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Weekend link dump for May 24

Strong Social Distancing Measures In The United States Reduced The COVID-19 Growth Rate”.

“A politician who desperately wanted re-election would’ve been hard at work, from the moment he or she was alerted to the danger, attempting to contain the pandemic and limit the economic damage, and would persevere no matter what the setbacks, never wavering in an effort to produce the policy results that might lead to a big win in November.”

“Reporting on deliberately misleading stories in ostensibly objective ways serves only to reward the bad-faith actors spreading the nonsense in the first place.”

RIP, Phyllis George, pioneering broadcaster and former Miss America.

“The Blockbuster video store in Bend, Oregon, is the last of its kind in the entire world, and it’s miraculously surviving not just the streaming era but also the coronavirus pandemic.”

“Welcome to Our Very Safe Restaurant!”

Boy, the cast of Friends could have been very, very different.

Two words: Pizza arbitrage. Also, avoid Grubhub if you can.

The foreign TV shows are coming.

RIP, Lynn Shelton, writer, director, and producer of film and TV.

“In other words, the idea that Sweden was going to plow head on into the epidemic, have a high mortality but not wreck its economy really isn’t true on either score.”

“Because the president is incapable of giving an inspirational speech, he and his supporters had to settle for a photoshopped video of a fictional president warning about annihilation.”

Every distraction distracts from another distraction, which in turn, distracts from yet another. It’s distractions, all the way down.”

RIP, Annie Glenn, widow of former astronaut and US Senator John Glenn.

25 Horror Episodes From Non-Horror TV Shows“, in case you’re into that sort of thing.

We should not want to be like Sweden.

RIP, Jerry Sloan, former coach of the Utah Jazz.

RIP, Keith Wade, local political strategist and all-around good guy. I met him back in 2009 when he was on the Annise Parker campaign, and liked him a lot. Politics is fundamentally about people, and I’ve been fortunate to meet a lot of bright, talented, generous, and affable people by my participation in local politics. Keith Wade was one of those people, and I was terribly saddened to see this headline in the paper. Rest in peace, Keith Wade.

“For those receiving hydroxychloroquine and an antibiotic — the cocktail endorsed by Trump — there was a 45 percent increased risk of death“.

Weekend link dump for May 17

“In the midst of the constant up-and-down of coronavirus news, both from science and the markets, it’s easy to lose sight of the scariest scenario of them all: the one where there’s no magic bullet. In this entirely plausible situation, there would be no effective Covid-19 vaccine or transformative therapy; the combination of testing and contact tracing wouldn’t successfully suppress the outbreak; and herd immunity would come, if at all, only after millions of deaths around the world.”

“The car is pretty good at social distancing, but don’t mistake car culture for a coronavirus cure. Even drivers have to go. The primary confined space that Americans uneasily share with strangers isn’t mass transit. It’s the public bathroom.”

“Since November of 2016 I’ve been watching closely for any sign of evangelical remorse. I haven’t seen it.”

After decades of intense conservation efforts, the mountain gorilla population is slowly increasing.

RIP, Jerry Stiller, comedian and actor best known for playing Frank Costanza on Seinfeld.

“Meeting the overwhelming demand for a successful coronavirus vaccine will require a historic amount of coordination by scientists, drugmakers and the government. The nation’s supply chain isn’t anywhere close to ready for such an effort.”

Fact-checking Judy Mikovits, the controversial virologist attacking Anthony Fauci in a viral conspiracy video”.

Personally, I think Cop Rock was misunderstood genius, and Dog With a Blog wasn’t all that bad for a kid’s show, but some of these other shows were pretty nutso.

“The College Football Season Is in Jeopardy. The NCAA’s Economic Model Should Be Too.”

Don’t touch the blue dragon.

“We now have enough #SARSCoV2 genomic data from different states to make some broad conclusions about how the #COVID19 epidemic has unfolded in the US.”

What the future of air travel looks like.

“In 2016, Donald Trump cleaned up among voters who disliked him and Hillary Clinton. This year, Biden is winning big among the comparable group.”

A fun and highly nostalgic read about the PBS kids TV show Zoom, which is in the news again thanks to that other thing called Zoom. I have fond memories of that show, and yes, I can still do the Bernadette “arm thing”.

Maybe COVID-19 will be the death of the cursed open office concept. I will not be sad if that happens.

“The New York City Department of Transportation reports that it’s been 58 days since a pedestrian has been killed in the city, a new record that was made possible because the city is under lockdown.”

Live N’ Let Die With COVID 45”.

“A Civil War Has Erupted in the Anti-Vaxx Movement and It’s Just as Ridiculous as You’d Expect”.

RIP, Bob Watson, former Astros player and general manager, credited with scoring Major League Baseball’s one millionth run.

“Embracing mania … engaging in pageantry … fight-picking … conspiracy theorizing … throwing a public tizzy. While none of these batty Trump behaviors are new, their current intensity invites us to ask once more why he still goes on like this.”

RIP, Fred Willard, versatile comic actor.

“Based on what we know today, this Obamagate theory is 100 percent bullshit.”

Weekend link dump for May 10

A parable, or maybe just an allegory, about secrets, small towns, and people that everyone knows.

“I feel like I’m hardly one to talk, since lockdown orders barely affect me at all. Still, these two charts suggest that Americans were able to comply with lockdowns for only about a month before they started to take them less and less seriously. Europeans mostly seem to have done better even though their lockdowns were more severe, and our willingness to sacrifice for only a month speaks poorly for both our political system and our innate stores of self-discipline.”

On the other hand, bird watching is up. So we’ve got that going for us.

“These scientists saw the coronavirus coming. Now they’re trying to stop the next pandemic before it starts.”

RIP, Don Shula, Hall of Famer and winningest coach in NFL history.

“What’s wrong with the IHME model of the coronavirus?”

“Where The Latest COVID-19 Models Think We’re Headed — And Why They Disagree”.

“Cleanly, a snazzy laundry startup, promised NYC nurses and doctors ‘the gift of clean laundry.’ Instead, it created a COVID-19 underwear catastrophe.”

