…a familiar sound [DOT 17/6/21]

maybe too familiar...

…I might have to cut this one short…which to be fair might be preferred by some…but I’m a little pressed for time today…& the truth is it feels a little bit like “the news” doesn’t feel so new

The amount of heat Earth traps has roughly doubled since 2005, contributing to more rapidly warming oceans, air and land, according to new research from NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

“The magnitude of the increase is unprecedented,” said Norman Loeb, a NASA scientist and lead author of the study, which was published this week in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. “The Earth is warming faster than expected.”


…so you’d think maybe it’d be easy…but then a lot of it is kind of hard to swallow

Taiwan reports largest incursion yet by Chinese air force [NBC]

From packed streets to silence: documenting the fall of Hong Kong [Guardian]

Israeli military says it launched air strike at Gaza over incendiary balloons [NBC]

In 23 US states, Republicans hold the governorship and the legislature, giving the party near total control to advance its policies. This year, Republicans have used that power to aggressively push their conservative social agenda – taking aim at abortion access, transgender rights and gun safety, as well as voting laws.
This trend of states approving increasingly extreme laws on issues like abortion and trans rights is alarming Democrats, who accuse Republicans of using their legislative power to target vulnerable communities.

A different America: How Republicans hold near total control in 23 US states [Guardian]

Federal Judge Says Biden Cannot Pause New Leases for Drilling on Public Lands [NYT]

Federal judge blocks Biden’s ban on leases for drilling on public lands [NBC]

A moratorium on evictions did little to address the bigger problem: The country is running out of affordable places for people to live.

The U.S. Averted One Housing Crisis, but Another Is in the Wings [NYT]

…it’s sort of like if kafka wrote groundhog day

Donald Trump tried to enlist top US law enforcement officials in a conspiracy-laden and doomed effort to overturn his election defeat, a campaign they described as “pure insanity”, newly released emails show.

The documents reveal Trump and his allies’ increasingly desperate efforts between December and early January to push bogus conspiracy theories and cling to power – and the struggle of bewildered justice department officials to resist them.


An hour before President Donald J. Trump announced in December that William P. Barr would step down as attorney general, the president began pressuring Mr. Barr’s eventual replacement to have the Justice Department take up his false claims of election fraud.
The emails, turned over by the Justice Department to investigators on the House Oversight Committee, show how Mr. Trump pressured Mr. Rosen to put the power of the Justice Department behind lawsuits that had already failed to try to prove his false claims that extensive voter fraud had affected the election results.


…although even that would be hard pressed to explain some of this shit

The No. 3 Senate Republican, John Barrasso of Wyoming, told a group of voters that he wants to make President Joe Biden a “one-half-term president.”


…& while that kind of batshit nonsense might wind up working out badly for some of those involved

A crew of conservative lawyers still pushing disinformation that echoes Donald Trump’s false claim that the election was rigged are now battling federal inquiries, defamation lawsuits and bar association scrutiny that threaten to cripple their legal careers.

Former justice department officials say Trump’s legal loyalists are weakening trust in the American electoral system via persistent repetition of his baseless claims. They note that some are actively backing Republican drives in key states to change election laws seen as undermining voting rights for communities of color.

Woes mount for legal loyalists who pushed Trump’s election conspiracies [Guardian]

The Manhattan district attorney’s office appears to have entered the final stages of a criminal tax investigation into Donald J. Trump’s long-serving chief financial officer, Allen H. Weisselberg, setting up the possibility he could face charges this summer, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Trump Executive Could Face Charges as Soon as This Summer [NYT]

…back in that kafkaesque groundhog day…it’s just business as usual it seems

The forceful pushback from McConnell shows his alarm about the latest aggressive move by Democrats to engage in retrospective oversight that could expose Trump for misusing the vast power of the federal government to pursue his political enemies.

It also means Republicans are certain to lock arms to block subpoenas against Trump justice department officials, including former attorneys general Bill Barr and Jeff Sessions. Democrats need at least one Republican member for subpoenas because of the even split between Democrats and Republicans on the panel.

