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Weekend link dump for March 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Shadowserver. The Internet needs it.

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

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

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

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

Let Lizzie McGuire be the grownup she would now be.

What is ESPN to do right now?

“Biden Should Pick Warren as VP, Immediately”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Kenny Rogers, country music legend.

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.

Weekend link dump for September 29

What actors are actually doing when it looks like they’re doing cocaine on TV.

“The number of states in the union has been fixed at 50 for so long, few Americans realize that throughout most of our history, the addition of new states from time to time was a normal part of political life. New states were supposed to join the union when they reached a certain population, but in the late 19th century, population mattered a great deal less than partisanship. While McConnell is right to suspect that admitting Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia now would shift the balance in Congress toward the Democrats, the Republican Party has historically taken far more effective advantage of the addition of new states.”

“In any event, whether or not they embrace specific reforms, Democratic presidential candidates and the progressives whose votes they are currently seeking need to make the shape of the federal judiciary a big-time campaign issue for 2020 — much as Trump’s conservative Evangelical backers did in 2016.”

I have watched this many, many times.

“If you wake up on a Casper mattress, hail a Lyft to get to your desk at WeWork, use DoorDash to order lunch to the office, hail another Lyft home, and have Uber Eats bring you dinner, you have spent your entire day interacting with companies that will collectively lose nearly $13 billion this year. Most have never announced, and may never achieve, a profit.”

RIP, Aron Eisenberg, actor best known for playing Nog on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. This roundup of reactions from a wide variety of Trek people is really touching.

Bankrupt the Sacklers. Seriously, take away every penny they earned at Purdue Pharma, and use it to mitigate all the harm they caused.

This is what pretty much every Real Housewife grudgingly says on almost every episode when forced to apologize for bad behavior”.

“This new episode suggests that the President can personally commit the most egregious wrongdoing, clearly impeachable offenses, in full view of his most senior advisors, and we hear nothing about it. We only know about this because of this whistleblower, who is him or herself now being attacked publicly as a Deep State partisan. Could Trump have made financial demands of Gulf monarchies to help his private businesses? Could he have asked Vladimir Putin for election assistance in 2020? Given that the demand on Ukraine was considered acceptable and is now being affirmatively defended, there’s no reason to think that these actions wouldn’t have been deemed acceptable and within the President’s purview as well.”

This flagrant disregard for the law cannot stand. To uphold and defend our Constitution, Congress must determine whether the president was indeed willing to use his power and withhold security assistance funds to persuade a foreign country to assist him in an upcoming election.”

“Despite Republican enabling and Democratic timidity, the hour of the Founders has come around again. There is no place left for anyone to hide, no clever dodge left to employ, nothing left to kick down the road. History accepts no alibis.”

“Asking The Truly Important Questions: Has Legalized Marijuana Increased Junk Food Sales?”

The whole world is trash, so here’s Johann Pachelbel’s Canon in D, performed on rubber chicken. You’re welcome.

Yeah, about that “affirmative action” thing.

“With respect to Ukraine, most of the focus, rightfully, rests on President Donald Trump’s conduct, but the conduct of his attorney Rudolph Giuliani also deserves serious attention. Based on the facts already in the public arena, the Department of Justice has more than enough basis to open a federal criminal investigation into the former New York mayor.”

The last network TV program to win the Best Drama Emmy was 24 in 2006.

“Bribery can be, and often is, committed without pushing anyone to do something they don’t want to do.”

Just another day in Fucknutsville.

RIP, Joseph Wilson, among the first to openly challenge the Iraq War narrative, and husband of Valerie Plame.

RIP, Sandeep Dhalwal, the first Sikh to serve as a Deputy in the Harris County Sheriff’s Office.

“Rudy Giuliani Has a Long, Shady History With Ukraine”.

Weekend link dump for September 22

Gun licensing is a very effective solution to gun violence.

“Why Do We Need Super Accurate Atomic Clocks?”

RIP, Ric Ocasek, guitarist and lead singer for The Cars.

“How Grocery Stores Became A Cultural Flashpoint In The Gun Debate”.

“There is a third type of conversation, and I don’t know how it ends. It’s one about how sports could put, side-by-side with Brown’s, Taylor’s story, and then reflect on how uncomfortable that surely would make all of us feel.”

“That basic story, the framework to most of the classic Scooby-Doo cartoons, has entertained three generations of kids, and today, the franchise is celebrating 50 years since the first episode of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You? aired on CBS, September 13, 1969.”