“The number of deaths makes the problem feel even more remote. Approximately 1 out of 5,800 Americans has died of COVID-19. If you know 600 people, that means that on average, someone that you know might themselves know one person who has died. That’s two degrees of separation between you and a single COVID-19 death. The toll of COVID-19 won’t feel real to most Americans outside of hot zones until death counts are at least double of what they are today. It would take more than half a million deaths in the United States before, on average, every American personally knows a single person who died of the disease. We can’t wait that long.

Just this past weekend, two friends of mine reported the passing of a parent on Facebook, in each case from COVID-19. I guess that makes me above average. Also, that half a million deaths scenario may be closer than you think. Or maybe not.

And for a palate cleanser, this is the nicest and most charming thing you will read all week.

Quibi isn’t off to a great start. If that sentence makes no sense to you, that’s part of the reason why they’re not off to a great start.

An interview with the Florida beach Grim Reaper, the hero we need but don’t deserve.

“Already threatened by the advancement in special effects that create computer-generate crowds, the background acting community is bracing for possible extinction in the wake of COVID-19.”

Nicolas Cage To Star As Tiger King‘s Joe Exotic In New Scripted Series“. What more do you need to know?

“BuzzFeed News asked seven doctors, scientists, and public health experts about whether they would visit an open park or a beach with their families — and what precautions they would take if doing so.”

“Doesn’t our national loss deserve more than just checking the number on CNN every hour, and shaking our heads as the death toll tops 50,000, then 67,000 and beyond?”

“Elon Musk and singer Grimes have confirmed they have named their baby X Æ A-12.”

“So throughout most of the country we are going to add fuel to the viral fire by reopening. It’s going to happen if I like it or not, so my goal here is to try to guide you away from situations of high risk.”

RIP, Beryl Ann “B.A.” Bentsen, widow of former Senator Lloyd Bentsen.

RIP, Bob Park, physicist, author, and debunker of all manner of scientific fallacies.

RIP, Little Richard, pioneering legend of rock music and charter member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. I had the good fortune to see him perform live, at a fundraiser at the Houstonian back in 1997. It was amazing.

RIP, Mary Pratt, who pitched for the Rockford Peaches of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League.

Weekend link dump for May 3

If you are reading this, then we have not been obliterated by an asteroid. Whether that’s good news or bad news is a matter of opinion.

A delightful Twitter thread featuring the creepiest objects in various museum collections.

“Many security-conscious people probably think they’d never fall for a phone-based phishing scam. But if your response to such a scam involves anything other than hanging up and calling back the entity that claims to be calling, you may be in for a rude awakening. Here’s how one security and tech-savvy reader got taken for more than $10,000 in an elaborate, weeks-long ruse.”

“These children, with their special genetic heritage, have grown into very regular adults—exactly the kind of adults you’d expect them to be, based on who their mother was, where they grew up, and what kind of education they received. Their lives demonstrate not the extraordinary influence of genes, but rather the monumental influence of all the economic and social forces in American society that guide and shackle us.”

“When do COVID-19 [super-spreader events] happen? Based on the list I’ve assembled, the short answer is: Wherever and whenever people are up in each other’s faces, laughing, shouting, cheering, sobbing, singing, greeting, and praying. You don’t have to be a 19th-century German bacteriologist or MIT expert in mucosalivary ballistics to understand what this tells us about the most likely mode of transmission.”

Thirteen reasons why the press hasn’t walked out of those idiot Presidential daily briefings.

RIP, Steve Dalkowski, legendary hard-throwing and hard-drinking pitcher who was the inspiration for Nuke LaLoosh in Bull Durham.

Willie Nelson has been autographing facemasks to raise money for more facemasks.

“We did not get smallpox herd immunity without a vaccine.”

“In the same way that 2000 led to no more hanging chads […] I would hope that this election leads to proper investment and modernization in our election system.”

Pro tip: Don’t do this. Or this. You’re welcome.

Why Zoom video chats are so exhausting.

“This is the clearest look I’ve seen at excess mortality in the United States. Data suggests twice as many excess deaths in March and early April as were directly attributable to COVID-19.”

Mike Pence at the Mayo Clinic without a mask. That’s it, that’s the link.

You’re going to see more foreign-produced broadcast shows on your streaming services because of COVID-19.

RIP, Irrfan Khan, actor best known in the US for Slumdog Millionaire and Life of Pi.

“In short, rather than a world of strengthened states contained within ever more impermeable borders, the pandemic could leave behind a much more complicated and messier political world, where power is contested in new ways—or perhaps in very old ones.”

“All of which is to say that I believe in UFOs, by which I mean that I acknowledge that we have seen things that we have not identified and cannot (yet) identify. I think the question of that Navy pilot, complete with its emphatic expletive, is something like the beginning of wisdom.”

RIP, Al Edwards, former Texas legislator who authored the bill that created the Juneteenth holiday in the state.

“Extensive protective gear is required in most types of reopened businesses, which was a sticking point for every Georgian I spoke with who was contemplating a return to work. They said the state is providing neither the gear itself nor guidance on how to get it, so they’re in the same market as everyone else, competing with medical workers and high-risk people who need masks to safely go to the grocery store.”

“So for each month we remain on the plateau, we risk losing more Americans than we lost in nearly a decade in Vietnam. If we spend May like we spent April, we will blow past 100k dead in weeks. If we relax the restrictions too early, death tallies could be much worse.”

“Top 10 Coronavirus clusters in the US? Prisons, meat packing plants, a Navy battleship. Next 10? Prisons, meat packing plants, nursing homes. Next 10? And the 10 after that? Prisons, meat packing plants and nursing homes….”

“How many of those 150 customers have been tested to ensure they’re not carrying this virus? None. How many of our 100+ associated have been tested? Also none. Yet we’re relaxing our restrictions and, I fear, will relax them even further in the weeks to come.”

Weekend link dump for April 26

“The Answer to All of Your Social Distancing Loophole Questions Is No”.

