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Texas blog roundup for the week of July 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance is old enough to remember a time when Republicans thought cozying up to Russia was a bad idea as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 15

There Won’t Be a Single Moment When We “Discover” Alien Life.

“Serena Williams’ French Open ordeal proves maternity rights in pro sports have a long way to go”.

“For many, the conversation of black baseball and civil rights begins and ends with integration. The hardships endured by Jackie Robinson as he broke the color barrier, along with the slow march to integrate other greats of the Negro Leagues, occupies much of the popular imagination. But the story is much much older than that. African-Americans were playing baseball at least 100 years before Jackie donned Dodger blue. Baseball, which played a vital role in northern Black communities before the Civil War, and was an important part of camp life during the war, was tied to African-American agitation for civil and political rights following the war.”

“The media has treated the notion that Russia has personally compromised the president of the United States as something close to a kook theory. A minority of analysts, mostly but not exclusively on the right, have promoted aggressively exculpatory interpretations of the known facts, in which every suspicious piece of evidence turns out to have a surprisingly innocent explanation. And it is possible, though unlikely, that every trail between Trump Tower and the Kremlin extends no farther than its point of current visibility. What is missing from our imagination is the unlikely but possible outcome on the other end: that this is all much worse than we suspect.”

Twitter is finally getting serious about purging fake accounts, and is now providing a warning about accounts that may be fake.

Keep Scott Pruitt Moist: The Dramatic Reading. Well worth the five minutes to listen to it.

The professional soccer troll is dying off.

How Is NATO Funded? And other questions Donald Trump can’t answer.

Hey, you want tightly controlled borders, you live with the consequences.

Brett Kavanaugh was basically created in a lab for Donald Trump.

“This combination of facts—a president who is under scrutiny choosing a Supreme Court nominee who he certainly knows is disinclined toward holding presidents to account—is not merely unsettling. Without an absolute and unequivocal commitment to recuse from any deliberations involving Trump’s alleged wrongdoing, which no one expects Kavanaugh to make, this nomination cannot possibly be seen by Democrats or Republicans, liberals or conservatives, as a credible choice to serve on the Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination must be understood as the product of a corrupt process that is, by its nature, disqualifying.”

“The issues you talk about are the issues I care about as well. The problem is in a primary – and you and I are just talking off the record frank – they don’t give a (expletive) about those things. OK. In the general election, they care about it. OK. But they don’t care about it in a primary. This primary felt like it was who had the biggest gun, who had the biggest truck, and who could be the craziest.”

Good for you, Maude Gorman.

Some potential Game of Thrones prequel news, if you’re into that sort of thing.

“[The Bachelorettes’s] recent controversies illustrate the challenges of contestant vetting in 2018. Is there a way to fix the system—or has reality finally invaded reality TV?”

IHOB, we hardly knew ye.

RIP, Tab Hunter, 1950s movie idol.

“Just to make sure you get that: Republican tax cuts since 2000 are responsible for nearly the entire federal deficit. Repeal them all and the budget would be almost balanced.”

“In a way, this is something of a bookend to that other play involving the Astros. The universe owed them something to make up for the abject humiliation of the last time, and we’re required to study it in the same way.”

Rick Astley loved that Westworld season 2 rickroll, in case you were wondering.

Cut your taxes, buy yourself a yacht with the savings.

“What we know is that a team doctor likely sexually abused hundreds of student athletes over a period of decades, that many people knew about it, and that he was never stopped. We know that one of the men who is accused of knowing about this abuse is one of the most powerful men in America. And we now know that, at the end of the day, said power is more important to him and to those in his party than the suffering of the victims.”

“And so here, for your perusal, is a full list of all the people who have admitted to being tricked by Sacha Baron Cohen so far—organized from best to worst sport.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders when Trump will start conscripting people into his trade war as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 8

Re-engineering the MLB post-season.

Have no fear, better WiFi security is almost here.

Crypto-jacking is the latest reason to hate Bitcoin and its ilk.

“The case against the Trumps appears damning. Charitable foundations are governed by a crucial compromise: they can operate without paying taxes on the condition that their leadership insures that all money spent is spent in pursuit of the public good. The case brought by Attorney General Underwood shows that the Trump Foundation was neither well-managed nor focussed on what would generally be considered the public good. Its operations were shockingly sloppy; at least one of the organization’s official board members said that he had no idea he was on the board and that the board had never met, to his knowledge. No surprise, then, that the other controls that normally govern nonprofits were absent.”

“Any similarity between the radicalization of the right during Obama’s presidency and the radicalization of the left in response to Trump’s is completely superficial.”

Congratulations, your personal data has been leaked by some firm you’ve never heard of. When can we get a GDPR for the USA?

“It is quite strange to be living in an era in which a small previously unknown restaurant owner demonstrates more moral clarity and political bravery, whatever the consequences, than the editorial board of The Washington Post and Barack Obama’s old senior advisor.”

“The right’s revulsion against a black president targeted by birther conspiracy theories is not the same as the left’s revulsion against a racist president who spread birther conspiracy theories.”

Wearing Juggalo makeup can defeat facial recognition software.

“The con-game of anti-abortion partisanship that replaced Christianity has been so successful that we forget how recently it was invented”.

Willians Astudillo is the hero we didn’t know we needed.

In which Alexander Hamilton (also known as Lin-Manuel Miranda) has a chat with John Adams (a/k/a William Daniels).

Some further thoughts on Harlan Ellison.

Here’s a fine example of border policy keeping out an undesirable would-be entrant.

Turns out there is something Melania cares about.

“Have you seen what happens when you leave an earthworm in the sun on hot asphalt? Have you seen what happens to the things that live in a wetland when that swamp dries up? Have you seen a salamander who has been too long in a hot car? Have you seen a lobster without its shell? Unrelatedly, we must find Scott Pruitt his lotion.”

“Pruitt’s alleged wrongdoing draws attention to an issue at the heart of the Trump administration: ethical corruption. Pruitt’s problems comported with a White House that seems to mock concerns about good government, and the idea that public officials work first and foremost to serve the public interest and not for personal gain.”

