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Texas blog roundup for the week of June 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance has no choice but to gear up for the road ahead as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 26

“Not a single MAGA candidate who has been screaming 2020 fraud—Ken Paxton in Texas, Herschel Walker in Georgia, JD Vance in Ohio, Ted Budd in North Carolina, Mehmet Oz in Pennsylvania—not one of them has answered the question of how such endemic fraud just happened to be missing from their own election.”

“According to an NBC News analysis of FBI hate crime data from the last 10 years, more than 160 hate crimes were recorded at grocery stores in 2020, 65% more than in 2019 and four times as many as in 2010.”

“Stolen-election activists and supporters of former President Donald Trump have embraced a new tactic in their ongoing campaign to unearth supposed proof of fraud in the 2020 presidential race: chasing down a fictional breed of fraudster known as a “ballot mule” and using social media to do it.”

“Researchers Release Comprehensive Twitter Dataset of False Claims About The 2020 Election”.

“The legitimacy of judicial review hinges in part on the public perception that we are applying the rule of law regardless of our personal preferences instead of merely engaging in judicial policymaking.”

“The philosopher John Rawls’ bit was to argue that justice was rational because it makes sense for all of us to want a world in which any such Great Swapping wouldn’t put us in jeopardy of losing our rights, needs, safety, and dignity.”

“It is clear that weeks before January 6 the White House staff under Trump’s direction engaged in a pattern of firings, transfers and otherwise diminishing agencies that could have prevented the events of the day. In addition it is clear that Trump and others close to him were advised, and were aware, that their conduct would violate the Electoral Count Act and perhaps other statutes. It is clear also that Trump was advised and knew even through communications from his daughter and the former Attorney General that he had lost the election and that there was no cognizable evidence of fraud. Put all these things together and it is clear that Merrick Garland would have grounds to seek indictments and would be able to deflect any argument that the participants in the seditious conspiracy lacked criminal intent.”

“While the rest of official Washington, including other government buildings including the White House and Capitol, has reopened its doors to the public at least partially as the pandemic ebbs, the top U.S. judicial body remains in a form of lockdown with what appears to be siege mentality even as it wields huge influence over public policy.”

Why you get paper receipts for cash transactions at fast food and casual dining outlets.

RIP, Rosemary Catacalos, former poet laureate of Texas.

Birds of a feather. Who should both be locked up.

“Sexualized threats. Home break-ins. Death threats. An attempted citizen’s arrest. Being singled out by name and image by Donald Trump and his advisers. This is just a fraction of what Georgia’s election workers and their families experienced in the days and weeks after the former president made the state the focus of his “Big Lie” election conspiracy.”

Here’s a fairly simple explanation of Gödel’s incompleteness theorem.

Lock them up.

“Should you keep abortion pills at home, just in case?” (Spoiler alert: The answer is yes, you should.)

RIP, Tony Siragusa, TV personality and former NFL player who won a Super Bowl with the Baltimore Ravens.

“What makes this article special, though, is that it’s a perfect example of how sexism and mainstream media collide and collude to convince Americans that abusive men are the real victims. And in a moment when misogynist backlash is on an upswing, pieces like this are more dangerous than ever.”

“If you’re wondering what you can do right now to fight for abortion rights in the wake of the Dobbs decision, this is one of those things”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like to see a whole lot of arrests follow the January 6 hearings as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 19

“A Texas entrepreneur is bringing back the woolly mammoth. Well, sort of.”

“This bears repeating: Judicial supremacy is an institutional arrangement brought to cultural ascendancy by white people who wanted to undo Reconstruction and the rise of organized labor that had followed. And that makes sense, as judicial supremacy can harness the power of an entrenched minority and use that power to undermine the more democratic legislative branch.”

“But the most important thing the hearings can do — given that, if someone tries to steal the next election, they won’t do it precisely the way Trump and his allies tried in 2020 — is to shift our gaze forward: They can highlight continuing vulnerabilities in our electoral system and propose ways to fix them, before it is too late.”

“But there is another subtext informing this European reaction, one which Friedman studiously sidesteps: the reality that the commitments of the United States can no longer be counted on to defend Europe, thanks in large part to the memory of Donald Trump’s administration—specifically Trump’s peculiar sycophancy towards Putin and the Russian Federation.”

“Kim Phúc and Nick Ut on “Napalm Girl,” 50 years later.”

“Now, a little more than five years later, 25 percent of Republicans identify as believers of the Pizzagate successor QAnon, and the far right’s capacity for street violence has grown. At the same time, where once most elected Republican officials would at least nominally distance themselves from Pizzagate-pushers out on the fringe, that wall has largely eroded.”

“The Warning About Trump That JFK Never Got to Deliver”.

“The hearings in Congress provide an opportunity for the public to see Christian nationalism for what it is.”

“You might’ve forgotten about rapper Kanye West’s bizarre ties to ex-President Donald Trump’s election steal scheme – but investigators in Georgia apparently haven’t.”

“So Reiter’s new projection is that there are at least 100 American drivers veering their cars into buildings each day, or 36,500 a year, and that’s the low bound. The revised figure corresponds to 16,000 Americans injured in car-on-building crashes each year, he believes, and more than 2,500 people killed.”

“After signing a pledge opposing anti-LGBTQ+ state legislation last spring, companies like AT&T, Amazon, Pfizer, and CVS Health gave thousands of dollars to the campaign efforts of lawmakers who had been backing such bills, according to a recent analysis from Data for Progress, a left-leaning polling firm.”

RIP, Internet Explorer, put out to pasture after 26 years.

“A new Florida law prohibiting abortion after 15 weeks with some exceptions violates religious freedom rights of Jews in addition to the state constitution’s privacy protections, a synagogue claims in a lawsuit.”

Lock them up.

“It is difficult to imagine a more humiliating conclusion to this sad chapter in Wisconsin history for those in the state pushing Trump’s Big Lie. The lawyers who were supposed to find evidence of fraud have destroyed their professional careers. The GOP politicians who supported this bogus audit are in contempt of court. And no one has produced an iota of evidence to suggest that Democrats stole the election. While attempting to discredit Joe Biden’s victory, Wisconsin Republicans have only bolstered its legitimacy.”

“It has been nearly 48 hours since a water line broke in Odessa, leaving the entire city without water amid a dayslong heat wave and bringing the community’s daily lives to a screeching halt. The West Texas city has about 112,000 residents, but the water outage included parts outside the city limits, bringing the number of people affected closer to 165,000, officials have said.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance is watching what the January 6 committee does with great interest as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 12

“Even with the continued decline in payphones, there are still more payphones in the country than McDonalds or public libraries.”

“These 25 rainbow-flag waving companies donated $13 million to anti-gay politicians since 2021″.

“What is the LGIS News Service you ask? The answer reveals much more about our media environment, and is even more disturbing than the botched story suggests.”

“How a washed-up celebrity, men’s rights activists and true crime stans convinced millions of Americans to buy into a conspiracy theory“.

“If you’re trying to make sense of which policies work to reduce gun violence, it’s helpful to keep in mind that here in the U.S., we don’t really have one gun violence problem, we have at least four. Read on.”

“Draft Order Would Have Given Armed Trump Supporters Power to Seize Voting Data“.

