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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.”

Weekend link dump for July 28

“The Zero for Zeros campaign is asking companies with pro-equality records to stop bankrolling the fiercest opponents of equality.”

This is the best Twitter thread I’ve ever read about the Kodak corporation, the International Fixed calendar, and nuclear bombs.

“As far as we know, this is the first time that women’s baseball data has been collected in a capacity that is similar to that of the information made available on players in Major League Baseball.”

“The time for excuses is over. A lot of voters who cast their ballots for Trump in 2016 soured on him and voted for Democrats in 2018 to keep him in check. Voting for Trump once is forgivable. People make mistakes and have flights of fancy and errors in judgment. But if you still back Trump now in July of 2019, knowing what he is, knowing what kind of people you’re aligned with, that’s not on the opposition party–no matter how poorly or well it may be run, no matter how stodgy or populist it may be. That’s not on any politician or group. That’s on you. You’re responsible for every ugly word out of his mouth, and out of the mouths of all the Republican politicians protecting him. You have to own that. Your motives don’t matter.”

If you order food from DoorDash, tip the delivery person in cash, please.

“In a massive new analysis of findings from 277 clinical trials using 24 different interventions, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have found that almost all vitamin, mineral and other nutrient supplements or diets cannot be linked to longer life or protection from heart disease.”

Don’t use browser extensions. Like, go remove them now.

Revisiting the Al Franken saga. Very worth your time to read.

Here’s a counterpoint to the above.

“Josh Harris, the author of a wildly popular manifesto on abstinence before marriage, is separating from his wife—and reevaluating his legacy.”

RIP, Chris Kraft, NASA flight director and architect of the space program.

RIP, Mark Kleiman, criminologist and blogger.

“After Mueller testifies, the House should consider transmitting Barr’s multiple testimonies to the Justice Department, and since Barr cannot investigate himself, call for a special counsel to do so.”

RIP, Art Neville, “Poppa Funk”, New Orleans music legend.

RIP, Rutger Hauer. movie star probably best known for Blade Runner.

“The Oral History of Revenge of the Nerds“.

“A federal judge on Friday dismissed a $250 defamation million lawsuit filed by Nicholas Sandmann, the Covington Catholic High School student whose video confrontation with a Native American man at the January Indigenous Peoples March in Washington, DC sparked a firestorm of controversy.”

RIP, Russi Taylor, voice of Minnie Mouse and many other animated characters.

Weekend link dump for July 21

How the Atlanta Braves wound up in the original NL West.

“Unlike immigrants, natural-born citizens such as Carlson are neither screened nor forced to pass a citizenship test nor made to swear an oath. And when they stray from the American way, no one thinks to tell them that they’re failing to assimilate.”

Wishing Bob Gibson all the best.

“Given this puzzling set of data points, the hedge-fund managers we spoke to leaned toward the theory that Epstein was running a blackmail scheme under the cover of a hedge fund.”

So maybe cord cutting isn’t quite as attractive now.

Screw Julian Assange, now and forever.

Some giant jellyfish news for you.

RIP, John Paul Stevens, former Supreme Court justice.

RIP, Dr. Edith Irby Jones, doctor who pioneered desegregation in Southern medical education and Houston health care for those without access.

“In fact, if all members of Congress were made to “go back” to the countries from which their families originated, as Trump suggested for the Democratic congresswomen, there would be four members left. That’s the number of Native Americans currently serving.”

“8 Charts on How Americans Use Air Conditioning“.

“Christianity is a very visible part of the USWNT. So too, however, is support of the LGBTQ community. Multiple members of the team are open about being in same-sex relationships — including head coach Jill Ellis, co-captain Megan Rapinoe, Harris, Krieger, Tierna Davidson, Adriana Franch, and Kelley O’Hara. And a large portion of the fan base in women’s soccer is LGBTQ as well. When Hinkle refused to even put on a jersey with rainbow-colored numbers on it, it was a clear rejection of the very humanity of the queer community. That isn’t faith. That’s hate.”

“The numbers simply do not lie. America, as a whole, and swing states, in particular, are growing more diverse, more quickly. There is no way Republicans can change birth rates or curb this trend — and there’s not a single demographic megatrend that favors Republicans.”

RIP, Pumpsie Green, first black player for the Boston Red Sox, the last MLB team to integrate.

Rot in hell.

“The Forgotten All-Star Game That Helped Integrate Baseball”.

Weekend link dump for July 14

“Cockroaches developing resistance to multiple classes of insecticides at once will make controlling these pests almost impossible with chemicals alone.”

Eh, who cares about honeybees, anyway?

“The sport should be so much further along by now; these women should be making so much more money; and these women shouldn’t have to fight so hard just to prove that they’re worthy of a modicum of the investment and attention that male athletes get simply because they’re men.”

RIP, Joao Gilberto, musician and composer and the father of bossa nova.

Megan Rapinoe is a mensch.

“But, finally, it looks like justice will be served to [Jeffrey] Epstein in the form of new sex-trafficking charges filed by the formidable U.S. Attorney’s Office in the Southern District of New York.”

In case it’s unclear: Fuck Jeffrey Epstein, and fuck everyone who may have abetted him.

“[T]his team is a reminder of the best of the American ethos—the promise of ever-expanding equality, the spirit of reform that yielded Title IX and laid the basis for American female soccer supremacy, the carnival of individuality that is the team’s roster. At a time of despair, the players represent a form of not-so-utopian hope: how a community of different backgrounds and sexual orientations relates to one another with familiar affection.”

John Roberts and Donald Trump deserve each other. The rest of us, not so much.

“At its most fundamental level, the backlash wasn’t about New Coke at all. It was a revolt against the idea of change. That story should sound familiar. We’re still living it.”

RIP, H. Ross Perot, billionaire and two-time Presidential candidate. I like this obituary for him better.

How Did Jeffrey Epstein Make His Fortune?” We may find out thanks to the current investigation.

“No one seems to have a clear idea of where Jeffrey Epstein’s money comes from.”

RIP, Rip Torn, versatile actor best known for The Larry Sanders Show.

“This is an old game at this point, but it’s impossible to dodge. Let us pretend, for a moment, that, let’s say, President Jimmy Carter owned a private club discovered to be hosting stripper golf caddy services. Let us imagine President Bill Clinton, during his first years in office, had a side business that dabbled in the occasional stripper auction. Let your mind wander over the response President Barack Obama, the subject of frothing outrage for the school he attended when he was but 6 years old, was as president making a few extra dollars pairing wealthy golfers with the nude dancers of their choosing. The Republican Party would, to use the scientific term for these things, have gone apeshit.”

Selig is lying when he said he had no idea about PEDs in baseball during the McGwire-Sosa chase. He is lying when he said he became aware of it in the years in between that and Bonds’ final pursuit of Aaron. He wants our sympathy for how saddened he was by Bonds’ PED-aided accomplishments yet says absolutely nothing — zero — about why he failed to act until bad press, Congressional pressure, a couple of books which put the game in a bad light and public opinion forced him to do so.”