Republicans move to block inquiry into Trump DoJ’s secret data seizure [Guardian]

…that said…despite all the “same shit”

To be clear, corporate contributions never dried up entirely. Their professed passion for democracy notwithstanding, plenty of companies and trade groups were even more passionate about not endangering their special friendships with lawmakers. And nothing makes lawmakers friendlier than campaign cash.

Last month, a report by the government watchdog group CREW noted that, although PAC donations were way down in the three months following the Jan. 6 attack, “170 business PACs — some of which had previously committed to stop giving” — still donated over “$2.6 million to campaigns, leadership PACs and party committees allied with” the Sedition Caucus.

Corporate America Forgives the Sedition Caucus [NYT]

…it is at least a “different day”

The last time an American president held a summit with President Vladimir Putin of Russia — July 16, 2018, in Helsinki — happened to be my first day working at the White House as National Security Council director for European and Russian affairs. It was not the usual mundane Day 1 of H.R. meetings, to put it mildly. Instead, I was thrust into a vortex of unending press inquiries and hasty meetings with other National Security Council staff members. We were all responding to frantic calls from embassies and congressional aides demanding comments and clarification on President Donald Trump’s bizarre assertion that he seemed to believe Mr. Putin’s (false) denials of interference in the 2016 election at least as much as the assessment of the United States intelligence community.
Critics will argue that little was accomplished Wednesday that would move the needle on U.S.-Russia relations. That may be so, if progress is measured by a single meeting. In reality, diplomacy doesn’t work that way.

We’ve Come a Long Way Since Trump. Putin Is Still Winning. [NYT]

Any Americans who believe that this country’s race problem stops at the water’s edge should disabuse themselves of the notion.

Our race problem is also an international problem in that dictators and authoritarian regimes use it as a way to point out American hypocrisy on human rights, as a means of deflecting from their horrible treatment of their own people and as a way to buck American chastisement.
On Wednesday, at a news conference after his meeting with President Biden, Russian President Vladimir Putin brushed aside criticism of how his government was treating a pro-democracy group in his country by comparing that group to Black Lives Matter:

“America just recently had very severe events, well-known events, after the killing of an African American. An entire movement developed, known as Black Lives Matter. I’m not going to comment on that, but here’s what I do want to say: What we saw was disorder, destruction, violations of the law, etc.”

The World’s Dictators Exploit America’s Racism [NYT]

For the past few years, Republicans in Congress have echoed Russian propaganda. On Wednesday, in Geneva, Vladimir Putin returned the favor: He echoed Republican propaganda.


It would certainly be welcome if Mr. Biden’s discussion with the Russian ruler, and follow-up talks they agreed would take place, led to an end to Russia-based cyberattacks, the relaxation of the Kremlin’s squeeze on the Russian operations of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and the release of U.S. citizens unjustly imprisoned in Moscow. Mr. Putin hinted “compromise” was possible on all these matters. Mr. Biden further reported that Mr. Putin had offered “help” on Iran and Afghanistan, and that accommodations were possible on the wars in Syria and Libya, where the two countries back opposing sides.

In short, the rhetoric sounded a lot like that which followed the initial encounters between the past three U.S. presidents and Mr. Putin, who has invariably reneged on his promises and relentlessly escalated his assaults on the U.S. political system and alliances. The Russian ruler’s implacable hostility toward the United States was evident in his performance at a post-summit news conference, in which he repeatedly offered bogus comparisons between his foreign aggressions, his human rights offenses, and U.S. actions. His persecution of the peaceful opposition movement led by Alexei Navalny, he claimed, was comparable to the prosecution of the mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6.

Biden offered Putin the benefit of the doubt. He should know better. [WaPo]

…perhaps we somehow stumbled into a dystopian future of some sort

The promise that so much healthcare could be delivered virtually, conveniently – and appealing in the US – cheaply, has perhaps never seemed more feasible. A subscription to Alpha Medical costs just $120 a year and promises “unlimited messaging” with a provider, though no in-person treatment or prescriptions are covered.