“Bill Barr May Have Retired As Attorney General, But He’s Still Working Hard To Degrade The Office“.

“All in all, it sounds like a recipe for quite the hostile work environment at the Supreme Court.”

RIP, Dave Smith, inventor of multiple synthesizers and developer of the MIDI standard.

“How Missouri Helps Abortion Opponents Divert State Taxes to Crisis Pregnancy Centers”. A truly infuriating read.

RIP, John R. Brazil, President Emeritus of Trinity University.

“In other words, it’s possible that depressed turnout was avoided in Georgia only because campaigns and voting-rights groups spent a ton of resources to help people navigate the restrictions. But if Georgia’s restrictive voting law hadn’t passed, those resources could have been used elsewhere.”

Lock them up.

“After all, the Saudis are following the same playbook in golf that they have always followed in international relations: Build a strong enough financial position, and eventually the powerful holdouts against you will prefer to be your friends.”

“Bidding on a special, fireproof copy of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale ended on Tuesday afternoon, when the book was auctioned by Sotheby’s for $130,000. Proceeds from the auction will go to PEN America’s efforts to fight book banning.”

RIP, Ann Turner Cook, the original Gerber baby.

Yes, everyone is (re-)discovering Kate Bush. That’s a good thing. (FWIW, my fave KB song is still “Wuthering Heights”.)

RIP, Jim Seals, the Seals half of Seals and Croft, best known for the song “Summer Breeze”.

“What you’re describing is the single biggest issue facing the future of television production. Your incentive to make the best show you can runs into the brick wall of a complete lack of interest in keeping your show around. And not even at the point where it becomes prohibitively expensive—just more expensive than it was before.”

“President Trump engaged in a massive effort to spread false and fraudulent information to the American public claiming the 2020 election was stolen from him.”

“Trumpworld Lied To Your Face About The Election”.

Lock her up.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 6

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine and the people of Uvalde as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 5

“Male TV presenters in Afghanistan are wearing face masks on screen to show solidarity after the Taliban issued an order that all women on news channels must cover their faces.”

“What is now a push to eradicate exceptions for rape and incest won’t stop there because the anti-abortion movement never wanted compromise. They never planned to stop once they restricted abortion to a certain point. If it was, they would have been satisfied with bans at 20 weeks, 15 weeks, 12 weeks, eight weeks, even six weeks. But they were not and are not, because the goal was never to reach a sanitized consensus. The goal has always been clear – to end legal abortion in any and all cases, and to punish those who have abortions.”

“That one decision to go and find the truth underlying Elon Musk’s promises, rather than just take his word for it, changed my life in ways I never could have anticipated. Now, seven long and often lonely years later, the world seems to be understanding what I learned from the experience: Once you stop taking Musk at his word, his heroic popular image evaporates and a far darker reality begins to reveal itself.”

“Why 18-Year-Olds in Texas Can Buy AR-15s but Not Handguns”.

“To many casual observers, Maus is the comic that made the funny pages legitimate literature. But long before Spiegelman’s account of his family trauma won a Pulitzer and broke open establishment conceptions of what comics could be and do, artists were using the medium to talk about difficult nonfiction topics. During World War II, in fact, some comics creators even delved into the grimmest depths of the Nazis’ Final Solution.”

“Here in the hospital, we will always be waiting to receive those who make it to us. We’ll do our best, on our end, every time. But our best will always be a worse option than prevention. Please don’t lose sight of the better option.”

“It is indeed a striking feature of the American political discourse: In determining whether or not something counts as extravagant or aloof, the socio-economic dimension is almost entirely ignored – all that counts are the cultural sensibilities of conservative white people.”

“The science is abundantly clear: More guns do not stop crime. Guns kill more children each year than auto accidents. More children die by gunfire in a year than on-duty police officers and active military members. Guns are a public health crisis, just like COVID, and in this, we are failing our children, over and over again.”

Lock him up.

“There are more than 20 million sentient species in the Star Wars galaxy, don’t choose to be a racist.”

“Programming on TMTG+, the document said, will include “blue collar comedy, cancelled shows, Trump-specific programming, faith-based shows, family entertainment, shows that embrace the Second Amendment, and news.””

“Kalush Orchestra, the ensemble that took home the Eurovision 2022 trophy earlier this month, has auctioned off the statue to support their country’s armed forces.”

What Ewan McGregor and Anson Mount say.

“The quick not-guilty verdict was a sharp slap at Durham’s three-year-long investigation, which was launched by William Barr, when he was Trump’s loyalist attorney general, and which has come across as a political crusade mounted to undermine the various Trump-Russia investigations.”

“A new memo offers insight into exactly how Trump’s lawyers imagined a scheme involving alternate slates of electors would play out.”

“I’ve assembled a lengthy, though surely incomplete, list of stolen apes and related scams. (Keep in mind that ape thefts alone are only a fraction all NFT and crypto thefts over time. It’s an expansive universe! Of scams!) Put on your internet face, whether it’s a bored ape or not, and read on.”

“At any rate, as pointed out earlier, it ultimately bears keeping in mind that the so-called “replacement theory” is an ugly old phenomenon, now burnished with a new name with the word “theory” tagged on. From time immemorial, genocides were always actuated by the mindset that the targeted group posed a problem for the society in which they lived. That is the bottom line. We are seeing it again. That being the case, we must not wait until a “substantial” number of Black people, Latino people, Jewish people, etc., have been killed before we recognise genocide as implicated in the spate of murders now being stoked by the so-called “replacement theory”, notwithstanding that these murders are also rightfully described as “hate” crimes.”

“Late on Wednesday evening, the Education Department announced that it will automatically cancel $5.8 billion in loans for 560,000 borrowers who attended Corinthian Colleges, a chain of fraud-ridden for-profit schools. The move is the single largest student debt cancellation action ever taken by the department. It concludes a multi-year push by ex-Corinthian students and advocates for debt relief for people who enrolled at the schools, which engaged in widespread deception of prospective students.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine and the people of Uvalde as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 29

“So, Have You Heard About Monkeypox?”

Here’s a good monkeypox explainer for you.

“This is the irony of our current moment: The most immediate impact of the Supreme Court’s imminent assault on abortion rights has been … an expansion of abortion rights. Americans in much of the country have greater access to reproductive health care than ever before. Blue states that didn’t bother updating their abortion laws for decades are responding to massive Democratic majorities in favor of reproductive freedom. They have snapped into action, countering red-state restrictions at long last. The result will be an ever starker and more combative divide between red and blue America.”

“But a reason reporters might not be focusing on stories of reconciliation between abuse victims and church-led institutions is simply because there are not many stories about reconciliation and forgiveness to tell. Over and over, institutions like the Catholic Church, Christianity Today, and universities big and small have apologized for covering up, hiding, and abetting abuse in many forms. Very rarely do abuse victims announce that they have forgiven the institution and are ready to move on. Perhaps that is because the institution has not earned and is not owed any forgiveness.”

“So here’s the theory: Ginni Thomas went rogue and leaked the draft to lock in the votes of the five justices who had already agreed to that version.”

“The point is that there is an internal coherence to all the rightist causes, as well as enthusiasm that hasn’t been there in previous incarnations. And, because of this coherence, there is a more solid political bloc that can influence the “establishment” Republicans, or intimidate them. But, in any case, it is a bloc that cannot be ignored.”