RIP, Jim Bouton, former MLB pitcher and author of Ball Four.

The two word reason why the Trump executive order on the Census must fail.

Some questions for Alex Acosta.

RIP, Denise Nickerson, actor who played Violet Beauregard in the original Willy Wonka movie.

Weekend link dump for July 7

“Does anyone doubt that despite his seemingly good-faith call for Congress to eliminate gerrymandering, that any kind of national law seeking to overturn the practice would make its way back to the Roberts Court? Does anyone trust this court to do the right thing?”

“It has felt impossible, in the Trump era, to hope even for a second that our governing systems will operate on any standard of morality. What we have instead is a standard of consistency. If the President had ever convincingly espoused ideas of respect for people who are not like him, or of equal rights for women, it’s possible that he would be held accountable for his actions. Instead, he promised mass campaigns of cruelty against undocumented immigrants, and he is delivering. He said that he grabbed women by the pussy, and many women—twenty-two, so far—explained that, yes, he did that, or something like it, to them.”

Working Through Postpartum Depression While Working in Baseball”.

“Is this progress? Is this the future of cinema? Is this preferable to the days when a Wild Wild West–caliber turd had to languish in multiplexes for weeks on end, exposed as the indefensible flop it obviously was?”

The end times aren’t what they used to be.

The Yankees didn’t just win the two games in London, they won the all-important Baby Archie team onesie battle, too.

“ThinkProgress, the flagship news site of the Democratic think tank Center for American Progress, is up for sale.” I hope they find a good buyer, and soon.

How should we keep track of time in space?

“But it turns out that conservatives find it pretty exciting to be in power.”

We are running out of sand. No, what’s in the desert doesn’t count because it isn’t useful for the things we actually use sand for.

Sue Bird is a mensch. So is her girlfriend, Megan Rapinoe.

Three words: Giant prehistoric ostrich. You’re welcome.

“Historically, as in Jones’ case, personhood has been used in one direction, Goodwin notes: defining a fetus’s rights broadly when it comes to regulating women’s bodies and doing so loosely otherwise.”

RIP, Milton Quon, Disney animator who worked on Fantasia and Dumbo.

RIP, Lee Iacocca, automaker who headed Ford and Chrysler.

RIP, Arte Johnson, comedian and actor best known for Laugh In.

“One if by Land. Two if by Sea. Three if by the Delta Shuttle from LaGuardia.”

You should read what Mark Evanier has to say about the apparent demise of MAD Magazine. All I can say is that like many children of the 70’s, MAD shaped my sense of humor in profound ways.

RIP, Cameron Boyce, Disney channel star.

Weekend link dump for June 30

Facebook content moderator is not a job you want.

“How scout Noelle Needham and superstar Hayley Wickenheiser are smashing hockey‘s glass ceiling”.

“Though the number of people who are ideologically opposed to vaccination is vanishingly small (1 to 2 percent, according to research), significantly more state that they have “serious concerns” about vaccination — it’s this group that most worries public-health experts.”

“We know that misinformation gets plenty of engagement on Facebook. But how does the reach of corresponding fact checks compare?”

“And as long as the Democrats—presidential candidates, Senate candidates, House Democrats, whomever—run around acting like Mitch McConnell isn’t a huge impediment to progress in this country, in his way a bigger one than President Trump, and not calling him out as the one-man Berlin Wall of reaction that he is, they’re wasting everyone’s time.”

“my post-art plan is opening a grilled cheese cart. it will serve $1 grilled cheese made with white bread, bulk cheese, bulk butter, and thats it. greasy as hell. no options, no artisan, nothing. there will be no change. you give me $5 youre getting 5, you figure your own life out.”

“The massive trove, and the story behind it, sheds light on the slap-dash way President Trump filled his cabinet and administration, and foreshadowed future scandals that beset his government.”

Important giant squid news.

Yeah, there’s basically no way the Tampa Bay Rays could play half of their games in Montreal.

“[T]he simplest and most straightforward explanation makes the most sense. Maybe the cruelty, far from being the point, is actually beside the point. Maybe the administration, from the president on down to detention center guards, doesn’t care one bit about the health and well-being of the children in its care. Maybe it views them as a nuisance, as an irritant, as a matter of relative moral indifference.”

“To all of the excuses for our lack of interest — that this was more than 20 years ago, that her motives have been compromised by her commercial interest in selling her book and, my personal favorite, that she should have come forward last year, at the #MeToo moment deemed appropriate by those who’ve never had to learn the hard way that whenever a woman comes forward is somehow the wrong moment — I have one question: If this had been alleged of any of Trump’s potential 2020 rivals, in either party, would the coverage and public response be so meek and measured?”

“An Alabama woman who was shot in the stomach while pregnant has been indicted and charged with manslaughter for the death of the fetus. Charges against the shooter have been dismissed.” And some people wonder where those Handmaid’s Tale protests come from.

RIP, Lonn Taylor, writer, historian, curator, raconteur.

Sad news: Finland’s public radio’s weekly Latin news bulletin has gone off the air.

Weekend link dump for June 23

The day the music burned.

“The widespread adoption of renewable energy technologies creates employment opportunities up and down the supply chain. Worldwide, the sector employed 11 million people at the end of 2018, according to this sixth edition of the Renewable Energy and Jobs series.”

“The Secret History of ‘Vampire’s Kiss,’ the Craziest Nicolas Cage Movie of All Time”.

RIP, Gloria Vanderbilt, fashion designer, socialite, artist, and mother of Anderson Cooper. (Warning: autoplay video)

A prequel to The Hunger Games will be published next year. Expect a movie to follow.

Great, now I have to worry about black holes disappearing.

“When comparing the 2016 presidential election to 2018 House races, the biggest increase of support for Democrats came not in the suburbs (which received the most attention) but in rural areas.”

Don’t like your lousy polling numbers? Fire your pollsters. Problem solved!

From the Couldn’t Have Happened To A Nicer Guy department.

Facebook’s “cryptocurrnecy” makes no sense, except to Facebook.

How Long Must We Keep A Straight Face?”

“This willingness to eschew democracy in favor of authoritarianism was forecast by Zachary Roth before Trump’s election.”

I hope the Newtown families take these assholes for every penny they have.

“Headlines have warned about a coming ratpoclaypse driven by climate change. But there isn’t a lot of research to back these warnings up. Part of the reason is that it’s hard to predict what rats will do, because it’s harder than you’d think to study what rats are doing right now.”

Is your kid’s cellphone causing them to grow horns? Well, probably not. But it’s a hell of a question.

“This is not just a problem for Major League Baseball, this is a problem for humans. But when a person in the public eye, like a baseball player, is charged with domestic violence, it’s an opportunity to put a spotlight on something that affects a staggering percentage of the population.”

How Donald Trump is trying to make it harder for Americans abroad, including active military members, to vote.

