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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.”

Weekend link dump for April 5

“Aspects of America’s identity may need rethinking after COVID-19. Many of the country’s values have seemed to work against it during the pandemic. Its individualism, exceptionalism, and tendency to equate doing whatever you want with an act of resistance meant that when it came time to save lives and stay indoors, some people flocked to bars and clubs. Having internalized years of anti-terrorism messaging following 9/11, Americans resolved to not live in fear. But SARS-CoV-2 has no interest in their terror, only their cells.”

“Chain messages warning that cities will be shut down, saying martial law will be imposed, or promoting hoax preventative measures have spread far and wide in the last several weeks, not just on bulletin boards and social media, but through text messages and emails. Their original sources are unknown, and the information they pass along is usually misleading or outright wrong—just like the postal nuisance chain mail of old.”

A brief but entertaining Twitter thread about the etymology of “Triscuit”. It does not mean what you think it means.

Build your own bagpipes out of a trash bag and record and learn to play in quarantine”.

“Walmart Was Almost Charged Criminally Over Opioids. Trump Appointees Killed the Indictment.”

“Bosses Panic-Buy Spy Software to Keep Tabs on Remote Workers”.

“Even experts who favor masking the masses say their impact on the spread of disease is likely to be modest. Many are also afraid to promote mask buying amid dire shortages at hospitals. But as the pandemic wears on, some public health experts think government messages discouraging mask wearing should shift.”

If I point you to a story with the headline Astrophysicist gets magnets stuck up nose while inventing coronavirus device, you’re going to read it, right?

Production on your favorite TV show has probably been halted due to coronavirus.

RIP, Dr. James T. Goodrich, New York neurosurgeon whose career included separating conjoined twins.

RIP, Burt Ballanfant, former Mayor of West University Place.

For Law and Order: SVU superfans. You know who you are.

“One of the craziest things about this crazy-ass show is the bad edit that it gives to Carole Baskin, making a murderer and a bona fide reality TV villain of one of the few participants who has not actually been convicted of anything murder-adjacent.”

“The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.”

Being an expert in one thing doesn’t mean you’re not a complete effing idiot in another.

Super Bad Transmittable Contagious Awful Virus,” your new favorite COVID-19 tune.

RIP, Adam Schlesinger, Emmy winner and co-founder of the band Fountains of Wayne.

Breaking news: The governor of Georgia is an idiot.

“So Monday morning, we had our meeting and I usually try to do a camera, and when we started the meeting, I saw myself as a potato. I was so confused as to why I was a potato. Of all the things I could be, why a potato?”

RIP, Ellis Marsalis, Jr, New Orleans jazz legend and father of Wynton and Branford.

“A choir decided to go ahead with rehearsal. Now dozens of members have COVID-19 and two are dead.”

RIP, Anick Jesdanun, longtime AP technology writer.

RIP, Bill Withers, Grammy-winning singer/songwriter best known for Lean on Me.

“The Syfy Network is making all fours seasons of Battlestar Galactica available for streaming online. No registration is required.”

Weekend link dump for March 29

“Copper is antimicrobial. It kills bacteria and viruses, sometimes within minutes. In the 19th century, exposure to copper would have been an early version of constantly sanitizing one’s hands. Since then, studies have shown that copper is able to destroy the microbes that most threaten our lives. It has been shown to kill a long list of microbes, including norovirus, MRSA, a staph bacteria that has become resistant to antibiotics, virulent strains of E. coli that cause food-borne illness, and coronaviruses—possibly including the novel strain currently causing the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Joe Biden and his platform are a lot more progressive than you might think.

“In a time when there are no sports to bet on due to the coronavirus pandemic, Bovada gamblers are wagering en masse on HBO’s Westworld Season 3″.

Great article about Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the best of the Treks.

Yeah, I don’t have much hope that the 2020 Olympics will happen. And indeed, they’re gonna be postponed, maybe till 2021.

“So how much would this cost? The calculation is fairly simple: Since a drop in annual GDP of 7.5% is well within the realm of possibility, and since unemployment compensation typically amounts to a little more than half of what workers normally earn, they believe the cost to the government would be around 3.75 % GDP. In other words—a lot.”

“We have arrived at a situation in which critical care for the gravely ill and dying is directly at odds with testing at scale. The problem is there’s simply no way to stabilize the situation and get through the coming months without testing at scale or more specifically testing for the purposes of surveillance.”

“I think we will discover our destiny was to serve as a bridge between the old and the new rather than a force in our own right. We’re here to keep the porridge from getting too hot or cold. For the next twenty years or so, Gen X will have the most power in the country, but we’ll be living in a world we hardly recognize. It’s a big responsibility, it’s not what we expected, but I think we’re up to the challenge.”

“The failures of the government’s response to the coronavirus crisis can be traced directly to some of the toxic fantasies now dear to the Republican Party.”

“And now for a little heartwarming example of how shared hatred can unite total strangers while raising some much-needed coin for the less fortunate. Comedian and former Gilmore Girls producer, Kevin T. Porter, started an initiative on Friday that thousands of others have been getting behind. He shared a tweet with his followers, stating that he would be donating money to the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank––with a catch. Everybody who had a story about Ellen DeGeneres being a big old meanie should tweet him––and for every story he received, he’d match it with $2. Who says a global disaster can’t bring people together?”

