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Weekend link dump for March 18

Ichiro Suzuki is one of the most fascinating people, not just baseball players, you’ll ever hear about.

Microsoft is trying to kill the password, and it’s about time.”

“Civil society requires the toleration of the expression of opposing viewpoints, no matter how personally discomforting you may find them. Therefore, it would be profoundly hypocritical for the editorial staff of the New York Times opinion section not to immediately invite me to come to their offices to call them all morons and trolls.”

Lying liar Hans von Spakovsky continues to lie a lot.

There’s another big abortion-related case before the Supreme Court.

You can now permanently turn off sound on websites in Chrome.

“Why has so little changed in almost 20 years since Columbine? I don’t know. Why has so little changed since the mass shooting at Sandy Hook where 20 children and 6 adults were gunned down in cold blood? I cannot understand. Why has the mass shooting in Parkland, Florida galvanized the nation? Because now, it is our innocent children leading the fight for meaningful change.”

“When you go to work in the White House, you divest yourself of your secrets for the same reason you divest yourself of your financial holdings: so people can’t blackmail you. Though the emphasis on Trump’s taxes may have seemed to many voters a secondary issue, the Stormy Daniels scandal shows why they mattered.”

RIP, Floyd Carter, Sr., Tuskegee Airman and NYPD veteran.

Jeffrey Toobin explains why you shouldn’t take that OJ Simpson interview seriously.

“From 1999 to 2015, more than 1,000 15-year-olds married in Missouri. Of those, The Star’s review of data shows, more than 300 married men age 21 or older, with some in their 30s, 40s and 50s. Assuming they had premarital sex, those grooms would be considered rapists.

“Let me put it to you this way. Which would you rather have: a bumbler who disagrees with Donald Trump from time to time, or a seemingly efficient bureaucrat who agrees with him almost all of the time? Because we had the former in Rex Tillerson, and soon, in [Mike] Pompeo, we will have the latter, and that’s a lot more dangerous.”

“But at the present time, Lamb’s performance in Pennsylvania 18 is merely the latest sign Democrats are surging right now, spelling trouble for Republicans heading into the midterm elections.”

RIP, Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist and much more.

“Google will ban online advertisements promoting cryptocurrencies and initial coin offerings starting in June, part of a broader crackdown on the marketing of a new breed of high-risk financial products.”

RIP, Augie Garrido, college baseball’s winningest coach.

Even peak Jerry Springer couldn’t have come up with this.

“Avenatti is giving a master class on how to create a great scandal.”

RIP, Rep. Louise Slaughter, longtime member of Congress from New York.

RIP, Ed Charles, the “heart and soul” of the 1969 Miracle Mets.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 12

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates the winners of last week’s primaries and thanks those who did not win for their dedication as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for March 11

“We spent months talking with anti-Trump forces—and they’re not who pundits say they are.”

There are a lot more bisexual characters on TV these days.

If you’re a Terry Pratchett fan, your cup is about to runneth over.

A definitive chronology of generations, including future ones.

“For all those who like to say Donald Trump doesn’t do anything of significance as commander in chief, the president reached an important milestone [last] Saturday, when he spent his 100th day since moving into the White House at one of his golf clubs”.

Donald Trump is in up to his neck on Russian influence. It’s been there all along.

“But we’ve seen enough in the last week to make it seem plausible that Kushner’s aggressive, enabling behavior in that crisis was tied to his efforts to get money to bail out his family company. If that is true – and I suspect it is – it would amount to a level of corruption entirely unparalleled in American history.”

“Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.”

Wait, you mean embiggen wasn’t already in the dictionary?

“The USS Lexington, one of the first US aircraft carriers ever built, sunk during a heated World War II battle against the Japanese Navy. After laying 3,000 meters (about 2 miles) beneath the waves for over 75 years, researchers have discovered its final resting place.”

But is it art? It can be if it wants to be.

Boobs. Utah boobs. Utah Bar Association boobs. Have you clicked yet?

“It’s not accurate. It’s not funny. It’s not clever. It’s not analysis. It’s facile. It shows an actual lack of understanding of reality tv (can’t believe I’m typing that). It’s mediocre. It’s a time when viewers need to understand what’s going on at the highest levels of govt.”

“But America’s gun violence epidemic only can be reduced through effective, enforced legislative policies—or simply by fewer people shooting people. And that is happening. There has been an astonishing 25-year reduction in gun violence and homicide among youth (see charts). This puts high schoolers in a unique position to challenge today’s narrow political discourse.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 5

The Texas Progressive Alliance is cheered by the turnout in the Democratic primary as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for March 4

Donald Trump is making more lawyers. You’re welcome, I guess.

“In fact, if you’re a Gmail user, the periods in your email address don’t matter at all. Gmail completely ignores them. You can add or remove as many periods as you’d like.”

“Every time there’s a mass shooting or terror event, due to the subsequent backlash, this YouTube conspiracy genre grows in size and economic value. The search and recommendation algorithms will naturally ensure these videos are connected and thus have more reach. In other words, due to the increasing depth of the content offerings and ongoing optimization of Youtube’s algorithms, it’s getting harder to counter these types of campaigns with real, factual information.”

