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Texas blog roundup for the week of January 14

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with federal workers and contractors and their families as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for January 13

“This island was on the brink of disaster. Then, they planted thousands of trees.”

“It seems strange that spending money to convince people to vote is protected as free speech, while voting itself is not. In fact, though, this reasoning is in line with the way free speech is discussed in the public sphere.”

“The 10 new Democratic House committee chairs who are about to make Trump’s life hell”.

RIP, Dr. Waun Ki Hong, trailblazing doctor and researcher at Houston’s MD Anderson Cancer Center.

“In short, there is no such thing as parity in college athletics.”

I don’t endorse the idea of using fake social media accounts as a political tactic, even against a monster like Roy Moore. But at least if such things are equal-opportunity destroyers, then perhaps the odds of getting a decent regulatory solution improve.

The remarkable and uncanny political career of Jerry Brown.

“Buying heavily discounted, popular software from second-hand sources online has always been something of an iffy security proposition. But purchasing steeply discounted licenses for cloud-based subscription products like recent versions of Microsoft Office can be an extremely risky transaction, mainly because you may not have full control over who has access to your data.”

The town of Marfa gets the Simpsons treatment.

When are R. Kelly and Bryan Singer – and the people who have enabled them – going to be held accountable for their actions?

The “Gameday” model for campaign coverage needs to change.

“Paul Manafort shared 2016 presidential campaign polling data with Konstantin Kilimnik, an associate the FBI has said has ties to Russian intelligence, according to a court filing.” I’m sure there’s an innocent explanation for that.

RIP, Howell Begle, attorney who worked to get royalty payments to R&B musicians who’d been screwed by the recording industry.

I love stories like this. Just read and enjoy.

RIP, Ron Mock, controversial death penalty lawyer.

Presidenting is hard. Also, Donald Trump is really bad at it.

“A gambling site is paying out thousands of dollars to people who correctly bet that President Donald Trump would tell more than 3.5 lies in his Oval Office address on Tuesday.”

RIP, Bernice “Bunny” Sandler, the “godmother of Title IX”.

“Here’s our mega-giant list of sci-fi, fantasy, and superhero shows we’re most looking forward to, with the standard caveat that any and all air dates are subject to change.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 7

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy and healthy new year as it brings you the first roundup of 2019.

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Weekend link dump for January 6

“The U.S. national parks are using the growing popularity of astrotourism to protect the night sky from light pollution.”

Happy 45th birthday to the Endangered Species Act. We need it now more than ever.

“Trump’s approval rating is, remember, unusually low considering the economy.”

The unsolved political micro-mysteries of 2018.

Let’s make “exvangelical” a common word.

The Mark Burnett connection to Donald Trump.

“I’m not foolish enough to predict when Mueller will close his case, but I’m brave enough to venture that Trump’s troubles are only now beginning.”

“I didn’t think much could stun me. But then the Miami Herald published Julie Brown’s exposé of how prosecutors cozily negotiated with Jeffrey Epstein’s defense team to minimize his punishment for raping and trafficking underage girls—and presiding over a sex ring of sorts that he allegedly shared with powerful friends—and my depleted capacity for shock was refreshed.”

“The frequency and the audacity of Trump’s disinformation is the *whole point* of it — to wear you down. More and more of the lies slip past, undetected and uncorrected.”

“When 2018 began, the president had made 1,989 false and misleading claims, according to The Fact Checker’s database, which tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. By the end of the year, Trump had accumulated more than 7,600 untruths during his presidency — averaging more than 15 erroneous claims a day during 2018, almost triple the rate from the year before.”

An entomology professor who really likes Game of Thrones has named a new species of beetle after Daenarys’ dragons.

RIP, Don Lusk, animator and director who worked on Disney classics like Fantasia and Pinocchio.

RIP, Sister Wendy Beckett, Roman Catholic nun who starred in multiple BBC documentaries.

This is what censorship looks like.

RIP, Tyler Trent, Purdue fan and inspiration to many. Also, fuck cancer.

It’s too late to vote for the 2018 Worthy Awards, but you owe it to yourself to review the nominees.

“As of Jan. 1, you are able reproduce the Robert Frost poem Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening without fear of copyright infringement.”

RIP, Bob Einstein, Emmy-winning actor from Curb Your Enthusiasm and the creator of the Super Dave Osborne character.

RIP, Daryl Dragon, the Captain half of The Captain and Tennille.

RIP, Al Reinert, Houston Chronicle reporter and co-writer of the film Apollo 13.

RIP, Herb Kelleher, co-founder of Southwest Airlines.

Good effing riddance to the outgoing Congress.

Weekend link dump for December 30

“But nothing was more telling about this majority than the way it dismissed the issue it rode in on as soon as Trump replaced Obama. So before House Republicans come apologizing again for their past mistakes and begging for another chance, it’s important to emphasize right now: Republican have not, do not, and will not care about deficit reduction except as a rhetorical ploy for stymieing a Democratic government.”

“Don’t go putting the Carlton Dance in your games without respecting Carlton.”

Churches are easy targets for financial crimes because their finances are allowed to be completely opaque.

“Future-proofing” is how you say “climate change” if you’re a Texas Republican.

TV stars we said goodbye to in 2018.

“[Paul] Ryan’s entire thinking about the subject of poverty is shaped by his deep commitment to a fundamentally false premise: the notion that anti-poverty programs have failed.”

The year 536 was a very bad time to be alive.

RIP, Audrey Geisel, film producer and widow of Theodore “Dr. Seuss” Geisel.

