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Weekend link dump for April 18

Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? first aired on PBS 30 years ago, between 1991 and 1995. But the show’s legacy lives on for the kids of the ’90s.”

“The Krispy Kreme backlash (and backlash to the backlash) was the latest salvo in the decades-long battle about fatness, anti-fat bias, and whether fat Americans realize that doughnuts do not have the same nutritional value as raw carrot sticks. If that sounds like a familiar dance, it is. If that sounds patronizing, well, buddy, it is.”

“Evangelicals also understand the power of narrative, which is why they’re so concerned with controlling the stories the public hears not only about themselves, but also about those of us who leave evangelicalism and tell the truth about how it has harmed us, criticizing evangelical theology as well as the racism, misogyny, anti-LGBTQ animus, and culture-warring politics that theology bolsters.”

“As presented by the Biden team, [the American Jobs Plan] represents not only an enormous total investment, but some really smart investments, in areas where the positive knock-on effects for the clean energy transition could be enormous. There were some true-blue energy wonks involved in writing this thing.”

“At any rate, the 17th Amendment isn’t going anywhere, so it may be time for the nation at large to understand it.”

“For the last few months, the primary focus of the U.S. has been getting shots to everyone who wants them, as quickly as possible. Soon, that focus will abruptly shift to convincing holdouts to get vaccinated.”

“How Gabby Giffords is using music to rewire her brain after being shot”.

Don’t depend on Greg Abbott to protect you from phony vaccine passports, learn to recognize them for yourself.

Welcome to the Freedom Cafe!

“Almost no person or entity who helped spread Trump’s election fraud lies is even attempting to back them up with evidence. In fact, most of those lie-spreaders have either partially or totally backed away from them in the face of litigation: Fox, Newsmax, OANN, Giuliani’s radio host WABC, the RNC, and two former Trump lawyers.”

“Men are sharing ways they’ve experienced sexual harassment from coworkers, friends, and total strangers. It’s an eye-opening perspective — one that isn’t often discussed.”

“Not long ago, women playing college baseball was unthinkable. Today, it’s more of a reality than ever, with opportunities opening up quickly at all levels of the collegiate game.”

Bernie Madoff has died. He doesn’t get to rest in peace.

RIP, Bob Gallarza, musician and producer, known as the “Quincy Jones of Tejano music”.

“There are other humans in this movie, which is a shame, because my antidepressants got a stress test every time they came on screen. But I suppose the world is not ready for a dialogue-free monster movie. (I mean … I am.) Alexander Skarsgård is also a scientist, but he’s haunted by loss and forced to deliver — with a face as straight as listening to Toby Keith at a gender reveal party — lines about the Hollow Earth realm from which the giant monkey and lizard hail. Brian Tyree Henry plays a podcasting conspiracy theorist looking to expose the shadowy corporate … things happening. Millie Bobby Brown is also here because she is friends with the lizard and has a good agent.”

“How “A Drive Into Deep Left Field by Castellanos” Became the Perfect Meme for These Strange Times”.

“Selena Quintanilla-Pérez’s legacy is one that has transcended generations, languages and cultures. The Tejano music star was born April 16, 1971 — today would’ve been her 50th birthday.”

Weekend link dump for April 11

“Biden’s Evangelical Foes Set Aside Satan Fears, Cash Aid Checks”.

“No, Eric Greitens Was Never “Exonerated” of Sexual Misconduct”.

“Rep. Matt Gaetz’s (R-FL) political career has been imploding for longer than we knew.”

“But, in truth, Boehner’s I-Was-Just-a-Feather-in-the-Gales-of-Crazy act gets a little wearisome for those of us who lived through it. If there’s any evidence that John Boehner tried to arrest the prion disease before it took over his caucus, and then his entire political party, it was not evident in his performance as Speaker.”

“Thanks for noticing that NY’s voting laws are bad! Like GA, many of NY’s restrictions on the right to vote are rooted in racism and xenophobia and need to change. “So, why aren’t you suing NY over early voting and no-excuse absentee balloting right now?” Glad you asked.”

This is a great story. That’s all you need to know.

“Some new research out this week suggests that, for all the high-minded good intentions behind those other strategies, shut the hell up about national politics can actually reduce political polarization — not just at a dinner table, but in an entire community.”

RIP, Yahoo Answers, in case anyone was using it.

“Paige Bueckers has to wait to play in the WNBA because the league never thought there would ever be a player this good, and this young. She’s proof of just how much the game has evolved.”

“Ne’er-do-wells leaked personal data — including phone numbers — for some 553 million Facebook users this week. Facebook says the data was collected before 2020 when it changed things to prevent such information from being scraped from profiles. To my mind, this just reinforces the need to remove mobile phone numbers from all of your online accounts wherever feasible. Meanwhile, if you’re a Facebook product user and want to learn if your data was leaked, there are easy ways to find out.” Basically, bookmark Have I Been Pwned and refer to it any time you see a story like this.

“John de Lancie will reprise his role as Next Generation trickster god Q on Season 2 of Star Trek: Picard“.

“Embattled National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre feared for his safety after mass shootings in recent years, forcing him to take refuge aboard a friend’s luxury yacht, the gun rights advocate testified.”

“New surveys show Americans’ membership in communities of worship has declined sharply in recent years, with less than 50% of the country belonging to a church, synagogue or mosque.”

What is it about Trump voters that makes them such easy marks for scammers?

RIP, Midwin Charles, legal analyst for CNN and MSNBC.

“You can’t complain that right-wing media have usurped the church’s role when the church itself has abdicated that role, refusing to stand up against those usurpers.”

“Why, that sounds like the kind of systemic market failure the [Wall Street] Journal is always insisting can’t happen.”

“The standard explanation for all this is the advent of the coronavirus. The country is in crisis, and Biden is rising to meet the moment. But I don’t buy it. That may explain the American Rescue Plan. But the American Jobs Plan, and the forthcoming American Family Plan, go far beyond the virus. Put together, they are a sweeping indictment of the prepandemic status quo as a disaster for both people and the planet — a status quo that in many cases Biden helped build and certainly never seemed eager to upend.”

Be wary of immigration attorney ads on TikTok.

“That Fyre Fest tweet with the sad sandwich will be auctioned as an NFT for medical expenses“. I got nothin’.

RIP, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh.

RIP, Anne Beatts, original Saturday Night Live writer and creator of Square Pegs.

Everything you wanted to know about muons but were afraid to ask.

RIP, DMX, hip-hop artists and actor.

RIP, Ramsey Clark, former Attorney General and civil rights champion.

Weekend link dump for April 4

“For many cities and counties, the American Rescue Plan’s (ARP) state and local funds are not just a $350 billion lifeline; they represent the largest positive fiscal jolt to their budgets in decades. Now, a scramble is underway to determine how best to deploy the money. The decisions made in the coming weeks— and over the next year regarding the second tranche of funding—will determine whether cities merely enjoy a brief stimulus or seed a new trajectory of inclusive economic growth. The stakes are high. The money needs to move fast and be deployed smartly and equitably. In 10 years, we may look back at this time and ask: Which places merely spent their money, and which places invested it?”

“America’s Covid Swab Supply Depends on Two Cousins Who Hate Each Other“.

“How One State’s Public Health Defunding Led to Vaccination Chaos”.

“For decades, Americans relied on analog televisions employing UHF signals for our hundreds of (mostly inane) channel distractions, but one particular stop on the dial was nowhere to be found: channel 37. Apparently, the nationwide lack of a channel 37 on living room TV sets wasn’t some big coincidence, but an intentional decision overseen by the U.S. government based on two very obvious reasons: the location of a 400-foot radio telescope and aliens.”

“The true dimensions of the worst Christian sex abuse scandal you’ve never heard of have long been largely unknown.”

I had no idea that The Flintstones had a different theme song for its first two seasons.