RIP, Nanette Fabray, star of stage and screen best known to me for her role on One Day At A Time.

Citizens United at work: “Donations from 10 super-rich individuals account for more than 20% of the money filling the bank accounts of federal super PACs, a USA TODAY analysis shows, highlighting how a small group of wealthy patrons is racing to influence which party will control Congress for the remainder of President Trump’s first term.”

Bending over: You’re doing it wrong.

An ode to Lisa, the beating heart of The Simpsons, a role model to a generation of women—and to Yeardley Smith, who’s been bringing Lisa to life for 30 years.

The kids are all right.

“The Republican Party has backed itself into a politically untenable position, defending a stance on gun rights that is so extreme it has rendered the government incapable of fulfilling its most minimal function, which is to protect citizens against the kind of deadly violence from which they would suffer in the absence of any government at all.”

“Nearly two-thirds of adults now believe that mass shootings can be prevented, the first time since Columbine that a majority of Americans have felt that way.”

Is umpire extortion a thing, and if so did Lenny Dykstra do it?

“More than 100 cities around the world now get at least 70 percent of their electricity from renewable sources such solar, wind, geothermal, and hydropower”.

“If the tax cuts matter for investment, then companies like GE, Microsoft, and Amazon were making plans as soon as it became clear that the Republican majority in Congress was serious about passing a tax bill. The fact that we are seeing zero evidence of an uptick in investment suggests that tax cuts don’t have much impact on investment.”

Remembering M*A*S*H, 35 years after its finale.

“Certainty of death, in other words, is no deterrent to mass shooters. Most of them may, in fact, be driven by it.”

What Would the GOP Do If 30 Clinton Staffers Lost Their Security Clearance?

RIP, Judge Paul Clarence Murphy III, one of two Republican judges on a Houston appeals court who ruled in 2000 that the 100- year-old Texas sodomy law was unconstitutional.

“The strongest available evidence supports the conclusion that statutes aimed at keeping guns out of the hands of children curtail unintended injuries to kids, self-injuries and suicides.”

RIP, David Ogden Stiers, versatile and prolific actor best known as Major Winchester on M*A*S*H.

RIP, Sir Roger Bannister, first person to run a mile in under four minutes.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 26

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


Weekend link dump for February 25

Ancient bird poop is surprisingly good at giving answers to ecological questions.

How the Grammys stack up against other major awards in terms of female representation.

“All in all, the odds are disconcertingly high that Russia, or somebody, has blackmail leverage over the president of the United States.”

RIP, Ed Banks, known as the honorary Mayor of Houston’s historic Third Ward.

It appears that USA Swimming was just as bad as USA Gymnastics.

Tom Cotton is woefully misinformed” is a thing you could say in many different contexts.

I didn’t watch the NBA All Star Game, so I’m happy to accept Fergie’s apology for her rendition of the national anthem.

“At the heart of the Russian fraud is an essential, embarrassing insight into American life: large numbers of Americans are ill-equipped to assess the credibility of the things they read.”

“Miami-Dade County is suing former Miami Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria and the new ownership group led by Derek Jeter seeking money from the $1.2 billion sale of the team.”

“The Army has awarded Medals of Heroism, the service’s highest medal for Reserve Officers’ Training Corps cadets, to the three JROTC students killed defending their classmates from a gunman at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida on Feb. 14.”

“Spies looking to infiltrate, compromise and direct a foreign organization look precisely for chaotic and disorganized contexts. They look for gullible people. They look for pleasers. They look for people who are desperate, broke, blackmail-able. These are all features, not bugs. This must have made the Trump campaign an irresistible target for Russia. Because it had all the key vulnerability points in spades. I think anyone who makes this argument really doesn’t know what they’re talking about.”

RIP, Billy Graham. You know who Billy Graham is. The Slacktivist puts his obituary into context.

“A look at the Twitter feeds of students like David Hogg shows that they are a remarkable foil for the pro-Trump media’s trolling tactics. Like the pro-Trump media, they, too, are an insurgent political force that’s native to the internet. And while they use legacy platforms like cable news to build awareness of their names and of their causes, much of the real work happens online.”

“It’s time to reexamine the evidence that Clarence Thomas lied to get onto the Supreme Court — and to talk seriously about impeachment.”

“But I, for one, have found myself humbled to near-silence by these brave teenagers, and not just because they are media savvy and seemingly without fear. They are extraordinary. With each spin of the news cycle, these students are offering a lesson for all of us about what protests can look like, and how we can reimagine social justice, in the Trump era.”

Meet Sherri Nichols, one of the great early pioneers of the baseball statistics revolution.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 19

The Texas Progressive Alliance is thankful Adam Rippon is here to distract us from everything else as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 18

A filter for assholes would really improve Twitter. It would really improve real life, too, though that may be a bit much to ask.

Three words: Mutant crayfish clones. You’re welcome.

Goddammit, Alamo Drafthouse. You needed to be better than that.

Sexual Harassment in the Children’s Book Industry. Sadly, a long read.

Fifty Shades markets itself as a swirling Cinderella romance with a dash of kink, with a mousy nobody who is swept off her feet by a charming billionaire with a penchant for handcuffs and rough play. But the union between Christian and Anastasia is so unbelievably toxic and awful that it becomes an endurance test to sit through.”

