Links 5/25/17

Links for you. Science:

Dear Gwyneth Paltrow we’re not f**king with you we’re correcting you, XOXO Science
The Case Against Low-fat Milk Is Stronger Than Ever
In ‘Enormous Success,’ Scientists Tie 52 Genes to Human Intelligence
I Am Glad the Harlem Deer Is Dead
The Worst Fat in the Food Supply


Broken Technology Hurts Democracy…and fixing both begins in American schools (excellent)
Single-Payer Would Cost A Third of Current Health Care Costs Per Family
The Beleaguered Tenants of ‘Kushnerville’
The Little Free Pantry
What Elites Do Instead of Providing Services, Redux
The Unfreeing of American Workers (wrote about this two years ago)
The case for impeaching Trump — and fast
Republicans Are Laying the Groundwork For Their Normal Blue Slip Hypocrisy (or, maybe, Democrats should just play by the new rules?)
Purple Line Potentially On Hold Indefinitely After Ruling (I wish the YIMBYs would be all over this…)
A Vital Drug Runs Low, Though Its Base Ingredient Is in Many Kitchens
Trump’s Russia Scandal Is Becoming a Corruption Scandal
The White House justifies its savage budget with a divisive lie
Tired of New York’s Subways? Blame Andrew Cuomo
On the Purple Line and beyond, judges are playing planner
Fight club: Russian spies seek EU recruits

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This Is How (Many) Businesses Are Run

Or at least Il Trumpe’s business (boldface mine):

We got a call Friday from a reader named Paul Redmond that The Post had accidentally published Defense Secretary Jim Mattis’s private cell phone number.

A story about President Trump’s bodyguard Keith Schiller, Redmond said, was accompanied by a photograph of the two of them walking on White House grounds. The bodyguard was holding a stack of papers, and, according to the caller, on the outside of those papers was a yellow sticky note that said “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis” and had a phone number.

This of course sounds impossible. Way more care than that is taken around the president, right? The Secret Service is good at secrecy, generally. So I thanked the guy for the call and dubiously pulled up the photo in question. With the monitor turned 90 degrees and the photo blown up, indeed, I could make out a number and what might be “Jim, Mad Dog, Mattis,” if you have better eyesight than mine even when I squint.

I called. I got the voice mail. It was him.

Yes, of course, the president’s bodyguard — the guy famous for punching someone outside of Trump Tower, the guy who according to the story has the president’s complete trust — is employing the yellow sticky note system of information security. I got the tingly sensation that means someone important should know this and told my co-worker Anna and then my boss and one of the reporters who wrote the article.

I see little reason to think that this isn’t the Trump Organization modus operandi. For that matter, many businesses probably are this scattershot. There are reasons government agencies have lots of rules–sometimes, they’re even good ones…

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You Can’t Have It All: The Republican Rich Dude Edition

If you haven’t heard Republican Montana Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte physically assaulted a Guardian reporter (Gianforte is now charged with assault–the delay might have been due to the local sheriff being a Gianforte supporter). Joking aside, I doubt Gianforte lost his shit because he was asked about the CBO scoring of the Trump healthcare proposal (which was what he was being asked about). Instead, the assault probably stems from this earlier story by the same reporter (boldface mine):

A Republican congressional candidate has financial ties to a number of Russian companies that have been sanctioned by the US, the Guardian has learned.

Greg Gianforte, who is the GOP standard bearer in the upcoming special election in Montana, owns just under $250,000 in shares in two index funds that are invested in the Russian economy to match its overall performance.

According to a financial disclosure filed with the clerk of the House of Representatives, the Montana tech mogul owns almost $150,000 worth of shares in VanEck Vectors Russia ETF and $92,400 in the IShares MSCF Russia ETF fund. Both are indexed to the Russian equities market and have significant holdings in companies such as Gazprom and Rosneft that came under US sanctions in the aftermath of the Russian invasion of the Crimea.

The holdings, while substantial, make up only a small portion of Gianforte’s wealth. The congressional candidate, who made a fortune starting a software company which was later sold to Oracle, has assets estimated to be worth between $65m and $315m, according to his financial disclosure.

All he had to do was sell off a tiny fraction of his net worth, but he was just too damn greedy, too damn stupid (or both) to do this. Hell, he could have made a big show of selling this off, and then claimed how honest he is. His inability to do so speaks to an air of entitlement. Like Jared Kushner, it doesn’t occur to him that making money in a sleazy way (and Gianforte made most of his money honestly it would appear) is inherently incompatible with elected or appointed office–to decent people, anyway.

Want to make money in a shady, but legal way*, fine. But even rich dudes can’t have it all.

Aside: Like it or not, that Fox News reporters verified the story made it much harder for the local sheriff and the Montanan Republican establishment to ignore this.

*Of course, if Kushner has money coming in from illegal sources, then it’s much worse.

Posted in Bidness, Conservatives, Fucking Morons | 2 Comments

Links 5/24/17

Links for you. Science:

The Secret Life of Urban Crows
The engine of irrationality inside the rationalists
Some Work Is Hard
The Resistome Of Important Human Pathogens
There’s a hoax going on here all right. But I don’t think it’s gender studies that’s being fooled.


