Links 12/12/17

Links for you. Science:

Uranium firm urged Trump officials to shrink Bears Ears National Monument
The world’s largest and oldest organism is super stressed out
Origin, evolution, and global transmission of community-acquired Staphylococcus aureus ST8
I’m a brain specialist. I think Trump should be tested for a degenerative brain disease
Sales of antibiotics for livestock drop for the first time, FDA data show


How Obama Destroyed Black Wealth
Franken Is Leaving and Trump Is Still Here
Here’s Why Democrats Forced Al Franken to Do the Right Thing—And Why They May Come to Regret It
Al Franken’s Resignation and the Selective Force of #MeToo (very good)
2%: The percentage of Patreon creators who earn more than the federal minimum wage through the site, according to public earnings data.
What’s Missing From Reports on Alabama’s Black Turnout
It’s Not the Money, It’s the Power: Checking in our nation’s big banks
On Franken’s Resignation
If North Korea Fires, Here’s How We’ll Defend Ourselves
Baby PISA is Just Around the Corner. So Why is No One Talking about It? (this is insane)
I Don’t Think the Moral High Ground Exists Anymore
Voucher Schools Championed By Betsy DeVos Can Teach Whatever They Want. Turns Out They Teach Lies.
Fracking Is a Huge American Money Pit (it’s like Uber, but for energy generation?)
The Trump Tax Cuts for the Rich Must, and Will, Be Repealed
Downward Spiral
A new Potomac River bridge is a bad idea, even for drivers, a study shows
Friends Who Host Benefits
The Republican War on Children
There Has Been No Surge In Violent Crime Since Ferguson

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Observed at the American Art Museum, Gallery Place, D.C.:


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Democrats Should Do This For Every Election

Every single damn one (boldface mine):

A judge directed Alabama election officials Monday afternoon to preserve all digital ballot images in Tuesday’s hotly contested U.S. Senate special election.

An order granting a preliminary injunction was filed at 1:36 p.m. Monday – less than 24 hours before voting is to begin. The order came in response to a lawsuit filed Thursday on behalf of four Alabama voters who argued that the state is required to maintain the images under state and federal law.

“All counties employing digital ballot scanners in the Dec. 12, 2017 election are hereby ordered to set their voting machines to save all processed images in order to preserve all digital ballot images,” Montgomery County Circuit Judge Roman Ashley Shaul wrote in the order…

Digital ballot images are essentially digitized versions of the paper ballots Alabamians fill out in the voting booth. In Alabama, these digital images are destroyed once an election has passed, according to Duncan.

People think that when they mark the ballots and they go into the machine that that’s what counted,” she said. “But it’s not, the paper ballot is not what’s counted. That ballot is scanned and they destroy [the ballots] after the election … If there’s ever an election challenge you need to have what was actually counted.”

The destruction of the images allegedly opens the door to potential hacking because there are no hard copies of the ballots, according to Duncan.

I understand why some Democratic officials, elected and unelected, have disdain for their voters. It’s shitty, but I get it. But one would think they would fight harder for the actual votes.

Do this for every single election, every time. And push for vote audits.

Update: Apparently, without a hearing, the Alabama State Supreme Court has overturned this court decision. Because, Intelligent Designer forbid, we actually believe in the validity of an electoral outcome. Seriously, if Moore wins, this decision undermines the legitimacy of the election.