“You show me [a Harvard Law School] grad willing to work with Trump, and I’ll show you an active threat to democratic self-government.”

“We now have ample evidence of what should have been predictable from the start: Almost everyone who signed up to serve President Trump was in a critical way like him, either ideologically or in personal character. The notion that more than a handful were dedicated, non-extremist professionals serving in spite of Trump’s failings rather than because of them has simply failed the test of evidence.”

I think the lesson here is to avoid buying houses that were prominently featured in TV shows about gruesome murders.

Behold a robot dog that can open doors. Yeah, we’re pretty much screwed as a species.

Turns out it is possible to shame Sean Hannity. Difficult, but possible.

“But the best people want to work for the best bosses, in the best organizations, supported by the best cultures. Trump hasn’t created anything of the kind. The Trump administration is a leaky, chaotic, dangerous place, where staffers operate under constant threat from Trump and each other, and in which the president is so uncertain of his own opinions and agenda that more staff energy goes into persuading him of what he believes than carrying out what he wants.”

The tanking will be strong in the NBA this year.

Roy Edroso tells you what you need to know about Megan McArdle.

“Michael Cohen lies through his teeth like most people breathe. So it’s entirely possible that Trump or various other entities made Cohen whole. But as someone who’s done a lot of research into Cohen and his decade-plus relationship with Donald Trump, I will say again: picking up this charge himself is entirely plausible.”

Chrome’s new ad-blocking capabilities sound pretty good.

From the Donald Trump Ruins Everything: Bachelor Winter Games department.

There are things that can be done to reduce the frequency of gun massacres. We know that because in every other developed country on Earth they have been done, and have made a difference. Australia, Scotland, Norway, Canada, Germany, Finland—these and other countries have had occasional horrific mass shootings. These countries have just as high a proportion of mentally ill people as the United States does, just as many with pent-up grievances. But only America has an endless series of gun killings.”

“This shows Mueller has been doing consequential work, not just sniffing around the White House looking for an excuse to indict Trump.”

“Disclaimer: The following op-ed was penned by guest blogger B. Mercenarius III (well, by his ghost writer, and in accordance with the conclusions of several focus groups regarding the talking points likely to be most effective in eliciting the sympathy of his fellow Americans). Any resemblance to Rebekah Mercer’s op-ed in The Wall Street Journal of February 14, 2018, entitled, “Forget the Media Caricature. Here’s What I Believe” is deliberate and intended as parody.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 12

The Texas Progressive Alliance reminds everyone that early voting for the primaries begins next week as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for February 11

Everything you wanted to know about the link between lead and crime but were afraid to ask.

Three words: Internet of dildos. You’re welcome. Also, too, Dan Quayle would totally say “Internet of dildoes”.

So what’s up with all the TV reboots, anyway?

“But neither Budweiser’s good deeds, nor its slick marketing, can camouflage what’s happened to the once-ubiquitous brand: Budweiser is in the midst of a long, steady decline, the victim of drinkers’ shifting preferences.”

A history of mocking how people from South Asia speak.

Pretty much everything you need to know about the Devin Nunes memo.

How to keep the Super Bowl experience going all year long.

“We lose track of how many things the President has done just in the last few weeks which were heretofore unimaginable and which all would be credible and robust grounds for removal from office.”

RIP, John Mahoney, Chicago stage actor best known for his role on TV’s Frasier.

“This bears repeating: Computational propaganda—defined as “the use of information and communication technologies to manipulate perceptions, affect cognition, and influence behavior”—has been used, successfully, to manipulate the perceptions of the American public and the actions of elected officials.”

“So now the main attack on the FBI is about font size. No doubt all the subsequent memos Nunes is promising to release will have additional bombshells.”

“One thing we’ve learned in the last two years is that no legal, moral, or cultural strictures bind Trump and that he is immune to the better angels of human nature. The moral event horizon around him consumes the good in anyone who becomes one of his vassals. There is no better version of Trump, ever.”

Like Game of Thrones in space, except not really.

RIP, John Perry Barlow, lyricist for the Grateful Dead and cofounder of Electronic Frontier Foundation.

“A new DNA analysis of Britain’s oldest complete skeleton has concluded that early Britons had dark skin, dark hair, and light eyes — upending assumptions about what the area’s indigenous population really looked like.”

Woman Claims Airline Told Her To Flush Emotional Support Hamster Down Toilet“. I got nothing.

“It’s pretty strange that Pence is seriously losing it over being called out for his own dehumanizing views on LGBTQ community. Judging from his life’s work, he ought to be thrilled to not have to talk to a gay person. Instead, he’s resorting to passive-aggressive negging and self-pitying.”

“Grandma’s no-exceptions policy on divorce was an absolute rule, but it wasn’t her only absolute rule. And when that absolute rule clashed with another one — the rule that said women must be kept safe from the men who would harm them — she didn’t hesitate.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 5

At long last, the Texas Progressive Alliance will #ReleaseTheBlogRoundup for this week.


Weekend link dump for February 4

“In a recent review, published online Jan. 10 in the journal Astrobiology, a trio of scientists from the U.S. and Japan posited that viruses may be spread across interplanetary space. Those researchers want to convince astrobiologists to devote more time looking for these curious molecular machines.”