I like this artist’s interpretation of a modern Scooby gang. The Velma character reminds me a bit of Cosima from Orphan Black. Just don’t read any of the responses in that thread.

“A document Hillary Clinton helped write nearly a half century ago has returned from the dead to threaten the man she couldn’t vanquish in 2016.”

RIP, Cokie Roberts, pioneering journalist who helped shape NPR.

RIP, Carol Lynley, actor best known for The Poseidon Adventure.

“If you, like everyone I know, are endlessly frustrated by the recent deluge of robocalls pitching insurance you would never want–well, you can blame Trump for that, too.”

“Maybe Tennessee has an argument for why this proposal is consistent with the Medicaid statute. I’m all ears. For now, however, I don’t see how to square what Tennessee wants with the language of the law.”

“So here we are, a year later. The wounds are not going to heal. The staying power of the Kavanaugh story—or perhaps the Christine Blasey Ford story, or the Deborah Ramirez story—is how normal it is.”

“The Astros Are About to Set an Unbreakable Record”.

“The weirdly innocent part of the Jerry Falwell Jr. scandal”.

Weekend link dump for September 15

“In 2009, Conservatives Shouted Down Efforts to Confront Right-Wing Threats. We’re Still Dealing With the Consequences.”

“Though it can’t change everything, Walmart’s act is likely to change something. The employees’ response shares the logic of a previous people’s fight, against drunk driving. It’s the primary rule both of social agitation and of social reform: the more micro-changes you make in more places, the more effective the macro-change becomes. Banning the sale of some of the most dangerous kinds of guns and ammunition is just one step. But many steps make long marches.”

“According to data gathered on all fifty states (and D.C.) by the National Federation of State High Schools Association, more girls are playing on boys football teams than ever before. For the 2018-2019 school year 2,404 girls played 11-man tackle football on boys teams at the high school level.”

“We almost filled every swamp and river in the Eastern US with 1.5 ton murderous ornery bulletproof amphibious assault cows. Just breathe that in for a second.”

“We’re not a school; we’re a real estate hedge fund. We’re not educating; we’re buying real estate every year and taking students’ money to do it.”

“The American Meteorological Society fully supports our colleagues at NOAA, who consistently put the safety of the American public first and foremost. They work tirelessly employing state of the art science to keep Americans safe. With respect to the press release that was issued by NOAA on Friday, 6 September, regarding the forecast of Hurricane Dorian, AMS believes the criticism of the Birmingham forecast office is unwarranted; rather they should have been commended for their quick action based on science in clearly communicating the lack of threat to the citizens of Alabama.”

What is minor league baseball for these days?

“As we know, Donald Trump likes to go it alone when it comes to foreign policy. So he pulled the U.S. out of the nuclear weapons agreement with Iran and started a unilateral trade war with China. Now those two countries have deepened their partnership, dealing what might be a fatal blow to any leverage the United States has in dealing with either country.”

“The Threat of a Post-Roe America Is Already Changing How Women Get Abortions”.

“Italy, one of the main locations in Spider-Man: Far From Home, recently erected a statue of Iron Man created by artist Daniele Basso in order to commemorate the hero’s cinematic death.”

“Sure you negotiate with your enemies. But you don’t host Taliban leaders at your historic presidential retreat days after they claimed responsibility for yet another deadly attack in Kabul that killed a U.S. serviceman and 11 others, not to mention the deaths of thousands of their fellow Afghans and U.S. forces over the years.”

“This is the story of 2019, as Trump has replaced institutionalists attempting to curtail his grossest instincts with loyalists happy to indulge them. It is playing out across multiple dimensions. This is the through-line between several seemingly disconnected episodes from the last several days.”

RIP, Daniel Johnston, influential Austin singer-songwriter and artist.

“We’re now considering giving Iran a bailout to get them through the damage caused by our sanctions which we put on them after we tore up a deal the US had agreed to and all to get the Iranians to come back into the deal.”

RIP, Eddie Money, rock and roller.

“It has been by far the longest TV partnership in baseball, but the number of Cubs games left to be broadcast on WGN TV is down to less than a half dozen. After 72 seasons, the last of them is almost over.”

Weekend link dump for September 8

Don’t put non-recyclables in the recycling bin. It does more harm than good.

“Stephens fell victim to the Megyn Kelly Syndrome, the pattern whereby those who were groomed by the peculiar insular culture of right-wing media find it hard to adjust to the norms of the outside world.”