“People say Contagion is prescient. We just saw the science. The whole epidemiological community has been warning everybody for the past 10 or 15 years that it wasn’t a question of whether we were going to have a pandemic like this. It was simply when. It’s really hard to get people to listen. I mean, Trump pushed out the admiral on the National Security Council, who was the only person at that level who’s responsible for pandemic defense. With him went his entire downline of employees and staff and relationships. And then Trump removed the [early warning] funding for countries around the world.”

“Plenty of American workers aren’t being told to work remotely—even though they could.”

“The coronavirus is not mutating significantly as it circulates through the human population, according to scientists who are closely studying the novel pathogen’s genetic code. That relative stability suggests the virus is less likely to become more or less dangerous as it spreads, and represents encouraging news for researchers hoping to create a long-lasting vaccine.”

“What do state and federal laws say about quarantines? And what happens if you break them?”

“Twitter temporarily locked the account of The Federalist Wednesday after the conservative opinion site published a piece, written by a dermatologist based in Oregon, that proposed the deliberate spread of the coronavirus in order to boost immunity to the disease.” An unlicensed dermatologist, by the way, so you can be sure he’s the expert we’ve been waiting for.

RIP, Manu Dibango, Afro-Funk saxophonist.

RIP, Fred “Curly” Neal, legendary member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

RIP, Jimmy Wynn, former MLB player with the Astros and Dodgers and other teams, known as The Toy Cannon.

“At the Department of Veterans Affairs, workers are scrambling to order medical supplies on Amazon after its leaders, lacking experience in disaster responses, failed to prepare for the onslaught of patients at its medical centers.”

“At the same time, estimating that R0 has increased from 2.5 to 3.1 is . . . very, very bad. It means that on average, every infected person infects three other people, not 2.5 other people—which makes the spread of the virus much wider and faster. Without any control measures, for example, it means that after ten generations a single person will be responsible for 80,000 infections instead of 10,000 infections.”

Don’t vote for assholes.

Hey, remember all those spring breakers in Florida? Know where they went afterwards? Everywhere. Better hope none of them brought a bug home with them.

RIP, Bubbha Thomas, renowned Houston jazz musician and educator.

Weekend link dump for March 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Support Shadowserver. The Internet needs it.

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

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

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

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

Let Lizzie McGuire be the grownup she would now be.

What is ESPN to do right now?

“Biden Should Pick Warren as VP, Immediately”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Kenny Rogers, country music legend.

Weekend link dump for March 15

Beware The Ides of March. Especially the horn section.

“I took a deep dive into the Trump administration’s failure to bring any new Voting Rights Act cases in the first three years of his term. This dry spell of new public VRA enforcement is unprecedented, and it sets Trump’s DOJ apart from that of previous administrations, Democratic and Republican alike.”

“For the first time in more than 4 years, NASA is now accepting applications for future astronauts. Aspiring moon to Mars explorers have until March 31 to apply.”

“In essence, we see a tale of two towns in rural America, putting food on our tables: One is thriving because of a diversity of foreign-born labor. The other town is worried about its future because its pipeline of foreign-born talent has been shut down by the Trump administration.”

The Game of Thrones showrunners will make cameo appearances on Westworld (season 3 premiers tonight). And if the Westworld showrunners have a sense of humor, they will be run through with swords, or beheaded, or both.

“The speed by which Attorney General Barr released to the public the summary of Special Counsel Mueller’s principal conclusions, coupled with the fact that Attorney General Barr failed to provide a thorough representation of the findings set forth in the Mueller Report, causes the Court to question whether Attorney General Barr’s intent was to create a one-sided narrative about the Mueller Report — a narrative that is clearly in some respects substantively at odds with the redacted version of the Mueller Report.”

A firsthand report from Shanghai about coronavirus response.

“But as the world now faces a pandemic, it has never been more essential to recall that norm-setting performance and to admit what has been demonstrated on a daily basis about the public official who carries ultimate responsibility for the public safety of American citizens: Donald Trump is incapable of truth, heedless of science, and hostage to the demands of his insatiable ego.”

RIP, Max von Sydow, actor who was in everything from The Seventh Seal to The Exorcist to Flash Gordon to Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Game of Thrones.

By the way, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is now forty-two years old.

“Coronavirus Prevention: Prince Song Lyrics To Help You Wash Your Hands The Full 20 Seconds”.

“We now have H-1B data for all four quarters of fiscal year 2019, which emphasizes a trend that’s been underway for the entirety of the Trump administration: denial rates for the visa are way up compared to the pre-Trump years, and consulting and business-services firms are seeing the biggest impact.”

RIP, Eric Taylor, Houston singer-songwriter.

If you’re going to buy hand sanitizer, be sure you’re getting a hand sanitizer that’s actually effective against coronavirus.

“Baseball grew up in the United States, and women’s baseball has been repressed all the while. With the spread of the sport across the world, women have found more opportunities to participate in other countries.”

Be sure to check out Ayomi Sato’s curveball after you read that previous story.

Somehow, Jim Bakker is still a thing. And he’s as big a fraud and grifter as ever.

Vote now in the March Badness bad song tournament. I personally would dispute the inclusion of a few of these tunes, but overall that’s a really impressive amount of song suckitude.

