Off the Kuff Rotating Header Image

Blog stuff

Weekend link dump for March 17

“Acknowledging the role of luck is the secular equivalent of religious awakening.”

“What Dollar Stores Tell Us About Electoral Politics”.

Behold Stevie Nicks’ magnificent shawl collection.

“What are you giving up for Lent? Well, instead of giving something up how about doing something positive. How about this: Be kind.”

“A look at history suggests we shouldn’t be surprised that voters care about whether presidents understand them and their problems.”

RIP, Julia Ruth Stevvens, last surviving child of Babe Ruth.

“Hiding in Plain Sight: PAC-Connected Activists Set Up ‘Local News’ Outlets“.

Preview a new film about the decades-long effort to suppress the vote.

“Facebook and Amazon appear to be helping hate groups fundraise through philanthropy tools hosted on their platforms.”

OMG, this college admissions scandal. I mean, seriously. It’s bonkers, and yet it’s a very real kind of thing in 2019.

Oh, and now I know way more about Lori Laughlin’s Hallmark Channel dominance than I ever wanted to know.

“There is no “balance” in giving a platform to peddlers of unscientific and irresponsible notions – climate change deniers, anti-vaxxers or those who call the moon landing a hoax.”

“New Zealand Attack Underscores Social Media Sites’ Tolerance of Anti-Muslim Content“.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance supports making Election Day a national holiday as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for March 10

Facebook moderator is an unbelievably crappy job, for crappy pay.

More Joe Bob Briggs, please.

God, these people are idiots.”

“If we really want to help people being victimized, we will try to change the conditions that make people vulnerable to exploitation”.

“Cohen’s Big Reveal was as simple as this: Donald Trump, our 45th president, thinks that you’re a sucker – and he got elected anyway.”

Supreme Court Justices aren’t supposed to lobby for the confirmation of lower court judges.

More than you ever wanted to know about the Fox News/Donald Trump symbiosis.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer‘s Musical Episode Is Finally Getting the Vinyl Release It Deserves”.

RIP, Luke Perry, versatile actor best known for Beverly Hills 90210.

“The Unsettling Parallels Between Leaving Neverland and Abducted in Plain Sight“.

I’m fully in the tank for daylight savings time, and would support making it year-round. More afternoon sunlight, please.

Mama Ocasio-Cortez seems like a cool lady.

The world’s rarest fish has been given a reprieve.

“Ten Undeniable Facts About the Michael Jackson Sexual-Abuse Allegations”.

“How Do You Recant a Rape Story? Asking for Mötley Crüe.”

RIP, Jerry Merryman, one of the inventors of the hand-held electronic calculator.

RIP, Jean Fairfax, civil rights activist and leader in desegregating schools.

Wishing Alex Trebek all the best.

Also wishing Tom Seaver all the best. I’m Yankees for life, but Tom Terrific was exactly as advertised, and a class act besides.

RIP, Dan Jenkins, legendary sportswriter and author. Charlie Pierce, after dispensing with the Trump-supporting prostitution spa owner story, has some lovely things to say about Jenkins as well.

I can’t begin to express how much this story infuriates me.

Texas blog roundup for the week of March 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance has been thinking thoughts of spring training as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for March 3

“The Republican dilemma is that they hate the only solution that would approximate what they actually want. They hate it because President Obama signed it into law. They hate it because they’ve lied about this law nonstop for more than a decade and those lies are very internalized.”

“The most cost-effective way to help the homeless is to give them homes”.

“So we found a live bat in our archive.”

“Over the last two decades, nearly 100 women told authorities all about sexual crimes allegedly committed by the hedge-funder Jeffrey Epstein.”

Sometimes you feel like a nut, soteriologically speaking.

So, what is the military doing to screen for white nationalists?

Don’t Use a Debit Card at the Gas Pump. (Two words: Card skimmers.)

RIP, Jeraldine Saunders, author and creator of The Love Boat.

“Utilities Are Starting to Invest in Big Batteries Instead of Building New Power Plants”.

“In short, lawyer up, dirtbag.” Being sorry won’t help.

Buffy FOMO. I feel ya.

You wouldn’t think it was possible for a species of giant tortoise to hide for 100 years, but apparently it is.

“How Cohen’s Testimony Backs Up the Case That Trump Helped Russia Attack the 2016 Election”.

