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Weekend link dump for October 21

“The rules of being a conservative woman in politics require you to never consider yourself the victim of sexual assault. Victimhood, according to this principle, is a liberal complex.”

Yeah, there’s no way I’d trust Facebook to provide a secure home assistant gadget.

“Two weeks ago, Andrea Kremer and Hannah Storm became the first all-female broadcast team to call an NFL game. It was a boundary-breaking moment, but also served as a reminder that few women ever get the chance to be the voice of a game.”

“About 90 million Americans believe aliens exist. Some 66 million of us think aliens landed at Roswell in 1948. These are the things you learn when there’s a lull in political news and pollsters get to ask whatever questions they want.”

“But of course the status quo isn’t apolitical. It’s both a consequence of and a condition for politics.”

“Rogue killers” are the 400-pound hackers in a basement of 2018.

“Archaeologists have discovered a Viking ship burial in Norway using ground-penetrating radar that suggests the 20-metre keel and many of its timbers remain well preserved just half a metre below the topsoil.”

RIP, Paul Allen, Microsoft co-founder.

“How did misinformation spread during the 2016 presidential election and has anything changed since? A new study of more than 10 million tweets from 700,000 Twitter accounts that linked to more than 600 misinformation and conspiracy news outlets answers this question.”

“It makes me angry to think of altar boys who found in priests not an inspiring example of sacrificial dedication (as I did), but instead horrible betrayal and abuse. And it makes me angry that bishops and popes were not angrier when they heard about these abuses. These are men who celebrate the Mass every day. How could they fail to boil over with righteous anger at these evil priests who perverted their priesthood into its opposite?”

I don’t spend as much time on Fat Bear Week as I should.

“But, at its core, the lawsuit reflects the American conservative movement’s legal and political assault on people of color, which has been endorsed and abetted by President Trump. The Trump Administration has sought to limit voting rights, backing voter-suppression efforts; it has demonized immigrants; the President himself has repeatedly targeted prominent African-Americans for abuse. The Trump Administration is also supporting the Harvard lawsuit.”

How is it that National Pug Day isn’t an actual holiday?

Make Trump supporters’ personal data secure again!

“It’s a spectacularly remarkable story, both about Nicole and her father, and her entire family. For me, it’s another lesson in how not to judge a book by its cover.”

Carroll Spinney, the man behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch, is retiring after nearly 50 years on the job.

“If there’s a human being on the entire planet who’s earned the right to spout off about the need to crush the Republican leadership into Soylent Green and then distribute it in sacks to the poor, Hillary Clinton is it. After three decades of calmly putting up with an Augean stable’s worth of lies and attacks and assorted other forms of vicious bullshit, if she says it’s time to fight back, maybe we should listen.”

“Singer/actress Rihanna has reportedly turned down a chance to headline the halftime show at Super Bowl LIII because she supports former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has a collusion lawsuit against the National Football League.”

Weekend link dump for October 14

Yeah, maybe Kobe Bryant is not someone we should want to associate with.

Carbon Dioxide Is Shriveling Men’s Balls“. Just FYI.

Welcome to the table, Taylor. Better late than never.

Oh God, now we have to worry about our damn Google+ profiles.

I’m going to continue my policy of not knowing or caring who Banksy is, however.

“Mobs are usually violent. They break things, and they break people. The protests we’ve seen in recent weeks and months and years have certainly been emotional and angry, but they’ve been mostly peaceful. Many Democrats and liberals consider Trumpism to be a national emergency, but they haven’t gotten out of control — they’ve gotten louder. Sometimes they even nod vigorously.”

RIP, John Gagliardi, the winningest coach in college football history.

Yea verily, this is why the Internet was invented. Henceforth, this will be known as a reverse milkshake duck.

“What do we do with a company that regularly pumps metric tons of virtual toxic sludge onto the Internet and yet refuses to clean up their act? If ever there were a technology giant that deserved to be named and shamed for polluting the Web, it is Xiongmai — a Chinese maker of electronic parts that power a huge percentage of cheap digital video recorders (DVRs) and Internet-connected security cameras.”

Everything you ever wanted to know about pitchers hitting triples.

Some narwhal news, which I’m sure you’ll appreciate.

Dear Democrats: Mitch McConnell does not have your best interests at heart. Just FYI.

“Harriet Miers deserved the same opportunity to be a ruinously bad Supreme Court Justice as was given to Sam Alito. She deserved to be the same kind of illegitimate crony of the executive branch as we now are about to give to Brett Kavanaugh.”

RIP, Tex Winter, Hall of Fame basketball coach and architect of the Bulls’ triangle offense.

RIP, Dr. William Shearer, renowned immunologist who gained worldwide attention for his care of Houston’s famed Bubble Boy and also conducted important research to prevent and treat pediatric HIV/AIDS.

There is not the slightest pretense to impartial justice here, nor any concern for the fact that their perpetuating a nasty history of mistreating our Native American population.”

RIP, Jim Taylor, Hall of Fame fullback for Vince Lombardi’s Packers.

Weekend link dump for October 7

“The surest way to become a monster is to imagine you’re a hero”.

RIP, Elfquest, the long-running indie fantasy comic.

“Just as you would never give out personal information if asked to do so via email, never give out any information about yourself in response to an unsolicited phone call.”