“As the novel coronavirus wreaks havoc on societies and economies around the world, many are wondering if the return of summer might put a crimp in the virus’s spread across northern countries, including the United States. The short answer is that a summertime lull in this coronavirus is possible – but it’s far from a sure thing, and any benefits might be limited.”

How some of the people in Austin who normally depend on South by Southwest for their income are coping after its cancellation.

“Despite mounting pleas from California and other states, the Trump administration isn’t allowing states to use Medicaid more freely to respond to the coronavirus crisis by expanding medical services. In previous emergencies, including the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Hurricane Katrina and the H1N1 flu outbreak, both Republican and Democratic administrations loosened Medicaid rules to empower states to meet surging needs.”

Don’t be Patient 31.

Some of the Twitter reaction to Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson announcing their COVID-19 diagnosis.

“President Donald Trump announced Friday that the US government’s coronavirus testing apparatus, which has lagged badly behind other developed nations, would soon get an assist from Google. The search and advertising giant will create a website, Trump said, that would help Americans figure out if they need a test for the virus, and if so where they can find one. The only problem: There is no nationwide site like the one Trump described. And Google had no idea the president was going to mention one.”

“Kissing of the world-famous Blarney Stone in Cork, one of Ireland’s top visitor attractions, has been suspended for the first time in its history.”

Weekend link dump for March 8

“Did Nate Silver and FiveThirtyEight Lower 2016’s Voter Turnout? A New Paper Says Yes.”

“Now, as fears about the coronavirus spread, at least one historian is worried the Trump administration is failing to heed the lesson of one of the world’s worst pandemics: Don’t hide the truth.”

“I will repeat this, but really important: cases coming out of the US WILL EXPLODE in the coming days. This is NOT a cause for panic. These EXISTING cases are finally being diagnosed, since testing is now more broadly available.”

“No, You Do Not Need Face Masks To Prevent Coronavirus—They Might Increase Your Infection Risk”.

“Pornographic content accounts for 96% of deepfake content online, according to a report by the company Deeptrace, which is developing tools to unmask fake content.”

Wash Ur Hands.

Helping older folks spot fake news. Now if we could just get them to turn off Fox, we’d really have something.

The Case For Limiting Your Browser Extensions. I limit mine to “none”, tbh.

“Anti-Vaxxers Are Terrified the Government Will ‘Enforce’ a Vaccine for Coronavirus”.

“Trump Officials Scared to Anger Trump If They Tell the Truth About the Coronavirus”.

RIP, Jack Welch, former CEO of GE.

RIP, Kelly Rodman, one of three female MLB scouts.

How Bad Do You Have To Be To Lose An Abortion Restriction Case With This Supreme Court?”

One Seattle school district is closing for two weeks due to coronavirus.

“Now that Biden might be the nominee, Trump is already casting him as mentally unfit for the presidency. But Trump might not perceive the space to get away with this if the press corps had not thus far failed, in some very fundamental sense, to reckon with just how mentally unfit for the job Trump is himself.”

RIP, Charles Berry, NASA flight surgeon who helped select the country’s first astronauts and devised tests to see if they could survive the demands of space.

What if they held the Olympics and nobody attended the Games?

“Correctional Facilities Are the Perfect Incubators for the Coronavirus”.

Weekend link dump for March 1

“Begun, the streaming wars have. Worse and far more harmful than the cable wars of years past. And with the new content wars will come a fresh internet hell.”

“But why? What makes this cycle so unusual? This is a lot of what my book is about, so I wanted to explain this a bit here. I claim that the processes for deciding the two things a party needs to figure out before making a nomination — what it wants and who is most likely to get it for them — have been messed up. The culprit is negative partisanship generally, and Donald Trump more specifically. Allow me to explain.”

RIP, “Mad” Mike Hughes, who claimed to be skeptical about the world being round and who attempted to fly to the edge of outer space to see for himself.

“Companies around the world are embracing what might seem like a radical idea: a four-day workweek.”

“This remains a sticky situation. How do you cover someone running for president when that someone is your boss? And how do you cover him if he doesn’t want you to?”

RIP, Katherine Johnson, one of the history-making, barrier-breaking NASA mathematicians depicted in Hidden Figures.

RIP, Hosni Mubarak, former President of Egypt.

JJ Watt versus the NFL’s CBA proposal. For those of you who are not Extremely Online.

Some good links for staying informed about coronavirus, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“Only the Fist Bump Can Defeat the Coronavirus”.

“Houston’s trash-can-banging scheme has brought controversy, shame, and villainy to MLB. It’s also the sport’s most successful marketing campaign in years.”

Four words: Leaning Tower of Dallas, which has its own snarky Twitter feed. You’re welcome.

The Hot Pockets heiress gets sentenced to prison and spawns a delightful Twitter thread.

Some hand-washing advice. Read it, learn it, live it.

“What we do expect is a couple of things. First, we want a president who’s likely to listen to experts and let them speak to the public. Second, we want a president who’s going to appoint the best possible people to deal with the crisis.”

RIP, Joe Coulombe, founder of Trader Joe’s.

Weekend link dump for February 23

“On Feb. 14, 1990, NASA’s Voyager 1 spacecraft captured one of the most iconic photographs of the space age; to commemorate the moment’s 30th anniversary, NASA has digitally dusted off the image.”

