Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

linkdump

Weekend link dump for November 29

“Every single person I have encountered who was misinformed on COVID-19 referenced the president’s dishonesty on Fox News or social media. For Americans to believe a politician over experts is horrifying to us nurses on the front lines. This is insane. I have never seen anything like it.”

RIP, Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico, where iconic movie scenes from Contact and Goldeneye were filmed.

“To paraphrase Janney, Trump will provide a sense of relief to white Americans who felt dishonored by his defeat.”

“In a landmark series of calculations, physicists have proved that black holes can shed information, which seems impossible by definition.”

“Why COVID-19 vaccines seem to work better than expected”.

“I’m not violating any pledge of journalistic confidentially in reporting this: 21 Republican Sens–in convos w/ colleagues, staff members, lobbyists, W. House aides–have repeatedly expressed extreme contempt for Trump & his fitness to be POTUS.” On that list: John Cornyn, not that you’d ever see any evidence of it in real life. Not on that list: Ted Cruz, because Trump has always been so complimentary of his family.

That’s Emmy award-winning Governor Andrew Cuomo to you, pal.

“Now that he’s lost his office to President-elect Joe Biden, Trump is facing the prospect of finally having to deal with both Carroll’s claim and a similar defamation lawsuit filed in New York by former Apprentice contestant Summer Zervos. Legal experts say that both women’s cases could proceed quickly once Trump returns to civilian life. And that means the soon-to-be-former president could imminently face the question of either settling their claims or going to trial over the truth of their allegations.”

“Conservative operatives and a super PAC with ties to infamous GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone are calling for Trump supporters to punish Republicans by sitting out Georgia’s crucial Senate runoffs or writing in Trump’s name instead. And though their efforts remains on the party’s fringes, the trajectory of the movement has Republicans fearful that it could cost the GOP control of the Senate.”

RIP, David Dinkins, first Black mayor of New York City.

RIP, Pat Quinn, co-founder of the ALS Ice Bucket challenge.

RIP, David Maas, one half of the magic act Quick Change.

“As I’ve said before, this is not the worst or most urgent problem created by ingratitude. The harm that it does to the ungrateful is not as much of a priority as the harm it causes them to do to others. But it may be easier to get those trapped in the bondage of ingratitude to see the harm they’re doing to themselves than it will be, at first, to get them to see the harm they are doing to others. Like Ebenezer Scrooge or Zacchaeus, they’re perhaps more likely to recognize their need for repentance and the obligations of gratitude when the focus is on the consequences for them.”

“In a civic democracy willfully and knowingly spreading lies to overturn or undermine confidence in a free and fair election is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater. It amounts to a crime against the people and the republic. Generic lying has strong first amendment protections. But bringing those lies into court does not. There are ample grounds for seeking legal sanctions against the lawyers who have polluted the courts with these frivolous claims with the clear intent of undermining the republic itself.”

RIP, Bruce Boynton, civil rights pioneer who inspired the Freedom Rides on 1961.

RIP, Diego Maradona, Argentine soccer legend.

“Utah helicopter crew discovers mysterious metal monolith deep in the desert”. Because 2020, man. Oh, and now it’s gone, which is not suspicious at all.

RIP, Dave Prowse, actor best known for playing Darth Vader.

Weekend link dump for November 22

Three reasons why Joe Biden won back Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania.

A few words from Alex Trebek’s widow, thanking people for the nice things they’ve had to say about her husband.

“Early in President Trump’s term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of Trump’s cruelties, collusions, and crimes, and it felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten. This election year, amid a harrowing global health, civil rights, humanitarian, and economic crisis, we know it’s never been more critical to note these horrors, to remember them, and to do all in our power to reverse them.”

“Let’s count down the 50 worst people over this entire train wreck of an administration. We’re avoiding all the awful outside allies and toadies, from Sean Hannity to Lil Wayne, Jerry Falwell Jr. to James O’Keefe, the late Bob Murray to Vladimir Putin to Diamond and Silk. We focus on the people paid by taxpayers (and Trump campaign donors) to destroy the country and the planet. Plus, of course, Rudy Giuliani.”

What will the press do without Trump? How will we function without a towering political figure to kick and be kicked around by? And, what will the press do about Trump? Once he’s out of office, how much longer will we allow him to set the news agenda?”