I happened to come across two strange but delightful stories about art on the same day late last week. They are about Pierre Brassau, Monkey Artist and the nice couple from New Mexico who may have stolen a very valuable de Kooning painting and kept it for over 30 years till it was discovered after their deaths. Enjoy!

“[Television] Writers and producers tell us how they’re planning to address the coronavirus pandemic—or not—once their programs finally go back into production.”

“Coronavirus is dealing a gut punch to the illegal drug trade, paralyzing economies, closing borders and severing supply chains in China that traffickers rely on for the chemicals to make such profitable drugs as methamphetamine and fentanyl.”

“What the anti-stay-at-home protests are really about”.

“Wildlife around the world is enjoying the lack of human activity due to coronavirus lockdowns, and sea turtles in Thailand are part of the trend.”

“If this simulation is correct, the value of a mask isn’t that it reduces the amount of virus you shed, but that it redirects it. It mostly stays near you instead of being projected in the direction of other people.”

“Great news, America! We may be confined to our homes during a deadly pandemic, but at least we won’t have to suffer through yet another Roger Stone hearing.”

“As an epidemiologist, I’m amazed that the only thing that’s discussed about Covid-19 and the lockdown is mortality. It’s not just mortality, though.”

It’s hard out here on a tall quarterback.

“A poll designed to test President Trump’s vulnerabilities on foreign policy finds that 56% of voters in 12 battleground states believe he has made America less respected in the world, compared to 31% who say America is now more respected.”

“A malaria drug widely touted by President Donald Trump for treating the new coronavirus showed no benefit in a large analysis of its use in U.S. veterans hospitals. There were more deaths among those given hydroxychloroquine versus standard care, researchers reported.”

“The Scripps National Spelling Bee has been forced to cancel its annual event for the first time since 1945 due to the coronavirus.”

You can “reopen” the economy all you want, but until people want to go out and spend money again, it won’t make any difference.

But these protesters aren’t willing to sacrifice anything for the greater social good. They are literally unwilling to wear masks to help keep other Americans healthy, even when those other Americans are their fellow protesters. They are not willing to stay home to ease the burden on hero health care workers. They are not interested in channeling their cavalier attitude about being outside into ministering to the poor or the lonely, or even to cheering on first responders who are trying, with both hands, to keep communities together. All these people can think to do with all the time they evidently have on their hands is to tie up traffic and bitch and moan.”

“By comparing deaths in 2020 to the averages found in cities around the world, analysts demonstrate a sharp increase in deaths in region after region, with a particularly obvious change in those nations that have been reluctant to admit the scope of their problem with COVID-19. Other studies have shown that, thanks to COVID-19 monopolizing hospital resources, deaths for all reasons are up. However, many of these deaths are simply people who died from COVID-19, but did so without ever being tested. In all, analysts have found what looks to be at least 25,000 excess deaths attributable to the disease itself, a number large enough to cause a re-estimate of just how deadly this pandemic may be.”

“The Committee found the ICA presents a coherent and well-constructed intelligence basis for the case of unprecedented Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election.”

“Leaving New York in defiance of all the warnings and shelter-in-place orders, while infuriating, is not the crime of the century. Many who fled, brandishing bottles of disinfectant and bags of groceries, were likely fortunate enough not to infect anyone along the way. But one might ask that they have the grace to enjoy getting away with something in silence, rather than unburdening themselves with mediocre confessions. Everyone else is suffering enough already.”

RIP, Donald Reed Herring, oldest brother of Sen. Elizabeth Warren.

Tom Hanks is a national treasure.

Weekend link dump for April 19

The most meme-worthy moments from every MLB team’s history, if social media had existed at the time. Some truly wacky stuff in there.

“We’ve heard these arguments before. For years, they were offered by Republicans in defense of George W. Bush, who was president when nearly 3,000 people died in the terror attacks of Sept. 11, 2001. But when Trump ran for president four years ago, he didn’t accept those arguments. He outlined specific reasons the president should be held accountable for lives lost on his watch. Those reasons are even more applicable today. If Bush was culpable, so is Trump.”

“How can we assess the total number of #SARSCoV2 infections that have occurred up to this point? As others have noted, it’s not easy to extrapolate from confirmed cases to total infections. Some thoughts here, but no real answers.”

“He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus”.

“Researchers use models meant for infectious diseases to show how congestion proliferates. That may mean a vaccine for traffic jams is on the horizon.”

“But you’re looking at one loser who’s going to make a hell of a scene on the way out.”

“You will be shocked to learn, then, that Carole Baskin is not a fan of [Tiger King].”

RIP, Hank Steinbrenner, co-owner of the NY Yankees, eldest son of George Steinbrenner.

Sometimes, voter suppression efforts fail. As well they should.

“What we’re talking about is a new normal where there’s probably a lot of mask wearing, a huge focus on hygiene, maintaining substantial physical distance where possible and a decent amount of being anxious for a lot of people. And specifically, it means finding out how many businesses and life activities can be reanimated in a substantial way while operating within those new rules. Reopening just creates a sort of binary opposition that confuses more than it clarifies.”

“An earlier pandemic gave us [the children’s board game] Candy Land, if that makes you feel any better about 2020″.

“When you put in these social distancing measures, they do seem to work.”

“The Coronavirus has prompted thousands of information security professionals to volunteer their skills in upstart collaborative efforts aimed at frustrating cybercriminals who are seeking to exploit the crisis for financial gain. Whether it’s helping hospitals avoid becoming the next ransomware victim or kneecapping new COVID-19-themed scam websites, these nascent partnerships may well end up saving lives.”

Please enjoy this little trip down Bad TV Memory Lane.

Wellness Influencers Are Spreading QAnon Conspiracies About the Coronavirus”.

Please stop destroying cellphone towers. They are not the source of coronavirus.

RIP, Brian Dennehy, versatile and award-winning actor of stage and screen.

“The Pew Research Center asked the question directly in a nearly 5,000-person survey conducted from April 7 to 12: Are you more worried about your state government lifting its restrictions on public activities too quickly or not quickly enough? By a 2-to-1 margin, Americans said that they were more worried about rapidly ramping down social distancing.”