High Fidelity, which was released in 2000, doesn’t just reflect back on Cusack’s breakthrough movie. It functions as the close of an unofficial trilogy that begins in 1989 with Say Anything and continues through 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank. In all three, Cusack plays a man who’s trying to figure out his life, not just who he is but what he stands for, and the later in life the story catches up with him, the more dire his situation becomes.”

“In one sense, femcels are similar to male incels in that they claim to have trouble finding someone to have sex with or date because of their looks or personality. But while everyone feels that way from time to time, femcels believe the physical, mental and cognitive inadequacies they have are unique and extreme.”

“The environmental impact of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico a decade ago was much worse than previously believed, according to a new study.”

RIP, Tony Fernandez, former MLB player who won a World Series with the Toronto Blue Jays.

“Let me begin by explaining the Wyle-Schwartz Theory of Political Primaries, so named for the political scientists Sherwood Schwartz and George Wyle, who are possibly better known for writing the theme song to Gilligan’s Island.”

“When we think of bad New York Times coverage of the 2016 campaign, we normally think about their obsessive coverage of her emails, but more generally they were also incredible gullible and generous in their coverage of Trump.”

“So… yeah, what should be done to federal judges accused of misconduct is a hot button issue in the legal industry.”

I too would ask Brian Cox to tell me to eff off in the voice of Logan Roy if I ever met him.

“Mysterious radio signals from space have been known to repeat, but for the first time, researchers have noticed a pattern in a series of bursts coming from a single source half a billion light-years from Earth.”

RIP, Kellye Nakahara Wallett, actor best known as Nurse Kellye on M*A*S*H.

Being Susan Collins. Furrowed brow and deep concerns optional.

There’s a Staples near my house, and if they put a podcast recording studio inside it, I’d have to give some serious thought to using it.

“Remember when AG Loretta Lynch recused herself from the Clinton email investigation after a few minutes idle chitchat on the tarmac with Bill Clinton? Haha, suckers!”

RIP, Ja’Net DuBois, Emmy Award-winning actor and singer, who composed and performed the iconic theme song to The Jeffersons, “Movin’ On Up”.

“Trump does everything bigger and bolder than any predecessor dared — and all nakedly in the open, fearing no consequences from a Republican Party he fully commands.”

The sign-stealing scandal is a perpetual motion machine, a sordid, self-sustaining story that’s uniquely engineered to make more headlines, both now and for the foreseeable future.”

RIP, Sy Sperling, founder and president of the Hair Club for Men.

Weekend link dump for February 16

If you’re a fan of Lost and some other shows, you’ll be able to stream them for free soon.

“The New Majority Behind Sex Work Decriminalization”.

Finally got around to reading Diana Moskowitz’s story about the Netflix show Cheer and the uncomfortable truth about concussions in cheerleading. It’s worth your time, whether or not you watch that show.

“These folks are essentially asking the president to hate their enemies for them so that they can remain true to Jesus’s commandment to love their enemies.”

Really, almost any alternate primary system would be better than the one we have now.

RIP, Bob Boykin, who has served as the voice of Big Tex from the Texas State Fair since 2012.

All the EGOTs, including those who got them on technicalities.

Four words: Pablo Escobar’s cocaine hippos. You’re welcome.

“The semiannual national tradition of staying up a few hours past bedtime to know who will control our government is over. From close races to voting by mail to human error, it’s becoming clear that counting votes no longer fits neatly into prime-time television windows. Reporters and politicos should prepare to practice patience when handling and digesting the results.”

“I think he feels like the chains are off now. It’s like things have taken a turn. The gloves are off. And everything that used to be hush hush is now just… out in the open.”

“Pulling Liu’s name from the nomination to the Treasury position doesn’t just punish her for failing to give Trump’s associates the kid-glove treatment they deserved. Pulling her name also keeps her from giving public testimony, either on the kind of sentence Stone and Flynn deserved or on how she feels about the actions that have been taken toward her former office and former colleagues.”

RIP, Paula Kelly, dancer and Emmy-nominated actor for her role on Night Court.

“Was The Conners even the right show to choose for this type of live episode? The utter disinterest of most of these characters was so severe that it arguably defeated the entire purpose of the episode. Maybe black-ish would have been a better fit.”

“McClatchy Co., one of the nation’s largest newspaper publishers, filed for bankruptcy protection Thursday, another harbinger of America’s deepening local news crisis.”

“This is precisely what Vindman did. He did not go to the press, which might have been morally justified but not prescribed by military training. Vindman saw something he believed was illegal and reported it to White House lawyers. That is precisely what they’re trained to do. Later, he received a congressional subpoena to provided testimony and he complied with that subpoena, which is literally what you are supposed to do and indeed must do. We are far into the legal-moral wilderness in which we now seem to see subpoenas as suggestions or requests.”

RIP, Paul English, longtime drummer for Willie Nelson.

RIP, Joseph Shabalala, founder of Ladysmith Black Mambazo.

RIP, Clayton Williams, Texas oilman and onetime candidate for Governor, who lost to Ann Richards.

RIP, Katsuya Nomura, Japanese baseball legend.

Weekend link dump for February 9

“So because Republicans have now become the party of intransigence, that is the new norm and gets a pass when it comes to accountability. The burden is placed on Democrats to conjure up some magic trick to stop Republicans from employing a strategy that has worked marvelously for them—partly because the media fails to identify the source of the problem.”

