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Weekend link dump for October 24

“Christchurch, New Zealand has just made a terrible mistake. It has fired its official city wizard, a man named Ian Brackenbury Channell, and now finds itself undefended against attacks by mystical armies of dragons, goblins, and, most dangerous of all, outraged bands of rogue magicians led by Brackenbury Channell himself.”

“According to the Officer Down Memorial Page, 228 officers have been killed by COVID-19 in 2021, and 47 have been killed by gunfire. In 2020, the numbers were 245 and 45.”

RIP, Colin Powell, former Secretary of State and first Black chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Powell died of COVID despite being fully vaccinated, and that is because as a person with a blood cancer, he was especially vulnerable to the disease.

A thread about breakthrough infections.

RIP, Betty Lynn, actor best known for The Andy Griffith Show. Mark Evanier was a friend and former neighbor of hers, and he has two items about her if you want to know more.

“What would religious leaders do if aliens showed up?”

“While the overlap of left-wing, magazine-friendly wellness and far-right conspiracy theories might initially sound surprising, the similarities in cultures, in ways of thinking – the questioning of authority, of alternative medicines, the distrust of institutions– are clear. But something is happening, accelerated by the pandemic – the former is becoming a mainstream entry point into the latter. An entry point that can be found everywhere from a community garden to the beauty aisle at a big Tesco. Part of what makes a successful influencer is the ability to compel their followers to trust them, and they do that by sharing their lives, their homes, their diets, their concerns. It’s become clear, both by the products they buy and the choices they make, that many people trust their influencers more than their own doctor.”

“In July 2021, according to the latest Air Travel Consumer Report, there were 834 incidents of “mishandled” wheelchairs and scooters of passengers transported by US airlines. An average of 28 a day. But the major airlines have adopted very few policies for the carrying of wheelchairs”.

“Have you signed up for Netflix, Disney Plus or HBO Max just to watch one new show or movie — then canceled for a few months until the next must-see thing comes out?” It’s called “churn and burn”, and it’s mostly done by younger people.

“Facebook said on Wednesday it will start banning […] profiles, pages, groups and events that sexualize public figures — which includes celebrities, journalists, politicians and content creators. The content covers photoshopped images, degrading images or drawings and any otherwise degrading content “depicting individuals in the process of bodily functions””.

“For a certain kind of person, Rolovich will become an avatar for personal choice and fighting back against government overreach. Stupid as his decision to fritter away a $3 million salary and a Power Five coaching job is, it will look to some like principle. But Rolovich is not even a good standard-bearer for the anti-vaccine movement, if such a thing can exist, nor has he asked to be made one. Rolovich is something a lot simpler: He is the coaching profession’s most high-profile failure of the entire pandemic, in ways that go beyond not getting the shot. He is also a selfish coward, in ways that exceed any health risks he poses by not getting vaccinated.”

“Survey finds 22% of scientists who do media interviews about COVID get violent threats“.

“Pet Cloning Is Way More Advanced Than You Thought”.

From the If You Snooze, You Lose department.

“TMTG isn’t a social media platform. It’s a scam. Trump does not need another social media platform. He needs suckers willing to buy stock. And Trump has always been very, very good at locating suckers.”

“‘Prayer in schools’ is almost never about prayer in schools”.

RIP, Peter Scolari, versatile Emmy-winning actor known for Bosom Buddies, Newhart, and a whole lot more.

Lock him up.

“Here’s How a Prop Gun Using Blanks Can Still Fire a Fatal Shot”.

“It seems that [Trump Media and Technology Group (TMTG)] lifted the code for TRUTH Media without properly crediting the code’s author. And the author is already making noises about taking Trump to court.”

“Trolling is a way of trying to take back a piece of what misogynists feel women owe them, which is attention. If they can’t force you to be a subservient housewife, they can at least force you to be annoyed, upset, even afraid. It makes shitty men feel powerful.”

“Trolling is a way of trying to take back a piece of what misogynists feel women owe them, which is attention. If they can’t force you to be a subservient housewife, they can at least force you to be annoyed, upset, even afraid. It makes shitty men feel powerful.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance is glad for a little fall in the air as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 17

“Treat Trump Like the Common Perp He Is”.

“One striking feature of the homicide increase from 2019 to 2020 is how uniform and pervasive it was: it rose in big cities and rural areas, in more conservative and more liberal cities, as well as in places with progressive prosecutors and in those without. The timing of the homicide increase also defies any sort of simple explanation. When looking at city-specific data, it’s clear that some cities saw homicides rise at the start of the COVID-19 lockdown, others around the time of George Floyd’s murder, others later in the year, and still others simply had higher levels of lethal violence right from the start; there is no clear, single story about what happened.”

“Idaho’s Palace Coup Is Like Game of Thrones If It Were Produced by OAN”.

“Children facing orphanhood as a result of COVID is a hidden, global pandemic.”

“People’s pandemic views aren’t just preferences. They’ve evolved to fundamental beliefs. And when that happens, social psychologists say, people are more likely to accept incivility to achieve what they want.”

Less Manchin and Sinema, more Jon Tester, please.

“In a first-of-its-kind victory for the right-to-repair movement, Microsoft has agreed to take concrete steps to facilitate the independent repair of its devices following pressure from its shareholders.”

“Gen X’s Wealth Has Gone Up 50% During the Pandemic”.

RIP, Alan Kalter, announcer for The Late Show With David Letterman.

“The Difference Between Captions and Subtitles (and Why It Matters for Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’)”.

RIP, Ruthie Thompson, Disney Legend and longtime animator who got her start on Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

“As so many have explained over recent years, the issue is not in most cases that the prestige DC journalists are Republicans, let alone Trumpers. It is that the default assumption is that Republicans will light fires and Democrats will put them out. That is a great boon to Republican arson and legislative terrorism because as the default assumptions they cease to be news.”

President Biden is connected to the Real Housewives universe. I got nothin’.

“The pace of the economic recovery hinges in part on workers returning to jobs that involve dealing with an unpredictable public. But many of those workers say increasingly combative customers — angry about everything from long wait times to mask mandates — have prompted them to quit.”

RIP, Paddy Moloney, Irish folk music legend and co-founder of The Chieftains.

“There’s a super important story we’re not paying enough, or the right kind of, attention to. It’s sort of related to last week’s Facebook/Instagram disclosures but it goes well beyond that: A mental health crisis among America’s youth, aged 10-24.”

“Alito’s speech perfectly encapsulated the new imperious attitude of the Court’s right-wing majority, which wants to act politically without being seen as political, and expects the public to silently acquiesce to its every directive without scrutiny, criticism, or protest.”

“Arresting violent would-be terrorists is the very premise of this nation’s many, many SWAT teams. It was the reason for slapping them together in the first place, after pro-gun advocates succeeded in creating a new generation of criminals decked out in equipment capable of murdering dozens in the span of a minute.”

RIP, Ray Fosse, longtime MLB catcher and broadcaster.

“Football, and the NFL in particular, doesn’t care about employing well-rounded, worldly individuals. It cares only about winning football games. Which is why we’ve all laughed at the league’s attempts to make up for decades of racism and sexism and homophobia with a few token hires and a few end-zone slogans. The entire league is broken because of the people who run it.”

“Some go-to attorneys have been spooked by Trump’s reputation for sometimes not paying as a client, according to several people familiar with conservative legal circles. Others watched closely as lawyers fled Trump’s prior teams, frustrated by him as a client or facing their own ethical predicaments. Others still want themselves and their firms to stay far away from Trump’s insistence that the election was stolen.”