RIP, Rosemary Radford Ruether, feminist theologian and scholar.

“I can’t imagine the rage being experienced right now by those who have survived church sexual abuse. I only know firsthand the rage of one who never expected to say anything but “we” when referring to the Southern Baptist Convention, and can never do so again. I only know firsthand the rage of one who loves the people who first told me about Jesus, but cannot believe that this is what they expected me to do, what they expected me to be. I only know firsthand the rage of one who wonders while reading what happened on the seventh floor of that Southern Baptist building, how many children were raped, how many people were assaulted, how many screams were silenced, while we boasted that no one could reach the world for Jesus like we could.”

Lock her up.

“About a third of our population is African American; African Americans have a higher incidence of maternal mortality. So, if you correct our population for race, we’re not as much of an outlier as it’d otherwise appear.”

“For a segment of Christians, the battle over abortion is just one front in a wider war to make America Christian again — by any means necessary. They are not pro-life so much as pro-control.”

RIP, Colin Cantwell, who designed the prototypes of the X-wing, TIE fighter, Star Destroyer, and the Death Star for the original Star Wars.

The case for supersizing She-Hulk.

“My distrust of the Tesla Motors CEO has nothing to do with his views on censorship or his politics – if he even has any. Rather, it is his long track record of being pathologically full of shit.”

Boy, Republicans erally don’t like it when candidates expect every vote to be counted. Even their own candidates.

“Candidates who take part in an insurrection may be barred from holding public office under the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, a federal appeals court ruled, overturning a lower court judge’s decision.”

I fully endorse this sentiment.

“AI may be searching you for guns the next time you go out in public”.

The Seth-Green-stolen-“Bored Ape”-NFT-that-was-supposed-to-be-a-TV-show story is, well, bananas.

“British military intelligence estimates that Russia has lost one-third of the ground combat forces it had gathered ahead of its invasion as Moscow’s forces have been bedeviled by both their own operational shortcomings and a fierce Ukrainian resistance, backed by sophisticated Western weapons. The U.S. Defense Department has not seen evidence of a mass Russian mobilization so far, officials said. But as Russia is trying to throw more forces into the fight, it is sometimes bringing in combat groups at less than full strength, including units that took losses in their failed effort to capture the capital, Kyiv.”

“Elon Musk’s move to Texas has been an epic disaster, with no end in sight”.

“None of what shaped Ramos is inherent in the Latino condition. Rather, it’s as much a part of our America as anyone else’s.”

RIP, Ray Liotta, actor best known for Goodfellas and Field of Dreams.

Keep him locked up. Be very careful about reading that story – it contains some truly disturbing descriptions of child sex abuse.

RIP, Andy Fletcher, keyboardist and founding member of Depeche Mode, member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

RIP, Alan White, longtime drummer for Yes.

“We filmed this season of Stranger Things a year ago. But given the recent tragic shooting at a school in Texas, viewers may find the opening scene of episode 1 distressing. We are deeply saddened by this unspeakable violence, and our hearts go out to every family mourning a loved one.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine and the families and friends of the victims of the racist attack in Buffalo as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 22

So how’s crypto doing now? Brutal week last week.

“Not only do members of the AAPI community feel less included in the workplace as opposed to other demographic groups, but many have changed their daily routines due to fear of anti-Asian violence.”

“How do people with disabilities feel about abortion? New poll sheds light for the first time.”

“Why are there continent-sized ‘blobs’ in the deep Earth?”

“Who’s Mainstreaming The ‘Great Replacement’ Theory?”

Congratulations to Ukraine on its Eurovision 2022 victory.

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one wayward delivery robot, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth

“Fred Savage was fired last Friday as executive producer and director of The Wonder Years reboot because Fred Savage is an asshole, and if that comes as a surprise to you, welcome to the 21st century! It turns out that people who play nice guys on television aren’t always nice guys in real life. Have you ever heard of a guy named Bill Cosby?”

“Two Wisconsin Democratic presidential electors are suing 10 Republicans who acted as fake electors for then-President Trump following the 2020 election.”

“I think it is important to be clear here that Musk is lying. The spam bots are not why he is backing away from the deal, as you can tell from the fact that the spam bots are why he did the deal. He has produced no evidence at all that Twitter’s estimates are wrong, and certainly not that they are materially wrong or made in bad faith.”

“So yes, ten years on, the Lowest Difficulty Setting still applies. It’s as relevant as ever. And I’m sure, even now, a bunch of straight white men will still maintain it’s still not accurate. As they would have been in 2012, they’re entirely wrong about that.”

“Many of today’s most successful cybercriminal groups operate like Fortune 500 companies, with deep investments in research and development and marketing of their products and services and day-to-day operations.”

“In time, abortion’s illegality is going to affect everyone: you, your friends, your loved ones, your community, your kids, and your parents. It’s going to affect you if you or someone you know wants an abortion, and it’s frankly going to affect you even if you don’t.”

RIP, Vangelis, composer who won an Oscar for his score to the movie Chariots of Fire.

Bankrupt him.

“SpaceX, the aerospace firm founded by Elon Musk, the world’s wealthiest man, paid a flight attendant $250,000 to settle a sexual misconduct claim against Musk in 2018″.

It’s going to be a bad hurricane season. Anytime the year 2005 comes up, look out.

RIP, Roger Angell, Hall of Fame baseball writer and author. He was an editor for The New Yorker for 75 years, and they published this remembrance of him.

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine, and also decries the misogynist and regressive SCOTUS draft opinion on abortion, as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 15

“The case against the Supreme Court of the United States”.

“So the $35 sculpture you got at an Austin Goodwill was looted from a museum during WWII. Now what?” A delightfully bonkers story that the reporter had apparently needed to sit on for four years until the legal stuff got worked out.

“This is a weaponized grimness. It feeds on isolation and silence and gaslighting; it tells us that we are reactionary and foolish for worrying about getting sick or making someone else sick. It tells us that we are wrong and bad to protect ourselves and others. It mocks us for ever having believed things could have been different: that systemic change was possible, that a pandemic could shift the future of public health. This grimness tells us that we must throw away our old masks, the ones that protected our lungs and bodies, and put on new ones: happy faces unconcerned with 1 million people dead from COVID in this country alone.”

“Roe has long protected the fertility industry from regulation of IVF & fertility care decision making. My take on WHAT COULD HAPPEN TO Embryos, IVF, and ART IF THE LEAKED DOBBS DECISION STANDS. Note: most IVF cycles involve “extra” embryos.” (Note: “ART” = “Assisted Reproductive Technology”.)

“Apple, Google and Microsoft announced this week they will soon support an approach to authentication that avoids passwords altogether, and instead requires users to merely unlock their smartphones to sign in to websites or online services. Experts say the changes should help defeat many types of phishing attacks and ease the overall password burden on Internet users, but caution that a true passwordless future may still be years away for most websites.”

“I’m just going to throw a bunch of graphs in this thread about views of abortion. Here’s a good place to start – allow abortion for any reason.”

“We are going to see threats to basic assumptions of how states work together. Normally, states cooperate. Normally, states leave their laws within their borders. But because anti-abortion states are going to get so aggressive in trying to solve this problem of what do we do for people traveling out of state, it’s going to create all these issues.” And that’s why you don’t throw issues like this back to the states, kids.

