…so, it’s the weekend [DOT 10/4/21]

which is a good start...


Before becoming a terrorist leader, ISIS chief was a prison informer in Iraq for U.S., records show [WaPo]

…there are a few things that have happened of late

English is a living language, built to grow and evolve, but the red-blue political split is pushing its limits. There are increasingly fierce disagreements over what it means to be “canceled,” what constitutes “bipartisanship” — and don’t even try to figure out what counts as “infrastructure.”

At this point, each team could use its own dictionary, with contested terms defined according to that side’s worldview. Think of it like a French-to-English dictionary, only angrier.

Democrats and Republicans No Longer Speak the Same Language [NYT]




The Republican Party may not have much of an agenda to sell to the public right now, but it does have an enemy with which to rally its troops: “woke capital,” or those corporations that have adopted progressive rhetoric on social issues and used their platforms to support voting rights or back movements like Black Lives Matter.
To the extent that “woke capital” even exists, it involves real questions of political economy. Simply put, there are few countervailing forces in American life to corporate speech, corporate money and corporate political action. If “woke capital” is a real problem, then the solution is to reanimate those countervailing forces, which is to say, to put life back into organized labor.

Republicans’ Fake War Against ‘Woke Capital’ [NYT]

…although if you listen to as much BBC radio content as I do you’d be forgiven for thinking that all of them in some way relate to the death of prince philip

The consequences of Boris Johnson’s careless Brexit are playing out in Belfast [Guardian]


…but as it happens it’s the rest of it that seems interesting to me

Embattled National Rifle Association chief Wayne LaPierre feared for his safety after mass shootings in recent years, forcing him to take refuge aboard a friend’s luxury yacht, the gun rights advocate testified.

LaPierre made the admission in a deposition connected to the NRA’s bankruptcy case in Dallas.
“And all of us were struggling with how to deal with that type situation with a private citizen with the amount of threat that we were having. And this was the one place that I hope could feel safe, where I remember getting there going, ‘Thank God I’m safe, nobody can get me here.’ And that’s how it happened. That’s why I used it.”


…it’s not that it’s exactly surprising

Trump appointees in the Department of Health and Human Services last year privately touted their efforts to block or alter scientists’ reports on the coronavirus to more closely align with President Donald Trump’s more optimistic messages about the outbreak, according to newly released documents from congressional investigators.

The documents provide further insight into how senior Trump officials approached last year’s explosion of coronavirus cases in the United States. Even as career government scientists worked to combat the virus, a cadre of Trump appointees was attempting to blunt the scientists’ messages, edit their findings and equip the president with an alternate set of talking points.


…it’s just a level of hypocrisy that can only be described as striking

US banks are pledging to help fight the climate crisis alongside the Biden administration, but their boards are dominated by people with climate-related conflicts of interest, and they continue to invest deeply in fossil fuel projects.

Three out of every four board members at seven major US banks (77%) have current or past ties to climate-conflicted companies or organizations – from oil and gas corporations to trade groups that lobby against reducing climate pollution, according to a first-of-its-kind review by climate influence analysts for the blog DeSmog.

One of the controversial projects those board members have chosen to back is the new Line 3 tar sands pipeline, currently under construction in northern Minnesota. If completed, the project would allow the Canadian oil giant Enbridge to double the amount of high-polluting tar sands oil it transports through the region to 760,000 barrels per day.

Environmental groups estimate the new Line 3 would add 50 new coal plants’ worth of carbon emissions to the atmosphere every year for the next three to five decades. They say it is incompatible with the Biden administration’s climate and environmental goals, and they argue the project never should have been approved. They add that the Trump administration didn’t independently review the risks of building a tar sands pipeline underneath the headwaters of the Mississippi River, which flows all the way to the US Gulf coast.


…or…to put it another way


Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida, was one of President Donald J. Trump’s most vocal allies during his term, publicly pledging loyalty and even signing a letter nominating the president for the Nobel Peace Prize.