RIP, Molly O’Neill, author and food critic, sister of former Yankees star Paul O’Neill.

Everything I Learned While Getting Kicked out of America’s Biggest Anti-Vaccine Conference“. One of the more dsturbing and disheartening things I’ve read recently.

“The problem isn’t that it’s unbelievable. The problem is that his base doesn’t care.”

Weekend link dump for June 16

You don’t bring me flowers any more.

“That means Border Patrol can perform traffic stops and searches (on both private vehicles and Greyhound buses) not just in El Paso, but also in cities like Philadelphia, Portland, and Chicago.”

“The Internet is a costume party in which everyone comes dressed in an opinion, or rather dozens of them or an endless array, one right after another. An opinion is, traditionally or at least ideally, a conclusion reached after weighing the evidence, but that takes time and so people are dashing about in sloppy, ill-formed opinions or rather snap judgments which are to well-formed opinions what trash bags are to evening gowns. If opinions were like clothes, this would just be awkward, but opinions are also like votes. They shape the discourse and eventually the reality of the world we live in. Journalists used to say that everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not their own facts, but opinions are supposed to be based on facts and when the facts are wrong or distorted or weaponized, trouble sets in.”

“How an African-American psychiatrist helped design a groundbreaking television show as a radical therapeutic tool for helping minority preschoolers.”

“In one sense Carlson and Caputo are right, those people are rarely charged, much less go to jail. But that is a perfect example of how our criminal justice system stacks the deck—by going after poor people and giving the rich a pass. So spare me your crocodile tears for Manafort.”

Get well soon, David Ortiz

“Alabama is one of two states with no statute terminating parental rights for a person found to have conceived the child by rape or incest, a fact that has gained fresh relevance since its lawmakers adopted the nation’s strictest abortion ban in May.”

RIP, Richard Stephen Shaw, a/k/a Bushwick Bill, rapper with the Geto Boys.

RIP, Bill Wittliff, Lonesome Dove screenwriter and co-founder of a popular archive for Texas writers and artists.

It’s like Mitch McConnell wants Russia to screw with the 2020 election.

We found “Snoopy”.

Please don’t visit Chernobyl.

Congratulations to Lindsay Gottlieb, the newest assistant coach for the Cleveland Cavaliers.

“If Ted Cruz really wants birth control to be over the counter, here’s the bill for it”.

“Let me make something 100% clear to the American public and anyone running for public office. It is illegal for any person to solicit, accept, or receive anything of value from a foreign national in connection with a U.S. election. This is not a novel concept.”

“Voting rights group say they have found even more evidence connecting a now-deceased GOP gerrymandering consultant to the Trump administration’s push to add a citizenship question to the census.”

Weekend link dump for June 9

How to Travel at (Nearly) the Speed of Light“.

“Every year, thousands of women suffer life-altering injuries or die during childbirth because hospitals and medical workers skip safety practices known to head off disaster”.

“To recycling experts, the shift could prompt a reckoning for plastics recycling. They hope the pressure from Asia will lead to a new understanding of what can be recycled and what can’t. What’s ultimately needed, they say, is a reduction in the production and consumption of low-grade, single-use plastics.”

A list of TV shows that were cancelled for dumb reasons. The Police Squad! reason is especially mind-boggling.

“Russian Twitter trolls have attempted to fuel the anti-vaccination debate in the U.S., posting about the issue far more than the average Twitter user last year, a study out of George Washington University has found.”

“White supremacists, misogynists, and anti-Semites see the ancient Mediterranean as a touchstone. Would a better sense of history change their minds?”

RIP, Leah Chase, prominent New Orleans chef and civil rights activist.

Possibly the greatest live shot in TV news history.

“The census case is not ultimately about administrative procedure; it is, more fundamentally, about whether the Trump administration can use the federal government for the explicit purpose of increasing white political power.”

“Across the country, in every state, great numbers of these specially nurtured children remain unvaccinated. Apart from certain religious or ethnic groups particular to certain geographic regions — pockets of the ultra-Orthodox in Brooklyn and Rockland, say, or pockets of the survivalist right — Waldorf kids have some of the lowest vaccination rates in America.”

“Reproductive control info and items were EVERYWHERE in early and antebellum America – newspaper ads, the lecture circuit, moral physiology books, almanacs, book and news stands, druggists, you name it.”

RIP, Dr. John, Rock and Roll Hall of Famer and New Orleans institution.

RIP, Herb Sandler, one of the main funders of ProPublica.

“In other words, they are against tariffs—except when Trump imposes them. Which strikes me as a perfect rationale for this political moment. They are also presumably against stonewalling investigators, refusing to comply with congressional subpoenas, shutting down the government, running up the national debt, labelling close American allies national-security threats, and praising dictators—except when Trump does it. So far, this has been the story of the Republican Senate in the Trump era and, indeed, of the national G.O.P. At a time when no one is really sure anymore just what constitutes Republican ideology, you could do worse than to call it the Except-When-Trump-Does-It Party.”

Weekend link dump for June 2

Trump administration officials as Blazing Saddles characters.

“I therefore charted the ratio of minimum coach seat width to the proportion of U.S. adults who are overweight. At the risk of being cheeky, I label this variable the Airline Seat Size to Passenger Heftiness Index Tracker (ASSPHIT), which reveals a startling 36% decline in posterior comfort over the past three decades.”

“Experts say these shooters crave attention and want to spread fear among those they feel have slighted them, and each incel shooting might inspire future acts of mass gun violence. ”

On the subliminal sex messages of animated Disney movies.

Rural counties are doing better than you might think.

RIP, Bart Starr, Hall of Fame quarterback for the Green Bay Packers.

RIP, Bill Buckner, All Star first baseman best known for his error in the 1986 World Series.

“Amazon is reportedly back in the market for office space in New York City, which, if true, is a sweet bit of vindication for critics of the company’s whole HQ2 fracas.”

“With future of women’s hockey uncertain, athletes launch Players Association amid boycott”.

What Pawn Stars got wrong about Mad magazine’s history.

“Shorter Mueller: if Trump were not president, he would have been charged with the crime of obstructing justice.”

RIP, Leon Redbone, versatile singer-songwriter.

RIP, Claus von Bulow, protagonist of one of the more sensational murder trials of the 1980s.

What that new college diploma of yours allows you to do.

“Ten years ago [Friday], George Tiller, a Kansas abortion provider, was handing out the bulletin in his longtime church when he was shot and killed. On May 31, 2009, he became the eighth abortion provider to be murdered by antiabortion terrorists. A decade later, his legacy is under dire and escalating threat.”

Stratolaunch fails to launch.

Weekend link dump for May 26

“[N]one of the people who submit grievances to the form will have their accounts restored or content promoted. They won’t get explanations for why social media isn’t working the way they think it should, and they almost certainly won’t get satisfying regulation out of their complaints. Instead, they’ll be advertised to about Trump — and whatever else the Trump campaign uses the list for — for the rest of their digital lives, on the very platforms they feel completely alienated from.”