This, among many other things, is not good cyber security practice.

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance is dining al fresco as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 10

“11 Netflix Settings Everyone Should Know About”.

“It’s one thing to sell out for a $200,000 car, it’s another to do it for a fast casual milkshake.”

“Why the Texas Abortion Law May Galvanize Young Women Politically Like Never Before”.

“What the Media Gets Wrong About Last Year’s Uptick In Murders”.

The science of Fat Bear Week.

“On the one hand, acting is acting—it shouldn’t require perfect alignment with the character you’re playing. On the other hand, the fact that it keeps happening when Hollywood doesn’t exactly suffer from a lack of Jewish actors shows that something is off. It seems that the idea of letting an actual Jewish actress interpret a Jewish role is pushing a cultural boundary we didn’t realize was still there.”

“Put more prosaically: Does Donald Trump have a perp walk and a prison cell in his future?”

“I’m going to take a handful of recent articles that I felt badly missed the mark, and offer alternative ledes or nut graphs that I think do a better job of telling the truer story.”

“Golden State Warriors’ forward Andrew Wiggins is finally vaccinated.”

Cancel culture really is running amuck.

“Netflix’s ‘Squid Game’ Literally Broke the Internet in South Korea”.

“Women who have miscarried know first-hand that a pre-term fetus is not a baby, we must use our voices and our standing as mothers to protect abortion access”.

“When we realized tobacco companies were hiding the harms it caused, the government took action. When we figured out cars were safer with seatbelts, the government took action. I implore you to do the same here.”

“What’s so damaging about Facebook is that there’s no willfully bad person doing this. That’s just what the product is.”

“I’m a professor of art crime. To teach my students about the varieties of cultural heritage crime, like forgery, fraud, and looting, I’ve spent decades researching cases from throughout history and around the world. Which, frankly, was a big waste of time. They could have learned nearly everything about heritage crime by looking at what the Museum of the Bible has been caught doing in the past few years.”

Don’t anger Taylor Swift fans. Take it from the father of a devout Swiftie on this.

Lock them up.

RIP, Dr. Robert Grossman, pioneering Houston neurosurgeon who as a young resident examined the fatal head wound of President John F. Kennedy.

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance has added just a touch of pumpkin spice to this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 3

“But in the meantime, the simple story that unemployment insurance was the gravitational force pinning down the labor market and preventing a boom doesn’t seem to have panned out. And as for the states that decided to cut off aid early? That decision is looking increasingly pointless and cruel.”

“Unlike their STEM peers, Black and white humanities graduates earn about the same. How did that happen?”

“The shock of the explosion over Tall el-Hammam was enough to level the city, flattening the palace and surrounding walls and mudbrick structures”. See also: “The proposed airburst was larger than the 1908 explosion over Tunguska, Russia, where a ~ 50-m-wide bolide detonated with ~ 1000× more energy than the Hiroshima atomic bomb.” The Slacktivist gives you some historical and Biblical context for all this, and also a reason to be a little skeptical of the whole thing.

“A system like this rewards the best liars, the most sophisticated liars, or the people who have access to people willing to help them manipulate it.”

“Now, more than 10 months after the election, the country knows of at least five ways in which Trump attempted to retain power despite his defeat.”

“Anti-vaccine Facebook groups have a new message for their community members: Don’t go to the emergency room, and get your loved ones out of intensive care units.”

“It might seem like hyperbole to put LuLaRoe in the same category as a dangerous group like NXIVM — after all, MLM members are not getting their flesh seared with their leaders’ initials, nor are they forced to move to a rural commune in the woods. But “cults” don’t all wear the same cloak, and even so-called “normal” people can find themselves inveigled by one.”

RIP, Sissy Farenthold, Texas Democratic and progressive icon.

“Ignorance, by itself, is not bad faith — but persistence in ignorance is. And as more and more stories like these continue to make their way into the public domain, the persistence of the former president’s supporters in their ignorance ought to be called out for what it is: it’s their bad faith, too.”

“William Shatner’s Actually Pulling A Captain Kirk And Heading To Space On A Bezos Ship”.

I’m not sure we needed a Night Court sequel, but if it has John Larroquette in it, it can’t be too bad.

“It’s the essence of GOP grievance politics aimed squarely at the forehead of civic democracy.”

“This is the way forward. While masking and other precautions are very important until vaccination rates rise and daily case rates drop dramatically, the U.S. needs more people vaccinated to lower the rates of serious illness and death and clear out ICUs. Even so, a tiny minority of people will refuse, but for many more people who were genuinely just hesitating and being told it’s vaccination or your job, these requirements will work. They’re working already.”

RIP, Tommy Kirk, Disney star best known for Old Yeller.

“Instead of learning from those mistakes as we enter the Biden era, the new Times initiative seems to double down on its lost-cause obsession with wooing angry conservatives, like John Cusack holding up that boombox. Why?”

“The best you can say about this idiotic scheme is that it seems to be risk-free for Miami.”

Wait, Hannah Waddingham from “Ted Lasso” was Septa Unella from “Game of Thrones”, and she got to keep the “Shame!” bell? Mind blown.

It’s been Fat Bear Week, y’all. Meet the bears that make the week.

“Infowars host Alex Jones has lost two of several lawsuits filed against him by relatives of Sandy Hook victims after he routinely failed to comply with requests to produce documents related to his involvement in spreading lies about the deadly shooting.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance did not consult with Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend in the making of this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 26

“Even before the thefts started, the city’s 65,000 delivery workers had tolerated so much: the fluctuating pay, the lengthening routes, the relentless time pressure enforced by mercurial software, the deadly carelessness of drivers, the pouring rain and brutal heat, and the indignity of pissing behind a dumpster because the restaurant that depends on you refuses to let you use its restroom. And every day there were the trivially small items people ordered and the paltry tips they gave — all while calling you a hero and avoiding eye contact.”

“Our analysis of HHS and CDC data indicates there were 32,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations in June, 68,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations in July, and another 187,000 preventable COVID-19 hospitalizations among unvaccinated adults in the U.S. in August, for a total of 287,000 across the three months. We explain more on how we arrived at these numbers below. If each of these preventable hospitalizations cost roughly $20,000, on average, that would mean these largely avoidable hospitalizations have already cost billions of dollars since the beginning of June.”

“Anyone who’d rather have COVID-19 than get vaccinated is taking two gambles: that immunity will stick around, and that symptoms won’t.”

RIP, Larry Tesler, the computer scientist who invented copy and paste.

“The Covid-driven surge in car deaths shouldn’t obscure what was already a disquieting fact before the pandemic: American automotive deaths — both of pedestrians and of people in cars — are a public health emergency.”

“The dead hand of the Trump administration already controls much of the U.S. government through the federal judiciary. Now it is reaching into other nations, too.”

“The GOP intransigence is fiercely motivating Democrats to vote even in off-year and special elections, even as Republicans and their conservative infotainment allies are functionally killing and incapacitating literally thousands of their own voters almost every day, including and especially the ones so politically engaged and devoted to the cause that they’re willing to risk death rather than wear a mask or get a shot.”

RIP, Sarah Dash, R&B singer and actress, co-founder of Patti LaBelle & The Bluebelles and LaBelle.

“Activision Blizzard now faces a federal investigation into how the company has handled employee allegations of workplace discrimination, sexual harassment, and sexual misconduct. The company’s workplace environment has faced public scrutiny since California authorities filed suit to prosecute similar claims back in July.”