“I do not believe that the heavy drinking or even loutish behavior of an 18 or even 21 year old should condemn a person for the rest of his life. However … if he lied about his past actions on national television, and more especially while speaking under oath in front of the United States Senate, I believe those lies should have consequences.”

“We have never had a Supreme Court nominee who ripped off the nonpartisan mask the way Kavanaugh did Thursday and identified himself as an enemy of a political party.”

What if I told you that “steroids” may not have been the primary cause of the home run surge of the so-called “steroid era” of baseball?

“So when Kennedy makes the case that we are living through a frightening period of democratic decline, he speaks with authority: at least in the United States, much of that decline is his fault.”

You would not have wanted to use Brett Kavanaugh’s bathroom at Yale.

Don’t click on that link about Ruby Rose. You’ll regret it.

Quelle Surprise.

Happy 60th birthday, Huckleberry Hound.

In these troubled times, I would hope that a story about an injured turtle being aided in its recovery by a wheelchair made out of LEGOs is something we can all rally around.

RIP, Peggy Sue Gerron, the inspiration for the Buddy Holly song.

Weekend link dump for September 30

New flash: George R.R. Martin takes his own sweet time when writing books.

“With scooters, cities have a fresh shot, and they don’t intend to waste it.”

“What’s surfacing in these comments is something that has, up until now, mostly been dodged, or left unspoken: that it has traditionally been accepted for men to sexually assault women, particularly at parties, particularly when they’re young. But the fact that this behavior has been tacitly understood as permissible does not mean that people—even while young, even while drunk at parties—have understood it to be O.K. It’s true that our earliest sexual experiences tend to be messy and confusing, and that this is, to some degree, inevitable and natural. It’s also true that, even in the Reagan era, and even to a sloppy and inexperienced teen-ager, preventing someone from screaming in fear during a sexual encounter is a stunningly clear and universally recognized sign that something is wrong.”

Yeah, I’ve never worn contact lenses, and I have no intention to start.

“Of the many forms of cruelty, that directed against those who are weak or powerless is one of the worst.”

“So, no, the teenaged Christine Blasey Ford would not have come forward to allege attempted rape in the early 1980s. It just wouldn’t have happened. And anyone who says otherwise is arguing in bad faith.”

And by the way, Ed Whelan has long been a jackass.

“A girl has a name, and so do at least 343 others. That’s how many newborn girls were named Arya in England last year, according to a BBC report that also tracks the rise in babies named Khaleesi (73) and Tyrion (11), among [others]”.

After disaster strikes, the relief scams are sure to follow.

“We are 65 witches who have been practicing magic for more than 35 years. We hail from every realm: Narnia, Eastwick, Salem, Sunnydale, Scotland, Hogwarts, The Woods. We are a diverse community, representing a bipartisan coven — good and evil, white and green-skinned. And today, we want to let everybody know that Dorothy Gale has never killed any of us with her house.”

“This underscores the point that many women who experience sexual assault or harassment don’t immediately go public with those experiences, for a variety of reasons. Instead, these stories often stay confined to the small group of people who witnessed it or were told about it at the time.”

“Now, it’s clear to me how powerless I felt throughout high school. The entire time I attended NCS, we had a male headmaster. We were a school for girls, which was presumably meant to empower us, but the boys were still in charge. High school is where we learned to put up with it. And now, as the prep-school boys are running the country and a kind of masculine backlash has taken hold of our democracy, it feels like we’re back in high school again.”

The Crazy Scandal At [The John Jay College of Criminal Justice] Everybody Would Be Talking About If The SCOTUS Nominee Wasn’t Accused Of Attempted Rape”.

“Based on my time with Debbie, I believe her to be unusually honest and straightforward and I cannot imagine her making this up. Based on my time with Brett, I believe that he and his social circle were capable of the actions that Debbie described.”

We should all be able to sing anything even half as well as this 7-year-old girl sings the national anthem.

I have been somewhat obsessed with the Mary Kay LeTourneau saga from the beginning. This update on her life and the life of the two daughters she had with Vili Fualaau feeds my fascination.

The Senate hearing with Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford was surely not what Republicans were hoping for.

“So women aren’t believed in America either?”

“The out-of-network scam is not just an outrage, but an obvious outrage designed solely to stuff dollar bills into the pockets of favored doctors. No one, Democrat or Republican, should have any sympathy for it, and hopefully this bill will put an end to it.”

Weekend link dump for September 23

When improvised slasher movies on Twitter become actual movies.

“All this comin’ and goin’. Rookies flyin’ up the road and ol-timers flyin’ down and nobody in between but me an’ old John Mize, standin’ pat, watchin’ ‘em go by. I ain’t even sure about ol’ John. Maybe he’s flyin’ on, too. If he is, I can always watch ‘em go by myself. Time ain’t gonna mess with me.”

Put the cheesesteak down, and slowly back away.

“America’s Top Nazi Sued Warner Bros. for Libel in 1939 Because He Didn’t Like the Movie Confessions of a Nazi Spy”.

“A group of women who went to Christine Blasey Ford’s high school are circulating a letter to show support for the woman who has alleged that Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh tried to sexually assault her while they were in high school.”