“An Extremely Scientific Economic Breakdown of the MCU”.

Frequently asked questions about the Deshaun Watson lawsuits, by attorney/Texans fan/all around good egg Stephanie Stradley.

“Yesterday the CDC reported the results of a study which suggest the vaccines are almost as effective against infection as they are against the disease itself.” (We already knew the vaxxes were very good at preventing you from getting sick from COVID, but you could still carry the virus, which is why mask-wearing and other precautions are still recommended after you get your shots. If this study is accurate, it means you’re unlikely to be an asymptomatic carrier as well, which would mean that a true return to normal is on the horizon.)

“The second half of May could see rates of COVID-19 finally plunging to levels that have not been seen since the first weeks of the pandemic. It’s entirely possible that, at that point, a national program of testing and case management could do what it should have done from the beginning: Help direct isolation and quarantine to take those remaining cases and push them, as much as possible, toward extinction. But that can’t happen yet. There simply are not enough doses in enough arms at this point. Which is why social distancing and mask mandates remain critical.”

“It’s amply clear that Biden’s judge-picking machine has learned some important lessons from the Federalist Society’s stranglehold on judicial selection. The game has now changed for both sides.”

“With billions of dollars in lawsuits now in the balance, Dominion Voting Systems has quietly expanded its legal armada in recent days, as the election technology company goes after Trumpworld and conservative media giants.” Among the attorneys representing truth, justice, and democracy against these modern-day Visigoths is Justin Nelson, 2018 Democratic candidate for Attorney General against Ken Paxton.

“One of the interesting things about the current misinformation landscape is that it’s not necessarily uninformed people. It’s misinformed people. It’s people who say, ‘I do my own research; I don’t trust the elites.’ And their research is nonsense, it is sophisticated nonsense.”

“Confronted with compelling video and photographic evidence in court, dozens of rioters have apologized and expressed regret as the consequences of their actions have started to sink in. The ramifications include potential job losses, financial ruin, and possible time behind bars.”

“In private, they concede their own polling shows that no message they can devise effectively counters the argument that billionaires should be prevented from buying elections.”

Are we entering the beginning of the end of Pat Sajak’s time as host of Wheel of Fortune?

“Should Masking Last Beyond The Pandemic? Flu And Colds Are Down, Spurring A Debate.”

It’s impossible to keep up with the Matt Gaetz scandal, but one should try anyway. Especially since it’s getting really ugly about now.

“The Democrats seem to understand very well that all politics is national right now. The more they stand by the president, especially a popular one, the more likely they are to survive the coming midterms. Bottom line: this [infrastructure] plan is going to happen. The Democrats will work out the details. It’s not a matter of if or whether. It’s a matter of when. They’re hoping by July’s end.”

Weekend link dump for March 28

“In the simplest terms, Gates gets splashy headlines for his interest in problems that, according to Q and MAGA types, are overblown or don’t even exist — the climate crisis, the strain of overpopulation where resources are scarce and pathogens that can wipe out millions in the West as well as poorer countries. Therefore, it stands to reason that this is all a front for some nefarious secret agenda, which he can bankroll indefinitely.”

“Being an Asian woman means moving through spaces with the constant anxiety that someone is about to make you their sex object or punchline.”

“There is a robust symbiosis between misogyny and white supremacy; the two ideologies are powerfully intertwined.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about that Geico “Scoop There It Is” TV commercial but were afraid to ask.

“Rights of the dead and the living clash when scientists extract DNA from human remains”.

“As U.S. drivers buy more full-size and heavy-duty pickups, these vehicles have transformed from no-frills workhorses into angry giants. And pedestrians are paying the price.”

“How scary are cow burps exactly? Measured by their planet-warming power, methane-filled livestock belches are the equivalent of 850 coal plants burning year-round. But scientists have found that spicing up cattle feed with a little seaweed can dramatically reduce the methane they produce.”

“‘Evidence is trending’ toward sedition charges for some involved in the Capitol insurrection”.

RIP, Elgin Baylor, all-time great NBA player and executive, who was also a civil rights leader.

RIP, Kent Taylor, CEO of the Texas Roadhouse restaurant chain.

Some people just have no idea who supported or voted for what in Congress.

A delightful thread of famous person reaction GIFs, posted by the famous people themselves.

Just some funny dog photos. Isn’t that enough?

If fear of lost commerce is what it takes to veto nasty anti-trans legislation, then that’s what it takes.

RIP, Jessica Walter, Emmy-winning actor known for Arrested Development among many other roles.

RIP, Don Bankston, former Fort Bend County Democratic Party Chair and District Court judge.

RIP, George Segal, longtime actor known for roles from The Owl and The Pussycat to The Goldbergs.

RIP, Dr. Bobby Brown, former MLB player and executive, Korean War veteran, and cardiologist.

“Overlooked is that Biden and his team are also making a strategic bet. Limiting his exposure to the press and, by extension, the public isn’t simply a defensive ploy to avoid an embarrassing gaffe. It’s a conscious calculation that people don’t need—or want—to hear from the president on an hour-by-hour basis, that they will be satisfied if he can revive the economy and end the pandemic. After all, Americans just had a president who entered their life and refused to leave, who gripped the megaphone and wouldn’t let go. Biden has no wish to resurrect Donald Trump’s in-your-face presidency.”

RIP, Larry McMurtry, legendary author and screenwriter known for Lonesome Dove, The Last Picture Show, and Terms of Endearment, among many others.

“Georgia is an all-hands-on-deck crisis for our democracy.”

RIP, Beverly Cleary, beloved children’s author.

RIP, Leon Hale, beloved Houston Chronicle columnist and damn Texas treasure. Seriously, whether or not you have any idea who Leon Hale is, go read that obituary.

Weekend link dump for March 21

“THREAD: Lots of us learned classical music from watching old cartoons, so I’m going to identify the pieces that frequently popped up.”

Huey Lewis-Inspired Anthology Series in the Works at Fox”. I’m sorry, but if the title doesn’t contain a duck-related pun, then what are we even doing here?

“I grew up in a family of people who loved classic films. Now, how can you love these films if you know that there’s going to be a maid or mammy that shows up? Well, I grew up around people who could still love the movie. You appreciate some parts of it. You critique other parts of it. That’s something that one can do and it actually can enrich your experience of the film.”

“When private equity firms acquire nursing homes, patients start to die more often.”

“Over a hundred thousand people have now died of Covid-19 in the UK alone; people around the world have been separated from their family and friends, and entire economies have come to a standstill. All of which raises an important question: how can the world prevent another pandemic? The obvious place to start is at the beginning – before a pathogen has been seeded around the world and serious damage has been caused. If we can predict where the next pandemic will come from, perhaps we can stop it at its source.”

“When you put on the White House stage the official with direct operational responsibility – you incentivize reporters to try to extract useful information, not to generate viral video.”

If you don’t recognize our democracy at this point in time, then I don’t think you’re going to be helpful to successful legislation.”

Zoom should hire this kid as a product interface tester.

RIP, Marvelous Marvin Hagler, middleweight boxing champion.

RIP, Yaphet Kotto, TV and film actor best known for Alien, Live and Let Die, and Homicide: Life on the Street.

“Uncertainty about why only 75% of the House is confirmed as vaccinated against the coronavirus is fueling a debate about when the chamber can return to its normal rules of operation.”

“The White House will soon unveil a wide-reaching public relations campaign aimed at boosting vaccine confidence and uptake across the U.S.”

“The Democrats just passed a massive spending bill with no GOP support. So why are Republicans talking about Dr. Seuss and the border?”

For Cruz’s Tweet to make any sense, you have to already believe that Biden saying he hopes people can gather safely for barbecues on July 4 was actually a threat to forbid them from doing so. You have to believe that the president has the power to do such a thing. (He doesn’t.) Basically, you have to be steeped in [Fox News Cinematic Universe] canon.”