“Dear White Evangelicals, I need to tell you something: People have had it with you. They’re done.”

How likely it is that a reboot may happen for your favorite TV sitcom.

“But the sad fact, one year into this presidency, is that the current approach to covering this White House is no longer working. We are reading the same memes again and again, and the president, a savant at intuiting public sentiment, is doing everything he can to keep the treadmill moving.”

“As a straight male, the best teacher I ever had was a gay man.”

“The fitness tracking app Strava is giving away the location of secret US army bases.” Oops.

I for one welcome our new robot newscaster overlords.

“There have been very, very many attempts to identify the core of Trumpism, but this — stripped of conventional politics, stripped of considerations of wealth and celebrity — seems to reach it as few other anecdotes have: Donald Trump is a guy on dry land, staring at the television for hours because he wants to make himself feel terror and loathing toward sharks.”

Meet Rachael Denhollander, the first woman to go on the record to publicly accuse Larry Nassar of sexual assault.

Tom Hanks will play Mister Rogers in a forthcoming biopic of same.

RIP, Kevin Towers, former general manager of the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks.

“That belief is a political choice. It is a political choice to accept a big lie that the president and his defenders have been peddling for months about federal law enforcement and intelligence.”

“Alleging a concerted conspiracy by the FBI/DOJ in obtaining the Page FISA necessarily implicates the judge who approved it, and suggests they are incompetent (at best) or corrupt (at worst). If Nunes is alleging serious crimes on the part of the FBI and DOJ, he must put his money where his mouth is and identify the judge who approved the FISA application. If he doesn’t, it’s likely because even he knows that this would be taking his accusations too far.”

RIP, Oscar Gamble, former Yankee outfielder known for his glorious Afro.

No one says “No” when they mean “No”, so maybe we shouldn’t fixate on that.

I’m in a 7-foot blue shark costume. There’s no cool in that. So what’s the other option? Well, I’m gonna play a different character.”

“A Texas-size bollocking over proper attire, wasting taxpayer money and spying for the bureaucrats in Washington.”

RIP, Emma Primas, supercentenarian, businesswoman, and honorary ambassador for Houston.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 29

The Texas Progressive Alliance has submitted its application for Deep State Secret Society affiliation as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 28

There’s a good case to be made that collusion is happening again in Major League Baseball.

When life hands you lemons, form an organized crime syndicate. Or something like that.

From the you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave department.

“The cities of El Paso, Texas, and Ciudad Juárez in the Mexican state of Chihuahua are considering a scheme to build an integrated binational bikeshare system between the two cities.”

Great overview of improv comedy and how that form has finally come to be more diverse in recent years.

“A lot of people occupying powerful positions in American soccer are not making a good faith attempt to recruit the best talent possible. The USMNT is not getting better. For those reasons alone, American soccer needs new leaders.”

“A new species of wasps in Florida was named after Ichiro Suzuki“.

The headphone compatibility problem we now face.

“I liked the actress who portrayed me. And I would like to say, ‘Gins-Burn!’ sometimes to my colleagues.”

“On Monday, the executive leadership of the USA Gymnastics Board of Directors — Chairman Paul Parilla, Vice Chairman Jay Binder, and Treasurer Bitsy Kelley — all announced their resignations, effective January 21.” Good riddance. Burn it all down.

RIP, Hisako Robets, co-founder with her husband of the legendary Salt Lick BBQ outside Austin.

“A watchdog group filed a pair of complaints on Monday alleging that a $130,000 payment reportedly made to a pornographic film actress who claims to have had an affair with Donald Trump violated campaign finance laws.”

RIP, Hugh Masakela, South African trumpeter, singer and activist who played with Paul Simon on the Graceland album and tour.

RIP, Ursula K. LeGuin, groundbreaking science fiction and fantasy author.

So, which religious conservative groups were targeted for infiltration by the Russians in 2016, and which ones got themselves infiltrated?

In case you were wondering what Garrison Keillor was alleged to have done.

“This might be one of the greatest examples of political performance art I’ve ever seen.”

“Travel to the U.S. has been declining since Donald Trump took office, leading to a cost of $4.6 billion in spending and 40,000 jobs”.

“Harvey was the most significant tropical cyclone rainfall event in United States history, both in scope and peak rainfall amounts, since reliable rainfall records began around the 1880s.”

RIP, Mort Walker, longtime cartoonist who created Beetle Bailey and Hi and Lois, among many others.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 22

The Texas Progressive Alliance is now fully aware of what the phrase “freeze your keester off” means as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 21

“President Trump’s approval rating fell across a wide swath of demographic groups over his first year in office, including among those seen as important to his base, like white voters, evangelical Christians and those who live in rural areas.”

There’s something charmingly retro about an extortion threat delivered via snail mail that demands payment in Bitcoin.

“I Made the Pizza Cinnamon Rolls from Mario Batali’s Sexual Misconduct Apology Letter”.

“So in answer to the question, why do we let all these people from holes into this country, I guess the answer is because they renew our energy and values, and help us combat our growing golf gut.”

You can learn a lot from shitholes, shit piles, and other things having to do with shit.