“I also get bombarded with direct messages from men who want to sleep with me but those are usually sprinkled with DMs from men who think I’m a degenerate who deserves to be dead. Sometimes I get both from the same guy.”

“The New York Times reviewed hundreds of documents including police reports, bank records and investigator notes from a decade of mass shootings. Many of the killers built their stockpiles of high-powered weapons with the convenience of credit. No one was watching.”

The worst political predictions of 2018. That could easily be a much longer list.

RIP, Richard Overton, nation’s oldest WWII veteran.

“At first blush, this impasse over what divides a wall from a fence might look frivolous. But the semantic controversy is rooted in a substantive one. Simply put, the reason Congress can’t agree on what Trump’s wall is is that Trump can’t (honestly) say what it’s for.”

“In our view, that action clearly constituted a criminal attempt by the president to obstruct justice, one that is even more clear-cut than the president’s prior attempts to thwart the federal investigation into Russia’s 2016 election interference.”

Here are your Golden Dukes winners for 2018.

How the conversation about guns changed in 2018.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 24

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone the happiest of holidays as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for December 23

“The focus on the technology behind fake media obscures more pressing questions about the psychology and sociology of viral false narratives.”

“I hate the fact that I believe this, but I do, in fact, believe pretty strongly that conservatives on the Supreme Court will never strike down even the most egregious gerrymanders unless Democrats prove that they can play the game too. So let’s play.”

“The rise of politicians like El-Sayed, Omar, and Tlaib also undermines a core argument advanced by dictators in the Middle East: that their people are not ready for democracy.”

“One place we can look to gauge the extent of the capitalist class’s triumph in the state is the tax code. While government programs in the US are commonly viewed as the province of the poor, the US tax code is actually riddled with giveaways to the rich. In 2014, the average household in the top 0.1 percent — people with more than $100 million in assets — received more in tax breaks than the average household in the bottom 50 percent.”

You want to understand the Les Moonves story and the unbelievably awful working environment at CBS, read this.

“A John Waters Christmas is exactly what it says on the label. You would not want this to be the only Christmas album that you own, but it will certainly be very much more what it is than any of the others.”

The biggest tech lies of 2018.

Not everyone missed the story of rising rightwing violence in America.

Santa’s attorney tells all.

Among other things, the Mueller probe is turning a profit for the federal government.

Celebrating local journalism in all fifty states.

“Race, not abortion, was the founding issue of the religious right”.

RIP, Colin Kroll, co-founder of HQ Trivia and Vine.

RIP, Penny Marshall, actor and director known for many things, from Laverne and Shirley to A League Of Their Own and much more.

By the way, here’s the story of the iconic script “L” on all of Laverne’s outfits.

“Pause on that for a moment. An American presidential campaign indicated to the Kremlin it would happily conspire with the Russians on secret dirty tricks.”

“There’s really nothing more you need for the quid pro quo. Putin was dangling hundreds of millions of dollars in front of Trump, in addition to operating on numerous fronts to make Trump President.”

“Here’s the thing. If the Justice Department takes the position that Michael Cohen should go to jail, that these allegations are so serious that he should go to jail for these campaign fraud allegations, what is the argument against jail for the individual who coordinated and directed that scheme?”

“Think of all the Trumps this foundation helped. Donald, Donald Jr., a business associate of Trump’s, a Trump-affiliated fountain, a tower, Pam Bondi. Think of all the millions who benefited from these actions — millions, that is, of dollars that Donald Trump did not have to spend and were able to stay happily united with their friends in his investment vehicles, or wherever it is that we think they are, not having seen his tax returns.”

It was a good year for horror on television.

From young guns to has beens in less than a decade.

“Here’s a complete rundown of the various known investigations targeting Trump’s world from local, state, and federal prosecutors”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 17

The Texas Progressive Alliance is busy decorating for Mueller-mas as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for December 16

“These power grabs highlight one of the most disturbing facts about American politics today: The Republican Party has become institutionally indifferent to the health of democracy. It prioritizes power over principle to such an extreme degree that it undermines the most basic functioning of democracy.”

“So why are Wall Street and some economists suddenly worried about a recession?”

“It’s an animal that has another animal stuck up its nose.”

“A good way to think about taxidermy is to imagine you’re God.”

“The rapidity with which Bitcoin prices are falling give some hope that the entire disastrous episode will soon be over. If the current rate of decline (50 per cent per month) is maintained, Bitcoins will be worth less than dollar coins in a year’s time, and their impact on electricity demand will be negligible. That’s equivalent to taking a small country like New Zealand off-grid.”

“In perfectly Trumpian fashion, Ayers appears to have stiffed his boss in a richly humiliating way so that he could cash in big time on his name and political movement.”

New frontiers in lying, from Donald Trump.

“This is not a case of possible collusion. This is sweeping, multi-layered, high level conspiracy led by Vladimir Putin and the Russian intelligence community and involving the active cooperation and complicity of a man who was a candidate for president and then president
…as well as his entire team. This is the biggest scandal in the history of the American presidency and there is not another that is close to it. But that is not all we know.”

What’s the deal with the Deal or No Deal models?

This is easily the best longform story about cruising with cryptocurrency I’ve ever read.

RIP, Evelyn Berezin, computer pioneer and inventor of the first word processor.

RIP, Rosanell Eaton, longtime civil rights and voting rights advocate.

A Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me TV series is in the works.