“While discipline is an admirable quality, in my conversations with Mattis I found it exasperating, because I believe that the American people should hear his answer to this question: Is Donald Trump fit for command? He should answer the question well before November 3, 2020.”

And as long as we’re asking, there are a lot of questions about James Mattis’ involvement with Theranos that need to be answered.

“The problem, of course, is that men like Stephens, Will, and Brooks—they are almost uniformly middle-aged or older white men—represent very few people in American civil society. Notably, very few of their kind wind up in elected office.”

Astros fans are well familiar with field reporter Julia Morales, who’s a good follow on Twitter and Instagram if you’re into that sort of thing. In a just world, she’ll get a chance to do play by play one of these days.

“A Response to Rod Rosenstein”.

“Can the world’s advanced democracies please stop electing clowns and grifters now? Things are getting serious.”

I never watched Friends back in the 90’s – I’m not much of a sitcom person, and I wasn’t watching much TV back then anyway – so the revisionist view that it was an awful show doesn’t cause me any stress. And it probably won’t have much effect on the kids today, like my own, who are watching it.

Are you getting spam in your calendar? You can do something about it.

This is all totally normal, nothing authoritarian or anti-democratic about it.

“We may not be any closer to changing the politics of guns in this country. But we’re seeing more clearly what’s going on, and who it benefits. That’s a start.”

“How to Stop Russia From Attacking and Influencing the 2020 Election“. You know, in case that’s a thing you want to do.

“Speaking ill of the dead after a selfish, harmful life, Dickens saw, was essential because it was true and because it demonstrated to those still living such lives the urgency of their need for repentance. It was only because he was granted the grace of hearing the harsh words spoken about him after his own death that Ebenezer Scrooge found a path to redemption.”

“Baseball is America’s pastime, but prices on its China-made gear are about to rise as the trade war escalates. Golf, lacrosse, basketball and other sports will feel the pinch, too.”

The right wing pill pushing industry.

The wheels on the bus go round and round, more efficiently now.

Keep an eye on Georgia this election season.

“Trump doctored a weather chart and ordered a rear admiral to release a statement backing up his falsehoods. The NOAA also jumped to Trump’s defense, and the White House won’t say if they engineered it. By my count, something like this has happened at least 7 times.”

Weekend link dump for September 1

How to reshape the federal judiciary for the better.

What the ginormous coconut crabs may have to do with Amelia Earhart.

“Trump’s haphazard style of governance forces journalists, lawyers, and government officials to expend innumerable hours on doomed initiatives and errant tweets. His corrosive effect on American politics forces Americans to devote far more hours of their life to thinking about him than they should.”

“Pastor Mark is basically Martin Niemöller ca. 1924.”

“This raises a question: Are members of the news media tiptoeing around obvious questions about Trump’s instability? What do the daily lies, distortions and contradictions add up to?”

“It’s almost as if we need a recalibration of the insanity of the Trump era, a new set of definitions about what comprises normal presidential behavior.”

“Separate instructive episodes stretch from 2003 to 2018 and involve three major American media outlets — Vanity Fair, ABC News and The New York Times. And taken together, they may help illuminate [Jeffrey] Epstein’s drive to avoid tough journalistic scrutiny and the media’s reluctance to take the story on.”

“Must we celebrate David Koch’s bountiful donations to public institutions, even if we dislike how the duo have pushed the Republican Party (and America as a whole) to the right? Not at all. The Koch brothers’ bad deeds outweigh their public service. Besides, plutocratic philanthropy is a wretched social model.”

Altagracia Alvino, mother of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero and grandmother of Vlad Guerrero, Jr., is a mensch.

“For everyone involved in the Penn leadership: This isn’t a matter of academic freedom anymore. This is not an academic. This woman is just using the title you afford her to vent her decidedly unacademic views. It’s time to cut her off. Every day she keeps that title, she degrades the institution.”

“A subreddit’s descent into hate can be fairly reliably predicted.”

“And he apparently spends his Monday nights searching his name, not his handle, but his name on social media so he can lash out at people that have less power than him that say mean things about him. That means, A, he doesn’t understand the Streisand effect. Strategically, that’s dumb. But, B, it also means that he thinks by virtue of the power and privilege he has at the New York Times, he thinks by virtue of that that other people shouldn’t be allowed to criticize him.”