“The goal on January 6 was to have Mike Pence declare Trump the winner of the election by simply leaving out seven states. And if anyone objected to that tactic, there was a backup plan for Pence to hand Trump the election through a second route.” Honestly, a whole lot of people should be facing jail time for this.

“Amazon is actively lobbying the United States government to federally legalize cannabis“.

“Cassandra Peterson — best known to the world as Elvira, Mistress of the Dark — released her new memoir Yours Cruelly, Elvira today and, in the process, came out by revealing her 19-year relationship with another woman, Teresa “T” Wierson.”

RIP, Willie Garson, actor best known for Sex and the City and White Collar.

RIP, Peter Palmer, stage and screen actor who originated the role of L’il Abner on Broadway. Mark Evanier has a nice remembrance of him.

“Why are more men dying from COVID? It’s a complicated story of nature vs. nurture, researchers say.”

“Fact: The unvaccinated phenomenon in America represents the story of Covid today. But the press tip-toes around it, pretending it’s normal for millions of Americans to risk death by refusing to take a vaccine that’s been administered billions of times worldwide.”

RIP, Melvin Van Peebles, groundbreaking filmmaker, actor, writer, and composer.

“As opposition to vaccines becomes a more partisan issue, however, progressives who are vaccine-hesitant will face a decision. Do they remain on the left, even as the politics around the conspiracy theories they embrace lead them out of their ideological comfort zones? Or do they dispense with progressivism in favor of a view of the world that holds that public health is subordinate to personal choice?”

“The pandemic has been a vast natural experiment to determine whether there are people who would literally rather die than admit they were wrong about politics. I would have speculated ahead of time that such people exist, and in significant numbers. But now we know for sure.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 20

The Texas Progressive Alliance is as ready as it’s going to be for the next special session as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 19

“It is possible to be both a victim and a villain.”

“Last year, three cryptocurrency enthusiasts bought a cruise ship. They named it the Satoshi, and dreamed of starting a floating libertarian utopia. It didn’t work out.”

“Over the past year, as the conspiracy theorists have come together under one big apocalyptic tent—the “stop the steal” election truthers, the anti-vaxers, the anti-maskers—we have seen organized campaigns of harassment, threats of violence, attempts to harm members of school administrations, and physical altercations at school board meetings when masks are mandated.”

“Most viruses in an infected person are genetically identical to the strain that started the infection. It is much more likely that one of these copies – not a rare mutation – gets passed on to someone else. Research has shown that almost no mutated viruses are transmitted from their original host to another person. And even if a new mutant causes an infection, the mutant viruses are usually outnumbered by non-mutant viruses in the new host and aren’t usually transmitted to the next person.”

Evangelicals considered abortion a “Catholic issue” through most of the 1970s, and there is little in the history of evangelicalism to suggest that abortion would become a point of interest. Even James Dobson, who later became an implacable foe of abortion, acknowledged after the Roe decision that the Bible was silent on the matter and that it was plausible for an evangelical to hold that “a developing embryo or fetus was not regarded as a full human being”.”

“Not once does the story mention obstruction, which also carries a maximum sentence of 20 years. If you don’t mention obstruction — and your sources don’t explain that obstruction will get you to precisely where you’d get with a sedition charge, but with a lot more flexibility to distinguish between defendants and a far lower bar of proof (unless and until judges decide it has been misapplied) — then your sources are not describing what is going on with the investigation.”

More than a million children have already lost a primary caregiver due to COVID, according to one recent study.”

“President Joe Biden gave a gift to every major company in America by forcing them to mandate vaccines or stringently test their employees for Covid. Their reaction to the new rule: glee.”

“Researchers are finding that when pulverized rock is applied to agricultural fields, the soil pulls far more carbon from the air and crop yields increase. More studies are underway, but some scientists say this method shows significant benefits for farmers and the climate.”

Four words: Lab-grown woolly mammoths. You’re welcome.

RIP, Norm MacDonald, comedian, writer, actor best known for several seasons on Saturday Night Live.

“He’s ended America’s longest war, got vaccines distributed at no cost nationwide and halved the child poverty rate. So why all the stories about ‘Biden‘s Cruel Summer’?”

“Maybe Washington State needs to implement vaccine passports for crossing its state borders.”

The story of Bruce, the large fiberglass shark that went on an epic journey during Hurricane Nicholas.

You oughtta know that Alanis Morisette does not care for the forthcoming HBO documentary about her life.

RIP, Dotty Griffith, pioneering Texas food journalist.

“Remember that many unvaccinated Americans aren’t hardcore resisters, just people who need a push. The president gave them one.”

“I must say I take a personal glee at the outcome of the Republican attempt to recall California Governor Gavin Newsom, not just because it’s another setback for the party that advocates stupidity, the end of democracy, and the death of its members (don’t wear masks, don’t take vaccines, COVID is a hoax)— no, I’m thrilled because I personally know the candidate who lost — Larry Elder.”

“This dataset is all that’s needed to trace actual ownership and management of the fascist side of the Internet that has eluded researchers, activists, and, well, just about everybody.”

“I am happy to announce that we are offering Official letters for those Pastafarians who would like to be exempt from working in proximity to the unvaxxed. The unvaccinated may emit harmful virus particles which are forbidden to devout Pastafarians, therefore we expect all reasonable measures to be taken to help us avoid these virus particles. Please respect our religious liberty.”

“Netflix was hit with a lawsuit on Thursday over the mention of chess champion Nona Gaprindashvili in the final episode of the Emmy-winning limited series The Queens Gambit.”

“Vaccine requirements work: Raiders report more than 6,000 fans got the shot on game day”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 13

The Texas Progressive Alliance honors the memory of those who died on 9/11/01 as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 12

“We condemn you to Websites From Hell, an archive of the internet’s ugliest websites”.

Are you old enough to remember the McDonaldland character Grimace? Then do not read this, whatever you do. You don’t want to know.

“A lecherous sunrise flaunted itself over a flatulent sea, ripping the obsidian bodice of night asunder with its rapacious fingers of gold, thus exposing her dusky bosom to the dawn’s ogling stare.”

“Approximately two million years after our ancestors first learned to move about the planet with an upright gait, whether or not walking places is good or bad has become yet another dividing line in the American culture wars.”

I’m a longtime fan of The Amazing Race, and so I really enjoyed this oral history of its first season. I didn’t start watching it until a few seasons in so this was all new to me, but looking back 20 years later it was an incredible feat of television, and it’s still a terrific show.

RIP, Tunch Ilkin, former Pittsburgh Steelers offensive tackle and longtime broadcaster.

RIP, Michael K. Williams, actor and five-time Emmy nominee best known for his role as Omar Little on The Wire.

RIP, Sam Cunningham, College Football Hall of Fame running back and leading rusher for the New England Patriots who is widely recognized for helping speed up the process of integration in football programs across the South.

RIP, Larry Winters, longtime volunteer and DJ at KPFT who created the “Spare Change” show.

RIP, Irma Kalish, pioneering writer and producer for television.

Did anyone ask for another season of 24?

“The scolds claim to care about social deprivation and learning loss and the developmental concerns of kids being out of school. If that’s the case, they should care about things that might cause classrooms or schools to close at unpredictable intervals, causing a loss of stability to every single child affected. Again: There’s that 6.5% of the kids in Mississippi’s public schools who have already quarantined. Who wants to step up and claim that’s less disruptive to their lives than wearing masks in school would be?”