“JUST IN TIME for Christmas, Preservation Houston has begun marketing a new type of Astrodome memorabilia: 4-in. beverage-coaster-sized squares of AstroTurf removed from the stripped-down stadium — along with loads of other major league hardware — in October 2013.”

What do you suppose the National Enquirer knows about Donald Trump?

RIP, Sondra Locke, Oscar-nominated actress and former partner of Clint Eastwood.

RIP, Nancy Wilson, Grammy-winning jazz singer, actress, and civil rights activist.

This story about the friendship between Charles Barkley and a gentleman named Lin Wang is the best thing you will read today.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 10

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows the value of cooperation as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for December 9

“The trade war between the U.S. and China is obscuring a key fact: economic growth for both countries will be significantly slower than in the past, for the simple reason that their populations are aging rapidly.”

You should have the right to keep your Alexa silent.

“Searching for the Mendoza Line of on-base percentage”.

“Remembering when is an irresistible tug and drug on The Sopranos, its characters as mired in the monochrome past and the thickets of family lore as the residents of William Faulkner’s fabled Yoknapatawpha County. What Chase and his writers grasped is that the nostalgia of Tony and company isn’t a soft cotton-candied wistfulness of the way things were. There’s a hard edge to it, an anger simmering beneath, a bitter entitlement looking for an excuse to lash out. It’s the gripes of wrath.”

About that Marriott data breach…

Don’t be like Mike Pence. Mike Pence is not a good role model.

“Understanding the psychological barriers to using public and active transportation”.

What kind of vote fraud do Republicans not want to talk about at all? The kind committed by Republicans, of course. Which is also the kind that is completely unaffected by the various voter ID schemes Republicans have been insisting we need to combat vote fraud. Just, you know, not this kind of vote fraud.

“But the United States has an unusually long lame duck period — about two months at the federal level, and a similar amount of time in most states. And it still has this lengthy interregnum for no good reason. In the horse and buggy days, when it might have taken weeks for a new member of Congress to travel to the capitol, there was a logic to keeping outgoing lawmakers in place if an emergency should arise. […] But now we live in an era of interstate highways, airplanes, and smart phones. Barring an emergency, there’s no reason why a new lawmaker cannot travel from their home to the capitol in mere hours.”

“No one is really bothering to hide the purpose of this lame duck legislation: to continue the Republicans’ hold on state government, even at the expense of core democratic principles like respect for the separation of powers and majority rule.”

“It is clearly partisan, and it’s motivated by results of the election. It’s a sore loser session. None of these bills were introduced before the election. They didn’t consider them during regular session. There’s no way the GOP would have come back in to limit the power of the governor of their own party.”

“Good to know that when the speaker of the House pours kerosene on conspiracy theories, he’s not rooting for the republic to burn down.”

“It’s Almost Impossible to Be a Mom in Television News”.

The Golden Dukes are coming.

“The one and only decent idea to emanate from the Trump White House — a bill that proposes reforms to the nation’s archaic criminal justice system — is about to die in Congress’ lame-duck session because of one man: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky).”

“Instead, we should stop bringing candidates with questionable track records on race before the full Senate for a vote.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 3

You – yes, you – are Individual One in the hearts of the Texas Progressive Alliance and this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for December 2

“How to Shop Online Like a Security Pro”.

“And here, too, is a story of Christian outlaws springing into action to protect a human and that human’s rights from unjust thugs with no regard for that person’s humanity or rights”.

RIP, Dr. Olivia J. Hooker, first black woman to join the U.S. Coast Guard, professor at Fordham University, and the last known survivor of the Tulsa Race Riots of 1921.

“The people who knocked on doors and texted voters and drove people to the polls leading up to the midterms may be wondering what’s to be done between now and the 2020 election. The answer is simple: protect the courts.”

“So people who go around claiming that diversity decreases trust, as if this is some sort of established scientific fact, are badly mistaken. There’s plenty of evidence pointing in the other direction.”

An interview with the mysterious new artist of the Nancy comic. Also: Sluggo is lit.

“Why the hell won’t the President of the United States agree to an interview with federal law enforcement?”

RIP, Ricky Jay, master magician and actor.

“Advances in forensic science and robotics may help law enforcement analyze some of the country’s 225,000 unprocessed rape kits”.

RIP, Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Yes, please do repeal the Hyde Amendment.

Everything you wanted to know about the most successful college basketball program in Canada but were afraid to ask.

“Rail fans, rejoice. Federal rules no longer bar U.S. passenger rail systems from using modern, lightweight train cars.”

Don’t let liars lie about climate change on TV. Really, letting liars onto your TV news show to lie about anything is a bad idea, but in this case the lies are especially egregious.

There’s more to the story of that “best burger in America” place that went out of business following that story.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance spent the weekend raking forest floors, but still had the time to put together this roundup for you.

Off the Kuff analyzed Beto O’Rourke’s performance in Harris County.

SocraticGadfly takes note that Thanksgiving Day was Nov. 22 this year, and reminisces about a previous Thanksgiving-anniversary visit to Dealey Plaza and all things Kennedy and Camelot.

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Lisa Gray pens a pre-obituary for Houston icon Ray Hill.

Jeff Balke identifies five social media trends we didn’t see coming.

Juanita catches up on the border troop surge.

Bryce Hannibal wants us to be more mindful of food waste.

Mean Green Cougar Red offers his post-election thoughts.

