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Weekend link dump for February 17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for February 10

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

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

It’s too damn cold for your phone.

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

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

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

RIP, Bob Friend, longtime Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher.

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

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

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

I for one welcome our potential alien overlords.

The weirdest strikeout in MLB history.

Fargo news! Hooray!

The only SOTU recap you need.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for February 3

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

Possibly better ways to do overtime in the NFL.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ralph Northam must resign.

Weekend link dump for January 27

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

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

A brief but informative lesson on modern baseball economics.

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

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

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

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

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

AeroMexico knows how to troll.

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

Birtherism never dies, it just changes targets.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Patton Oswalt is a mensch.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for January 20

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fyre fight!

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

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

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

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

RIP, Rita Vidaurri, Tejana music legend.

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

Weekend link dump for January 13

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

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

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

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

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

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

The remarkable and uncanny political career of Jerry Brown.

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

The town of Marfa gets the Simpsons treatment.

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

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

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

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

I love stories like this. Just read and enjoy.

RIP, Ron Mock, controversial death penalty lawyer.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for January 6

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

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

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

The unsolved political micro-mysteries of 2018.

Let’s make “exvangelical” a common word.

The Mark Burnett connection to Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is what censorship looks like.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Good effing riddance to the outgoing Congress.

Weekend link dump for December 30

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

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

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

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

TV stars we said goodbye to in 2018.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Here are your Golden Dukes winners for 2018.

How the conversation about guns changed in 2018.

Weekend link dump for December 23

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

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

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

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

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

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

The biggest tech lies of 2018.

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

Santa’s attorney tells all.

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

Celebrating local journalism in all fifty states.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It was a good year for horror on television.

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 16

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

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

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

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

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

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

New frontiers in lying, from Donald Trump.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 9

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

You should have the right to keep your Alexa silent.

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

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

About that Marriott data breach…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Golden Dukes are coming.

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

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

Weekend link dump for December 2

“How to Shop Online Like a Security Pro”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, Ricky Jay, master magician and actor.

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

RIP, Stephen Hillenburg, creator of SpongeBob SquarePants.

Yes, please do repeal the Hyde Amendment.

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 25

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

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

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

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

Remembering the Jonestown massacre, 40 years later.

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

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

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

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

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

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

What happens when an asteroid crashes into the polar ice?

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 18

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

RIP, John Rogers, longtime president of Comic Con.

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

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

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

Also, don’t let your domain registrations lapse.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Weekend link dump for November 11

“Last year, a small group of researchers unveiled their plans to sequence the DNA of every species on Earth in the next 10 years. The daunting task, known as the Earth BioGenome Project, would actually only include eukaryotic species (so plants, animals, and fungi—no bacteria), but is still a mammoth undertaking that would require mapping the genomes of more than 1.5 million species. As of Thursday, they’ve officially begun.”

Remembering the Morris Worm, the world’s first cybersecurity incident.

“Here’s the story of a TV renovation we can’t wait to see: Six original stars of The Brady Bunch came together to help HGTV launch a new series that aims to fix up the real-life Brady Bunch house.”

RIP, Roy Hargrove, Grammy-winning jazz trumpet player and native of Texas.

Probably more than you wanted to know about how Carpool Karaoke is filmed and recorded.

At times like this, we can all use some pictures of kids and dogs in Ruth Bader Ginsburg costumes to help get us through the day.

Will of the people, schmill of the people, amiright?

“If Democrats really want to sting the president, they can invite him to deliver his State of the Union message in written form only.”

“I know this much: MSNBC’s Steve Kornacki is the GOAT of election night coverage.”

RIP, Wally Triplett, first African-American player drafted into the NFL to play in a regular-season game.

Somia El-Rowmeim is a damn good American. (Remember how in the early Dubya Bush days, Muslim Americans were seen as a rising demographic for the Republican Party? Funny how these things go.)

Things to watch over the Thanksgiving holiday.

Weekend link dump for November 4

“Not that this is an exhaustive list, but here are 30 simple shared truths I discovered at my 30th reunion of Harvard’s class of 1988.” Having just attended my own 30th reunion (not at Harvard), I endorse this list.

Electric cars are great, but we will need more than that to really fight climate change.

