn’t possibly wear them on the street.”

“[Sarah] McBride overwhelmingly won a two-person Democratic primary for a state senate seat. And the makeup of her district, with its large base of registered Democratic voters, all but assures that McBride will win the seat in November, making her the nation’s first openly transgender state senator.”

“Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”

RIP, Rich Connelly, longtime local news reporter and columnist. His magnus opus was a long essay on surviving Tropical Storm Allison, called Wading for Godot, and you should read it even if you’ve never experienced a Houston flooding event.

“Hey, quit laughing! It’s not an ignominious end to a glorious legal career. Dersh is on top of his game, ready to take on the world, primed to hit the nude beaches for an impromptu lecture on presidential prerogatives. Look out, Martha’s Vineyard, here he comes!”

“It may be a nice idea for Congress to establish a commission to protect our elections, but the Republican Party is committed to the opposite which is why they’d never go along with Coats’s idea.”

“Dames don’t audition for you; you audition for them. We loved her, she was funny, she was bawdy, she was everything we wanted for that character.”

“Facebook is best understood as a fantastically profitable nuclear energy company whose profitability is based on dumping the waste on the side of the road and accepting frequent accidents and explosions as inherent to the enterprise.”

Happy 100th birthday, Roger Angell!

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 14

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes everyone who’s doing their best to make back to school happen – remote and in person – as we present this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 13

“A Brief Explainer on OnlyFans and Why Celebrities Joining It May Be A Bad Thing”.

“The pandemic is forcing Democrats to ask: How important is door-knocking, anyway?”

“Actually, no, that’s not quite right. I do not need to “hope” that you agree. I know that you agree. I know this because everyone agrees. Which is why you and I don’t get any brownie points or cookies or special commendation for agreeing with such a self-evident, bare-minimum moral stance.”

RIP, Lou Brock, MLB Hall of Famer who broke the single season and career stolen bases records while playing for the St. Louis Cardinals.

RIP, William Pursell, Grammy-nominated composer and pianist.

Jeopardy! welcomes Ken Jennings back into the fold.

“What if we get a safe and effective vaccine, and people choose not to get it?”

“How many wounded warriors have stepped forward to attest to Trump’s care and concern for them? How many Gold Star families have stepped forward on Trump’s behalf? How many service families? The silence is resounding. And when such voices do speak, they typically describe a president utterly lacking in empathy to grieving families, wholly uncomprehending of sacrifice and suffering.”

“According to a new study, which tracked anonymized cellphone data from the rally, over 250,000 coronavirus cases have now been tied to the 10-day [Sturgis Motorcycle Rally], one of the largest to be held since the start of the pandemic. It drew motorcycle enthusiasts from around the country, many of whom were seen without face coverings inside crowded bars, restaurants, and other indoor establishments.”

“so I just got the electric beard clippers and held him upside down while I shaved off his butt hair“. You want to know what that was all about, don’t you?

“Season 20 will mark the final season of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.”

“Early Signs Point to ‘Mulan’ Outpacing ‘Hamilton’ on Disney+, Even With Premium Price”.

“Not to mention my fucking generals are a bunch of pussies. They care more about their alliances than they do about trade deals.”

RIP, Diana Rigg, Tony- and Emmy-winning actor best known for The Avengers and Game of Thrones.

“For me, that’s why Woodward’s recording does contain useful information. Trump didn’t believe his own bullshit. He simply lied and people died.”

“Here’s a list of all the NBA arenas being turned into voting sites for this year’s election”.

“A woman in Exeter, N.H., whipped off her shirt and voted topless after she was told she couldn’t cast her ballot while wearing a political T-shirt.”

“Zookeepers at the Saint Louis Zoo were surprised to see their oldest snake coiled around a clutch of freshly laid eggs because she hadn’t been near a male in more than 15 years.”

RIP, Tony Vallone, longtime Houston restauranteur.

“The NFL chooses not to get that, and instead thinks it can walk a tightrope between insulting your intelligence and offending racists. It’s not possible. Not that this was in any doubt before, but Chiefs fans audibly put the lie to any notions of compromise when they booed a group of black men pleading, silently, not to be treated like shit.”

“Imagine you were an alien who landed on planet Earth, and you saw that our planet was afflicted by an infectious disease and that masks were an effective way to prevent the spread. And yet when you went around, you saw some people not wearing them and some people wearing them, and you tried to figure out why, and it turned out it was their political party.”

“The health department’s politically appointed communications aides have demanded the right to review and seek changes to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s weekly scientific reports charting the progress of the coronavirus pandemic, in what officials characterized as an attempt to intimidate the reports’ authors and water down their communications to health professionals.”

RIP, Frederick “Toots” Hibbert, lead singer and co-founder of Toots and the Maytals.

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 7

The Texas Progressive Alliance prefers stew to bracelets and eating soup to throwing it as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 6

“There are many differences between Bush and Trump as individuals, and many differences between their administrations. But both of them represent a Republican Party soaked in contempt for, and mistrust of, the federal government. When you don’t respect, or even like, the institution you lead, you lead it poorly. When that institution is incredibly, globally important — as the US government is — leading it poorly can invite global catastrophe. And sure enough, under the last two Republican administrations, it has. There is continuity here, of the most consequential sort: a continuity of terrible outcomes.”

“So, no. The public domain is not, in fact, a sure bet for the popularity of Heinlein and his work. Not now; possibly not ever.”

“Orbiting the Milky Way galaxy just once takes the sun approximately 220 million to 230 million Earth years“. Or roughly the length of the year 2020.

“So if I might humbly suggest, the next time a Trump supporter hits you with “but the tweets,” ask them which tweets they mean and why they were objectionable. This is especially true for political reporters conducting interviews.”

“Regardless of the objective realities, Democrats will consistently anticipate loss or worry about loss while Republicans will consistently be confident of victory. This is a good rule of thumb regardless of the objective realities of the moment, to the degree they can be known.”

“The latest Military Times poll shows a continued decline in active-duty service members’ views of President Donald Trump and a slight but significant preference for former Vice President Joe Biden in the upcoming November election among troops surveyed.”

RIP, John Thompson, Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach at Georgetown, first Black coach to win an NCAA tournament.

“Federal Bureau of Investigation documents warned that owners of Amazon’s Ring and similar video doorbells can use the systems — which collect video footage sometimes used to investigate crimes — in order to watch police instead.”

“If you are an adult who has a young human in your life, please do not teach them that being scared of someone who doesn’t look like them is OK, please. This is a trend that needs to stop. Because we are humans. We have feelings.”

Men’s “wellness” is a scam, too.

Leave Lily alone!

The next TV project for the Game of Thrones guys sounds pretty cool.

“You have entered the ghost of a Pizza Hut. Savor the moment as you would a personal pan pizza.”

