Links 1/16/18

Links for you. Science:

Incredible ‘Hypatia’ Stone Contains Compounds Not Found in the Solar System
What the dip in US life expectancy is really about: inequality
Why It’s Still Worth Getting a Flu Shot
Influence of Soap Characteristics and Food Service Facility Type on the Degree of Bacterial Contamination of Open, Refillable Bulk Soaps.
Scientists Continue to Use Outdated Methods


I Started the Media Men List. My name is Moira Donegan.
The Hidden Attrition Of Success Academy
IRS paid private debt collectors $20 million to recoup $6.7 million from low-income Americans
How to Get New York Moving Again
Get a grip, people. Oprah should not run for president.
Kylo Ren in the White House
Museum of Fine Arts will use a puppy to sniff out pests that could damage its collections
Sunday Morning Comin’ Down
Thinking about minimum wages, and thinking about them like an economist
Monks With Machetes
Oprah 2020 Is A Bad Liberal Revenge Fantasy
Yes, mass deportation is on the table. It always was.
The Case for More Female Cops
David Brooks: Because Every Political Catastrophe Needs a Sanctimonious Equivocator
The Sexual Assault Epidemic No One Talks About (this is very upsetting. You’ve been warned)
Affirmative action doesn’t hurt white medical school applicants
Trump Is No Reagan

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Direct Delivery

Observed on Dupont Circle, D.C.:

Die from trumpcare

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If Trump Goes Down, It Will Be Over Money Laundering

This is what, if anything, will do Trump in (boldface mine):

BuzzFeed News’ months-long investigation is the first to examine sales of Trump condominiums for indicators of possible money laundering and the most comprehensive analysis to date of all 22 Trump condo towers in the US.

BuzzFeed News examined Trump condo sales using online property records to determine the original buyers of each unit and whether they obtained a mortgage or paid cash. For buyers that were legal entities and not people, BuzzFeed News analyzed them using corporation records, property records, and other online documents to determine whether they were established businesses or shell companies, which typically generate little economic value.

The investigation identified 1,326 all-cash sales – some involving more than one condo unit – to shell companies

Secretive Trump condo sales surged initially in 1997 and 1998 as most Wall Street banks stopped lending to Trump after two of his Atlantic City casinos filed for bankruptcy. Trump reported $916 million in business losses in 1995, according to his 1996 tax return, which was leaked to the New York Times in the final weeks of the 2016 campaign.

The surge occurred when Trump opened his fourth high-rise, the Trump International Hotel and Tower, in Manhattan in December 1996. Shell companies bought 92 of the building’s 322 units in cash – 29% – including eight of the 12 units that sold for more than $5 million, records show.

The sales amounted to $134 million – more than Trump had received in secretive sales from his three other buildings combined.

From 1999 through 2007, secretive sales leveled off at an average of $23 million a year – 11% of units sold – before rising starting in 2008 during a crucial period for Trump. BuzzFeed News found that in the five years from 2008 through 2012, shell companies spent $890 million buying 823 Trump condos in cash – 25% of units sold. That’s $178 million a year on average. More than 87% of those sales were in Trump-licensed buildings.

In 2008, as the Great Recession cooled real-estate markets, Trump could not make a payment on a bank loan that he had guaranteed personally for $40 million. Trump Entertainment Resorts, which owned the Trump Taj Mahal casino in Atlantic City, faced a $53-million payment to bondholders. Trump forestalled the bank payment by suing the lender, Deutsche Bank. The casino filed for bankruptcy in 2009.

At the same time, Trump became financially entwined with Russians. In March 2008, a Russian billionaire paid Trump $95 million for a Palm Beach, Florida, estate that Trump had bought four years earlier for $41 million. Donald Trump Jr. told a Moscow real-estate conference in June 2008 that his father’s company, the Trump Organization, was planning to build condos and hotels in Russia. And he told a New York conference in September 2008, “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.”

Trump Jr. was executive vice president of development and acquisitions at the Trump Organization, which opened two major condo towers in early 2008 after a four-year lull. By the time Trump Jr. made his now-famous comment in September 2008, cash-paying shell companies had bought $43 million worth of condos at the Trump International Hotel and Tower Chicago and at the Trump International Hotel Las Vegas.

At a Trump-licensed condo building in Miami-Dade, cash-paying shell companies had bought $32 million worth of condos.

During this time, the future president and his children also were heavily promoting the Trump SoHo, a lower Manhattan high-rise that has been mired in controversy. In his September 2008 remarks, Donald Jr. cited the project: “In terms of high-end product influx into the US, Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets; say in Dubai, and certainly with our project in SoHo and anywhere in New York.”

Trump condo sales reportedly are under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller, whose team includes Justice Department prosecutor Kyle Freeny, a money-laundering expert. Mueller is investigating Trump’s connections to Russia and Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential election. He charged former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort in October with laundering millions of dollars he received for work in Ukraine before joining the Trump campaign…

Trump-Russia investigators in Congress also are interested in the timing of any money laundering and whether it coincided with periods when Trump could not get conventional loans….

Rep. Adam Schiff, the House intelligence committee’s ranking Democrat, said BuzzFeed News’ findings “concern me a great deal.” The committee should investigate whether “financial entanglement was one of the active measures the Russians used in the United States,” Schiff said. “It was one of the measures they’ve used in other countries.”

The irony is that, had Trump lost, nobody would care about any of this. This is what scares the hell out of him: he has to realize this will be bad–and this is one situation he can’t talk or bribe his way out of either. He has to know that much of the money came from really shady, if not illegal, sources. Furthermore, this is a blow to his ego: people bought his properties to launder money, not because he’s a genius builder.

That is to say, Trump is a bag man. And no one trusts a bag man.