I don’t know what one has to do to be banned by the Canadian Football League, but Johnny Manziell managed to do it.

“Plagued by Predators, YouTube Is Disabling Comments on Most Videos Featuring Children”.

RIP, Katherine Helmond, actor best known for roles on Soap and Who’s the Boss?.

RIP, Andre Previn, composer, conductor, and four-time Oscar winner.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 25

The Texas Progressive Alliance prepares a report for your perusal every week, and this week is no exception.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for February 24

“Think about it this way: For two years, with his own party in control of Congress, Trump couldn’t get his border wall funded. Honestly, despite his own reports of being the most accomplished president ever, he didn’t get much else done either.”

An interview with the urologist who reattached John Wayne Bobbitt’s penis.

“The strange thing about getting to a place as a society where women are finally serving in significant numbers in government and breaking long-entrenched barriers in other fields is that we’re in for a lot more women disappointing us in the coming years.”

“Here’s the latest list of dildos that want to steal your personal data”.

“So that statistic caught my eye. Some background: I worked in technical recruiting, my girlfriend is a [software engineer], I’d say that about half my closest friends are women [software engineers]. This statistic was so far off their experiences and mine that I was instantly suspicious. So I dug into it.”

Why you can’t bring a mechanical pencil to the LSAT.

“Every time another headline pops up about how women are underrepresented on the charts or in music production or missing from festival lineups, we should think about the countless gatekeepers who, instead of helping women, used their positions for sexual gain at the expense of their targets.”

Have you ever really looked at your fin, man?”

RIP, Don Newcombe, former Dodger and one of the first African-American pitchers in MLB.

“The people who applaud the lock-’em up stuff are easy to account for. The people who are harder to get are the other 10 or whatever percent who aren’t MAGA-heads but who approve of the job he’s doing.”

Get ready to start saying good-bye to Windows 7.

“It is never acceptable to use state or federal funds to discriminate based on religion.”

Let Carlton copyright “The Carlton”.

Now we need to worry about evil USB cables.

Three words: Falcon sex hats. You’re welcome.

RIP, Peter Tork, bassist for The Monkees.

“7 Scenarios for How the Mueller Probe Might ‘Wrap Up'”.

“Whenever you read about the transgender people killed in any given year, it’s in large part due to the work [Monica] Roberts does. National LGBT advocacy organizations and mainstream news outlets alike rely on her as an early source of information.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 18

The Texas Progressive Alliance did not find any tigers in abandoned homes this week, but it did find the time to produce a weekly roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for February 17

I don’t want a Lost reboot, but a new story set in the same universe could be cool.

“How Russia infiltrated the world of American religious-right filmmaking”.

“A few notes on [Jeff] Bezos’ security apparatus.”

“Despite what the judge in Stone’s case might argue, in other words, being charged with a crime—or, in Corsi’s case, almost charged with one—does actually turn out to be an excellent public-relations opportunity. For people in the greater Trump orbit, the publicity of a legal clash with Robert Mueller provides a chance to tap into the thriving marketplace of fringe pro-Trump media. Disinformation in America is a business. And the profit to be turned from that business is a warning sign that the alternative stories of the Mueller investigation spun by the president’s supporters will have a long shelf life.”

“Conservatives’ evolution on religious liberty, in other words, is best understood through their lack of judicial empathy.”

Great moments on Sesame Street as it celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“The EGOT Club: 15 Hollywood Heavyweights Who Have Won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony Awards”.

I sure hope you don’t use – or more accurately now, didn’t use – VFEmail as your email provider.

“A conversation with the daughter of the serial killer BTK.”

“In every case, Schultz’s solution is either what the mainstream of the Democratic Party is already proposing to do or is so vague as to be meaningless.”

“My fellow journalists, are we really going to do this again?”

RIP, Carmel “Kim” Prashker Ebb, first female clerk to a federal appeals court judge.

So Lyndon LaRouche has apparently died at the age of 96. Assuming it’s not a conspiracy, of course, or some sort of “his head has been cryogenically frozen” scenario a la Walt Disney (yes, I know that’s an urban legend; work with me here). There are a handful of LaRouchies that periodically infest the downtown tunnel system, with their insane posters and flyers. Not having to encounter them ever again is one of the very few positive things I’ve gotten from not working downtown any more. Anyway, Ed Kilgore has a good read on the life and political times of Lyndon LaRouche. May his cryogenically preserved head get freezer burn.