Weekend link dump for November 25

“If there was one main negative takeaway from the raging fires of food tourist culture and the lists fanning the flames, it was that the people crowding the restaurant were one time customers. They were there to check off a thing on a list, and put it on Instagram. They weren’t invested in the restaurant’s success, but instead in having a public facing opinion of a well known place. In other words, they had nothing to lose except money and the restaurant had nothing to gain except money, and that made the entire situation feel both precarious and a little gross.”

“Here is George Washington (with bow and arrow) pictured alongside the Goddess of America.”

“The big city paradox: They’re getting richer but losing electoral clout”.

A long read on Larry Nassar and how he got away with his crimes for so many years.

Remembering the Jonestown massacre, 40 years later.

We have brined turkeys in the past and I’ve liked them that way, but we have not done that in recent years.

Everything you ever wanted to know about Finnish forest fires but were afraid to ask.

For crying out loud, get your children their flu shots.

Yeah, the movies based on the Percy Jackson books were terrible, and that was a shame.

“Democratic candidates for the House will receive almost as many votes this year as the 63 million that President Trump received in 2016″.

“It’s better to show toxic masculinity or annoying YouTubers, because that sounds like what hell really is.”

What happens when an asteroid crashes into the polar ice?

“The traditional news media are thoroughly infected by the Trump virus. It is not only spreading the disease of the president’s lies, but also suffering from a demise in public trust—at least among one half of the electorate.”

RIP, Marcelite Jordan Harris, Houston native and the first African-American woman to serve as a major general in the U.S. military.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 19

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy Thanksgiving as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for November 18

Why the House seats the Dems won this year may be more durable than the ones they won in 2006 and 2008, while the Senate remains a challenge.

The Satanic Temple is not messing around in its lawsuit against Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.

It’s MythBusters, but with kids. Really smart kids.

“There’s a better solution, which involves bringing America into line with other mature democracies, where national legislatures naturally conform to a clear pattern: Their size is roughly the cube root of the country’s population. Denmark, for instance, has a population of 5.77 million. The cube root of that is 179, which happens to be the size of the Folketing, Denmark’s parliament.”

“After this year’s developments, Georgia or Florida or Texas Democrats are very unlikely to return to the old blue dog formula of running white statewide candidates who cling to the center or center-right on issues while expecting minority voters to play along in order to keep Republicans out of office.”

The Peanuts tradition of drinking root beers with Bill Mauldin on Veterans Day.

RIP, Douglas Rain, actor best known as the voice of HAL in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

Some Game of Thrones Christmas sweaters, for that extra bit of oomph at your office holiday party.

RIP, John Rogers, longtime president of Comic Con.

“Every medical professional practicing in the United States has seen enough gun violence firsthand to deeply understand the toll that this public health epidemic is taking on our children, families and entire communities.”

RIP, Stan Lee, iconic Marvel Comics dude. See here for about a million social media tributes, including many amazing photos.

Don’t disaappoint Alex Trebek. What has Alex Trebek ever done to you?

Also, don’t let your domain registrations lapse.

“Think of it is as the scientific equivalent of Indiana Jones swapping a golden idol for a bag of sand. After the redefinition, a kilogram will remain a kilogram, but its value will rest on far stranger foundations.”

“The truth is that most House Republicans will feel more comfortable in the next Congress because they will never be strong-armed to vote for federal spending on anything. They won’t have to decide how to divvy up money within our federal agencies and departments. They can just go back to opposing everything the federal government does, and that’s what conservatism is really all about. That’s how it evolved and developed in the 20th Century, and they don’t know how to actually govern nor do they really want to govern.”

“Law schools make all sorts of deals with dubious people in the name of cash.”

“It’s worth pointing out that the map is still quite gerrymandered. But I think an underappreciated aspect of that is you had districts that elected incumbents that were good fits for the [Republican] coalition that existed — but no longer worked as well when the 2016 realignment happened.”

William Goldman, Oscar-winning screenwriter and novelist who authored The Princess Bride.

RIP, Roy Clark, country musician and host of TV’s Hee Haw.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 12

The Texas Progressive Alliance celebrates last week’s wins and looks to build on them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

Off the Kuff has some fun with the Harris County Republican Party and its ridiculous whining about straight ticket voting.

SocraticGadfly had a three-part election wrap. First, he looked at general hot takes, trends and issues from races. Second, he observed that conservative writers at centrist political mags were getting out the long knives for Beto, maybe in fear of a 2020 presidential run. Third, noting successful Democratic Socialist of America campaigns, he wondered if they would stay true to ideals once in office, and other issues, above all, the use of the word “socialist.”

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And here are some posts of interest from other Texas blogs.

Colin Strother makes the case for Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Therese Odell vents about the Saturday Night Live/Dan Crenshaw situation.

Sanford Nowlin reports on how progressives hope to build on 2018.

Paradise in Hell interprets the Presidential appointment-making process.

Grits for Breakfast looks at the 2018 results through a criminal justice reform lens.

Dan Gordon cuts through the anti-Semitic crap.

Weekend link dump for November 11

“Last year, a small group of researchers unveiled their plans to sequence the DNA of every species on Earth in the next 10 years. The daunting task, known as the Earth BioGenome Project, would actually only include eukaryotic species (so plants, animals, and fungi—no bacteria), but is still a mammoth undertaking that would require mapping the genomes of more than 1.5 million species. As of Thursday, they’ve officially begun.”

Remembering the Morris Worm, the world’s first cybersecurity incident.

“Here’s the story of a TV renovation we can’t wait to see: Six original stars of The Brady Bunch came together to help HGTV launch a new series that aims to fix up the real-life Brady Bunch house.”