“[I]t also encapsulates the fundamental challenge billionaire philanthropy poses—even when it’s used for good purposes, there’s not much accountability when things go wrong.”

My high school and your high school were not as cool as this high school is.

In these contentious times, I would hope that we could all get behind more drop kicks in NFL games.

“You can’t just go to court and ask a judge to answer some question that’s been bugging you, such as, for example, in the movie Annihilation, which I watched Saturday night, why don’t they just take a boat to the goddamn lighthouse instead of walking through the swamp for a week? It is simply not a judge’s job to answer such questions, important though they may be. The judge’s job is to determine whether the plaintiff has a legal right that has been infringed. Here, Standing argued that British Columbia’s dereliction of sasquatch duty was violating his civil rights, and these arguments were dumb enough that we should consider each separately.”

“For Thousands of Years, Humans Coexisted with the Largest Birds That Ever Lived”.

“Late summer and early fall have become filled with anniversaries of recent natural disasters—events that have fundamentally shaped how federal and state governments incorporate pet relief into emergency planning. With each disaster, and often at the request of state governments, animal rescue teams head straight into the areas people are fleeing to ensure that few shelter animals, strays, and displaced pets are left behind.”

“It has since been estimated that the above ground shoots and their roots account for some 6 million kilograms making it arguably the largest known single individual organism on earth eclipsing the giant sequoia General Sherman by at least three times.”

“The inescapable conclusion is that the #MeToo movement represents, in practical terms, a crisis for the American rule of law. Countless women and some men have come forward over the past year to describe what are essentially criminal acts committed against them. With rare exceptions, there are typically no formal indictments against those they name, no prosecutions or trials, no verdicts or sentences. Organized society hinges on the premise that there can be restitution for harms done and consequences for those who inflicted them. The consequences felt by those swept up in the Weinstein effect, however, often appear to be rare and fleeting. (Weinstein himself is among the few facing criminal charges.)”

Embrace the tie, football fans.

RIP, Arthur Mitchell, dance pioneer and the co-founder of the Dance Theatre of Harlem.

All this will probably be out of date by the time you read this, but the attempt to defend Brett Kavanaugh just went nuts towards the end of the week. I mean, holy smokes.

“From top to bottom, the Whelan saga was a disaster for the Kavanaugh nomination.”

#WhyIDidn’tReport.

The leadership of the so-called “Christian” right is trash. And they have been for a long, long time.

Weekend link dump for September 16

If you like manual transmissions, you will soon have one less option for buying such a car in the US.

Meet Kim Kierkegaardashian, the world’s most existentialist celebrity.

“As it turns out, it’s not easy to criminally prosecute old sex crimes, though victims may have an easier time finding justice in the civil courts”.

I’d never spent a minute of my life thinking about the relationship between JD Salinger and Joyce Maynard. I’ve long thought Salinger was vastly overrated as a writer, and I only knew the barest outline of their time together. After reading this, I’m definitely on Maynard’s side. She’s deserved better for a long time.

“Instead, my point is that transparency isn’t just a virtue for its own sake. Transparency often provides great benefits to the party that discloses information. Kavanaugh would have been better off if he’d not been ambushed in the middle of his confirmation hearing. And it was his own team’s fault that he did not know how he would be attacked in advance.”

Hillary Told the Truth.”

“Astronomers are studying the first batch of possible planets spotted by NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS), which hunts for worlds around nearby bright stars.”

“Microsoft seeks confirmation that it will not be making prohibited in-kind contributions by offering a package of enhanced online account security protections at no additional charge on a nonpartisan basis to its election-sensitive customers, including but not limited to federal candidates and national party committees, as described above.”

“What happens to gadgets when you’re done with them? Too often, they explode.”

Good grief, Les Moonves is an asshole.

And as such, he deserves every last word that Linda Bloodworth-Thomason has to say to him.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell is an inspiration and a better person than most of us would be in her shoes.

“Judicial nominees famously conceal their views about legal controversies and precedent when they testify before the Senate, but what Kavanaugh has done all along is try to conceal the kind of person he is.”

“There are no Republicans left in Congress, that I know of, who know what is or isn’t credible oversight. Their ignorance prevents them from understanding the mess they have made. Oversight by Congress is a lost art. What Republicans have wrought is downright destruction. If Democrats re-take either chamber of Congress in November, they are obligated to resuscitate that function Republicans have allowed to atrophy in service to their president.”

“Identity in the early European Middle Ages was fluid, changeable, and could have many layers. Particularly in Germanic warrior cultures such as with the Alemanni, some identities were consciously sought out. You didn’t identify throughout your life with the same group you were born with, and you didn’t necessarily give up that identity when you chose another. Identities were used when needed, stored when not. In other words, a person could think of/ represent themselves as one thing in one social situation, another in a second, and yet another in a third.”

“Our biggest poverty problem is not among senior citizens. Our biggest poverty problem is, first, among children, and second, among working-age adults. That’s where our attention should be most heavily focused.”

” “I’m ecstatic he actually took the time to listen,” said the woman, a sexual assault survivor who declined to give her name because she’s still in the service. “I’m going to phone-bank my ass off for him. Because he didn’t have to do that.” ”

“Trump’s and Manafort’s legal interests may be more aligned than either of them have let on.”