RIP, Steve Ditko, legendary comic book artist who co-created Spider-Man and Doctor Strange.

Texas blog roundup for the week of July 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance considers the Supreme Court to be on the ballot in every election as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for July 1

If you want to know the status of all the honorary degrees Bill Cosby has received, now you can.

Things not to call older employees, if you want to avoid having your tuchus sued off.

“Does any company want its logo on the page next to a kid in a cage?”

“Indeed, Nielsen and Miller would have been hard-pressed to find any restaurant, serving any kind of food, that didn’t rely on the labor of the same individuals their immigration policies seek to expel at all costs. Latino workers are the backbone of the restaurant world, at bistros, pizzerias, sushi counters, and rotisseries across the country—many of them are Central American, like the majority of the migrant families being torn apart in recent weeks. (And, it’s worth noting, many of those workers are undocumented: the hospitality sector is one of the largest employers of undocumented labor in the country.)”

“This means that all European light pickup trucks face a 25 percent tariff when they enter the US—a tariff so high that it effectively bans all light truck imports. That’s bad news for American consumers who want to buy a VW Amorak, reputed to be a very nice small pickup. I suggest that the EU immediately threaten to levy a 25 percent tariff on all Ford and GM pickup trucks until Donald Trump agrees to level the playing field here.”

“So my suggestion that white evangelicals’ lockstep, reptilian partisanship was so extreme that they would even support someone like Donald Trump really did seem extravagantly harsh back then. But it’s not 2011 any more.”

Congratulations, you crazy kids.

“The most insidious thing about the descent into illiberalism is that it is incremental. There’s no dramatic moment, no Rubicon. Every step seems bad, but only a little worse than the previous step.”

Godwin’s Law was never meant to block us from challenging the institutionalization of cruelty or the callousness of officials who claim to be just following the law.”

Thirty Friedman Units ago, in a galaxy far, far away…

Please stop harassing the female reporters at the World Cup.

“If you or I lie to federal investigators, or we obstruct an investigation, or we don’t register as lobbyists, then we should not expect any mercy or any editorials urging leniency in our case. And this is the lens through which I interpret the reaction to Sarah Huckabee Sanders not being allowed to eat at a small Virginia restaurant.”

The Trump tariff layoffs have arrived. Are you tired of winning yet?

Hank Aaron remains a role model.

“And what about civility? Well, fundamental to, and governing the practice of, civility is the principle of reciprocity: your place at my table implies my place at yours. Conservatives and liberals, right-wingers and left-wingers, Jews and Muslims and Christians and Socialists and round- and flat-Earthers—all should have a place at any table and be welcome to sit where they like. On the other hand, someone who has decided to make it her public role to extend, with a blizzard of falsehoods, the words of a pathological liar, and to support, with pretended piety, the acts of a public person of unparalleled personal cruelty—well, that person has asked us in advance to exclude her from our common meal. You cannot spit in the plates and then demand your dinner. The best way to receive civility at night is to not assault it all day long. It’s the simple wisdom of the table.”

“It’s curious, though, that it’s Heimlich, of every athlete who has ever made a mistake and of every human who has made a mistake, who gets to demand our forgiveness, or have it demanded on his behalf. He has never shown contrition, never said he learned, and never even feigned regret about anything that might have happened during that time in his life. Neither has anyone done so on his behalf, or even simply claimed that his abilities trump any other considerations; all that has happened is that he has pleaded guilty to doing an awful thing and had mercy pleaded on his behalf, without any of the steps in between being so much as gestured at.”

“These are simple facts, ones impermeable to propaganda and ones that illustrate the trouble with an organization happy to depict itself as inhabitants of the moral high ground. There is no whitewashing. There is no concealing. There is, first and foremost, honesty, and if Moore is going to talk about signing Luke Heimlich in the same context as watching pornography and taking PEDs, he’d best assess the viability of that argument before using it again.”

“Throughout history, activists have seldom won battles against injustice by asking politely.”

RIP, Harlan Ellison, prolific and influential author, screenwriter, and editor.

“Trump thought he was talking to a U.S. Senator. Instead, it was a prank caller with a podcast.”

“Read more about the victims of Thursday’s shooting at the Capital Gazette: Gerald Fischman, Robert Hiaasen, John McNamara, Rebecca Smith and Wendi Winters.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance deplores and condemns the continued brutalization of immigrant families as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 24

“You probably think you’re a Good Guy too. Well, you might be the good guy defending a potential rapist. You might be the good guy making your female friends feel silenced by insisting on interjecting jaunty anecdotes into a serious discussion of a could-be creep. You’re the good guy derailing the uncomfortable conversation, and by extension, any shot of progress and positive change.”

“How Tippi Hedren made Vietnamese refugees into nail salon magnates”.

From the “Look, I Have Always Had Problems With Deadlines” department.

Maybe there was a good reason why nobody had been eager to start trade wars lately.

“We are convinced that mandatory family separation is profoundly harmful to children and to families, in addition to being morally egregious and a violation of fundamental human rights.”

“I see Paul Ryan finally said he’s not comfortable with babies being taken from their mothers. Well hoop de do. He and Corker and Jeff Flake, who are all so brave they’re headed back home (or to K Street to make millions of dollars from whatever remains of the Trump presidency), aren’t going to matter soon anyway. They have been, and have let themselves be, steamrolled.”

Among many other things, Harvey Weinstein is an example of how the cash bail system is broken.

Phishing attacks, y’all. Know how to avoid them.

The importance of Pride Month in Major League Baseball.

By the way, the Brexit-Russia connection is becoming clearer every day.

Kris Kobach deserves a lot more than this, but it’s a start.

Some giant panda news, since I know you like that sort of thing.

“Finding true love is hard. Almost as hard as getting cast on The Bachelor, which guarantees if not a soul mate, then at least a few paychecks for hawking FabFitFun boxes on Instagram. But a shocking pair of recent revelations — that current Bachelorette Becca Kufrin’s pool of suitors includes both a sex offender and a bigot — has made it painfully apparent that the long-running reality series’ casting processes are in desperate need of an overhaul.”