RIP, Rick Schmidt, Texas barbecue legend and former owner of Kreuz Market.

“For all the other more important criticisms of President Trump, what’s striking is just how bad he is at being President. The Wall is a stupid waste. But he could have had billions to build it if he wanted to. Now he’s going to seize – or rather attempt to seize – a few billions of dollars in ways that are likely to be at least slowed down for years in litigation.”

“President Trump is talking. That is, he’s stringing words together into vaguely sentence-like constructions. Let’s listen in via my carefully curated Twitter feed. I guarantee that this captures the spirit of Trump’s remarks better than any normal media story you’ll read.”

RIP, Dave Smith, historian and founder of the Walt Disney Archives.

Good for Colin Kaepernick and Eric Reid. They deserve every penny and more.

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 11

The Texas Progressive Alliance only spends forty percent of its day in Executive Time, which is just enough to put together this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for February 10

“With Trump, on the other hand, close to 50 percent of Americans have already said they definitely wouldn’t vote for him even though we’re still more than 600 days away from the election.”

“But in many local markets, the arrival and expansion of Airbnb is raising questions about its potential negative impacts on local housing costs, quality of life in residential neighborhoods, employment quality in the hospitality industry, and local governments’ ability to enforce municipal codes and collect appropriate taxes.”

It’s too damn cold for your phone.

“Lorena Gallo, formerly Bobbitt, is hoping that we’re ready to see her as more than a punchline about a severed penis.” I do remember the stories about how her former husband abused her, so I’m on board with this.

“Your Super Bowl Boxes [Were] Almost Certainly Illegal”.

“What replacement players did for the NFL in 1987, fights over steroids have done for MLB since 2002. You cannot separate the disparate treatment of drug-policy offenders, both internally and externally, from the labor dynamics of each league.”

RIP, Bob Friend, longtime Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher.

“Jonathan Edwards was the most influential American theologian of his day and he remains one of the most influential American theologians of our day. He was also completely and spectacularly wrong about the single most important and biggest ethical, moral, and theological question of his life. Hugely, magnificently wrong. (Spinal Tap voice: How more wrong could he have been? None. None more wrong.)”

Three words: Pringle stack mathematics. You’re welcome.

He’s an amateur in the White House. He doesn’t have a lot of experience in governing, and I don’t see a lot of learning going on. He looks hideously weak.”

I for one welcome our potential alien overlords.

The weirdest strikeout in MLB history.

Fargo news! Hooray!

The only SOTU recap you need.

Free Southside Johnny! And his co-plaintiffs, too.

Six facts reporters should know if they’re going to write about abortion”.

“Something unusual happened to me yesterday. Actually, for me it wasn’t just unusual — it was a first. I was made an offer I couldn’t refuse. Or at least that’s what the top people at the National Enquirer thought. I’m glad they thought that, because it emboldened them to put it all in writing. Rather than capitulate to extortion and blackmail, I’ve decided to publish exactly what they sent me, despite the personal cost and embarrassment they threaten.”

“What it does show is that AMI is precisely the criminal enterprise, weaponizing pseudo-journalism and cash payoffs on behalf of wealthy associates, as we’ve come to suspect.”

RIP, Frank Robinson, Hall of Famer, MVP in both leagues, first black manager in Major League Baseball. Read this if you don’t know much about Frank Robinson.

RIP, John Dingell, longest serving member of Congress and Twitter genius.

RIP, Albert Finney, British actor and five-time Oscar nominee.

So how’s that Trump tax “cut” working for you?

Texas blog roundup for the week of February 4

The Texas Progressive Alliance would like to announce that it is not forming an exploratory committee to run for President, but it is bringing you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for February 3

I’m so glad my kids are too old for the “Baby Shark” era.

Possibly better ways to do overtime in the NFL.

Flying cars still aren’t a thing, but jetpacks are on their way.

“It’s Now Clear None of the Supposed Benefits of Killing Net Neutrality Are Real”.

“The production-weighted cash cost to create one Bitcoin averaged around $4,060 globally in the fourth quarter, according to analysts with JPMorgan Chase & Co. With Bitcoin itself currently trading below $3,600, that doesn’t look like such a good deal.”

Meet Alice de Rivera, who as a 13-year-old girl in 1969 forced the NYC school board to let girls take the Stuyvesant High School entrance exam.