Oh, hey, Paul Manafort. Please do tell us everything.

“How Little Has Changed Since Anita Hill Spoke Out Against Clarence Thomas”.

Weekend link dump for September 9

Nice try, guys, but this is not how you “fix” baseball.

“It turns out Lisa didn’t get sung ‘Happy Birthday’ by Michel Jackson on that episode of The Simpsons.”

“But as is so often the case, the accusation that was made falsely against Democrats turns out to be true of Trump. For all his vaunted populism, he is filled with contempt for average people in general and his own supporters in particular.”

“Here, for your perusal and bitter judgment, is a list of the accidental TV villains who grind our gears the most.”

“This will unquestionably be a big part of the story of what brought Russia and President Trump together. It’s why they focused so much attention on the NRA in the first place: openness to corruption is always an indicator for openness to subversion. The NRA, whatever its role in promoting gun extremism, is also a huge grifting operation. The Russians knew and know just who they were dealing with.”

“Viral Political Ads May Not Be As Persuasive As You Think”.

Sen. Lindsay Graham goes full lickspittle.

Pro tip: Don’t normalize Steve Bannon. Repeat as needed until the message sinks in. Scalzi and Roy have some further thoughts about this.

Sure must be fun working at the White House these days.

Fox News is trash, part one million.

This is why people hate lawyers, College Football edition.

“Same-sex couple paints their house rainbow to troll their homophobic neighbors”.

“Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore filed a $95 million lawsuit against Sacha Baron Cohen and Showtime on Wednesday, alleging that he was duped into appearing on Who Is America?” My response: HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

RIP, Burt Reynolds, legendary movie star.

It’s racists and Russian stooges all the way down at the Daily Caller.

“Heathrow Staff Pay Tribute To Freddie Mercury On His 72nd Birthday”.

How hard can that be, saying that Nazis are bad?”

Weekend link dump for September 2

“The Untold Story of NotPetya, the Most Devastating Cyberattack in History”.

Brian Kemp – Republican Secretary of State of Georgia, and nominee for Governor – Enemy of Democracy.

“Giraffes, the gentle giants of the African savanna, are undergoing a silent extinction. According to experts, the wild giraffe population has declined by about 40% since about 1990. The main cause is habitat loss and illegal hunting for the bushmeat trade, but giraffes are also targeted by trophy hunters. Their parts—made into pillows, boots and gun handles, among other things—are traded internationally for commercial purposes.” For crying out loud, don’t buy boots made of giraffe leather!

“Obamacare is more popular with American voters than the Republican-enacted tax cuts, according to a new Fox News Poll.”

RIP, Neil Simon, the “most successful playwright in American theatre history”.

“No, a Teen Did Not Hack a State Election”.

“Actually: Trump can’t unilaterally kill NAFTA; this is only a possible step toward any new trade deal involving Mexico; it’s probably not a good step; and it may not actually lead to any new deal at all. In other words, it’s precisely the puffery we’ve come to expect from a president who doesn’t understand what his own administration is doing, or doesn’t care.”

“Here’s House Republicans’ list of all the Trump scandals they’re covering up. It’s not a short list.”

This is the best summary of the life and mythos of John McCain I’ve seen so far.

Happy 100th birthday to Katherine Johnson, the woman who hand-calculated the trajectory for America’s first trip to space.

Don’t forget the stories of the women they abused in the workplace. Don’t forget that C.K. called one of his accusers and apologized for an offense unfamiliar to her, meaning he got her confused with some other woman he pressured into an unwanted sexual scenario. Don’t forget how these women saw their careers hurt because of him. Don’t forget how Rebecca Corry has received death threats for speaking out about CK. Don’t forget Lauer’s button that locked his office door at a distance. Don’t forget that Lauer smugly rejoiced in the firing of Ann Curry, who went to management when a female staffer came to her in tears over his horrid behavior. Don’t forget Lauer allegedly sexually assaulted a co-worker at his desk while she was unconscious.”

RIP, Michael Pickwoad, production designer for Doctor Who.

The red delicious apple is no longer #1.

“The researchers were stunned to find Russian troll accounts tweeting about vaccines, but unraveling why they would stoke the vaccine debate was mind-boggling, too.”

Big Al‘s big day.

“The Department of Education would act as arms dealer, dispensing cash for guns.”

“All of you out there trying to engage me or other fed-up women regarding what Louis C.K. needs or why his professional career should be salvageable — nope. After what’s come to light about his recent actions, if you’re defending him, do it somewhere else. If you read this piece to the end, and you think what he did this week is OK, we’re never going to agree. Good luck with those conversations about everything except assisting survivors and changing toxic power dynamics. If you bring up what abusers need right out of the gate, I’m opting out of those discussions.”

Weekend link dump for August 26

RIP, Sen. John McCain, war hero and Senator.

I endorse all of these Star Trek show ideas, especially the “new continuation” one.

“The history of sports is littered with hardass coaches who blur the line between intense discipline and bullying, and become folk heroes when success follows. Winning, even at the amateur level, is frequently everything, and too frequently the pursuit of victory inspires people to either cover up evil or excuse it altogether.”

RIP, Marvin Taylor, longtime champion of Houston’s parks.