You’re not on Arya’s list. Deal with it.

The “Do Not Call” list is basically useless these days.

RIP, Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of the Irish band The Cranberries.

“I’ve never tweeted before but today felt like a good day to start.” Click over and you’ll see how right he was.

Just a reminder that Mitt Romney lied a lot, too.

Where does the family TV show go from here?

Hey, remember when gay marriage was going to destroy us all? Good times.

“I would humbly suggest that this is not a healthy development for the church or for the country.”

RIP, JoJo White, Hall of Fame guard for the Boston Celtics.

RIP, Doug Harvey, one of only ten umpires in the MLB Hall of Fame.

Some basic rules for securing your Internet-connected devices.

“The FBI is investigating whether a top Russian banker with ties to the Kremlin illegally funneled money to the National Rifle Association to help Donald Trump win the presidency”.

RIP, Hugh Wilson, director and creator of WKRP in Cincinnati.

Larry Nassar is a monster, but many, many people enabled his abuse.

The only correct ballot for the Hall of Fame.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 15

The Texas Progressive Alliance thinks a house of cards built by a hyperactive six-year-old is more stable than Donald Trump as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 14

What “Meltdown” and “Spectre” mean to you.

“Few surprises are more compelling than the recent discovery that falcons are more closely related to parrots than they are to hawks and eagles.”

“We Have A New Prime Number, And It’s 23 Million Digits Long”.

The Asian fetish of far-right white nationalists.

“Trump’s complete lack of fitness as president has nothing to do with whether he has any diagnosable conditions. Suggesting otherwise, in fact, gives him and his enablers medical cover, right when the focus should be on their corruption, bigotry, and incompetence.”

“The truth that Wolff arrives at in Fire and Fury is pretty much the same one that a regular reader of political reporting for the past year would have gleaned from the work of journalists at mainstream papers.”

“All the Mentions of Sexual Harassment During the Golden Globes”.

Hooray! More Fargo next year!

Screw Wikileaks, now and forever.

“That’s why, though the cost of chicken has risen over the years, it’s advantageous for stores to keep the price of rotisserie chickens down. In fact, rotisserie chicken has long been priced lower than fresh whole chicken, a detail consumers perennially find confusing, and publications take turns investigating every few years.”

RIP, Derby, beloved bat dog of the minor league Trenton Thunder.

RIP, Meriem Lucille Roby Anderson, member of the Women Airforce Service Pilots, an elite group of more than 1,000 women who flew aircraft during World War II.

RIP, Diego Esparza-Arcienega, beloved figure in Houston’s indie rock scene.

“Every time we get a little bit closer to holding powerful men accountable for their actions, bad historical metaphors tumble forth from people who are eager to appear to be concerned about overreach and due process. Overreach is always possible. Due process is important. But comparisons that equate holding the powerful accountable with the systematic persecution of marginalized people are both offensive and intended to obfuscate the truth.”

“Conservatives have recently been pushing a theory that the basis for the FBI investigation was an opposition research document compiled at the behest of Clinton’s campaign. Simpson’s testimony seems to confirm the Times account and thereby debunk a conservative counternarrative that places the dossier itself at the center of the story.”

Hey, it’s New Diet Coke. Just please don’t call it “Diet New Coke”.

“Leading up the 2016 election, it was possible to imagine a broad anti-Trump coalition that included conservative Republicans like Brooks. But after the chaos wrought by Trump’s candidacy and victory, American politics is again sorting itself along usual partisan lines. If Trump’s personality cult has merged with the Republican Party, then the only effective anti-Trump movement will be among partisan Democrats, who vote not just to stop the president but also the party that enable him.”

RIP, Doreen Tracy, original Mouseketeer.

Donald Trump has a long history of being a racist jackass.

And it turns out that in many languages, there’s no direct translation of “shithole”. As someone who studied French in school – and who admires the fact that in French there are different words for “shit” depending on whether it’s being used as a noun or a verb – I was most interested in their rendition. “Pays de merde” is literally “shit countries” or “shit lands”, which is a pretty accurate rendering of the true intent. #themoreyouknow

It’s a problem for US news organizations, too. You know, when I started this blog a million years ago I decided that I’d keep the language clean on it (something I definitely do not do in real life), and yet here we are.

RIP, Keith Jackson, legendary broadcaster known as the voice of college football.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 8

The Texas Progressive Alliance knows where the really big buttons are as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for January 7

Hope the new year doesn’t already suck for you.

The ten worst things Scott Pruitt’s EPA has already done.

“How disinformation will be deployed in 2018 and beyond is unclear. What is clear, however, is that the Kremlin believes its efforts to sow chaos in the American political process, which it has continued to hone in Europe, have worked and are poised for a return.”

“Kremlin trolls burned across the Internet as Washington debated options”.

“And where are the lavish profiles of people (broke, white, or otherwise) who have soured on Trump?”

This is not normal. Repeat one million times.

Why “biblical literalism” makes you susceptible to hustlers.

December 28, 2017, was the 100th anniversary of the H.L. Mencken hoax about Millard Fillmore’s bathtub.

Here are your 2017 Golden Dukes winners.

Four things that were supposed to have happened by now with Trump as Pr*sident.