“I know many Trump supporters in real life, and none of the above excuses would apply to them. They are educated. They are well-off. Their lives are stable. They have access to the internet and know perfectly well how to find better information. They can see as well as I can that long lists of public-facing life-long republicans have rejected Trump. They are choosing chaos, pain, and death for everyone else, while demanding normalcy for themselves.”

“A former top Department of Homeland Security official who resigned in April says the Trump administration is creating the conditions for domestic extremism to flourish in the United States.”

“Number two, boneless chicken wings are just chicken tenders, which are already boneless. I don’t go to order boneless tacos. I don’t go and order boneless club sandwiches. I don’t ask for boneless auto repair. It’s just what’s expected. Number three, we need to raise our children better. Our children are being raised to be afraid of having bones attached to their meat. That’s where meat comes from, it grows on bones. We need to teach them that the wing of a chicken is from a chicken, and it’s delicious.”

“This is the great irony of the Trump era: It has never felt like more is happening, and yet American political opinions have never been so immovable.”

RIP, Tom Seaver, Hall of Fame pitcher mostly for the Mets, and one of the all-time greats.

“Whoopi Goldberg Urges Disney World to Build Wakanda Park in Memory of Chadwick Boseman”.

Star Trek: Discovery announced that season three will introduce the first non-binary and transgender characters in the history of the Star Trek franchise.”

RIP, Wick Allison, Dallas writer and publisher of D Magazine.

Seriously, what planet is Ted Cruz from?

“The fallen service members I helped receive and carry during this part of the journey to their final resting place were not “losers” or “suckers”. They were selfless and heroic, and I had the honor of being among the first to hold them when they returned home.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 31

The Texas Progressive Alliance calls for a competent and compassionate response to Hurricane Laura as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 30

“Covid now 3rd leading cause of death. Even at “only” half current death rate, Covid would kill
– 4x as many as from suicide, kidney disease
– 3x as many as flu and pneumonia
– 2x as many as diabetes
– More than Alzheimer’s, stroke, lung disease, injury (including opiates)”.

“A Texas Program Has Achieved Remarkable Success in Protecting Rare Sea Turtles. So Why Does the National Park Service Want to Defund It?”

How to solve the riddle from the trailer to the new movie The Batman.

RIP, Gerald Hines, real estate developer who shaped the Houston skyline.

Platform, schmatform. Long live the king!

“Owning the libs and pissing off the media. That’s what we believe in now. There’s really not much more to it.”

“So now, instead of serving as a symbol of Trump’s successes, the RNC will serve as a symbol of everything he’s done wrong. While other countries reopen schools and even sporting events with fans, the US continues to report 40,000 or more new coronavirus cases a day.”

“Solar panels are an increasingly important source of renewable power that will play an essential role in fighting climate change. They are also complex pieces of technology that become big, bulky sheets of electronic waste at the end of their lives — and right now, most of the world doesn’t have a plan for dealing with that.”

RIP, Justin Townes Earle, singer-songwriter and son of Steve Earle.

The Falwells and the pool boy. I have a feeling there’s more to come in this saga. I only wish Jerry Senior were alive to see this.

“This lines up with something I’ve found in my own research with conservative Protestants: I heard over and over about their worries young people would walk away from their relationship with Christ, yet they placed blame for that almost exclusively on secular professors and the liberal media. They shouldn’t: As various social scientific studies of “religious nones” (nonbelievers) have shown, people are increasingly leaving Christian belief because of the politics and hypocrisy of Christians like Jerry Falwell Jr.”

“It’s skeevy, in other words, for the same reason the pastor’s unironic Ricky Bobby impression is skeevy — because we don’t know if he would know if his wife was really into this too. We cannot trust him to know, or to listen, or to realize if she wasn’t. And if she’s not — if she really does hate it when he does this — then something actually bad and not merely benignly kinky is going on.”

“Religious conservatives are essential to Trump’s base, so the people most inclined to see natural disasters as messages from God and now in a bind. Do they listen to the message, or ignore it?”

On survivorship bias and the home court advantage in the NBA.

“The more complicated answer is that the platform I’ve just described, like so much of the Trump-Republican program, commands support among only a minority of the American people. The platform works (to the extent it does work) by exciting enthusiastic support among Trump supporters; but when stated too explicitly, it invites a backlash among the American majority. This is a platform for a party that talks to itself, not to the rest of the country. And for those purposes, the platform will succeed most to the extent that it is communicated only implicitly, to those receptive to its message.”

RIP, Joe Ruby, animation writer and executive who co-created “Scooby-Doo”. Mark Evanier shared some thoughts about him.

“A lawsuit—launched back in June, but getting more attention now that the film’s just released its first trailer—[alleges] that Netflix’s Enola Holmes infringes on the copyright of Arthur Conan Doyle’s family, because it shows Henry Cavill’s Sherlock having legally actionaable feelings.”

A woman ran at me with a knife once. I was responding to a domestic and she flew out the front door, huge knife in hand, & came right at me. I drew my weapon, yelled “police”, told her to drop the knife. She didn’t. At some point, I’d drawn my weapon.”

RIP, Lute Olson, Hall of Fame men’s basketball coach at the University of Arizona.

RIP, Cathy Smith, backup singer better known for her role in the overdose death of John Belushi.

RIP, Chadwick Boseman, actor best known for Black Panther. He also played Jackie Robinson in the movie 42, and MLB was celebrating Jackie Robinson Day yesterday when Boseman passed. My 13-yea-old daughter emerged from her room at 10:30 PM last night to announce this news to me. She’s a huge Marvel fan and Black Panther is one of her favorites, and she was really upset by this. My deepest condolences to Boseman’s family and friends.

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 24

The Texas Progressive Alliance is fired up and ready to vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 23

“Our school’s emergency bags are remarkably sparse. No band-aids, no first aid materials. We have one flashlight, one sign with my name to help my students find our class if they get separated during a mass exodus, one copy of my class rosters, and one Sharpie marker. Why a marker? Someone asked that very question at a staff meeting. The nurse explained, in a completely emotionless tone, that the Sharpie was so we could identify students and write their names on their bodies in the event of an incident.”

“What I’m getting at here is that people are what make videos work. People—given the license and resources to have fun—are the reason why viewers hit the play button. People are the reason why you hit that like and subscribe button. Even as BA grew from a sleeper hit to its own cinematic universe, what kept it successful was that the human element came through in moments congenial, frustrated, heartbroken, petty, and embarrassing. No one watches BA Test Kitchen because they’re fans of Condé Nast, or want to see Condé Nast succeed.”

“CBS Television Studios has signed an exclusive agreement with law enforcement and public safety advisory group 21CP Solutions to consult with the writing staffs of CBS crime procedurals and legal dramas”.

“The conclusion I’ve come to is that no one’s in charge. They’re not doing anything, per se. The party has lost all superego & runs entirely on id now – no strategy, no plan, no intentionality. All that’s left is a bunch of tired tropes & instincts that haven’t changed in decades.”