In the final weeks of Mr. Trump’s term, Mr. Gaetz sought something in return. He privately asked the White House for blanket pre-emptive pardons for himself and unidentified congressional allies for any crimes they may have committed, according to two people told of the discussions.


Adam Kinzinger, a Republican from Illinois, wrote: “Matt Gaetz needs to resign” in a tweet posted on Thursday, linking to a Daily Beast article which claims Gaetz paid $900 to an accused sex trafficker.
The Daily Beast reported that Gaetz sent Joel Greenberg, a friend who is accused of crimes including sex trafficking a 17-year-old girl and is said to be negotiating a plea deal with prosecutors, a payment of $900 over Venmo in May 2018.

The next day, according to the Daily Beast, Greenberg used the same app to send payments totaling $900 to three young women. Greenberg captioned the payments to the women as: “Tuition”, “School” and “School”.


The House Ethics Committee announced Friday it would investigate claims that Rep. Matt Gaetz engaged in sexual misconduct and illicit drug use and showed images of naked women on the House floor, opening a new front in the growing scandal enveloping the Florida Republican.



…you couldn’t make it up

When critics of the party accuse Republicans of heading in the wrong direction, they don’t usually mean it literally. But that’s what happened with the Kansas senate majority leader, Gene Suellentrop, who was arrested early in the morning on 16 March after leading police on a chase that hit speeds of 90mph and saw the lawmaker travelling against the flow of traffic and narrowly avoiding striking other vehicles on the road.

‘Donut boy’: Republican politician taunts police after wrong-way chase [Guardian]

…although this guy deserves some sort of reprieve…or possibly a lot of people begging his pardon

…this guy…not so much

After the retired general pleaded guilty in 2017 to federal criminal charges that he had lied to the FBI during its investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election, then-president Donald Trump, Flynn and their supporters claimed that Flynn was the victim of political persecution.

Flynn’s prosecution, they insisted, without evidence, was the result of a vast conspiracy by the FBI and US intelligence agencies to sabotage Trump’s presidential campaign and presidency. Trump pardoned Flynn in the final days of his presidency.

But while pleading guilty in 2017, Flynn also admitted to committing another crime: related to his acceptance of hundreds of thousands of dollars from the government of Turkey without registering with the justice department as an agent of a foreign government, which was required by law.

Now, according to people familiar with the confidential findings of the recently completed IG investigation, the Guardian can reveal Flynn was warned years earlier that his acceptance of foreign money and his not registering as a foreign agent likely would be illegal.

Moreover, Flynn’s conduct occurred while he was a private citizen, long before Trump became president. Taken together, this appears to constitute powerful new evidence discrediting Trump and Flynn’s claims of political persecution by those opposed to Trump’s agenda.


…not everyone has the patience to keep their mouth shut until the book deal’s signed


…although to be fair some of these assholes can make asses of themselves long after the book gets published

In the new issue of Captain America, the superhero’s longtime nemesis Red Skull espouses his views about “10 rules for life”, “the feminist trap” and “chaos and order” – and Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson is none too pleased.

Written by the award-winning author Ta-Nehisi Coates, the Marvel comic features a version of the villain who looks to radicalise young men by telling them “what they’ve always longed to hear … That they’re secretly great. That the whole world is against them. That if they’re men, they’ll fight back. And bingo – that’s their purpose. That’s what they’ll live for. And that’s what they’ll die for.”

Peterson, the self-styled “professor against political correctness” who wrote the book 12 Rules for Life and is adored by young white men who feel alienated, describes chaos as being “represented by the feminine” and says that “the masculine spirit is under assault”. He took issue with the characterisation. “What the hell?” he wrote on Twitter on Tuesday, after the comic was brought to his attention.