“A new report from the World Health Organization and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention highlights a bleak reality: Measles, the highly contagious but vaccine-preventable viral illness, infected at least 860,000 people and killed over 200,000 worldwide in 2019—a roughly 50% jump in deaths from 2016. Sadly, the covid-19 pandemic is likely to make this situation even worse.”

“Baltimore Museum of Art’s restrooms to be named in honor of John Waters, for donating 375 pieces of art”.

Be careful about allowing site notifications.

Kazakh-Americans are not pleased with Borat: Subsequent Moviefilm.

Some advice for handling the 2020 holiday season.

More than you wanted to know about Jerry Falwell, Junior and Giancarlo Granda – if that name doesn’t ring a bell, it will as soon as you click the links.

RIP, Lindy McDaniel, longtime relief pitcher for the Yankees and other teams.

“The suggestion that doctors — in the midst of a public health crisis — are overcounting COVID-19 patients or lying to line their pockets is a malicious, outrageous, and completely misguided charge.”

“I wasn’t going to share this, but I think doing so is a public service, so here we go: it’s likely that my 12yo daughter has Covid. The past 3 days have been crazy, but I think telling the story of how this happened is important.”

“So will there come a time—before the inauguration on January 20—when Americans who care about democracy and who yearn for an effective response to the COVID-19 crisis can breath easy? With Trump at the helm, the answer is…probably not. But there are some upcoming dates to anticipate.”

RIP, Ira B. Scott, longtime educator and oldest living member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity.

“One of the things happening in South Dakota is an infection rate that’s among the worst in the nation, at about 8,000 cases per 100,000 people. In Vermont, another small, rural state with a Republican governor, Gov. Phil Scott has embraced safety measures, and the differences are pretty stark. Like South Dakota, Vermont has fewer than 1 million residents, most of whom don’t live in cities. It has about 500 cases per 100,000 people. That’s the lowest rate in the nation.”

“But COVID-19 works slowly. It takes several days for infected people to show symptoms, a dozen more for newly diagnosed cases to wend their way to hospitals, and even more for the sickest of patients to die. These lags mean that the pandemic’s near-term future is always set, baked in by the choices of the past. It means that Ricketts is already too late to stop whatever UNMC will face in the coming weeks (but not too late to spare the hospital further grief next month). It means that some of the people who get infected over Thanksgiving will struggle to enter packed hospitals by the middle of December, and be in the ground by Christmas.”

Weekend link dump for November 15

As a reward for making it through these past few weeks, please enjoy this amazing aerial photo of the Astrodome, from its early days.

“After four years of a president who couldn’t abide pets, dogs will once again cavort on the White House lawn.”

“The strategy to wage a legal fight against the votes tallied for Biden in Pennsylvania and other places is more to provide Trump with an off-ramp for a loss he can’t quite grasp and less about changing the election’s outcome, the officials said.”

“Post on polling in 2020. TLDR: projections based only on past voting returns better predicted 2020 results than poll averages in battleground states. I review how we used this to decide to spend in GA, then ask what might went wrong with polling in 2020?”

The law is coming.

“It’s not a stretch, then, to think that the organization with the most influence over what Americans believe, including about Donald Trump, is Facebook. And Twitter, as the shared watercooler of the entire media industry, probably isn’t far behind.”

“Pat Nixon was the first first lady to wear pants in public. Hillary Clinton was the first first lady to be elected to a public office. And now, Jill Biden is projected to become the first first lady to keep her full-time job outside of the White House.”

“Biden has several serious challenges ahead of him to curb the coronavirus’s exponential growth. First, he won’t take office for several months, which means the virus will continue to spread largely unabated if nothing is done. But perhaps most importantly, his administration needs to regain shattered trust in public health officials and agencies. He’s not just starting from scratch in creating a federal response; he’s facing a deficit with nearly a year of disinformation and deep politicization of the virus and its risks.”

“French media having to explain to readers who @GrittyNHL is as part of their election coverage wasn’t on my 2020 bingo card, but it’s definitely my fave moment of the cycle so far.”

Election Precedent 2020.

“If we have a safe, effective vaccine come out of clinical trials in the coming weeks, but we are not fully ready for a vaccination program, that will be a self inflicted national wound. A delay that could cost many thousands of lives.”

“What is clear is that it is no longer useful to clump millennials and Gen Z together as shorthand for youth. They may not have noticed it, but the upper cohort of millennials are fast approaching middle age. The second they try looking at themselves in a Gen-Z-approved upward camera angle, they’ll find that out for themselves.”