“We estimate that the reduction in annual lead emissions from deleading NASCAR and ARCA races yielded social benefits of $2.2 billion per year from avoided elderly mortality alone. This suggests that the cost of a gram of lead added to gasoline is over $1,100.”

“A Brief History of Why Donald Trump Hates the Postal Service”. It’s even more petty and small-minded than you think.

“But McConnell — and, to be fair, White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows — are acting as if the most important thing they want to achieve is for President Trump to be a one-term president.”

“Herman Cain and the Problems With Tweeting After Death“.

By the way, the Trump administration is also in the process of destroying the Customs and Immigration Service, but that’s getting a lot less attention than the Postal Service.

“A federal grand jury in Manhattan has indicted former Trump campaign chairman Stephen K. Bannon, accusing him and three others of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and conspiracy to commit money laundering in a border wall fundraising scheme.”

Do better, Alamo Drafthouse. Come on!

“Reds play-by-play announcer Thom Brennaman was caught on a hot mic using an anti-LGBTQ slur during Wednesday’s Reds doubleheader vs. the Royals.”

Despite Rule Changes, Baseball Games Go Longer Than Ever”. Are they taking those 7-inning doubleheader games into account, though?

Like it or not, you’re gonna get some COVID story lines on your favorite TV shows.

“A simple mathematical mistake may explain why many people underestimate the dangers of coronavirus, shunning social distancing, masks and hand-washing.”

“The core of Joe Biden’s politics is his talent at fulfilling the simplest of political and emotional needs: Joe Biden likes you. That was the message of this convention, and it’s the message that has always been at the core of his politics. Joe Biden likes you if you’re a Democrat or a Republican. He likes you even if you don’t like him, because it’s his job to like you, no matter how you vote.”

“COVID Update August 21: Public health is supposed to be above politics. For now, health is nothing but politics.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 17

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the postal workers of America as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 16

“Wearing face masks that adequately cover the mouth and nose causes the error rate of some of the most widely used facial recognition algorithms to spike to between 5 percent and 50 percent, a study by the US National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has found. Black masks were more likely to cause errors than blue masks, and the more of the nose covered by the mask, the harder the algorithms found it to identify the face.”

We are certain crime is rising when it isn’t; convinced our risk of victimization is higher than it actually is. And in a summer when the president is sending federal agents to crack down on crime in major cities and local politicians are arguing over the risks of defunding the police, that disconnect matters. In an age of anxiety, crime may be one of our most misleading fears.”

“Set aside questions about the extent to which being of good character means one is uncorruptable. If pressure from Donald Trump — and presumably some pro-Trump conservatives in Congress and the media — was enough to get Blackburn to repeatedly display bad character, doesn’t that indicate a problem with the Republican Party, not just with a few people in it?”

“Distant cosmic objects such as planets, galaxies, and nebulae are sometimes referred to by the scientific community with unofficial nicknames. As the scientific community works to identify and address systemic discrimination and inequality in all aspects of the field, it has become clear that certain cosmic nicknames are not only insensitive, but can be actively harmful. NASA is examining its use of unofficial terminology for cosmic objects as part of its commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion.”

“The world didn’t need men with guns standing a watch on the walls, ready to do furious violence against modern day Mongol raiders or BDSM-clad warboys, it needed toilet paper, sewing kits, and sourdough starter. Nobody was being asked to die (or better yet, kill) for their cause. They were being asked to wash their hands. To stay indoors. To wear masks. To sacrifice convenience and comfort for six weeks, maybe a few months, in order to break the back of the pandemic, to flatten the curve and save the world. For men who would bravely declare how they would do anything or endure any hardship for their family or prove their masculine bonafides, this should be no challenge whatsoever. They were being called not to die, but to stay at home and watch Netflix. And that’s where the people who invested the most in toxic ideas of manhood lost their goddamn monkey minds.”

“The Surprising Importance of Skunks in the History of Chicago”.

Did you see that video of the woman having her bridal photos taken in Beirut at the time of the explosion? The woman in question is a doctor from Michigan, and she raced off to help those who needed it following the blast.

“Enter the neck gaiter. This wide tube of fabric is worn around the neck (instead of the ears) and easily pulled up and down, to cover and uncover the mouth and nose as desired. But are they as effective as masks? Here’s everything you need to know about neck gaiters, according to experts, and where to buy the best ones right now.”

A few words about Dr. Seuss, on the 60th anniversary of Green Eggs and Ham.

“Disney has no Fox left to give as it renames TV studio to 20th Television”.

Wireless phone chargers are quite inefficient, and that has implications for the power generation industry.

RIP, Trini Lopez, actor and singer.

RIP, Sumner Redstone, former media executive.

“Airbnb will offer a one-of-a-kind vacation spot with its latest rental listing: the world’s last Blockbuster store in Bend, Oregon.” Will it be stocked with videos? That’s what I want to know.

RIP, Bill Yeoman, longtime football coach at the University of Houston, member of the College Football Hall of Fame.

A new ice cream truck jingle, to replace the one you remember from your childhood, which unfortunately has seriously racist roots. This effort was spurred by the Good Humor company, and funnily enough, the Good Humor truck that came to my block when I was a kid didn’t play that jingle. It just had some bells that the truck driver rang by pulling a cord. It was a different ice cream truck, the Mister Softee truck, that played this jingle.

RIP, Samuel Karff, longtime rabbi and ivil rights leader in Houston.

“This absurd formulation has created a massive incentive for American Presidential candidates to cheat and cheat big – for the candidate who doesn’t cheat, loses; or if you cheat just a little bit you lose and can be indicted. The candidate who cheats in a big way and wins escapes prosecution. We are in such a horrific situation right now with President Trump. Trump is struggling to win a traditional free and fair election and has begun cheating/law breaking/ignoring the Constitution at a level never seen before in an American election.”

“By now, it’s no secret that Trump and his allies are trying to sabotage the Postal Service. The question is what Democrats will do in response.”

“According to Major League Baseball’s current records and classifications, the players whom this year’s major leaguers will be honoring on Sunday were not major leaguers themselves. Because of the prejudiced decision of a committee that met more than 50 years ago, the Negro Leagues are still excluded from the official list of major leagues, much as Black players before 1947—and, in many cases, long after—were excluded from the American and National Leagues. Like those players, the Negro Leagues have been denied an opportunity to prove that they were as deserving of major league status as their white contemporaries. But for the first time, MLB is considering righting that wrong.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 10

The Texas Progressive Alliance has been making the Jonathan Swan face for months as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 9

“In much the same way that the toilet paper industry was overwhelmed by the coronavirus quarantine, so, too, is the agriculture industry dealing with a sudden and unexpected shift in their priorities.”