More than you wanted to know about the weird music on reality TV shows.

“A group of Republican senators is calling for a TV ratings system to warn parents about LGBTQ content in children’s programs. Their statement singles out Disney repeatedly.”

“Just read this translation of Putin’s speech. Reaction—that’s it? Completely out of ideas. Either doesn’t now understand the reality of the situation in Ukraine, or wilfully ignoring it.”

“One America News, the right-wing cable network, aired a 30-second segment yesterday essentially admitting the falsity of its previous “reporting” on supposed voter fraud by two Georgia election workers. The prerecorded statement aired shortly after OAN settled a defamation suit brought by Fulton County election workers Ruby Freeman and her daughter Wandrea “Shaye” Moss, whom the network had falsely accused of participating in a conspiracy to steal the 2020 election.” I hope they also got a ton of money from that settlement.

RIP, iPods. I listen to a lot of podcasts on my iPod – you know, the source of the “pod” part of “podcast” – and now I don’t know what I’m going to do when this device goes belly up. I don’t like iPhones, so I guess I will eventually have to figure out a workable-for-me podcast-playing solution for my Android phone. This feels about like how I felt when Google announced it was killing off Google Reader. It’s still perfectly good technology that lots of people like! Couldn’t you just, like, license it to someone?

“Demanding civility from those you seek to oppress is absurd. But considering the anti-abortion movement has, for decades, turned the front door of an abortion clinic into a war zone, it’s the height of hypocrisy.”

“Suddenly startups are having trouble raising money. Why?”

RIP, Bob Lanier, basketball Hall of Famer and NBA global ambassador.

RIP, Ray Scott, known as the “Father of Modern Bass Fishing” and the creator of the Bassmaster TV show.

What the January 6 Subpoenas Say About Kevin McCarthy“. Nothing good, obvs.

RIP, Fred Ward, versatile actor who will live forever in my heart for his starring role in Tremors.

“For the first time, astronomers have captured an image of the supermassive black hole at the center of our galaxy.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine, and also decries the misogynist and regressive SCOTUS draft opinion on abortion, as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 8

“It’s been fascinating to see how Netflix in particular is falling into the Accidental 30 Rock trap. The mammoth streaming service was supposed to change the game, to be the subversive force that didn’t play by traditional TV’s rules. It took them only a few years to do the exact same nonsense that network broadcasting does. Their reality slate, from Is it Cake? to The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, reeks of the kind of decision making made by harried executives on a tight budget desperate to fill out the schedule.”

“According to the spam blocking company YouMail, robocalls have spiked in the last few months since hitting a low in December.”

“The key insight there is that the “demons” of Pentecostal Spiritual Warfare always, always, always represent attacks on the pre-existing cultural beliefs and presuppositions of these Christians. Spiritual Warfare, in other words, is reactionary. It spiritualizes a defense of the status quo by portraying any form of change — negative or positive — as the strategic handiwork of a conspiracy of literal demons.”

“The federal Department of Education has begun investigating Liberty University’s handling of student reports of sexual assault.”

“You Can Now Ask Google to Remove Your Phone Number, Email or Address from Search Results”.

Emergency backup goalie alert!

RIP, Bob Krueger, Texas Senator, Congressman, Railroad Commissioner, ambassador, diplomat, professor, and many other things.

RIP, Neal Adams, legendary comic book artist who revitalized “Batman”, among many other things. Look for Mark Evanier to have more to say.

Susan Collins told the women of America that they could trust her to protect their reproductive freedom. She let us down.”

RIP, Kailia Posey, Toddlers and Tiaras alum probably best known for a reaction GIF you have almost certainly seen.

RIP, Ron Galella, notorious paparazzo.

“With their engrossing and terrifying two-part investigation of Grey’s Anatomy writer Elisabeth Finch, Vanity Fair has revealed a tale that involves alleged trauma-theft, one of the worst hate crimes in American history, multiple potentially fake illnesses, Anna Paquin, and yes, a kidney.”

“A location data firm is selling information related to visits to clinics that provide abortions including Planned Parenthood facilities, showing where groups of people visiting the locations came from, how long they stayed there, and where they then went afterwards, according to sets of the data purchased by Motherboard.” Seems bad, you know?

“The US Supreme Court’s legitimacy has been deeply pierced, and it may never recover its stature in the eyes of America.”

On the plus side, condors are back. So we’ve got that going for us.

“Please Allow Me, a Woman Who Just Had a Baby, to Fact-Check Justice Samuel J. Alito”.

“As Ukraine Reels, Putin’s Alliance with Russia’s Orthodox Church Leadership Remains Strong”.

“Accumulating this much power is not easy and it is very expensive. But anti-abortion forces had a critical ally: corporate America. A Popular Information analysis of corporate political giving found 13 major companies have given $15.2 million to the NRSC, RSLC, and RGA since 2016.”

“May the Fourth, Rex Manning Day, and 10 More Made-Up Movie and TV Holidays“.

Congratulations to Dusty Baker for his 2,000th win as a MLB manager.

“A Louisiana legislative committee on Wednesday advanced a bill to make abortion a crime of homicide in which the mother or those assisting her in terminating the pregnancy can be charged.” I guarantee you, this will be on the Republican legislative agenda in 2023.

“It was school segregation, not abortion, that brought Christians together in prayer and a quest for political power.” Slacktivist has been on this for a long time.

“A group of Florida residents has sued the state’s governor and other officials over the repeal of a special tax district that has allowed Walt Disney World to self-govern its operations since it was created 55 years ago.”

RIP, George Pérez, comic book artist best known for his work on Wonder Woman and The New Teen Titans. Mark Evanier has more.

RIP, Mickey Gilley, country music star and owner of the iconic Gilley’s honky-tonk in Pasadena, the inspiration for Urban Cowboy.

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 1

They delight in acting in bad faith, since they seek not to persuade by sound argument but to intimidate and disconcert.”

“Mark Meadows is registered to vote in how many states? Three and counting, apparently”. That sounds like, I don’t know, what’s the phrase, oh yes, voter fraud.

“Now, in a move that rudely interferes with everyone’s ability to make excuses that they’re only buying five boxes of the cookies to practice their splitting technique, a scientific study has found it’s impossible to break apart an Oreo so that the filling distributes evenly on both halves.”

“In other words, the restrictive nature of the law does more than hamper a patient’s access to abortion. It distorts her decision-making process.”

“Most people who are really into disinformation and conspiracy theories don’t believe in a single conspiracy theory […] Rather, they’re drawn into a self-reinforcing conspiratorial worldview in which conspiracies build on one another. While the theories can seem disparate, they often have unifying themes: They feed distrust in sources of authority; they claim insider knowledge that makes the believer feel valuable; and frequently, that knowledge includes a secret plan to defeat the forces of evil.”

RIP, Johnnie Jones, Louisiana civil rights attorney and World War II veteran who was wounded during the D-Day invasion of Normandy, the Army’s first Black warrant officer.

