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November 19th, 2017:

Weekend link dump for November 19

“The massive asteroid that slammed into Earth and wiped out the dinosaurs might never have triggered a mass extinction had it struck almost any other part of the planet, scientists claim.”

“In a dramatic intellectual turnabout, most archaeologists and other scholars now believe that the earliest Americans followed Pacific Rim shorelines from northeast Asia to Beringia and the Americas.”

“No wonder the Heritage Foundation is so jazzed for this guy — an Originalist who can actually ask George Mason what he was thinking.”

RIP, Liz Smith, legendary gossip columnist.

“So when you ask, will evangelicals abandon Moore over this? Some will. But Trump admitted assaulting women and still 81% of white evangelicals voted for him. White evangelicals remain his strongest base of support.”

“So – even putting aside the point that the criminal-law standard of proof doesn’t apply to a political campaign – there is ample evidence for the proposition that Roy Moore, as a thirty-two-year-old assistant district attorney, molested a fourteen-year-old girl. The prisons are full of people convicted on much less proof.”

“I’m going to state that again, in case you didn’t get the full meaning of that: The conservative right — the most religious segment of our population — decided to boycott a company because it refused to sponsor a show that defended a pedophile. To put it in other terms: The enemy of my enemy is my friend, ergo, Hannity and Co., are now friends with pedophilia.”

How to Opt Out of Equifax Revealing Your Salary History.

“While WikiLeaks bills itself as a neutral proponent of transparency, the 2016 election made it quite clear that wasn’t the case.”

“At no point during the 10-month correspondence does Trump Jr. rebuff WikiLeaks, which had published stolen documents and was already observed to be releasing information that benefited Russian interests.”

“The evidence of Russian hacking has been coming in from other sources, including George Papadopoulos, who was informed that Russia had obtained hacked material long before any of it was actually released. What remained a question was whether Wikileaks was a witting or unwitting participant in Russia’s game. In my opinion, these Twitter messages remove any doubt about that. Wikileaks was acting in a way that was completely indistinguishable from how a Russian intelligence agency would act. And they weren’t making any effort to disguise this from the Trump campaign.”

“Sean Hannity would like his fans to stop smashing Keurig coffee machines.”

“Well, it turns out that Roy Moore — in addition to being a vicious bigot seething with contempt for LGBT people, Muslims and non-white people, and in addition to being so contemptuous of the rule of law that he was twice removed from service as a judge, resulting in a lifetime ban from Alabama courts, and in addition to being a Barnum-esque grifter who turned used a Ten Commandments monument to fleece church-goers out of millions in donations, and in addition to being an alleged child molester and attempted rapist who so creeped out his neighbors that he was (allegedly) banned from a local shopping mall and YMCA — is not particularly honest.

“Trump’s tweets are impulsive, immediate, unvarnished. They amount to realtime surveillance of what he was thinking and what he knew at key points of the campaign. They just require the fruits of the ongoing investigations to decipher what they mean.”

RIP, Bobby Doerr, Hall of Fame second baseman for the Red Sox. As it happens, a family friend was part of the effort to get Doerr inducted into the Hall by the Veterans Committee in the 80s. I remember reading a paper he’d written called “Open The Doerr” to advocate for his case.

The more I hear about the Galaxy Quest TV show, the more I am looking forward to it.

“Cards Against Humanity, an irreverent card game company known for its attention-seeking pranks, says it bought land on the U.S.-Mexico border to block President Trump from building his wall.”

Roy Moore’s lawyer is kind of an idiot.

What Mara Wilson says.

Sen. Al Franken should be ashamed of himself, and it’s good that he will cooperate with the Senate ethics investigation against him and accept their verdict. For what it’s worth, Leeann Tweeden has accepted his apology, which is not something we’ve seen in any of the far-too-many cases before now.

RIP, Ferdie Pacheco, boxing analyst and ringside doctor for Muhammad Ali.

RIP, Malcolm Young, co-founder of and guitarist for AC/DC.

PPP polls show “generic Dem” winning in CDs 07 and 32

Via Daily Kos, Public Policy Polling sampled a number of targeted Congressional districts for 2018, including two in Texas, and the results are encouraging, to say the least.

TX-07

In Texas’ 7th Congressional District, Republican incumbent Congressman John Culberson has an approval rating of 31%, and 55% of voters say they disapprove of the job he is doing. President Trump has an approval rating of 37% and a disapproval rating of 59% in Culberson’s district, while 12% of voters say they approve of the job Congress is doing and 83% say they disapprove. Speaker Paul Ryan is also unpopular with 29% of voters saying they approve of the job he is doing and a majority (65%) responding that they disapprove. These percentages, along with a hypothetical matchup between Culberson (39%) and a “Democratic opponent” (49%), indicate that Culberson is quite vulnerable in his upcoming re-election. The new tax plan is not popular in his district, and a majority (53%) of voters indicated they would be less likely to vote for Culberson if he voted in favor of the Republican tax plan.

TX-32

In Texas’ 32nd Congressional District, Republican incumbent Congressman Pete Sessions has an approval rating of 36%, and 52% of voters say they disapprove of the job he is doing. President Trump has an approval rating of 39% and a disapproval rating of 58% in Sessions’ district, while 6% of voters say they approve of the job Congress is doing and 85% say they disapprove. Speaker Paul Ryan is also unpopular with 27% of voters saying they approve of the job he is doing and a majority (66%) responding that they disapprove. These percentages, along with a hypothetical matchup between Sessions and a “Democratic opponent,” where Sessions has 43% of the vote and his Democratic opponent has 48%, indicate that Sessions is quite vulnerable in his upcoming re-election. The new tax plan is not popular in his district, and a majority (51%) of voters indicated they would be less likely to vote for Sessions if he voted in favor of the Republican tax plan.