College football needs to update its safety protocols to avoid more heat stroke deaths.

An Open Letter to Ivanka Trump About That “Complicit” Saturday Night Live Sketch She Apparently Hates So Much

“If the future is female and pluralist, it’s also true that Mueller and other men like him are enjoying a heyday. They’ve been crucial to the effort to bring Trump to justice and check his despotic, anti-American instincts, undemocratic. I offer one cheer, then — aw, let’s give them three — for white male traditionalists.”

“For his whole career, [Brett] Kavanaugh has believed in maximal presidential power. Unless it’s a Democrat, unless it’s a president he opposes.”

“I want to walk away from this whole experience having learned some lesson, but only one comes immediately to mind: Not enough people know about colloidal silver and the blue-skinned libertarians who drank it.”

“It was appalling enough to see Trump get elected despite all the credible allegations of assault (and worse) leveled against him, but to see those values begin to translate into actual policy is a challenge to the very idea of the modern woman.”

Roy Orbison’s hologram singing for the lonely/Hey, that’s me, and I want you only…

Important goat news.

“Whether Trump departs by way of impeachment (don’t bet on it), after an electoral loss in November 2020, or on January 20, 2025, after finishing out two full terms, our political reality is unlikely to return to anything like what it was before he rose to office in the first place.”

The coal industry is smaller than the marijuana industry—which is at least growing and basically harmless.”

“But just because the accusations are a few years old and the dust has settled, it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pay attention to how and when accused predators enter back into the public sphere.”

By the way, Summer Zervos is still out there causing trouble.

“Federal data show that nearly 90 percent of federal criminal defendants end up making plea deals with prosecutors.”

RIP, RPI. Long live NET.

RIP, Trent Seibert, local independent journalist. I met him a few times and he was always a pleasure to talk to. Didn’t always agree with his take on things, but I respected his work, and he respected mine. Condolences to his family and friends.

RIP, Robin Leach, best known for hosting Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

“As I noted two years ago, anyone who had spent time reviewing President Trump’s business history had to know that it wouldn’t survive first contact with real legal scrutiny. Not the past or the present. What stands out to me about the various criminal actions within the Trump orbit is not so much the crimes as their very casualness.”

Call me crazy, but if you’re defending someone by comparing them to Al Capone, you’re doing it wrong.

“Remember All Those Other Times The National Enquirer Squashed Scandals For Powerful People?”

Weekend link dump for August 19

The cast and crew of The Good Place are all mensches.

“While promises of anonymity once made sperm and egg donations appealing to many, those promises are becoming impossible to keep. Aside from the practical and shockingly easy ways donor-conceived children are finding their donors — like commercial DNA tests, or the trusty ol’ internet — some jurisdictions are changing their laws, and banishing anonymity altogether.”

Bitcoin – still a bad idea.

“As someone who loved the deconstructionist bent of The Last Jedi, and especially the way it brought Luke’s journey to an end, I’d love the new Picard series to do something similar. Not directly literal of course—Jean-Luc doesn’t have to pass on at the end of it, the way Luke quietly dissipates into the Force in The Last Jedi. But in terms of having heroes who so wholly represent the greatest ideals of their respective franchises go through a trauma that leaves them challenged and conflicted, a conflict that lets them grow and develop as deeper characters, while reminding us of the grand ideals they represent? Hell yes.”

While there is some difference of opinion between different Flat Earth groups, I think it’s fair to say that the overall belief is that sustained spaceflight is impossible, or at the very least cost-prohibitive.”

“Yet this particular episode from history carries a clear warning about the poisonous effects of thoughtless bigotry and small-mindedness. It also underscores how, indeed, America has changed, perhaps irrevocably – though not in the way Ingraham sees.”

“So here’s how I think Jaws is a hilarious, great, non-racist, very white movie, that plays around with some of the same emotions explored in the very racist and evil The Birth of a Nation (1915).”

And while we’re on the topic of shark-based movies, here’s how The Meg stacks up against Jaws: The Revenge, and a scientific fact-check of all the shark activities in The Meg.

“Trump is a cretin and a racist and a buffoon. But we fool ourselves if we don’t recognize that he is a sort of savant, a con man but an instinctive political animal who has a deep hold on a big chunk of the country. Language, tone and voice are at the heart of that. Understanding how this happened is well worth our time.”

RIP, Brigadier General Mike P. Cokinos, decorated WWII veteran and member of a longstanding political family from Beaumont.

“This leaves me with a question. Did Noah take Neanderthals on the ark?”

“While some California cities, like Oakland and Berkeley, have no psychic-specific rules, other places care a great deal about how people tell fortunes for money. In San Francisco, the Police Department gets involved.”

“The history of sports is littered with hardass coaches who blur the line between intense discipline and bullying, and become folk heroes when success follows.”

“No one in this exchange is surprised, because they all know Trump so well. Pierson and Manigault-Newman are actually convinced he said it. That’s one of the stranger paradoxes of this political era: Trump’s political opponents know who he is. His aides know who he is. Americans don’t need a tape to know who Trump is, or what he represents. He’s already shown who he is. He shows it every day.”

“Multiple legal experts told TheWrap this week that while Omarosa’s actions may have been duplicitous and underhanded, anyone expecting criminal charges will be waiting a long time as it is perfectly legal in Washington, D.C., for one party in a conversation to record it — even without the permission (or knowledge) of the other parties.”