“Hi, I’m gonna tell you some stuff about Dr. Phil and save you a trip to Wikipedia.”

Weekend link dump for April 12

“That’s more people than ever died in a single year from HIV/AIDS, drug overdoses, gun violence, or car crashes in the US. It’s more than American casualties during the entire Vietnam War. But it’s also a horrifying number, in part, because much of it was likely preventable. If the US — including the Trump administration — had better prepared for pandemics, the country likely could have avoided ever talking about 100,000 to 200,000 deaths.”

Hey, are you using Zoom now, like everyone else? Use proper security on your Zoom meetings, or risk getting “Zoom bombed”.

“Human evolution was messy, with multiple human species living and interbreeding at the same time, in a convoluted process that eventually led to us. Such is the emerging narrative in anthropology, and it’s a theory now bolstered by three fascinating new studies released today.”

RIP, Ed Biles, former Houston Oilers coach.

RIP, Tom Dempsey, former NFL kicker who held the record for the longest field goal for over 40 years.

“The autocratic political culture that has propped up the Trump administration has left the nation entirely unprepared for an economic and public-health calamity.”

“The best graphs and data for tracking the coronavirus pandemic.”

RIP, Al Kaline, Hall of Fame outfielder for the Detroit Tigers.

RIP, Honor Blackmon, actor best known for her role as Pussy Galore in the James Bond film Goldfinger.

“In the end, it’s all gonna come down to data. That’s the essence of all of these articles. The nerds are gonna pull us through, y’all: The medical professions, the scientists, the epidemiologists, and infectious disease experts, and then all those people who collect and interpret data to determine where the next outbreak will occur and then move our resources there to snuff it out before it does.”

“You’ll be pleased to know that we do consider both the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny to be essential workers. But as you can imagine, at this time they’re going to be potentially quite busy at home with their family as well and their own bunnies.”

From the Apologies That Will Never Happen But Really Really Should department.

Microsoft Buys Corp.com So Bad Guys Can’t”.

RIP, John Prine, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter.

Rural America is in no way exempt from coronavirus.

RIP, Mort Drucker, legendary MAD Magazine artist. The movie and TV show parodies that MAD did back in the day, all drawn by Drucker, were amazing – that link has a few pictures. I actually know the plot of some classic movies of the 60s and 70s from reading those parodies.

RIP, Phyllis Lyon, longtime LGBTQ activist, one half of the first married same-sex couple in California.

“Coronavirus unlikely to significantly diminish with warm weather, National Academies of Sciences panel finds”.

“Remember the Imperial College projections for the United States? They estimated about 2 million deaths if nothing was done; 1 million deaths if some countermeasures were taken; and 200,000 deaths if stringent countermeasures were taken. That’s a range of 10x. If you figure that we’ve taken fairly stringent countermeasures but not the maximum possible, then a reduction of 5x is about what you’d expect. Alternatively, if you ignore the Columbia University projection as an outlier, the IHME estimate has only gone down by about 2x. That’s what you’d expect if we took countermeasures that were just a little more stringent than their model assumed.”

Weekend link dump for April 5

“Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.”

“Chain messages warning that cities will be shut down, saying martial law will be imposed, or promoting hoax preventative measures have spread far and wide in the last several weeks, not just on bulletin boards and social media, but through text messages and emails. Their original sources are unknown, and the information they pass along is usually misleading or outright wrong—just like the postal nuisance chain mail of old.”

A brief but entertaining Twitter thread about the etymology of “Triscuit”. It does not mean what you think it means.

Build your own bagpipes out of a trash bag and record and learn to play in quarantine”.

“Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.”

“Bosses Panic-Buy Spy Software to Keep Tabs on Remote Workers”.

“Even experts who favor masking the masses say their impact on the spread of disease is likely to be modest. Many are also afraid to promote mask buying amid dire shortages at hospitals. But as the pandemic wears on, some public health experts think government messages discouraging mask wearing should shift.”

If I point you to a story with the headline Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device, you’re going to read it, right?

Production on your favorite TV show has probably been halted due to coronavirus.

RIP, Dr. James T. Goodrich, New York neurosurgeon whose career included separating conjoined twins.

RIP, Burt Ballanfant, former Mayor of West University Place.

For Law and Order: SVU superfans. You know who you are.

“One of the craziest things about this crazy-ass show is the bad edit that it gives to Carole Baskin, making a murderer and a bona fide reality TV villain of one of the few participants who has not actually been convicted of anything murder-adjacent.”

“The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.”

Being an expert in one thing doesn’t mean you’re not a complete effing idiot in another.

Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus,” your new favorite COVID-19 tune.

RIP, Adam Schlesinger, Emmy winner and co-founder of the band Fountains of Wayne.

Breaking news: The governor of Georgia is an idiot.

“So Monday morning, we had our meeting and I usually try to do a camera, and when we started the meeting, I saw myself as a potato. I was so confused as to why I was a potato. Of all the things I could be, why a potato?”

RIP, Ellis Marsalis, Jr, New Orleans jazz legend and father of Wynton and Branford.

“A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead.”

RIP, Anick Jesdanun, longtime AP technology writer.

RIP, Bill Withers, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter best known for Lean on Me.

“The Syfy Network is making all fours seasons of Battlestar Galactica available for streaming online. No registration is required.”

Weekend link dump for March 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Manu Dibango, Afro-Funk saxophonist.

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

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

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

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

Don’t vote for assholes.

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

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

Weekend link dump for March 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Shadowserver. The Internet needs it.

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

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

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

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

Let Lizzie McGuire be the grownup she would now be.

What is ESPN to do right now?

“Biden Should Pick Warren as VP, Immediately”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Kenny Rogers, country music legend.

Weekend link dump for March 15

Beware The Ides of March. Especially the horn section.

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

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

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

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

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

A firsthand report from Shanghai about coronavirus response.

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Eric Taylor, Houston singer-songwriter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t be Patient 31.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for March 8

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

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

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

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

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

Wash Ur Hands.