“While the killing of George Floyd has galvanized support for tearing down statues, renaming sports teams and otherwise removing markers of a (more) racist past, the renewed push for change hasn’t really touched the nation’s prison system. But some say it should. Across the country, dozens of prisons take their names from racists, Confederates, plantations, segregationists, and owners of slaves.”

“What am I getting at here is that everyone has different things that they want to see or experience at Comic-Con and too many of then act like the whole convention should only be about that.”

“We find that the workers who experienced larger increases in UI generosity did not experience larger declines in employment when the benefits expansion went into effect. Additionally, we find that workers facing larger expansions in UI benefits have returned to their previous jobs over time at similar rates as others. We find no evidence that more generous benefits disincentivized work either at the onset of the expansion or as firms looked to return to business over time.”

Deep Space Nine‘s Radical Depiction of Black Love”.

“This Push to Open Schools Is Guaranteed to Fail“.

“Before the iPhone, Venmo, or Spotify, there were ringtones. You might remember them fondly as those lo-fidelity sounds we used to communicate our highly refined music tastes every time someone called our cell. But ringtones were so much more than that. A billion-dollar industry silenced seemingly overnight, ringtones laid the foundations of modern mobile consumer technology and set the stage for the app store and mobile commerce as we know it today. And they are proof that even silly-seeming products can have an impact long after their memory fades away.”

“Big majorities make it possible to do big things, and that’s what the country needs right now.”

“Be strong. Be of good cheer. Don’t cower. But keep notes of the unfolding crimes before our eyes. Because accountability must come. And it will.”

“Rezba’s exercise in psychological self-protection evolved into a bona fide mission. Soon she was spending a couple of hours a day scouring the internet for the recently dead; it saddened, then enraged her to see how difficult they were to find, how quickly people who gave their lives in service to others seemed to be forgotten. The more she searched, the more convinced she became that this invisibility was not an accident.”

Oh, just swimming a lap in the Olympic pool with a glass of chocolate milk balanced on my head. You know, the usual.

“Federal judges should not have to live in fear, U.S. District Judge Esther Salas of the District of New Jersey said in a video statement Monday.”

“But a zombie movie purposefully trying to tap into the public’s current fears about killer viruses would do well to draw on the real world’s uneven response to the spread of covid-19, a dark part of our reality that isn’t likely to come to an end anytime soon.”

RIP, Pete Hamill, legendary New York columnist and author. I found what Jelani Cobb had to say about him to be thoughtful and provocative.

Please don’t drink hand sanitizer. Thank you.

“The Trump administration could be in the process of planning several October surprises, which would mean even more chaos in the run-up to the November election.”

A brief peek inside the Astrodome. I don’t know how old that picture is, but it’s cool regardless.

RIP, Terry Cannon, founder of the Baseball Reliquary.

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 3

The Texas Progressive Alliance will not be delaying the publication of this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 2

The Space Force has a horse. Of course, of course.

“An extraordinary new archaeological discovery has revealed that humans arrived in the Americas at least 11,000 years earlier than previously thought – rewriting the human story of the continent and dramatically changing our understanding of world prehistory.”

We can virtually eliminate the virus any time we decide to. We can be back to a reasonably normal existence: schools, travel, job growth, safer nursing homes & other settings. And we could do it in a matter of weeks. If we want to.”

“There was no significant difference by mode of interview on any of four questions asking directly about Trump.”

“Not once in the hour did Stepien mention the coronavirus or how the campaign would handle messaging around the pandemic’s toll.”

“Biden has been able to grow his lead by keeping the focus on Trump — a job made easier by the nationwide surge in coronavirus cases.”

“When It Stops Being A Joke: Did We All Indulge Suspected Killer By Mocking Him?”

“Which is to say, dogmatic adherence to conservative orthodoxy is not even in the best interest of the conservative ideological project. If your primary concern is curtailing progressive redistribution, preventing the Democratic Party from taking power in the midst of a historic economic crisis should be a top priority. But a critical mass of congressional Republicans missed the memo differentiating what the conservative movement actually believes (that economic policy should be directed toward maximizing plutocratic prerogatives) from what it pretends to believe (that countercyclical spending doesn’t work). And so McConnell must reason with colleagues who genuinely think the party can revive the economy by removing all fiscal life support.”

“These Photos Of Lonely Baseball Mascots In Empty Stadiums Are A Whole Mood”.

You can add “being invited to throw out the first pitch at the Yankees-Nationals game on August 15 at Yankee Stadium” to the long list of things Donald Trump has lied about. Speaking as a Yankees fan, I’m very happy to hear that.

“Trump’s New Favorite COVID Doctor Believes in Alien DNA, Demon Sperm, and Hydroxychloroquine“. And she’s here in Houston, so we’ve got that going for us, which is nice.

“A watchdog group is alleging that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has laundered $170 million through companies controlled by campaign officials as part of an effort to avoid disclosing which vendors it is really paying for services.”

“NASA Invites Public to Share Excitement of Mars 2020 Perseverance Rover Launch”.

Hey, remember when Joe Biden suggested that Donald Trump might try to do unsavory things with the November election and people thought he was crazy? There sure were a lot of people who were very sure that was a crazy thing for Joe Biden to say. Not so crazy now, is it?

Three things Congress needs to do now to facilitate election security.

“Just to repeat that: Trump deliberately decided to let Americans die, in huge numbers, not because there was nothing that could be done, but because it was decided that it would “politically advantageous” to have people dying in states with Democratic governors.”

RIP, Wilford Brimley, versatile actor known for playing characters a lot older than he himself was.

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance says “Person, woman, man, camera, TV”. Also, “Play ball!”, “Get the federal stormtroopers out of American cities”, and “Here’s this week’s roundup”.

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Weekend link dump for July 26

The COVID risk chart we really need.

“Folks, this is the nature of child-rearing.”

“The detonation forever changed the course of history, ensuring the end of World War II and marking the dawn of the atomic age. After 75 years, the test is both revered for the scientific advancements it helped to usher in and vilified for the moral and diplomatic implications that still linger in its wake.”

One of the weirdest murder stories you’ll ever read, with implications for how crimes in outer space may be handled someday.

“Woman Who Refused To Wear Mask At Starbucks Wants Half The $100k In Tip Money Barista Got From GoFundMe Campaign”.

“The African continent is very slowly peeling apart. Scientists say a new ocean is being born.”

“The Roman Empire would have a better reputation if it had enjoyed more leaders like Augustus and Marcus Aurelius and fewer like Caligula and Nero, and someday a couple of thousand years from now there will be some blogger saying the same about America. Bad leadership matters, and George W. Bush and Donald Trump have provided the kind of leadership that leaves an indelible stain.”

“The key to Biden’s success is simple: He’s slicing into Trump’s coalition, pulling back the older, whiter voters Democrats lost in 2016. The Biden campaign’s insight is that mobilization is often the flip side of polarization: When party activists are sharply divided by ideology and demography, what excites your side will be the very thing that unnerves the other side.”