RIP, Roy Hargrove, Grammy-winning jazz trumpet player and native of Texas.

Probably more than you wanted to know about how Carpool Karaoke is filmed and recorded.

At times like this, we can all use some pictures of kids and dogs in Ruth Bader Ginsburg costumes to help get us through the day.

Will of the people, schmill of the people, amiright?

“If Democrats really want to sting the president, they can invite him to deliver his State of the Union message in written form only.”

“I know this much: MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki is the GOAT of election night coverage.”

RIP, Wally Triplett, first African-American player drafted into the NFL to play in a regular-season game.

Somia El-Rowmeim is a damn good American. (Remember how in the early Dubya Bush days, Muslim Americans were seen as a rising demographic for the Republican Party? Funny how these things go.)

Things to watch over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 5

The Texas Progressive Alliance thanks everyone who worked to get out the vote in this election as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for November 4

“Not that this is an exhaustive list, but here are 30 simple shared truths I discovered at my 30th reunion of Harvard’s class of 1988.” Having just attended my own 30th reunion (not at Harvard), I endorse this list.

Electric cars are great, but we will need more than that to really fight climate change.

The case for making Congress bigger.

“Younger Americans are better than older Americans at telling factual news statements from opinions”.

“Why mention hias right now? Because its Jewish background (and centrality in the family history of many Jews in America) and its current work in trying to deal with this era’s tired, poor, and desperate were apparently part of the motive that led Saturday’s murderer to gun down people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

“The Soros stuff is just one of many manifestations of the the grand anti-Semitic trope (cosmopolitan Jews are destroying traditional nations) that pervades the alt-right and shades into the respectable right.”

If you’ve never read Eugene Patterson’s 1963 column about the Birmingham church bombing, you should.

“But Sears was also the nation’s highest-profile discriminator against women. The corporation should be remembered for its poor treatment of workers, its stubbornness when confronted with new sex equality laws, and how the practices it pioneered still shape the American workplace.”

“But here’s the thing: It isn’t true. Republicans are lying about their position on preexisting conditions, and voters have a right to know that.”

“Partisan politics aside, this whole meme involving a possible military response to refugees besieging the United States reminded me of something … and it finally hit me: It was pretty close to the central premise of The Camp of the Saints, Jean Raspail’s racist French novel of the 1970s”.

RIP, Herb Remington, steel guitarist for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and the inventor of the Remington Steel Guitar.

“The attorneys for one of the extremists found guilty of plotting in 2016 to bomb Somali immigrants in Kansas floated a novel defense in an effort to obtain a lighter sentence for their client: blame Donald Trump.”

A documentary about Prince is in the works.

“A Doctor Who Died In The Pittsburgh Shooting Is Being Remembered As A Hero To Patients At The Start Of The AIDS Crisis.”

RIP, Willie McCovey, Hall of Fame first baseman for the San Francisco Giants.

Possibly the most amazing XKCD comic ever.

“But to me, the most depressing aspect of this whole thing (now that I have sufficiently buried the lede for this post) is WHY they thought it would work.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 29

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone who has voted to work to get more people to the polls as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 28

“One of the central contradictions of capitalism is that what makes it work — competition — is also what capitalists want to get rid of the most.”

“Thing is, Trump may indeed be nuts; but his constant lying is perhaps the least nutty thing about him. His relentless dishonesty works.”

“All of which is to say that Scott Warren has a far stronger claim as to the sincerity of his religious beliefs than Hobby Lobby did.”

“Was Gary Hart Set Up?” Maybe. Read and see what you think.

One Hundred Websites that Shaped The Internet As We Know It.

RIP, Joachim Ronneberg, Norwegian resistance fighter who sabotaged Nazi Germany’s nuclear weapons ambitions during World War Two.

Hey, remember when Donald Trump claimed to be a champion of LGBT rights?

So many things to investigate, so much need to take the House majority back to do them.

“Why is a congressman from Iowa weighing in on local politics in another country? Because there’s an outright white nationalist running for mayor in Toronto, and wherever an explicit white nationalist is running for office — in the U.S., in Canada, in Austria or France — Steve King feels compelled to lend his support.”

“I will build the best sandcastle in the galaxy!”

“As usual, the correct response to all this is ‘poor Blake Bortles.'”

“Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.” What could possibly go wrong?

“Firstly, to Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a man whom I have never met but is apparently obsessed with me: Thank you so much for taking the ONE TIME I messed up at baseball and turning it into an incredibly long poem. What a wonderful use of your creative faculties. You seem like a very chill person.”

“An image on the explosive device sent to former CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday appears to be a parody of an ISIS flag taken from a meme that has been circulating on right-wing corners of the internet since 2014.”

Please don’t bring Grandma’s cremated ashes into Disney World.

A look at the last time the Red Sox and the team now known as the Dodgers played in the World Series.

RIP, Ovide Duncantell, founder of Houston’s Black Heritage Society and the nation’s first parade to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 22

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone to get out and vote as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 21

“The rules of being a conservative woman in politics require you to never consider yourself the victim of sexual assault. Victimhood, according to this principle, is a liberal complex.”

Yeah, there’s no way I’d trust Facebook to provide a secure home assistant gadget.

“Two weeks ago, Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm became the first all-female broadcast team to call an NFL game. It was a boundary-breaking moment, but also served as a reminder that few women ever get the chance to be the voice of a game.”