But the latest iteration of “telehealth” promoted for everything from therapy to birth control, including by Alpha, will not look like telehealth as most patients understand it.


…let’s just say…I don’t think this sort of thing suggests that’s a great idea?

Each year, hundreds of thousands of workers churn through a vast mechanism that hires and monitors, disciplines and fires. Amid the pandemic, the already strained system lurched.
“We notified your manager and H.R. about your return to work on Oct. 1, 2020,” the message said.

Ms. Castillo was incredulous. While working mandatory overtime in the spring, her 42-year-old husband, Alberto, had been among the first wave of employees at the site to test positive for the coronavirus. Ravaged by fevers and infections, he suffered extensive brain damage. On tests of responsiveness, Ms. Castillo said, “his score was almost nothing.”

For months, Ms. Castillo, a polite, get-it-done physical therapist, had been alerting the company that her husband, who had been proud to work for the retail giant, was severely ill. The responses were disjointed and confusing. Emails and calls to Amazon’s automated systems often dead-ended. The company’s benefits were generous, but she had been left panicking as disability payments mysteriously halted. She managed to speak to several human resources workers, one of whom reinstated the payments, but after that, the dialogue mostly reverted to phone trees, auto-replies and voice mail messages on her husband’s phone asking if he was coming back.

The return-to-work summons deepened her suspicion that Amazon didn’t fully register his situation. “Haven’t they kept track of what happened to him?” she said. She wanted to ask the company: “Are your workers disposable? Can you just replace them?”

The Amazon That Customers Don’t See [NYT]

Outsiders see a business success story for the ages. Many insiders see an employment system under strain. [NYT]

…& it’s not like they really seem to have particularly more respect for their customers at the end of the day

Many have learned a hard lesson about what it means to be an Amazon customer. Even when you’re paying lots of money, you are a guinea pig at the whims of a company endlessly striving to innovate. At any moment, the company could surprise you with an unwelcome change to an Amazon product you own or decide to kill it altogether.
Why does Amazon, a brand that probably knows more about what we want to buy than any other company, need to sell us experimental products just to figure out what it’s doing? Tech companies big and small typically do their research and development in house before releasing products to us.

What’s more, when Amazon fails like this, you, the guinea pig, lose your hard-earned cash and a product you may enjoy. There is also an environmental impact: The electronic device could end up in a landfill, and even if you recycle it, only a small portion of its materials can be reused.
Design veterans with experience creating products for big tech brands like Apple and Samsung confirmed that Amazon’s method was atypical. My general recommendation is to think twice before buying cutting-edge tech products made by Amazon — and if you do, be aware of the risk.

Buyers of Amazon Devices Are Guinea Pigs. That’s a Problem. [NYT]

…so it’s not that it isn’t nice to hear that things that seem like they should have happened already might be making it onto the to-do list

Biden Administration Forms Blueprint to Combat Domestic Extremism [NYT]

Democrats set a timeline Tuesday to move ahead with a sweeping infrastructure and jobs bill that wouldn’t require Republican support, making it clear that they believe a bipartisan deal wouldn’t sufficiently deliver on President Joe Biden’s top legislative priorities.

The process would allow Democrats to avoid the 60-vote threshold in the Senate, but it wouldn’t guarantee that they will be able to pass the $4 trillion proposal Biden asked for. Still, it could pave the way for them to send a major piece of legislation to his desk.


U.S. and E.U. Agree to Suspend Feud Over Aid for Airbus and Boeing [NYT]

Sen. Joe Manchin III, the lone Senate Democrat who is not sponsoring a sweeping voting rights and campaign finance bill, has outlined for the first time a list of policy demands on election legislation — opening the door to a possible compromise that could counter a bevy of Republican-passed laws that have rolled back ballot access in numerous states.
But Manchin’s memo also sketches out several provisions that have historically been opposed by most Democrats, including backing an ID requirement for voters and the ability of local election officials to purge voter rolls using other government records.