More than you ever wanted to know about the one-panel comic The Lockhorns.

Please, no more Margaret Court Arena at the Australian Open.

“There is no reason at all why Schultz’s preferred mix of policies should be considered “the center” of anything, and it’s important that people understand why.”

“Trump no doubt thinks he looks more reasonable if he gives Congress plenty of time to act before declaring an emergency. He might also think that Congress’s repeated failure to provide funds shows the need for emergency action. The truth is the exact opposite. By giving Congress time to definitively establish its unwillingness to fund the border wall, Trump is both taking away any legitimate justification for emergency action and proving his intent to subvert the constitutional balance of powers.”

“Why isn’t the original Law & Order — the flagship series in what’s arguably the most successful TV brand ever created — currently available on any American streaming platform?”

“My faith teaches me to engage in authentic solidarity, to see others’ oppression as our own. It’s just not an option to throw another community under the bus — even if it might make our lives easier or safer.”

“Howard Schultz is no longer CEO of Starbucks. But as de facto founder (he took it over as a small coffee roaster and developed it into what we know as Starbucks) I imagine he is still a major shareholder. Really he and Starbucks are inseparable. But I don’t think he’s really considered how vulnerable the company is to a boycott or simply enduring brand damage tied to this effort.”

RIP, Kim Bok-dong, human rights activist and “comfort women” survivor.

Don’t mansplain, Dan. It’s not a good look.

Don Junior takes the lead in the “dumbest Trump offspring” contest.

Look on the bright side: You are almost certainly polling better than Howard Schultz.

Ralph Northam must resign.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 28

The Texas Progressive Alliance salutes Speaker Nancy Pelosi (or “Speaker Pelosi”, as we call her) for getting Donald Trump to fold in the shutdown fight as it brings you this week’s roundup.

(more…)

Weekend link dump for January 27

“One month after controversial adult-content purge, far-right pages are thriving on Tumblr”.

Now that’s what I call a great white shark.

A brief but informative lesson on modern baseball economics.

“It’s crucial to remember that vaccine hesitancy is a complex, multi-tiered issue affecting the entire planet, and it shouldn’t be defined solely by the well-known maniacs of the anti-vax movement that provide so much fodder for disdain and dismissal.”

“Why do people on TV use blatantly fictitious and janky-looking search engines when Google exists?”

“For each 10 percentage-point increase in household gun ownership, the youth suicide rate increased by 26.9 percent”.

Rudy Giuliani, explained. The scary thing is, that makes sense.

“Here’s what to expect in cybersecurity in 2019″.

AeroMexico knows how to troll.

“To be completely transparent, my opinion is that what happened on the National Mall this weekend, under Abraham Lincoln’s granite stare-down, would never have happened if those privileged, MAGA-hat-wearing white dudes had been properly raised by the responsible adults in their lives. If they had parents, teachers, or community leaders capable of imparting both the necessity and the wisdom of respecting people who hold differing opinions from their own, this all could have been avoided. Clearly, that was the original failure.”

Birtherism never dies, it just changes targets.

“Justice [Ruth Bader] Ginsburg will have a cameo role in The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part, and Her Honor will get her very own Lego figure to boot.”

“The ongoing partial U.S. federal government shutdown is having a tangible, negative impact on cybercrime investigations, according to interviews with federal law enforcement investigators and a report issued this week by a group representing the interests of FBI agents.”

“From the NFL to rec leagues, football is facing a stark, new threat: an evaporating insurance market that is fundamentally altering the economics of the sport, squeezing and even killing off programs faced with higher costs and a scarcity of available coverage”.

Nothing has made me identify more strong strongly with Generation X than this.

Let me call you Sweetheart, but not till next year.

RIP, Russell Baker, Pulitzer-winning humor columnist for the NYT.

It’s about time someone was unanimously elected to the Hall of Fame.

“The Trump campaign conspired, colluded, and coordinated with WikiLeaks to disseminate stolen, private communications of U.S. citizens and the Democratic Party in order to seek an advantage in a political campaign. We no longer need to have any debate about that question.”

Patton Oswalt is a mensch.

RIP, James Frawley, Emmy-winning director of The Monkees TV show and the original The Muppet Movie.

“Nothing is going to happen. This is surrender. I don’t see how it becomes anything. It’s just complete, total surrender.”

The president delivered nothing for his base and created financial instability for millions of others, uniting Democrats around House Speaker Pelosi, who emerged as his foil during the stretch.”