…it even seems like he’s tried to lean into it & posted tweets of his own quoting himself superimposed on images of the red skull prefaced by “Red Skull says…” &…well…I don’t know how many of y’all have ever read enough comics to know this…but in a genre where damn near ever villain seems to have had at least one redemption arc at some point & even Captain America has taken at least one turn as an actual villain…the red skull has never once strayed from being a full-on nazi that’s batshit crazy & believes he ought to be in charge of the world…just sayin’


…I guess in the end it’s all about where you draw that line in the sand

The blue wall of silence has broken in the Chauvin trial, but that doesn’t absolve the police [WaPo]

…or what your priorities are

Discussions of President Biden’s proposals are too often dominated by talk of “left-wing” this or “centrist” that, as if ideological labels matter more than substance. And a quiet struggle within the Democratic Party that could have a decisive impact on child poverty should not be reduced to such prefabricated punditry.

The issue is whether to make permanent Biden’s improvements to the child tax credit and the earned income tax credit that were part of the $1.9 trillion rescue package. They should be.

The changes increased the size of the child tax credit and made sure its benefits flow to our nation’s poorest families. The measures will cut child poverty nearly in half and put the United States on the same moral page as other wealthy democracies. Our peers recognize investments in the well-being of children and families as the smartest, most decent things governments can do.

What’s more important than slashing child poverty? [WaPo]

…although for some it remains all about how well padded that bottom line is when you rest your laurels


It’s been a glorious pandemic for the world’s richest people. Forbes annual billionaire poll includes a record-breaking 2,755 billionaires, with Amazon founder Jeff Bezos once again topping the list, the media company said on Tuesday.
Together the plutocrats added $5tn to their wealth for a combined fortune of $13.1tn, up from $8tn on the 2020 list. A record 493 people joined the list this year – one new billionaire every 17 hours. The majority, 205, were in China. But the gains were widespread with gains across the world.

Not everyone was a winner. According to the latest list, Donald Trump’s standing among other billionaires has plummeted almost 300 places since 2020, down to No 1,299. The humiliating fall sits on Forbes’ list next to a quote from the former president reading: “I took a lot of finance courses at Wharton. First they taught you all the rules and regulations. Then they taught you that those rules and regulations are really meant to be broken.”

Trump has lost millions on his retail locations, hotels and golf resorts in the last few years. But it does seem that businesses who were distancing themselves from Trump after the Capitol attack, continue to lease his properties, helping him to rake in millions on some properties in the last year.


…it’s all about perspective, I’m sure


…personally…I’m kind of a fan of this lady’s

…of course sometimes it seems like people have a tendency to vote against their own interests


…but that kind of thing is seldom simple

The union has complained about the mailbox, which the Postal Service installed just before the start of mail-in balloting for the union election in early February. It has argued that the mailbox could lead workers to think Amazon has some role in collecting and counting ballots, which could influence their votes.

The emails, obtained by the union through Freedom of Information Act requests, could extend that battle if the union loses the vote, providing fodder for unfair labor practices charges that provide grounds to overturn the results. The emails show that Amazon pressed the Postal Service to install a mailbox urgently just as the seven-week mail-in balloting began.
Amazon spokeswoman Heather Knox said that the mailbox’s placement was intended to make voting easy and that the company proposed a variety of options to do so.
The emails among Postal Service workers, though, show the lengths to which Amazon will go to fight unionization, Appelbaum said.

“Even though the NLRB definitively denied Amazon’s request for a drop box on the warehouse property, Amazon felt it was above the law and worked with the postal service anyway to install one,” Appelbaum said in a statement. “They did this because it provided a clear ability to intimidate workers.”


…& it’s not like it’s the last word on the subject

The lopsided vote against a union at Amazon’s warehouse in Bessemer, Ala., was a major disappointment to organized labor, which regards the fight with Amazon as central to labor’s survival. Yet the defeat doesn’t mark the end of the campaign against Amazon so much as a shift in strategy.
“We’re focused on building a new type of labor movement where we don’t rely on the election process to raise standards,” said Jesse Case, secretary-treasurer of a Teamsters local in Iowa that is seeking to rally the state’s Amazon drivers and warehouse workers to pressure the company.