“Escaped pet parrots are now naturalized in 23 US states, study finds”.

Clarence Thomas should be required to recuse himself from all voting rights cases for the rest of his term on SCOTUS.

“In the end, then, we have an old story: basically a Ponzi scheme enabled by lots of money sloshing around and a lack of regulation from the people who should have been protecting the victims. The story about Uber and Lyft is mostly just a fairy tale invented to hide what really happened.”

A thread about the smallpox vaccine, on the 270th birthday of Edward Jenner. (Warning: first post contains a disturbing photo of a child with smallpox.)

“Yet Romania’s prohibition of the procedure was disproportionately felt by low-income women and disadvantaged groups, which abortion-rights advocates in the United States fear would happen if the Alabama law came into force. As a last resort, many Romanian women turned to home and back-alley abortions, and by 1989, an estimated 10,000 women had died as a result of unsafe procedures. The real number of deaths might have been much higher, as women who sought abortions and those who helped them faced years of imprisonment if caught. Maternal mortality skyrocketed, doubling between 1965 and 1989.”

“For both women who abort their pregnancies and women who consider adoption, abortion is a pregnancy decision and adoption is a parenting decision, and they’re made at separate times.”

“Trump Has Assembled the Worst Cabinet in History”.

“Coca-Cola will bring New Coke back to market for a brief time, all part of a partnership with Netflix, which has featured Coke in its cult-favorite series Stranger Things.”

Great white shark, doot de doo de doo. (I’ll just show myself out.)

“In terms of Impeachment, we are on the second 30 day cease and desist letter, metaphorically speaking.”

“In fact, the souring of Game of Thrones exposes a fundamental shortcoming of our storytelling culture in general: we don’t really know how to tell sociological stories.”

“Don’t be like those people. Never open attachments in emails you were not expecting. When in doubt, toss it out.”

“What could possibly lead someone to embrace that kind of complacency about our current situation? Can a political analyst be so entrenched in Washington, D.C. elitism that they completely lose touch with what the rest of us are witnessing on a daily basis?”

This is, by far, the nicest thing you will read today.

“Fortunately, there’s a handy-dandy principle you can rely upon to determine when Congress should win and when the president should. It’s this: Congress should get the information it needs to do its job of legislation and oversight, and the president should be able to withhold what is necessary for him to do his job well.”

RIP, John Pinto, New Mexico State Senator and Navajo code talker.

Weekend link dump for May 19

“If bitcoin is so safe, why does it keep getting hacked?”

“Why abortion access is not only a right according to the 14th amendment (privacy) but also the 1st (prohibiting free exercise of religion.)”

“Instead of obtaining plum positions in Fortune 500 companies or major think tanks, most Trumpworld alumni are working in far less illustrious jobs than their predecessors. Those jobs offer a telling window into the priorities and values of the people he’s hired—and how they’ll influence the country after his presidency eventually ends.”

RIP, Doris Day, legendary actress and singer from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

“The young children of women who are refused access to an abortion are less likely to hit development milestones on time, and more likely to live in poverty, than the children of women who sought an abortion and got one.”

What happens when a patient with no identification arrives at a hospital.

“It is uncommon for any team to have no triples at this late date. In fact, just four teams since 1908 (the Play Index era, and for all intents and purposes, all-time) have reached May 14 without having hit a triple.”

More like this and this, please.

You always knew that “constitutional originalism” was nothing but a pretext to justify a particular preferred outcome, right?

RIP, Tim Conway, actor and comedian best known for killing it on The Carol Burnett Show.

“In hindsight, I seemed convinced that abortion supporters didn’t appreciate the gravity of later-term abortion. But the opposite is true. Nobody understands this issue better than women who have actually had a late-term abortion. By listening to their stories, I’ve come to see that the tragedy of this procedure, sought in desperation, is well understood by the women receiving it.”

On the “stay and fight” question.

“One way or another, Roe v. Wade becomes a dead letter. It could happen very fast. And it is likely to happen just months before the 2020 election.”

“Again, he’s really the caricature of a militarist, the kind of one-dimensional, clownishly hawkish type who gets described in small circulation left-wing magazines but can’t possibly exist in real life, only he does exist and his name is John Bolton.”

“And so Rodion Raskolnikov butchered an old woman and her daughter with an axe. And so Paul Jennings Hill murdered a doctor and a security guard in cold blood.”

“In light of the recent horrific developments in Georgia, Ohio, Alabama and other GOP-run states, it’s time once again to remember that Republican ignorance of, cruelty about and obsession with all things rape-related has been a thing for decades.”

“But no matter what he does next, the story Roberts likes to tell—and that we prefer to hear—about the slow, incrementalist, precedent-loving Supreme Court, is falling apart. It’s openly collapsing under the weight of the death penalty fight, but it’s also disintegrating as states vie with one another for more extreme ways to punish and humiliate women. I feel sorry for the chief justice largely because all this is happening just when the court’s reputation matters most. Roe v. Wade is in the news this month not because it’s in the crosshairs (yet), but because amateurs in Alabama and Georgia are drunk on God, and as a consequence, the Supreme Court’s slip is showing. The path to ending abortion in America was smooth and seamless in the hands of John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh; most of us would never have seen it happen. But so long as Alabama and Georgia keep saying the quiet parts at the tops of their lungs, the court’s conservatives cannot accomplish what they had been on track to accomplish—at least, they cannot do it quietly. The question for the chief justice is no longer whether he prefers to win quietly on reversing Roe. He’s going to win ugly. He needs to decide if he can live with that.”

RIP, YTMND, one of the earliest and most influential meme culture websites.

RIP, I.M. Pei, renowned architect who designed the Louvre’s pyramid.

“Former national security adviser Michael Flynn told investigators that people linked to the Trump administration and Congress reached out to him in an effort to interfere in the Russia probe, according to newly-unredacted court papers filed Thursday”.

Weekend link dump for May 12

“And the most important thing to understand about Thomas of Monmouth’s massively, enduringly influential and culture-shaping story is this: It’s a lie. It’s a vicious, outrageous fabrication — the product of an evil, deceitful man with a twisted mind.”

“So why the reluctance to attribute white supremacist violence to white supremacist ideology?”

“Of all religious or ethnic groups in America, Jews have by far the most positive attitudes toward Muslims. Equally striking: by far the most negative attitudes toward Muslims are held by white evangelicals.”

“The players behind #ForTheGame don’t believe that the NWHL holds the keys to a viable future for the sport. Rather, many want to see the National Hockey League (NHL) to put legitimate resources into a professional women’s hockey league.”

“My question, though: how do you say Mike Pence in Valyrian?”

“What we’re going to have is capitalism with some level of taxation. Most people really aren’t arguing against capitalism. There may be a few, but most people are just saying that the taxes should change.”

“The reason this story makes tears come to our eyes is because it is a story about goodness. A story about someone who was brave and generous, someone selfless who believed and nurtured and demonstrated the good of the human race.”