“The previous analysis, which examined data through 2016, showed that firearm-related injuries were second only to motor vehicle crashes (both traffic-related and nontraffic-related) as the leading cause of death among children and adolescents, defined as persons 1 to 19 years of age.4 Since 2016, that gap has narrowed, and in 2020, firearm-related injuries became the leading cause of death in that age group.”

RIP, Cynthia Albritton, artist better known as Cynthia Plaster Caster. If that doesn’t make sense to you, I suggest you click the link.

RIP, David William Kearney, Texas blues legend known as Guitar Shorty.

Feel better soon, Cary Elwes!

“One of the likeliest and most dramatic things that Elon Musk will do once he has acquired Twitter is let Donald Trump back on. The effect on our nation’s discourse will be disastrous. And, sadly, I fully expect the news media to go back to its old ways of serving as Trump’s megaphone.”

“Reality Check: Seven Times Texas Leaders Misled the Public About Operation Lone Star”.

“Right now they’re doing surgery where people used to buy sheets and towels.”

Hungary’s Viktor Orbán is the US Christian Right’s new Vladimir Putin. It’s all about the homophobia.

“The ‘anti-woke’ agenda is going to cost taxpayers big bucks”.

“The key insight to all this work is that those who distrust vaccines, science and expertise aren’t doing so necessarily because they have a knowledge gap or a misunderstanding. Distrusting experts is part of their identity. Motta and his colleagues’ work suggests that being anti-vaccine has become an identity, too. In some respects, distrusting experts has become a political choice, which means that any message from an official source — whether it’s a researcher, head of a government agency or a journalist — is more likely to inspire the opposite of its intended reaction from those who view that source as part of the political opposition.”

Too soon, Travis Scott. Seriously.

“We need to sanction the hell out of this guy.”

RIP, Naomi Judd, part of the Grammy-award winning country music duo The Judds, mother of Wynonna and Ashley Judd.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for April 24

“With MLB adopting the universal DH, the era of pitcher hitting in the league is officially done. To say farewell, let’s hand out awards for the best, weirdest, and most magical moments produced by pitchers stepping up to the plate.”

“By applying the 2020 error rates to each state’s racial and ethnic makeup, we find that undercounts in the 2020 census deprived six states of a congressional seat; correspondingly, overcounts of white and Asian residents enabled six other states to gain one seat more than their populations warranted.”

“Since Russian troops crossed Ukraine’s borders at the end of February, colossal amounts of information about the Russian state and its activities have been made public. The data offers unparalleled glimpses into closed-off private institutions, and it may be a gold mine for investigators, from journalists to those tasked with investigating war crimes. Broadly, the data comes in two flavors: information published proactively by Ukranian authorities or their allies, and information obtained by hacktivists. Hundreds of gigabytes of files and millions of emails have been made public.”

“You would think: Well, that’s part of the story. But maybe it’s a needlessly narrow way to begin. That’s what I would think. I would also think: we know that journalism inevitably flattens reality. But you want to fight the flattening as much as you can. To me the joy of reporting, and its essence, is openness to the things you didn’t know until you showed up.”

Meet Emmett Ashford, the first Black umpire in Major League Baseball, who made his MLB debut 19 years after Jackie Robinson did.

Take all his money. Every last filthy dime.

“I am sitting here next to my gay husband living my gay life reading a gay novel as research for my new gay book…and yet I am not and will never be as gay as whatever is haunting Tucker Carlson’s fantasies.”

RIP, Liz Sheridan, actor best known as Seinfeld’s mom.

Comics For Ukraine.

“A federal judge will allow a group of Georgia voters to move forward with a case to disqualify Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene from running for a second term, arguing that her role in the Jan. 6 insurrection disallows her from appearing on the ballot.”

“In the end, the attacks failed to diminish public support for [Justice Ketanji Brown] Jackson, and her poised responses to questioning helped secure her nomination, by a vote of 53–47. But the fierce campaign against her was concerning, in part because it was spearheaded by a new conservative dark-money group that was created in 2020: the American Accountability Foundation. An explicit purpose of the A.A.F.—a politically active, tax-exempt nonprofit charity that doesn’t disclose its backers—is to prevent the approval of all Biden Administration nominees.”

If I’m ever in a position to vote for Mallory McMorrow for something, I will.

The worst episode of Saturday Night Live is so much worse than you can imagine, and it’s all due to Steven Seagal.

“Mike Lee may want to pretend he had no role in this process, but the stone-cold truth is that he, and many other conservatives, breathed life into Trump’s schemes and made the Jan. 6th attack on the Capitol possible.”

“Now we are at the point where to be a Republican means to believe the Big Lie. And as long as Republicans leading the party keep promoting and indulging the Big Lie, that will continue to be the case. If I’ve learned anything from my focus groups, it’s that something doesn’t have to make sense for voters to believe it’s true.”

I understand why Wimbledon would ban Russian players from its event this year. I can also understand the argument against holding individuals who may have their own opinions accountable for the actions of their country’s leader.

Who wants ads on Netflix? How about if it costs less?

RIP, Guy LaFleur, Hockey Hall of Famer, prolific goal-scorer, five time Stanley Cup champion with the Montreal Canadiens.

RIP, Daryle Lamonica, two-time MVP quarterback for the Oakland Raiders, nicknamed The Mad Bomber.

RIP, Robert Morse, two-time Tony Award winner best known for How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying and later for a role on Mad Men.

“On Friday, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene took the stand to give a foggy recollection’s worth of testimony in an Atlanta court hearing over whether she should be disqualified under the 14th Amendment from running for re-election this fall.”

“They’re dissolving something the size of the city of Orlando in 72 hours. This is not the way to run a state.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for April 17

“If the increasingly bare-knuckle battle between Florida’s conservative Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, and the Walt Disney Co., over the Sunshine State’s new “Don’t Say Gay” law and other legislation, sounds eerily familiar, it should. The current clash of values and culture between the Sun Belt and the West Coast sharply echoes the 1990s Southern Baptist Convention’s Disney boycott.”

“It’s easy to look at the Christian Right and get this backwards — to see the Christian Right as an effort to reshape politics in accord with Christianity. But it ain’t that. It’s an effort to redefine Christianity in accord with right-wing politics. This is why the Christian Right can accommodate doctrinal diversity but not political diversity. You can be a member of the Christian Right in good standing while believing either that speaking in tongues is mandatory or that it is forbidden, but you cannot belong if you believe that the Reconstruction Amendments are legitimately constitutional.”

“Here are several additional examples of framing assumptions to watch for in the mainstream news. When you see or hear stories based on these premises, move on to something else.”

“Many Americans—perhaps as many as 37 percent of Americans, and nearly half of Republicans—do not want it to be too easy to find (and leave!) a job. It leads to, for example, worse service at restaurants, school bus driver shortages, and longer checkout lines nearly everywhere. It also leads, sometimes, to union campaigns at your warehouse or coffee shop franchise.”

“The Republicans have apparently decided that the committee in charge of sex crimes legislation should include one guy currently being investigated for actual sex crimes—and another who allegedly looked the other way on them. It’s not exactly the behavior of a party that cares deeply about sexual abuse.”