“You should know that Mike Godwin — the guy who came up with Godwin’s Law — is saying that you’re in the clear to make those comparisons.”

“Soerens and the other good people at World Relief are grappling with the dismaying disappointment of realizing that the very same white evangelical Americans they have spent decades educating about the need to minister to immigrants and refugees are the most viscerally and viciously anti-immigrant and anti-refugee group in the country.”

“All presidents are tested now and again, and Trump is failing massively. It’s not quite the first time, and it certainly won’t be the last. Being president of the United States is a difficult job, and Donald Trump has no idea how to do it.”

“On June 23, 1988, a sultry day in Washington, James Hansen told Congress and the world that global warming wasn’t approaching — it had already arrived. […] Thirty years later, it’s clear that Hansen and other doomsayers were right. But the change has been so sweeping that it is easy to lose sight of effects large and small — some obvious, others less conspicuous.”

“A new group called Lawyer Moms of America, formed to oppose separation of immigrant families, has quickly grown to 10,000 members, thanks to social media.”

“In a week of crazy lying and horribles, this Trumpian tweet below stood out to me. It speaks directly to the core of Trumpism, and why Trumpism is failing as a governing approach.”

RIP, Koko, the sign-language-using gorilla.

RIP, Mildred McWhorter, founder of the Mission Centers of Houston.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance strongly condemns the inhumane practice of separating families from their children as it brings you its weekly roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 17

How to create an AI psychopath seems like the sort of thing we might be better off never learning how to do.

“A band of brigands eventually collapses in on itself, to paraphrase St Augustine. So the Irish referendum cannot simply be dismissed as a symptom of collective moral disintegration. On the contrary, it can be seen as the assertion of the common good over and against a corrupted and dysfunctional institutional church. But the most effective way of accommodating this decision might be to recognise that a modern shift in church teaching might now be unsustainable, unless one is willing to demonise and condemn countless millions of women and girls around the world who have abortions.”

“For a week in late April and early May 1969, Babe Ruth actually had 715 home runs. It was a sports scandal. This is the remarkable thing about Ruth’s magic number of 714. Even the most minor adjustment will cause a scandal.”

“Could it be, some Canadian scientists wondered, that all the big fish are found in deeper water because we fished them out of shallower water? Apparently (and somewhat astonishingly) this possibility had never been evaluated. And the scientists found that not only could this be the case—it in fact was.”

“Trumpism is non-falsifiable. Whatever Trump does is right. There are no principled arguments to be had, because if Trump changes his mind or tweets something off the wall, Trumpers change their position immediately.”

“But it’s past time to take seriously the only explanation for all of Trump’s behavior: He wants to destroy the Western alliance. Maybe it’s ideological, and he prefers Putin-style authoritarianism to democracy. Or maybe he has no grand strategy and Putin really does have some compromising information. Or maybe Trump just likes being against what every other modern American president was for.”

Get thee to Twitter if you want to try to save a program that may be or has been canceled.

“Web site names ending in new top-level domains (TLDs) like .men, .work and .click are some of the riskiest and spammy-est on the Internet, according to experts who track such concentrations of badness online.”

“Warner Bros. Animation is announcing its most ambitious Looney Tunes content initiative to date with Looney Tunes Cartoons, a series of new short form cartoons starring the iconic and beloved Looney Tunes characters.”

“Most U.S. efforts to strip immigrants of their citizenship focused largely on suspected war criminals who lied on their immigration paperwork, most notably former Nazis.” That was then, this is now.

“Roughly speaking, the question is whether the campaign got involved with Russian agents who committed computer crimes to help Trump win the 2016 presidential election. The verdict on this is unclear. But there is certainly plenty of evidence pointing toward collusion; what you would call “probable cause” in a legal context, or what a journalist might simply consider reason to continue investigating the story. And the investigating thus far, both by special counsel Mueller and by journalists working on the story, has been fruitful. The efforts have continued to turn up contacts between Trumpworld and Putinland, cover-ups, and dishonesty.”

“Still, there has never been a disaster like the G7 meeting that just took place. It could herald the beginning of a trade war, maybe even the collapse of the Western alliance. At the very least it will damage America’s reputation as a reliable ally for decades to come; even if Trump eventually departs the scene in disgrace, the fact that someone like him could come to power in the first place will always be in the back of everyone’s mind.” This is something I’ve worried about a lot lately.

Pro tip: Don’t plug USB drives given to you by a representative of a foreign (or even domestic) government into your computer. You’re welcome.

“This was an argument fought — and won — by the Confessing Church that rose in opposition to the rise of fascism in Europe. An argument relitigated and reaffirmed after World War II by a world and a church that struggled to grasp the full horrors of what unjust, evil leaders enforcing unjust, evil laws were capable of accomplishing with the compliance of complicit Christians citing this verse as their rationalization.”

RIP, Houston Police Officer Norberto “Bert” Ramon, who helped rescue nearly 1,500 people from floodwater during Harvey.

RIP, Matt “Guitar” Murphy, longtime blues guitarist and Blues Brothers band member.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks we should give trade peace a chance as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 10

Our aging prison population.

Cracking down on immigration is a great way to reduce the number of doctors practicing in the US.

“Some of the biggest work issues strippers face are not so different from those of other gig economy workers. Long before Silicon Valley entrepreneurs offloaded employment costs via app-based work (driving for Uber, say), strip clubs classified dancers as independent contractors.”

RIP, Fre’derick “Ziggy” Stovall-Redd, honorary member of the Rice University football team. He was ten years old, and he had battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia for more than half of his life. Goddamn, cancer really sucks.

“The President’s lawyers have argued that since the President cannot be indicted he can also not be subpoenaed or brought before a grand jury. Simple argument: If he can’t be indicted, there’s no basis to subpoena him. This is wrong both as common sense and law.”

“You might not like that women have the right to vote, you might not like that anyone has the right to vote, but it’s about winning a long-term political victory.”

“The biggest lesson from Masterpiece, in other words, is that state officials need to mind their tongues when dealing with people who ground their prejudices in faith. It’s still kosher to enforce the law against such people, just so long as the state does so courteously.”