Along those lines

“The evolution of education in the United States is more complicated than you think”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 5

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the abortion providers and patients of Texas as it brings you this week’s rounup.

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Weekend link dump for September 5

“Baseball For All’s message to women and girls: You don’t have to stop playing the game you love”.

“The ideal host for Jeopardy! should embody what the show means to its viewership: a passion for knowledge and a respect for a diverse community. Maybe the host would also reflect that diversity in order to show that it’s not just white males who can be the gatekeepers to these values. What’s especially shocking is that the producers of a show that is about knowledge demonstrated a substantial lack of awareness of recent cultural history and the coming of age our institutions — from government to the academy to entertainment — have been going through.”

In the meantime, the ideal executive producer of Jeopardy! will not be Mike Richards. Don’t piss off the former champions and hardcore fans, that’s the lesson to be learned from all this.

“Are You Entitled to Privacy Over Your Pee and Poop?”

“The internet doesn’t turn people into assholes so much as it acts as a massive megaphone for existing ones, according to work by researchers at Aarhus University.”

The penis is just another organ that is at risk due to COVID-related blood clotting.”.

“So that’s how we ended up here. Ivermectin fans on Facebook, complaining about wait times and high drug prices, got fed up with America’s Frontline Doctors, who sold them conspiracy and the fake cure. So they went to the feed store, to eat the horse goo, because it’s cheaper.”

RIP, Ed Asner, beloved actor and seven-time Emmy winner. Here are two great stories about him.

“As a full-time hospitalist for the last year and a half, I — together with my colleagues — have personally taken care of hundreds of hospitalized patients with COVID-19. We are also nine months into vaccinating about half of Texas. You know how many hospitalized patients I’ve personally cared for with serious side effects from the vaccine? Zero.”

“Nicole Carroll said there is “no higher calling in journalism than to give people accurate information to help them make decisions that can save lives.” That’s a vision of journalism oddly drained of its inherent moral character. “Accurate information” is not the same thing as “the truth.””

Some Mister Rogers trivia, to mark the 20th anniversary of the end of the show.

“People in the crisis-management field have made peace with blanket one-size-fits-all policies that some individuals don’t like. When a ship is going down, passengers aren’t given the luxury of quibbling with the color or design of the life vest, and they can’t dither forever about whether to put one on or not. Emergencies invariably force people to make some choices that they might not consider ideal, but asking everyone to get vaccinated against a potentially lethal virus is not a big imposition.”

“Rather than work with him to vaccinate the country, Biden’s Republican opposition has, with only a few exceptions, done everything in its power to politicize the vaccine and make refusal to cooperate a test of partisan loyalty. The party is, for all practical purposes, pro-Covid. If it’s sincere, it is monstrous. And if it’s not, it is an unbelievably cynical and nihilistic strategy. Unfortunately for both Biden and the country, it appears to be working.”

“But no matter her sexuality, the Green M&M’s eroticism persists, adding a little frisson of horniness to the humble candy bowl.”

Boy, that cancel culture sure is something, isn’t it?

“Steven Petrow’s Advice On Stupid Things Not to Do When You Get Older”.

“Thankfully, the Federal Trade Commission is also tired of waiting for their damn McFlurry.”

“The current [Supreme] Court is deeply corrupted and corrupt. The lawful remedy is to create new seats on the Court to break its power. The lawful solution to overruling Roe is to take current precedent as of today and enact it as law.”

RIP, Carolyn Shoemaker, comet hunter extraordinaire who co-discovered the Shoemaker-Levy Comet.

“The most-cited study promoting ivermectin may have been completely fabricated“.

RIP, Willard Scott, beloved longtime weatherman for The Today Show.

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ringing all the bells and sounding all the alarms for the need for federal voting rights legislation as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 29

“The dinosaur-killing asteroid took a back road to Earth.”

An interview with Jim DeRogatis, the reporter who’s been telling us all what a sleazeball R. Kelly is for the last 20 years.

More about now-former Jeopardy! host Mike Richards and his unsavory past, with further details that couldn’t fit into the story here. Yeah, maybe Levar Burton would have been a better choice.

A look at MLB mascots through history.

Congratulations to Miguel Cabrera, the first Venezuelan-born player in MLB to hit 500 home runs.

“What happened, and what can be learned about the vaccine’s impact on a highly vaccinated country? Here are six lessons learned — and one looming question for the future of the pandemic.”

RIP, Don Everly, rock and roll pioneer and elder half of The Everly Brothers.

Why wildfires have gotten so much worse lately.

RIP, Gregg Barrios, playwright, poet, journalist.

“Despite a declining growth rate and data collection complications related to the Coronavirus pandemic, the six long-term trends of American population migration continued unabated. Gentrification and urban renewal continue to make cities attractive for young professionals. Cheap property, spacious homes, quality schools, and ample opportunity continues to attract people from all backgrounds and livelihoods to the expanding suburbs. Retirees continue to seek relaxation in the Sun Belt and scenic natural communities. Rural and post-Industrial America continues to decline as both the young and the old seek better lives in distant communities. African Americans continue to leave the blighted, post-industrial Midwest and impoverished Black Belt rural areas for southern cities teeming with opportunity. The overall population continues to grow less White, more diverse, and more intermingled.”

“The Seattle Storm, the 2020 WNBA champions, met with President Joe Biden on Monday, becoming the first professional basketball team since 2016 to visit the White House.”

“NEW: in the last couple of weeks there have a *lot* of new studies out assessing vaccine efficacy, many of which have touched on the question of waning immunity. Unsurprisingly, these have prompted a *lot* of questions. Time for a thread to summarise what we do and don’t know:”

RIP, Charlie Watts, legendary longtime drummer for The Rolling Stones.

RIP, Micki Grant, playwright and actor who was the first woman to write both the music and lyrics to a Broadway musical and the first Black actor to become a contract player on a daytime soap opera.

RIP, Brian Travers, saxophonist and founding member of UB40.

“A discovery made during a police raid has been identified as the most complete fossil of a flying reptile from Brazil. The remains revealed new information about tapejarids, or pterosaurs that soared across the skies during the Early Cretaceous period between 100.5 million and 145 million years ago.”

“It is one thing to be exhausted, depleted, and fearful after 18 months of a pandemic, brutal racial injustice, climate panic, and global political instability. It is quite another thing to be expected to embody pitch-perfect emotional responses to each one of those things instantaneously online.”

“It is one thing to be exhausted, depleted, and fearful after 18 months of a pandemic, brutal racial injustice, climate panic, and global political instability. It is quite another thing to be expected to embody pitch-perfect emotional responses to each one of those things instantaneously online.”

This lawsuit represents a historic and profound abuse of the judicial process. It is one thing to take on the charge of vindicating rights associated with an allegedly fraudulent election. It is another to take on the charge of deceiving a federal court and the American people into believing that rights were infringed, without regard to whether any laws or rights were in fact violated. This is what happened here.”

Mandy Patinkin and Kathryn Grody are two of the best people on the planet.

“This is probably the most comprehensive account of Jan. 6 in terms of civil cases. It spans from the former president to militants around him to his campaign supporters.”

“Remembering the Origins of the United States’ 20 Year War in Afghanistan”.

“This is why monoclonals are a linear tool in an exponential fight”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance is not happy there’s a quorum at the Legislature but is resigned to move on to the next stage of the fight as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 22

“I cannot emphasize enough what an emergency this is. Public servants, health care workers, ordinary citizens–the very fabric of our society and our democracy–are under attack by crazed conspiracy theorists and bad actors looking to make a buck on division and hate.”

