…in other words [DOT 20/6/21]

like other worlds...

…it’s sunday…& there’s been things to celebrate this weekend…like father’s day

Many years ago, I learned that readers hate two specific things the most: poetry, and corny old jokes. Thus was born The Poke. You’re welcome.

Gene Weingarten: Welcome to another edition of ‘Rhymes Against Humanity’ [WaPo]

…so I’m pretty sure most of us would rather be eating barbecue or something…or giving in to the temptation to think of that this kind of thing

Conservative Christians jeer ‘traitor’ Pence for refusing to overturn election [Guardian]

…might make it seem like these idiots might manage to trip over themselves & eat dirt

Bad strategy? How the Republican attack on voting rights could backfire [Guardian]

39 senators who now support changing or eliminating the filibuster previously opposed doing so [WaPo]

…it might make a person feel better about this sort of shit, after all

Senate Republicans are preparing to unanimously block Democrats’ marquee election reform legislation, in a move that sets the stage for a bitter showdown over the future of voting rights across America and the survival of the filibuster rule.

Republicans dig in and prepare to sink Democrats’ voting rights bill [Guardian]

…but it’s hard to rest easy about the jeering (allegedly) christian crowd…because the christian right sure does seem to be more about the the political kind of right than either the other kind or the christian part

It wasn’t the first time that Lindell had overlapped his evangelicalism with his politics. Speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2019, he declared that Trump was “chosen by God” to serve in that role. But by 2020, he was evangelizing for Trump directly. He spoke at the Republican convention that August on behalf of the state of Minnesota, for example, decrying the “terrible Democratic leadership” of the state that had “manifested into so much of the destruction of my great state and country.”
There are many Americans who went from apolitical in 2016 to fervent, die-hard Trump supporters in the five years since. Few, though, have the financial resources of Mike Lindell — supplemented by the “Lindell Legal Offense Fund,” a solicitation effort that Lindell is promoting. With that cash in hand and with the former president muffled by his bans from social media in the months since Trump left office, Lindell has taken up the public fight on Trump’s behalf. He started his own social media platform centered on free speech (but banning some swear words). He’s been holding events in support of Trump, including a rally last weekend in Wisconsin.


…& the thing about faith is it doesn’t require proof…or realism

Trump, who turned 75 this week and resumes campaign rallies next Saturday in Ohio, has hinted that he might run for president again in 2024. Many who attended the Road to Majority conference pledged to support him if he does, although few wanted Pence to be his running mate again.

The martyr who may rise again: Christian right’s faith in Trump not shaken [Guardian]

Republicans got a lot out of the Trump presidency, including three Supreme Court justices, tax cuts and more of a fighting chance in future elections than Democrats would like to believe. One thing they did not generally get was the moral high ground or a coherent and consistent political ethos — beyond “Trump.” By constantly bulldozing norms and forcing his party to account for wild political shifts, Donald Trump often rendered his party mute when it came to its once-sacred values.

And perhaps at no time in the post-Trump era have the consequences of that come into focus as much as in the past week.
The GOP’s effort over the past week can hardly be described as anything but gaslighting.


…because it’s hard to forget this part

Republican state lawmakers have introduced at least 216 bills in 41 states to give legislatures more power over elections officials, according to the States United Democracy Center, a new bipartisan organization that aims to protect democratic norms. Of those, 24 have been enacted into law across 14 states.
The maneuvers risk eroding some of the core checks that stood as a bulwark against former President Donald J. Trump as he sought to subvert the 2020 election results. Had these bills been in place during the aftermath of the election, Democrats say, they would have significantly added to the turmoil Mr. Trump and his allies wrought by trying to overturn the outcome. They worry that proponents of Mr. Trump’s conspiracy theories will soon have much greater control over the levers of the American elections system.

How Republican States Are Expanding Their Power Over Elections [NYT]

…I guess you might say the context is important

All of the approximately 50 members of a Portland, Ore., police crowd-control unit resigned from their assignment on Wednesday, citing a lack of support from city officials during a year that has seen frequent clashes between protesters and law enforcement.

The mass resignation came one day after a grand jury charged Officer Corey Budworth with one count of assault in the fourth degree, a misdemeanor offense that carries up to a one-year jail sentence, for his actions during an Aug. 18 protest in downtown Portland.

Budworth, who was placed on administrative leave by the department on Tuesday, was filmed repeatedly striking a woman in the head with a baton and knocking her to the ground. There have been few criminal cases filed against police officers for excessive use of force at protests, and the Multnomah County indictment marks the first time a member of the Portland Police Department will face prosecution for such actions.


…& I don’t know about you…but if there’s anything to the saying that if you have a few bad cops & many good but the many don’t get rid of the few then you just have a whole lot of bad cops…then that comes off to me like a striking show of solidarity for a woefully dubious cause standing on entirely the wrong sort of principles…you might be forgiven for thinking it fits a pattern of sorts

‘Italygate’ election conspiracy theory was pushed by two firms led by woman who also falsely claimed $30 million mansion was hers [WaPo]

…wouldn’t you know it…sometimes things aren’t as good as they’re made out to be

Google has vowed to block cookies completely on its Chrome browser, which is used by around 70 percent of the world’s desktop computer owners, by the beginning of 2022. The decision, announced last year, sent shock waves through the advertising world, which has maintained revenue from tracking is necessary to fund a largely free Web.