“Supporting USA Softball is valid and a good thing to do, but there are women who want to play the sport that Major League Baseball plays, and the league should do more for them.”

The tragic case of Jim Tyrer.

“I want to say this as clearly as I can: This is not an argument against impeaching Donald Trump, or calling witnesses. This is an argument that nullifies the legitimacy of the impeachment power so long as the president’s party can maintain discipline.”

TV By The Numbers is no more. I miss the Cancel Bear already.

“Now that acquittal is a sure thing, it’s become safe to quietly admit that Trump was guilty all along. The modern GOP is just chock full of profiles in courage.”

There are plenty of options to replace those dumb Iowa caucuses with a much better primary system.

If you dislike Valentine’s Day and have some unresolved feelings about an ex, the San Antonio Zoo has an activity just for you on February 14.

“Still, there was something a bit unseemly about major media figures taking to cable news and social media to blast the state party for failing to satisfy their curiosity about the outcome on a more personally convenient schedule. For it was the media that turned the Iowa caucuses into a decisive event in presidential politics beginning in 1972, when journalists interpreted George McGovern’s third-place finish in a sparsely-attended vote (behind Ed Muskie and “uncommitted”) as a game-changing moral victory, and it’s heavy media coverage every four years that gives what might otherwise be an obscure and unimportant event its outsized influence on the behavior of voters in subsequent contests, setting some candidates on a path to the White House and driving others out of the race entirely with 99 percent of the national delegates still unselected.”

On differential response and polling results.

“They will note merely that I was among the senators who determined that what the president did was wrong, grievously wrong.”

RIP, Kirk Douglas, legendary movie star best known for Spartacus.

Welcome back to Earth, Christina Koch.

“Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg—each claiming to be champions of the planet—are running for president. If either of them really cared about the planet, there’s a better way to show that: by spending the money they’re currently blowing on their presidential campaigns on supporting Democrats in just about any other race, in the hopes of making climate change–fighting legislation a reality in 2021.”

“A 25th birthday might not be as significant a milestone as one’s 18th or 21st. Sadly, for your mother, Sybrina Fulton, for you and for all of us, you only had the opportunity to celebrate 17 birthdays. The rest were stolen from you. From Sybrina. From us.”

“We have grown used to being cynical about politicians. That is often warranted by those who seem to put their own interests above those they represent. But at least for today, in a vote that will define their professional careers, Mitt Romney and Doug Jones did the opposite. They voted to defend what is right and true because, as Representative Adam Schiff said, it matters. You don’t need to agree with either of them on anything else to commend their courage.”

“The Boston Red Sox traded their franchise player for a man who is listed on a police report as being present when a girl was raped, and no one in sports media seems to care. PED suspensions are reported with a player’s name for years. This incident has been essentially forgotten.”

RIP, Ruby Mosley, longtime community activist known as “The Mayor of Acres Homes”.

RIP, Roger Kahn, baseball writer and author of the book “The Boys of Summer”.

Weekend link dump for February 2

What might have happened in the next season of some TV shows that got canceled. Gotta say, as a fan of “Castle”, I’m glad the Season 9 that might have been never did happen.

“[Alan] Dershowitz’s career is a testament to the effects that celebrity, affluence, and fame can have on even the most formidable legal minds. His client in the Senate trial won’t be Trump, or even the presidency as an institution, but power itself.”

“Everything You Need to Know About the Potential Sale of .Org”.

“I grew up watching Sound of Music at least once a year with my evangelical Christian family. That was the 1970s and ’80s, when it was on the short list of officially sanctioned movies deemed acceptable and edifying for good Christian families. Watching that movie taught me that the Nazis are always the bad guys and that refugees and those who help them are always the good guys. This is no longer a noncontroversial position in American evangelicalism.”

“But the biggest thing is we shouldn’t lose track of what a disgrace this is. Bolton, as we’ve suspected, denied critical information to a lawful and constitutional judicial inquiry while making it available for what is at the end of the day a private business venture. There is just no conceivable justification for this from any, any perspective. It is really a disgrace.”

Jemele Hill eulogizes Kobe Bryant and how he evolved as a person after he retired from the NBA.

“If Bolton does testify, he not only refutes the linchpin of Trump’s defense, he also potentially implicates a wide array of other officials.” (Scratch this if this is obsolete by Sunday.)

“But now, the executive privilege argument is no longer available. Trump’s tweets directly denying the substance of Bolton’s reported allegations waive any privilege that might have protected them from public disclosure. Privilege is meant to keep a president’s secrets confidential. If the president reveals those secrets or publicly discusses the conversations himself, there is no longer any need to protect them from disclosure.”

“That person knew, as did all who inhabit Quote Whores boxes everywhere, the value of being well-known and seen-often-on-TV.”

“The Oral History of Prince’s Super Bowl XLI Halftime Show”.

RIP. John Andretti, NASCAR driver.

RIP, Fred Silverman, longtime TV producer who gave us Scooby Doo, Where Are You? and so much more.

“The New Orleans Saints apparently had a hand in determining which local priests were on a pedophile list, according to lawyers for sex abuse plaintiffs suing the Archdiocese of New Orleans.”