“A few things still need to happen before [COVID] shots can be authorized for Americans younger than 12.”

“The former president only received about 19 percent of his 74 million votes from counties with shrinking populations, according to Muro and his team’s analysis. Overall, the counties where he won added 7.8 million people during the previous decade. But Biden counties nearly doubled that total, expanding by 14.9 million individuals. Blue America is driving America’s population growth.”

“[T]he Democrats are trying to accomplish something nobody has ever accomplished, let alone attempted, on the House and Senate floors: a single piece of legislation designed to overhaul the social contract on a disparate array of fronts.”

The NFL is a good example of how and why vaccine mandates work.

“We need to talk about the pediatric bed situation in the USA. Because things are going to get really bad, real fast, unless people doing things to stop it.”

“There’s a growing consensus among health experts: Covid-19 may never go away. We’ll likely always have some coronavirus out there, infecting people and, hopefully only in rare cases, getting them seriously ill. The realistic goal is to defang the virus — make it less deadly — not eliminate it entirely.”

“Modernizing the Electoral Count Act (“ECA”) is the fix most likely to stop an effort to overturn the results of a future election that can receive bipartisan support.”

Rachel Maddow >> OANN.

“The Republican-led Maricopa County Board of Supervisors filed a financial claim Wednesday seeking $2.8 million from the GOP-led Arizona State Senate for the cost of replacing elections equipment compromised during the Republicans’ sham audit.”

“The National Association of Secretaries of State approved a series of recommendations for audits aimed at combating Arizona-style, slapdash reviews of the 2020 election and future races.”

Some SFF/F book recommendations, if you need some new reading.

“If you believe the pandemic is almost over and you can ride it out, without getting vaccinated, you could not be more wrong. This virus will find you.”

“The sentencing for one of the January 6 US Capitol rioters was abruptly postponed Wednesday after new videos emerged of the man allegedly fighting with police, an unexpected twist in the case because prosecutors hadn’t previously accused him of committing violence that day.”

“Instead, on the eve of a once-in-a-generation federal investment in infrastructure, the environmental review process for big projects is totally unfit for the task at hand. Transportation is the country’s largest source of carbon emissions, but ideas that aim to reduce dependence on planes, cars, and trucks have even more trouble gaining environmental approval than highways. The result: delays and high costs that perpetuate the dominance of ice cap–melting SUVs in American transportation policy.”

Where are the anti-war voices?

Mike Richards is officially out as the new Jeopardy! host, and not a minute too soon.

RIP, Bill Freehan, 11-time All Star catcher for the Detroit Tigers.

RIP, Tom T. Hall, country singer/songwriter who wrote “Harper Valley PTA”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with its on the lam members of the State House as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 15

“So it goes for many media companies, at a loss for revenue and drooling over the profit potential in sports betting. As gambling swallows up sports media, anyone pausing to consider editorial conflicts (or, in the case of bets based on nonpublic information, possible law-breaking) might feel left out.”

“Indonesia says ‘Jurassic Park’ project on track despite UNESCO warnings”. There’s no way this ends well, is there?

“COVID-19 accounts for nearly half of all police deaths” in 2021 so far.

There is a huge uptick in the request for vaccines. We’re back almost to how we were when the vaccine first came out.”

“If Americans truly wish to protect all children (and adults) from kidnapping, exploitation, and other forms of sexual and physical harm, we must recognize that cases like Johnny Gosch’s and Eugene Martin’s are extremely rare. Stranger abduction and exploitation understandably terrify parents and other family and community members in acute ways, yet family members and acquaintances are far more likely to perpetrate harm against children.”

“My reaction to the Dick Farrels of the world is: I’m sorry their friends lost a friend, and I’m sorry for all the people they fed bullshit to who are currently in danger of contracting a dangerous but easily preventable virus because he encouraged them not to protect themselves with a simple, safe and efficient vaccine. If his death and deathbed conversion to the efficacy of vaccines serves as a useful rebuttal to all his previous bullshit on the subject, so much the better. Beyond that, I wouldn’t have wished him dead, and I’m glad he’s no longer able to tell other people not to get vaccinated. It’s too bad the former was required for the latter, but, well. Here we are. If it takes more deaths like his for it to sink in, at least they will not be entirely useless deaths. This is about as kindly as I can put that.”

Pitchers really, really can’t hit. That’s all you need to know.

RIP, Lauryn Farris, leading voice for transgender advocacy in San Antonio.

“The audacity of the former President’s attempts to subvert the law by weaponizing the Justice Department not only underscores how close the United States came to a full blown constitutional crisis this year. It also emphasizes that any attempt by Trump to use a war chest already worth $100 million to try to recapture the White House in 2024 would represent a mortal threat to democracy and the rule of law from a leader who was undeterred even by his own first impeachment.”

This is the core of good climate policy: pushing fossil fuels off the grid over the next decade and replacing them with zero-carbon energy.”

RIP, Tony Esposito, Hall of Fame goalie for the Chicago NHL team.

“Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, said state and local governments should require teachers to get vaccinated against Covid-19.”

“Newsmax helped create and cultivate an alternate reality where up is down, pigs have wings, and Dominion engaged in a colossal fraud to steal the presidency from Donald Trump by rigging the vote.

RIP, Cameron Burrell, former NCAA champion sprinter at the University of Houston.

“What the crank is giving people is the *illusion* of not trusting an authority—unlike all those sheep who trust the *mainstream* authorities. A bit like the media elites who win large followings by telling you not to trust media elites.”

Let unvaxxed people complain about vaccination requirements for travel. They shouldn’t be traveling if they’re not vaxxed.

Who should Americans be angry at? Can we narrow it down? Sure.”

RIP, Nanci Griffith, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter.

“More than 4,700 lives lost to Covid-19 in Florida and Texas could have been saved if those states had higher vaccination rates, according to a study released on Thursday.”

“Restaurant owners across the country are experiencing similar waves of backlash after announcing vaccination requirements for anyone who wants to dine indoors. Their Yelp pages get overrun with one-star reviews from people who have never eaten there; their Instagram posts get spammed with vitriolic comments; their inboxes and voicemails get flooded with messages. Many of the comments are eerily similar: angry anti-vaxxers accuse restaurateurs of medical segregation, comparing vaccine requirements to racial discrimination.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance is way out of patience with anti-vaxxers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 8

“In the early 20th century, a famous anti-vaxxer exposed himself to smallpox. What happened next offers a COVID cautionary tale.”

“Every time there is another data breach, we are asked to change our password at the breached entity. But the reality is that in most cases by the time the victim organization discloses an incident publicly the information has already been harvested many times over by profit-seeking cybercriminals. Here’s a closer look at what typically transpires in the weeks or months before an organization notifies its users about a breached database.”

Apparently, a lot of people hate the song “Imagine”. I kind of do, too, and this article goes into why people hate it.

“In my decade-plus of social-policy reporting, I have mostly understood these stories as facts of life. Government programs exist. People have to navigate those programs. That is how it goes. But at some point, I started thinking about these kinds of administrative burdens as the “time tax”—a levy of paperwork, aggravation, and mental effort imposed on citizens in exchange for benefits that putatively exist to help them. This time tax is a public-policy cancer, mediating every American’s relationship with the government and wasting countless precious hours of people’s time.”