“But here’s what still bothers me as this strange episode recedes from the news cycle: Bret Stephens seems to think that his social status should render him immune from criticism from people like me. I think that the rewards of his social status come with an understanding that lesser-known people will say mean things about him online.”

RIP, Jessi Combs, racer, fabricator, and television personality. If you’re a Mythbusters fan, she was the pinch hitter for Kari Byron when Kari went on maternity leave.

RIP, Dr. Alfonso Chiscano, surgeon and champion of Canary Islands cultural heritage.

How did you celebrate Tan Suit Day?

“If anybody can spot (and ultimately exploit) inefficiencies in the grifting market it’s these guys. This is the political equivalent of the shorts moving in.”

“Turns out that was what he needed. He stood up a little straighter and then, with both of us slightly embarrassed in the aftermath of something unexpectedly holy, I loaded him up with some Big Gator refills and a jug of Pine Sol and sent him on his way.”

RIP, Lila Cockrell, first female Mayor of San Antonio and the first woman elected Mayor of any of America’s ten largest cities.

“It is astonishing to me that someone who apparently had that kind of contempt for Trump that late in the game got such a position. How is that possible? I really don’t know. But I think as a general matter it suggests something we probably already know: that the White House is filled with people who know Trump has no business being President. But he is President. So they don’t care. But since the relationship is purely transactional these kinds of betrayals are commonplace.”

RIP, Valerie Harper, Emmy-winning actress best known as Rhoda on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and her eponymous sitcom.

Weekend link dump for August 25

“Kids, in our school, you’re always #1!”

“As many as 32,000 women get pregnant through rape every year, and at least one-third decide to raise the baby instead of getting an abortion or choosing adoption. But because more than a third of all states do not terminate an assailant’s custody rights unless he’s been convicted of felony sexual assault, the women who make that choice can be forced to co-parent with their rapist. Even in states that make it easier to deny rapists’ parental rights, loopholes abound, and prosecutors and judges have broad discretion in these cases.”

“Under the cover of night, he comes. TV Man, who swans into Virginia neighborhoods with the face of a TV and gifts to give that are also TVs. What? Why? These are the questions we mere mortals are left to ponder.”

Place-based visas could help America’s declining cities.”

Breaking news: Legal weed is linked to higher junk-food sales.

RIP, Cedric Benson, star running back in the NFL and for the University of Texas.

“There is no such thing as an “underage woman.” Underage women are girls.”

RIP, Jack Whitaker, Hall of Fame broadcaster who called Super Bowl I and Secretariat’s Triple Crown triumph.

“An Ebola Doctor Explains the Good News and Bad News of the New Treatment Breakthrough”.

“Recent polling shows that Donald Trump has managed to reshape American attitudes to a remarkable extent on a trio of his key issues—race, immigration, and trade. There’s just one catch: The public is turning against Trump’s views.”

“Life is not a ledger. Your sins can’t be paid off through good deeds. Your good deeds are not cancelled by your sins. Your sins and your good deeds live alongside one another. They coexist in superposition.”

“Paul Ryan, Already Tired of the Boring Heartland and Its Dumb Values, Is Moving Back to the Beltway”.

I can’t offer a pithy summary of this story about The Epoch Times, a media outlet closely tied to Falun Gong, a Chinese spiritual community with the stated goal of taking down China’s government. It’s also now very loudly pro-Trump and is spending a crapload of money on Facebook ads. Go read it.

“As current and former elected prosecutors, law enforcement leaders, former senior Department of Justice officials, and former judicial leaders, we took an oath to defend the Constitution, seek the truth and uphold justice. We also understand and embrace our vitally important role in promoting the safety and well-being of our communities. That is why we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the deeply concerning remarks made by U.S. Attorney General William Barr to the Fraternal Order of Police on August 12, 2019.”

Why Facebook or Netflix may be forcing you to reset your password.

“FIFA is already setting up the 2023 Women’s World Cup for failure”.

“Stop Posting This Facebook/Instagram Privacy Notice — Your Pseudo-Legalese Means NOTHING!”

“A brief history of the 19 girls who have played in the Little League World Series”.

Weekend link dump for August 18

The “Bin Laden” bill is finally going out of circulation.

“A multibillion-dollar business that embraces advanced technology and cherishes precision, Major League Baseball would prefer not to need an oozy substance harvested by one family in a secret location along the Delaware River. But for decades it has, and that won’t change anytime soon.”

Leaders of the “religious right” continue to be a bunch of fatuous, immoral troglodytes.