The strategy reflects a paradox of the labor movement: While the Gallup Poll has found that roughly two-thirds of Americans approve of unions — up from half in 2009, a low point — it has rarely been more difficult to unionize a large company.

Union Loss May Bring New Phase of Campaign Against Amazon [NYT]

…& while sometimes it’s a comfort to think that maybe people in power might “do what they can”


The commission will also examine other potential changes such as term limits for justices. Progressives are pushing President Biden to add seats to balance the court’s conservative majority. [NYT]

Biden to take a flurry of actions on gun control [WaPo]




Republican-controlled states are spending astronomical sums of their taxpayers’ money to buy pharmaceutical drugs from illicit dealers in a desperate and almost certainly unlawful attempt to carry out lethal injection executions.


…it kinda isn’t?

Recent news coverage of the riot has largely focused on facial recognition – and how private citizens and local law enforcement officials have conducted their own facial recognition investigations in an attempt to assist the FBI with the help of social media. But charging documents reveal that the FBI has relied on a variety of other technologies, including license plate readers, police body cameras and cellphone tracking. And civil rights watchdogs like the ACLU are concerned that the same technologies used to surveil the rioters could impede protesters exercising their first amendment rights.


…not least when it’s this fucking asshole

The filibuster is a critical tool to protecting that input and our democratic form of government. That is why I have said it before and will say it again to remove any shred of doubt: There is no circumstance in which I will vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster. The time has come to end these political games, and to usher a new era of bipartisanship where we find common ground on the major policy debates facing our nation.

Joe Manchin: I will not vote to eliminate or weaken the filibuster [WaPo]

…& if you’re wondering why there are so many twitter links in this today…it’s on account of something got me thinking about that platform

The National Archives will not be allowed to resurrect Donald Trump’s tweets on the social network, Twitter said on Wednesday, even in its official capacity as a record-keeping organization. However the archive is working to create a separate record of the former president’s tweets on his official library website.
The confirmation that Trump’s tweets cannot be revived for archival purposes, first reported by Politico, highlights the ongoing debate on what should become of Trump’s digital legacy. In the weeks and months after, many free speech advocates have argued there should be a public record of what the president has said – even if it is no longer allowed on the platforms where he frequently posted controversial and hateful rhetoric.


…I don’t know if it’s just me but I feel like there might be some odd combination of the streisand effect & the observer effect involved in the whole idea…but the late, great richard feynman allegedly once said that “anyone who claims to understand quantum theory is either lying or crazy” so I probably ought to be grateful I don’t think I can explain it…mind you…it turns out once again that the fabric of the universe might be a bit more complicated in its weft & warp than we had thus far been led to believe

Experiments with particles known as muons suggest that there are forms of matter and energy vital to the nature and evolution of the cosmos that are not yet known to science.

A Tiny Particle’s Wobble Could Upend the Known Laws of Physics [NYT]

…meanwhile…I was a little out of it last night but I gathered belatedly that a certain someone happened by who we’ve missed hearing from for a while…so…hello, hello…I don’t why you [said] goodbye…I say hello?

…either way…it’s the weekend



    • …I know the name erica jong…& might even have remembered it went with “fear of flying”…but I had not made the connection to molly…although I probably ought to have managed to figure that out?

      • Erica Jong is still alive and she’s only 79. According to Infallible Wiki, she’s been married four times and Molly is her only child. She was about 30 when Fear of Flying came out. “Mrs. America” could have easily squeezed her in during the side-plot about the Women’s Lib movement in the 1970s, but I don’t think they did, and I’ve watched the entire one-season series twice. 

    • Yes, Erica Jong is on Twitter too and they occasionally pop in and out of each others tweets. It seems like they have a really nice relationship.