“The identity of whoever was allegedly directing Bannon and Stone to seek other damaging information about Clinton isn’t disclosed in the indictment. It was likely someone in the very upper reaches of the campaign – possibly a member of the Trump family or Trump himself. Regardless, the indictment’s 24 pages offer one of law enforcement’s most thorough descriptions to date of how intimately Trump’s closest advisors worked with WikiLeaks and Russian-sponsored hackers during the 2016 campaign. The indictment also draws a very full portrait – via testimony, public statements, email and other evidence – of just how readily and actively the Trump campaign colluded with foreign interests in its bid for the presidency.”

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 21

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for January 20

“A scathing takedown can be cathartic, thrill-inducing, or necessary—sometimes all at once. But with the collapse of monoculture and the rise of social media, the critiquing game has changed.” Scalzi has some thoughts on this as well.

“There are only three sure things in life. The first is death. The second is taxes. And the third is that in any discussion of the second, someone will inevitably be confused by the matter of marginal tax rates.”

I for one still use RSS. Whatever problems it may have had with its development, it’s convenient and gives me control of what I want to read.

“Violence in America has declined so much that I feel like I’m living in a different country than the one I grew up in.”

“Rural Western states that voted for President Trump are disproportionately affected by the government shutdown”.

Answering questions you didn’t know you had about The Jetsons.

“The first question to ask yourself when absorbing this story is, what does it mean for a president to be working for Russia, and against the United States?”

“The skills gap is fixed, because there was no skills gap”.

RIP, Mel Stottlemyre, longtime Yankees pitcher and pitching coach for both the Yankees and the Mets.

“It was about Russia. It was always about Russia. Full stop.”

“This week marks the midway point of Trump’s term. Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable. We find it hard to believe, for example, that we are engaged in a serious debate about whether the president of the United States is a Russian-intelligence asset. So we decided to pause for a moment and analyze 50 of the most improbable, norm-bending, and destructive incidents of this presidency to date.”

“So here’s a question that should be posed to Trump: Why did you repeatedly assert that Russia was not attacking the United States after you were told by US intelligence experts it was?”

RIP, Carol Channing, legendary Broadway performer best known for Hello, Dolly.

Fyre fight!

“National parks face years of damage from government shutdown”.

Steve King Was Saying Insanely Racist Things Long Before Republicans Decided Enough Was Enough”.

Are bike advocates selling out if they work for Uber or Lyft?

From the “I may have committed some light collusion” department.

RIP, Rita Vidaurri, Tejana music legend.

What you need to know about that password megabreach you may have heard about.

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 14

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for January 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

The remarkable and uncanny political career of Jerry Brown.

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

The town of Marfa gets the Simpsons treatment.

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

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

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

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

I love stories like this. Just read and enjoy.

RIP, Ron Mock, controversial death penalty lawyer.

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

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

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of January 7

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for January 6

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

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

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

The unsolved political micro-mysteries of 2018.

Let’s make “exvangelical” a common word.

The Mark Burnett connection to Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what censorship looks like.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good effing riddance to the outgoing Congress.

Weekend link dump for December 30

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

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

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

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

TV stars we said goodbye to in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are your Golden Dukes winners for 2018.

How the conversation about guns changed in 2018.

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 24

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for December 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

The biggest tech lies of 2018.

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

Santa’s attorney tells all.

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

Celebrating local journalism in all fifty states.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a good year for horror on television.

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 17

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for December 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

New frontiers in lying, from Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 10

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for December 9

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

You should have the right to keep your Alexa silent.

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

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

About that Marriott data breach…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Dukes are coming.

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of December 3

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for December 2

“How to Shop Online Like a Security Pro”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Ricky Jay, master magician and actor.

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

RIP, Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Yes, please do repeal the Hyde Amendment.

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

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

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 26

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

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

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

====================

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

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

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

Juanita catches up on the border troop surge.

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

Mean Green Cougar Red offers his post-election thoughts.

Weekend link dump for November 25

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

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

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

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

Remembering the Jonestown massacre, 40 years later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens when an asteroid crashes into the polar ice?

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

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

Texas blog roundup for the week of November 19

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

(more…)

Weekend link dump for November 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, John Rogers, longtime president of Comic Con.

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

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

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

Also, don’t let your domain registrations lapse.

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

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

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

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

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

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