A Charlie Pierce article about the awfulness of NFL owners is a joy forever.

“As we’ve seen both before his election and since, Trump is a minority candidate, essentially a factional leader, who has incredibly durable support of between 35% and 45% of the population. He really, really needs the presence of spoiler candidates to pull the contest down into the mid-40s where it was in 2016. I’d never say never. But I think there’s a good argument that a significant third party/spoiler candidacy – or ideally more than one – are the necessary predicate of Trump’s reelection.”

“While the idea of breaking the United States into separate racial territories is, of course, ludicrous, it doesn’t come without an audience. And if anything, that audience is growing, with flames fanned by actors both foreign and domestic. American state fracture — breaking up the country, outright — has gained increasing credence among the far-right over the past few years. And with last weekend’s terrorist attack, the domestic push to dissolve the United States outright entered a new phase — one whose end remains unclear.”

My kids loved Legos when they were younger. They love watching Friends now. I am not going to tell them that a Friends-themed Lego set is a thing you can buy now.

“By now, Trump’s party in Congress, the members of his Cabinet, and even his White House entourage all tacitly agree that Trump’s occupancy of the office held by Washington, Lincoln, FDR, and Eisenhower must be a bizarre cosmic joke, not to be taken seriously.”

Tumblr has been sold again, but there are no plans for the naughty pictures to come back.

“That weirdly reduced notion of blasphemy is, itself, a kind of blasphemy. It allows white evangelicals to chant white supremacist slogans at a rally for a white supremacist president and to imagine that’s all hunky dory just as long as they don’t cuss while doing so.”

“By its very definition, white privilege is the ability to film yourself conducting a “social experiment” with military-grade weapons at the same store where a mass shooting just happened, without being shot dead in your tracks.”

That bizarre story about the Harvard law professor and the women who allegedly sex-scammed him has gotten even more bizarre.

“A guide to driving in America from a hapless Brit.”

“Our galaxy’s black hole suddenly flashed a bright light — and scientists don’t know exactly why”.

“It’s not perplexing to me that Christians have a multitude of beliefs that don’t all come together as a uniform and internally logical system. But I do notice what is negotiable and what is not. With evangelicals, not much is supposed to be negotiable, but it turns out that the truth is almost the complete opposite. You can be the worst, most disrespectful person towards the actual tenets of the faith so long as you insult and belittle the people who don’t share the faith.”

“There have been hundreds of articles and broadcast stories since the attack in El Paso, reporting with depth and compassion about this moment. But the banner headlines and the segments at the top of newscasts reflect the value editors assign to aspects of a story. The front page still speaks volumes. The top story in a broadcast signals to the audience which topics matter most. And despite the fact that the attacker purposefully targeted Latinos, that is not what most outlets chose to emphasize.”

“If Trump were correct that China pays the entirety of his tariffs, as he has repeatedly claimed, why would the commerce secretary say the decision to delay tariffs was made to protect U.S. consumers for holiday shopping?”

“Trump has never been a reasonable man, but for two years, he has gotten worse. He literally cannot tell the truth from a lie, he often seems completely unable to comprehend even basic information, and he flies off the handle in ways that would make most of us take our children to a pediatrician for evaluation.”

Serena Williams versus drones. What more do you need?

The world is terrible, but there’s a new John Coltrane album, so at least we’ve got that going for us.

“NO-ONE COULD HAVE PREDICTED THIS: unintended yet entirely foreseeable results of boneheaded trade policy.”

RIP, Richard Williams, animator best known for Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

RIP, Peter Fonda, actor best known for Easy Rider, son of Henry and brother of Jane.

Weekend link dump for August 11

What lawyers can learn about criminal liability from Beavis and Butthead“.

Phree the Phanatic!

What “doing life together” really means.

More than you wanted to know about the spinning wheels used on game shows.

Reconsidering Tracy Flick, the actual heroine of the movie Election.

The candidate for president was seething with disdain for a large swath of Real Americans. The candidate scoffed at their suffering. The candidate oozed with haughty superciliousness as he wrote off all those Americans as unworthy of concern or outreach. All the while, the candidate’s audience, cloistered in their bubble, insulated from those Americans and their travails, tittered with glee.”

“There are several bipartisan election-security bills in the Senate, and McConnell is blocking every single one of them.”