RIP, Vincent Mandola, longtime Houston restauranteur.

From the Bad Uses For Drones department.

“Trader Joe’s said it will change the names carried by some of its international food products in response to an online petition that called on the grocery chain to ‘remove racist branding and packaging.'”

“This is a thread of fun times I had while enforcing the new company policy of required masks at the grocery store I work at”. My God, so may people are huge entitled babies.

“Such resentment is a choice. It is not an easy choice, both because it is unpleasant and because it is laughably absurd. But if one is stubbornly determined to make such a choice, and to repeat it, and to stick with it, one can train oneself to ignore the absurdity of it and to learn to enjoy and to savor the bitter acquired taste of resentment. Stick with that choice long enough and you can lose your taste for anything else.”

“Guilt by association is really not a thing in American law.”

As long as we are rooting for Major League Baseball to be played in safety for its entire season, let us also root for someone to hit .400 during that season.

RIP, Pam Francis, Houston photographer known as the Annie Liebovitz of Texas.

MLB players take a knee on Opening Day. Good for them.

“Trump used northeastern states like New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which lowered their infection curve with strict stay-at-home orders, as part of a misleading argument that much of the US was free of the virus. What he didn’t say is that those states succeeded because they ignored his calls to reopen.”

“And so what I believe is that having a daughter does not make a man decent. Having a wife does not make a decent man. Treating people with dignity and respect makes a decent man. Lastly, what I want to express to Mr. Yoho is gratitude. I want to thank him for showing the world that you can be a powerful man and accost women. You can have daughters and accost women without remorse. You can be married and accost women.”

RIP, Regis Philbin, best known for being Regis Philbin.

“There is no acknowledgement here that Ted Yoho, not lacking political and professional ambition himself, was also building his brand by deciding to accost Ocasio-Cortez in front of reporters. Nor is there acknowledgment that it worked for him.”

RIP, Olivia de Havilland, two-time Oscar winner from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people in Portland currently being attacked by federal troops as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 19

“The North American Scrabble Players Association announced that derogatory language would be removed from the game’s official word list.”

The Far Side is producing new content, which is news we can all use in 2020.

“The beer industry, like so many others, demonstrates the failure of modern antitrust to prevent monopolies from both growing and abusing their power. The solution, then, must be structural. The antitrust agencies should stop any further consolidation in the industry. Smaller brewers should be allowed to compete freely, rather than simply angling for a Big Beer buyout because it is the only way to expand beyond their narrow confines.”

“NASA has unveiled new policies to protect the moon and Mars (and Earth) from contamination as human spaceflight advances.”

RIP, Kelly Preston, actor best known for the movies “Twins” and “Jerry Maguire”.

“But what if Trump wasn’t a trade-off for evangelicals? What if an obsession with manhood and toughness made a figure like Trump the natural fulfillment of their political evolution?”

“Four years later, swing voters no longer recognize much distinction between the president and his party. The GOP’s loudest Trump skeptics have either been evicted from Congress or converted to the faith. On impeachment, coronavirus, and just about everything in between, congressional Republicans have made the president’s cause their own. And the public has taken note.”

“We have the wealth in this country to care for people, and to set the herd-immunity threshold where we choose. Parts of the world are illuminating a third way forward, something in between total lockdown and simply resuming the old ways of life. It happens through individual choices and collective actions, reimagining new ways of living, and having the state support and leadership to make those ways possible. For as much attention as we give to the virus, and to drugs and our immune systems, the variable in the system is us. There will only be as much chaos as we allow.”

RIP, John Bland, civil rights activist and union leader who as a Texas Southern University student helped lead a lunch counter sit-in at a Houston supermarket that refused to serve Blacks.

RIP, Grant Imahara, electrical engineer and roboticist who hosted the popular science show MythBusters and Netflix’s White Rabbit Project.

“It is time for Dr. Anthony Fauci to quit government. Indeed, resigning might be the best thing he can do for the country’s public health — not to mention his own dignity.”

“If 20 Republican senators were to state that Stone’s bribery-tinged commutation is too much for them at last, that they are ready to hear the evidence and will not shut their ears to the facts as they did with the Ukraine impeachment, Trump could be out of the White House swiftly — perhaps even before the election in November.”

Give Suzi Quatro her props, y’all.

Roger Stone can, and should, be tried again by the next non-corrupt Justice Department.

“CDC says U.S. could get coronavirus under control in one to two months if everyone wears a mask”.

“Who’s Behind Wednesday’s Epic Twitter Hack?”

“One month ago today, @VP wrote this in @WSJopinion. I had a different take then — but he is head of the nation’s COVID taskforce. So I wondered if he was seeing something I wasn’t. Not only has Op-Ed turned out wrong. It was predictably so.”

RIP, Rev. C.T. Vivian, civil rights veteran who worked alongside the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and later led the Southern Christian Leadership Conference.

RIP, Rep. John Lewis, Congressman, civil rights leader, American hero.

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance is fanning itself with one hand and sipping from a frosty beverage with the other as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 12

“A surge in restaurant spending appears to predict a surge in coronavirus cases weeks later, a new JPMorgan study found.”

“Both the anti-quarantine protests that the far-right orchestrated in April and May and the recent civil unrest have accelerated the potential for more violence. I think it will pick up over the summer and especially into the fall as we head into the election.”

“But does any of that mean that any of these true believers really, truly believe that this is real? They will insist that they do. They will affirm that this is what they really believe, what they really think, what they really know. And they will insist that this is true as genuinely and sincerely as they are still capable of doing anything genuinely or sincerely.”

“It leads to this obvious question that few seem ready to ask: Has the nickname paid respect to Sockalexis and Native Americans? Has the Indians’ name really paid tribute? Has the execrable Chief Wahoo lifted anyone’s respect for Native Americans? Have the countless references to war and weapons and genocide raised people’s consciousness to the Native American’s plight?”

“The idea that Harry Truman was basically Donald Trump without Twitter is pretty funny. And the suggestion that the experts have it all wrong now because they did so in 1948 and 2016 kind of ignores the 16 presidential elections between those two meteoric events; in most, the prognosticators got it right. But just for fun, let’s look at the analogy more closely and see if it holds out any particular hope for Trump fans looking for a big upset. Here are some factors that fed into the 1948 shocker that might distinguish them from today’s circumstances”.

RIP, Nick Coredero, Broadway star, from COVID-19.

RIP, Ennio Morricone, Oscar-winning composer who made dozens of famous movie scores.

RIP, Buck Wood, Austin attorney and longtime expert on election law.

“Experts are calling for a 9/11-style commission on U.S. coronavirus response. Here’s where it could start.”

“Kellogg’s tried to the rig the election in Chekkie’s favor. But it was too late; the damage was done. And like the Easter Rising of 1916, sometimes a conspiratorial defeat only leads to greater victories. Which brings us to today — 16 years later — when Kellogg’s Korea is finally making good on their promise to deliver Green Onion Chex to the mouths of hungry cereal eaters everywhere (or at least, in Korea for a limited time).”