As the Kos post warns, there are ample reasons to maintain a healthy level of skepticism about such polls. It’s way early; polling at this time in the 2014 cycle looked pretty good for Dems, too. “Democratic opponent” has no record to defend or campaign to execute, and may have to survive a rough primary. We have no idea what the question wording was, or what the assumptions were about the partisan makeup of the districts. All that said, if Dems are leading the national Congressional preference poll by double digits, it stands to reason that districts like these would at least be competitive. As always with polling, we’ll see if subsequent results affirm or contradict this one.

It’s about the domestic violence

You want to do something to reduce gun violence, here’s the place to start.

Domestic violence cases have risen sharply across the state, with more than 210,000 wives, girlfriends, husbands and others suffering death or injury at the hands of a family member in the past two years. More than 550 wives or girlfriends were killed by a domestic partner between 2012 and 2016, according to state figures.

“We continue to underestimate the reach and devastation of domestic violence,” said Gloria Aguilera Terry, chief executive of the Texas Council on Family Violence. “Domestic violence thrives in the silence and obliviousness we give it. Only when we confront the very conditions which allow domestic violence to exist will our homes, public spaces and places of worship be truly safe.”

[…]

Despite law enforcement’s best efforts to curb the violence, the deaths continue unabated. The Harris County Institute of Forensic Science recorded 229 domestic violence homicides from 2010 to 2016, or an average of 31 homicides a year.

Of those, at least 22 – about 10 percent – were relatives of the main victim.

Amanda Johnson, with the Dallas chapter of Moms Demand Action for Guns Sense in America, said the shooting underscores the need for smarter gun laws.

“People violent enough to be violent enough with their own children and spouses are also violent enough to commit mass murder,” she said. “When they have easy access to these weapons, it’s a really deadly combination.”

She and other advocates hope the Sutherland Springs shooting will spark a national dialogue, particularly with the daily abuse many women face that doesn’t draw the same scrutiny as a mass shooting.

“Up until now, the media would lose interest in a shooting once they found out it was a domestic violence incident and not a ‘real’ crime,” Johnson said. “Sutherland Springs is a game-changer.”

Sherri Kendall, CEO of Aid to Victims of Domestic Violence, said approximately 1 in 4 women experiences domestic violence at one point or another.

“While we are seeing a number of multiple homicides with domestic violence in the timeline, it is happening all the time,” she said. “We have to learn something from it. When this story is over we have to continue to be vigilant in our communities to make sure there are services for survivors and for perpetrators.”

The Sutherland Springs shooting highlighted the need to ensure domestic abusers can’t possess firearms, advocates said.

“This man had a history of abuse, and he should not have had access to a firearm, and we are advocating for stricter gun laws when it comes to being the hands of convicted abusers,” said Chau Nguyen, chief marketing officer at the Houston Area Women’s Center. “If we don’t take action, we’re going to see this as a recurring reality in our lives – and we know the link between domestic violence abusers and mass shooters.”

The link between domestic violence and gun violence is very strong. It’s not just the guys who commit the big headline-grabbing mass murders who depressingly and consistently turn out to have had a history of domestic violence, it’s the everyday (literally, every day) three-to-six people killings that no one outside those affected pay attention to because we’re all mesmerized by the latest double-digit massacre. There are many things we could do to ameliorate this if we wanted to. My advice would be to elect more people who do want to do something about it.

Buffalo Bayou Brewing to build new facility

We remain in a craft beer renaissance.

Buffalo Bayou Brewing Co., which launched nearly six years ago with a beer called 1836 honoring the date of Houston’s founding, is preparing to break ground on a $14 million brewery and restaurant that would be one of the largest and most visible of its kind in the city.

The announcement marks another milestone for the industry, as breweries continue to pop up and civic boosters market them more heavily.

The three-story, 28,000-square-foot Buffalo Bayou Brewing facility is planned for Sawyer Yards, an artist studio-anchored development just south of Interstate 10 near downtown, the Woodland Heights and other bustling neighborhoods. The brewery would boost production capacity significantly and take fuller advantage of state laws that allow it to sell some beer on-site.

Founder Rassul Zarinfar said his business outgrew its original location, a converted warehouse near Memorial Park that is expected to ship about 8,000 barrels this year. The new facility, 3 miles away and expected to open in 2018, will provide immediate relief and could be expanded over time to a 50,000-barrel capacity.

The company has begun the permitting process and expects construction to take nine months.

The new site will include a taproom and 200-seat restaurant that would be larger and more comfortable for visitors, who currently squeeze into an un-air-conditioned corner of the brewery and a small outdoor patio to sample the wares and snack from food trucks.

Full- and part-time employment would approximately double, to about 100, Zarinfar said.

[…]

[Last month], Houston tourism officials began selling one-day, three-day and 90-day Brew Passes at VisitHouston.com that purchasers can redeem for a sample flight of beers and other discounts at six Houston breweries.

Maureen Haley, director of strategic tourism initiatives at Visit Houston, said locals and tourists alike seek out unique experiences.

“As more breweries that have smaller production get into the game, you have to go there to get the beer,” she said.

I’ve been to a few events at the current Buffalo Bayou location. Good beer, but definitely crowded and loud as a result, and parking – it’s on one of the narrow streets a block south of I-10 between Shepherd and TC Jester – is a problem. The new location sounds great, and I look forward to visiting. Also, I need to get a couple of those three-day Brew Passes for the next time my dad is in town. Best of luck with the construction, y’all.