There’s still a lot more House Democrats can do once the Senate and Mitch McConnell finish giving Trump a get-out-of-any-form-of-accountability card.

Jeopardy! legend James Holzhauer revisits betting on baseball.

RIP, Mary Higgins Clark, bestselling author.

RIP, Edgar Henderson, Disney animator who produced cartoons for the original Astrodome scoreboard.

Weekend link dump for January 26

“Trump May Be Even More Unpopular Than His Approval Rating Shows”.

“This passage is one of many reminders that the equation of Christianity with homophobic, racist, misogynist and false beliefs did not originate with any of these writers. It’s an equation that some parents, teachers and church leaders make again and again: To be a good Christian you must not be gay. To be a good Christian you must submit to your husband. To be a good Christian you must believe that the Earth is 6,000 years old. To be a good Christian you must vote Republican. Their children have simply taken them at their word.”

OMG, this Twitter thread of a person watching The Princess Bride for the first time is amazing.

Turns out, paying for Medicare for All isn’t that hard to do.

“The next aircraft carrier to be built will be named for the grandson of slaves and a son of sharecroppers.”

“Which tech companies are really doing the most harm? Here are the 30 most dangerous, ranked by the people who know.”

“The start of the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump is a reminder that the American political system does include safeguards and norms that are meant to protect the citizenry from corruption and misdeeds in the highest offices of the land. What happens in the Senate over the next few weeks will show whether these measures still matter.”

“35 vintage photos taken by the EPA reveal what American cities looked like before pollution was regulated”. (Spoiler alert: They were so, so dirty.)

“But I think people need to focus a bit more on the fact that this trial isn’t just about winning an acquittal for Trump, but also about keeping him minimally viable as the Republican presidential nominee.”

“Jack Van Impe started his ministry 68 years ago, assuring his followers that the Rapture, Argmageddon, and the End of Time were poised to occur at any moment. At no moment in any of those 68 years did the Rapture occur.”

RIP, Terry Jones, legendary actor and director with the Monty Python troupe.

RIP, Jim Lehrer, longtime journalist for PBS.

“Two Trump Lawyers Dismissed His Own Constitutional Argument Against Impeachment”.

Karlie Kloss is Jared Kushner’s sister-in-law. She will not be voting for Donald Trump. Good luck at the next Thanksgiving, Karlie.

Jay Sekulow is the Emily Litella of impeachment.

“It hurts the brain to think that Ukraine would eagerly blame themselves for something that Russia did, but that was the demand Trump made of them. Did Trump know it was untrue? Was he asking for something legitimate in his own mind, as Lindsey Graham argues?”

RIP, Carol Serling, widow of Rod Serling and keeper of the Twilight Zone flame.

“The House opening arguments in the impeachment trial of President Trump mark the first time lawmakers have explicitly presented the entirety of their evidence about Trump’s handling of Ukraine aid — and thus far, they’ve been nothing short of damning.”

Weekend link dump for January 19

A deep and myth-busting dive into the life of the notorious Countess Elizabeth Bathory.

“After Floridians approved an initiative to restore voting rights to approximately 1.4 million people with felony convictions, Republican lawmakers immediately moved to sabotage the historic effort. The GOP-controlled legislature passed a law along party lines that effectively required a poll tax from a majority of those poised to regain their right to vote. The GOP’s brazenly partisan measure, however, appears to be backfiring. Democratic counties are taking advantage of a compromise buried in the statute to give residents their voting rights. Meanwhile, Republican counties are taking a hard line against suffrage—meaning a substantial majority of Floridians who do manage to register to vote are likely to be Democrats.”

“Password sharing has serious economic consequences. In 2019, companies lost about $9.1 billion to password piracy and sharing, and that will rise to $12.5 billion in 2024, according to data released by research firm Parks Associates.”

“George Gershwin’s Rhapsody In Blue Is In The Public Domain And Gerswhin’s Nephew Is Worried Someone Might Turn It Into Hip Hop“.

“A womanizing tortoise whose rampant sex life may have single-handedly saved his entire species from extinction has retired from his playboy lifestyle, returning to the wild with his mission accomplished.”

Make sure your Windows 10 machine installs the latest security patch.

“So the White House was not reporting the weather; it was just running a weather rerun, so to speak, as news and government outlets are known for doing because it creates absolutely no public problems at all.”

Yeah, I’m sure this is why Meghan Markle said “screw it, we’re outta here”.

“This is the literal polar opposite of reality.”

“Last week, there were 47 Holocaust survivors living in Dallas, according to the museum. Today there are 46. No longer will Repp share his stories with groups that visit the museum, or schoolchildren from all over this state whose teachers request his presence. One more living connection to that genocide is gone, one more bond erased.” Rest in peace, Jack Repp, born Itzik Rzepkowicz in Poland, Holocaust survivor.

Jeopardy!‘s all-time low scorer (non-Wolf Blitzer division) comments on the “Greatest of All Time” tournament.

So, how about that Equal Rights Amendment, huh?

“In trying to be above taking sides, the mainstream media does Trump a favor by making order out of his chaos.”

RIP, Christopher Tolkien, author and son of JRR Tolkien.

And that was the completely bat$#!+ crazy week that it was in Major League Baseball.

RIP, Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer.

Congratulations to Alyssa Nakken, the first female coach on a big league staff in MLB history.