“The end of democratic self-government is not a thing one has a legal plan for. That’s like asking what my plan is for closing a demonic hell mouth that opens in my backyard. Die. My plan would be to die. I’m not Keanu Reeves.”

“President-elect Joe Biden looks to have won more than 300 electoral votes while winning the popular vote by more than 5 million votes. It was a more lopsided win than George W. Bush’s defeat of John Kerry in 2004. As a percentage of total electorate, Biden’s electoral mandate is on par with Ronald Reagan’s victory over Jimmy Carter in 1980. Heck, Biden swept every state mentioned in Steve Miller’s “Rock’n Me” (hat-tip to Jason Isbell for that observation). It’s a big win, by any measure.”

RIP, Disco Kroger. Houston’s grocery scene will never be the same.

The near future landscape for the NBA, NHL, and MLB.

RIP, Tommy Heinsohn, basketball Hall of Famer, and Boston Celtics legend.

There were more votes cast in 24 of the 36 Congressional races in Texas than in the entire state of Wyoming.

“So with his flight, [Vic] Glover is not only making history as the US gets back into the business of human spaceflight, he will become the first Black person to live on the space station. This seems like a shocking fact. The space station has now been inhabited for more than 20 years, after all, and 126 humans have lived there during that time. But none were Black. Six African-American astronauts visited the space station during shuttle missions, but none stayed aboard as long-term crew members.”

My initial favorite for a new Jeopardy! host is Ken Jennings, but I have to say, LeVar Burton would be an outstanding choice.

RIP, Lucille Bridges, American hero.

RIP, Paul Hornung, football Hall of Famer who won a Heisman, an NFL MVP, and multiple NFL titles with the Packers.

Weekend link dump for November 8

Assessing the COVID-19 risk on airplanes.

“If Donald Trump is reelected, he will continue to downplay the threat of the coronavirus, and more Americans will fall ill.” Hopefully byt the time this runs, that will no longer be a concern.

“Pajiba Investigates: Does Everyone In The Buffyverse Have Syphilis?”

What are the odds?

I am 100% on board with putting Weird Al Yankovic in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

You can buy a video from Amazon Prime Video, but you won’t actually own it.

“Should you recycle your disposable mask?”

“Blaire Erskine has pretended to be a stranded MAGA supporter, Jerry Falwell’s daughter, and the wife of a notorious anti-masker. The gag: How many folks think her satires are real.”

“I’ll bet you never thought you’d have to explain the doctrine of laches to your neighbors before this election was over.”

This woman is a hero.

RIP, Geoffrey Palmer, versatile British actor.

RIP, Alex Trebek, legendary host of Jeopardy!. 2020 isn’t done with us yet.

Weekend link dump for November 1

Have you voted yet? You have one last chance on Tuesday. Don’t blow it.

“Consider, Wyllie says, the extraordinary chain of events that would need to happen to successfully spread SARS-CoV-2 on a surface. A sufficiently large amount of the virus would need to be sprayed by an infected person onto a surface. The surface would need to be the right kind of material, exposed to the right levels of light, temperature, and humidity so that the virus does not quickly degrade. Then the virus would need to be picked up—which you would most likely do with your hands. But the virus is vulnerable there. (“Enveloped” viruses like SARS-CoV-2 do not fare well on porous surfaces like skin and clothing.) And then it needs to find a way inside you—usually through your nose or your eye—in a concentration big enough to get past your mucosal defenses and establish itself in your cells. The risk, Wyllie concludes, is low.”

“Since August, world governments have pledged more than $12 trillion in stimulus spending to dig their way out of the coronavirus-caused economic downturn — a truly mind-boggling amount of cash that represents three times the public money spent after the Great Recession. How does that compare with the money that would be needed to fight climate change? That’s the question behind a new paper published last week in the journal Science. According to the analysis, the money countries have put on the table to address COVID-19 far outstrips the low-carbon investments that scientists say are needed in the next five years to avoid climate catastrophe — by about an order of magnitude.”

“As football fans tailgated without masks outside Texas Tech University’s 60,000-seat stadium in West Texas this weekend ahead of the Red Raiders’ homecoming game, it was easy to forget that Lubbock — a rural county of 310,000 — has one of the highest COVID-19 infection rates in the country.”