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

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

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

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

RIP, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for March 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt.

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

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

“Only the Fist Bump Can Defeat the Coronavirus”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for February 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Being Susan Collins. Furrowed brow and deep concerns optional.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for February 16

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

“The New Majority Behind Sex Work Decriminalization”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Paul English, longtime drummer for Willie Nelson.

RIP, Joseph Shabalala, founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

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

RIP, Katsuya Nomura, Japanese baseball legend.

Weekend link dump for February 9

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

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

The tragic case of Jim Tyrer.

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

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

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

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

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

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

On differential response and polling results.

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

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

Welcome back to Earth, Christina Koch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for February 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP. John Andretti, NASCAR driver.

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

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

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

Jeopardy! legend James Holzhauer revisits betting on baseball.

RIP, Mary Higgins Clark, bestselling author.

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

Weekend link dump for January 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Jim Lehrer, longtime journalist for PBS.

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

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

Jay Sekulow is the Emily Litella of impeachment.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for January 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“This is the literal polar opposite of reality.”

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

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

So, how about that Equal Rights Amendment, huh?

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

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

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

RIP, Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer.

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

Weekend link dump for January 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What knockers!” “Oh, thank you.”

Yankees offseason facial hair: a thread”.

This will forevermore be known as “Megxit”.

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

Behold the power of naked philanthropy.

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

Goalies scoring goals is the best sports highlight.

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

Weekend link dump for January 5

Welcome to the third decade of the 21st century…

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

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

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

The histories hidden in the periodic table.

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

Fervently wishing Rep. John Lewis all the very best.

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

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

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

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

Here are your 2019 Golden Duke Award wnners.

And here are your 2019 Worthy Award nominees.

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

RIP, David Stern, former NBA Commissioner.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Don Imus, pioneering radio shock jock.

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Woo hoo! The Far Side is online!

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

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

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

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

So just what is figgy pudding, anyway?

Weekend link dump for December 15

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

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

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

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

Please be careful when photographing trains.

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

RIP, George Laurer, inventor of the UPC.

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

RIP, Paul Volcker, former Fed chair.

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 8

All roads lead to Rudy.

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

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

RIP, Dorothy Seymour Mills, author and baseball historian.

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

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

Martin O’Malley is a role model.

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

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

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

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

The case against buying a Ring video doorbell.

The Case of the Felonious Bread“.

Man, people have feelings about that Peloton ad.

Devin Nunes is a boundless idiot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to deliver Christmas presents in a future without chimneys.

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

Weekend link dump for November 24

Say what you want about Bill Belichick, but NFL coaches go for it more on fourth down now thanks to a famous failed fourth-down conversion attempt by the Patriots ten years ago.

“The television show The Golden Girls was originally a joke. NBC prepared a parody of Miami Vice, Miami Nice, featuring old people sitting around playing cards. NBC’s senior vice president thought it sounded like an excellent idea, so he asked for it to be made into a show.”

“Mixhalo changes the fan’s experience at live events, allowing them to hear the show as the band (or sound engineer) intended. It no longer matters whether Madison Square Garden has poor acoustics or if you’re sitting too far away from the PA system—with Mixhalo, every seat in every venue can hear perfectly. Thanks to Incubus.”

RIP, Vera Clemente, widow of Hall of Famer Roberto Clemente and MLB Goodwill Ambassador.

“As you can hopefully see, the White House did not release the aid until after it became publicly known that there was a hold. They didn’t release it until after congressional committees announced an investigation into a potential quid pro quo. The State Department portion was actually released by John Bolton on his own authority, and the Pentagon portion wasn’t released until after Bolton was gone.”

“Chick-fil-A has pledged to finally stop funding anti-LGBTQ organizations after years of protests against the brand.” Yeah, we’ll see about that.

“I do wonder why it was necessary to smear my reputation.”

RIP, Azellia White, trailblazing aviator and one of the first African American women to earn a pilot’s license in the United States.

Oh, Prince Andrew. At least we’ll always have Pizza Express.

“So Juul used research specifically designed to make smoking palatable to teenagers, and then produced a product with lots of fruity flavors. And during their first year of operation, they explicitly marketed their product to teenagers.”

“It is truly impressive that Hollywood continues to try to convince us that there is an actual Cats movie and that it is coming out this year and that it will be in cinemas, going so far as to produce two different trailers to further the deception. You have to admire the commitment to a scam. Illuminati MC Skat Cat did what he had to do.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about Fartgate but were afraid to ask.

“Whoopie! Man, that may have been a small one for Neil, but that’s a long one for me.”

“Giuliani really has a talent for putting defense arguments as unconvincingly, unappealingly, and suspiciously as possible.”

“Thus, by moving directly to impeachment, the House gets its best chance of winning the testimony of Bolton, Mulvaney, and others, and doing so in a timely fashion. The House likely won’t be able to depose witnesses or examine all the documents in advance, but that’s a small price to pay for obtaining the evidence at the trial.”

RIP, Gahan Wilson, legendary outlandish cartoonist.

Weekend link dump for November 17

“I realized then that Leia is more than just a character. She’s a feeling. She is strength. She is grace. She is wit. She is femininity at its finest. She knows what she wants, and she gets it. She doesn’t need anyone to defend her, because she defends herself. And no one could have played her like my mother. Princess Leia is Carrie Fisher. Carrie Fisher is Princess Leia. The two go hand in hand.”

“Another gender reveal celebration has gone wrong, this time causing a recent plane crash in west Texas.”

Well, I wasn’t planning to see Midway, anyway.

“It is striking that these Catholic justices met with some of the most vocal and vociferous of all the Holy Father’s opponents. I wonder if this were, say, 20 years ago, whether they would have posed with people who had accused St. John Paul II of heresy and implied that his papacy was illegitimate—and smiled while doing so.”

“Many, if not most, female runners, from elite athletes to those training for their first 5Ks, will suffer at some point because of a lack of recognition of their physical needs, and how their bodies differ from men’s.”

