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March 11th, 2018:

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“Washington became the first state Monday to set up its own net-neutrality requirements after U.S. regulators repealed Obama-era rules that banned internet providers from blocking content or interfering with online traffic.”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

Meanwhile, in Montgomery County

There they go again.

The Republican primary defeat of embattled Montgomery County Judge Craig Doyal — and close contests in two county commissioner races headed for runoffs — could signal major leadership changes and a shift further to the right in the fast-growing Houston suburb.

State Rep. Mark Keough, who defeated Doyal, was among several candidates favored by the county’s influential tea party movement — and like-minded statewide groups — who fared well Tuesday. Others in this cohort include Steve Toth, who overwhelmingly won the Republican nomination for the legislative seat that Keough is vacating, and Greg Parker, who got 43 percent of the vote in a three-person race and forced County Commissioner Charlie Riley, with 43.5 percent, into a primary runoff.

Toth and Parker have staked out positions aligned with the most far-right elements of their party. Parker’s campaign website says he wrote a book described as “a critical look at the myth and liberal hysteria surrounding climate change.” Toth, who was instrumental in the formation of the county’s tea party movement, has advocated eliminating property appraisal districts and freezing appraisals at the purchase price of a home.

[…]

Political observers agreed that toll roads emerged as a dominant issue in the county, where tea party groups carry a lot of clout, particularly in The Woodlands. Texas lawmakers have gone from championing to criticizing toll roads, a shift that some Houston-area leaders worry has gone too far and could limit coming projects.

“Without toll roads and that funding, I don’t know what we are going to do,” Doyal said late last year, citing the need for new roadways in rapidly growing parts of the Houston area.

Keough took a hard stance against toll roads.

“I think toll roads are another form of taxation,” Keough said last December. “I’m out on toll roads. Toll roads are about a bigger issue; it’s about big government.”

Doyal was embattled for a reason, and I’m sure that had something to do with it. I figure as long as the developers are able to keep building things life will go on more or less as normal up there. I mean, at some point they’re going to need to come up with a politically acceptable way to pay for the roads they want to build, but that’s their problem.

I confess, I don’t quite get the diatribe against toll roads. The whole idea with toll roads is that you only pay for them if you use them. Everyone pays gas taxes, whether they use the roads that get built with them or not. Which is fine by me, of course, but I’m one of those big-gubmint-loving-liberal types. If gas taxes, floating bonds, and toll roads are all off the table, what’s left? Perhaps Montgomery County will show us.

(Just a reminder, there is a choice if you think all of this is messed up.)

Stockman’s trial set to start

Get ready.

Best newspaper graphic ever

Former U.S. Congressman Steve Stockman stood before a federal judge in a mostly empty Houston courtroom Friday and confirmed he wants a jury to decide if he diverted nearly $1.25 million in charitable donations intended for conservative organizations.

Chief U.S. District Judge Lee H. Rosenthal first determined that he had not entered into plea negotiations with federal prosecutors, and then asked, “Mr. Stockman, I assume you want to go to trial?”

“Yes, your honor,” he replied.

Stockman, whose trial is now set for March 19, has been free on $25,000 unsecured bond. The judge made a point to insist that he be present in court for the entire proceeding. He assured her he would.

[…]

Defense attorney Sean Buckley said his client is confident and he’s ready to address and refute the allegations.

“As they always say, there are two sides to every story and there are most certainly two sides to this one,” Buckley said.

Buckley said he plans to argue that the two aides pleaded guilty to better their own situations, not because they or Stockman are guilty or did anything wrong.

See here for some background. The aides in question are Jason Posey and Thomas Dodd, both of whom have already taken pleas. Stockman’s trial was supposed to have started in January, after having been delayed from June of last year. This time it looks like it may finally get going. I can’t wait.