“This is banana-republic-type stuff. One year into Trump’s term in office, his character has not changed.”

“Playboy Enterprises Inc. reportedly is considering killing the print magazine, which was started more than six decades ago”.

Did you read something by “Alice Donovan” last year? Then I hope you will recognize that “she” was the creation of Russian intelligence.

People fail to get the joke. Film at 11.

“I don’t know how well the president will do in deflecting these criticisms with this stupid press release, but if this is the kind of criminal defense on which he and his family are pinning their hopes, he’s really going to wish he never became president.”

If you’ve ever wanted to yell at Sean Hannity, here‘s your chance.

Basically, everyone knows Donald Trump is an idiot. It’s just that the people who can do something about it – i.e., the Republicans in Congress – refuse to do so.

We’re Animaniacs, we have pay or play contracts…

“Roy Moore accuser files defamation suit against him”.

RIP, Jerry Van Dyke, actor and brother of Dick Van Dyke.

RIP, John Young astronaut who flew in space six times.

RIP, Rita Clements, widow of former Texas Governor Bill Clements.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 1

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone a happy and blue-wavey new year.


Weekend link dump for December 31

Boomers, man. They’ve ruined it for the rest of us.

Lots of people are coming to terms with past associations with sexual harassers. It’s a tough thing to grapple with, but we’re all the better for being open and honest now.

Here’s a map showing how many Americans died as a result of above ground atomic testing during the 1950s.

“The Charterstone Condo Board is pleased to announce this year’s nominees for 2017’s Worthy Awards. Each daily strip has been carefully reviewed by the Condo Board, and this year’s nominees represent the best that Mary Worth has to offer.”

Dirk Nowitzki is a mensch. Be sure to follow the link from inside the story, too.

RIP, Heather Menzies-Urich, best known as one of the Von Trapp children on The Sound Of Music.

“And just what real-world noise is a dragon’s purr based on? Tortoises having very loud tortoise sex.” You’re welcome.

RIP, Bob Givens, animator who helped design Bugs Bunny and Elmer Fudd.

“Here is a complete list of the now 20 women who have come forward under their own names to accuse the president of sexual assault, unwanted touching or kissing, or other inappropriate sexual behavior.”

If you’re even a little surprised that female sports journalists have to put up with a ton of sexual harassment, you haven’t been paying attention at all.

“For anyone who ever thought their wedding guest list posed challenges, this one tops them all.”

The Library of Congress won’t be archiving your tweets any more.

RIP, Rose Marie, actor and comedian.

RIP, Erica Garner, daughter of police brutality victim Eric Garner.

RIP, Sue Grafton, mystery novelist.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes a Merry Christmas to all who celebrate it as we bring you this weeks’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for December 24

Some rules and observations for Christmas music, which I endorse.

“While Republicans in the political class will no doubt cite [Roy] Moore’s loss as proof that their party needs to nominate stronger, more mainstream candidates next year, it’s far from certain that primary voters on the ground will heed such pleas from the swamp.”

The science of Star Wars, or why you’re probably not getting a light saber for Christmas.

“Why Anakin Skywalker should’ve been removed from the Jedi Order for sexual harassment”.

“But what those critics don’t recognize is that the nationalistic, race-baiting, fear-mongering form of politics enthusiastically practiced by Mr. Trump and Roy Moore in Alabama is central to a new strain of American evangelicalism.”

How’s that War on Christmas going?

“In hindsight, the Climategate hack, clearly timed to disrupt the Copenhagen negotiations, looks like a precursor to the hack that helped shape the outcome of the 2016 election.”

Meet Kirsten Karbach, the only female baseball play-by-play person working for a professional affiliated club. For now, at least.

“So a bitcoin is just a share of this system. It’s like stock in a newer-and-not-improved PayPal. Although that might be selling it a bit short. It’s more like a time machine that exclusively takes you back to 1999, the peak of the dot-com mania.”

“So I think some of the white evangelical celebration following Trump’s Jerusalem is a sense of relief and of renewed hope that Rapture Christianity might stage a comeback. Rapture Christians have now been given a pretext for resetting the clock and restarting their perpetual countdown. Never mind 1948. The clock starts now — with God’s chosen people (America) officially recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Trump just gave them a fresh set of downs — another 40 years in which to revive their message of an urgently imminent Rapture.”

RIP, Mamie “Peanut” Johnson, one of three women to play baseball in the old Negro League.

The Disney “Hall of Presidents” attraction will never be the same.

“The Trump presidency is a huge political fact. Donald Trump may not be the leader of American conservatism, but he is its most spectacular and vulnerable asset. The project of defending him against his coming political travails—or at least of assailing those who doubt and oppose him—is already changing what it means to be a conservative. The word conservative will of course continue in use. But its meaning is being rewritten each day by the actions of those who lay claim to the word. It is their commitment to Trump that etches Trumpism into them. And while Trump may indeed pass, that self-etching will not soon be effaced.”

“So stand up. Speak out. Our country needs all of us to raise our collective voices in support of our democratic ideals and institutions. That is what we stand for. That is who we are. And with a shared commitment to our founding principles, that is who we will remain.”