“Each of us believes that the conduct of President Trump described in Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report would, in the case of any other person not covered by the Office of Legal Counsel policy against indicting a sitting President, result in multiple felony charges for obstruction of justice.”

“This is a huge step forward after a giant leap backwards. It promises that the citizens of Brunei won’t be executed for being gay. It also sends a very crucial message to countries like Indonesia and Malaysia that there is a cost for enacting these laws. And the cost isn’t folks boycotting their hotels. The cost is that corporations and big banks won’t do business with you. The financial institutions stepping up had a huge impact. Having said that, the law to stone their citizens is still in place. Meaning that as soon as the pressure dies down they could simply start the process of carrying out executions. So in reference to the boycott everyone should do what they feel is correct. For my family and me we simply can’t walk away until this draconian law is no longer on the books.”

Sadly, doctors are a big part of the opioid problem, too.

“Would it further unsettle you to know that 50,000 to 75,000 bees weigh about 10 pounds? Sorry about that, then.”

“For roughly 18 months, AirPods play music, or podcasts, or make phone calls. Then the lithium-ion batteries will stop holding much of a charge, and the AirPods will slowly become unusable. They can’t be repaired because they’re glued together. They can’t be thrown out, or else the lithium-ion battery may start a fire in the garbage compactor. They can’t be easily recycled, because there’s no safe way to separate the lithium-ion battery from the plastic shell. Instead, the AirPods sit in your drawer forever.”

“Let’s talk about this eye-popping story from Reuters which claims that back in 2015 Michael Cohen helped early Trump endorser and now-consummate supporter Jerry Falwell, Jr. make some embarrassing photos disappear. This is at least the third story Aram Roston has written on this saga (this one at Reuters, the earlier two when he was at Buzzfeed). Each has reported a series eye-popping or bizarre facts. But each has also read with the clear sense that Roston either knows more than he can write or believes there’s much more to the story than he can prove.”

“Keeping Trump’s tax returns private is not like keeping Mitt Romney’s tax returns private. This is a man who was handed hundreds of millions of dollars, flushed it down the toilet, and was desperate to maintain his image of wealth and success. You couldn’t invent a more inviting target for a foreign intelligence service to manipulate.”

“An attorney general spinning for a president who might have criminally obstructed justice is important. But, arguably, it is not as important as what has prompted all this hubbub: the Trump-Russia scandal itself.”

“Unfortunately, ectopic pregnancies cannot continue to a live birth. If untreated, as a pregnancy grows, the Fallopian tube (where 96% of ectopics develop) gets stretched to the point of rupture & can cause massive bleeding. 4% of maternal deaths are related to ectopic pregnancy.”

RIP, Jim Fowler, naturalist and former host of TV’s Wild Kingdom.

RIP, Peggy Lipton, actor best known for The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks.

Weekend link dump for May 5

Keep garlic out of your vagina. Words to live by.”

“The NRA’s current financial woes bear a striking similarity to what happened during [its] tumultuous period in the 1990s.”

“The decimation of sleep throughout industrialized nations is having a catastrophic impact on our health, our wellness, even the safety and education of our children. It’s a silent sleep loss epidemic. It’s fast becoming one of the greatest challenges we face in the 21st century.”

When non-pitchers pitch to pitchers, or baseball’s version of Inception.

“I cried until my throat burned for this family who has just had to endure the unthinkable.”

RIP, Jana Duty, former Williamson County DA who did the world a favor when she beat John Bradley in the 2012 GOP primary.

RIP, John Singleton, movie director best known for Boyz N The Hood.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is now a writer on the Veronica Mars reboot, and you’re not.

“Some conservatives, it would seem, have an easier time imagining a coordinated, multifaceted, campaign is being waged to leverage false allegations against Republicans, than they do accepting the idea that men can be sexual predators. And because they believe it so steadfastly, they’re certain that they, too, can get in on the con.”

“So Ms. Lee and local residents, desperate to save the 96-year-old school, came up with an idea: How about enrolling older villagers who wanted to learn to read and write?”

“It’s not exactly clear what will happen in court after the chair decides not to use legal resources to defend her agency, but it is likely that a judge will force the FEC to take action and consider investigating the NRA for potential campaign finance violations.”

“I was willing to give Bill Barr a chance. Consider me burned.”

“This is a major blindspot. Bill Barr is another Republican guy in his late 60s who’s been living, as Miller puts it, in that Fox News/GOP legal circles cocoon for two decades. Why would he be any different from your birther uncle you avoid at holiday dinners?”

RIP, Peter Mayhew, known forever as Chewbacca from Star Wars.

RIP, Rachel Held Evans, influential progressive Christian writer and speaker.

Weekend link dump for April 28

“The problem is that this authority has been bestowed too hastily. Algorithms are increasingly found to be making mistakes. Whether it’s a sexist hiring algorithm developed by Amazon, conspiracy theories promoted by the Google search engine or an IBM facial-recognition program that didn’t work nearly as well on black women as on white men, we’ve seen that large companies that pride themselves on their technical prowess are having trouble navigating this terrain.”

“Everyone should be presumptively able to vote.”

“What I’ve Learned From Collecting Stories of People Whose Loved Ones Were Transformed by Fox News“.

On doxxing trolls.

“What It’s Like to Lose a Million Dollars to an Online Dating Scam”.

“Donald Trump’s outrageous behavior described by the special counsel is, at this point, so deeply familiar that it has lost its power to outrage.”

But the American part of this will be 1.7 billion. We have no plans for any further-on funding for this.”

“Whatever his method, Holzhauer is far exceeding the show’s average single-day winnings, which a Jeopardy fan website calculated to be $19,980. With his sometimes six-figure daily prizes, how much damage is Holzhauer doing to the show’s finances?”

RIP, Jacqui Saburido, the face of a major anti-drunk driving campaign in Texas.

“This Was Supposed to Be a Story About a Bizarre Anti-Vaccine Rally and a Sedated Bear. Then It Got Weird.”

FYI, the “It was just a joke!” defense only works if the joke is funny. As someone who has helped write a couple of MOB halftime show scripts, trust me on this one.

“Biden’s Shock-and-Awe Strategy for 2020 Race Smells Like Jeb’s in 2016″.

“Each month, 5 billion prerecorded spam calls target American phones. Because the software enabling robocalls is legal, how can the problem be stopped?”

“Meanwhile, in Arivaca, the memory of young Brisenia Flores lives on.”

Turns out Damian Lillard is pretty good at taking extra-long shots.

“Wait, why are you even reading THE FEDERALIST PAPERS? They’re a blatant sales job to sell the new Constitution, not an honest debate.”

RIP, John Havlicek, Boston Celtics legend and basketball Hall of Famer.

“Now, the last thing we want to do is make Ken Starr and his corrupt investigation a model of anything. But it is an instructive contrast. By any reasonable standard of ‘what seems to have happened’, Mueller unearthed lots of evidence of collusion.”