Weekend link dump for January 12

“Imagine a city the size of Washington D.C. going an entire year without any pedestrians or cyclists being killed on its streets. That’s exactly what happened in Oslo, where officials reported this week that zero pedestrian or cyclist fatalities occurred on the city’s roads in 2019.”

“More than a year after his death, a cache of computer files saved on the hard drives of Thomas Hofeller, a prominent Republican redistricting strategist, is becoming public.”

Do not blindly share memes or tweets on social media without verifying that they are factual, and not just something that aligns with your personal bias.”

“That’s an epiphany. That’s the Epiphany we celebrate today.”

“Moral of the story: Companies that experience a ransomware attack — or for that matter any type of equally invasive malware infestation — should assume that all credentials stored anywhere on the local network (including those saved inside Web browsers and password managers) are compromised and need to be changed.”

Baby Yoda isn’t Yoda. Just so you know.

RIP, Nancy Carol Lewis Jones, American manager for Monty Python and publicist for a slew of classic rock acts.

Time to say Goodbye to Windows 7, if you haven’t already.

The Iran crisis is over. Or it isn’t. I dunno.

“What knockers!” “Oh, thank you.”

Yankees offseason facial hair: a thread”.

This will forevermore be known as “Megxit”.

RIP, Buck Henry, actor, director, and award-winning screenwriter best known for The Graduate and Get Smart.

Behold the power of naked philanthropy.

You can thank – or blame – Twitter for the Jeopardy! GOAT tournament.

Goalies scoring goals is the best sports highlight.

RIP, Neal Peart, drummer and lyricist for Rush. I saw them four times in concert in the 80s and 90s, and they were awesome. A great talent and a terrible loss.

Weekend link dump for January 5

Welcome to the third decade of the 21st century…

Do better, Chuck Todd. And if you don’t know how, get out of the way and let someone else do it.

“Americans may feel as though Christmas lasts forever, but at worst the holiday spreads out over two months, from Halloween until January 2. We do, however, have one truly endless season: campaign season. According to CNN, the 2016 presidential campaign took 597 days, which seems accurate if you believe the campaign ended on Election Day 2016, which everyone knows it did not. It’s still going strong and will continue going strong until at least Election Day 2020. In Japan campaigns last 12 days, in Australia they last 33 to 68 days, and in America they last forever.”

“But if you think of the GOP as being organized around identity groups, these policies hang together quite well. The clear beneficiaries of the Trump administration’s actions have been businesses and corporations whose leaders back the president (such as those in the coal industry), conservative Christians, farmers, gun rights enthusiasts, people wary of increases in the number of foreign-born Americans and Islam, people wary of movements like Black Lives Matter and MeToo, pro-Israel activists and residents of rural areas.”

The histories hidden in the periodic table.

Seriously, just fire Bret Stephens already. Among many other things, he sucks at his job.

Fervently wishing Rep. John Lewis all the very best.

“Despite this turbulence, 2019 was the year that UFOs managed to propel themselves into an uneasy political legitimacy”.

Donkeys love violin music, thus proving there are some worthwhile things left in this world.

“As a result [of the Trump tariffs], US manufacturing has seen job losses and higher prices for consumers.”

“In honor of the end of this year, I wanted to give a thread summary of the state of Devin Nunes’ lawsuits, both for those who don’t know exactly what’s going on and those who could use a refresher.”

Here are your 2019 Golden Duke Award wnners.

And here are your 2019 Worthy Award nominees.

Have you been drawn into a debate about whether or not we actually are in a new decade? Well, this will settle that argument.

RIP, David Stern, former NBA Commissioner.

RIP, Don Larsen, former Yankees pitcher who threw a perfect game in the 1956 World Series.

News flash: We are old. So very, very old.

“The conventional wisdom is that the Republicans in the Senate will rush to acquit Trump. I outline here why I think that overstates the case, and that the process has any number of variables in which things may change.”

Weekend link dump for December 29

“Baseball’s plan to kill off dozens of [minor league] affiliate teams is a clear act of collusion.”

“Among millennials, fewer than half identify as Christians. More than 40 percent identify as nothing in particular.”

“Netflix Reportedly Lost 1 Million Subscribers to Disney+”.

“This is an extreme case of what, actually, is a pretty normal habit, though it sounds kind of strange when written down: People regularly speak as their pets, babies, or even, yes, stuffed animals, in order to communicate with people around them.”

Very glad to see Charlie Pierce on the road to recovery.

“Democrats, for the most part, are engaging with the factual record; Republicans, for the most part, are not. These positions are manifestly not equivalent. Treating them as such does not serve any useful concept of fairness; instead, it rebounds clearly to the advantage of the one side (Republicans) for whom nonsense being taken seriously is a victory in itself.”

“White evangelicals were mostly partisan Republicans in 1980, but because we were Cold Warriors, not culture warriors.”

4 false claims in under 30 words: Kevin McCarthy’s IG report tweet is an exercise in gaslighting”.

Donald Trump’s one-line cameo in Home Alone 2 was edited out of a Canadian TV broadcast, and people reacted exactly as you’d expect them to.

RIP, Allee Willis, songwriter who composed the theme to Friends.

“It’s been clear for a while that political satire in the U.S. has a Trump problem. The jokes are getting redundant, but even worse, the president seems immune to them.”