“I am angry that the tragic scenes of prior surges are being played out yet again, but now with ICUs primarily filled with patients who have chosen not to be vaccinated. I am angry that it takes me over an hour to explain to an anti-vaxxer full of misinformation that intubation isn’t what “kills patients” and that their wish for chest compressions without intubation in the event of a respiratory arrest makes no sense. I am angry at those who refuse to wear “muzzles” when grocery shopping for half an hour a week, as I have been so-called “muzzled” for much of the past 18 months.”

Poor Rudy. No really, he’s broke and he ain’t getting a dime from Trump. These two deserve each other so much.

“The finding indicates that there’s a very large population of wild animals in North America that could serve as a reservoir for the [SARS-CoV-2] virus, even if we were to get its circulation within the human population under control.”

“Let’s look back at the lesbian pulp explosion and try to uncover its legacy…”

“Just weeks after its launch, the pro-Trump social network GETTR is inundated with terrorist propaganda spread by supporters of Islamic State, according to a POLITICO review of online activity on the fledgling platform.”

“#STILLWATER was “directly inspired by the Amanda Knox saga.” Director Tom McCarthy tells Vanity Fair, “he couldn’t help but imagine how it would feel to be in Knox’s shoes.” …But that didn’t inspire him to ask me how it felt to be in my shoes.”

Maybe this guyrecently flagged government data center hard drives as a promising source of the rare earth elements America needs not just for data storage devices and consumer electronics, but also for energy technologies that are key to fighting climate change.”

“Those exceptional few white evangelicals who were on the right side of the abominable matter of slavery quickly found themselves to be on the wrong side of white evangelicism.”

“During the pandemic, child care was a second full-time job for many moms of young kids.”

“The end result may still be a much needed reform that finally forces America’s bitcoiners, ethereum fans, and doge nuts to pay their taxes. But the last minute rescue by top members of both parties is a vivid demonstration that, in Washington, crypto has some legislative sway.”

“[LSU] has not only abandoned its responsibility to its students and faculty, but also to Baton Rouge and Louisiana as a whole. As Louisiana’s flag-ship university, the administration has failed to set an example for the rest of the state’s public schools, both in terms of integrity and public health policy.”

“Hey, I’m going to take literally a half a second to type in ClevelandGuardians.com, just to see if anyone has it.”

RIP, JR Richard, legendary pitcher for the Houston Astros. I’m just glad that he and the franchise were able to reconcile and that he was inducted into the inaugural Astros Hall of Fame class while he was still with us.

RIP, Richard Trumka, labor leader and President of the AFL-CIO.

“The reality of the Ohio primary is that Nina Turner, whether anyone wants to admit it or not, was the Establishment in this race. She had more money, higher name recognition and tons of celebrity endorsements in her pocket. Her opponent Shontel Brown was a local Cuyahoga County Democratic Party chair, that nobody would’ve been able to pick out of a lineup four months ago. And yet, Turner still lost.”

“Everybody makes mistakes. And holding [Florida Gov. Ron] DeSantis up as Republican Covid hero was a doozy. Now the press needs to address that failure.”

RIP, Markie Post, actor known for Night Court, The Fall Guy, Hearts Afire, and more.

“The Democrats had 47 or 48 votes to fix the Senate or make a start of it. That wasn’t enough. What they’re on their way to doing is passing close to the entire agenda even with it still being broken. That’s a huge and historic accomplishment in policy terms and no mean feat in legislative handiwork. The aim of passing a big spending bill isn’t to fix the legislative body. It’s to pass the bill.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of August 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance marvels at Greg Abbott’s willingness to be COVID’s best friend as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for August 1

“Federal Courts Keep Shooting Down Anti-Trans Laws. Will That Hold at SCOTUS?”

“Your location data is for sale, and it can be used against you.”

Australian cockatoos can open garbage can lids, and what’s more, they can learn how to do it from other cockatoos.

“It seems like after the election, someone really did stop talking about COVID-19. It was the guy who never cared.”

“A Vaccine Or This Marriage: Conspiracy Theories Are Tearing Couples Apart“.

“Quick thread: I don’t think most people know what antivaxx posts on Facebook really look like. That’s good. Why would you? But I think people assume it’s Suzy Turmeric plaintively yelling at you about the microchip, and it’s not. It looks like this. Like code. Or gibberish.”

“Even in the face of Delta, vaccines are still doing what they’re designed to do. That is, they’re defanging the threat of a Covid-19 infection, protecting people from getting so sick they have to be hospitalized and from death. Pretty much nothing in medicine is absolute, so a tiny fraction of vaccinated people will still wind up getting really sick, but there’s a clear reason why some 97% to 99% of current hospitalizations and deaths are occurring among those who are unvaccinated.”

“A mysterious marketing agency secretly offered to pay social media stars to spread disinformation about Covid-19 vaccines. Their plan failed when the influencers went public about the attempt to recruit them.”

Want to buy some classic pinball machines? Now is your chance.

RIP, Bob Moses, civil rights leader and voting rights advocate.

“There is no way to understand the January 6th insurrection without beginning with the fact that it was led by, at the behest of and for the benefit of Donald Trump. It was the result of his actions. It was one of the final developments in a failed coup plot by Donald Trump.”

Rep. Mo Brooks is a traitor. Fortunately, he’s also an idiot. That may help to hold him accountable.

RIP, Dusty Hill, founding member and bassist for ZZ Top. I spent some time Wednesday afternoon , though please understand that the only correct way to listen to “Waitin’ For The Bus” is having it segue into “Jesus Just Left Chicago”. I played that for Olivia a couple of years ago, partly to explain how the age of streaming means a loss of such musical conventions. She was properly impressed.

“But the coverage of the hearing and the violence those officers experienced at the hands of people sent to the Capitol by Donald Trump could have unfolded very differently if Republican flamethrowers like Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio had been seated on the committee.”

“As we all know, Donald Trump isn’t the cause of the Republican Party’s descent into madness. He’s merely the result of decades of evolution that started when Jerry Falwell founded the Moral Majority, Rush Limbaugh picked up a microphone, and Newt Gingrich reinvented modern conservatism. But these were just warm-up acts. It wasn’t until Fox News was up and running that we started to see permanent changes in the electorate.”

RIP, Ron Popeil, infomercial and “As Seen On TV” king.

“Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney over Black Widow‘s Disney Plus release”. She’s due a bonus based on box office receipts, which are of course lower now that the movie was simultaneously released on D+.

We need to be placing the burdens on non-vaccination on the unvaccinated. And we need to be clear with the public that the problem is the non-vaccinated. They’re at fault. They’re to blame. And even more, the public influencers, celebrities and political actors who’ve driven resistance to vaccination are to blame.”

“This is a significant development that will clear the way for witnesses to provide evidence to the committees investigating post-election conduct, including the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. It also presents important questions for the doctrine of executive privilege in future cases.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance is still standing strong with the quorum-busting Dem legislators as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 25

“Sorry, Leonard Leo. If you wanted someone without a sense of humor, you probably shouldn’t have tapped a 44-year-old from Teaneck, New Jersey. Also, your party should probably have nominated a senate candidate who wasn’t credibly accused of sexual impropriety with multiple teenage girls.”

“Not surprisingly, many of Trump’s supporters don’t approve of how their dear leader is displayed on TV, and they’ve been very quick to let the FCC know. Roughly 360 pages of anonymous grievances from “SNL” viewers dating back to 2017 have been published on Government Attic, thanks to FOIA requests. And wow, they’re a doozy.”