RIP, Lee Kun-Hee, transformative CEO of Samsung.

“Coffee Machine Hit By Ransomware Attack—Yes, You Read That Right”.

“It’s been embraced for saving money, hated for its lack of sound privacy, blasted for reinforcing sexist behavior, and even cited as a reason people considered leaving their jobs, which have led many to call, repeatedly, for the end of the open-plan office. The pandemic may finally make that happen. According to a new survey of tech companies, fewer than half of offices with fully open plans expect to keep that layout in the post-pandemic era. For some offices, the open plan is already on its way out.”

“What I’m getting from all of this is, Jill – much to everyone’s surprise – saw the light at the end of the crunchy hairspray-covered bangs, and she decided to start living as a Duggar in name only. This kind of makes sense when you remember the awful shit that allegedly went on in their house with her older awful brother Josh Duggar (and how her parents allegedly swept it under the rug).”

“In rural America, resentment over COVID-19 shutdowns is colliding with rising case numbers”.

“A No. 1 Song Written by a Solitary Songwriter Is Becoming a Thing of the Past”.

RIP, Billy Joe Shaver, legendary Texas singer/songwriter.

The TV show Dallas make have helped to hasten the fall of the Soviet Union.

“Joe Biden has been declared the winner of Nickelodeon’s “Kid’s Vote,” but not before a group of internet users attempted to steal the mock election — because of course they did.”

“President Donald Trump left several thousand of his supporters stranded at Eppley Airfield after his event in Omaha Tuesday night.”

For your consideration: How the Texas GOP Went Off the Rails in 2020, and Texas Democrats Went Missing for Decades. Can They Come Back Tuesday? Answers to these and other questions, hopefully coming soon.

“Allow me to put that concern to rest: No, white evangelical support for Trump has not harmed and cannot harm evangelicals’ witness. Because white evangelical support for Trump and for Trumpism is its witness. This is the gospel that white evangelicalism proclaims and embodies. This is the testimony it offers and the witness it bears to the world. This is the community embodied in its churches, schools, para-church ministries, Bible colleges, publications and publishing houses. This is the news it has to share with a fallen world.”

RIP, Sean Connery, Academy Award winner and the best James Bond.

RIP, Herb Adderley, Hall of Fame cornerback and multiple-time Super Bowl winner.

How all day voting went in Harris County.

Weekend link dump for October 25

“A Disturbing Twinkie That Has, So Far, Defied Science”.

I could not possibly care less about the future job prospects of current Trump staffers. Let them struggle to find honest work, maybe it will help them understand their prior decisions.

Scalzi on living in Trump Country, four years later.

RIP, Tab, diet soft drink of choice for many an 80s-era sorority sister.

“The concept of containing hot spots isn’t new, but it’s being tested under new pressures as authorities try to avoid a dreaded resurgence of illness and deaths, this time with economies weakened from earlier lockdowns, populations chafing at the idea of renewed restrictions and some communities complaining of unequal treatment.”

“A Long List of Shady Financial Mysteries Trump Still Refuses to Explain”.

“Senator David Perdue (R-GA) attacked Kamala Harris with a racist trope and then refused to apologize. Who is backing his campaign? A bunch of corporations that claim to be committed to fighting racism.”

“In 2017, President Donald Trump and the Wisconsin GOP struck a deal with Foxconn that promised to turn Southeastern Wisconsin into a tech manufacturing powerhouse. In exchange for billions in tax subsidies, Foxconn was supposed to build an enormous LCD factory in the tiny village of Mount Pleasant, creating 13,000 jobs. Three years later, the factory — and the jobs — don’t exist, and they probably never will.”

“How TV’s Top Cop Shows Are Changing Their Approach to Law & Order”.

“President Donald Trump’s sprawling political operation has raised well over $1 billion since he took the White House in 2017 — and set a lot of it on fire.”

Whatever they were wasting money on, it wasn’t paying legal bills.

“Given current polling of the presidential race, it is possible to imagine three scenarios, either on November 4 or on days soon thereafter: a narrow Trump victory in the Electoral College, with a huge loss in the popular vote; a Biden landslide in which Trump claims he lost because of a “rigged” election; or a very close and potentially flawed election going into overtime that could lead to a prolonged struggle over the presidency and the country. Each of these presents its own set of challenges for American democracy.”

