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Weekend link dump for December 6

“In its 244-year history, the United States has never prosecuted a president (that is, outside the specialized judicial theater of impeachment). Not that some didn’t deserve it. The reticence is understandable. Locking up a former commander in chief would be politically divisive and potentially set a dangerous precedent. Would holding him accountable restore faith in the justice system or further erode it? But for Trump, whose antics and incompetence contributed to the deaths of tens of thousands, who attacked the very foundation of the democratic institutions that made the United States a beacon, and who pushed the nation to the threshold of autocracy, the American people might be willing, even eager, to take the risk.”

Everything you wanted to know about the Word of the Year for 2020.

“Bail reform in the county that includes Chicago had no impact on new criminal activity or violent criminal activity of defendants who were released before trial, according to a new study.”

“President Donald Trump’s demonization of mail-in voting may have cost him votes in the recent election. Now, his demonization of Georgia’s entire electoral system is hurting his party’s chances at keeping the Senate.”

Fire all the Trump minions ASAP. We can’t move forward as long as there are people in positions of power holding us back.

The story of the 1917 Halifax explosion, and the reason why the people of Nova Scotia send a Christmas tree to Boston every year.

“It’s an embarrassment that in 2020 that the country that played such an integral role in building and then commercializing the Internet has fallen so woefully behind other nations in developing suitable policy and regulatory measures to address the resulting risks. And it’s not just embarrassing, it’s actively harmful—to consumers whose personal data is being stolen or exposed on a regular basis and to companies that lack clear guidance on how they should be protecting their customers’ data.”

“Across America, this type of honest confusion abounds. While a misinformation-gorged segment of the population rejects the expert consensus on virus safety outright, so many other people, like Josh, are trying to do everything right, but run afoul of science without realizing it. Often, safety protocols, of all things, are what’s misleading them. In the country’s new devastating wave of infections, a perilous gap exists between the realities of transmission and the rules implemented to prevent it.”

“Yes, that’s right: for just $20, you, too, can have a Richard Simmons Chia Pet growing your own home.”

“Earth is 2,000 light years closer to the Milky Way’s supermassive black hole than previously thought”.

“Nowhere are these regulatory disparities more counterproductive and jarring than in the border areas between restrictive and permissive states; for example, between Washington and Idaho, Minnesota and South Dakota, and Illinois and Iowa. In each pairing, one state has imposed tough and sometimes unpopular restrictions on behavior, only to be confounded by a neighbor’s leniency. Like factories whose emissions boost asthma rates for miles around, a state’s lax public health policies can wreak damage beyond its borders.”

“European Space Agency is sending a giant claw into orbit to clean up space junk”. All hail the Space Claw.

“Let’s just spell this out: Republicans have no credibility, moral authority, or any other legitimate justification to object to anyone nominated to Biden’s proposed Cabinet. None. Nada. Zilch. And anyone who they fail to confirm—for any reason short of wanton lewdness or an undisclosed, serious criminal offense—should be afforded “acting” status by President-elect Biden.”

RIP, Maria Jimenez, longtime Houston civil rights activist.

How to stay warm when it’s cold outside. My preference is to stay inside, but that’s not always practical. Gotta walk the dog, after all.

RIP, Rafer Johnson, Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, who later worked on the Robert Kennedy campaign and helped subdue and capture Sirhan Sirhan.

“Singapore is the first country in the world to approve lab-grown chicken products“.

Where’s the outrage?

Maybe now wasn’t the best time for a swingers convention. And honestly, how could anyone not have known that?

RIP, David Lander, actor best known as Squiggy from Laverne and Shirley.

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7 Comments

  1. Jason Hochman says:

    I enjoyed the Atlantic piece about how the safety regulations simply confuse us about what’s safe. Such as how Gov Cuomo is telling you to cancel Thanksgiving but allows restaurants to open. And the way that temperature checks give us a false sense of security. (Masks do, too, but the Atlantic doesn’t mention that).

    Cuomo does have a fascist decree that restaurants and bars close at 10PM. There is no Science that supports that. Just like Joe’s plan that we can wear masks for 100 days after he’s installed. Why 100 days? Why not 96? Or maybe we need 117? Who knows. There is no Science supporting that silliness. Just a nice round number someone picked out.

    I brought up these contradictions to the Commissioners Court. For example, giant bars in Houston can be open with packed crowds, just because a food truck parks there. Meanwhile, the little corner bar that gets 20 regulars can’t be open. If all bars were open, then people who want to go to one wouldn’t be forced to crowd into the limited number that are open. Meanwhile, the libraries still haven’t opened in Houston. The County Commissioners blame it all on the state.

    Meanwhile, this sad story from Canada https://www.ctvnews.ca/health/facing-another-retirement-home-lockdown-90-year-old-chooses-medically-assisted-death-1.5197140
    shows how the draconian shut downs of Trump, Abbott, Cuomo, and others are claiming lives, but the news in the US doesn’t acknowledge this.

  2. Ross says:

    Jason, what’s your point? Are you saying we should just let everyone run around and do whatever they want? No masks, not prevention, etc? Just let 6 million Americans die so people like you can have a good time?

    Sometimes, you just pick a round number when there’s not a definitive answer.

  3. Blair Braverman misses big stuff on staying warm, or more, on FEELING warm.

    Mindset and activity level are the keys to feeling warm in cold weather as much as gear.. I’ve hiked in Banff in late August when it was snowing and 30 degrees and wore shorts. https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/14119302491/in/album-72157644533078522/

  4. Jason Hochman says:

    Ross–point is that the people in the government aren’t so very smart. I’m not counting on them to save me. There won’t be six million deaths, from an illness that has a survival rate over 99%. Don’t trust the news to give you the facts. You have to fact check it.

    The good news is that we defeated influenza. It dropped from 20 per cent positive to around two per cent. Cancer is way down too.

    I will keep that in mind about wearing shorts in 30 degree weather. I don’t like the cold at all. But I have been outside in 20 below temperatures, and did OK.

  5. C.L. says:

    Welcome back, Jason ! I’ve missed your keen insight and thoughtful rationalizations !

  6. C.L. says:

    Jason…. re: whether or not there will be six million dead from COVID before it’s eradicated… 7.594B folks on this planet. Assuming EVERYONE got it, a 1% mortality rate would equate to 75.9M people, a 0.5% mortality rate would be 37.9M people, a 0.25% mortality rate would be 18.9M people, a 0.15% mortality rate would be 11.3M people, a 0.075% mortality rate would be 5.7M people, etc.

    The 1918 Spanish Flu killed anywhere from 1-3% of the 1.8B folks on the planet at that time. You’re right, COVID ain’t all that deadly compared to other viruses, but what if 15 folks in your immediate family tree died from it ? Would you change your ‘no mask’ tune then ?

    Swish this around your mouth like a fine wine:

    https://ourworldindata.org/mortality-risk-covid#case-fatality-rate-of-covid-19-compared-to-other-diseases

  7. Jason Hochman says:

    Hi C.L., good to hear from you again as well. I hope you’ve been doing well. And thanks for appreciating my thoughtful input…we do know that stopping (or trying to stop) the spread of an infectious illness will come with costs–these costs will be to our economy, our mental health, and, for some, even death. We need more discussion about the costs. All levels of government and all parties have failed us with their servility to following the science. The scientists are able to offer information about curbing the spread of Covid–this is their expertise–but it is the job of politicians not to blindly follow the advice, but rather, to analyze the costs and damages vs. the benefits of the strategies recommended.