Rolling the Dice on Ironstache”.

“President Trump’s tax cuts all but guaranteed that 2018 would be a fantastic year for shareholders. Predictably, corporations are taking advantage of this windfall not by funding other companies or boosting worker pay, but by showering their shareholders with cash. Of course, 2017 wasn’t a bad year for shareholders either. Indeed, the last four decades have seen shareholders take home larger and larger slices of the economic pieords. Is this how justice is supposed to work, with TV supplementing the courts in the battle for a criminal’s reputation?”

RIP, Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul.

“When Sarah Sanders and the ACLU Teamed Up for Voting Rights”.

“Importantly, Clinton and Nixon intended to cover their tracks. Lewinsky and the Plumbers, as they were called, knew something each president wanted kept out of sight. So the question not being asked, in the case of Manigault Newman, is: What does she know that Trump wants to keep quiet?”

RIP, Kofi Annan, former UN Secretary General.

RIP, Bob Bass, former NBA coach and general manager, mostly with the Spurs.

Weekend link dump for August 12

The Ultimate Playlist Of Banned Wedding Songs“, some of which are more deserving than others.

Are you ready for the ALF reboot you didn’t know you needed?

“Behold, the rise of the feel-good feel-bad story.”

This was the year that targeted phishing went mainstream.

RIP, Robert Martin, Tuskegee Airman.

Three words: Mayonnaise ice cream. Oh, hell no.

Meet the scutoid, and new shape discovered in nature.

What took them so long? Seriously.

RIP, Charlotte Rae, best known as Mrs. Garrett from The Facts of Life.

“It’s a five-year-old making mud pies and being praised for it by Fox News and a bunch of Twitter trolls. This makes it news, and thus some explanation must be ginned up.”

“One possible lesson of the many brazen, conspicuous scandals related to President Trump and others in his orbit: The U.S. government has been massively underinvesting in enforcement and prosecution of white-collar crime.”

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is a mensch.

Did you think that the Trump administration hates children? You don’t think it enough.

HGTV won the auction for the Brady Bunch house, outbidding Lance Bass.

“[I]f Russiagate is less an act of Cold War revival theater than a symptom of interlocking oligarchies across post-Soviet kleptocracies and the supposedly liberal West, Manafort’s career is a great way to get the background on how that all went down. Because for decades, he’s seen despots’ need for friends in the United States as his personal ticket to a lifestyle that includes, just for example, nearly a million dollars spent on carpets. Let’s take a walk through his thoroughly scummy career!”

“Luke Heimlich’s shot at professional baseball was short-lived as the Chinese Professional Baseball League terminated his contract with the Lamingo Monkeys less than a week after the former Oregon State star signed on.”

“People Trump accused of secretly taping him: Barack Obama, James Comey. People who actually secretly taped Trump:
Michael Cohen, Omarosa Manigault.”

George Tyndall and USC are the next Larry Nasser and Michigan State.

RIP, A.R. “Babe” Schwartz, Texas State Senator and champion of open beaches.

RIP, Douglas Grindstaff, Emmy Award-winning sound editor who created the iconic effects on the original Star Trek.

Weekend link dump for August 5

Everything you ever wanted to know about soybeans but were afraid to ask.

Some Game of Thrones prequel news to hold you off.

Just a story of two people on the internet ruining a stranger’s life for no particular reason.

Home runs lost to history because games were rained out. In a slightly different universe, Babe Ruth has 716, Hank Aaron has 756, and Roger Maris had 62 in 1961.

“Brushing past the fact that, even without the Doctor, male role models are still vastly overrepresented in almost all industries including pop culture, this statement rests on the sexist belief that women cannot be role models for boys or men.”

There will be a documentary made about the “Cajun Navy”.

So, how’s that Brexit going?

Bigfoot has become a hot topic in Virginia’s 5th Congressional District race.”

“Now, Fin must travel back in time to stop the Sharknado that started it all”.

Please don’t cybersquat on Prince. I shouldn’t even have to say these things.

“That means there is no way to oppose abortion in 2018 without supporting the punishment of women who terminate their pregnancies.”

“Here are five key ways to identify possible bots in your Twitter feed”.

Welcome to Fantasy Island – The Movie.

The case for deleting your old tweets.

“In a policy paper obtained by Axios, Sen. Mark Warner’s office laid out 20 different paths to address problems posed by Big Tech platforms — ranging from putting a price on individual users’ data to funding media literacy programs.”

A profile of Kris Kobach, the Harold Hill of immigrant hatred.

“North Korea has almost certainly not sent back anything close to 200 bodies. In the past, the regime has promised to return the remains of servicemen, but actually handed over unidentifiable bones of many people and some animals.”

“With Donald Trump’s former campaign chairman on trial, America is reckoning with its very serious kleptocracy problem.”

“Telling people how to use their 3D printers in a way that would allow them to circumvent air safety restrictions, should they want to do so for whatever reason, is not speech that deserves a high level of protection. It’s not political speech, it’s not comedic speech, it’s not even commercial speech. It’s just some dangerous crap somebody wants to put on the internet.”