“Human behavior, such as the choice not to vaccinate (or worse, actively propagate misinformation designed to stoke unsubstantiated fear), is central to the nation’s most prevalent, obstinate conditions, including heart disease and obesity. To successfully improve health outcomes, reduce costly chronic disease management, and prevent infectious disease outbreaks, it is imperative to understand the link between what drives health behavior (our thoughts) and what catalyzes behavior change (our choices). And understanding the science of human behavior means investing in it. Unfortunately, social and behavioral health scientists remain the minuscule minority in the pool of externally funded scientific investigators.”

I’ll be rooting for Kelsie Whitmore this year on the Atlantic League’s Staten Island Ferryhawks. No woman has reached such a high level of professional baseball in more than a generation.

“This is possibly the largest and most brazen instance of public corruption I’ve seen in twenty five years covering American politics as a journalist. And this is saying something since, as you know, public corruption has always been one of my greatest interests and consistent beats.”

Jerry Springer blames himself and his show, a little, for making Donald Trump happen.

RIP, Mimi Reinhardt, the typist who drew up Oskar Schindler’s lists of Jewish workers to be spared from the Holocaust.

RIP, Gilbert Gottfried, brilliant comedian and voice actor.

The median age of “Dancing with the Stars” viewers is 63.5 years old. That right there is why the show is being moved to Disney+ from ABC.”

“Alyssa Nakken broke another historic barrier on Tuesday night, becoming the first woman to coach on the field in a Major League game in the Giants’ 13-2 victory over the Padres at Oracle Park.”

“Many Americans live in fear of a traffic stop. Real power in American life is when the sheriff lends you his car after you’ve mysteriously totaled your own.”

“A new study out today suggests all the new police budget growth is likely to do one thing: increase misdemeanor arrests.”

RIP, Shirley Spork, one of 13 founders of the Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA).

RIP, Mike Bossy, Hockey Hall of Famer, four-time Stanley Cup winner, one of the most prolific scorers in NHL history.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 10

Everyone should watch television with the captions on, in almost all situations, even if your hearing is not an issue. I started doing it a few years ago and it has improved my viewing experience a lot.”

“The Bat-Signal wouldn’t work in real life. But that didn’t stop the team at Hacksmith Industries from making one that does.”

“Any reporters who cite the Catholic League without acknowledging that it’s just one angry wealthy guy who loves to pick fights with everyone who doesn’t bow down to the conservative wing of the Catholic Church is committing journalistic malpractice.”

“Donohue’s success is partly due to his focus on a particular niche of old, frightened, resentful white people. He fleeces old, frightened, resentful white Catholics, and is thus not in direct competition with groups like the Family Research Council or the Liberty Council or the Alliance Defending Freedom, all of which derive most of their income from fleecing old, frightened, resentful white Protestants.”

RIP, Estelle Harris, versatile character actor known for many roles but especially as George Costanza’s mother on Seinfeld.

“The galling cynicism of CBS News hiring Mick Mulvaney”.

RIP, cancel culture. It was never really a thing anyway.

“Local TV Station Unearths Ultra-Rare Interview Footage Of An 11-Year-Old Prince“, who offered support for teachers that were on strike.

“Totally normal journalism, right? The president announces another blockbuster jobs report and the press presents it as borderline bad news.”

I’m shocked and saddened to note that the above was the last entry from Eric Boehlert, who was killed in a bicycle accident later in the week. My condolences to his family and friends.

“To understand impacts of partisan media on beliefs & attitudes, we paid regular Fox News viewers to watch CNN instead for ~7 hrs/week for a month. Our results should worry you.”

RIP, Gerda Weissman Klein, Holocaust survivor, author, Emmy and Oscar winner, Presidential Medal of Freedom winner.

“Ukraine May Mark a Turning Point in Documenting War Crimes“.

“For Gibbons and other Young Earth Creationist cryptozoologists, finding a flesh-and-blood, living, breathing dinosaur would not only be a scientific triumph but, they hope, could bury Darwin’s theory of evolution and prove their beliefs right.”

“In an internal email obtained exclusively by Popular Information, Stand Together, the influential non-profit group run by right-wing billionaire Charles Koch, argues that the United States should seek to deliver a partial “victory” to Russia in Ukraine.”

Barney and Friends debuted 30 years ago. You and I, we are old.

RIP, Bobby Rydell, singer, actor, and the namesake of the high school in Grease.

I got your voter fraud right here.

Decolonizing the Search for Extraterrestrial Life”.

“Thus, this story is a fanciful interpretation of what I imagine a Grizzly Bear Conflict Manager does, which I am almost entirely certain has nothing to do with what someone with this job actually does. Please do not come to this story for a true accounting of the job, you will be gravely disappointed, and possibly in danger if you ever encounter an actual grizzly. Needless to say, apologies to all genuine Grizzly Bear Conflict Managers out there.”

How Brett Favre used his fame and connections to steer millions of dollars in federal welfare funds to various personal projects.

RIP, Martha Turner, longtime Houston real estate icon.

Lock him up.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 3

“Pope Francis’ Response to Ukraine Has Tapped Into One of Catholicism’s Deepest Conspiracy Theories“. Gotta say, as a deeply cultural Catholic, I only knew the very top level of this one.

“There is not a huge gap in the ideological differences between the far right and the truckers in convoys. But increasingly these geopolitical conspiracy theories have moved beyond extremist spaces and into the mainstream, as polished Instagram wellness influencers cheerfully share them far and wide.”

“It appears the far right has taken advantage of pandemic at-home fitness trends to expand its decade-plus radicalization of physical mixed martial arts (MMA) and combat sports spaces.”

Whatever you think of him, Coach K is a vanishing breed in college sports.

An excellent look back at the classic Star Trek: The Next Generation episode “Cause and Effect”, which was something not really tried on TV before, and almost didn’t get made because it was so weird at first. That episode ran 30 years ago, so yeah, we’re all old.

“How we got herd immunity wrong”.

“Based on the evidence, the Court finds it more likely than not that President Trump corruptly attempted to obstruct the Joint Session of Congress on January 6, 2021.” That would be a felony, by the way.

“But a lot of it’s about west’s battered reputation. Iraq did immeasurable damage – worse than Vietnam. Took place at the peak of sympathy for post-9/11 US. World watched America squander that goodwill in a goose chase any 15-year-old Indian, African or European, knew was wild.”

“Instead, a lot of people who have returned to their offices for some or all of the week have found that they’re the only ones there, or others are staying isolated in their offices, and all communication still happens over email, Slack, or Zoom. As a result, they’re spending time commuting to and from the office and dealing with all the hassles of in-person work but without any of the promised payoff.”

Eleven things you may or may not have known about The Bachelor, twenty years after its debut.

We could maybe learn a thing or two from Finland about preparedness.

“And so it was entirely predictable that the Holston United Methodist Home for Children, which receives funding from the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services, would assume it was entitled to refuse service to a Jewish couple seeking to become foster parents. That’s the problem with legalizing discrimination — sometimes that bigotry comes around to bite you in the ass.”

“One of two flamingos that escaped from a Kansas zoo during a storm 17 years ago has been spotted on the coast of Texas, wildlife officials said.” The bird is officially known as No. 492, the number om its leg band, but a Texas Parks and Wildlife tweet identified him as Pink Floyd, and I’m sorry but that is absolutely his name.

Impeach Clarence Thomas. And finally put an actual code of ethics on SCOTUS.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar was not impressed by Will Smith.