RIP, Glynn Lunney, NASA flight director who played a key role in Apollo 13.

Weekend link dump for March 14

“You’re wrong as the deuce
And you shouldn’t rejoice
If you’re calling him Seuss.
He pronounces it Soice.”

“What to expect when you’re inoculating (i.e. what you can—and can’t—do after being vaccinated)”.

“In the areas where Amazon operates, though, low-wage workers at other businesses have seen significant wage growth since 2018, beyond what they otherwise might have expected, and not because of new minimum-wage laws. The gains are a direct result of Amazon’s corporate decision to increase starting pay to $15 an hour three years ago, which appears to have lifted pay for low-wage workers in other local companies as well”.

“The world’s oldest known wild bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, has hatched yet another chick at Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago. Biologists first identified and banded Wisdom in 1956; she is at least 70 years old.”

“In other words, Lola Bunny—one of the most infamously sexualized female anthropomorphized figures in recent animation history—has been rendered as a normal cartoon character, rather than the strange manifestation of subliminal interspecies horniness that she previously embodied.”

“The world is now confronting a growing number of coronavirus variants that threaten to slow or undo our vaccine progress. In recent months, it’s become clear that the virus is mutating in ways that make it more transmissible and resistant to vaccines, and possibly more deadly. It’s also clear that, at least in the United States, there is no organized system for tracking the spread or emergence of variants.”

Make the filibuster theatrical again.

“Treating these lost sheep as innocent dupes unwittingly led astray won’t have any effect because they were not dupes and they were not innocent. The problem was not one of error, but of sin — of moral choices, made willingly. It’s not a problem of “fringe ideas” or “conspiracy theories” spreading in congregations due to gullibility and naivete, but more starkly a problem of bearing false witness against they neighbor.”

“I can’t believe I’m writing this, but it seems Democrats … learned from their mistakes?”

You want to know about the history of Pepe le Pew, Mark Evanier can tell you.

This is the best example I’ve seen of a fight in which you root for both sides to lose.

The latest Microsoft Exchange hack looks really bad.

RIP, Norton Juster, author best known for “The Phantom Tollbooth”.

“As a result of sharing my personal experience, others have come forward to confide in me and reveal their own experiences with abuse. So it is my aim to help educate anyone reading this on how to be an ally and support a person who has survived trauma in its many incarnations.”

“A quick thread on what we, in TV writing, call the Idiot Ball. This is a term used to describe when one character, in order to make the show work, has to behave, uncharacteristically, like a complete idiot. It is usually a different character each week.”

“It’s too early to know for sure. But I’ve begun to wonder whether ex-President Trump’s greatest legal jeopardy may not be in Georgia, where there is what seems to be a pretty active investigation into his efforts to bully Republican officials into falsifying the 2020 election results and making him President.”

RIP, Lou Ottens, inventor of the cassette tape. Did you ever make a mixtape for someone back in the day? Then tip your hat to Lou Ottens.

RIP, Roger Mudd, longtime broadcast news correspondent, mostly for CBS.

“John Schnatter, founder and former chairman of Papa John’s, said Monday he’s been working on eradicating the N-word from his vocabulary for 20 months.” I got nothing.

“‘Harry Potter’ Actress Katie Leung Details Racist Fan Abuse: Publicists Told Me Not to Talk About It”.

“One of the more mystifying turns of events since the Harry and Meghan interview with Oprah on Sunday has been the response from right-wing commentators. In my understanding of Republican ideology, breaking away from the monarchy and seeking independence, financial or otherwise, would be seen as commendable. There are bootstraps to be pulled! The right-wing commentariat, however, has run toward the opposite direction. They have inexplicably sided with the … British Royal Family.”

“Let Us Take a Moment To Appreciate the Angry Ballpark Goose“.

“Netflix is testing a way it can limit password sharing, in what could signal a notable shift of the streaming giant’s posture toward users.” They’re not yet blocking anyone’s logons, so you can continue to use your mom’s account to binge The Great British Bake-Off or whatever, but you have been warned.

“U.S. health officials are exploring a partnership with Dollar General, one of the nation’s largest retailers, to accelerate the COVID-19 vaccine rollout in the nation’s rural areas.”

Weekend link dump for March 7

“The truth and power of fundamentalist Christianity derived from and depended on its unanimity and total lack of ambiguity. In church, in other words, we all were taught — as all fundamentalists must be taught — that there can be only one pure, true form of fundamentalism and that any deviation from that one pure, true form meant a rejection of the entire construct. But then we all went to school where we were confronted with the subversive fact that there existed a diversity of fundamentalisms. We were all fundamentalists, but we were fundamentalists in different ways. That wasn’t supposed to be possible. The entire authority structure of fundamentalism hinged on the claim that it was not possible.”

“Mentioned in Exodus 32 and I Kings 12 in the Old Testament, worship of the golden calf is seen as a supreme act of apostasy, the rejection of a faith once confessed”.

“In other words, the reason Impossible and Beyond products have taken off in a way that earlier, vegetarian-targeted brands such as Boca and Gardein never quite did is not their nutritional profile. It’s the fact that they actually taste good.”

“As COVID-19 vaccination distribution efforts continue across the United States, the latest KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor reports that a majority (55%) of U.S. adults now say they have received at least one dose of the vaccine (18%) or that they will get it as soon as they can (37%), up from 47% in January and 34% in December.”

“But speaking of history repeating itself, studios hoarding content for their own platform, and Paramount+, aren’t we heading into a new era of vertically integrated entertainment providers that looks a lot like the early days of the Hollywood studio system?”

“Waiting Rooms (And Other Public Spaces) Should Ban Cable News And Put Food Network Or HGTV On Their TVs Instead”.

“All told, the sharp increase in absentee voting in 2020 wasn’t disproportionately beneficial to either presidential candidate.”

“And now … we wait. Maybe there will be evidence of rampant criminality in those returns. Or maybe everything is by the book and Trump just tried to hide them because he’s given away so much money to charity that he didn’t want to embarrass Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg for their paltry donations. (Yeah, probably not.)”

RIP, Irv Cross, former Pro Bowl defensive back who became the first Black man to work full time as a sports analyst on national television with CBS, on “The NFL Today” with Brent Musberger and Phyllis George.

Remember those weird Quizno’s ads from the Aughts? That will remind you, if you need/want to be reminded.

RIP, Vernon Jordan, civil rights leader and advisor to President Clinton.

“Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Monday that despite how rotten it was to have theme parks closed for so long, the forced downtime was also an opportunity to tinker with technology and data to reopen better than before, for both guests and for shareholders.”

The fruitless hunt for a pristine copy of Citizen Kane.

Flu has virtually disappeared from the U.S., with reports coming in at far lower levels than anything seen in decades.”

As a lifelong Yankees fan, I fully endorse this proposal to honor Roy White in Monument Park.

“An orangutan named Karen, the first in the world to have open-heart surgery in 1994, has made medical history again: She’s among the first great apes to get a COVID-19 vaccine.”

“At least 30,000 organizations across the United States — including a significant number of small businesses, towns, cities and local governments — have over the past few days been hacked by an unusually aggressive Chinese cyber espionage unit that’s focused on stealing email from victim organizations”.

“Lifting restrictions is exactly what the virus wants us to do—as we’re seeing the world over, more community spread creates the perfect conditions for the virus to accumulate mutations that can lead to more transmissible and potentially more lethal strains.”

Weekend link dump for February 28

Note: Because of the chaos of last week, I was never able to collect links like I usually do. So, the handful that I had that I was originally going to post last Sunday are here with the ones for this week.

“HuffPost spoke to nine children of QAnon believers in seven states, ranging in age from 19 to 46. Some are desperately trying to deradicalize their moms and dads — an agonizing process that can feel maddening, heartbreaking and futile. Others believe their parents are already too far gone and have given up trying to help them. A few have made the painful decision to cut off contact entirely, for the sake of their own mental health.”