“Do we remember that Mike Pence was Paul Manafort’s choice for Veep?”

All dogs deserve to have a quinceñera when they turn 15.

Weekend link dump for July 29

The kids are all right, no matter what the haters say.

“For infertility advocates, the Arizona law is less a Solomonic decree than a portent of a borderline-dystopian future wherein the government can compel people to become parents long after they decide they don’t want to be.”

“For almost a decade the internet has quietly maintained an obscure Futurama joke”.

“The Russian hackers, in other words, are the modern equivalents of the Watergate burglars in 1972. The only difference is the technology.”

Meet Nicole Maines, who will be the first transgender superhero on next season’s Supergirl.

“Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh suggested several years ago that the unanimous high court ruling in 1974 that forced President Richard Nixon to turn over the Watergate tapes, leading to the end of his presidency, may have been wrongly decided.” I’m sure this has nothing at all to do with our current political situation.

“Victims of tragedies like the Sandy Hook shooting and their families, however, have been largely left out of the conversation. Ryan Graney, who leads a group of volunteers spearheading efforts to pull Sandy Hook conspiracy content, said there is no formal way for such families to reach a human being at Facebook.”

RIP, Don Sanders, longtime fixture on the Houston music scene. As I wrote on Facebook, my roommate and I moved into Sanders’ former house in Montrose after he and his wide sold it to their next-door neighbor after having a kid. He was a genuinely nice guy and very talented, and I’m happy to have known him and saddened by his death.

Here’s the story of an iconic television house that may not be long for this world.

Banishment is totally still a thing in some states. It’s probably unconstitutional at the federal level, being exiled from America probably violates the Eighth Amendment’s prohibition on cruel and unusual punishment. (Somebody PLEASE tell Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions that.) But there are a number of states that still have exile statutes on the books.”

Did you miss your chance to buy the Dick Cheney autographed waterboard kit?

“How Warner Brothers Resisted a Hollywood Ban on Anti-Nazi Films in the 1930s and Warned Americans of the Dangers of Fascism”.

“We stopped keeping statistics on the number of Native moms and babies that are lost in our region; it was just too upsetting.”

“Before we lose our minds entirely, let’s try to remember that approval among partisans used to be something no one took seriously. No one. Why? Because they’re your people. Of course, they approve of what you’re doing! Anyway, even when your people like you, that doesn’t help when faced with an election favoring the out-party. Seth Masket pointed out this morning that George W. Bush and Barack Obama were hella-popular among partisans in 2006 and 2010, and look how much good it did them.”

“Identity theft protection firm LifeLock — a company that’s built a name for itself based on the promise of helping consumers protect their identities online — may have actually exposed customers to additional attacks from ID thieves and phishers. The company just fixed a vulnerability on its site that allowed anyone with a Web browser to index email addresses associated with millions of customer accounts, or to unsubscribe users from all communications from the company.”

“Roseanne who?”

“We tend to think of American history as a slow unfolding of rights over time – with the imposition of Jim Crow in the 1880s and 1890s, a major step backwards, as a sort of historical anomaly. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, that’s simply not the case. But what I took from Down’s article is that in many ways voting restrictionism focused on immigrants is the most consistent through-line to the battle over the vote through our history. It predates the Civil War, which in some way interrupts it. It returns with a vengeance after the Civil War. And it both inspires and assists the disenfranchisement of Southern blacks after the withdrawal of federal troops from the South in the late 1870s.”

“On two separate but related matters that converge with this new allegation, the president and his team have been caught repeatedly lying. First, the White House in July 2017 offered false stories about the Trump Tower meeting, only to have to promptly admit they were incorrect. Second, the Trump team repeatedly insisted that the president was unaware of payments to Karen McDougal and Stormy Daniels, two women who allege affairs with him. But a tape released by Cohen shows Trump was aware of the plan to buy McDougal’s story and suffocate it, while Trump acknowledged reimbursing Cohen after his payment to Daniels.”

Weekend link dump for July 22

“Here’s a clever new twist on an old email scam that could serve to make the con far more believable. The message purports to have been sent from a hacker who’s compromised your computer and used your webcam to record a video of you while you were watching porn. The missive threatens to release the video to all your contacts unless you pay a Bitcoin ransom. The new twist? The email now references a real password previously tied to the recipient’s email address.”

The Westworld producers say they know how the show will eventually end. Fingers crossed.

“The final Blockbuster storefront standing is located in Bend, Oregon.”

Spiders use the earth’s electromagnetic field to travel via the air.

“In the case of Brexit, we have (a) an explicitly nonbinding referendum (b) that passed by a hair (c) with the help of a foreign adversary, (d) and is causing tremendous problems. May would be well within her rights to call for a second referendum, perhaps with different options, in order to give British voters a second chance at something that’s going to have a heavy influence on their lives.”

“As anyone who has dealt with an addicted loved one knows, you cannot help them until they hit rock bottom and sincerely ask for help. Until that happens, any aid you give simply enables their addiction. The GOP must also hit rock bottom before decent people should lend a hand.”

“The two ways Russia may have helped Trump steal the election aren’t what you think”.

“Every single one of these actions on Trump’s part are weighted against our allies and in favor of Russia. This cannot be an accident.”