“This year the London Marathon is making some big changes and trialling a number of ideas to try to make the event more green.”

Weekend link dump for April 21

“The number of multistate lawsuits filed so far against Trump is twice the number filed against President Barack Obama during his second term, when the spike in such lawsuits started.”

“If you’ve ever fallen in love with someone whose main ability is to hurt you, you’re Chasing Ken Phelps. If you’ve ever bought an 85-inch gigglephonic 3-D television set when you already have a 84-inch gigglephonic 3-D television set in your 83-inch living room, that’s Chasing Ken Phelps too. If you need a car and buy a boat, ditto. Any time in life that your proposed solution to a problem is a complete and total non-sequitur, you’ve got a bad case of CKP.”

Inside the Scam of the “Purity” Movement.

“In light of Pence’s persistent obloquy toward gay people, does it matter that he was personally polite whenever he encountered Buttigieg? Does Pence’s courtesy render Buttigieg’s criticisms unfair and unprovoked? I don’t think so. To the contrary, I suspect that when Buttigieg inveighs against Pence, he does not intend to imply the existence of some personal beef. His critique is not that Pence was nasty to him face to face but that Pence promoted policies designed to strip him of his equality and made comments attacking his dignity. The fact that we have apparently decided to shove so many lawmakers’ anti-gay convictions down a collective memory hole does not erase the fact that their crusades inflicted profound harm on real people. People like Pete Buttigieg, who had the courage to come out when same-sex marriage remained illegal in much of the country.”

“The possibility that Bouman might have been a major player in the black hole discovery similarly seemed to have deeply upset right-wing trolls, perhaps because they feel their status is threatened by women like her.”.

“This Whole China-Mar-a-Lago Story Is Sketchy as Hell”.

“Republicans gave the working class (and the middle class) a temporary and minuscule tax cut while the rich got a big, permanent one. Then, because they don’t really understand the middle class at all, they futzed around with the withholding tables so that lots of people got smaller refunds. Then they wonder why ordinary people aren’t impressed. The answer is simple: it’s because they got close to nothing except a big surprise on tax day. Why would you expect them to be anything but resentful over that?”

William Barr has a long history of being dishonest with Congress.

When bad people sue each other.

“Aretha Franklin is still getting R-E-S-P-E-C-T after death: The Queen of Soul received the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation honor Monday, becoming the first individual woman to earn a special citation prize since the honor was first awarded in 1930.”

Good read on measles, vaccinations, and combating the anti-vax movement that ends in a place you might not expect.

“Those two offenders would be nothing but thrilled to see that there’s a two-decade marking of this event. They had this grandiose fantasy that they would be remembered. What’s perverted about the whole thing is that, in a way, they got what they wanted.”

The backlash to cashless stores.

“Whether it’s measuring a few-arcsecond deflection of starlight passing by the Sun or a 180-degree bending of light around a black hole of six billion times the Sun’s mass, a century later we’re still learning about gravity by measuring the bending of light.”

“How Not to Acknowledge a Data Breach”.

RIP, Jerrie Cobb, first woman to pass astronaut training in the 1960s.

Weekend link dump for April 14

What 50-year-old astronaut diapers can teach us about the potential origins of life on Earth.

“The campaign and presidency of Donald Trump seems to have ended all references to gaffes. To the extent that the term refers to a politician who goes off script, how can he commit a gaffe when there is never any script to begin with?”

“Nobody proofread the NCAA’s huge signs in Minneapolis”.

Hey, remember when Shazam! was a weird Saturday morning kids show?

A few of those lost MySpace songs have been recovered.

“Anyway, I have an answer to this dilemma: nominate Stephen Miller as secretary of Homeland Security. He’s the guy who’s been advising Trump on immigration policy all along, so he’d be obligated to break the law and do whatever Trump wanted. Later, he could be prosecuted for wilfully violating immigration statutes and be put away for five-to-ten with time off for good behavior. Trump would get what he wants and Miller would get what he deserves. It’s win-win.”

“Over all, 59 percent of people 18 to 24 say they’re Democrats, compared with 33 percent who say they’re Republicans, according to an Upshot analysis of Pew Research Center data over the last year.”

“Many of you spoke out against this barbaric policy. However strong the opposition, your words are meaningless unless they are backed up with resolute action. We call on you to make it clear that you will not hire for employment, contract for consulting, or seat on your boards, anyone involved in the development or implementation of the Trump administration’s family separation immigration policy.”

How you can ask for the Mueller Report.

“What happens to Nielsen now can serve as an example to other people in the administration as they decide whether to just follow orders. By this, I don’t mean that people should scream at Nielsen in restaurants. Rather, those horrified by family separation should do whatever they can to deny Nielsen the sort of cushy corporate landing or prestigious academic appointment once customary for ex-administration officials. The fact that she evidently didn’t go as far as an erratic and out-of-control Trump wanted is immaterial; she should be a pariah for going as far as she did.”

“Iowa’s economy relies on immigrants who often work in our agriculture, construction and manufacturing industries. Iowa’s economy now depends on its estimated 96,000 immigrant workers.”

A Twitter thread in appreciation of Tom Lehrer.

Game of Thrones Season 8 Bingo cards. For those who might need that sort of thing.

RIP, Charles Van Doren, disgraced former game show contestant on whom the movie Quiz Show is based.

RIP, Marilynn Smith, one of 13 women who founded the LPGA in 1950.

RIP, Lt. Col. Richard Cole, last survivor of the Doolittle Raid, the first U.S. strike on the Japanese islands during World War II.

“The relevant law here is neither obscure nor unclear. If most citizens were previously unaware of tax code section 6103, that’s because they’ve not been in a position to invoke it. But for those to whom it is relevant — law enforcement agencies, state tax authorities, committees of Congress, and others — it is straightforward. The statute permits the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee to request any tax return, provided — and this is important — he ensures the privacy of the return.”

“I was among those who wanted to give [William Barr] the benefit of the doubt when he came in. I just felt he would just want to protect his reputation for integrity and would want to show that he was independent … and he has now repeatedly acted in ways that have called all of that into question.

“They simply can’t grasp their way toward the obvious explanation. He’s a bad actor, using his office for the purpose of defending the President as opposed to enforcing the law. He’s a crook. But he’s a smart one. And at least as far as we know so far he’s using his legitimate powers in creative ways to take corrupt actions.”

“Ozzie Albies’s New Deal Could Be the Worst an MLB Player Has Ever Signed”.

“One of the first two Muslim women ever in Congress was always likely to face smears equating her with terrorism and questioning her loyalty and fitness to serve. Such are the wages of embodying an existential threat to a politics that has spent decades profiting from fear of Muslims, immigrants, and — more recently — refugees and asylum seekers, and vowing ruthlessness toward them in response.”

Weekend link dump for April 7

A primer on spotting creeps and taking action to help someone who might need assistance in avoiding said creeps.

A deep dive into the NRA’s deep connections with Russia.