“What do you get when thirty liars write thirty books? Thirty lying books.”

“Researchers have found that “expiration” dates — which rarely correspond to food actually expiring or spoiling — are mostly well-intentioned, but haphazard and confusing. Put another way, they’re not expiration dates at all. And the broader public’s misunderstanding about them is a major contributor in every single one of the factors I named above: wasted food, wasted revenue, wasted household income, and food insecurity.”

“You hear somebody that’s got $200,000 or $300,000 in debt, they almost surely went to graduate school. They didn’t borrow that much money from the Department of Education to get a bachelor’s degree.”

“American kids watched so much Peppa Pig during the pandemic they now have British accents“. Gotta admit, I don’t mind that my kids were too old for Peppa.

The simple reason why ratings for the Emmy awards are down.

“If I were a multi-billionaire, what would I do with my money? […] I would dedicate my fortune to destroying Fox News. I would do it any way I could. Marketing. Lawsuits. Boycotts. Talent poaching. Cable access. Making Rupert Murdoch’s life miserable. You name it. Nor would I have any qualms about playing fair. You have a plan for a space-based laser that interferes with Fox News broadcasts and makes them unwatchable? Great! Here’s a hundred million to give it a go.”

“How Sketchy Data Scavengers Are Using Hatred Of ‘Big Tech’ To Attack Plans To Make The Web More Private”.

“Hey everyone having politicized arguments about vaccine hesitancy/refusal: Are you sure you’re talking about the same people? Let me explain.”

“The last 48 hours on here have been all about The Vaccine Discourse. Is FB killing people? Is the govt passing the buck? Who even can tell what IS misinformation, and who watches the watchmen, anyway? I’ve spent ~7 years watching the AV movement evolve online and have thoughts”.

Of COURSE it’s “Mary’s dress sways”. How was this ever a question?

Screw Jeff Bezos. I’m happy that Wally Funk got to go up into space.

The goal has to be to eliminate COVID-19. Not live with it. Because we really can’t.”

“Many experts have argued that, even with Delta, the United States is unlikely to revisit the horrors of last winter. Even now, the country’s hospitalizations are one-seventh as high as they were in mid-January. But national optimism glosses over local reality. For many communities, this year will be worse than last.”

“The Pentagon’s watchdog said on Tuesday it would evaluate the safety protocols surrounding the president’s “nuclear football” – containing codes needed for a strike – after one such briefcase nearly came within range of rioters storming the Capitol on Jan. 6.”

The “conservative pr0n star” who got canceled at CPAC. It’s even stranger than it sounds.

“As more people are vaccinated (and all else being equal), total hospitalizations will decrease but the *percent* of vaccinated hospitalizations will increase, not because the vaccines aren’t working, but because there are more vaccinated people and fewer hospitalizations overall.”

“So Donald Trump isn’t going anywhere because he has finally found a swindle in American politics where he can quite literally just ask people for money and they simply give it to him by the millions. It’s not complicated. It never is with Trump.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 19

The Texas Progressive Alliance is cheering on the quorum-breaking legislators as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 18

“Lower vaccination rates among young adults in the United States are resulting in anxiety and painful decision-making for those who are vaccinated but have friends, family, loved ones and colleagues who aren’t.”

Don’t be like Missouri. Parts of Texas are already starting to look like Missouri. That’s bad.

“In May, I broke the story that the UNC-Chapel Hill Board of Trustees would not grant acclaimed journalist and New York Times Magazine staff writer Nikole Hannah-Jones tenure. They didn’t vote it down. They just refused to consider it. Killed it in committee. If that sounds more like politics than academia to you, well …”

“But with that increased attention has come increased scrutiny. Some critics dismiss the paint-by-numbers aspect of some of the genre’s biggest hits, while others worry that the truth often takes a back seat to dramatic flair. Perhaps most worrying is the fact that true crime often exploits or diminishes victims, survivors, and their family members—the people most affected by these horrendous events—while lionizing the perpetrators (and sometimes turning them into sex symbols). As the genre continues to explode in quantity, there’ll be an even greater chance of such mistakes.”

“Archaeologists may finally know the age and true identity of the “Rude Man,” also known as the Cerne Abbas Giant, one of dozens of geoglyphs etched into the British countryside.”

“Business leaders frequently proclaim that “people are our most important resource.” Yet those who are resistant to permitting telework are not living by that principle. Instead, they’re doing what they feel comfortable with, even if it devastates employee morale, engagement and productivity, and seriously undercuts retention and recruitment, as well as harming diversity and inclusion. In the end, their behavior is a major threat to the bottom line.”

“When we think about the normal discrimination statutes…we have protected classes based on something that is sort of inherent to you, with religion maybe being the one that is a choice. But vaccination status you certainly can control.”

“Whereas many people’s fundamental heuristic for health-related decisions is to trust medical and scientific experts, vaccine hesitancy reminds us of the many competing forces informing people’s intuitions about health, be they religious, political, historical, or identity-based.”

RIP, Edwin Edwards, four-term Governor of Louisiana, who defeated David Duke in 1991.

“What we’re seeing right now with these efforts to short-circuit the legislative process is what the legislative filibuster in the Senate should be like.”

“What you do is you take the horse, and you put two horses in a box, and you put the box on the plane.”

“A federal judge has temporarily blocked Tennessee’s transgender restroom law, which requires businesses to post a specific sign if they allow transgender people to use bathrooms that match their gender identity.”

RIP, Charlie Robinson, actor best known for his role on Night Court.

“Days After Threat From Biden, Major Ransomware Group Goes Dark”.

“If you’re a big fan of Coca-Cola Zero Sugar, you may want to brace yourself: The recipe for your beloved drink is changing. Coca-Cola said Tuesday that it is tweaking the beverage in an effort to make the drink taste more like regular Coke.”

RIP, Fred Allred, longtime owner of Houston record store Allrecords.

“My point is that the great voice actors are great at voice acting. Some who are not primarily voice actors can be fine in certain roles in certain situations as Mr. Jones was…but when I see a list of nominees like the one for this year’s Emmy Awards, I think someone is disrespecting professional, full-or-most-time voice actors. They’re voting for celebrity, not talent.”

“Ironically, it was Trump’s own Supreme Court nominees who empowered Biden to purge so many Republican holdovers.”

Of course there’s a Ken Starr connection to Jeffrey Epstein.

“One thinks of 911 as a major advance in American law enforcement, but it had several less than beneficial consequences. In our haste to get to every call and handle them quickly, cops began to lose the intimacy of their relationship with the neighborhood they were policing.”

“For now it is more evidence of what we still – six months on – seem mostly in denial about: a defeated President plotted to overthrow the government to remain in power. The nation’s top general and his colleagues had to come up with contingency plans to thwart the coup they believed the commander-in-chief of the military was plotting.

“Norwegian Cruise Lines, through its counsel Quinn Emanuel, sued Florida for actively jacking its whole business model in the name of trolling.”

“How Lola Bunny Broke the Internet”.

“Republicans were happy to support vaccine when they could credit Trump, then went on the attack”.

“Most of us know generally what “stab in the back” mythology refers to but it is worth understanding in the particulars where the idea comes from and how it relates to today.”

If only these people could have had some way to know that getting vaccinated was a great way to protect themselves from serious COVID risk.

The world is a slightly better place now.

RIP, Biz Markie, hip hop musician, DJ, and actor.