According to two Democratic aides familiar with Manchin’s views, he has also signaled to colleagues that he opposes a public financing system for congressional elections that has emerged as one of the most controversial parts of the For the People Act. The aides spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe Manchin’s private communications with other lawmakers.

Manchin outlines demands on voting legislation, creating an opening for potential Democratic compromise [WaPo]

…it’s less encouraging when it’s a reminder that this stuff hasn’t seen greater progress before now

Juneteenth, which takes place annually on June 19, marks the true end of slavery in the United States. It commemorates June 19, 1865, when Union Army General Gordon Granger proclaimed freedom from slavery in the state of Texas, nearly two years after the Emancipation Proclamation. The holiday has been celebrated in 47 states and the District of Columbia, but now, if passed through the Senate, will be recognized on a national level.


…because in the meantime…well…I’m pretty sure this isn’t what “what goes around comes around” is supposed to mean

A former St Louis police officer with a track record of violence, including the killing of a mentally disturbed Black man that was condemned as amounting to an execution, has been convicted of beating a suspect as he lay restrained and prostrate on the ground.

Ellis Brown III was found guilty by a federal jury last week after an internal police inquiry cleared him over a car chase in 2019 which ended with the then detective severely kicking Steven Kolb after he surrendered.

Kolb was so badly injured he was taken to hospital. The former officer faces up to 10 years in prison.

But Brown is better known as one of two St Louis officers who shot dead Kajieme Powell in 2014, just 10 days after another police officer killed Michael Brown a short distance away in Ferguson, invigorating the Black Lives Matter movement and sparking weeks of civil unrest.
But Ellis Brown’s history, including other allegations of violence and of fabricating evidence, has raised questions about the ease with which police officers with bad records are able to move between departments after he swiftly found a job with the city of St Ann, a St Louis suburb. There Brown rose to be head of detectives until his arrest for assaulting Kolb.

Ex-St Louis officer’s conviction points up revolving door for disgraced police [Guardian]

…or…given how things went down texas way when things got too cold…what that saying about heat & getting out of the kitchen is supposed to be about, either

As temperatures rise to unseasonably warm levels across Texas this week, its citizens are being asked to use less energy on basics like cooking and washing clothes to ease strain on the state’s power grid that is struggling to generate enough electricity to cope with the high temperatures.

Texans are urged to cut back on cooking and cleaning to ease power grid strain [Guardian]

…I don’t seem to have the link to hand but another one might be “be careful what you wish for” since the combination of texas’ reputation for some of the cheapest energy in the world & china’s crackdown on the crypto stuff had some people speculating that a bunch of electricity-hungry types might be looking to decamp to the lone star state…although it doesn’t seem like that’s what its governor is getting hot & bothered about

Gov. Greg Abbott said he would draw on $250 million of state revenues to begin work on a border wall and asked supporters to chip in with donations to a crowdfunding website.

Texas Says It Will Build the Wall, and Asks Online Donors to Pay for It [NYT]

…when you get down to it…at least for the folks with the most of the stuff…putting your money where your mouth is isn’t exactly the norm

At a time when the lack of taxes paid by the ultrawealthy has occupied a growing space in the national discourse, more and more attention has focused on the benefits that billionaires like Mr. Buffett and Mr. Gates accrue from their philanthropic giving. The two men, who along with Melinda French Gates, co-founded the Giving Pledge and together fund the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, are the richest they have ever been.

“Most billionaire philanthropists accumulate wealth faster than they give it away. It’s true even for the big-time proponents of giving, like Bill Gates and Warren Buffett,” said David Callahan, founder of the website Inside Philanthropy. “MacKenzie Scott seems to be somebody who actually is interested in giving away her money faster than she makes it.”

MacKenzie Scott Reveals Another $2.74 Billion in Giving [NYT]

“In this effort, we are governed by a humbling belief that it would be better if disproportionate wealth were not concentrated in a small number of hands, and that the solutions are best designed and implemented by others.
With more than 700 million people globally still living in extreme poverty, Scott wrote, her team “prioritised organisations with local teams, leaders of color and a specific focus on empowering women and girls”.