“Then it dawned upon me that there was lots of money in being a Munchausen of the right kind, and for twelve years I gave it to them hot and strong, but never too hot.”

“Congress, doing the NRA’s bidding, enacted PLCAA precisely because it feared that under generally accepted legal principles, the threat of industry liability was real.”

“Garfield phones beach mystery finally solved after 35 years”.

We really are seeing the best baseball players to ever play the game, until the even better players come along in the coming years.

The rodents of unusual size that are laying waste to the Louisiana coast.

“If you’re not vaccinated, it’s extremely easy to get measles. In an un-immunized population, one person with measles can infect 12 to 18 others. That’s way higher than other scary viruses like Ebola, HIV, or SARS. (With Ebola, one case usually leads to two others. With HIV and SARS, one case usually leads to another four.) Measles is an airborne virus, transmitted by respiratory droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of an infected person, so usually through coughing or sneezing. Small-particle aerosols from someone with measles can stay suspended in air for long periods of time after the person has left a room, and the virus can live on surfaces for up to two hours.”

RIP, Nipsey Hussle, rapper and civic activist.

“So, as the sole owner of my story, it is high time that I reclaim it — from strangers, Twitter, the pundits and the late-night hosts.”

“In the heat of battle—or, rather, a fake one—even the most hardcore fighters have got to make sure they stay out of real harm’s way. That’s why Game of Thrones’ stunt team has utilized a powerful, but also kind of adorable, safe word. One that might sound completely foreign to the people of Westeros.”

“Among other talents, President Donald Trump has a knack for revealing surprising members of the opposition. On TV, we have Jimmy Kimmel. On sports TV, Warner Wolf. In sportswriting, we have Rick Reilly. That’s right. It’s official. Rick Reilly is woke now.”

“Forested areas in cities may seem best left untouched, but it’s a common misconception that they can take care of themselves”.

“President Trump may have thought that he was done with the Mueller investigation, but it is not yet done with him.”

RIP, Ernest “Fritz” Hollings, former Senator from South Carolina.

Weekend link dump for March 31

“Shortly after midnight on March 24, 1989, the Exxon Valdez  — an oil tanker carrying 53 million gallons of North Slope crude oil  — hit a reef in the Gulf of Alaska, ripping half a dozen holes in the hull of the ship. More than 11 million gallons of crude oil leaked into the pristine waters and vibrant ecosystem of Prince William Sound, coating more than 700 miles of coastline down the Alaska Peninsula with a thick film of oil and killing a quarter of a million seabirds, thousands of otters, and hundreds of seals and bald eagles. Even today, a small portion of crude oil still remains just out of sight below the surface of the water in parts of Alaska impacted by the spill.”

Why Trump keeps losing in court.

The comic strip Cathy and its complicated relationship with feminism.

Meet Donald Cline, fertility specialist who, um, really got into his work. (See also: Cecil Jacobson, who was doing the same kind of thing around that time.)

At least one person knew how to fill out their bracket.

Wishing Charo all the best.

“So, as the global political power centers shift toward rising authoritarianism—away from American-style liberal democracy—significant players on the Christian right are gravitating to where the power is.”

“My gut instinct is that it is some combination of these factors that explains the end of the [Mueller] probe. Without knowing the reasons the investigation is finished, it is impossible to know how to assess its end—and nobody should try.”

“Barr’s cover-up gambit means Mueller will certainly be called to testify under oath in the House. That’s why we’re getting the full-on blitz to mischaracterize his findings: to lock the media and public into a favorable narrative nowhere in evidence, before he actually speaks.”

“Raise your glass high and toast to the fact that later this week, Samuel Adams will be releasing a Belgian Brut IPA brewed on International Women’s Day and dedicating it to the Notorious RBG.”

How GDPR is doing, one year later.

“A Salute to TV’s Most Underrated Female Characters”.

“In other words, we have currently seen .057% of the Mueller Report.”

“The Trump administration’s trade war with China has turned out to be a windfall for another country the president frequently berates: Mexico.”

“Divorce as a percentage of marriage has fallen a bit in recent years, but the bigger picture shows that it’s been roughly flat since 1975.”

“If you look back at the previous six seasons, so much of the show was, ‘Oh my God, this is what a politician is like behind closed doors’ — but those closed doors are gone. So often, it was shocking how incompetent her staff is. Well, turn the TV on and you can see that. So much of the show was often her messing up and then paying a very public price for something, and I’m not sure that exists either anymore. So a lot of our bread and butter, if you will, changed.”

“It is the equivalent of punching yourself in the face repeatedly.”

“Which of baseball’s most unbreakable records might actually get broken in 2019?”

“So to determine if the Barr triumphalists are acting in good faith, you need only ask them a simple question: do you accept these basic facts and acknowledge the profound seriousness of each one?”

Weekend link dump for March 24

“Flipping the bird is protected by First Amendment, federal appeals court says in cop-stop case”.

“This seems to be one of those stories involving both intentional grifters and others who were merely incompetent, unintentional, self-deceiving grifters carried away by quixotic dreams.”

If baseball allowed ties, how different would things be?

Why phone numbers stink as proof of your identity.

The roots of today’s white nationalism can be traced back a hundred years to an American whose writing influenced the Nazis in Germany.

“Partisanship shapes American politics, and, indeed, many parts of everyday life. Americans are increasingly negative about the possibility of their children marrying someone who affiliates with the opposite party. Many see the other party as a threat to the nation’s very well-being. In the 2016 election, about ninety percent of party identifiers pulled the lever for their party’s presidential nominee. Yet, despite these fierce party attachments, institutional parties play a weak and unclear role in American political life.”

“Grooming doesn’t just happen with the child, it happens with entire families and communities, and in a celebrity’s case, the entire community.”

RIP, Dick Dale, king of the surf guitar.

Devin Nunes’ Cow is my new hero.

The Spider-Man newspaper comic is slinging off into the sunset.

“The attacks that make headlines and those that do not are all rooted in the same hateful ideology. None of the attackers embraced unique or isolated ideas; they didn’t need to. The white supremacist ideology already contains all of the components needed to propel a radicalized individual to violence. And we have hard data showing the threat is regularly materializing. So why is there so much controversy over whether right-wing racially motivated violent extremism is a growing threat?”

I for one would be all in on a 20th anniversary Angel reunion.

Say what you want about MySpace, its loss of millions of songs that had been uploaded to it in its heyday is a damn tragedy.

Who knew asteroids could do that?

“Social Media Giants Have Been Promising to Stop Livestreamed Violence For Years. They Still Can’t.”

Liar, liar, pants on fire.

“What is less remarkable than the fact that such polemics about child sacrifice should continue to exist (how could they not, since they’re at least as old and as ingrained in Western culture as the Bible?) is that, in a truly gobsmacking way, they are entirely gratuitous compared with the actual, unvarnished truth.”

Abolishing the Electoral College Was a Republican Idea“.