Roseanne minus Roseanne could happen. Whatever.

RIP, Dwight Clark, great wide receiver for the 49ers, famous for “The Catch” against the Cowboys in the 1982 NFC Championship Game.

“On Tuesday morning, Gretchen Carlson, chair of the board for the Miss America Organization, announced that the competition will be doing away with its famed swimsuit portion.”

RIP, Kate Spade, fashion designer and businesswoman.

“The other side—the accurate perspective—isn’t that complicated. In 2016, Vladimir Putin’s regime mounted information warfare against the United States, in part to help Trump become president. While this attack was underway, the Trump crew tried to collude covertly with Moscow, sought to set up a secret communications channel with Putin’s office, and repeatedly denied in public that this assault was happening, providing cover to the Russian operation. Trump and his lieutenants aligned themselves with and assisted a foreign adversary, as it was attacking the United States. The evidence is rock-solid: They committed a profound act of betrayal. That is the scandal. But how often do you hear or see this fundamental point being made?”

“But let’s not let the true import of Trump’s action today get subsumed by the usual lying and megalomania. His true message is that African American dissenters protesting in the quest for racial equality — in a manner he claims to find offensive — have no place at a celebration of this country’s heritage over which he is presiding.”

RIP, Red Schoendienst, Hall of Fame player and manager with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Turns out the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision does not actually provide a license to discriminate against LGBT folks.

RIP, Anthony Bourdain, celebrated chef, author, and TV personality.

Texas blog roundup for the week of June 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders if anyone will ever be held accountable for the tragedy in Puerto Rico as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for June 3

Making China great again.

“But in the coming weeks, even more scripted series will tackle misogyny and the impact that inappropriate and/or abusive behavior has on women, so much so that it feels accurate to refer to the upcoming season as the summer of #MeToo TV.”

“There are not many Trump scandals. There is one Trump scandal. Singular: the corruption of the American government by the president and his associates, who are using their official power for personal and financial gain rather than for the welfare of the American people, and their attempts to shield that corruption from political consequences, public scrutiny, or legal accountability.”

“The past month has seen one blockbuster revelation after another about how our mobile phone and broadband providers have been leaking highly sensitive customer information, including real-time location data and customer account details. In the wake of these consumer privacy debacles, many are left wondering who’s responsible for policing these industries? How exactly did we get to this point? What prospects are there for changes to address this national privacy crisis at the legislative and regulatory levels? These are some of the questions we’ll explore in this article.”

“How to hear (and delete) every conversation your Amazon Alexa has recorded“. I solved that problem by just not having an Alexa.

Have you rebooted your router yet? There are some other things you shoud do, too.

“Our players have exercised their rights as United States citizens in order to spark conversation and action to address social injustice. We will continue to support them in their peaceful pursuit of positive change in our country and around the world.”

The cruelty is the whole point.”

“The Trump administration’s goal is to inflict pain upon these families. Cruelty is not an unfortunate, unintended consequence of White House immigration policy; it is the objective.”

“The practice harms children. It does not actually work as a deterrent. And it’s an affront to a core American value: keeping children with their parents.”

Calling a lie a lie is harder than you might think.

RIP, Don Peterson, astronaut who participated in the first spacewalk of the 30-year Space Shuttle program.

“While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.”

“Until you’re ready to protect fast food and daycare workers from being fired for their social media speech, I’m not here from your blubbering over celebrities like Roseanne.”

RIP, Daisy Kadibil, youngest and last-surviving of three girls whose life story inspired the award-winning film Rabbit-Proof Fence.

“ABC shouldn’t be expressing outrage at one tweet. The network should be expressing disappointment at an employee who cost the company millions and cost dozens of extremely talented co-workers their livelihoods by not being able to resist being reprehensibly racist, when merely being tangentially gross was apparently condoned.”

Let’s Remember What Dinesh D’Souza Did“.

“The Fourth Amendment Does Not Protect You From Being A Moron”.

“I learned that day the power of the presidency and the power of the Trump machine. Immediately the death threats started pouring in again but more violent and serious than the previous night.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 28

The Texas Progressive Alliance welcomes you to hurricane season as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 27

“But I think these attention-grabbing silly questions are also damaging, and that they reflect a harmful, shallow, and ultimately off-putting approach to the Bible itself.”

The appeal of MLB in general and the Yankees in particular in South Korea.

“Everyone needs to wake up and realize that this is not a black eye on the FBI or President Obama. This is what counter-intelligence agencies do: they investigate and try to disrupt efforts of foreign powers to infiltrate and subvert the country, its government, its assets. In 2016, the FBI and the DOJ were faced with just such a situation at the highest level with a hostile foreign power. They went to extreme lengths to keep the probe confidential so as not to impact the presidential campaign. President Trump and his allies are now using the gravity of the threat and the efforts to protect the President as somehow facts in their favor.”

Cheers has been off the air for 25 years now. In related news, we are all old.

RIP, Billy Cannon, Heisman Trophy winner and the first star player of the AFL.

“The members of the NRA should know this history because while they may like it when [Oliver] North says we should have to go through five metal detectors to get into our children’s school, they won’t like it when North follows his nature and figures out a way to inadvertently expose their dirty laundry while scamming them out of their money.”

I honestly don’t know why anyone would want The Donald J. Trump Presidential Twitter Library book, but you will have the option to have it anyway.

“The ongoing debate around whether it’s feasible to have an electric grid running on 100 percent renewable power in the coming decades often misses a key point: many countries and regions are already at or close to 100 percent now.”

“Your mobile phone is giving away your approximate location all day long. This isn’t exactly a secret: It has to share this data with your mobile provider constantly to provide better call quality and to route any emergency 911 calls straight to your location. But now, the major mobile providers in the United States — AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile and Verizon — are selling this location information to third party companies — in real time — without your consent or a court order, and with apparently zero accountability for how this data will be used, stored, shared or protected.”

“Roughly speaking, Mishel estimates that the gig economy acounts for 0.1 percent of total hours worked in the American economy. He also, to my surprise, mentions in passing that Uber alone accounts for two-thirds of this. So not only is the gig economy small, but it’s basically just Uber and a few tiny stragglers. In other words, it’s probably best if everyone stops hyping the gig economy too much.”