“What good does it do to push women into STEM fields without accounting for and remediating the structural factors such as sexism, racism, and overall hostile work environments that drive women students away from traditional professorial careers in STEM in order to maintain their sanity and self-respect? Looking at the results of recent studies, it may not be much.”

“As you well know, for over two years, Mr. Nunes has been maliciously harassed, stalked, bullied online, threatened and egregiously defamed on Twitter by the user or users who post day and night, through the anonymous Twitter account, @DevinCow.”

“The booing of Charlie Kirk, Don Jr, and Kimberly Guilfoyle by alt-right activists was the culmination of a month-long campaign that received no press attention.”

RIP, Laurel Griggs, Broadway actor.

“It is time for clarity and accountability anchored in democratic foundations. Instead of depending on tech executives or going through more frustrating hearings that generate few structural solutions, lawmakers themselves should urgently start answering the difficult questions on how to ensure the rule of law applies online as it does offline.”

“I doubt von Braun is the only former Nazi to ever have his story of faith and inspiration featured on the cover of that magazine, but he’s probably the least remorseful former Nazi to be featured there.”

“This program is presented as originally created. It may contain outdated cultural depictions.”

“The Han-Greedo scene is the Oak Island Money Pit of movie scenes: it’s been excavated and flooded so much that it’s become more of an idea than anything else, its truths forever beyond our grasp.”

“That the whistle-blower has stayed out of view seems to have left Trump only more aggrieved—he prefers a flesh-and-blood foe.”

“When we ask ourselves which narrative most Americans will opt to believe, we aren’t really asking how these public performances will be received (they merely conform to the theories advanced). Instead, we are asking whether a plurality of Americans is willing to accept unfounded elaborate deep state multiparty conspiracy plots or the simple and elegant extortion plan alleged and borne out by multiple witnesses. America is either going to go for the clean shave with Occam’s razor here or cut its own throat.”

“In other words, the GOP’s ‘hearsay’ talking point seems to have backfired rather spectacularly.”

Weekend link dump for November 10

“It is not my job to decide if Brett Kavanaugh is guilty. It’s impossible for me to do so with incomplete information, and with no process for testing competing facts. But it’s certainly not my job to exonerate him because it’s good for his career, or for mine, or for the future of an independent judiciary. Picking up an oar to help America get over its sins without allowing for truth, apology, or reconciliation has not generally been good for the pursuit of justice. Our attempts to get over CIA torture policies or the Iraq war or anything else don’t bring us closer to truth and reconciliation. They just make it feel better—until they do not. And we have all spent far too much of the past three years trying to tell ourselves that everything is OK when it most certainly is not normal, not OK, and not worth getting over.”

“A Georgia law prevented 87,000 people from voting last year. And it could have a big impact in 2020.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about the girl from the “Baby Shark” viral video. You’re welcome.

How old are we? We’re so old that the movie Blade Runner is no no longer set in the future. That’s how old we are.

“E. Jean Carroll, the writer and advice columnist who in June came forward with allegations that President Donald Trump raped her inside the dressing rooms of Bergdorf Goodman more than twenty years ago, has filed a defamation lawsuit against the president.”

“To be clear, I have not seen any evidence that the president should be impeached. I obviously do not believe the president is a dictator, but his repeated use of unilateral action sure makes him look like one.” Guess who said that and about whom it was said.

Facebook has rebranded itself as FACEBOOK. I’m sure everyone will treat that with all due respect.

“Researchers hack Siri, Alexa, and Google Home by shining lasers at them”.

Mike Pence involved in the Ukraine quid pro quo? Mike Pence involved in the Ukraine quid pro quo.

“One of the finest spectacles in astronomy is to witness the passage of one object in front of another. This can transpire as an eclipse, an occultation, or a rare event known as a planetary transit. We get a shot at seeing just such a singular event next Monday on 11 November, as a transit of Mercury across the face of Sol occurs for the last time this decade.”

“Republicans’ Sad New Trump Defense: Is Attempted Murder Really a Crime?”

What Amber Briggle says.

“The whistle-blower is the one who is acting in the prescribed lawful way; the President and his henchmen are the ones—no surprise here—calling on the media to violate the point and purpose of the law.”

RIP, Nikki Araguz Loyd, Houston transgender activist.

“Perhaps most importantly, we need an alternative, affirmative internet that is powerful and attractive to users around the world in its own right. Right now, the choice is between the U.S. internet—dominated by Silicon Valley companies who proclaim the need for “internet freedom” to justify their hands-off approach to hate, terrorism, bullying, and election manipulation—and China’s.”

But…if Vanna is hosting Wheel of Fortune, then who’s turning the letters?

Weekend link dump for November 3

“What these people are doing goes way beyond that. It’s a direct nuclear assault on the truth. It’s not: I didn’t break the figurine. Instead, it’s: Mom, not only did I not break it, but Susie broke it, and I painstakingly glued it back together after she did so, and the facts that a) Susie has been away at camp all this time and b) you’re looking at it there on the dining room table in 37 pieces are tricks, delusions—manifestations of a vast, fake-news conspiracy against me orchestrated by Susie and Aunt Donna. They’ve met together recently on more than one occasion, after all, and people are saying that Aunt Donna bought two boxes of Samoas and one box of Tagalongs from Susie; and that, dear Mother, is proof of the cabal! For this, we do not have a word. In the entire English language. Chew on that for a minute.”

Looking back on the Heartbleed vulnerability, and why bugs like it are so scary.

“The Answer to Climate-Killing Cow Farts May Come From the Sea”.

“Anti-Semitism thrives under conditions of social discontent and instability. It paints an imagined picture of Jews — whether it’s the Jewish people as a whole, a nefarious Jewish figure, a shadowy cabal or the Jewish state — as holding unique power, able to influence world events more than normal people can. Although modern anti-Semitism as we know it today grew out of right-wing movements, it has a knack for flexibility. Because it looks less like victim-blaming than like a critique of power, it can make its way into unexpected conversations and coalitions, and out of the mouths of well-meaning people.”

How the Washington NFL team pioneered a particular type of harmful financial scheme.