Graydon Carter on Trump’s Constitutional Crisis, Ruskiegate, and the Worst First 100 Days in Presidential History
Don’t underestimate Trump (he’ll certainly be around for a while)
What Americans get wrong about food stamps, according to an expert who’s spent 20 years researching them
The airport lawyers who fought Trump’s Muslim ban are facing a Justice Dept. crackdown
Here’s how jurors can resist Jeff Sessions’ Justice Department (“Nullification is already being used in service of conservative ends, and for progressives to cede nullification to the Right only further entrenches the disparities produced by the criminal system.”)
A company under Trump attack makes a bold move: It repeatedly ignores him (it’s very easy to roll Trump)
Facebook could tell us how Russia interfered in our elections. Why won’t it? (or hit them with anti-trust)
Don’t Count on the Precedent of Watergate to Help Depose Trump. We Got Lucky.
The White House is becoming more chaotic by the day. Now, a special counsel has been brought in to investigate possible connections between President Donald Trump’s team and Russia. But the most important question is now whether Trump is mentally stable enough to be president.
‘They were not patriots’: New Orleans removes monument to Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee
Police Forces Are Sending A Message To Black Suburban Residents: You’re Not Wanted
Black voters say they’re already losing under Trump
Reaction GIFs are Useful
GOP leadership knew about Dana
10 Art Deco buildings every D.C. resident should know

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We Could Have Had Single Payer

Democratic senator Tom Harkin spills the beans (boldface mine):

He wonders in hindsight whether the law was made overly complicated to satisfy the political concerns of a few Democratic centrists who have since left Congress.

“We had the power to do it in a way that would have simplified healthcare, made it more efficient and made it less costly and we didn’t do it,” Harkin told The Hill. “So I look back and say we should have either done it the correct way or not done anything at all.

“What we did is we muddled through and we got a system that is complex, convoluted, needs probably some corrections and still rewards the insurance companies extensively,” he added.

Harkin said the sweeping healthcare reform bill included important reforms such as preventing insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and keeping young adults on their parents’ health insurance plans until age 26.

He also lauded the law’s focus on preventing disease by encouraging healthy habits, something he contributed to by drafting the Healthier Lifestyles and Prevention America Act, which informed ObamaCare.

But he believes the nation might have been better off if Democrats didn’t bow to political pressure and settle for a policy solution he views as inferior to government-provided health insurance.

All that’s good. All the prevention stuff is good but it’s just really complicated. It doesn’t have to be that complicated,” he said of the Affordable Care Act.

Harkin, who is retiring at the end of this Congress, says in retrospect the Democratic-controlled Senate and House should have enacted a single-payer healthcare system or a public option to give the uninsured access to government-run health plans that compete with private insurance companies.

“We had the votes in ’09. We had a huge majority in the House, we had 60 votes in the Senate,” he said.

He believes Congress should have enacted “single-payer right from the get-go or at least put a public option would have simplified a lot.”

We had the votes to do that and we blew it,” he said.

Many liberals at the time expressed deep disappointment that the huge Democratic majorities in the Senate and House failed to pass a public option. It was the first time since 1978 that Democrats had a filibuster-proof Senate majority.

Then we wonder why Republicans are seen as more responsive to people’s economic needs.

Keep it simple, stupids.

Posted in Democrats, Fucking Morons, Healthcare | Leave a comment

Polarization Does Make Impeachment Harder

I think Paul Krugman is partly correct here (boldface mine):

The G.O.P., by contrast, is one branch of a monolithic structure, movement conservatism, with a rigid ideology — tax cuts for the rich above all else. Other branches of the structure include a captive media that parrots the party line every step of the way. Compare the coverage of recent political developments on Fox News with almost everywhere else; we’re talking North Korea levels of alternative reality.

And this monolithic structure — lavishly supported by a small number of very, very wealthy families — rewards, indeed insists on, absolute fealty. Furthermore, the structure has been in place for a long time: It has been 36 years since Reagan was elected, 22 years since the Gingrich takeover of Congress. What this means is that nearly all Republicans in today’s Congress are apparatchiks, political creatures with no higher principle beyond party loyalty.

But there’s a second problem. In a less polarized era, there were enough Republicans who wouldn’t lose everything if Nixon were impeached (or forced to resign). Liberal Republicans wouldn’t see every policy they liked want go up in smoke. Yes, they could lose majorities and policy might be pushed somewhat leftward.

But today, if you’re a Republican–which, as Krugman notes, means you’re a movement conservative–if Trump is impeached, you lose everything: anti-abortion federal judges, the ability to kill the ACA, all sorts of regulatory rules, the ability to massively tilt the electoral landscape in your favor. As importantly, most Republicans will gain nothing. Impeachment, and its consequences, would be a devastating blow to their agenda (mind you, this is a good thing).

So they won’t break until they are less likely to have their agenda move ahead with Trump than without him. And I’m not sure I see that happening anytime soon.

Posted in Conservatives | 2 Comments

Links 5/23/17

Links for you. Science:

Where do numbers come from?
Global penicillin shortages are bringing back old diseases, and creating new, deadlier ones (complete market failure)
Health Secretary Tom Price Favors ‘Faith Based’ Approach To Opioid Crisis
Why the “Conceptual Penis” Hoax is Just a Big Cock Up.
Syria’s ‘Aleppo boil’ spreads with refugees through the region


Fancy Prisons for Billionaires Are Reshaping the Manhattan Skyline
Birth of a Radical. White Fear in the White House: Young Bannon Disciple Julia Hahn Is a Case Study in Extremism
The president is not a child. He’s something worse.
The Miracle Of Compound Interest
Once Again, Florida Democrats Show How to BLOW This in 2018
Our Lady of Complicity
Wisconsin’s Voter-ID Law Suppressed 200,000 Votes in 2016 (Trump Won by 22,748)
Trumpism: It’s Coming From the Suburbs (this is true, but, as with most analysis, it doesn’t distinguish between the median and marginal voter)
The New York Times Has Imported the Ethics of the Wall Street Journal
Don’t Pity Trump’s Enablers
Planet of Cops
Trump’s shameful silence on Turkish protest
‘Hitler Street’ and swastika landscaping: A New York enclave’s hidden Nazi past
What’s the Matter With Republicans?

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