RIP, Heather North, longtime voice of Daphne in Scooby Doo cartoons.

“Young children believe aging is directly tied to celebration, and it is the act of attending your birthday party that makes you age another year. Without the cake and candles, according to a number of the study’s subjects, a kid could stay 3 forever.”

$1.5 trillion could buy a lot of truly useful things instead of lining the pockets of rich people.

RIP, Dick Enberg, Hall of Fame sportscaster.

RIP, Clifford Irving, author of the infamous hoax biography of Howard Hughes.

RIP, Bruce McCandless, first astronaut to float untethered in space.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance congratulates Sen.-elect Doug Jones as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for December 17

The Democratic Party is the most united American party in modern political history.

The real-life Bada Bing Club will be closing its doors in New Jersey.

What can go wrong when you give Amazon your house key.

It’s harder than you might think to accurately count violent crimes in the US.

Safer avocados for fewer hand injuries.

Poor babies: “A bad dream for U.S. firearms producers has become reality: The fear-based motivation for gun purchases has evaporated and is being replaced by bargain hunting.”

“This is the Elmore Leonard/Frank Peretti mash-up I didn’t even realize I’d been waiting for.”

“Democrats cannot shut down the government. They are the minority party and have neither the power nor the responsibility to keep the lights on and the government open.”

You can’t snitch on golfers any more.

An already outdated list of TV shows that have been affected by the wave of sexual harassment allegations.

RIP, Ed Lee, former Mayor of San Francisco.

Future generations will be taught about Roy Moore’s final campaign rally in Alabama as the sort of thing that we are glad never happens any more.

“The larger issue is that the Republican Party is led by an unpopular president and unpopular congressional leaders who are pursuing an unpopular agenda, and it’s putting them in massive electoral peril.”

“Not every race is going to go as badly for Republicans as this Alabama Senate election — but if enough go half as badly, or even a third as badly, they’re still in for a rough time next year.”

RIP, Pat DiNizio, lead singer of The Smithereens.

Disney buys most of Fox. But not Fox News. That would have been interesting.

“Rosenstein is clearly trying to thread the needle: protecting Mueller’s lawful and correct investigation while also kicking enough dirt and rubble into the gears of the rule of law to serve or perhaps keep at bay his ultimate master, President Trump. It’s comparable to his role in James Comey’s firing: writing a nominally reasonable memo which he knew would be used for an unreasonable, quite possibly illegal purpose. It is almost the definition of complicity – a largely passive and perhaps incomplete participation in corrupt acts.”

The castle grounds snarled with a wave of magically magnified wind. The sky outside was a great black ceiling, which was full of blood. The only sounds drifting from Hagrid’s hut were the disdainful shrieks of his own furniture. Magic: it was something that Harry Potter thought was very good.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance wonders if Donald Trump has ever heard of Krampus as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for December 10

You’ve probably been playing Monopoly incorrectly your whole life.

Basically, Yetis are bears. I’ll bet the same is true for Bigfoot.

“The Satanic baby-killers have always been with us, even though they have never actually existed. We reinvent them over and over, adapting the old lies in new forms.”

“Trump’s tweets don’t advance a consistent policy agenda. They don’t make a cogent case for the administration’s position on this or that topic. They don’t articulate a direction for the nation’s foreign policy or communicate a coherent message for the wider world. They exist solely to antagonize, provoke, and polarize. Only his most extreme, uncritical admirers like these outrageous assertions. Everyone else ends up appalled — and that negative response ends up being a good part of why those extreme, uncritical admirers liked them in the first place. It’s all about reaction, all the way down.”

Here’s the best Astros-themed Christmas light display you will see.

“About those chopped-down potentates and lords: many of them, one couldn’t help but notice, were not the most attractive specimens on the block: bulbous, jowly men; fat men who told women they needed to lose weight; ugly men drawn to industries organized around female appearance. Men with weird hair. Is it wrong of me to bring this up? We do, after all, move through the world as embodied creatures. I wondered what it felt like, if you’re such a guy, one who’s managed to accrue some significant portion of power in the world but you’re still you—coercing sex out of underlings. When you look in the mirror, is it a great white hunter you see staring back, with women as your game of choice? Sure you’ve won, you’re on top, but isn’t every win a tiny jab of confirmation about your a priori loathsomeness? If sexual domination assuages something for certain men, is it because somewhere inside lives a puny threatened runt, and extracting sexual compliance is some form of recompense?”

“We do not come at this issue as political partisans; though we are registered Democrats, we have supported Republicans, consider ourselves moderates and have worked with key figures in both parties to improve political processes. Still, we can’t help seeing the Republican Party as the root cause of today’s political instability.”

“A column written by the immortal Art Buchwald about Watergate-era Nixon defenders has a certain resonance as Robert Mueller’s investigation proceeds.”

The millennials are coming, and they will have an effect on elections going forward.

RIP, John Anderson, former Republican Congressman from Illinois who ran for President as an independent in 1980.

Bitcoin is terrible for the environment.

“The evidence is now irrefutable that Trump, his associates, and Republican leadership more broadly conspired to give Moscow a pass despite (or perhaps because of) Russia’s attack on our democracy.”