“In all three states we see a pretty similar pattern. Fatalities are following cases on a two or three week delay and the skyrocketing case counts of the last week or so will likely be mirrored later this month. What also seems clear is that limited testing early in the pandemic simply missed the scope of the early outbreak which lead to the earlier rise in deaths. That is not surprising. Testing was very limited, especially in this less hard hit states in April.”

“Negative partisanship only works when demonization of one’s opponent sticks — which means, oddly enough, that the candidate most likely to be hurt by it this time around is none other than Donald Trump himself.”

“What 9 GOP Campaign Consultants Really Think About Republicans’ Chances in November”.

“Why aren’t today’s deaths trending in the same way today’s cases are trending? That’s completely not the way to think about it. Today’s cases represent infections that probably happened a week or two ago. Today’s deaths represent cases that were diagnosed possibly up to a month ago, so infections that were up to six weeks ago or more. Some people do get infected and die quickly, but the majority of people who die, it takes a while. It’s not a matter of a one-week lag between cases and deaths. We expect something more on the order of a four-, five-, six-week lag.”

“A whipping post that had long stood outside the Old Sussex County Courthouse in Georgetown, Delaware, was finally removed Wednesday.”

RIP, Mary Kay LeTourneau, about whose life and sins I have spent too much time thinking. I now realize I need to watch the A&E documentary about her life.

Facebook did a civil rights audit, not that they’re going to use it.

“It doesn’t matter what terminology we use for disgrace, the consequences remain the same: disgrace. To be canceled is to be in disgrace, which is to say to have set oneself in opposition to and apart from others by behaving so indecently that your continued presence would seem to make them complicit in your indecency. Disgrace is a kind of social exile.”

“Once Covid-19 shots become available, there will be arguments about who gets them, and an even bigger battle with anti-vaxxers who refuse them.”

“People with passports from poor nations know what it’s like to be denied access to most of the world, or subjected to humiliating and expensive visa procedures just to go on holidays or attend a conference. Americans are now in the same boat.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 6

The Texas Progressive Alliance watched “Hamilton” like everyone else as it prepped this week’s blog roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 5

“Three and a half years into his presidency we know so much that it raises the question: What do we not yet know about Donald Trump?”

One thing we do know: He’s been a racist for an awfully long time.

“Policing must evolve, and it can do so by developing a Guardian culture. Guardian policing, which has been championed by notable police leaders, has been defined as a service-oriented approach that emphasizes protecting community members from unnecessary indignity and harm, including the potential indignities and harms that can result from policing itself.”

“What To Look For In A Face Mask, According To Science”.

“Mafiosi may impose primitive honor codes, but as Comey observes with no small fascination, these are nevertheless codes that apply to everyone. How long could a mob boss as capricious and untrustworthy as Trump last before his lieutenants revolted and replaced him with someone more competent?”

RIP, Leonard Scarcella, who served as Mayor of Stafford, TX, for fifty years.

“If you live in a state outside of the hot zones, don’t let your governor get puzzled by the fact that things aren’t getting better worse yet.”

RIP, Manuel “Cowboy” Donley, Tejano music pioneer.

Expect there to be more R-rated animated movies as a result of COVID-19.

I haven’t used cash or hit an ATM since March. I don’t plan to abandon the greenback permanently, but for now, no one’s taking it, and so we adjust.

MLB player Ian Desmond has something to say.

“As we move forward with 2020 baseball, it’s important to think critically about how sports should be covered this year. The way we talk about 2020 sports will have to be fundamentally different from how we’ve talked about it in the past, because sports are fundamentally different”.

RIP, Carl Reiner, legendary writer, director, actor, author and 12-time Emmy Award winner. Here are many tributes to the man, and of course Mark Evanier has something to add.

Coronavirus has killed the Costco half-sheet cake, and I just don’t know anymore.

RIP, Johnny Mandel, Oscar and Grammy winning composer who wrote the theme song to M*A*S*H.

Brett Kavanaugh truly made a fool out of Sen. Susan Collins.

“Trumpism has been an historic assault on our civic and democratic order. We cannot simply have it become a normal part of our history. A chief part of the President’s corruption has been abusing his powers to hide his wrongdoing. We can’t move forward without undoing those crimes and unwinding the lies.

“Those of us who work in retail are held to far higher standards of conduct than most big city police officers.”

RIP, Hugh Downs, Emmy-winning broadcaster who hosted 20/20 and the Today Show.

“The Washington [NFL team] said Friday they were beginning a thorough review of the team’s controversial nickname, a stunning step that came just one day after a prominent corporate sponsor called for a change and after years of refusing to consider such a move.” (The “prominent corporate sponsor” is FedEx, which has naming rights on the team’s stadium.)

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 29

The Texas Progressive Alliance did not need to pause its collection of blog content for your roundup this week.

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Weekend link dump for June 28

“The Anti-Vax Movement’s Radical Shift From Crunchy Granola Purists to Far-Right Crusaders”.

How to read the polls like a pro.

“It might seem like a small scandal in the context of everything else Trump has done, but it’s actually a very serious crime. We need to learn the full truth about it.”

“By now you’ve probably heard the news that a Terminator has killed another innocent civilian just days after the last innocent civilian was killed by a Terminator. This unfortunate incident has led to renewed calls to divert funding from the Terminator program and reallocate it into other services that would prevent Terminators from being necessary in the first place. But just because a growing number of Terminators have ignored their AI programming and begun slaughtering humans left and right doesn’t mean we should take the dangerous and radical step of defunding the Terminator program.”

“Five Women Veterans Who Deserve to Have Army Bases Named After Them”.

“Okay I want to talk about the TikTok/K-pop stan let’s-troll-Trump operation and specifically about the data gathering aspect of it.”

“The most important COVID story right now is the age shift.”

“Remember that the original announcement was that Berman would be replaced on an acting basis, not by his current deputy, which is the lawful order of succession, but by the US Attorney for the District of New Jersey, Craig Carpenito. This is an entirely irregular, bordering on absurd plan – one US Attorney overseeing two offices at once. There was certainly some corrupt aim behind this whole plan. This is as sure as night follows day. Barr wanted Berman out of the way and was not content to leave key decisions in the hands of his respected deputy, Audrey Strauss. He was confident that he could leave those decisions in the hands of Craig Carpenito. Why?”

RIP, Joel Schumacher, versatile film director.

“And yet, for all the drama, the little matter of why Trump and Barr decided to get rid of Berman in the first place remains a mystery. There are a range of plausible explanations. Some are worse than others, though none represents what one would like to see from the Department of Justice.”