Google says it has solutions to allow advertisers to keep showing relevant ads, but in privacy-protecting ways. Taken together, the company’s proposals are meant to let Web publishers, e-commerce companies and advertising agencies continue using targeted ads to make money, while assuring regular Internet users their data isn’t being stockpiled by an ever-growing list of companies and websites.

But privacy activists have already started poking holes in Google’s ideas.


…yes, I know…I’m sure you’re all shocked…but it’s notoriously difficult to thread the needle

For Biden, Iranian Hard-liner May Be Best Path to Restoring Nuclear Deal [NYT]

Iran’s next president could be the most repressive figure to ever hold the position [WaPo]

A Roadblock for Iran’s President-Elect: He’s on the U.S. Sanctions List [NYT]

Catastrophe stalks Afghanistan as the US and UK dash for the exit [Guardian]

…but sometimes it can seem like we have trouble with the fundamentals

Welcome to the worst drought in an estimated 1,200 years. [Guardian]

An estimated 2 million Americans live without access to either safe drinking water, indoor plumbing or basic sanitation, according to DigDeep, a nonprofit that works to bring water to Americans without it. This “water access gap” disproportionately affects low-income, rural communities and people of color — communities left behind by the massive national investment in public water infrastructure in the past century.
During the 20th century, the percentage of Americans without water and sanitation access declined rapidly. From the New Deal through the 1970s, federal initiatives funded the creation of small water systems across the country. But the burden of funding water infrastructure shifted increasingly to states and local governments beginning in the ’80s, as federal funding efforts stagnated and shifted more toward loan than grant funding.

Meanwhile, Americans of color and rural communities have fallen through the cracks, said McGraw, DigDeep’s founder. There is little federal data on the demographics of water and sanitation access, but recent research conducted by the nonprofit found that race is the strongest predictor of access, with Black and Latino families twice as likely as white families to lack running water. More than 17 percent of rural Americans report having experienced issues accessing safe drinking water. The challenges span the country, from McDowell to the Navajo Nation, from Texas border towns to the Alabama-Mississippi Black Belt.


…& as if that weren’t bad enough

…The water business has been a booming investment for private companies. Over the last couple of decades, private water companies have steadily increased their market share of water systems to 15 percent from 10 percent, largely by taking advantage of state legislative efforts that have changed how public assets are valued, said Heike Doerr, a water utilities analyst with S&P Global Market Intelligence. In the past, the value of a public utility was measured by its “book value,” which factors in its depreciating value — like a car. But since 2016, 14 states have passed “fair market” legislation, which allows companies to factor in the future value of a utility, pay above this price and then pass along those costs to consumers.


…there’s also this

On Jan. 15, a hacker tried to poison a water treatment plant that served parts of the San Francisco Bay Area. It didn’t seem hard.

The hacker had the username and password for a former employee’s TeamViewer account, a popular program that lets users remotely control their computers, according to a private report compiled by the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center in February and seen by NBC News.

After logging in, the hacker, whose name and motive are unknown and who hasn’t been identified by law enforcement, deleted programs that the water plant used to treat drinking water.
The incident, which has not been previously reported, is one of a growing number of cyberattacks on U.S. water infrastructure that have recently come to light. The Bay Area attack was followed by a similar one in Oldsmar, Florida, a few weeks later. In that one, which made headlines around the world, a hacker also gained access to a TeamViewer account and raised the levels of lye in the drinking water to poisonous levels. An employee quickly caught the computer’s mouse moving on its own, and undid the hacker’s changes.
But of all the country’s critical infrastructure, water might be the most vulnerable to hackers: the hardest in which to guarantee everyone follows basic cybersecurity steps, and the easiest in which to cause major, real-world harm to large numbers of people.
Whether hacks on water plants have recently become more common or just more visible is impossible to tell, because there is no comprehensive federal or industry accounting of water treatment plants’ security.
There has never been a nationwide cybersecurity audit of water treatment facilities, and the U.S. government has said it has no plans for one. While individual facilities can ask the federal government for help to protect themselves, few do. In most cases, it’s up to individual water plants to protect themselves, and even if they’re aware they’ve been hacked — a big if — they might not be inclined to tell the federal government, much less their customers. That means hacks can take years to come to light, if they do at all.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency, the federal government’s primary cybersecurity defense agency, is tasked with helping secure the country’s infrastructure, including water. But it doesn’t regulate the sector and is largely confined to giving advice and assistance to organizations that ask for it.
Of those that do, an internal CISA survey conducted earlier this year, the results of which she shared with NBC, found dour results. As many as 1 in 10 water and wastewater plants had recently found a critical cybersecurity vulnerability. Most shocking, more than 80 percent of the major vulnerabilities that the surveyed facilities had were software flaws discovered before 2017, indicating a rampant problem of employees not updating their software.