“Both sides of the landmark showdown over marriage equality have announced that whatever differences they may have had, the one thing we can all agree on is that Amy Coney Barrett doesn’t belong within an abortion protest buffer zone of the United States Supreme Court.”

Susan Collins is very disappointed with this story.

“Phil Collins’ ex-wife and the man she left him for (VIA TEXT!) have apparently launched an armed occupation of Collins’ $33M Miami mansion, and I have no idea why you people are tweeting about anything else.” I haven’t even read the linked story because the deep-cut Genesis puns in the replies were so good.

In more conventional music news, this is amazing: “I, Tom Lehrer, and the Tom Lehrer Trust 2000, hereby grant the following permission: All the lyrics on this website, whether published or unpublished, copyrighted or uncopyrighted, may be downloaded and used in any manner whatsoever, without requiring any further permission from me or any payment to me or to anyone else.” It’s the hits plus a lot of songs I did not know. But act fast, this website will be taken down in 2024.

RIP, Spencer Davis, rock and blues musician best known for “Gimme Some Lovin'”.

“In this regard, it made perfect sense for Democratic Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Ilhan Omar to stream themselves playing Among Us, a multiplayer game where players work as a team to figure out who is sabotaging the crew of their spaceship, on Twitch to 400,000 viewers alongside Piker, Pokimane, and other popular streamers on Tuesday night. Their game play, and exhortations to the audience to vote, were being watched by mostly younger and largely sympathetic minds that have been primed by Destiny, Piker, and others.”

RIP, James “The Amazing” Randi, magician, skeptic, debunker of bullshit. Mark Evanier adds a few words.

RIP, Shelley Buschur, Houston art car artist.

“If the U.S. had followed Canadian policies and protocols, there might have only been 85,192 U.S. deaths—making more than 132,500 American deaths ‘avoidable.’ If the U.S. response had mirrored that of Germany, the U.S. may have only had 38,457 deaths—leaving 179,260 avoidable deaths.”

RIP, Jerry Jeff Walker, Texas music icon. 2020 truly is the worst.

Weekend link dump for October 18

It’s a Big Bang fight, and I am here for it.

“A kidnap and murder plot targeted Gretchen Whitmer. It’s no coincidence she’s a woman.”

Some giant shark news to brighten your day.

Please enjoy this lovely profile of Mandy Patinkin.

“It’s blatant corruption, of course. The payment of cash to the privately held businesses of a sitting president in exchange for that president personally bending government decision-making in your favor is definitively corrupt. It’s not even the usual method of brazen American corruption, forking over huge “campaign” donations in an attempt to curry such favors; nope, this money is going into Donald Trump’s pockets. He keeps it. Trump is making personal bank off the powers voters gave him.”

“It’s a serious threat that serious people should take seriously.”

RIP, Joe Morgan, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Reds and Astros.

“As TV shows begin to return to air this fall, showrunners have had to decide whether or not to incorporate the coronavirus pandemic into their future storylines. From video chat-inspired comedies about quarantine to medical dramas facing the biggest medical story in generation, here’s how shows are incorporating COVID-19 into upcoming episodes.”

If only one person makes it to Final Jeopardy, is it still Final Jeopardy? (I got the question right, btw.)

“I ask you to do me a favor. Suburban women: will you please like me? Please.” (Spoiler alert: They do not and will not.)

“Given the kind of year 2020 has been, it’s best to prepare for the unexpected. But, it’s also important not to ignore what’s in front of us today. Trump is a president who is deeply underwater with only a few weeks to go in an election that lacks many of the things – like a deeply unpopular opponent and significant third-party support – that benefitted him back in 2016.”

Rudy Giuliani’s daughter urges you to vote for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.

“As school districts deal with budget cuts brought on by the COVID-19 outbreak, many are switching to solar power to reduce costs.”

How to improve a billboard.

“Some amount of lying, and even more hypocrisy, is inevitable in politics. The Democratic Party isn’t immune. But it would be a mistake to confuse the acts of bad faith that have saturated Republican conduct for garden-variety hypocrisy or lying. These contradictions don’t point to a lack of self-awareness or passing acts of shame-faced expediency. Republicans and professional conservatives revel in double standards because by embracing double standards they claim power over their opponents. The Republicans have become a party that celebrates rulebreaking, because they have come to see rulebreaking as a show of strength. Their moral compass, inverted by their single-minded pursuit of self-interest, now points south.”