The case for making Congress bigger.

“Younger Americans are better than older Americans at telling factual news statements from opinions”.

“Why mention hias right now? Because its Jewish background (and centrality in the family history of many Jews in America) and its current work in trying to deal with this era’s tired, poor, and desperate were apparently part of the motive that led Saturday’s murderer to gun down people at the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh.”

“The Soros stuff is just one of many manifestations of the the grand anti-Semitic trope (cosmopolitan Jews are destroying traditional nations) that pervades the alt-right and shades into the respectable right.”

If you’ve never read Eugene Patterson’s 1963 column about the Birmingham church bombing, you should.

“But Sears was also the nation’s highest-profile discriminator against women. The corporation should be remembered for its poor treatment of workers, its stubbornness when confronted with new sex equality laws, and how the practices it pioneered still shape the American workplace.”

“But here’s the thing: It isn’t true. Republicans are lying about their position on preexisting conditions, and voters have a right to know that.”

“Partisan politics aside, this whole meme involving a possible military response to refugees besieging the United States reminded me of something … and it finally hit me: It was pretty close to the central premise of The Camp of the Saints, Jean Raspail’s racist French novel of the 1970s”.

RIP, Herb Remington, steel guitarist for Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and the inventor of the Remington Steel Guitar.

“The attorneys for one of the extremists found guilty of plotting in 2016 to bomb Somali immigrants in Kansas floated a novel defense in an effort to obtain a lighter sentence for their client: blame Donald Trump.”

A documentary about Prince is in the works.

“A Doctor Who Died In The Pittsburgh Shooting Is Being Remembered As A Hero To Patients At The Start Of The AIDS Crisis.”

RIP, Willie McCovey, Hall of Fame first baseman for the San Francisco Giants.

Possibly the most amazing XKCD comic ever.

“But to me, the most depressing aspect of this whole thing (now that I have sufficiently buried the lede for this post) is WHY they thought it would work.”

Weekend link dump for October 28

“One of the central contradictions of capitalism is that what makes it work — competition — is also what capitalists want to get rid of the most.”

“Thing is, Trump may indeed be nuts; but his constant lying is perhaps the least nutty thing about him. His relentless dishonesty works.”

“All of which is to say that Scott Warren has a far stronger claim as to the sincerity of his religious beliefs than Hobby Lobby did.”

“Was Gary Hart Set Up?” Maybe. Read and see what you think.

One Hundred Websites that Shaped The Internet As We Know It.

RIP, Joachim Ronneberg, Norwegian resistance fighter who sabotaged Nazi Germany’s nuclear weapons ambitions during World War Two.

Hey, remember when Donald Trump claimed to be a champion of LGBT rights?

So many things to investigate, so much need to take the House majority back to do them.

“Why is a congressman from Iowa weighing in on local politics in another country? Because there’s an outright white nationalist running for mayor in Toronto, and wherever an explicit white nationalist is running for office — in the U.S., in Canada, in Austria or France — Steve King feels compelled to lend his support.”

“I will build the best sandcastle in the galaxy!”

“As usual, the correct response to all this is ‘poor Blake Bortles.'”

“Mr. Trump’s aides have repeatedly warned him that his cellphone calls are not secure, and they have told him that Russian spies are routinely eavesdropping on the calls, as well. But aides say the voluble president, who has been pressured into using his secure White House landline more often these days, has still refused to give up his iPhones. White House officials say they can only hope he refrains from discussing classified information when he is on them.” What could possibly go wrong?

“Firstly, to Ernest Lawrence Thayer, a man whom I have never met but is apparently obsessed with me: Thank you so much for taking the ONE TIME I messed up at baseball and turning it into an incredibly long poem. What a wonderful use of your creative faculties. You seem like a very chill person.”

“An image on the explosive device sent to former CIA Director John Brennan on Tuesday appears to be a parody of an ISIS flag taken from a meme that has been circulating on right-wing corners of the internet since 2014.”

Please don’t bring Grandma’s cremated ashes into Disney World.

A look at the last time the Red Sox and the team now known as the Dodgers played in the World Series.

RIP, Ovide Duncantell, founder of Houston’s Black Heritage Society and the nation’s first parade to honor Martin Luther King Jr.

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.”