50,000 security disasters waiting to happen: The problem of America’s water supplies

…mind you…there’s other ways that tech & water supplies make awkward bedfellows

Many data center operators are drawn to water-starved regions in the West, in part due to the availability of solar and wind energy. Researchers at Virginia Tech estimate that one-fifth of data centers draw water from moderately to highly stressed watersheds, mostly in the Western United States, according to a paper published in April.
“I am not sure the degree to which environmental considerations are in the decision-making process,” said Landon Marston, lead author of the paper.

All centers need some form of cooling technology, typically either computer room air-conditioning systems — essentially large units that cool air with water or refrigerant — or evaporative cooling, which evaporates water to cool the air. Evaporative cooling uses a lot less electricity, but more water. Since water is cheaper than electricity, data centers tend to opt for the more water-intensive approach.
“The typical data center uses about 3-5 million gallons of water per day — the same amount of water as a city of 30,000-50,000 people,” said Venkatesh Uddameri, professor and director of the Water Resources Center at Texas Tech University.
“We are going to experience a drier and more water-scare future, and every drop of water counts,” said Newsha Ajami, director of urban water policy at Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment. “It’s not just Amazon, Microsoft and Google causing these water footprints. But it’s you and me, searching and needing data that ends up in these data centers.”

Ajami said that water has been historically undervalued as a resource in part because it has been cheap for companies to purchase. While many industries have taken great leaps in reducing their electricity use and carbon footprints, they lag behind in water efficiency throughout their supply chains, she said.

“We often overlook the communities impacted, who are often disadvantaged,” she added. “If it was a wealthy community, maybe they wouldn’t allow the data centers to be built in their backyard.”

…was kind of the first tune that sprung to mind…although it’s upwards of 10mins long…some interesting tidbits in the text that pops up as it goes, though
…for the record…this is not in fact my personal theme tune…whatever these posts might tend to suggest

…& since it’s sunday….& I feel bad about the lack of good news above these…here’s basically two of these tunes at once…call it a bonus extra



  1. Today is the day I get to wait all day for my daughter to call me and wish me Happy Father’s Day and then she finally calls while I’m taking a nice nap watching the ballgame this afternoon and I dream that she’s little again and I momentarily forget that she’s lives 600 miles away.

  2. & the thing about faith is it doesn’t require proof” Richard Dawkins famously said, “Faith is belief without evidence and reason; coincidentally that’s also the definition of delusion.” The people of my acquaintance who are most faithful show it via quiet good works and kind gestures, rather than church-directed dogmas. My father’s pastor was one of those people. During the last year of my father’s life, as we gave him hospice care in our home, his pastor was a faithful visitor. And he always made time to talk with us, and comfort us, and give us support during a very difficult time, both emotionally and physically. While he closed each visit with a prayer or psalm, he in no way pressured us to become “churched” or tried to convert us.

    • …yeah…it’s a funny thing but the people I’ve known over the years who most take their faith seriously & seem to have genuine conviction have uniformly been both really kind/considerate people & entirely not pushy about other people being on board the same faith

      …whereas quite a few people who seem to make a lot of noise about how faithful they are (& everyone else isn’t) often seem to have missed some of the major points about their chosen religion…in my experience those people also don’t react well when a self-confessed agnostic points that sort of thing out…not even when you happen to be able to point at bits of scripture to illustrate…or maybe that ought to be “especially when”?

      • Definitely with that “especially when…” bit😉🤣💖
        Especially when you can pull a verse *and* the book/verse # to drop right along with it😈
        Miiiiight be a reason one of my own personal faves is Matthew 25:40…

  3. you know that post about irrational fears yesterday?
    well…i dunno about fears…but ive certainly ran into the irrational now
    my daughters seriously considering cancelling a 3 week freebie holiday to the coast of france coz she might have to take a brainpoke to prove shes rona free…
    she really does not want the brain poke
    holy shit
    theres very few things i wouldnt let you do to me for 3 weeks of holiday at no cost to me

    • …wait…so the deal is take a covid test & get to spend three weeks on holiday in france…& she’s turning down the holiday because she doesn’t want to take the test?

      …that certainly qualifies as irrational to me

    • “theres very few things i wouldnt let you do to me for 3 weeks of holiday at no cost to me”
      Farscy, that’s because you like fun & adventure enough, that even the IDEA of fun planted in your noggin would have you game for pretty much anything!
      In my head, honestly?
      I imagine you to be a more brunette(slightly reddish-brunette?) curly-haired, sliiiightly narrower, more “Puck-ish” looking, smarter, British-Dutch version of Gronk, who can also weld, & knows cars.😉😁💖
      and the part that MOST reminds me of Gronk is your tendency to be up for adventure…
      Like the old saying goes–you are a TRUE friend!
      Because you’d be the one *sitting* with us in jail, *after* the adventure–saying, “DAMN, that was sure fun tho, wasn’t it?!?” 
      Rather than being the calm, staid, “responsible” (just “good”) friend we call to bail us out…

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