This Politico story about the QAnon Casualties Reddit board is along those same lines.

I’m glad to see that Shelley Duvall is alive and well and living in a community that cares for her. She deserves it.

“Happy Anniversary to the Best Accidental Headline in Christian Newspaper History”.

“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday that Congress will establish an independent, Sept. 11-style commission to look into the deadly insurrection that took place at the U.S. Capitol.”

“American anti-majoritarians have always promised that minority privilege will deliver positive results: stability, sobriety, the security of the public debt, and tranquil and peaceful presidential elections. But again and again, those promises have proved the exact opposite of reality. In practice, the privileged minority has shown itself to be unstable and unsober.”

“With Trump out of office, this group of researchers is now working to make sense of the deluge of data that they’ve collected from platforms such as Twitter and Facebook. It’s been a lesson in modern populism: a world leader amplified once-obscure conspiracy theories, with each tweet and retweet strengthening the ideas and emboldening their supporters. Now, researchers are retooling to understand — and prepare for — what comes next.”

“Working for the Trump hotel meant putting on a performance every night—right down to the gummy bears and popcorn.”

“Scientists have recovered DNA from mammoth fossils found in Siberian permafrost that are more than a million years old. This DNA—the oldest genomic evidence recovered to date—illuminates the evolutionary history of woolly mammoths and Columbian mammoths. It also raises the prospect of recovering DNA from other organisms this ancient—including extinct members of the human family.”

There’s a disclaimer at the beginning of The Muppet Show episodes on Disney+, because as my friend Therese notes, it’s a 40-year-old show and some things that were funny or at least not remarkable in the 70s are not so today. Deal with it.

The snow truthers of TikTok.

I don’t know when lying stopped being a sin. It’s still in my Ten Commandments.

“Ah, those delightful Germans! Always with the single word that describes a very specific thing that any normal language would never have a single word to describe! Well unsurprisingly, the Hamsterkauf was just the Eisbergspitze. Over the past year, German has coined some 1000-plus new terms endemic to the Now Times — ironic capitalization, by the way, being an annoying method that English-speakers use to create new language.”

“The world is a bit bleak at the moment, so we decided to get a little nerdy this week and dive into an entirely new frontier. So grab a bowl of your favorite Klingon cuisine and a barrel of blood wine, because we’re exploring something a bit different: the Klingon language and its interesting impact on modern pop culture.”

“Over the next five-plus years, I learned a lot about covering national politics. Some lessons came the hard way: By being really wrong. So now that we’re about a month into a new presidential administration, I’m trying to keep those lessons front and center.”

“Federal judges are at risk. What are we going to do about it?”

The law is coming.

“Using social media, people across the state are volunteering their time and digital expertise to help others navigate the complicated and confusing web of allocation lists, websites, phone numbers, and seemingly endless waiting lists that make up Texas’s COVID-19 vaccine distribution plan.”

“Is it Mr. Potato Head or not?”

You too can help beloved MAD Magazine artist Al Jaffee celebrate his 100th birthday, but you will have to act quickly.

Weekend link dump for February 14

“The prospect of lab-grown meat separates two activities that have been inextricably linked for virtually all of human history: Eating meat has always required animal killing. But with the development of lab-grown meat, these two activities can be separated, and the morality of each activity assessed on its own.”

“A wave of anti-trans bills are hitting statehouses”.

“The main goal here is to deter anybody from ever trying this again. That’s what we have to do. There has to be a penalty so that anybody in a future situation looks at this and says, ‘I will go to jail if I try this and so I won’t do this.’”

“Americans have shorter lives than international peers. Some researchers now say conservative policies may be to blame.”

“There has never been any evidence that major sporting events are associated with a rise in human trafficking.”

All hail Rob Gronkowski’s mom Diane, who somehow survived raising Gronk and four other sons.

“Today, by contrast, economists increasingly accept the idea that deficits are not inherently destabilizing, but a normal part of economic management. The price of going too big isn’t a crash, but a little unwanted inflation ― something that can be reined in through Federal Reserve policymaking or some tax increases from Congress. These may be unpleasant when they come, but it will be much worse for people to lose jobs, incomes and homes in the meantime. When the costs of going too small are shattered families and broken faith in a shared national project, the choice is not difficult.”

“https://www.stripes.com/news/us/barrier-breaking-texas-astronaut-dies-at-75-she-lifted-people-up-1.661397″>RIP, Millie Hughes-Fulford, barrier-breaking astronaut and scientific researcher.

RIP, Cathy Cochran, former Texas Court of Criminal Appeals justice and key criminal justice reformer.

RIP, Marty Schottenheimer, longtime NFL head coach.

RIP, Mary Wilson, founding member of Motown legends the Supremes.

“The spread of extremist conspiracy theories in the United States is the second most dangerous pandemic the country faces right now.”

“This is why I continue to think that democracy in the United States is way stronger than people are giving it credit for. It took a devastating punch from a uniquely demagogic president supported by hundreds of Republican politicians and the massed media efforts of Fox News and the rest of the right-wing media machine. Despite this, everyone outside of Trump’s cult opposed him and the effort failed miserably. That’s not bad.”

“I’ve got my assistant here, and she’s trying to remove it but uh… I’m prepared to go forward with it. I’m here live. I’m not a cat.”

“I never hear much about nature or dinosaurs or things like that. Maybe you should call your show Newsy things Considered, since I don’t get to hear about all the things. Or please talk more about dinosaurs and cool things.”

There is now a criminal investigation into Donald Trump’s attempt to interfere with Georgia’s election. Someone please tell Dan Patrick to stand by with his one million dollar reward for Fulton County DA Fani Willis.

“Liz Cheney may not have been Never Trump, but she is clearly Never Again Trump, and that’s a beginning. But it also raises the question: What do we do with the late arrivals like Cheney?”

I’m just appalled by the allegations Charisma Carpenter is making against Joss Whedon. I was a huge fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, and I loved her on those shows. She deserved so much better. At least her fellow cast members are standing with her.

RIP, Larry Flynt, publisher of “Hustler” magazine.

RIP, Chick Correa, groundbreaking and multi-Grammy-winning musician and composer.

“House Democrats Are Showing That Trump Is More Guilty Than You Thought”.

“Who Is Stacey Plaskett, the Breakout Star of the Senate Impeachment Trial?”

“The 19th reached out to all 143 women in the 117th Congress to ask about their experiences January 6. Twenty-three, all Democrats, shared their points of view, many remembering new details after a month of processing.”

Weekend link dump for February 7

“So, how many early human species were there?”

So, have you bought some Dogecoin yet?

One reason why it’s basically impossible to do political TV shows these days is that any accurate representation of the vast majority of Republican officeholders and members of the professional conservative movement would be basically just cartoonish villainy, the kind that would have been justifiably seen as unfair and unbelievable as little as ten years ago. Among many other things, that kind of characterization makes for lousy TV.

“Looking to political personalities rather than Jesus for salvation is the worst kind of mistake a Christian can make, [Rep. Adam] Kinzinger said.”

“Customer entitlement, or what customers believe they are owed, has long been an issue in the hospitality industry. Restaurant workers swap stories like war veterans about ridiculous demands, difficult customers, and bad tippers. But the pandemic, and the terrible customer behavior that has come with it—impatience regarding wait times, name-calling, frustration over limited seating and menu options, and disregard for safety protocols—has only served to highlight how pervasive and, frankly, dangerous the problem really is.”

RIP, Janie Tarses, first woman to run a network entertainment division.

RIP, Dustin Diamond, actor best known for Saved By The Bell.

I’m happy that some QAnon acolytes are looking for a way back to reality, but at some point they’re going to need to reckon with all the harm they caused.

“Implementation and Evolution of Mitigation Measures, Testing, and Contact Tracing in the National Football League, August 9–November 21, 2020″.