RIP, Gertrude Barnstone, Houston artist and civil rights activist.

RIP, Daddy-O Wade, Texas artist who created the iconic San Antonio North Star Mall cowboy boots.

RIP, Don Imus, pioneering radio shock jock.

RIP, Lee Mendelson, TV producer who created A Charlie Brown Christmas and the other Peanuts specials.

“So we can be filled with hope by realizing that we have the capacity to be good and kind and decent. And we can be filled with dismay by realizing that we’re only able or willing to be that way in short bursts.”

Weekend link dump for December 22

Good call, Hallmark Channel. But really, you should have known better.

The New England Patriots are here to remind you that when it comes to cheating, the Astros are a bunch of pikers.

“The end result of their Christian faith is the unshakable conviction that nothing could be stupider than expecting people to live by the teachings of Christ.”

“Fox News Is Now a Threat to National Security”.

“Lawsuit Raises Questions About Rick Perry’s Role in Ukraine’s Energy Sector”.

“In 2017, President Trump made nearly 1,999 false or misleading claims. In 2018, he added another 5,689, for a total of 7,688. Now, with a few weeks still left in 2019, the president already has more than doubled the total number of false or misleading claims in just a single year.”

“For years, I have stubbornly resisted the urge to engage in a conspiracy-theorist-style attempt to map all the made-up kingdoms of princess movies onto the real geopolitical history of Europe. But I have finally met my match in the form of Aldovia, the setting for Netflix’s Christmas Prince series, which makes so little sense that I spent an hour last night frantically Googling historic maps of eastern Europe and trying to figure out whether anybody at Netflix has ever even heard of the Hapsburgs.”

“So the answer to Burge’s question is almost tautological: Young white evangelicals will not turn their backs on Trump because not questioning Trump is what makes them young white evangelicals.””The idea of two Trumps has always been a thin fiction, and the letter to Pelosi rips through it like tissue. It’s Mr. Trump in his voice, while sitting at President Trump’s desk in the Oval Office and using his official stationery.”

“The idea of two Trumps has always been a thin fiction, and the letter to Pelosi rips through it like tissue. It’s Mr. Trump in his voice, while sitting at President Trump’s desk in the Oval Office and using his official stationery.”

“Here are the GOP defenses I have heard so far to articles of impeachment, along with the knee-jerk responses I have been shouting at my television.”

“Below, Vox presents a list of 10 memes that captured the zeitgeist, from those that summed up entire ideological positions to others that seem, on the surface, inane — but reveal a lot more than you expect about the decade’s cultural journey.”

“Ordinary venal corruption can be impeachable. Some serious crimes that are not tied to a President’s official duties might be impeachable. But the crimes Trump is accused of – and of which he is clearly guilty – are definitional examples of the kind of wrongdoing impeachment was designed to combat.”

Woo hoo! The Far Side is online!

“How Weird Is It That a Company Lost Hundreds of Millions in Cryptocurrency Because Its CEO Died?”

Oh, JK Rowling. You really need to do better than that.

“So, it is true that the Senate sets the calendar and place of the trial, but they don’t have much latitude about this unless they’re willing to change their rules. The most important thing is that the can’t do anything until Pelosi appoints the managers and sends the notice. So, in this sense, she makes the call and she sets the time.”

“It’s that time again: The 2019 Golden Duke Awards are upon us.” And in the Local Scandal category, Bonnenghazi gets a nomination.

So just what is figgy pudding, anyway?

Weekend link dump for December 15

“Below we have a roundup of the various Baby Yoda tattoos that have been published to social media by people from as far away as Florida, California, Alaska, and Russia. And while 39 tattoos might seem like a lot for such a new show, just think how many there will be when the rest of the world gets to see Baby Yoda on their screens. The UK, for example, doesn’t get Disney+ until March 31, 2020. The Baby Yoda tattoo craze should be even more bonkers by then.”

“The hidden moments of reclaimed freedom that make any job bearable are being discovered and wiped out by bosses everywhere.”

RIP, Caroll Spinney, puppeteer who played Oscar the Grouch and Big Bird.

RIP, Rene Auberjonois, versatile actor known for Benson, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and much more.

Please be careful when photographing trains.

“It’s a big deal that conservative legislators are introducing a bill to protect the LGBTQ community with the backing of some religious conservative groups. But in trying to do so, they’ve likely created something that will upset just about everybody else, from the more extreme religious right, to mainstream LGBTQ advocacy groups.”

RIP, George Laurer, inventor of the UPC.

Anti-vaxxers gonna anti-vaxx. However they want to phrase it, it’s all the same thing.

RIP, Paul Volcker, former Fed chair.

RIP, Pete Frates, who helped popularize the ALS Bucket Challenge.

“This is the kind of thing one can say only if one has a certain confidence that the witnesses in question will not, in fact, testify.”

“Vladimir Putin is a ruthless authoritarian who will do anything to maintain his power. But that is the opposite of a problem for Trump’s supporters. In fact, it’s what they like about both Putin and Trump.”

The question is not “why are people gluing tiny cowboy hats on pigeons’ heads?” The question is why haven’t people been doing this all along?

“It would be easy to freak out about Space Force because of the ridiculous name or alternatively to just dismiss it as bureaucratic reshuffling. I think it’s a mistake to do either.”