“Otherwise, the focus of the debate was less on the particular words marked for excision than the place of slurs in the game. Many argued that Scrabble would lose nothing by dropping words that obviously cause offense in real life. Such a move, some players said, might also make the game more attractive to sponsors or broadcasters, and could generate positive media and attract new players. More important, they said, it could be a fitting contribution from a cabal of word nerds to the swirling conversation about race and equality.”

That Shake Shack thing involving NYPD cops from a couple weeks ago was utter bullshit from the beginning.

How a freelance photographer got tagged as a lonely Trump supporter at the little Tulsa rally.

“After Nearly Two Bumpy Decades, The Original Segway Will Be Retired In July”.

“A judge has ruled that Rep. Devin Nunes has no right to sue Twitter over statements made by a fake Internet cow, someone parodying his mother and a Republican strategist.”

“What does it mean that the median age of new cases is dropping in some areas? I see three possible explanations, not all good. A thread on how to distinguish between them.”

“But recent data finally does suggest a more complete explanation: the age demographics of the outbreak have changed substantially.”

RIP, Milton Glaser, graphic designer who created the iconic “I ♥ NY” logo.

RIP, Blaine Kern, flamboyant New Orleans float builder known as “Mr. Mardi Gras”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 22

The Texas Progressive Alliance does not speak in riddles when it brings you its weekly roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 21

“The 2024 GOP presidential nominee is highly likely to be an acolyte of the president’s.”

“It’s been five years since Glee left the airwaves and I struggle to think of a television show of its caliber that became so popular and so critically welcomed, only to sour in an absurd fashion and descend into the ranks of self-parody as spectacularly as this one did. Nowadays, we talk more about the behind-the-scenes chaos of the show rather than its on-screen drama, and when we do, it’s seldom in a complimentary manner. No series, at least in my lifetime, rose so high and fell so low. At least Lost gave us a polar bear.”

How newspaper comic strips dealt with coronavirus.

“As tantalizing as the prospect of a flying motorcycle is, this unfortunate incident is exactly why it’s going to be a very long time before personal flying vehicles will be available to the public—if ever.”

If you don’t know who Donald Trump’s niece Mary Trump is yet, don’t worry. You will.

“We managed to disrupt our economy [and] skyrocket unemployment, and we didn’t control the damn virus.”

“Airport Surveillance Is About to Reach a Whole New Level of Ridiculousness”.

The Shake Shack Shit Show, and what it means.

“All this is a recipe for 1,000-2,000 deaths per day for the next year or so, and quite possibly many more than that.”

“Diego, a libidinous giant tortoise credited with saving his species, has finally retired to an uninhabited island off the coast of Ecuador after decades of service in a breeding program.” Now there’s a retirement notice.

“How Rich Investors, Not Doctors, Profit From Marking Up ER Bills”.

“The [long-running CBS soap opera The Bold and the Beautiful] is planning to film sex scenes amid the coronavirus pandemic by utilizing lifelike blow up dolls.” And thus we have a new contender for “most 2020 news story”.

The homemade remake of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure you didn’t know you needed.

“Most people never think about Biglaw namesakes (though we’ve been pointing these guys out for years). It’s doubtful if anyone even considers the men behind these names when they glance at the letterhead. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t some ugliness lurking there.”

There are still over forty thousand cruise ship workers stuck on ships at sea.

RIP, Ian Holm, versatile British actor.

RIP, Jean Kennedy Smith, diplomat and last surviving sibling of President John F. Kennedy.

“What could cause Trump and Barr to take the rash step of trying to force the sudden resignation of Manhattan attorney involved in investigations of so many Trump associates on a Friday night, a move almost certain to cause an enormous scandal, right at a time when the Trump campaign is desperately trying to regain its footing in an election trending against them?”

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 15

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with those demanding justice for George Floyd and Javier Ambler as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 14

When you see a headline that says Spanish penis candle mogul accused of causing death by ritualistic toad venom, you’re going to click the link, right?

Wait, Lady Gaga was a guest star on The Sopranos?

Spencer Tunick keeps on keeping on, now with Zoom.

RIP, Kurt Thomas, first U.S. male gymnast to win a world championship gold medal.

“The messaging that works for the red-MAGA-hat base doesn’t resonate with independents.”

“A detailed timeline of all the ways Trump failed to respond to the coronavirus”.

Daniel Radcliffe is a mensch.

“A question I would pose to the force as we have important discussions about race and inequality is, would Gov. Sam Houston claim Confederate Gen. John Bell Hood as a member of his squad? Both individuals have United States Army installations in Texas named in their honor. Sam Houston was the governor of Texas when the state voted to secede from the Union but refused to take the oath to the Confederacy and resigned in February 1861. John Bell Hood was a West Point graduate who resigned his commission in the United States Army in April 1861 to join the Confederate Army. John Bell Hood does not represent the oath that my squad swore to the support and defend the United States Constitution.”

“On May 29, Netflix premiered its comedy series Space Force, from The Office showrunner Greg Daniels and star Steve Carell. The U.S. military has done nothing to stop the streamer’s satirical take, nor could it thanks to the First Amendment. But less noticed is how, around the globe, the streaming giant has outmaneuvered the U.S. government to secure trademark rights to “Space Force” in Europe, Australia, Mexico and elsewhere. Meanwhile, the Air Force merely owns a pending application for registration inside the United States based on an intent to use. Meaning that the feds have gotten a place in line but no confirmed trademark rights thus far.”

“It is a constant theme of much of the 20th century literature on colonialism that the tactics and strategies great powers use on their peripheries are often brought back and used at home. The militarization of American policing is unquestionably highly driven by this dynamic. The flow of weapons is only the most concrete and literal manifestation. But even hardware and personnel are only one part of the equation.”

“In other words, his re-election team thinks the president is a fragile child who will see these ads as an indication that his campaign is working hard and punching back rather than as an inexplicable expenditure of precious resources.”

“Disney made a LOT of…uh, problematic…movies, but none quite so indefensible as Song of the South, a Reconstruction movie in which a formerly enslaved man tells a young, wealthy white boy about how nice things were during the slavery era.”

“President Trump sourced this theory from an OAN segment that was—I shit you not—reported by a man in a thick Russian accent who also—by total coincidence—works for the Russian state-owned propaganda network Sputnik.”

“Opinion journalism can be a line of defense against the encroachment of autocracy, but not if we relinquish editorial judgment over which ideas are consistent with an open society and which are not.”

A beautiful picture of a sunset that will break your Android phone.

David Brooks, accomplice to Houston serial killer Dean Corll, has died in custody at age 65 from COVID-19.

“By clicking register below, you are acknowledging that an inherent risk of exposure to COVID-19 exists in any public place where people are present.”

“That was the light in which I understood Goodell’s statement. Not that the NFL meant any of it, or would do anything meaningful about it, but that the NFL’s insect feelers had detected new cultural vibrations at the level of the NFL audience—that the same audience that opposed Kaepernick out of a jingoistic and delusional patriotism was now ready to hear the commissioner himself call out white supremacy, and that they’d stick around to watch the Bud Light commercial afterward.”