“About 90 million Americans believe aliens exist. Some 66 million of us think aliens landed at Roswell in 1948. These are the things you learn when there’s a lull in political news and pollsters get to ask whatever questions they want.”

“But of course the status quo isn’t apolitical. It’s both a consequence of and a condition for politics.”

“Rogue killers” are the 400-pound hackers in a basement of 2018.

“Archaeologists have discovered a Viking ship burial in Norway using ground-penetrating radar that suggests the 20-metre keel and many of its timbers remain well preserved just half a metre below the topsoil.”

RIP, Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder.

“How did misinformation spread during the 2016 presidential election and has anything changed since? A new study of more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 misinformation and conspiracy news outlets answers this question.”

“It makes me angry to think of altar boys who found in priests not an inspiring example of sacrificial dedication (as I did), but instead horrible betrayal and abuse. And it makes me angry that bishops and popes were not angrier when they heard about these abuses. These are men who celebrate the Mass every day. How could they fail to boil over with righteous anger at these evil priests who perverted their priesthood into its opposite?”

I don’t spend as much time on Fat Bear Week as I should.

“But, at its core, the lawsuit reflects the American conservative movement’s legal and political assault on people of color, which has been endorsed and abetted by President Trump. The Trump Administration has sought to limit voting rights, backing voter-suppression efforts; it has demonized immigrants; the President himself has repeatedly targeted prominent African-Americans for abuse. The Trump Administration is also supporting the Harvard lawsuit.”

How is it that National Pug Day isn’t an actual holiday?

Make Trump supporters’ personal data secure again!

“It’s a spectacularly remarkable story, both about Nicole and her father, and her entire family. For me, it’s another lesson in how not to judge a book by its cover.”

Carroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, is retiring after nearly 50 years on the job.

“If there’s a human being on the entire planet who’s earned the right to spout off about the need to crush the Republican leadership into Soylent Green and then distribute it in sacks to the poor, Hillary Clinton is it. After three decades of calmly putting up with an Augean stable’s worth of lies and attacks and assorted other forms of vicious bullshit, if she says it’s time to fight back, maybe we should listen.”

“Singer/actress Rihanna has reportedly turned down a chance to headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LIII because she supports former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has a collusion lawsuit against the National Football League.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of October 15

The Texas Progressive Alliance is ready for voting to begin as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for October 14

Yeah, maybe Kobe Bryant is not someone we should want to associate with.

Carbon Dioxide Is Shriveling Men’s Balls“. Just FYI.

Welcome to the table, Taylor. Better late than never.

Oh God, now we have to worry about our damn Google+ profiles.

I’m going to continue my policy of not knowing or caring who Banksy is, however.

“Mobs are usually violent. They break things, and they break people. The protests we’ve seen in recent weeks and months and years have certainly been emotional and angry, but they’ve been mostly peaceful. Many Democrats and liberals consider Trumpism to be a national emergency, but they haven’t gotten out of control — they’ve gotten louder. Sometimes they even nod vigorously.”

RIP, John Gagliardi, the winningest coach in college football history.

Yea verily, this is why the Internet was invented. Henceforth, this will be known as a reverse milkshake duck.

“What do we do with a company that regularly pumps metric tons of virtual toxic sludge onto the Internet and yet refuses to clean up their act? If ever there were a technology giant that deserved to be named and shamed for polluting the Web, it is Xiongmai — a Chinese maker of electronic parts that power a huge percentage of cheap digital video recorders (DVRs) and Internet-connected security cameras.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about pitchers hitting triples.

Some narwhal news, which I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

Dear Democrats: Mitch McConnell does not have your best interests at heart. Just FYI.

“Harriet Miers deserved the same opportunity to be a ruinously bad Supreme Court Justice as was given to Sam Alito. She deserved to be the same kind of illegitimate crony of the executive branch as we now are about to give to Brett Kavanaugh.”

RIP, Tex Winter, Hall of Fame basketball coach and architect of the Bulls’ triangle offense.

RIP, Dr. William Shearer, renowned immunologist who gained worldwide attention for his care of Houston’s famed Bubble Boy and also conducted important research to prevent and treat pediatric HIV/AIDS.

There is not the slightest pretense to impartial justice here, nor any concern for the fact that their perpetuating a nasty history of mistreating our Native American population.”

RIP, Jim Taylor, Hall of Fame fullback for Vince Lombardi’s Packers.

Weekend link dump for October 7

“The surest way to become a monster is to imagine you’re a hero”.

RIP, Elfquest, the long-running indie fantasy comic.

“Just as you would never give out personal information if asked to do so via email, never give out any information about yourself in response to an unsolicited phone call.”

“I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21 year old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. However … if he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences.”

“We have never had a Supreme Court nominee who ripped off the nonpartisan mask the way Kavanaugh did Thursday and identified himself as an enemy of a political party.”

What if I told you that “steroids” may not have been the primary cause of the home run surge of the so-called “steroid era” of baseball?

“So when Kennedy makes the case that we are living through a frightening period of democratic decline, he speaks with authority: at least in the United States, much of that decline is his fault.”

You would not have wanted to use Brett Kavanaugh’s bathroom at Yale.

Don’t click on that link about Ruby Rose. You’ll regret it.

Quelle Surprise.

Happy 60th birthday, Huckleberry Hound.

In these troubled times, I would hope that a story about an injured turtle being aided in its recovery by a wheelchair made out of LEGOs is something we can all rally around.

RIP, Peggy Sue Gerron, the inspiration for the Buddy Holly song.