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 12

The Texas Progressive Alliance will be using this bloodbath of a special session as incentive for 2022 as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 11

“Now a new FX TV series based on the [Alien]franchise is in the works from Fargo showrunner Noah Hawley—who says it’s about time for the facehuggers and xenomorphs to sink their claws into the white-collar executives who have been responsible for sending so many employees to their doom.”

“Is internet savvy the most important skill an editor in chief ought to have right now? I don’t know. But currently, the skillset seems like an afterthought, especially in larger institutions. That’s a mistake.”

“No, You Can’t Recycle a Bowling Ball (But People Sure Keep Trying)”.

“Trump’s lawyers have called the charges petty and contend they are politically motivated. Others view them as designed to put pressure on the organization’s longtime chief financial officer to turn state’s witness. As a tax professor, I see them as a fantastic opportunity to talk about tax policy and the cat-and-mouse games that people play to avoid paying their fair share.”

“Remember that time when Hobby Lobby paid ISIS for illegally smuggled ancient artifacts from Iraq?”

RIP, Matiss Kivlenieks, goalie for the NHL Columbus Blue Jackets, who died as the result of a fireworks accident.

“Vaccinated people are safer than ever despite the variants. But unvaccinated people are in more danger than ever because of the variants.”

RIP, Richard Donner, film director best known for the first Superman film, The Goonies, and the Lethal Weapon franchise.

“If a party confesses to a crime with the understanding that his words are protected, that they won’t be used against him, or revealed to others, the power of the state or federal government must abide by that promise. It’s simply cheating to do otherwise.”

“He was not found innocent. He was released on a technicality. I would say the world still believes him to be guilty for the heinous crimes he was charged with and he’s going to live a very O.J. Simpson-like existence for the rest of his life.”

RIP, Dicky Maegle, former NFL and Rice University running back, best known for being on his way to a 95-yard touchdown in the 1954 Cotton Bowl when Tommy Smith came off the Alabama bench to tackle him.

“Former President Trump has reportedly cut ties with his former personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and has been annoyed with Giuliani’s requests for financial compensation in his efforts to overturn the election results.” Do these two deserve each other or what?

“Meeting with #NikoleHannahJones for an interview this week made me reflect on my June interview with Walter Hussman, the conservative Arkansas media magnate and #UNC megadonor who lobbied against hiring her. It’s worth talking a bit about these two people and interviews.”

“Americans may have fallen short of President Biden’s July 4 vaccination goal, but by most measures, we should be thankful for how far we’ve come in the past year.”

“Trump Sues Facebook, Google, and Twitter: Is It All About the Grift? The cases had barely been filed before the former president began fundraising off of them.” So, in other words, yes.

“The lawsuits are claiming that the former president’s First Amendment rights were violated by the decision to suspend his account, when in fact that is exactly backwards. The First Amendment strongly protects the decision by these companies to make content moderation decisions.”

“Reading between the lines I get the sense that the CDC and FDA see boosters, for the moment, as a solution in search of a problem when the overwhelming threat to public health remains the fact that half the population in the US still hasn’t gotten any vaccine. There’s probably also a desire to keep the tempo of key public health decisions in their hands rather than being driven by a private company.”

“It didn’t have to be this way. It’s easy to imagine a world in which Fox hosts relentlessly talked up how Donald Trump had made the vaccines possible and how if viewers got vaccinated, the dreaded masks and lockdowns would be gone forever.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 5

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a thoughtful and reflective Independence Day week as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 4

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”

“What, to the American slave, is your Fourth of July? I answer: a day that reveals to him, more than all other days in the year, the gross injustice and cruelty to which he is the constant victim. To him, your celebration is a sham; your boasted liberty, an unholy license; your national greatness, swelling vanity; your sounds of rejoicing are empty and heartless; your denunciations of tyrants, brass fronted impudence; your shouts of liberty and equality, hollow mockery; your prayers and hymns, your sermons and thanksgivings, with all your religious parade, and solemnity, are, to him, mere bombast, fraud, deception, impiety, and hypocrisy—a thin veil to cover up crimes which would disgrace a nation of savages.”

“Following a months-long investigation into a litany of dubious election fraud claims made by former President Donald Trump and his allies, a GOP-controlled Michigan Senate panel concluded [last] Wednesday not only that the state’s 2020 results are accurate, but that some of those who continue to push such claims should face criminal investigation.”

“Two assumptions about gender were at work here. The first was that no man would ever roll a suitcase because it was simply “unmanly” to do so. The second was about the mobility of women. There was nothing preventing a woman from rolling a suitcase — she had no masculinity to prove. But women didn’t travel alone, the industry assumed. If a woman travelled, she would travel with a man who would then carry her bag for her. This is why the industry couldn’t see any commercial potential in the rolling suitcase.”

John Scalzi and Jenny Lawson have a conversation about writing and other things.

“People hate mosquitoes, and so companies make a lot of anti-mosquito things: candles, wristbands, chemical and herbal sprays—even electronic devices. But if you want to keep mosquitoes off your bare skin this summer, you really just need two things: bug spray and a fan.”

“The case for eating bugs is straightforward: They’re healthy, and doing so is good for the environment.”

“A new species of the ancient giant rhino – among the largest mammals to walk on land – has been discovered in north-western China, researchers say.”

“Network television has essentially given up. It’s dying, but instead of seeking treatment, it’s decided to continue doing the same thing until its heart gives out. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There’s no reason one of the networks couldn’t take a defibrillator to its chest and resurrect itself.”

“The Department of Justice is setting up a task force to address the rising threats against election officials and administrators, something Attorney General Merrick Garland said would not have happened without news reports bringing the severity of the problem to his attention.”

“The structure of the Democrats’ new select committee must reflect the new reality that their Republican counterparts are engaged in an active cover-up of the events they are investigating. If Republicans in Congress wanted to be honest and equal partners in this investigation, they would have supported forming a bipartisan 9/11-style commission. Instead, they blocked it.”

“That’s it. All that happened is that a restaurant in Minneapolis decided to implement European-style gratuities included in the bill. They hope this will allow them to pay back-of-house workers more fairly and they also hope it will overcome known bias in tipping behavior.”

“And in that sense, the most successful horror story of 2020 is QAnon.”

“Harris’s dilemma is not simply a product of her supposed naivete about her own political interests or Biden’s supposed insensitivity to them. Rather, it is a natural consequence of her new position—where holding the status of potential president-in-waiting is often seen as more important than whatever the occupant might be expected to accomplish while waiting to be president. If it were otherwise, perhaps a vice president who tackled a difficult national issue would be praised, not second-guessed, for addressing the governing challenges of today rather than merely protecting her personal ambitions for tomorrow.”

RIP, Stuart Damon, actor best known for a longtime role on General Hospital.

A Bronx Tale: One Sperm Donor, 19 Siblings, and Six Decades of Secrets”. It’s a riveting and somewhat bonkers story. Definitely worth the read.

“The WNBA made clear this week that it is leading the major professional sports leagues in COVID-19 prevention measures, with 99 percent of its players fully vaccinated and zero new players testing positive since the start of the regular season.”

“The Trump Org is in deep, deep trouble. And not because of the criminal charges. Because of its bank loan covenants.”

JD Vance is a tool. That’s it, that’s the link.

“Rudy Giuliani, already being sued for defamation by Dominion Voting Systems Inc. over his debunked election-conspiracy claims, has been issued a subpoena in a similar lawsuit the company filed against Fox News Network.” Sydney Powell and the MyPillow guy, too.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 28

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes we are hearing the last breaths of the filibuster as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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