“Bad news for those of you who currently emit a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough. You need to stop doing that immediately, because that particular smell has just been trademarked by the Hasbro Corporation.”

RIP, Dovey Johnson Roundtree, groundbreaking Washington, D.C., lawyer who persuaded the Interstate Commerce Commission to issue a ruling banning racial segregation on buses.

RIP, Philip Roth, groundbreaking novelist best known for Portnoy’s Complaint.

Sending cease and desist letters to The Onion is seldom a good idea.

“As someone who was part of diplomatic talks, this story on how Trump team screwed up China negotiations is a textbook case of nearly EVERY SINGLE THING you should NOT do. Bodes badly for North Korea summit.”

“These are not ‘conflicts of interest’. A ‘conflict of interest’ is a case in which the nature of a situation makes it impossible for a person to separate their personal interests from their public responsibilities (or to appear to do so). All previous Presidents put their private wealth into blind trusts. We assume they weren’t going to try to directly make money off the presidency. But they wanted to remove any question of it and avoid situations where there own financial interests would bump up against their public responsibilities. What we’re seeing now are not conflicts of interest. They’re straight-up corruption.”

“To the contrary, what we’re watching unfold is in some ways more alarming than the likelihood that Trump simply did more colluding than we thought. The countries that helped see to it that Trump became president, all of which are heavily corrupt, have been rewarded with extraordinary geopolitical spoils that have rendered U.S. interests an afterthought. Trump has frayed the western alliance more in a year and a half than the Russian government was able to do from the outside over the course of decades. He has at the same time thrown the weight of the White House behind a Saudi-Emirati effort to consolidate power in the Middle East at the expense of other U.S. allies.”

So much for that Nobel Peace Prize.

“Sixteen months into the Trump Presidency, it is finally time to say: we really do know. There are no deals with Trump, and there are increasingly unlikely to be.”

RIP, Alan Bean, astronaut and the fourth person to walk on the moon.

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 21

The Texas Progressive Alliance’s heart is broken for the people of Santa Fe as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 20

“Women’s lives matter. Women’s lives matter more than men’s rules for moral purity. That is the overarching and underlying theme surrounding every biblical discussion of divorce. Get that wrong and you’re in danger, like Ezra, of arriving someplace truly monstrous.”

Here are your Russian-placed fake-news Facebook ads from 2016.

“The GOP is no longer the Party of Reagan. It’s the Party of Michael Cohen.”

“Let me offer an alternative explanation of the affair and the payoff. It is still just a hypothesis, but, I would argue, it fits more comfortably with what we know about the various players than the reported version of events: Donald Trump, not Elliott Broidy, had an affair with Shera Bechard. Bechard hired Keith Davidson, who had negotiated both Playboy playmate Karen McDougal’s deal with the National Enquirer and Stormy Daniels’s NDA with Trump. Davidson called Cohen, and the two of them negotiated a $1.6 million payment to Bechard.”

An open letter about female coaches, from longtime NBA player Pau Gasol.

Who knew stock photos of “scientists” could be so funny?

“The paperwork required by both [Jared] Kushner and [SNAP recipient Matthew] Cortland should have the same goal: protecting the U.S. taxpayers from our own generosity. But that generosity is generally unquestioned for the rich and ground into fumes for the poor.”

Why the ditched-by-Trump Iran nuke deal was an excellent agreement for the US, not a flawed one.

RIP, Margot Kidder, best known for playing Lois Lane in the original Superman movies.

RIP, Chuck Knox, longtime NFL coach.

“Speaking truth to power” is not something that CIA Directors have been known to do.

Oh, just more legal troubles for Donald Trump.

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 14

The Texas Progressive Alliance urges everyone to vote in the primary runoffs as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 13

You can stop shooting your Yeti cooler now.

From the “Be careful what you vote for, you just might get it” department.

On the dysfunctional relationship between Lucy and Schroeder.

“Following last month’s DNA-driven arrest of a suspect in California’s four-decades-old Golden State Killer investigation, detectives on the trail of the infamous Zodiac Killer say they believe genetic evidence could provide a breakthrough.” Hey, just check it against Ted Cruz‘s DNA. That’ll do it.

“My name is Wil Wheaton. I live with chronic Depression, and I am not ashamed.”

“The Milwaukee Bucks plan to interview San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon for the franchise’s head-coaching vacancy”.

South Florida is so screwed by any rise in sea level.

Gregor Clegane – OK, fine, the dude who plays him on TV – is the strongest man in the world, at least for this year.

“Bottom line: Nothing is perfect, but Obamacare works fine. That is, it works fine if you put in the minimal effort it takes to administer it properly.”

“To put the point clearly, after President Trump became President, after the Russia probe and story were well underway and Trump and all his associates were repeatedly denying any collusion, Cohen was receiving regular payments of almost $100,000 a month more or less directly from a Russian oligarch.”

Baseball in London next year. Jolly good.

“This is why Paige Patterson is just about the least Baptist person imaginable. He sought to rule, and so he could not abide the inherent unruliness of Baptist polity. And so he transformed that polity, imposing hierarchy and structure and rank.”

“In a series of as-told-to conversations, two dozen Texas women talk about gender, work, and what needs to change for women in their home state.”

“That’s not progress; that’s bigotry disguised as acceptance.”

“The truth is that Trump has indeed changed the culture of corruption in Washington, in two main ways.”

“Donald Trump’s genius has always been his ability to capitalize, literally, on his fame—to use his celebrity as a vehicle to enrich himself, even when he didn’t have the accomplishments or knowledge or business prowess (or the cash) to back up what he claimed. Since his entry into politics, plenty of his hangers-on have attempted the same thing, hoping that Trump’s fame could prove their meal ticket, too. And while some of these figures have found success, several of them also find themselves in serious legal jeopardy, demonstrating once again that what works for Trump is often extremely dangerous for other people.”