RIP, Freddy the Great Dane, the tallest dog in the world.

“And yet, there’s something to the idea that we need to ask how American schools can help to build a more cohesive society and more resilient democracy. Americans’ lack of regard for their country—or, more accurately, the people with whom they share it—is a real problem with profoundly negative consequences. The Capitol insurrection offered a vivid illustration of that. And schools have an important role to play in addressing the problem.”

RIP, Hal Holbrook, actor who among many other things made a career out of playing Mark Twain in a solo stage production.

“The Pilot Who Can Connect Prince Andrew to Jeffrey Epstein’s Plane Is Reportedly Cooperating With the FBI”.

“The Georgia secretary of state’s office is investigating allegations that Lin Wood, a high-profile pro-Trump attorney who launched fruitless challenges to election results and pushed baseless conspiracies of fraud, may have illegally voted in the November general election.” Get Dan Patrick on the line, stat!

“The fact that Cheney has faced more criticism from her colleagues than Greene in recent days reflects how the GOP’s traditional values are under siege and the vast power that extremists and conspiracy theories welcomed into the party by Trump are accumulating.”

“For people who have been monitoring the growth and spread of right-wing extremism inside the mainstream Republican Party—manifested in the January 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol—the arrests that came in the aftermath of that event provided some revealing numbers. Of particular interest is the fact that the average age of the arrestees was 40 years old. That’s a surprisingly high number, particularly considering that most of the pro-Trump activists involved in violent protests of the past four years (especially the Proud Boys) have been younger men between 20 and 40 years old.”

“More than 370 Democratic congressional aides have signed onto an open letter appealing to senators to convict former President Donald Trump for inciting a violent “attack on our workplace” that threatened the peaceful transition of power and left one of their co-workers dead.”

“March for Our Lives co-founder David Hogg tweeted on Thursday that he and software developer William LeGate are launching a pillow company to compete against MyPillow, which is led by Trump supporter CEO Mike Lindell.”

“Voting technology company Smartmatic files $2.7 billion lawsuit against Fox News, Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell over ‘disinformation campaign'”. Lou Dobbs is already a casualty of it,

RIP, Christopher Plummer, Oscar-winning actor known for The Sound of Music and so much more.

RIP, George Shultz, four-time Cabinet official.

RIP, Leon Spinks, former heavyweight champion who defeated Muhammad Ali.

Weekend link dump for January 31

“The story of [Father Charles E.] Coughlin, the demagogic radio priest who dominated American airwaves during the Great Depression, offers an intriguing analog-age precedent to the digital-age debates over the limits of free expression. Then as now, the serene pleasure of no longer having to listen to a noxious voice blare incessantly in the ear coexists with a queasy unease at the realization of how suddenly and imperiously the rulers of corporate media can switch off one’s microphone.”

More technology troubles for Parler.

“That late-summer showdown inside the Statehouse in Boise on Aug. 24 showed supporters of President Donald Trump how they could storm into a seat of government to intimidate lawmakers with few if any repercussions.”

“Representative Madison Cawthorn has misled the public about training for the Paralympics, just as he misrepresented his education and business history.”

What other female basketball coaches have to say about Becky Hammon and her inexorable rise to an NBA head coaching gig.

“Trump Left A Big Legal Mess For Biden”. Figuring out what to do with a bunch of lawsuits where Biden disagreed with the position taken by the Trump Justice Department will take time and a lot of careful case management.

“But there is good news. If the Biden administration’s Department of Justice wants to rectify some of Trump’s abuse of the pardon power, there are now options at its disposal.”

“Five reasons to wear a mask even after you’re vaccinated”.

“Beverage giant Anheuser-Busch InBev is benching Super Bowl commercials from Budweiser, perhaps its best-known product — the first time in nearly four decades that the brand won’t have a place on the Big Game ad roster.” They will give money to the Ad Council for pro-vaccination PSAs.

“Rudy Giuliani has made a lot of money since his time as New York City mayor, but he has not made the $1.3 billion for which Dominion Voting Systems is suing him for what the company characterizes as a “viral disinformation campaign.””

A pro-Trump think tank sounds like a contradiction in terms to me, but you do you.

“Note that the commandment “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor” doesn’t concern itself with whether the bearing of false witness is maliciously deliberate or the result of mere ignorance. It doesn’t suggest that such ignorance would be relatively benign or exculpatory. It simply states that we are morally responsible for the truth of any witness we bear against others and does not allow for any separate sub-category of spreading “innocent” false accusations.”

Five simple things President Biden can do to shore up democracy in the US.

RIP, Cloris Leachman, Oscar and Emmy-winning actor, known for many great roles but who will always be Frau Blucher to me.

“Chronicling Trump’s 10 worst abuses of power”.

RIP, Cicely Tyson, iconic Emmy-winning actor.

“So many folks (esp. the media) are missing the complete backstory on $GME and how we got here. This has been simmering for over a year and the story behind it is great. I’ve been tracking this since September and devoured all of the details from the origin through today.”

“The Most Sought-After Capitol Insurrectionists Remain At Large”.

RIP, John Chaney, Hall of Fame coach for the Temple Owls.

Oklahoma may have legalized marijuana before we did, but they also bought $2 million worth of hydroxychloroquine that is now sitting on a shelf gathering dust, so.

A long list of things President Biden has already done on climate change.

Weekend link dump for January 24

“This Story About Ivanka, Obama, and Poop Is So Much Worse Than You Could Imagine”.

“If you’re using an Android device—or in some cases an iPhone—the Telegram messenger app makes it easy for hackers to find your precise location when you enable a feature that allows users who are geographically close to you to connect. The researcher who discovered the disclosure vulnerability and privately reported it to Telegram developers said they have no plans to fix it.”

No Coke or Pepsi ads in this year’s Super Bowl.

“This is one of the most abject, groveling admissions of guilt I’ve ever read.”

“Members of President Donald Trump’s failed presidential campaign played key roles in orchestrating the Washington rally that spawned a deadly assault on the U.S. Capitol, according to an Associated Press review of records, undercutting claims the event was the brainchild of the president’s grassroots supporters.” Three words: Lock. Them. Up.

“At noon on January 20, Trump will be in desperate shape. His business is floundering, his partners are fleeing, his loans are delinquent, prosecutors will be coming after him, and the legal impunity he enjoyed through his office will be gone. He will be walking naked into a cold and friendless world. What appeared to be a brilliant strategy for escaping consequences was merely a tactic for putting them off. The bill is coming due.”

“There is nothing of Jesus in the frenzied waving of flags bearing one man’s name. There is nothing of Jesus and nothing pro-life about a politician and his minions who whip-up a crowd in a rally and then point them in the direction of the Capitol where five people lost their lives in the violence, including a police officer. Do not be deceived, Jesus was not any part of that. His name has been desecrated just as clearly as our nation’s Capitol has been desecrated.”

“Trying to pick the most notable lies from Donald Trump’s presidency is like trying to pick the most notable pieces of junk from the town dump. There’s just so much ugly garbage to sift through before you can make a decision.”

“Voting rights advocates say the attack on the Capitol represents the culmination of an administration that used lies, deception, and misleading claims to undermine key democratic institutions.”

“Delta Air Lines is threatening to permanently ban passengers who don’t show respect and civility to employees and passengers. Personally I think the US airline industry is long overdue for some more repercussions for poor behavior on planes.”

“That pattern of trolling until you aren’t anymore has happened alongside the algorithmic spread of disinformation and conspiracy-mongering across social media. The combination of alt-right trolls obfuscating truth to spread their agenda, and the confusion about reality that conspiracy theories like QAnon help propagate, has created a chaotic, emotion-fueled online environment in which people like Gionet have thrived the only way they know how: through constant disruption.”

“MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell confirmed on Monday that his products had been dropped from several major retailers after the pro-Trump executive sought to relentlessly spread false claims of election fraud in the 2020 presidential election.” He’s also gonna get sued by Dominion Voting Systems.

Here’s a current list of who’s been arrested so far for the Capitol coup attempt. Here’s hoping that list keeps on growing.

Twelve unforgettable photos of Trump’s presidency. I have to admit, I thought that iconic and highly memed “Trump stares/yells at kid mowing the lawn” picture was a Photoshop job.

82 Stupid Things From The Trump Era You Probably Forgot About“. I actually remember nearly all of these, which probably means I need to get off the Internet more often.

RIP, Don Sutton, MLB Hall of Fame pitcher mostly for the Dodgers, and broadcaster for the Braves.

“So, what exactly did Trump write in his note to Biden? Twitter has some excellent guesses”.

It was one year ago this past week that the first COVID case was reported in the US.

RIP, Mira Furlan, actor best known for Lost and Babylon 5.

RIP, Henry Aaron, all time great baseball player and a world-class human being. The amount of hatred and racism he had to deal with as he broke Babe Ruth’s home run record was appalling, and meant he was never able to enjoy his massive accomplishment. I love what Andrea Thome, wife of Jim Thome, had to say, “if there’s a HOF for Hall of Famers, he’d be in it”. Rest in peace, Henry Aaron.

RIP, Larry King, longtime CNN talk show host.

A comprehensive timeline of Trump’s efforts to overturn the election.

Weekend link dump for January 17

“David Hasselhoff is auctioning off KITT from Knight Rider“.

“The ongoing breach affecting thousands of organizations that relied on backdoored products by network software firm SolarWinds may have jeopardized the privacy of countless sealed court documents on file with the U.S. federal court system, according to a memo released Wednesday by the Administrative Office (AO) of the U.S. Courts.”

“For Biden’s Justice Department, tackling domestic terrorism will now be front and center.”

“Even Trump Loyalists Can No Longer Defend His Legacy”. But don’t let that let them off the hook even a little.

“Every Republican—all 147 of them but especially Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz—who voted to overturn election results even after the insurrectionist mob of terrorists drove them out of the House and Senate chambers must be held to account and ostracized. Hitting them where it hurts by taking away their big donors is exactly the right lane for the [Project] Lincoln gang to be in.”

That defamation lawsuit against Sidney Powell looks pretty solid.

“The PGA of America will strip Donald Trump of the 2022 PGA Championship, which is scheduled to be held at Trump National Bedminster golf club in New Jersey.” There’s similar action in Scotland, affecting Turnberry.

“When historians eventually tally the cost of the Donald Trump era, the manifold indecencies of which culminated in Wednesday’s sacking of the United States Capitol during a failed insurrection, golf will not be counted among its casualties. The game will instead be portrayed as Trump’s refuge, something he did while ignoring a pandemic that has claimed 365,000 lives, refusing to acknowledge a resounding electoral defeat, and inciting feeble-minded fascists to violence that left five people dead at the opposite end of Pennsylvania Avenue. That’s the best case scenario.”

“It is the main cause of our current crisis – and of the difficulty in solving it. Today’s Republican party is one where it is considered divisive to take decisive action against a faction that was trying to hunt down Democratic _and_ Republican politicians a few days ago.”

“Preferring such lies seems strange, given that they involve a massive evil conspiracy that includes nearly everyone at every level of government and in every institution. It’s an awful thing to imagine that the entire world is out to get you and that the situation is so dire that you’ve got to arm yourself and begin stockpiling food so you can flee to the woods as your only slim hope for survival. But it’s an even more awful thing to reach the point where you consider your whole life — your job, your family, your home, your church, your passions — as so entirely meaningless and unrewarding that you’d be better off as someone on the run from such a massive, evil conspiracy.”

RIP, Michael Apted, award-winning director of the 7 Up documentary series and much more.

RIP, Pat Loud, matriarch of the family featured in An American Family, the first TV reality series.

“Let it be known to the business world: Hire any of Trump’s fellow fabulists above, and Forbes will assume that everything your company or firm talks about is a lie. We’re going to scrutinize, double-check, investigate with the same skepticism we’d approach a Trump tweet. Want to ensure the world’s biggest business media brand approaches you as a potential funnel of disinformation? Then hire away.”

“Republican Attorneys General Association Encouraged Supporters To Attend Wednesday’s Action At The Capitol”.

“I’ve received several DMs from friends asking what do to about parents/family members who believe misinformation regarding the election, vaccines and COVID. Here’s a research-based thread to help explain the roots of these beliefs and how to (and how *not* to) address them.”

Losing his law license should be the first of a very long list of consequences for Rudy Giuliani.

Facial recognition technology is still a bad thing, even if right now it is being used against bad people.

“If you want to understand the real Deep State, the biggest thing you need to know is it’s institutional, impersonal, and operates on a national scale.”

Here’s one thing Parler was good for.

As far as I’m concerned, Elizabeth Smart has a lifetime pass to do most anything she wants.

RIP, Siegfried Fischbacher, the “Siegfried” part of Siegfried & Roy.

“I think it’s reflective of where Trump’s own status is these days in which he has relatively little to offer and people don’t want to be associated with him generally. The fact is he’s not going to get the A team.”

RIP, Joanne Rogers, pianist, humanitarian, and widow of Fred “Mr.” Rogers. You should read this LA Times profile of her, it’s terrific.

““Unity” begins with repentance, and Republicans should get started. Supporting Trump’s removal from office and instituting his permanent exile from American politics are the necessary first steps.”

RIP, Charlie Thomas, former owner of the Houston Rockets.

“Situation with new #sarscov2 variants is becoming harder to follow (and not just because of the names), so let me try and give a brief overview: Where are we at? What should we be worried about? And how worried?”

Weekend link dump for January 10

“Which Side Are You On?”

“Train your children to think of mass-death as good and thrilling and they’ll grow up to be the kind of people who simultaneously deny and celebrate a global pandemic.”

“There is no reason, frankly, for any of the PAYGO rules to still exist.”

“We resolve to double down on measures to protect ourselves, our families, and our community so we may endure the current surge of COVID-19 cases. We all can do our part by covering our faces anytime we are with anyone outside our immediate household, by maintaining at least 6 feet of physical distance, following hand hygiene and environmental control measures, and by not going to work or school when feeling unwell. Masking, including while indoors, is safe and more effective in preventing COVID-19 — including the coronavirus mutation first seen in England — than any other tool we have available today and clearly works to prevent transmission of the virus.”

“The price we paid for Rutherford B. Hayes was too damn high.”

RIP, Tanya Roberts, actor best known for Charlie’s Angels and That 70’s Show. It was then reported that she was still alive, and then reported later than she had in fact passed away.

Solicitation to commit election fraud is a felony under both federal and Georgia law. Donald Trump and everyone else in the room with him should be prosecuted for it. And given how many times he tried to call Brad Raffensperger, there are surely more such calls out there that we don’t yet know about.

And no, recording the call was not in any way wrong or criminal.

“Ordinary people worn out by the dramas and lies of the past four years have a right to refuse to take Trump’s most enthusiastic supporters seriously. To reject further debate with people whose views are completely incoherent is not only understandable, but sensible.”

How to save the Postal Service, and let it thrive.

My kids never knew about the PBS Kids show Caillou, and it seems that makes me lucky.

If you’ve been saying to yourself “What I need in my life right now is a life-like replica of David Hasselhoff that is fourteen feet tall“, boy is today a good day for you.

“WTF Is Going On In The Georgia US Attorney’s Office? And how can Donald Trump make it worse?”

“In October 2020, KrebsOnSecurity looked at how a web of sites connected to conspiracy theory movements QAnon and 8chan were being kept online by DDoS-Guard, a dodgy Russian firm that also hosts the official site for the terrorist group Hamas. New research shows DDoS-Guard relies on data centers provided by a U.S.-based publicly traded company, which experts say could be exposed to civil and criminal liabilities as a result of DDoS-Guard’s business with Hamas.”