  1. Second hot taek, a reference to the second link: I love how the NYT casually references a French-to-English dictionary. If New York might be considered bilingual, its second language would be Spanish. It’s multilingual, but the lingua franca is English, then Spanish, lots of Yiddish and Chinese languages thrown in, then maybe something approaching French in the form of Haitian Kreyòl, but no, of course the entire readership did that college summer abroad in France and it was amazing!

  2. You might be in for a long morning because I am fired up.
    Re: Prince Philip’s not exactly untimely death (he was 99)
    Blame is circulating that, while in hospital, Prince Philip somehow saw or knew about the famous Meghan/Harry/Oprah interview and that pushed him over the edge. It is equally plausible, though, that the post-Brexit chaos in Northern Ireland also troubled him, given that his beloved “Uncle Dickie,” “Lord Mountbatten,” although the family name was Anglicized from Battenberg a century ago to remove the stain of carrying a German surname from the British branch during and after WWI…
    Anyway, Uncle Dickie was famously blown up aboard his boat by the IRA in the 1970s. I bet Philip didn’t want to see those days return. I doubt anyone would, except for maybe the die-hard fringe on both sides.

    • Meghan and Oprah pretty much murdered young prince Philip is a racist theory created and perpetuated by the dumbest and most hateful idiots from the depths of internet hell and ANY mainstream news outlets covering it – even if only to point out how absurd it is – should be ashamed of  themselves.

    • …the suggestion that the interview was what did him in/pushed him over the edge is not altogether surprising but smacks very much of every bit of the blame-meghan tendency some of the british press (& I guess some corresponding part of the public) can’t seem to pass up an opportunity to double down on…but considering some of the things people said about the man in the preceding decades that didn’t seem to have any effect I think it says more about the people floating that narrative than it does about him or the royal family themselves?

      …the mountbatten/ulster thing, though…that I could see hitting him pretty hard…he was something of an anachronism of late & undoubtedly not without flaws but the general impression I get from the anecdotes of people who met him &/or knew him is that underneath it all he was more or less “a decent sort” who took a very deliberate back seat to his better half & was at pains to stress it didn’t have a steering wheel anywhere in reach…which wasn’t nothing back when they got hitched

      …I dunno that I’m entirely inclined to root for the royals but I do think it’s hard to argue he didn’t do at least some good for the world…& somewhat more for britain specifically

      …not that there wasn’t a bit of the sort of reaction a lot of UK twitter had to the demise of maggie thatcher from “black/irish twitter” yesterday

      • I’m sorry but I have to laugh when someone 99 dies and people are all, what was the cause of death. FFS, really? The Buddhist philosophy on death makes the most sense to me.

      • I think that Prince Philip, despite his many ill-advised off-the-cuff comments, was at heart a well-meaning internationalist, in his own way. I mean he would be, given his own polyglot background. He was probably delighted when Britain was finally admitted into the EU, as it’s now known, and saddened and angry about Brexit.
        Like some Americans, I have a strange fascination with the British Royal Family. As my British friends have pointed out (I’m also a huge Anglophile, obviously, my username will confirm this) it’s because I don’t have to pay for them. They’re staunch Republicans all, in the sense that they’re not Monarchists, not that they would ever vote for someone like Donald Trump or Mitch McConnell. 
        My own particular hobby, as an observer from afar, is reading about how German the royal family is. When QEII and Philip got married his own sisters weren’t invited to the wedding. Why not? Because they were minor German nobles who married other minor German nobles (even though these titles were technically abolished after WWI), ardent supporters of the Third Reich, and Britain had fought a long, miserable war quite recently during WWII.
        I’ve long felt that one of the reasons Charles, for whatever other reasons, was kind of pushed into marriage to St. Diana of Althorp was that she was so quintessentially British. A Spencer, she was related to the Churchills and Marlboroughs, so she (her family that is) predated the Hanoverians/Saxe Coburg-Gothians by centuries. What better match for the future king? 
        This all seems like the distant past and really it’s not at all relevant, but when Prince Charles ascends the throne, should he outlive his mother, he will have had paternal aunts who aided and abetted the Nazi cause, which is—interesting is not the word I’m reaching for, but it will do.