“Mueller was appointed just under a year ago (next week brings the one-year mark, which will bring another round of cable news segments asking whether this has gone on too long). Starr was appointed in August 1994. Do you remember when he dropped his famous report on Congress’ doorstep? September—of 1998. Four years later.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of May 7

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with Michelle Wolf as it brings you this week’s First Amendment-loving roundup.

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Weekend link dump for May 6

Up, up and away, in my beautiful space-bound balloon.

“When the last Toys ‘R’ Us store closes its doors once and for all, the company’s top executives will have pocketed some $8.2 million in retention bonuses for sticking around long enough to liquidate the company. Wall Street firms that loaded Toys ‘R’ Us with debt when they bought it in 2005 will have collected millions in fees from the company, even if they ultimately lost the majority of their investment. And employees like Ann Marie Reinhart, who worked as a supervisor at Toys ‘R’ Us for 29 years, will walk away with nothing.”

“People who submit DNA for ancestors testing are unwittingly becoming genetic informants on their innocent family.”

Or, putting it another way, publicly available DNA data can track an awful lot of people down.

Meet Jon McNaughton, the Jack Chick of the Trump era.

One Cosby juror explains why he voted “guilty”.

Maybe now isn’t a good time to abandon fuel efficiency standards.

Easily the best Twitter thread I’ve ever read about covert parrot operations.

“The way to think about Huckabee Sanders is through the lens of her job. That job is to serve as the voice of the Trump administration. She’s survived because she embraces a policy of not telling the truth — one that serves not only a convenient role in a chaotic administration but also an important political purpose.”

“Every time a legal analyst talks about Trump and the courts, I sincerely question their Logical Reasoning score on the LSAT.”

“You would think wealthy, for-profit companies using the public right-of-way should be held to at least the same standards as paleteros selling popsicles in the park. And paleteros, to their credit, don’t rifle through all the data on your iPhone as a major component — if not the major component — of their business model.”

“What’s it like to spend your childhood assuming the world will end, only to have the rug not pulled out from under you?”

Serial lawbreaker Kris Kobach really needs to spend a few days in the pokey so he can think about his wrongdoing ways.

Remember Tom Price? Trump’s former HHS Secretary? He’s now saying that the Republican repeal of the individual mandate from the ACA will make insurance more expensive for millions of people. Oopsie.

Rudy Giuliani, Super Genius.

“We now have serious SDNY public corruption prosecutors and FBI agents in possession of a massive amount of electronic data from his bagman. They likely already have all of his financial records as well. And Rudy has now given them the roadmap for how Trump may have laundered bribes through Cohen as purported legal fees or retainer payments.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 30

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds you to vote in the May 5 elections if you have them as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 29

Some potential advantages for gender-swapping a character in a TV or movie production.

Who even knew that the Nancy comic was still a thing, much less that it was generating a ton of controversy over its recent changes?

10 TV Characters Who Actually Really Suck at Their Jobs

“Williamson specializes in a dance move I like to call the Troll Three-Step. One: Say something vile Two: When challenged, say that wasn’t what you meant, only joking etc. Step three: Go back to saying something vile.”

“As someone who lived through the Bush era, I can attest that Bush was able to impose pretty strict party loyalty on the right. But by April 2006, his approval rating among Republicans was hovering around 80 percent—not too far from where Trump is now. Those midterm elections were a disaster for the GOP. And it went downhill fast from there.”

“Everything suggests Hannity has professionals investing and managing this portfolio of real estate properties. So why would he be seeking the counsel of Michael Cohen? Whatever he claims, there’s very little evidence Cohen has any legal or business acumen or even experience doing this kind of real estate investing – that is to say competent, professional investing for extremely high net worth individuals as opposed to high stakes ‘deals’ and finding purchases for people looking to stash or launder money.”

“The President is going to congratulate him no matter what you say.”

“The ‘weird’ fringe is the biggest part of white evangelicalism”.

Did you know there was an actual real-life murder mystery that inspired Twin Peaks? Well, now you do.

RIP, Verne Troyer, actor best know for playing Mini Me in the Austin Powers movies.

“Do we really need to see what Cohen has to say to know that something is already catastrophically wrong with this picture?”

Keep an eye on this lawsuit against Facebook over its handling of fake ads.

“If a guy like that is sending out anti-Trump tweets while his wife is going on TV serially offering alternative facts in defense of the President, it’s bound to pique the interest of people around Washington. I don’t know if you’d call it Capital-N News, but it’s certainly fair game for an end-of-segment question on a Sunday show.”

“But let’s be clear, presidents who have approval ratings of 40% usually don’t get reelected. That’s especially the case when their favorability rating (a slightly different measure) is also in the same area.”

More than you wanted to know about that guy in Toronto who killed all those people and the toxic and misogynistic subculture he marinated in.

A comprehensive taxonomy of the women in The Handmaid’s Tale.

Congratulations to Jenny Cavnar, the first woman to do play by play for a game on MLB TV. And good on the Rockies for not putting up with any sexist BS about the job she did.

RIP, Bob Dorough, musician best known for composing many Schoolhouse Rock songs. He was a hairy bear, he was a scary bear…

George R.R. Martin will have his Game of Thrones prequel book published before the next actual Game of Thrones is finished. That sound you hear is a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.

“She’s a 5-year-old fox red Labrador retriever on assignment at the Montgomery County Courthouse in Pennsylvania. Turks is specially trained and certified to appear in courtrooms, where she often snuggles next to victims, especially children, to help them get through the trauma of testifying. These past two weeks she has had an additional assignment: Keep the jury that has been sequestered in the Bill Cosby trial in good spirits as they spend time away from their families.”

The sisterhood of Cosby survivors is an amazing thing.

If it hadn’t been for his decision to scold poor black Americans for their moral failures while decades of sexual-assault allegations had remained hidden, it’s possible that none of Cosby’s victims would have gotten their day in court.”

Pete Souza continues to be a national treasure.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 23

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes the students who walked out in protest of gun violence as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 22

If the words “Eurovision in space” fill your heart with glee, then this will be of interest to you.

“A.M.I.’s thirty-thousand-dollar payment to Sajudin appears to be the third instance of Trump associates paying to suppress embarrassing stories about the candidate during the 2016 Presidential race.”