“A Tech Company Made It Harder to Use Its Products to Mine Crypto. Then Came the Ransomware Attack.”

Troy Kotsur, winner of the Best Supporting Actor Oscar this year, is also the creator of the sign language used by the Tusken raiders in The Book of Boba Fett.

“Failing to pursue Trump in such circumstances would send a signal of impunity for presidents who seek to destroy American democratic institutions, even as Trump’s supporters who ransacked the US Capitol begin to be convicted and face prison terms for apparently acting on their political hero’s wishes.”

“Madison, I can promise you that there is nobody in the “radical left” or “the media” who wants you to shut up about the cocaine orgies. Please keep talking about the cocaine orgies. We’ve got your back on this one, so go nuts. Everyone who is not currently either a Washington, D.C., Republican lawmaker or staffer wants to you to spill as much about the Republican Cocaine Orgies as you can spill.”

Bankrupt them.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 28

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for March 27

This oral history of Galaxy Quest is from 2014, but it’s also the best thing I read this week, so here you go.

Dowsing for the dead is not exactly endorsed by scientists or forensic experts. But it is a highlight for some students attending the National Forensic Academy, a 10-week training program sponsored by the University of Tennessee.”

Meet Ukraine First Lady Olena Zelenska, who is doing a pretty damn good job under monstrous circumstances.

“Canadian law enforcement seized an unspecified amount of crypto donated to the Freedom Convoy that terrorized the city for weeks last month. The crackdown highlighted how digital currency’s security bona fides stand up to real world tests. It’s definitely not everything boosters have promised.” This story has more details.

A great discourse on Proto-Indo-European, the ancestor of our language and many other languages, and its likely origins in what is now Ukraine.

“Autocrats such as Putin eventually succumb to what may be called the “dictator trap.” The strategies they use to stay in power tend to trigger their eventual downfall. Rather than being long-term planners, many make catastrophic short-term errors—the kinds of errors that would likely have been avoided in democratic systems. They hear only from sycophants, and get bad advice. They misunderstand their population. They don’t see threats coming until it’s too late. And unlike elected leaders who leave office to riches, book tours, and the glitzy lifestyle of a statesman, many dictators who miscalculate leave office in a casket, a possibility that makes them even more likely to double down.”

This was easily my favorite highlight from the first weekend of March Madness.

“These are the kinds of billionaires now spending $100 million to fund a re-branding campaign for Jesus.” (You’ve probably seen, and wondered about, their ads on TV during March Madness.)

The Price Is Right is going on tour to celebrate 50 years on the air.

“It’s amazing what you can do with a half-inflated netball.”

“When Guillermo del Toro’s Blade II hit theaters 20 years ago this month, it was a much-needed critical and commercial hit for the filmmaker, chalking up $155 million worldwide and better-than-average reviews. This is not the story of that movie. It is the story of one of these reviews—quite possibly the worst movie review ever published, at least in an outlet of note.”

“What is with the right when it comes to promoting Russian talking points?”

“FDA asks people not to drink Covid test solution or use as eye drops”.

RIP, Madeleine Albright, first female Secretary of State in US history.

RIP, Scoey Mitchell, actor and comedian best known for his co-starring role in a groundbreaking comedy series adaptation of Neil Simon’s Barefoot in the Park. Or, if you’re me, for his participation in the classic game show Match Game.

RIP, Taylor Hawkins, drummer for The Foo Fighters.

You’re fired. Good riddance.

Lock her up. And recuse yourself.

Lock them up.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 21

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for March 20

Giant Spiders From Asia Are Poised to Invade the U.S. East Coast”. Go home, 2022, you’re drunk.

“Meet ‘Super Mario’, the man who’s lived on cruise ships for two decades”.

“On May 24, 2020, as the United States passed 100,000 recorded deaths, The New York Times filled its front page with the names of the dead, describing their loss as “incalculable.” Now the nation hurtles toward a milestone of 1 million. What is 10 times incalculable?”

“Police departments around the U.S. are donating tactical gear to Ukraine, whose annual defense budget is smaller than the NYPD’s.”

“In states that expanded Medicaid, medical debt has been cut in half. In states that didn’t, medical debt has stayed about the same.”

“How an obscure Finnish EDM artist hijacked countless Spotify playlists.” The most recent Reply All podcast looked into another example of this.

Meet the Shackleton Wreck crab, just hanging out in a very cold part of the ocean.

“These boycotts are perhaps even more jarring if you remember past periods in which pop culture tried to paint a picture of deliberate, optimistic, post-Cold-War thaw. In the 1980s, particularly in the wake of the policies of glasnost and perestroika in the former Soviet Union — which encouraged openness and reform — artists went to places they wouldn’t have gone ten or even five years before. It was in 1987, 35 years ago this July, that Billy Joel brought a big pop-rock show to Leningrad and Moscow; 1989 when Billy Crystal traveled to find his Russian relatives in an HBO special called Midnight Train to Moscow. That year also brought the Moscow Music Peace Festival, with Ozzy Osbourne, Motley Crue, and Bon Jovi among the performers.”

“Scientists have found the oldest known ancestor of octopuses – an approximately 330 million-year-old fossil unearthed in Montana.”

RIP, William Hurt, Oscar-winning actor known for tons of movies like Kiss of the Spider Woman, The Big Chill, Broadcast News, several Marvel flicks, and more. Which unfortunately includes Marlee Matlin’s account of his abusive behavior towards her.

“On the open road, where drivers maintain steady speeds of 50 to 80 mph, reducing speed by 10 mph can save 75 cents a gallon on a five-dollar gallon of gas—or 90 cents a gallon on a six-dollar gallon of gas, already the price where I live, in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles.”

““Facing Nolan,” a new feature-length documentary on Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan, who spent the longest stretch of his career in an Astros uniform, premiered Saturday afternoon at the South by Southwest Film Festival in Austin.”

“But to really appreciate the many-layered weirdness of this business, I want to start at the beginning. Or, at least, near the beginning — with a story that starts in Boston in 1706.”

“Yacht-Watch: The Fancy Boats Getting Snatched Away From Russian Oligarchs”.

“The 2020 election was an anomaly in many ways, but the Election Performance Index (EPI) shows us that election administration continued to trend in the direction it was already heading: up. While there was more early voting and voting by mail than previous years (a pre-existing trend that 2020 accelerated), overall, more states improved their practices, data, and reporting.”

“Plenty of prominent right-wing media figures in the United States are pushing out Vladimir Putin’s propaganda for him.”

“The 4 pillars to convicting alleged January 6 US Capitol rioters”.

Under no circumstances should this guy be allowed to take possession of any children, Ukrainian refugees or not.

“Koch Industries is attempting to argue that continuing to operate in Russia is in the best interest of Ukraine and the Russian people. The company suggests that shuttering its massive glass manufacturing plants would benefit the Russian government. The implication is that the hundreds of companies that have left Russia are, in fact, empowering the Putin regime.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 14

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 13

“First we had CDOs, then mortgage-backed CDOs, then synthetic CDOs, and then the financial system collapsed. Now, as a way to cure the financial boredom of the past decade, we’re moving toward NFT-based CDOs.”