“But, although these Republicans probably don’t know it, there is a clear and obvious connection between video games, white nationalist terrorism, and the image board where the El Paso shooter posted his manifesto. That connection is Gamergate, the campaign of misogynistic harassment by aggrieved gamers that began in 2014, and which moved to 8chan from 4chan when the latter refused to allow Gamergaters to use that board for coordinated harassment campaigns and doxing.”

RIP, Cliff Branch, three time Super Bowl champion with the Oakland Raiders.

“To put that in the form of a question, what *good* do incitement standards, as we currently have them, do for the people most likely to be the victims of the kind of racial violence black people have known in this country for 400 years?”

Keep it classy, Mitch.

RIP, Toni Morrison, Pulitzer and Nobel-winning author and novelist.

My in-laws are great. Not everyone’s are. This woman’s in-laws are The Very Worst.

“There must always be room in politics for uncivil, intemperate, even vitriolic language. But justifying or glorifying political violence is different. Most politicians do not encourage their supporters to shoot people, as Trump did in Florida in May. Trump’s repeated invocations of redemptive political violence are what grants him a measure of responsibility when those who take his rhetoric seriously decide to engage in such violence. Neither the left nor the right has a monopoly on acts of political violence, but there is no leader on the left who delights in it and encourages it the way Trump does. At least three times now, men convicted of planning or carrying out violent crimes targeting individuals or communities singled out by Trump have cited the president as inspiration by name.”

“To paraphrase Elizabeth Warren from last week’s debate, why talk about what we can’t do? More to the point, why talk about things that this isn’t about? If a guy drives about nine hours from Dallas to El Paso to murder 20 people, and then we lay blame for that on immigration, we buy into his framing. No, the root causes of these actions are almost always threefold: easy access to guns, adherence to white-supremacist ideology, and a history of misogyny and associated violence. We already see all three threads running through the Gilroy, El Paso, and Dayton shootings, to varying degrees — and that is before much investigation has taken place.”

You had one job.

Weekend link dump for August 4

Is the classic movie Airplane! now problematic?

“The 69 Best Alternative Rock Songs of 1999″. I probably know more of these songs than I can recognize just from the titles.

Better to have a few rats than to be one“.

“NASA is planning to blast New Mexico chile pepper plants out of the Earth’s atmosphere in March 2020 and grow the fruiting blooms on the International Space Station. Researchers hope it will lead to improved meals for astronauts, as well as a deeper understanding of how to someday grow food on the moon and Mars.”

“But not until I made the biggest mistake of my professional life could I really relate.”

“It’s more accurate to say Trump’s racism and narcissism are both facets of his desire to rule like a feudal lord. If we see Trump as a would-be baron or an aspiring king, then his varied reaction to people of color makes sense: He loves those who pledge loyalty to him and hates those who defy him in any way.”

More than you wanted to know about Alan Dershowitz.

Feral hogs are now a European problem, too.

Some details about that Capital One data theft.

Shooting Bullets At Asteroids is the name of my next album.

RIP, Nick Buoniconti, Hall of Fame linebacker for the Miami Dolphins.

Donald Trump? Never heard of him.

“In this scenario, these goobs just latched onto Denhollander because she’s an outspoken woman and therefore must, in their view, be Bad, and they chose to make her their emblem of demonic opposition to their One True Faith without having any clue as to who she is or what she’s done because, as a rule, they never ever listen to the substance of what any outspoken woman is actually saying and because their stunted, carefully curated media diet does not include Time or Sports Illustrated or legitimate news sources of any kind and the tiny epistemic bubble of Fox/Breitbart/Christian talk radio they rely on never covered the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal and it apparently only registers in their little misogynist reptile stimulus-response mechanism brains as having something to do with #MeToo and therefore with feminism and therefore with the worst and scariest threat they can imagine. And that is the best possible explanation for this.”

“Nationally, hate crimes have been rising across most groups in recent years after bottoming in 2014″.

“This Senate inaction brings to mind Albert Einstein’s infamous definition of insanity as repeating the same behavior but expecting a different outcome. With no beefing up of election defenses and high odds of continuing foreign interference, 2020 will likely see the same problems of 2016: campaigns that sow discontent and play on societal divisions, active efforts to undermine electoral legitimacy, and widespread public doubts following the campaign about the integrity of the election process itself. Americans will wake up on Wednesday, November 4, 2020 wondering how the U.S. electoral process again fell prey to foreign interference and why political leaders failed to defend our vital democratic processes.”

We have a gun problem. We have a white supremacy problem. They are increasingly intertwined, and we need to respond to each of them legislatively and culturally, without fear or intimidation.”