Beneficiaries included organisations staffed by “people who have spent years successfully advancing humanitarian aims, often without knowing whether there will be any money in their bank accounts in two months.

“What do we think they might do with more cash on hand than they expected? Buy needed supplies. Find new creative ways to help. Hire a few extra team members they know they can pay for the next five years. Buy chairs for them. Stop having to work every weekend. Get some sleep.”


…& while we’re on the subject of things that might make you feel better about the world

My father, you won’t be surprised to hear, is not a billionaire who, until a few months ago, served as the 45th president of the United States. But if he was, do you know what I would be doing right now? Swigging champagne on a yacht in the Med with the internet off, I reckon. You know what I would absolutely not be doing? Selling sad little videos of myself saying “Hello!” and “Happy birthday!” for $500 a pop on a video messaging service called Cameo. And yet, according to recent reports, it seems Donald Trump Jr is spending his days doing exactly that.

What gives? Is the former president’s eldest child desperate for attention or desperate for money?

At first glance, the former might seem more likely. Don Jr, after all, has shown himself to be as addicted to social media as his dad – and there is no obvious financial need for him to hawk personalised videos. Indeed, Don Jr sold the fancy Hamptons house he owned with his girlfriend, Kimberly Guilfoyle, a few months ago for more than $8m – almost double what they paid for it in 2019. When you are pocketing profits like that, why bother flogging yourself on online video platforms?

Expensive lawsuits, maybe? For legal reasons, I should make it clear that I am in no way insinuating that the Trump family is on the verge of being bankrupted and ruined reputationally by a swathe of lawsuits. But I am also not not saying that.




  1. Fool them once shame on them.  Fool them twice shame on Putin.  Fool them many times, we won’t get fooled again.
    Who knew that W understood US/Putin releations?

  2. I love that Juneteenth will probably become a national holiday in the US. But I’m dreading the almost certain white appropriation. 

    Joe Manchin *gnashing of teeth*

    • …I didn’t have time to line up the appropriate links/quotes but the juneteenth thing seems like a really good example of how incoherent the GOP stanc is about the line they (& apparently fox news) have been pushing about critical race theory being a problem

      …on the one hand (as far as I understand it) that stuff is considered to be a higher/further education thing rather than showing up where that argument seems to imply…so it’s several kinds of a red herring

      …but how does it make sense to say that day should be a holiday but be arguing at the same time that teaching kids about its significance is the sort of thing that shouldn’t be allowed?

      • Spin…and the knowledge that most people won’t think deeply about it.

      • It doesn’t even make sense to pretend slavery didn’t happen/wasn’t so bad/is okay because some Africans sold other Africans to slavers. It may help them hold power for now but it’s not a sustainable position. They’re so worried about Black people voting Dem but if they allowed genuine healing to take place through CRT and reparations they’d steal some of the Dems selling points. 

    • As some wag pointed out yesterday: The holiday will be approved, and as the CRT fuss reaches full throttle and history books are rewritten to even further whitewash history, we’re going to have a holiday celebrating an event people will never get to learn about. Anyway, come on down to Mattress Firm for our JUNETEETH SALE! 19% off any Serta mattress!!!!!

  3. That loser arrived just the other dayHe came to the world in the usual wayBut there were football leagues to ruin and bills not to payHe learned to walk while I was awayAnd he was talkin’ ‘fore I knew it, and as he grewHe’d say “I’m gonna be like you, DadYou know I’m gonna be like you”And the fats in my middle and my “reinstatement’s” soonPlaying golf all day and sending in the goonsWhen you comin’ home, DadI don’t know when, but I’ll just ignore you thenYou know I’ll have a good time thenMy son turned 40 just the other dayHe said, “Thanks for the ball, Dad, come on let’s playCan you teach me to throw”, I said “Not todayyou got your own damn kids”, he said, “That’s ‘sob’ ok”And he walked away but his tears never dimmedAnd cried, “I’m gonna be like him, yeahYou know I’m gonna be like him”And the fats in my middle and my “reinstatement’s” soonPlaying golf all day and sending in the goonsWhen you comin’ home, DadI don’t know when, but I’ll just ignore you thenYou know I’ll have a good time then

    • @manchucandidate Brilliant! All the stars for you.