    • Fox and Friends was picking up on that line of attack from the British Murdoch press. Considering the Murdoch press was hacking the phones of the royals, I think it shows how confident they are that the rest of the press will never, ever hold them to account.

  3. Hi all you fabulous content creators – I’m available to sub in for anyone that needs a break or wants help creating posts. The job I thought I was going to do fell through so I’m not currently working – just puttering around the yard and taking care of household chores. My cooking skills are nonexistent I’ve been told and I have very little knowledge of the metal music but other than that I will give anything the good ol’ college try. Just hit me up in the DM’s.

    • Sorry to hear about the job.

      Considering your field you might be interested in generating some posts in the TV & Film category? 

      Feel free to go through the list of categories and if you’d like to add a category, let me know.

      That goes for everyone interested in posting.



      • Sure! I can probably come up with something. Also, is anyone interested in green/ecoanything type posts? I know Earther on G/O was one of the least visited  of the sites – but environmental stuff is starting to be what I read most now.
        I’ve been looking into leaving the film industry and getting into green roofs – but I know nothing about roofing and I only have a basic knowledge of gardening so right now it’s just scrolling through green job sights looking for some kind of work to get me started. Of course the siren lure of that sweet sweet film paycheck will probably always beckon me back to the fold. 

        • I’m pretty inactive as far as the topic goes, but I’m interested in this sorta stuff, so I’d at least read, and maybe even comment if I had anything relevant to add.

    • …that’s a generous offer…& I wouldn’t be at all surprised if one of us doesn’t find a way to hold you to it…although I’m sorry to hear that the time’s free on account of some work falling through…best of luck with that side of things in these strange days

    • @lymond you are always welcome to do some NOTs. I never have anything time-sensitive to say so legit if you just want to throw some out there and schedule as you want, it’s fine with me! Like even if I have my act together enough to actually have one scheduled the day before and you are excited about something, we can always move mine. 

  4. @SplinterRIP The question on Cheeto’s tweets is a tough one. Much as we hate reading them we can’t forget that shit, murica sugarcoats history way too much as it is, but the obvious reality some find his rhetoric sound is an argument to suppress. I just don’t have any faith in the general public’s reasoning skills anymore. Whether that comes from lack of education or obstinacy is something I think about alot.

    • …I lean pretty hard in the direction that the public seeming to lack the ability to reason is indicative of decades of failure (in a way that’s not by any means unique to the US) to provide adequate education, myself…generally speaking it seems to me that the things that do better when people don’t know better are pretty much universally the things we’d be be better off without…perhaps that’s naïve on my part…but I think that if people were better able to see that kind of bullshit for what it is they’d be less likely to fall for its alleged charms…even if the likes of the GOP will likely always prefer to try to make/keep other people dumber than the low bar they themselves represent because they’re high enough on their own supply to believe it “works for them”?

      …which tends to also lean me towards the idea that there ought to be a record of the intellectual sinkhole that was Dolt45’s twitter account…if only to make it clear that it was responsible for the whole cliché that “there’s ALWAYS a tweet” demonstrating that he not only lacked the courage of his convictions but in fact was fresh out of both & sorely in need of the other kind of conviction…which I still hope I might live to see?

      • …which tends to also lean me towards the idea that there ought to be a record of the intellectual sinkhole that was Dolt45’s twitter account…
        That must be the biggest lift his *shudder* presidential library staff will do. The rest will be shifty fundraising emails with autochecked boxes and piles of binders full of blank paper.

  5. I’m just going to applaud Matthew Gertz for taking advantage of the situation and doing something good with his Twitter account. I did not see that exchange with Ray(mond) Donovan coming.

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