“Put simply, no one forced Jerry Falwell Jr. to do any of this. The guy has a law degree from UVA, and if he didn’t believe in the mission of his father’s school, he and his wife could have done literally anything they wanted. He chose to put himself in charge of an institution which preached abstention from sex and alcohol, and he enforced a moral code which cast homosexuality as deviant and discouraged women from reporting sexual assaults.”

“From the fat cats of political cartoons to Disney animations, and from sitcoms to science fiction— especially science fiction — the fat villain has long been baked into pop culture.”

“McDonald’s is being sued for $900 million by a startup that says it tried to fix the chain’s broken ice cream machines”.

Just a reminder that Bill Barr is still a piece of crap.

“But Putin will be unable to win this war on his preferred terms. Indeed, there are several ways in which he could ultimately lose.”

“Most importantly, here’s the list of companies that continue to do business with Russia. They need to withdraw as soon as possible. If not, they should be boycotted in the West. Profits over national security is unacceptable”.

“A new analysis by http://popular.info reveals that, over the last two years, @Disney has donated $197,162 to members of the Florida legislature that have already voted for the “Don’t Say Gay” legislation.” Do better, Disney! The bad guys will hate you anyway, so you may as well do the right thing.

“Press 3 for a pep talk from kindergartners. A new hotline gives you options for joy”.

Free Brittney Griner.

“But there is an even more fundamental contrast between Biden’s multilateralism and Trump’s nationalism, one that goes beyond diplomatic skill to core ideology: many corners of the American right, including Donald Trump, agree with Putin’s position.”

RIP, Laurel Goodwin, actor who was the last surviving cast member from the Star Trek pilot.

“That truth is not comforting to people who are frustrated by the fact that nothing seems to stick to Trump. They are onto something; it cannot be coincidental when the same individual or organizations with his name on them face, at once, a civil investigation regarding property valuation from the New York attorney general; separate criminal investigations from the Fulton County, Georgia, and Westchester County, New York, district attorneys and the Washington, DC, attorney general; civil suits alleging election misconduct in Delaware County, Pennsylvania, and Michigan; a defamation suit by a voting machine company; congressional investigations into his tax returns, conflicts of interest, the lease of his Washington, DC, hotel and potential mishandling of government documents; civil suits from multiple police officers who were injured on January 6; an allegation from the January 6 House Select Committee that he was part of a criminal conspiracy to defraud the United States; a defamation suit from someone who has accused him of sexual assault; and a suit from his niece alleging fraud around her inheritance. And those were just the ones I could remember.”

“This is a consistent villain he will critique. Putin: not as consistent on the critiques. But a windmill? Donald Trump will talk shit about a windmill.”

RIP, “Sister” Bobbie Nelson, pianist and vocalist for the Willie Nelson & Family band, sister of Willie Nelson, longtime Austin icon.

“An expedition that set out in search of the lost ship of polar explorer Ernest Shackleton has found it — 106 years after the vessel sank off Antarctica. The wooden ship Endurance has been located remarkably intact about 10,000 feet underwater in the Weddell Sea.”

RIP, Emilio Delgado, actor and singer best known for playing Luis on Sesame Street for 44 years. Enjoy these eight delightful minutes from Ask Me Another with Emilio Delgado and Sonia Manzano, to remember just how wonderful he was.

My goodness, these jokers are such delicate flowers.

“But in making its decision, McDonald’s also had to do something more than forgo profits: It had to sever ties with communities that it has served for decades – and with supply chains that it had created, virtually out of thin air. In a matter of days, an unprovoked war wiped out, for an unknown period of time, what it took McDonald’s more than 30 years to build.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 7

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the people of Ukraine as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for March 6

“The West has promised tougher sanctions are coming, but experts warn these will almost certainly trigger a Russian retaliation against America and its allies, which could escalate into cyber attacks on Western financial institutions and energy infrastructure.”

“In 1871, Congress Crafted a Law to Break the Klan. Today, It’s Targeting Trump.”

“The enduring lesson of the Ottawa occupation was that such arrangements not only shelter individuals from the genuine suffering that happens all around but can also lead them to an information deficit that confirms any belief. The real concern here, then, isn’t just that a small minority of protesters brought a quiet seat of democratic government to a standstill. It’s that they came and left, still wholly unaffected by and unaware of the harm they left behind.”

Go visit GovernorAbbott.com. You’re welcome.

“The US is unmasking Russian hackers faster than ever”.

RIP, Milton Hopkins, blues guitar legend, former bandleader for BB King, longtime Houston resident.

“U.S. relocates all Afghan evacuees from military sites, completing first resettlement phase”.

“However, if the goal of [Major League Baseball’s competitive balance tax (CBT)] is not to equalize spending, but to lock the spread of spending between clubs in relative stasis, then it has succeeded with aplomb. Cheap teams still spend roughly the same percentage less than average teams as they did prior to the CBT, while clubs at the top end of payroll spend around the same amount more than average as they did too.”

“How Putin United the World Against Him”.

Never forget that sniveling cowards like Ted Cruz love Putin and have loved him for a long time.

“But this is also a full-spectrum information war, and what happens in a Russian “all-of-society” war, you soften up the enemy. You get the Tucker Carlsons and Donald Trumps doing your job for you. The fact that Putin managed to persuade Trump that Ukraine belongs to Russia, and that Trump would be willing to give up Ukraine without any kind of fight, that’s a major success for Putin’s information war.”

“Long thread about how I think the first 96 hours have gone, still very early/incomplete impressions. The initial Russian operation was premised on terrible assumptions about Ukraine’s ability & will to fight, and an unworkable concept of operations.”

“I’ve long thought that the only way to get Republicans to go along with subsidizing renewable energy was to somehow make it into a jingoistic national security issue, and this is the first chance we’ve had to do this.”

Of course online anti-vaxx groups are throbbing hubs of pro-Putin/anti-Ukraine disinformation.

“After initially dropping the Russia-backed news channel RT in Europe, Roku says it is now dropping the channel from its Roku Channel Store everywhere — including in its US market.” That’s great, but why did they ever allow a propaganda outlet like RT onto their service in the first place?

“Last week, we stopped all exports into our sales channel in the country. Apple Pay and other services have been limited. RT News and Sputnik News are no longer available for download from the App Store outside Russia.” Same question as above – why were they there in the first place? Aple exerts complete control over what is allowed in the App Store. Allowing RT and Sputnik was a choice. Why did they make that choice?

Can we please arrest this guy? Thanks.

“Microsoft is warning of destructive data-wiping malware disguised as ransomware being used in attacks against multiple organizations in Ukraine.” As with NotPetya, this is likely to cross national boundaries if it hasn’t already.

RIP, Alan Ladd, Jr, Oscar-winning producer of Braveheart and also of Alien, Blade Runner, The Omen, and many more.

“All of this raises some important questions. First, how is Ukraine going to effectively use the cryptocurrency it’s receiving? Who’s in charge of these allegedly government-controlled wallets? Logistically, how will they turn cryptocurrency into much needed supplies and services? And who are the people from all over the world who feel compelled to send their personal crypto to the country, and why are they doing it?”

“Yacht-Watch: The Fancy Boats Getting Snatched Away From Russian Oligarchs”.

“Some people have found a novel way to get money to Ukrainians as their country is under attack from Russia: booking immediate Airbnb stays they don’t intend to use.”