“Dutch inventor unveils device to scoop plastic out of rivers”.

“Gonzo politics is different in kind. Its hypocrisy is so absolute that the concept itself becomes meaningless. That’s what happens when truth and any sense of commonality, the good, or a shared public world collapses in on itself like a black hole, with the only thing remaining the pursuit of power solely for the sake of its own selfish rewards. Under such conditions, politics becomes all show, all performance, with no objective criteria of truth or goodness available to evaluate it.”

“A user got his revenge on the ransomware gang who encrypted his files by hacking their server and releasing the decryption keys for all other victims.”

“America Came Together to Boo Donald Trump at the World Series”.

But hey, presidents get booed everywhere they go, am I right?

RIP, Kay Hagan, former US Senator from North Carolina.

The Game of Thrones dudes will not be doing a Star Wars trilogy.

Yeah, I’m OK with being able to play video at a faster rate than normal.

Those ellipses will get you every time.

“So, here’s my pitch to the Silicon Valley investor-types out there: Instead of throwing hundreds of millions at the lunatics at the Theranos and WeWorks of the world, give some computer science geek the capital to develop a platform that can in real-time track the content libraries of the entertainment industry’s leading streaming services.”

Don’t share spam!

“But Apple+? Look: If you had 15 flavors of ice cream at your disposal at all times, would you pay another $5 a month for a 16th flavor? That flavor would have to be really, really compelling, wouldn’t it?”

I’m a longtime fan of Groo the Wanderer, and if you read this maybe you’ll become one, too.

I’m here from the future, and it gets confusing from there.

The death of Deadspin really sucks. I hope the private equity jerks who bought it lose a bunch of money as a result.

Weekend link dump for October 27

“Trump now finds himself mired in a season of weakness. Foreign leaders feel emboldened to reject his pleas or to contradict him. Officials inside his administration are openly defying his wishes by participating in the impeachment probe. Federal courts have ruled against him. Republican lawmakers are criticizing him. He has lost control over major conservative media organs. Polling shows that Americans increasingly disapprove of his job performance and support his impeachment.”

“Welcome to Coffeyville, Kansas, where the judge has no law degree, debt collectors get a cut of the bail, and Americans are watching their lives — and liberty — disappear in the pursuit of medical debt collection.”

“If you believe that employers should have the right to terminate transgender employees, just because they are transgender, then you believe they are lesser than and not worthy of protection. If so, you need not invite us to future events at the Department of Justice that are billed as celebrating the law that protects these same individuals from hate crimes. Either you believe in equality for all or you don’t. We do not honor our son by kowtowing to hypocrisy.”

Pierre Delecto = Mitt Romney. We live in strange times.

Yeah, sorry, I’m not making my genetic data public. The credit card analogy falls flat to me – I can get a new credit card if all goes wrong. I can’t get new DNA.

RIP, Michael Galbreth, one half of the legendary Houston conceptual duo the Art Guys.

“We Used to Oppose the Rise of Authoritarianism in Europe”.

“In the end, removing [seatback] screens largely benefits the airlines but not passengers.”

What are you, personally, doing to help America alleviate its critical oversupply of bacon?

RIP, Willie Brown, Hall of Fame cornerback for the Oakland Raiders.

The “He’s too stupid to knowingly commit a crime” defense is always a crowd-pleaser.

The butt-dial heard ’round the world.

Weekend link dump for October 20

“Quiet places have been on the road to extinction at a rate that far exceeds the extinction of species.”

When you’ve lost Matt Drudge

“For young people who have absorbed similar messages in Christian spaces, the redemption of Bathsheba matters very much indeed.”

The 25 worst Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductees ever. I’m sure no one will find any of that the least bit controversial.

“But it’s not necessary. We’re not talking about a broad speech issue. We’re talking about political ads. Facebook doesn’t have to run political ads if the inherent problems are too hard to solve. They’ve even said themselves the money is not significant.”

“How Rudy Giuliani’s epic slide, from crime buster to conspirator, reveals America’s broken windows”.

“The Ironies of Columbus Day”.

“Though the president would later tweet out his support for Giuliani over the weekend, Trump has a long track record for being loyal to and supportive of a longtime associate, friend, or staffer—up until the moment he’s not.”

“I am not part of whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up.”

“But for a percentage of them that is greater than zero, a video about Trump killing politicians and celebrities and journalists they don’t like isn’t a regrettable side-effect of Trump’s presidency. It’s the entire point of Trump’s presidency.”

“Is USA Today’s print edition headed for the sunset as GateHouse and Gannett merge? Signs point to yes.”

“The Trump administration is seeking to denaturalize and deport longtime U.S. citizens, seizing on tiny mistakes in the process and putting the status of every naturalized citizen at potential risk.”

“Jury awards Sandy Hook father $450,000 for defamation by local conspiracy theorist”.

“Has someone ever asked you to refer to them as they instead of he or she? Or, are you hedging because you can’t possibly refer to one single person as they? What if we told you that they has been used to refer to just one person since at least the 1300s?”

President Obama Was Right and Justice Alito Was Wrong“.

“Crude language resists the sanctimony that has degraded and diminished most of our language about morality, turning it into little more than a series of Orwellian euphemisms in service of bullying power-grabs.”

RIP, Rep. Elijah Cummings, chairman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee and longtime civil rights leader.

“Apple has a multibillion-dollar business in China, makes its phones there, and, like other corporations, generally doesn’t want to piss off the country’s leaders. But coming from a company that has fought for civil liberties at home—remember Apple’s stand for user privacy in the face of the FBI’s demand that it unlock the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone?—its actions in Hong Kong are jarring.”

“The report found that injury rates at the Amazon Staten Island distribution center are nearly 3 times the national rate for warehouse workers. Eighteen percent of workers said they’ve been injured on the job. The majority of those injuries were the result of getting caught in, hit by, or otherwise injured by machinery. The second highest cause of injury were cuts, lacerations, and other wounds.”