The mot pirated TV program of 2020 is The Mandalorian.

“Certainly a basic problem here is that Capitol Police, under the jurisdiction of Congress, were not prepared for yesterday’s attack. But when we ask what happened yesterday, a significant part of the equation is that the various agencies charged with handling such situations – federal marshals, DHS, FBI, DOJ, National Guard, et al – were under the control of the person who was trying to whip the crowd against Congress.”

Go look up the word “superfetation”, then come back and read this story. Pretty damn amazing.

Help the FBI identify and find the insurrectionists. Some of them are already facing consequences, but so much more is needed.

RIP, Tommy Lasorda, Hall of Fame manager for the LA Dodgers.

“They bankrolled Donald Trump. They applauded his tax cuts. They cheered as the stock market soared. Now, the sound coming from some of the president’s wealthiest donors is this: silence.”

“A voting machine company sued former Trump campaign lawyer Sidney Powell on Friday, accusing her of spreading false conspiracy theories about November’s election that Republican President Donald Trump lost to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden.” They’re seeking $1.3 billion in damages.

One last goodbye to Alex Trebek.

It’s taken them way too long, but finally the far right insurrectionists are getting deplatformed.

“If you are a rank-and-file Republican, the kind of person who listens to your party’s elected officials and friendly media outlets, you have been marinating in anti-democratic beliefs for years: that Democrats are fundamentally hostile to the American way of life, that people telling you otherwise cannot be trusted, that you have an obligation to fight against tyranny on your own.”

RIP, Theodore Lumpkin, Jr, Tuskegee Airman.

All right, fine Sean Hannity did not have his Lifetime Pasta Pass revoked.

“Career officials at the State Department filed a second unprecedented dissent cable condemning President Donald Trump for inciting the violent mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 and urging top administration officials to consider invoking the 25th Amendment to remove him from office. The dissent cable is the second such cable sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo this week, reflecting widespread shock and anger in the diplomatic corps at Trump’s actions and Pompeo’s own response to the political crisis. The protest against the sitting U.S. president by American diplomats is largely unparalleled in the department’s nearly 232-year-long history.”

“One thought I keep returning to: if there were a functioning federal government we’d be seeing regular press conferences updating the public on on-going arrests, health status of the injured, progress of the investigation. As far as I can tell there hasn’t been a single one. Nothing from DOJ, FBI, Capitol Police, the Pentagon. Normally you might expect such information to be channeled through press conferences at the White House. But, not to put too fine a point on it, it’s not clear or perhaps too clear which side the White House is on.”

Weekend link dump for January 3

Welcome to 2021. It’s got to be better, right?

Here’s your Jon Swift Memorial Roundup for 2020.

“JPS Health Network is experiencing something of a quarantine baby boom, seeing as many as three times the number of babies born in a shift as are expected on an average day.”

“Common holiday cookie shapes, he’s found, don’t typically fit together very neatly. Bulbous Santas, candy canes, and gingerbread men tend to leave lots of dough scraps behind. In his quest for a festive yet efficient cookie cutter, he’s designed a shape that can punch out neat ranks of cookies with minimal leftover dough.”

“The big picture lesson from 2020 is that ensuring an accurate result isn’t enough. Elections also have to be able to prove to a skeptical public that the result really was accurate.”

“Operation Warp Speed is set to miss the first distribution goal it laid out, Trump administration officials said last week”.

“Almost everyone agrees that the ATF is in trouble. But this obscure federal agency may be President-elect Joe Biden’s best chance at having a real impact on gun policy—if he takes the opportunity to restore the beleaguered agency’s reputation and revive its mission.”

“The end of the year is usually a good time for retrospection and one of our favorite traditions: digging into the archives and recognizing the best cybersecurity stories of the year. Stories so good, we wish we had written them ourselves.”

Reality TV Couple Check In: Who’s Still Together and Who Split in 2020″.

“Amongst other things that we are worried about — the big things, the things that actually matter — when I think what we do for a living going forward, I start worry about just the future of entertainment because I don’t know what it looks like. It’s hard to imagine being in a writers room, it’s hard to imagine being on a set, how do you shoot a scene with 200 extras ever, how do you go on location in someone’s house, who in their right mind will let us into their house to shoot a scene. It seems so crazy to imagine going back to the old ways that we did this. We will figure something out because we always do. Hollywood has a knack for ingenuity, and there is a long way to go with the other, more important issues before we get to that point but I’m very nervous to figure out how this works after this is all over.”

Apparently, there was a bucatini shortage this year. I should pay closer attention to these things.

Predicting the future is hard.

“Kelly Loeffler’s Conflict of Interest Is Even Worse Than Reported”.

RIP, Pierre Cardin, fashion designer and entrepreneur.

RIP, Luke Letlow, incoming freshman Congressman from Louisiana, from complications related to COVID-19.

Beam me up, Scotty.

“There is a likely future in which America’s immune system learns lessons from COVID-19 but its collective consciousness does not.”

RIP, Dawn Wells, actor best known as Mary Ann on Gilligan’s Island, of causes related to COVID-19.

RIP, Joe Clark, high school principal on whom the movie Lean on Me was based.

“As Statues Of America’s Racist Past Were Removed This Year, So Were Tattoos“.

Apparently, the guy who invented the CueCat is now one of Rudy Giuliani’s “election experts”, now making crazy claims about the Georgia Senate runoffs.

RIP, Paul Westphal, Hall of Fame player and coach mostly with the Phoenix Suns.

Weekend link dump for December 27

“When Usually Solitary Octopuses Get Together, Odd Things Happen”.

“Atlantic City Is Offering Bidders The Chance To Blow Up A Former Trump Casino”.

“What If There’s a COVID-22? How Should We Handle It?”

You’re not helping, guys. Not helping at all.

“That means don’t book liars, don’t show fighting for the sake of fighting.”

“So, one has to ask: What were the worst things to lie about in 2020, and who among those who told those lies had the most responsibility to do better? The first part is easy. Lies about subjects of national importance, such as the election and COVID, rise, like pond scum, to the top. The second part of the question takes you to people who, at least in theory, have more power at their disposal than your run-of-the-mill Proud Boy-adjacent meme-maker. Therefore, in the spirit of holiday cheer and the impending joy that will come in slamming the door shut on 2020, and to memorialize this remarkable age of outrageous, magical, and maniacal thinking, here are my offerings for the year’s worst takes from politicians and other political figures aside from Trump himself.”

“A pluralistic society needs to insure that people of faith, as well as those without any faith, have a role in the public square. But the defiance of the church during the pandemic has come with a cost. The pandemic in 2020 has held a mirror to Christianity, just as the epidemics of antiquity did, but today’s reflection carries the potential to repulse rather than attract.”

“Five Tips for How to Actually Change an Anti-Masker’s Mind, According to Experts”.

Leave Fairytale of New York alone!

More than you ever wanted to know about various jokes on The Simpsons.

RIP, Francesca Kaczynski, also known as Bean, Beanie or Beans. Cancer truly, truly sucks.

RIP, KC Jones, Hall of Fame player and coach for the Boston Celtics.

RIP, Phil Niekro, Hall of Fame pitcher known for his knuckleball.

Weekend link dump for December 20

Face shields aren’t quite enough to fully protect you from COVID.

Two words: COVID penis. Make sure you get that vaccine when it’s available for you, OK?

“I get it. It’s a pandemic. If ever there was a time to give up, this is it. Don’t be pressured into half-assing your holiday lights. If you’re fortunate enough to be housed — in suburban Disneyland or anywhere else — you have done enough this year. I’d rather you give up before you murder the inflatable elves every morning or deaden your soul with projector lights at night.”