What Scalzi says.

RIP, Macario Ramirez, community activist and Houston Heights icon.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 8

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with those demanding justice for George Floyd as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for June 7

“Workplace temperature checks are becoming more common as the pandemic wears on. They’re also happening at airports, restaurants, and stores. But it’s not clear how effective these screenings are at preventing the spread of the coronavirus—especially when they’re conducted by employees with inadequate training.”

“The United Kingdom’s anti-cybercrime agency is running online ads aimed at young people who search the Web for services that enable computer crimes, specifically trojan horse programs and DDoS-for-hire services. The ad campaign follows a similar initiative launched in late 2017 that academics say measurably dampened demand for such services by explaining that their use to harm others is illegal and can land potential customers in jail.”

“By reading this plaque, you have made a valuable addition to the number of people who have read this plaque.”

“What is up with Uber destroying tens of thousands of perfectly good e-bikes?”

“Trump and some of his advisers calculated that he should not speak to the nation because he had nothing new to say and had no tangible policy or action to announce yet, according to a senior administration official. Evidently not feeling an urgent motivation Sunday to try to bring people together, he stayed silent.”

“John Ratcliffe is the least-qualified director of national intelligence in history—and a staunch partisan as well.”

Yeah, some of those early renderings of Baby Yoda were kind of rough.

“In other words, Trump could hole himself up in the Oval Office, but the Oval Office would very soon be cut off from all power. He would have no choice but to give up.” I sure hope that’s right.

RIP, Christo, flamboyant visual artist.

“The police must secure the willing cooperation of the public in voluntary observance of the law to be able to secure and maintain public respect.”

“Researchers have spent 50 years studying the way crowds of protesters and crowds of police behave—and what happens when the two interact. One thing they will tell you is that when the police respond by escalating force—wearing riot gear from the start, or using tear gas on protesters—it doesn’t work. In fact, disproportionate police force is one of the things that can make a peaceful protest not so peaceful. But if we know that (and have known that for decades), why are police still doing it?”

“By the time I got back to my car, around 7, I was getting texts from people saying that Trump was outside of St. John’s, Lafayette Square. I literally COULD NOT believe it. WE WERE DRIVEN OFF OF THE PATIO AT ST. JOHN’S – a place of peace and respite and medical care throughout the day – SO THAT MAN COULD HAVE A PHOTO OPPORTUNITY IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH!!! PEOPLE WERE HURT SO THAT HE COULD POSE IN FRONT OF THE CHURCH WITH A BIBLE! HE WOULD HAVE HAD TO STEP OVER THE MEDICAL SUPPLIES WE LEFT BEHIND BECAUSE WE WERE BEING TEAR GASSED!!!!”

RIP, Wes Unseld, basketball Hall of Famer.

Good riddance, and more good riddance.

RIP, Irene Triplett, the last person receiving a pension from the U.S. Civil War.

Rapid, low-cost, at-home COVID-19 tests are a key to getting back to “normal”.

K-pop fans are doing their best to save us.”

“As summer nears, 2020 has another trick up its sleeve. This time, it’s cicadas. A lot of cicadas.”

“When a paper publishes an editorial, it lends its authority & above all RESOURCES to the author. Not only does Tom Cotton get the IQ boost of Times typeface, he gets editors, copy eds, & fact-checkers who are charged with burnishing his argument to give it the best possible shot.”

RIP, Bruce Jay Friedman, novelist and screenwriter who was nominated for an Oscar for Splash.

RIP, Thomas Freeman, renowned professor and debate coach at Texas Southern University.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 1

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with those demanding justice for George Floyd as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for May 31

“Prince Andrew has not had a good six months. But can it get worse? In Andrew’s case, the answer is: Always.”

“There have also been hints, inferences from different countries’ mitigation strategies and some initial studies suggesting that mask wearing is not only effective but possibly more effective than even some advocates of their use anticipated.”

“Contact tracing is a technique public health researchers use to gain a deeper understanding of the way a virus infects people so they can help slow its spread. There are now more than 66,000 contact tracers in 44 states, according to a survey by NPR. Their goal: to identify all of the people an infected person came into contact with during the 48 hours before they started showing symptoms of COVID-19, and help them quarantine for two weeks.”

Eels have a more complex backstory than you might expect.

“Here’s a short list of things we do and don’t yet know about #COVID19.”

“There is no such thing as safe. All we can do is mitigate or reduce risk.”

“There certainly isn’t a rugged, death-defying, God-fearing working class straining against the complacency of prissy white-collar overlords. Imagining that’s the case, however, is less challenging than talking about what actually will help workers: hazard pay, paycheck protections, paid medical leave, proper safety equipment, and robust testing. It’s grievance-mongering all the way down.”

“Since Mount St. Helens’s collapse, life in the vicinity has bounced back. Though not yet visible from space, flowering plants like the prairie lupine have been seen on the Pumice Plain, a distinctive stretch of hostile volcanic sediment on the northern slope, the area that saw the worst devastation.” My family and I had the opportunity to visit Mount St. Helens a few years ago. Definitely worth the time.

“Tesla and SpaceX chief Elon Musk and singer Grimes have tweaked their baby’s famed name after California officials noted it didn’t comply with state health codes.”

So maybe the Libertarian Party Presidential ticket won’t do quite as well this year as they did in 2016.

“In the public imagination, vaccines are often seen effectively as cure-alls, like inoculations against measles. Rather than those vaccines, however, the Covid-19 vaccines in development may be more like those that protect against influenza — reducing the risk of contracting the disease, and of experiencing severe symptoms should infection occur.”

Murder hornets, meet cannibal rats. 2020 is lit, y’all.

This guy has succeeded at making us all look like slackers.

“If you want to understand how the religious right rose as a backlash reaction to the Civil Rights Movement, read Randall Balmer. If you want to see what that looks like, in practice, read that David French column.”

“My Wealthiest Clients Are Begging for Plastic Surgery in Quarantine”.

“Amazon is developing a series centered on Lisbeth Salander, the character created by Stieg Larsson for the so-called Millenium books. The project […] will not be a sequel or continuation of the story from the books or the films into which they were adapted. It will instead take Salander and place her in today’s world with a wholly new setting, new characters, and a new story.”

“Over half of the 221 organizations identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) as hate groups have a continuing and active presence on Facebook, with even previously banned outfits managing to worm their way back onto the platform.”

Just another story about Bolivian musicians stranded for more than two months at a 600-year-old German castle, surrounded by multiple wolf packs, because of COVID-19. Did I mention that the castle is haunted?

Go read these Twitter threads about collective bargaining and the current MLB standoff.

RIP, Cleverley Stone, media personality and founder of the Houston Restaurant Week fundraiser for the Houston Food Bank.