“One of the many lies of the Trump presidency is the idea that the president is so rich, he can’t be tempted by the conflicts of interests and penny-ante corruption other mere mortals couldn’t resist. This has almost certainly turned out to be the opposite of the truth, never mind Mulvaney’s claim that Trump has never profited from the presidency.”

Weekend link dump for October 13

AirBnB’s Antarctica tour is a bad idea.

The story of Willie Ito, who went from an internment camp to being a Disney animator.

“I don’t know who needs to hear this, but back in the day, when I was a lawyer, over 30 years, I represented 2 high-functioning narcissistic sociopaths. So I know how the endgame is going to be played out: Bail out now, enablers. Quit. Cut your best deal.”

RIP, Ginger Baker, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame drummer from Cream and Blind Faith.

RIP, Rip Taylor, comedian, actor, game show and Gong Show panelist, and host of The $1.98 Beauty Show.

“Sometimes 23andMe unearths family secrets. Sometimes it just makes a mistake.”

The dinosaur skeleton, the creationist documentary, and the bitter dispute over ownership, which involved a Republican Congressman.

There is a scandal in the sport of e-cycling. I did not know there was a sport of e-cycling, much less that there was a scandal in it.

“The company behind the non-partisan news site RealClearPolitics has been secretly running a Facebook page filled with far-right memes and Islamophobic smears“.

“Even With Help From the Air Force, Trump’s Turnberry Resort Remains a Money Pit“.

“The problem of ethical inquiries being stymied by judges leaving their current jobs has reached a crescendo.”

“Maybe read the screen name aloud before you broadcast it to the world.”

“Turning American foreign policy into an episode of The Sopranos isn’t easy. You have a whole bureaucracy that’s used to operating along established channels, and distorting its functions in such a gross fashion sends ripples throughout the system.”

I loved Angel, so reading this story about how it did its main female characters wrong was hard, but necessary. Cordelia, in particular, deserved better.

Honestly, if the Wagatha Christie saga doesn’t restore your faith in a future where we can once again revel in the meaningless petty squabbles involving rich people we’d never heard of before, I don’t know what would.

“Trump starts this impeachment battle — and looks ahead to re-election next year — with 53 percent of the country already against him.”

Good Lord, Bret Stephens is a fragile little hothouse flower. And Dave Karpf is in every way such a better person than he is.

RIP, Robert Forster, actor best known for Jackie Brown.

Weekend link dump for October 6

“In my research, I came across so many doommongering quotes about how texting was ruining the English language, when we obviously now know it as a cultural renaissance in writing that ushered in the new genre of the textolary novel and other kinds of microfiction, not to mention creating now-classic nonfiction formats like the thread. (I drafted this op-ed as a thread myself, as any sensible writer would do, because how else would I stresstest each of my sentences to make sure they were all pithy and vital?)”

“The National Rifle Association acted as a “foreign asset” for Russia in the period leading up to the 2016 election”.

“How the Supreme Court might frustrate the effort to use statutory authority to advance a progressive agenda, and why the next president should follow through anyway”.

“The declines were certainly notable, but some ecologists have begun to question whether the calculus undertaken in the paper truly warranted this sort of language, and the ominous future it seemed to suggest. And those concerns have raised further questions among some scientists—and even some reflection among authors of the paper themselves—about how high-stakes research, the constraints of high-profile journal publishing, and sophisticated publicity can sometimes combine to drive a story into the news cycle while eclipsing important uncertainties, and perhaps even delivering an incomplete message to the public.”

“You know, you’ve got an opinion, I’ve got an opinion.”

“We may not know the identify of the person who came forward to blow the whistle on Trump and Giuliani, but we should celebrate them. And we should take a moment to celebrate Joe Wilson, too, on the occasion of his passing.”

“There’s never been a requirement that a whistleblower have firsthand knowledge of what they’re reporting. They need to have a reasonable belief. The firsthand information is usually gathered by the inspector general, as I believe did occur here.”

“A quid pro quo for purposes of any of these federal statutes can be implicit and need not be provable from one piece of evidence. Rather, investigators look at all of the interactions between the parties, as well as other relevant facts, to determine whether an exchange was solicited, offered or accepted.”

“Which means that—the way that the defense is arguing the case—an intruder and a resident could both shoot at each other, if they both believe they’re in their own homes, and nobody would be committing a crime. It’s a strange law that promotes a kind of lawlessness.”

“Data shows that community-support circles decrease rates of sex-offender recidivism. One program may lead the way when it comes to reintegrating offenders into society.”

RIP, Jessye Norman, renowned opera singer.

“The time is now for more newspapers to use their public platforms to call for Trump to resign. It’s time for news outlets to use their bully pulpits to make the case for a return to the rule of law in the executive branch. And it’s time for newspapers to grow a spine, because yes, scores of dailies used that same public platform to demand that Bill Clinton resign during the impeachment proceedings of the late 1990s.”

“The Rush to Testify is Bad News for the White House”.

“It was as though Richard Nixon in 1972 had gone out on the White House lawn and said, Yes, I authorized the Watergate break-in, and I’d do it again. It was as though Bill Clinton in 1998 had said, Yes, I lied under oath about my affair with Monica Lewinsky, and I’d do it again.”

“Polarization, however, is probably not the root cause of the polling we’re seeing on a possible Trump impeachment. Politics were polarized during Barack Obama’s administration, and not many wanted him impeached and removed. Only 33% of Americans wanted Obama impeached and removed in a July 2014 CNN poll. Most, 65%, didn’t feel that way.”

“Impeachment, in our view, serves more purposes than removal and should proceed without the certainty of a slam-dunk conviction in the Senate. Indeed, the process has more, rather than less, legitimacy if the outcome is not entirely predetermined by partisanship.”

“A newly unearthed letter from 2016 shows that Republican senators pushed for reforms to Ukraine’s prosecutor general’s office and judiciary, echoing calls then-Vice President Joe Biden made at the time.”

“We apologize to anyone that was offended by the Snoop Dogg performance at Late Night.”

RIP, Diahann Carroll, singer and pioneering actor, who was the first African American female to star in a non-stereotypical role in her own primetime network series.