“U.S. government agencies were hit by a “global intrusion campaign” of cyber-attacks that exploited a flaw in the update of a software company, cyber-security firm FireEye said, which the Washington Post reported was a breach by Russian government hackers.”

RIP, John le Carré, master British spy novelist.

“Shortly before six o’clock Eastern Time, in Sacramento, California, fifty-five Democratic members of the Electoral College cast their votes for Biden, raising him above the threshold of two hundred and seventy. The 2020 election result was now official, pending only the formality of a ratification by the U.S. Congress, on January 6th.”

RIP, Ann Reinking, Tony Award-winning actor, dancer, and choreographer.

RIP, Ann Criswell, longtime food editor, writer, and evangelist in Houston.

How much Star Wars is too much Star Wars?

Lots of info about that SolarWinds hack.

“Let’s Talk About Simulated Sex: Intimacy Coordinators Two Years On”.

RIP, Catie Lazarus, writer, comedian, and creator of the talk show/podcast “Employee of the Month”.

“The City of Detroit wants attorney Sidney Powell to pay—literally—for her reality-adjacent dog and pony legal challenge to Michigan’s election results.”

“Trump failed to steal the election because he and his legal team are incompetent criminals, not because our democratic institutions defeated him. Saying that our democracy proved resilient against Republican attempts at subversion is like saying the fences at Jurassic Park proved resilient against raptors.”

Joe Biden should use every legitimate power at his disposal as President to do everything at once. No sequencing or playing for buy-in. You win an election. You gain certain legitimate powers. You use them. Period. Should Biden be open to bipartisan compromise? Absolutely. The door should be open. But it would be a grave mistake to spend any time coaxing anyone to come through it. We’ve played that game enough. Biden should always be willing to talk but not to delay.”

“How fingerprint and firearm experts use misleading math to appear infallible.”

RIP, Jeremy Bulloch, actor and the original Boba Fett.

One of the more interesting election maps you’ll see.

“This means that the set of potential victims is not just (just!) the 18,000 SolarWinds customers who may have downloaded the compromised updates, but also all of those 18,000 organizations’ customers, and potentially the clients of those second-order organizations as well—and so on. So when I say the SolarWinds cyberespionage campaign will last years, I don’t just mean, as I usually do, that figuring out liability and settling costs and carrying out investigations will take years (though that is certainly true here). The actual, active theft of information from protected networks due to this breach will last years.”

RIP, Bear Dalton, wine expert, Rodeo fixture, general mensch and man about town.

Weekend link dump for December 13

An oral history of the demise of the Southwest Conference, 25 years later. I was there for that Rice-UH game, with the MOB as always. In fact, it’s one of the rare times when I wasn’t playing in the band but doing something else. The halftime show was basically a funeral, and I was tapped to be in the casket that was brought out onto the field as part of the show. I was dressed in a Brunhilde costume, and at the designated moment I emerged from the casket to portray “the fat lady singing”, thus signifying the end. (I had a stunt double who did the actual singing, into an off-stage microphone. I was just there for the visual.) Anyway, it’s a good trip down memory lane.

“Thawing permafrost is releasing microorganisms, with consequences that are still largely unknown”.

“If you want to see a close-knit cabal of self-styled experts picking our economy’s winners and losers by subsidizing their favorite unprofitable firms, which then drive more efficient competitors out of business by selling products at a loss — all while substituting their judgement for the judgments of millions of investors, making decisions without proper vetting, embracing fads, spending promiscuously, ignoring warnings from impartial experts, and handing economic power to charismatic liars — don’t look to Washington, D.C., in the age of Obama, but to Silicon Valley in the age of Adam Neumann. Or, more simply, to see how privatized central planning works, consider WeWork.”

“AI has cracked a problem that stumped biologists for 50 years. It’s a huge deal.”

“At almost every step of this pandemic, we have failed magnificently as a country. And in ways that we just really didn’t need to fail.”

“The crisis threatening the republic goes far deeper than bad acting lawyers. But a central threat to our public institutions is the lack of stigma which attaches to sowing public distrust in the electoral system or even trying to throw out or alter the results of election results you don’t like. We are all glad these efforts aren’t making much progress for this election. But the very attempt is an assault on our public institutions and our republic. For a democracy, willfully sowing doubt about integrity of an election is the equivalent of yelling fire in a crowded theater.”

“The only thing Biden will have real control over is his administration and what it does. And his North Star, his organizing principle, should be doing as much good on as many fronts as fast as possible. Blitz.”

Dionne Warwick is your new queen of Twitter.

“But I know a little something about Grover Cleveland. And Donald Trump, you’re no Grover Cleveland.”

“Magic Castle, the exclusive club for magicians in Los Angeles, is facing accusations of sexual assault, harassment, discrimination and racism leveled against its management, members and performers.”

RIP, Chuck Yeager, US Air Force officer and test pilot who first broke the sound barrier.

RIP, Dick Allen, MLB great who played for the Phillies and White Sox and belongs in the Hall of Fame.

RIP, Fred Akers, former UT football coach who succeeded Darrell Royal.

“The battle against pathogens reshaped the inner working of buildings, too. Take that familiar annoyance for New Yorkers: the clanky radiator that overheats apartments even on the coldest days of the year. It turns out that the prodigious output of steam-heated buildings is the direct result of theories of infection control that were enlisted in the battle against the great global pandemic of 1918 and 1919.”

RIP, Ray Perkins, former coach of the NY Giants and the University of Alabama.

RIP, Karl Kilian, owner of the Brazos Bookstore and co-founder of the Inprint literary non-profit.

“Over 80% of [restaurant] workers (83%) report that their tips have declined during COVID-19. This decline is severe: nearly two thirds (66%) report that their tips have declined by at least 50%.”

RIP, Deb Price, first nationally syndicated lesbian newspaper columnist. IIRC, her column ran in the Houston Post.

RIP, Sigmund Jucker, Holocaust survivor and co-founder of the iconic Three Brothers Bakery in Houston.

RIP, Charley Pride, first Black member of the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Congratulations, you can still make the Elf table read to support Georgia Democrats in the Senate runoff.

Weekend link dump for December 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Maria Jimenez, longtime Houston civil rights activist.

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

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

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

Where’s the outrage?

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Diego Maradona, Argentine soccer legend.

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Be careful about allowing site notifications.

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

Some advice for handling the 2020 holiday season.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 15

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

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

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

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

The law is coming.

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

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

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

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

Election Precedent 2020.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Lucille Bridges, American hero.

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

Weekend link dump for November 8

Assessing the COVID-19 risk on airplanes.

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

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

What are the odds?

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

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

“Should you recycle your disposable mask?”

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

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

This woman is a hero.

RIP, Geoffrey Palmer, versatile British actor.

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

Weekend link dump for November 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How all day voting went in Harris County.

Weekend link dump for October 25

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

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

Scalzi on living in Trump Country, four years later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Susan Collins is very disappointed with this story.

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Shelley Buschur, Houston art car artist.

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

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

Weekend link dump for October 18

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

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

Some giant shark news to brighten your day.

Please enjoy this lovely profile of Mandy Patinkin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How to improve a billboard.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for October 11

Kimberly Guilfoyle sure sounds like a boss from hell.

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

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

Doug Emhoff is a mensch.

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

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

Go for it, Dolly.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Eddie Van Halen, guitar god.

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for October 4

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for September 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for September 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy 100th birthday, Roger Angell!

Weekend link dump for September 13

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

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

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

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

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

Jeopardy! welcomes Ken Jennings back into the fold.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Tony Vallone, longtime Houston restauranteur.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for September 6

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Men’s “wellness” is a scam, too.

Leave Lily alone!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seriously, what planet is Ted Cruz from?

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

Weekend link dump for August 30

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

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

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

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

Platform, schmatform. Long live the king!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for August 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Do better, Alamo Drafthouse. Come on!

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

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

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

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

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

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