Weekend link dump for September 30

New flash: George R.R. Martin takes his own sweet time when writing books.

“With scooters, cities have a fresh shot, and they don’t intend to waste it.”

“What’s surfacing in these comments is something that has, up until now, mostly been dodged, or left unspoken: that it has traditionally been accepted for men to sexually assault women, particularly at parties, particularly when they’re young. But the fact that this behavior has been tacitly understood as permissible does not mean that people—even while young, even while drunk at parties—have understood it to be O.K. It’s true that our earliest sexual experiences tend to be messy and confusing, and that this is, to some degree, inevitable and natural. It’s also true that, even in the Reagan era, and even to a sloppy and inexperienced teen-ager, preventing someone from screaming in fear during a sexual encounter is a stunningly clear and universally recognized sign that something is wrong.”

Yeah, I’ve never worn contact lenses, and I have no intention to start.

“Of the many forms of cruelty, that directed against those who are weak or powerless is one of the worst.”

“So, no, the teenaged Christine Blasey Ford would not have come forward to allege attempted rape in the early 1980s. It just wouldn’t have happened. And anyone who says otherwise is arguing in bad faith.”

And by the way, Ed Whelan has long been a jackass.

“A girl has a name, and so do at least 343 others. That’s how many newborn girls were named Arya in England last year, according to a BBC report that also tracks the rise in babies named Khaleesi (73) and Tyrion (11), among [others]”.

After disaster strikes, the relief scams are sure to follow.

“We are 65 witches who have been practicing magic for more than 35 years. We hail from every realm: Narnia, Eastwick, Salem, Sunnydale, Scotland, Hogwarts, The Woods. We are a diverse community, representing a bipartisan coven — good and evil, white and green-skinned. And today, we want to let everybody know that Dorothy Gale has never killed any of us with her house.”

“This underscores the point that many women who experience sexual assault or harassment don’t immediately go public with those experiences, for a variety of reasons. Instead, these stories often stay confined to the small group of people who witnessed it or were told about it at the time.”

“Now, it’s clear to me how powerless I felt throughout high school. The entire time I attended NCS, we had a male headmaster. We were a school for girls, which was presumably meant to empower us, but the boys were still in charge. High school is where we learned to put up with it. And now, as the prep-school boys are running the country and a kind of masculine backlash has taken hold of our democracy, it feels like we’re back in high school again.”

The Crazy Scandal At [The John Jay College of Criminal Justice] Everybody Would Be Talking About If The SCOTUS Nominee Wasn’t Accused Of Attempted Rape”.

“Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.”

We should all be able to sing anything even half as well as this 7-year-old girl sings the national anthem.

I have been somewhat obsessed with the Mary Kay LeTourneau saga from the beginning. This update on her life and the life of the two daughters she had with Vili Fualaau feeds my fascination.

The Senate hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was surely not what Republicans were hoping for.

“So women aren’t believed in America either?”

“The out-of-network scam is not just an outrage, but an obvious outrage designed solely to stuff dollar bills into the pockets of favored doctors. No one, Democrat or Republican, should have any sympathy for it, and hopefully this bill will put an end to it.”

Weekend link dump for September 23

When improvised slasher movies on Twitter become actual movies.

“All this comin’ and goin’. Rookies flyin’ up the road and ol-timers flyin’ down and nobody in between but me an’ old John Mize, standin’ pat, watchin’ ‘em go by. I ain’t even sure about ol’ John. Maybe he’s flyin’ on, too. If he is, I can always watch ‘em go by myself. Time ain’t gonna mess with me.”

Put the cheesesteak down, and slowly back away.

“America’s Top Nazi Sued Warner Bros. for Libel in 1939 Because He Didn’t Like the Movie Confessions of a Nazi Spy”.

“A group of women who went to Christine Blasey Ford’s high school are circulating a letter to show support for the woman who has alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were in high school.”

“[I]t also encapsulates the fundamental challenge billionaire philanthropy poses—even when it’s used for good purposes, there’s not much accountability when things go wrong.”

My high school and your high school were not as cool as this high school is.

In these contentious times, I would hope that we could all get behind more drop kicks in NFL games.

“You can’t just go to court and ask a judge to answer some question that’s been bugging you, such as, for example, in the movie Annihilation, which I watched Saturday night, why don’t they just take a boat to the goddamn lighthouse instead of walking through the swamp for a week? It is simply not a judge’s job to answer such questions, important though they may be. The judge’s job is to determine whether the plaintiff has a legal right that has been infringed. Here, Standing argued that British Columbia’s dereliction of sasquatch duty was violating his civil rights, and these arguments were dumb enough that we should consider each separately.”

“For Thousands of Years, Humans Coexisted with the Largest Birds That Ever Lived”.

“Late summer and early fall have become filled with anniversaries of recent natural disasters—events that have fundamentally shaped how federal and state governments incorporate pet relief into emergency planning. With each disaster, and often at the request of state governments, animal rescue teams head straight into the areas people are fleeing to ensure that few shelter animals, strays, and displaced pets are left behind.”

“It has since been estimated that the above ground shoots and their roots account for some 6 million kilograms making it arguably the largest known single individual organism on earth eclipsing the giant sequoia General Sherman by at least three times.”

“The inescapable conclusion is that the #MeToo movement represents, in practical terms, a crisis for the American rule of law. Countless women and some men have come forward over the past year to describe what are essentially criminal acts committed against them. With rare exceptions, there are typically no formal indictments against those they name, no prosecutions or trials, no verdicts or sentences. Organized society hinges on the premise that there can be restitution for harms done and consequences for those who inflicted them. The consequences felt by those swept up in the Weinstein effect, however, often appear to be rare and fleeting. (Weinstein himself is among the few facing criminal charges.)”