“If you want the tax cuts and the judges, you’ve also signed up for the racism, the misogyny, the amorality, the lawlessness, the deranged tweets, possibly even something close to treason. Trump supporters own it all.”

Russia has been banned from the 2018 Winter Olympics.

“Europe and Asia have taken a significant lead over the United States in the race to field the next generation of high-intensity lasers for use in medicine, nuclear weapons development, manufacturing and science”. But don’t worry, because we have the world’s greatest coal mines and pass-through tax codes.

Look, there are millions of women out there who weren’t murdered by Ted Bundy, so you can’t go judging him by the women he did murder. Allegedly. I don’t believe any of them are actually dead.

“I don’t know how big a role [Erik] Prince plays in the larger Russia story. But he and his various companies, whatever name they’re now operating under, are a dangerous and malevolent force in our current moment, even more than they were a dozen years ago when Blackwater was playing such a big role in America’s wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.”

“Are you struggling to buy a toy for your child this year holidays? Are you wanting to help others? Do you like ecstatic taxidermied heads in Santa hats? If any of these apply then you are in the right place, because today marks the eighth (EIGHTH!?) annual James Garfield Miracle.”

The rise and fall of Michael Flynn.

RIP, Alice Lok Cahana, artist and Holocaust survivor.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance wishes everyone Treason’s Greetings as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for December 3

Is this the end of the line for Microsoft Excel?

“It should not be possible for anyone observing James Dobson in 2017 to be disappointed, because it should not be possible, in 2017, to have still retained any illusions about Dobson’s morality or honesty.”

Kids these days, and the Availability Heuristic.

Lots of things the NY Times could have done to avoid writing a puff-piece profile of a fucking Nazi.

“Michigan State must be held accountable for enabling Larry Nassar’s abuse”.

Cut the technobabble in TV scripts, save valuable time.

“If you’ve cooked out of a book, magazine, or newspaper in the past three decades or so, chances are pretty good that many of the recipes you’ve used have called for kosher salt. It’s been an American standard for a good while. The trouble is that the two major kosher salt brands—Diamond Crystal and Morton—perform in wildly different ways.”

“A woman who falsely claimed to The Washington Post that Roy Moore, the Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Alabama, impregnated her as a teenager appears to work with an organization that uses deceptive tactics to secretly record conversations in an effort to embarrass its targets.” Of course lying liar James O’Keefe was behind this.

“But who hired O’Keefe to make this specific video? One where, once again: O’Keefe hired a woman to lie about sexual assault in order to protect a sexual predator by discrediting women who had actually been assaulted.”

Meet Flash Drives for Freedom, one of the leading forms of resistance against North Korea and Kim Jong Un.

A documentary about Mister Rogers is set to come out next year.

“YouTube’s Creepy Kid Problem Was Worse Than We Thought”.

“@JamesOKeefeIII thought he was going to WIN a political argument with CNN by abducting one of their reporters, trapping her in a sex dungeon & videotaping her crying for fear she’d be raped. Now, he’s busted trying to fake cover for a child molester. Is America great again yet?”

How to write about Nazis without making them sound sympathetic.

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but don’t eat raw cookie dough.

“But I think we should recognize this basic point: news coverage can’t force people to care about something they don’t care about.”

Like many other men who have been accused of sexual harassment, Matt Lauer had a history that was there to be seen.

“Donor dissatisfaction has translated into meager Republican fundraising hauls.”

RIP, Jim Nabors, singer, actor best known for playing Gomer Pyle, and honorary Marine.

“But if you want to see a bill rammed through, right now Republicans are showing us how it’s done.”

A profile of Zainab Ahmad, one of the two prosecutors who procured today’s guilty plea from Michael Flynn, and who used to hunt terrorists in Brooklyn federal court.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 27

The Texas Progressive Alliance is stocked up on leftovers as it brings you this week’s roundup.


Weekend link dump for November 26

You tell me there’s an inhabitable planet within feasible travelling distance, I’m so there.

“So if you’re feeling adventurous, here’s how you can make your very own roast Facehugger“.

“Targeted ads that seem to follow you everywhere online may soon be doing the same on your TV.”

So, when are people going to start calling for Clarence Thomas to resign?

Rot in hell, Charles Manson. You died where you belonged.

RIP, Mel Tillis, country music Hall of Famer.

Who am I to disagree with H.R. McMaster?

“What I found was that Trump embodied his supporters’ most profound beliefs—combining an insistence that discriminatory policies were necessary with vehement denials that his policies would discriminate and absolute outrage that the question would even be asked.”

Seeing Roy Moore’s lawyer get called a moron by other, more competent lawyers will never get old.

Pro tip: Check your Christmas tree for spiders before you bring it in the house.

RIP, David Cassidy, 70’s teen heartthrob and star of The Partridge Family.

“This is what we have to worry about. It’s not that there are a bunch of irredeemably racist and misogynistic and religiously bigoted people in our country so much as Trump is making more of them, and he’s getting them to drop their standards on pretty much everything else, too.”

What Grant Brisbee says.

Apparently, Seth MacFarlane had been warning us all along.

How are you ever going to prove the earth is flat if you’re not allowed to launch a rocket to get the evidence?

Basically, nobody actually favors repealing net neutrality.

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 20

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