Neil deGrasse Tyson was cleared of charges of sexual misconduct by the National Geographic network, but we have no idea how or why.

“Blake Bortles Is No Longer on the Jaguars – A Nation of Jasons Weeps”.

“It should never, ever be forgotten what a resentful, self-absorbed, petty, and insecure husk of a man is occupying the Oval Office, and it never, ever will be forgotten. As he demonstrated again on Wednesday, Donald Trump won’t allow it.”

“The National Cathedral now joins Tic Tacs and Skittles in the realm of bizarre entities that have had to publicly distance themselves from Trump and his family.”

RIP, Sydney Aiello, survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School mass shooting.

Weekend link dump for March 17

“Acknowledging the role of luck is the secular equivalent of religious awakening.”

“What Dollar Stores Tell Us About Electoral Politics”.

Behold Stevie Nicks’ magnificent shawl collection.

“What are you giving up for Lent? Well, instead of giving something up how about doing something positive. How about this: Be kind.”

“A look at history suggests we shouldn’t be surprised that voters care about whether presidents understand them and their problems.”

RIP, Julia Ruth Stevvens, last surviving child of Babe Ruth.

“Hiding in Plain Sight: PAC-Connected Activists Set Up ‘Local News’ Outlets“.

Preview a new film about the decades-long effort to suppress the vote.

“Facebook and Amazon appear to be helping hate groups fundraise through philanthropy tools hosted on their platforms.”

OMG, this college admissions scandal. I mean, seriously. It’s bonkers, and yet it’s a very real kind of thing in 2019.

Oh, and now I know way more about Lori Laughlin’s Hallmark Channel dominance than I ever wanted to know.

“There is no “balance” in giving a platform to peddlers of unscientific and irresponsible notions – climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers or those who call the moon landing a hoax.”

“New Zealand Attack Underscores Social Media Sites’ Tolerance of Anti-Muslim Content“.

Weekend link dump for March 10

Facebook moderator is an unbelievably crappy job, for crappy pay.

More Joe Bob Briggs, please.

God, these people are idiots.”

“If we really want to help people being victimized, we will try to change the conditions that make people vulnerable to exploitation”.

“Cohen’s Big Reveal was as simple as this: Donald Trump, our 45th president, thinks that you’re a sucker – and he got elected anyway.”

Supreme Court Justices aren’t supposed to lobby for the confirmation of lower court judges.

More than you ever wanted to know about the Fox News/Donald Trump symbiosis.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Musical Episode Is Finally Getting the Vinyl Release It Deserves”.

RIP, Luke Perry, versatile actor best known for Beverly Hills 90210.

“The Unsettling Parallels Between Leaving Neverland and Abducted in Plain Sight“.

I’m fully in the tank for daylight savings time, and would support making it year-round. More afternoon sunlight, please.

Mama Ocasio-Cortez seems like a cool lady.

The world’s rarest fish has been given a reprieve.

“Ten Undeniable Facts About the Michael Jackson Sexual-Abuse Allegations”.

“How Do You Recant a Rape Story? Asking for Mötley Crüe.”

RIP, Jerry Merryman, one of the inventors of the hand-held electronic calculator.

RIP, Jean Fairfax, civil rights activist and leader in desegregating schools.

Wishing Alex Trebek all the best.

Also wishing Tom Seaver all the best. I’m Yankees for life, but Tom Terrific was exactly as advertised, and a class act besides.

RIP, Dan Jenkins, legendary sportswriter and author. Charlie Pierce, after dispensing with the Trump-supporting prostitution spa owner story, has some lovely things to say about Jenkins as well.

I can’t begin to express how much this story infuriates me.

Weekend link dump for March 3

“The Republican dilemma is that they hate the only solution that would approximate what they actually want. They hate it because President Obama signed it into law. They hate it because they’ve lied about this law nonstop for more than a decade and those lies are very internalized.”

“The most cost-effective way to help the homeless is to give them homes”.

“So we found a live bat in our archive.”

“Over the last two decades, nearly 100 women told authorities all about sexual crimes allegedly committed by the hedge-funder Jeffrey Epstein.”

Sometimes you feel like a nut, soteriologically speaking.

So, what is the military doing to screen for white nationalists?

Don’t Use a Debit Card at the Gas Pump. (Two words: Card skimmers.)

RIP, Jeraldine Saunders, author and creator of The Love Boat.

“Utilities Are Starting to Invest in Big Batteries Instead of Building New Power Plants”.

“In short, lawyer up, dirtbag.” Being sorry won’t help.

Buffy FOMO. I feel ya.

You wouldn’t think it was possible for a species of giant tortoise to hide for 100 years, but apparently it is.

“How Cohen’s Testimony Backs Up the Case That Trump Helped Russia Attack the 2016 Election”.

I don’t know what one has to do to be banned by the Canadian Football League, but Johnny Manziell managed to do it.

“Plagued by Predators, YouTube Is Disabling Comments on Most Videos Featuring Children”.

RIP, Katherine Helmond, actor best known for roles on Soap and Who’s the Boss?.

RIP, Andre Previn, composer, conductor, and four-time Oscar winner.

Weekend link dump for February 24

“Think about it this way: For two years, with his own party in control of Congress, Trump couldn’t get his border wall funded. Honestly, despite his own reports of being the most accomplished president ever, he didn’t get much else done either.”

An interview with the urologist who reattached John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis.

“The strange thing about getting to a place as a society where women are finally serving in significant numbers in government and breaking long-entrenched barriers in other fields is that we’re in for a lot more women disappointing us in the coming years.”

“Here’s the latest list of dildos that want to steal your personal data”.

“So that statistic caught my eye. Some background: I worked in technical recruiting, my girlfriend is a [software engineer], I’d say that about half my closest friends are women [software engineers]. This statistic was so far off their experiences and mine that I was instantly suspicious. So I dug into it.”

Why you can’t bring a mechanical pencil to the LSAT.

“Every time another headline pops up about how women are underrepresented on the charts or in music production or missing from festival lineups, we should think about the countless gatekeepers who, instead of helping women, used their positions for sexual gain at the expense of their targets.”

Have you ever really looked at your fin, man?”

RIP, Don Newcombe, former Dodger and one of the first African-American pitchers in MLB.

“The people who applaud the lock-’em up stuff are easy to account for. The people who are harder to get are the other 10 or whatever percent who aren’t MAGA-heads but who approve of the job he’s doing.”

Get ready to start saying good-bye to Windows 7.

“It is never acceptable to use state or federal funds to discriminate based on religion.”

Let Carlton copyright “The Carlton”.

Now we need to worry about evil USB cables.

Three words: Falcon sex hats. You’re welcome.

RIP, Peter Tork, bassist for The Monkees.

“7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might ‘Wrap Up'”.

“Whenever you read about the transgender people killed in any given year, it’s in large part due to the work [Monica] Roberts does. National LGBT advocacy organizations and mainstream news outlets alike rely on her as an early source of information.”