“Two Koch-affiliated groups account for more than one-quarter of the House and Senate advertising from groups that don’t disclose their donors, according to a tally of broadcast ads tracked by Kantar Media’s Campaign Media Analysis Group.”

“No prior president has ever abased himself more abjectly before a tyrant.”

RIP, Anne Baker Cravens, longtime Houstonian and survivor of a German U-boat attack in 1939.

Sports make the world a sadder place. Seriously. We’ve got data.”

“It’s always been obvious that Trump does not hold Russia’s hacking of the 2016 election, which he publicly encouraged and gleefully benefited from, against Putin. None of us yet know the exact contours of Trump’s relationship with Russia, whether Putin is his handler, his co-conspirator or just his hero. But it’s clear that Trump is willing to sell out American democracy for personal gain.”

“Really, any member of Trump’s national security team who doesn’t resign immediately—or perhaps better, offer to testify about any incriminating information they might possess—is from this point on doing a disservice to the United States.”

“After Trump and Putin met in Helsinki, many pundits and politicians struggled to understand what it is they saw, to rationalize it, to explain it away, to speculate on what kinds of kompromat the Russians could have on Trump, when the answer—like infidelity or death—was staring them, us, in the face. Yes, Putin has something on Trump: He helped him win. That’s the kompromat.”

“We all had good reason to suspect in real time that Russia was interfering, and Trump relished it, and even encouraged it, as it happened. Now that Mueller’s indictments have started fleshing out the fuller dimensions of this sabotage and its now-confirmed goal of electing Trump, this can no longer be about guarding appearances of legitimacy, because his current conduct makes that more suspect. The only conceivable explanation is that he was both perfectly happy to benefit from Russian interference and wants to obstruct/or and delegitimize the ferreting out of the truth.”

“Google says it’s not reading your Gmail, except when it does“.

“Text-message reminders are a cheap and effective way to reduce pretrial detention”.

“The discovery was made in Jordan’s Black Desert, where researchers uncovered 24 flatbreads near two ancient fireplaces at a site known as Shubayqa 1. The flatbreads appear to have been made from domesticated cereal grains (wild einkorn) and club-rush tubers. Somewhere, a Paleo-diet enthusiast just fainted.”

“Wyden told Motherboard that installing remote-access software and modems on election equipment ‘is the worst decision for security short of leaving ballot boxes on a Moscow street corner.'”

RIP, Ann Hopkins, plaintiff in landmark gender stereotyping case.

In which the descendants of Colonel Sanders heap scorn on Papa John.

RIP, Constance Adams, pioneer of space architecture.

RIP, Adrian Cronauer, disc jockey whose story inspired the movie Good Morning, Vietnam.

“This is why it’s so important to assume that everything Trump says is a lie. If he says the sky is blue, check it. If he says he had oatmeal for breakfast, check it.”

Weekend link dump for July 15

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

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

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

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

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

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

The professional soccer troll is dying off.

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

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

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

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

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

Good for you, Maude Gorman.

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

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

IHOB, we hardly knew ye.

RIP, Tab Hunter, 1950s movie idol.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 8

Re-engineering the MLB post-season.

Have no fear, better WiFi security is almost here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wearing Juggalo makeup can defeat facial recognition software.

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

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

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

Some further thoughts on Harlan Ellison.

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

Turns out there is something Melania cares about.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for July 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

Congratulations, you crazy kids.

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

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

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

Please stop harassing the female reporters at the World Cup.

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

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

Hank Aaron remains a role model.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The importance of Pride Month in Major League Baseball.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 10

Our aging prison population.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Roseanne minus Roseanne could happen. Whatever.

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

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

RIP, Kate Spade, fashion designer and businesswoman.

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for June 3

Making China great again.

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

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

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

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

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

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

The cruelty is the whole point.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 27

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

So much for that Nobel Peace Prize.

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Chuck Knox, longtime NFL coach.

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

Oh, just more legal troubles for Donald Trump.

Weekend link dump for May 13

You can stop shooting your Yeti cooler now.

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

On the dysfunctional relationship between Lucy and Schroeder.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Baseball in London next year. Jolly good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for May 6

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

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

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

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

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

One Cosby juror explains why he voted “guilty”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Rudy Giuliani, Super Genius.

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

Weekend link dump for April 29

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

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

10 TV Characters Who Actually Really Suck at Their Jobs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sisterhood of Cosby survivors is an amazing thing.

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

Pete Souza continues to be a national treasure.

Weekend link dump for April 22

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

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

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

That Second City TV reunion looks good.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Fox News employees think of l’affaire Hannity.

Weekend link dump for April 15

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

Diversity in Baseball Begins in Little League.

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

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

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

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

A little primer on the perjury trap.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fire Devin Nunes.

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

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

Weekend link dump for April 8

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

A citizens’ guide to deciphering lobbyist-speak.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Joe Watts, father of Houston gay theater.

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

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

RIP, Daniel Akaka, former Senator from Hawaii.

Weekend link dump for April 1

The grocery store apocalypse has begun.

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

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

A deep look at Cambridge Analytica.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

No one wants to be Donald Trump’s attorney.

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for March 25

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar reviews that book about The Bachelor.

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

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

An Abridged List Of Facebook’s Unforeseen Consequences.

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

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

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.

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.”

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.