“In a move that is equal parts activism, investigative journalism, and performance art, and is rooted in one strange man’s performative loyalty to the least lovable franchise in baseball, Marlins Man apparently flew to the British Virgin Islands and sought the location of the corporate home of the Miami Marlins, to discover what he could about his team’s foreign citizenship.”

That Second City TV reunion looks good.

This is the best Twitter thread about a stolen office lunch you’ll ever read.

RIP, R. Lee Ermey, actor best known for his role as the gunnery sergeant in Full Metal Jacket.

RIP, Art Bell, AM radio pioneer and “late night chaplain to America’s crackpots”.

“However, I am unaware of anybody who has taken a serious look at Trump’s business who doesn’t believe that there is a high likelihood of rampant criminality.”

“Companies and firms who used to recruit from presidential administrations and brag when they were successful in poaching an aide are making the calculation that the risks of bringing on a Trump administration official outweigh the rewards, according to interviews with 10 current and former administration officials, top recruiters, and lobbyists who did not want to be named to talk candidly.”

RIP, Harry Anderson, magician and comedian who starred on TV’s Night Court.

Sean Hannity sure spent a lot of time defending Michael Cohen without ever disclosing that Cohen was his own attorney.

I’d never heard of the Shorty Awards before now. I’m guessing Adam Pally wishes he never had.

RIP, Hal Greer, basketball Hall of Famer and the alltime leading scorer for the Philadelphia 76ers.

RIP, Carl Kasell, NPR broadcaster and scorekeeper emeritus from Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me.

“The truth is that Comey is once again injecting himself into an election cycle. This time he could end up inadvertently helping Democrats in their fight to win control of Congress in November. But it’s just as possible he will drive conservative as well as liberal turnout, and thereby help Republicans. It’s Comey’s law of unanticipated political consequences. Either he hasn’t learned they are inevitable, or he doesn’t care.”

We should remember Larry Doby as much as we remember Jackie Robinson.

RIP, Erin Popovich, wife of Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

What Fox News employees think of l’affaire Hannity.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 16

The Texas Progressive Alliance has never needed a taint team as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 15

“Facebook’s baseball broadcast was a vision of the hellish future we deserve”.

Diversity in Baseball Begins in Little League.

Wishing all the best in retirement to Phil Coyne after EIGHTY-ONE YEARS of service as an usher for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

“The federal government under Trump is apparently just a big pot of spoils to be divvied up. Do any Republicans even care about this anymore?”

Hey, you know how your personal information from Facebook gets shared with all kinds of unscrupulous people without your knowledge or consent? Well, don’t make it easier for them.

“POLITICO’s analysis suggests that Trump did, indeed, do worse overall in places where independent media could check his claims.”

A little primer on the perjury trap.

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar writes about Bill Cosby and the good art/bad artist question.

Molly Ringwald takes a long and thoughtful look back on the work of John Hughes.

Congratulations to Sen. Tammy Duckworth, the first sitting US Senator to give birth.

“The image of Michael Cohen as a superlawyer was always laughable, and even the Trump fan club recognized that Cohen was a particular flavor of attorney: The Fixer. His desire to cast himself as a real-life Ray Donovan made him a kind of overwrought, grunting thug character destined for the cutting-room floor in even the most lurid soap-opera script.”

“Once other prosecutors’ offices are involved and have gathered evidence of crimes, though, Trump receives less benefit from firing Mueller, and at an increasing cost. And even if Trump fires Mueller, more prosecutors can carry on the work, with access to some of the same material.”

“Mr. Trump wouldn’t be the first person to stumble into a one-night stand and find he has generated a decades-long relationship. But he may very well be the first president. As matters stand, there is the distinct possibility that the president’s legal clinch with Stormy Daniels will outlast his presidency.”

“The American epidemic of gun violence is both a sin problem and a gun problem; the question is which problem we have the ability to solve. Sin is a power much stronger than us or our individual efforts. Defeating it is an ongoing cosmic project initiated by one greater than us who will complete it, but not on our timetable. Our task is to deal with the other problem: the physical instruments of death that sin has at its disposal. We can’t just keep them away from the bad people, because the bad people might well be us. We have to reduce our firepower.”

Child marriage should be banned. I do not understand anyone who thinks that it’s a good idea for minors to marry adults.

“The National Rifle Association and supporters have fought back against these advisories, sponsoring legislation to stop pediatricians from asking parents about guns in the home — something that really puzzles doctors who routinely ask about other safety issues, such as using car seats and wearing helmets while riding bikes.”

RIP, Mitzi Shore, owner of the iconic Comedy Store.

“But, at this point, with the president* re-enacting the Tell-Tale Heart in public and all over the electric Twitter machine, you have to wonder. Why not give the president* a laurel and hearty handshake and tell him to go slice fairway woods out of bounds for the rest of his life? Thank him for his great service to the ultimate Republican goal of dismantling the Republic for the benefit of their donor class and show him the door. After all, Mike Pence is waiting in the wings.”

Fire Devin Nunes.

“In 1960, we ranked 11th in infant mortality among rich countries. Not great, but not terrible. Today we rank 24th out of 27 rich countries, ahead of only Turkey, Mexico, and Chile. We are behind every single country in Europe by a large margin. This is the price we pay for our horrible health care system.”

“President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer negotiated a deal in late 2017 to pay $1.6 million to a former Playboy model who said she was impregnated by a top Republican fundraiser, according to people familiar with the matter. Michael Cohen, whose office, home and hotel room were raided by federal agents this week, arranged the payments to the woman on behalf of Elliott Broidy, a deputy finance chairman of the Republican National Committee with ties to Mr. Trump.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 9

The Texas Progressive Alliance is neither the subject nor the target of an investigation, but it is bringing you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 8

Take care when typing a domain name into a browser address bar, because it’s far too easy to fat-finger a key and wind up somewhere you don’t want to go.”

A citizens’ guide to deciphering lobbyist-speak.

I support this effort to make investigative data from old civil rights cold cases public.

How Chinese feminists found a way around government censorship of #MeToo.