“I love that my mom aims to be polite even if the person she’s talking about is spiritually something akin to a boil on the left ass cheek of Satan, but Black elders have earned the right to be especially venomous, given what his victory in the 2016 presidential election signified.”

RIP, Bernard Cohen, ACLU lawyer who successfully argued for the plaintiffs in the case that outlawed bans on interracial marriage.

Weekend link dump for October 11

Kimberly Guilfoyle sure sounds like a boss from hell.

So, what happens if a Presidential candidate dies or becomes incapacitated before Election Day? No reason, just asking.

“For The First Time, Scientists Successfully Extract DNA From Insects Embedded In Tree Resin“. Just please don’t clone the velociraptors, that’s all I ask.

Doug Emhoff is a mensch.

“The choice the Senate — and, thus, America — faces is simple: To keep the filibuster is to accept continued legislative paralysis, a Senate that acts not as the cooling saucer of the American political system but as the deep freezer of the legislative branch. To eliminate it is to court the whirlwind of governance — to accept that your opponents may win elections, to risk their agenda passing into law. Nightmares prowl both paths. But which do we fear more: being unable to govern, or being able to govern?”

“Marriage equality is one of the top issues targeted by the very wealthy far-right activists that we have battled all along.”

Go for it, Dolly.

“Cities Turn Parking Spaces Into Dining Spots And No One Seems To Mind”.

“Below, STAT outlines eight of the crucial unknowns about the president and the course of his illness, and how it could shape broader the political and public health spheres.”

By the way, one of the treatments the President received was based on stem cells, which Amy Coney Barrett (among others) considers to be morally equivalent to murder.

“Also, lying about one’s illness and clearly ignoring medical advice is not courage or strength. It’s reckless stupidity. It shows weakness. It claims too much.”

“A remote structure consisting of a supermassive black hole, several primordial galaxies, and copious amounts of gas finally explains how some of the earliest black holes were able to grow so quickly.”

“Because the chamber was designed to lock with a metal ring underneath the user’s penis, the researchers said it may require the intervention of a heavy-duty bolt cutter or an angle grinder to free the user.”

RIP, Eddie Van Halen, guitar god.

RIP, Johnny Nash, singer-songwriter best known for “I Can See Clearly Now”.

“We used to reject court packing as a dangerous game. Now we believe it may be the best way to restore the Court’s legitimacy.”

“Good on the BBWAA for removing Kenesaw Mountain Landis — and his history of racism — from MLB’s MVP awards”.

RIP, Monica Roberts, transgender and civil rights activist, blogger, and much more. A terrific person, and her loss leaves a big void and many broken hearts, but we will fight on in her honor.

RIP, Whitey Ford, Hall of Fame pitcher for the New York Yankees.

Weekend link dump for October 4

“I will confess to a deep pessimism about American politics right now. We stand on the precipice of a legitimacy crisis — minoritarian rule has become the norm, an unpopular president has all but promised to refuse to accept a loss at the polls, and a political system that has only ever worked with weak parties is proving unable to govern amid the collisions of strong ones. But there is a glimmer of an optimistic tale that can be told, too. And, to my surprise, it revolves around McConnell, and the vision of the Senate that he is convincing Democrats to embrace, the reforms he might, at last, convince them to make.”

“What Do Two New Studies Really Tell Us About Coronavirus Transmission on Planes?”

Paradox-free time travel is theoretically possible, according to the mathematical modeling of a prodigious University of Queensland undergraduate student.” Did you ever read an old Superman comic, where he’d travel to the past by flying faster than the speed of light, but he was completely unable to change the events of the past because anything he did was either prevented or subverted by various cosmic forces? It’s like that, apparently.

This is the end of the coronavirus pandemic. And this is how it could happen in the United States: By November 2021, most Americans have received two doses of a vaccine that, while not gloriously effective, fights the disease in more cases than not. Meanwhile, Americans continue to wear masks and avoid large gatherings, and the Covid-19 numbers drop steadily after a series of surges earlier in the year. Eventually, as more and more Americans develop immunity through exposure and vaccination, and as treatments become more effective, Covid-19 recedes into the swarm of ordinary illnesses Americans get every winter.”

“Here are some key takeaways from the Times’ reporting [on Donald Trump’s tax returns]”.

“No matter how many crazy things happen, the fundamentals are the same: The president is a greedy racist and misogynist who does not understand his job.”