    • The Jason Riddle:  who white supremacist riots in the morning, indicted for said riot in the afternoon then runs (even though he isn’t supposed to) for election in the wrong election in the evening?
      Just more proof that it takes a special person who is so stupid and willfully ignorant to be a QAnon supporter/dipshit.

      • New Hampshire Knucklehead

      • …not in fact knowing what office the person you want credit for running to unseat actually holds…while claiming that you’re going to keep your promises…while being ineligible to run in any race because you took part in an effort to derail the confirmation of the results of an election

        …I want to say that’s some sort of peak…but I don’t know…some other idiot is bound to take it as a “hold my beer” moment?

      • I wonder how many children Mr. Riddle has fathered, acknowledged or not. I suspect at least one. Happy early Father’s Day everyone! As part of my physical therapy I’m going to rollate myself over to the local Dollar Store on Sunday morning and pick up a last-minute gift for Life’s Helpmeet. I holiday shop like this because the selection is pretty awful to begin with and the dregs are always especially bizarre. I’m a firm believer that life should be full of surprises.

        I will pick up a card to be given from our dog, the closest approximation we have to a child. In our old neighborhood we lived near a charity/junk thrift store that sold “vintage” greeting cards, vintage in that they were actually filled out and sent at some point. Five cents each, three for a dime. “Dear Aunt Helen, happy 80th birthday from me, Joe, Joe Jr., Sarah, and Sarah’s kids Liv, Kayleen, and little Brandon! We hope to get up to see you at Silver Crest soon!!!”

  4. Biden names anti-trust backer to head the Federal Trade Commission:
    It is said to be unusual for a new commissioner to be named as chair right after confirmation, and has been described as the first time in a generation that the FTC has had a balance against corporate consolidation.
    The GOP has been claiming to back government antitrust moves against big tech, but we’ll see how the double talk shakes out when big money pushes back.

  5. Meanwhile Tom Cotton wants Biden to yank US athletes from the 2022 Winter Olympics to prevent China from harvesting US DNA to create Chinese supersoldiers:
    Note that the NY Times has long felt that Cotton is an important part of the national debate — to the exclusion of other voices.  Their top reporter on the debate on race, Michael Powell, recently pulled the old BS “I don’t necessarily agree with his Op Ed arguing for sending the military into cities to crush Black Lives Matter, but it’s important to give him our platform…”

    •  “I don’t necessarily agree with his Op Ed arguing for sending the military into cities to crush Black Lives Matter, but it’s important to give him our platform…” = “I totally agree with crushing Black Lives Matter”
      All else is bullshit. 

  6. Here’s a few things on the telehealth only model.  When the pandemic first started closing access to primary medical providers it was a great solution for small issues that could be handled by just a quick consultation (if the patient is honest).  Insurane companies even started reimbursing providers at 100% of office visit (now it is back down to 50-75%).  Appointments that would be at least 30 mins could be handled in a phone call that was less than 10mins and you could bill for a 1 hour visit.   You don’t need a physical space, equipment or MA’s (medical assistants) so you save lots of money.  On the other side, my wife saw patients that wanted to show a rash or something similar and this never goes well to really be able to know what is going on.  You have a huge chance of misdiagnosing things if you can’t see the patient in person.  She had a lady she thought had a bladder infection thru telemedicine visit but when she saw her in person, found a huge mass that would have killed her if she wasn’t caught soon.  Many newer, cheaper plans are requiring televisits before they will see you in person.  Becareful for choosing budget plans people and be an advocate for your health.  Insurance companies are not your friend and will try to pay for as little as they can so will ration your care to save money.

  7. …so…this isn’t exactly a surprise

    …but…someone really needs to explain to both manchin & mcconnell what a dictionary is…because for people who spend so much time talking about compromise


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