Embrace the tie, football fans.

RIP, Arthur Mitchell, dance pioneer and the co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

All this will probably be out of date by the time you read this, but the attempt to defend Brett Kavanaugh just went nuts towards the end of the week. I mean, holy smokes.

“From top to bottom, the Whelan saga was a disaster for the Kavanaugh nomination.”

#WhyIDidn’tReport.

The leadership of the so-called “Christian” right is trash. And they have been for a long, long time.

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 17

The Texas Progressive Alliance hopes that the federal response to Florence is better than it was for Harvey and especially for Maria as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 16

If you like manual transmissions, you will soon have one less option for buying such a car in the US.

Meet Kim Kierkegaardashian, the world’s most existentialist celebrity.

“As it turns out, it’s not easy to criminally prosecute old sex crimes, though victims may have an easier time finding justice in the civil courts”.

I’d never spent a minute of my life thinking about the relationship between JD Salinger and Joyce Maynard. I’ve long thought Salinger was vastly overrated as a writer, and I only knew the barest outline of their time together. After reading this, I’m definitely on Maynard’s side. She’s deserved better for a long time.

“Instead, my point is that transparency isn’t just a virtue for its own sake. Transparency often provides great benefits to the party that discloses information. Kavanaugh would have been better off if he’d not been ambushed in the middle of his confirmation hearing. And it was his own team’s fault that he did not know how he would be attacked in advance.”

Hillary Told the Truth.”

“Astronomers are studying the first batch of possible planets spotted by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which hunts for worlds around nearby bright stars.”

“Microsoft seeks confirmation that it will not be making prohibited in-kind contributions by offering a package of enhanced online account security protections at no additional charge on a nonpartisan basis to its election-sensitive customers, including but not limited to federal candidates and national party committees, as described above.”

“What happens to gadgets when you’re done with them? Too often, they explode.”

Good grief, Les Moonves is an asshole.

And as such, he deserves every last word that Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has to say to him.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an inspiration and a better person than most of us would be in her shoes.

“Judicial nominees famously conceal their views about legal controversies and precedent when they testify before the Senate, but what Kavanaugh has done all along is try to conceal the kind of person he is.”

“There are no Republicans left in Congress, that I know of, who know what is or isn’t credible oversight. Their ignorance prevents them from understanding the mess they have made. Oversight by Congress is a lost art. What Republicans have wrought is downright destruction. If Democrats re-take either chamber of Congress in November, they are obligated to resuscitate that function Republicans have allowed to atrophy in service to their president.”

“Identity in the early European Middle Ages was fluid, changeable, and could have many layers. Particularly in Germanic warrior cultures such as with the Alemanni, some identities were consciously sought out. You didn’t identify throughout your life with the same group you were born with, and you didn’t necessarily give up that identity when you chose another. Identities were used when needed, stored when not. In other words, a person could think of/ represent themselves as one thing in one social situation, another in a second, and yet another in a third.”

“Our biggest poverty problem is not among senior citizens. Our biggest poverty problem is, first, among children, and second, among working-age adults. That’s where our attention should be most heavily focused.”

” “I’m ecstatic he actually took the time to listen,” said the woman, a sexual assault survivor who declined to give her name because she’s still in the service. “I’m going to phone-bank my ass off for him. Because he didn’t have to do that.” ”

“Trump’s and Manafort’s legal interests may be more aligned than either of them have let on.”

Oh, hey, Paul Manafort. Please do tell us everything.

“How Little Has Changed Since Anita Hill Spoke Out Against Clarence Thomas”.

Texas blog roundup for the week of September 10

The Texas Progressive Alliance observes that honesty is no longer a required attribute for Republican judicial nominees as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for September 9

Nice try, guys, but this is not how you “fix” baseball.

“It turns out Lisa didn’t get sung ‘Happy Birthday’ by Michel Jackson on that episode of The Simpsons.”

“But as is so often the case, the accusation that was made falsely against Democrats turns out to be true of Trump. For all his vaunted populism, he is filled with contempt for average people in general and his own supporters in particular.”

“Here, for your perusal and bitter judgment, is a list of the accidental TV villains who grind our gears the most.”

“This will unquestionably be a big part of the story of what brought Russia and President Trump together. It’s why they focused so much attention on the NRA in the first place: openness to corruption is always an indicator for openness to subversion. The NRA, whatever its role in promoting gun extremism, is also a huge grifting operation. The Russians knew and know just who they were dealing with.”

“Viral Political Ads May Not Be As Persuasive As You Think”.

Sen. Lindsay Graham goes full lickspittle.

Pro tip: Don’t normalize Steve Bannon. Repeat as needed until the message sinks in. Scalzi and Roy have some further thoughts about this.

Sure must be fun working at the White House these days.

Fox News is trash, part one million.

This is why people hate lawyers, College Football edition.

“Same-sex couple paints their house rainbow to troll their homophobic neighbors”.

“Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore filed a $95 million lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime on Wednesday, alleging that he was duped into appearing on Who Is America?” My response: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

RIP, Burt Reynolds, legendary movie star.

It’s racists and Russian stooges all the way down at the Daily Caller.

“Heathrow Staff Pay Tribute To Freddie Mercury On His 72nd Birthday”.

How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”