RIP, Jay Johnstone, colorful former Major Leaguer who played for multiple teams and wrote several funny books about his experiences. (Actual quote from his onetime manager Tommy LaSorda for his first book, Temporary Insanity: “Johnstone wrote a book? With what, shaving cream? A fire extinguisher?”)

“Now, 8 1/2 months after an infection doctors had never seen before claimed its first victims in China, the pandemic’s confirmed death toll has eclipsed 1 million, according to a count by Johns Hopkins University.” Jay Johnstone, whom I eulogized above, is one of those one million people.

“Meet the Abortion Patients Calling Out Ted Cruz on His Abortion Lies”.

“There are at least five fundamental ways in which fact-checking as an independent proposition has always been problematic”. (Article is from last year, but it could have been written this week.)

“In the longer term, though, our president’s adventures in tax avoidance should also provide a great opportunity to build political momentum for rebuilding our our battered, broken-down Internal Revenue Service, a policy item that should be high on Democrats’ to-do list if they retake power.”

Not sure I buy the argument that Republicans will lose interest in Trump once Amy Coney Barrett is confirmed, but I’m open to it.

In case you wanted to know more about the 911 outage on Monday.

“Dogs are being trained to sniff out COVID-19, and they’re better than the tests”.

“This is why Trump’s contemptuous remarks about his Christian supporters are so similar to the decades of bewilderedly contemptuous comments he’s made about members of the military, veterans, and prisoners of war — others who, in Trump’s view, stupidly and perversely regarded some calling as higher than the pursuit of money.”

The months of the year if they were named for the metric system. It goes delightfully downhill from there.

RIP, Mac Davis, singer, songwriter, actor, TV personality.

RIP, Helen Reddy, singer best known for “I Am Woman” and “Delta Dawn”.

“A British zoo has had to separate five foul-mouthed parrots who keepers say were encouraging each other to swear.” My heroes.

“The timeline of events leading up to the disclosure of President Trump’s diagnosis point overwhelmingly to some mix of a coverup and gross negligence and likely both.”

“We don’t know their names, but it’s a certainty that Trump has been in proximity to a number of service workers and others there for his safety and comfort over the past week. From White House staff to workers at the fundraisers he held—including one at his Bedminster, New Jersey, golf club, where an undocumented housekeeper cleaned up after him for years—to the employees at his Virginia golf club where he played on Sunday, to the military personnel who make up the crew of Air Force One, and of course his Secret Service detail, Trump has been served and waited on and protected even as he refused to wear a mask and kept top aide Hope Hicks’ positive COVID-19 test secret.”

“Here’s a list of all of the Republicans who have tested positive for coronavirus since last Saturday”.

RIP, Bob Gibson, Hall of Fame and all-time great pitcher for the Saint Louis Cardinals.

RIP, Ron Perranoski, pitcher and pitching coach mostly for the Dodgers, who won two World Series with that team.

RIP, Timothy Ray Brown, first person cured of HIV.

Weekend link dump for September 27

We don’t have Election Day, we have Election Season. That’s a good thing, and it’s been a thing for decades now.

“A group of some of the most revered and longest-active environmentalists issued a dire warning to the next generation of activists on Monday: Don’t vote for the Green Party this year. And don’t sit out the election either.”

“Why I Changed My Mind About the Caster Semenya Case”.

“Los Angeles is just one of a number of US cities now plotting a comeback from the pain of the pandemic by tackling another, but longer-term, emergency—the climate crisis. By extending measures to turn streets over to pedestrians and cyclists, bolstering jobs in clean energy or building of new defenses to risks such as flooding, some US cities are attempting a “green recovery” to COVID-19.”

“With all the talk about expanding the Supreme Court and adding new states, why no discussion of adding a couple hundred seats to the House? We did it nearly every decade for 150 years. It’d also make it less likely that the electoral college picks the popular vote loser.”

“The price — and big potential payoff — of turning Texas blue”.

“A Notorious COVID Troll Actually Works for Dr. Fauci’s Agency”. Not anymore, apparently, but still.

“Our top newsrooms need to start producing campaign coverage with a clear, relentless message: that Trump is unfit and democracy is in danger. His constant lying alone is enough to justify taking this approach; it is an affront to journalism’s central mission, of telling the truth.”

The degradation of the CDC, turning the world’s premier public health institution into another propaganda arm, would be the biggest atrocity of the Trump administration, if it weren’t for literally everything else.