Posted in Bidness, Resistance Rebellion And Death | 1 Comment

Links 1/15/18

Links for you. Science:

Wielding Data, Women Force a Reckoning Over Bias in the Economics Field
Beak fitness: New Zealand develops roadside gym for endangered keas
More Female Sea Turtles Born as Temperatures Rise
Under pressure, Trump team backs off proposal to cull foreign tech workforce
Insulin Concentration in Vials Randomly Purchased in Pharmacies in the United States: Considerable Loss in the Cold Supply Chain.


Answers from the MMTers
“I’m sorry Steve. But the big boss said it’s either him or you. And we can’t drop him.” (very funny)
Video shows apparently incapacitated, half-naked woman put out in cold by Baltimore hospital
German Idea to Fight Anti-Semitism: Make Immigrants Tour Concentration Camps
Caution: Entering Trump’s Mind
Steve Bannon’s Fatal Flaw
The Places That May Never Recover From the Recession
How Raw Water Tries to Make Poverty Hip
The Purge of New York
Want to Fix American Airports? Build a Better Train Network
Settling for Scores
The Case Against Joe Biden
The Negrological Constant
Trump’s move against Salvadorans won’t make them leave — or help U.S. workers
Charter Schools Are Reshaping America’s Education System for the Worse
The Metropolitan Museum’s New Pay Policy Diminishes New York City
Why Jeff Sessions’s marijuana crackdown is going to make legalization more likely
Literacy and Dementia and Trump
“America Is Already Great”

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This Is Not Normal: The HHS Edition

Are we still saying that anymore? Anyway, this happened at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), the parent organization of NIH and CDC, among others (boldface mine):

Teresa Manning, the controversial official in charge of the Title X federal family planning program, was escorted from HHS premises on Friday.

Two sources with knowledge of Manning’s departure tell POLITICO that she was fired by HHS. An HHS spokesperson disputed that account, saying that Manning resigned.

“HHS is very grateful for her service,” the spokesperson said. “Her departure after resignation was not unusual in any way.”

Manning could not be reached for comment.

Manning, who previously worked for anti-abortion groups including the Family Research Council and National Right to Life, had been serving as deputy assistant secretary for HHS’ Office of Population Affairs. In that role, she was responsible for helping set national policy around family planning, contraception and teen pregnancy — a development that alarmed abortion-rights groups worried about Manning’s history of statements and actions opposing birth control and abortion…

Manning’s name was removed from OPA’s leadership page on Friday night. She had been tapped in May 2017 to lead the office, which has been criticized by state officials in recent months. OPA’s process to allow states to apply for family-planning grants is running more than two months behind schedule

A source with knowledge of Manning’s dismissal said that staff were told to leave the floor of the HHS building and to take their computers, in order to ensure that no one witnessed her being escorted out.

This is definitely not normal. People who leave aren’t escorted out like this. Of course, this being a Republican administration, it gets worse (boldface mine):

“Manning’s departure would be positive news except for the fact that the Trump administration has chosen to replace Manning with Valerie Huber, who is well known for placing ideology over an evidence-based approach to ensuring that young people have the information and services they need to avoid an unplanned pregnancy,” said Ehrlich, whose group backs federal support for sex education and a wide range of contraception methods. “What we really need is for this administration to take women’s health issues seriously and appoint an individual who is not only well qualified for the position, but also values women.”

Don’t think for a moment this wouldn’t happen under a President Pence–or any number of other Republicans.

Posted in Blastocyst Liberation, Conservatives | 2 Comments

Healing The Sin Sick Soul

In light of the last couple of year’s events, this seems particularly relevant. Also, there’s an excellent essay that puts King in context here.

(from here)

These excerpts from a speech Martin Luther King gave to striking sanitation workers in Memphis seems appropriate for the political moment. The speech:

My dear friends, my dear friend James Lawson, and all of these dedicated and distinguished ministers of the Gospel assembled here tonight, to all of the sanitation workers and their families, and to all of my brothers and sisters, I need not pause to say how very delighted I am to be in Memphis tonight, to see you here in such large and enthusiastic numbers…

Continue reading

Posted in Basic Human Decency, Ethics, Resistance Rebellion And Death | Leave a comment

Links 1/14/18

Links for you. Science:

The Math Behind Gerrymandering and Wasted Votes
There is a Whole Cottage Industry of Doctors Helping Parents Skip Their Kids’ Vaccines
Trump proposes vast expansion of offshore drilling
Interior puts grants worth hundreds of millions of dollars through political review
These alligators spent days trapped in swamp ice — and survived


Judge bars UNC from colluding to prevent medical-faculty transfers
The enabling not only continues, it accelerates
The Republican Party Is in Full-On Panic Mode, and We Get to Watch
Everyone in Trumpworld Knows He’s an Idiot
Faust on the Potomac
Big Tech: The New Predatory Capitalism
Predictions for 2018 for #mapoli
5 signs your United States Senator has been co-opted by the Communist Party of China
Wolff Book: Trump Privately Rationalized KKK After Charlottesville
Michael Wolff Did What Every Other White House Reporter Is Too Cowardly to Do
In the heart of Anti-Trump Country, voters still pine for an America better than its president
Money-laundering allegations could hurt Trump more than Russia-gate
Red Handed
Dude, you broke the future!
There Are Lots of ‘Lone Wolves’ Out There, and They Have Guns
What the Salvadorans Being Kicked Out by Trump Face Back Home
Trump’s accidental moment of truth
Why Did Catherine Deneuve and Other Prominent Frenchwomen Denounce #MeToo?
Rikers Guards Are Allegedly Sexually Assaulting Visitors in the Bathrooms
Paul Krugman got the working class wrong. That had consequences

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