Jim Carrey’s Trump art is…wow. Just wow.

“At present, Donald Trump is an autocrat without an autocracy. The system mostly resists his demands because it’s not designed to operate that way and we have centuries worth of norms that are remarkably resilient. But systems change. And it’s clear that ours is already starting to change under his malign influence.”

RIP, Steven Bochco, creator of such iconic TV shows as Hill Street Blues, LA Law, and NYPD Blue.

“But it isn’t okay, Stephanie says later. None of them have been okay since Oct. 1, when the family was caught in the crosshairs of the deadliest mass shooting in modern American history. Rosemarie, 54, has been hospitalized for all but two days since — her excruciating recovery a testament to the all-consuming devastation a single high-velocity bullet can cause. As Rosemarie recovers from multiple surgeries to repair the wounds to her lungs, liver and spleen and awaits a final procedure to treat her damaged stomach, the family has watched in horror as other defenseless people have endured mass shootings. Again and again — at a Texas church, in a small California town, at a Florida high school — the same type of gun, the same type of bullets. Dozens have died, and many others have been left like Rosemarie.”

“But the reality of autism is very different from depictions on TV and film, where autistic people are almost always portrayed as awkward white male geniuses.”

Three words: Emergency backup goalie. I love this story.

RIP, Joe Watts, father of Houston gay theater.

“When you have large groups of embittered people – even more so when they are creative people or crazies who spend countless hours producing videos for Youtube – one of them is going to connect that bitterness to their own unhingedness and do something terrible. That’s what seems to have happened here.”

Congress, Not Amazon, Messed Up the Post Office”.

RIP, Daniel Akaka, former Senator from Hawaii.

Texas blog roundup for the week of April 2

The Texas Progressive Alliance believes that everyone counts and everyone should be counted as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for April 1

The grocery store apocalypse has begun.

“The defining fact of digital life is that the web was created in the libertarian frenzy of the 1990s. As we privatized the net, releasing it from the hands of the government agencies that cultivated it, we suspended our inherited civic instincts. Instead of treating the web like the financial system or aviation or agriculture, we refrained from creating the robust rules that would ensure safety and enforce our constitutional values.”

“Women are also rejected. Women also spend their teen years pining after dreamy boys who will never love them back. You don’t see us going around murdering people over it. You don’t see us setting up internet communities for the purpose of talking about how evil and shallow men are for not taking us to pound town.”

A deep look at Cambridge Analytica.

More streaming apps do not necessarily mean more and better options for TV watching.

“A second possibly criminal danger for Trump stems from his omission of any Stormy-related information on his 2017 financial disclosure forms.”

RIP, Linda Brown, girl at the center of the Brown v. Board of Education case.

“It’s worth noting something that seems to have been totally lost during the Trump Era: lying about people is wrong. Lying about people is not “free speech.” We actually do have laws that govern what you can say about somebody, and when you spread falsehoods, you can be held to account in a court of law.”

If it seems like everything on TV is a reboot these days, well, there’s a reason for that.

“That is a chilling pattern of behavior from a rich man, his legal team, and awful media organizations who are concealing the truth from the public. Legal bullying is bad enough. Media complicity is a true scandal. But the cherry on top is that Daniels — who notably avoids making any inflammatory statements (she downplayed the spanking story, insisted that her sex with Trump, disappointing though it was, was 100 percent consensual, and noted that he respected her boundaries when she didn’t want to have sex again) — says she was threatened in a parking lot in Las Vegas by a man who mentioned Trump by name. He allegedly said it’d be a shame if her infant was left motherless. This is not gossip.”

“The NRA said it did not receive foreign money in connection with the U.S. election. It does not say that foreign money was not used in a U.S. election.”

No one wants to be Donald Trump’s attorney.

RIP, Rusty Staub, “Le Grand Orange”, iconic baseball player and humanitarian for the Mets, Expos, Astros, and Tigers.

“It’s really not that complicated. If you or I appeared on Fox and Friends tomorrow and said that Trump’s golf swing was looking terrific, we would probably find ourselves getting appointed ambassador to the Seychelles or Martinique or secretary of the National Endowment for the Humanities sometime next spring.”

RIP, Johan van Hulst, Dutch schoolteacher who saved hundreds of Jewish children during the Holocaust.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 26

The Texas Progressive Alliance stands with the marchers as it brings you this week’s roundup.

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Weekend link dump for March 25

In the end, Toys R Us will just have been the first of many businesses of all descriptions facing the same hard demographic truth: Economic growth is extremely difficult without population growth.” Which, by the way, is one of the best arguments for increased immigration.

A NASA astronaut brought her 4-year-old son to a spacesuit photo shoot“. Much cuteness ensues.

“In many states, regulations have created barriers to safe, effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable abortion services.”

“So what motivates this swell of right-wing support for Trump? At this point, though many people on all sides still refuse to acknowledge it, the evidence is overwhelming: It was cultural backlash, against immigrants, minorities, uppity women, liberals, and all the other forces seen as dislodging traditional white men from their centrality in American culture.”

The tax loophole business is booming, thanks to the Trump/GOP tax cuts.

“This is a good place to start because the real experts in Stone Age nutrition think our ancestors — who, by the way, were foragers — consumed a wide variety of ever-changing plant foods that gave them up to 100 grams of fiber daily. We, on the other hand, eat an average of 15 grams of daily fiber. Our forebears are thought to have eaten lots of insects, too.”

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reviews that book about The Bachelor.

“How Trump’s Lawyer’s Silly Lawsuit Against BuzzFeed May Free Stormy Daniels From Her Nondisclosure Agreement”.

Gosh, why do you think Donald Trump is acting guilty?

An Abridged List Of Facebook’s Unforeseen Consequences.

“If you can’t quite bring yourself to close down your account—maybe there’s a support group or family connections you’d like to keep active—then here’s how to restrict the amount of data Facebook has got on you.”

“So, in my view, if Breitbart is losing traffic, it’s not for any extrinsic reason; it’s because as low as they brought things, their audience — its brains turned to harmless glue by long exposure to Breitbart’s crap– now wants to go lower still.”