RIP, Roy Head, Houston-based R&B singer best known for the 1965 hit “Treat Her Right”.

RIP, Adeline Fagan, a 28-year-old New York native who was completing her second year of residency as an OB-GYN in Houston. She tested positive for COVID-19 in July and had been on a ventilator since mid-August.

Just go read these two posts from Teh Slacktivist about white evangelicals, Q-Anon, and tentacle porn.

And then, if you really want to scare yourself, read this Atlantic article about the looming electoral disaster that awaits us when Donald Trump refuses to concede.

“I thought, ‘It’s funny that you had a rough summer because everyone was calling out all of the allegations of your toxic work environment and now you’re the one suffering?”

“The ongoing pandemic has had weird consequences for both food producers and consumers. Stores have found their shelves bare due to both panic buying and producers cutting back on the variety of items they make, and with stadiums closed peanut farmers have been sitting on a mountain of unsold legumes. Now, thanks to movie theaters largely being closed as well, the same thing is happening to farmers raising corn destined to be popcorn.”

RIP, Gale Sayers, Hall of Fame running back for the Chicago Bears, also well known for his appearance in the movie Brian’s Song.

“Surprise! The ‘real people’ in Trump ad campaign are actually Republican operatives“.

“Even allowing for some variability in the accuracy of the economic modeling and underlying assumptions that drive our analysis, we conclude that Biden’s economic proposals would result in a stronger U.S. economy than Trump’s.”

“Nearly 500 National Security Experts Endorse Biden For President”.

“Every time Trump spouts this kind of garbage, he is revealing that he is TERRIFIED. Ab. So. Lute. Ly. Terrified. His **existential** fear is losing. And he knows that there is a very good chance he is going to lose. And he can’t do a damn thing about it. He will be a LOSER.”

Weekend link dump for September 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 100th birthday, Roger Angell!

Weekend link dump for September 13

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

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

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

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

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

Jeopardy! welcomes Ken Jennings back into the fold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Tony Vallone, longtime Houston restauranteur.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for September 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s “wellness” is a scam, too.

Leave Lily alone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously, what planet is Ted Cruz from?

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

Weekend link dump for August 30

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

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

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

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

Platform, schmatform. Long live the king!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for August 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do better, Alamo Drafthouse. Come on!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for August 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Trini Lopez, actor and singer.

RIP, Sumner Redstone, former media executive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for August 9

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please don’t drink hand sanitizer. Thank you.

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

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

RIP, Terry Cannon, founder of the Baseball Reliquary.

Weekend link dump for August 2

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 26

The COVID risk chart we really need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Vincent Mandola, longtime Houston restauranteur.

From the Bad Uses For Drones department.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give Suzi Quatro her props, y’all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 12

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 5

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MLB player Ian Desmond has something to say.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 28

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

How to read the polls like a pro.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Joel Schumacher, versatile film director.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 21

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

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

How newspaper comic strips dealt with coronavirus.

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

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

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

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

The Shake Shack Shit Show, and what it means.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Ian Holm, versatile British actor.

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 14

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

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

Spencer Tunick keeps on keeping on, now with Zoom.

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

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

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

Daniel Radcliffe is a mensch.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Scalzi says.

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

Weekend link dump for June 7

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Christo, flamboyant visual artist.

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

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

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

RIP, Wes Unseld, basketball Hall of Famer.

Good riddance, and more good riddance.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 31

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

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

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

Eels have a more complex backstory than you might expect.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 24

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

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

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

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

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

“Welcome to Our Very Safe Restaurant!”

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

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

The foreign TV shows are coming.

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

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

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

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

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

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

We should not want to be like Sweden.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Don’t touch the blue dragon.

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

What the future of air travel looks like.

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

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

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

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

Live N’ Let Die With COVID 45”.

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

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

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

RIP, Fred Willard, versatile comic actor.

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

Weekend link dump for May 10

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 3

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why Zoom video chats are so exhausting.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for April 26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It’s hard out here on a tall quarterback.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tom Hanks is a national treasure.

Weekend link dump for April 19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Please enjoy this little trip down Bad TV Memory Lane.

Wellness Influencers Are Spreading QAnon Conspiracies About the Coronavirus”.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for April 12

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

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

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

RIP, Ed Biles, former Houston Oilers coach.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rural America is in no way exempt from coronavirus.

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

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

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

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