Posted in Democrats, Voting | Leave a comment

Links 12/11/17

Links for you. Science:

There’s No Such Thing As ‘Sound Science’
The disposable chip that will allow GPs to write the perfect prescription
Why Does A City As Dense As D.C. Have So Much Wildlife?
Birth Control Pills Still Linked to Breast Cancer, Study Finds (“But by the time a woman reaches 40, her probability of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years is 1.45 percent, or 1 in 69. A 20 percent increase raises her risk to 1.74 percent, or 1 in 57.”)
Investigations into the killing activity of an antimicrobial peptide active against extensively antibiotic-resistant K. pneumoniae and P. aeruginosa. (early days…)


Republicans Plan to Cut Food Stamps as Homelessness Rises in the US
Don’t blame the election on fake news. Blame it on the media.
Former Congressman Harold Ford Jr. Fired For Misconduct By Morgan Stanley (Ford was always a New Democrat shithead)
We’re thinking about internet freedom in all the wrong ways
We could fund a universal basic income with the data we give away to Facebook and Google (made a similar point here)
Why Not Make the Rich Compete?
A Liberal-Libertarian Unholy Alliance
PUT YOUR TIN FOIL HATS ON, we are about to go on a VERY wild ride. (on square dancing)
Franken’s resignation shows that only one of our two great parties has any integrity
Al Franken is gone. Roy Moore will likely remain. Why?
The Reckoning Republicans—And The Rest Of Us—Deserve
I study liars. I’ve never seen one like President Trump.
Congressional Democrats Left Out of White House Hanukkah Party (so petty)
With region’s transportation options, must every apartment have parking space?
Why Thousands of Low-Income Americans ‘Donate’ Their Blood Plasma to For-Profit Centers
Former Colorado GOP chairman Steve Curtis found guilty of voter fraud, forgery
Private War: Erik Prince Has His Eye On Afghanistan’s Rare Metals
Hillary Clinton’s emails got as much front-page coverage in 6 days as policy did in 69

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Is The Plural Of Bacteriophage, A “Vile”?

There’s an interesting Vice article about bacteriophage (viruses that infect bacteria) and their potential usefulness in killing bacteria. But this photo caption cracked me up:


It’s vial, not “vile.” Though that would be a great name for the plural of bacteriophage…

Posted in Humor, Viruses | 1 Comment

Once Again, Intersectionality Without An Economic Plan Is Politically Harmful

One of the more vile election-season junk mailers (and junk emails) Jews receive is the “Dear Jew” letter, in which a politician proclaims his or her unconditional support for the current Israeli government, as if this is the only thing American Jews could possibly care about. Which brings us to some comments about a flyer released by the campaign of Alabama senate candidate Doug Jones.

The flyer, featuring a picture of a black man, reads “Think if a black man went after high school girls, anyone would try to make him a senator?” Michael Harriot responds (boldface mine):

It is an actual flyer circulating around from the Doug Jones for Senate Committee in his run against Elmer Fudd wannabe and schoolgirl aficionado Roy Moore for Alabama’s U.S. Senate seat, and it has upset black voters across Alabama.

Someone, probably a white man, thought that the image would resonate with black people and motivate them to get out the vote. It’s as if black people were considering voting for the child molester until some brilliant strategist posited, “What if he were black, though?” The flyer is reductive in its oversimplification of the black mind as only caring about black issues. While it might not be racist, it is certainly racist adjacent.

It is also the Democratic Party.

Part of the reason the Democratic Party has been marginalized as a party that only exists on the coasts and in urban areas is white-mannery like this. While the policies of the party may be more progressive and black-friendly, the Democratic leadership is often as prejudiced and shortsighted as its Republican counterparts, and next week’s Senate election is the perfect example.

The Democratic Party is trash. It is the reason Hillary Clinton lost. It is the reason Donald Trump is president. It is the reason I might be represented in the U.S. Senate by a grown man who probably went to see Twilight in the theaters and stood by the candy counter asking teenage girls if they wanted a sugar daddy.

Until the stories surfaced about Roy Moore’s predilection for prepubescent ponytail wearers, the Democratic Party had wholly abandoned Alabama. It treated minorities and Democratic-leaning whites in the South like every black character in horror movies: necessary casualties left behind for the greater good

On the rare occasions when the Democratic Party does address black voters, it only talks about the “black issues”: policing, mass incarceration, civil rights, etc. For the party leadership, black people aren’t whole people who have the same concerns about taxes, job creation, education initiatives, international policy and economics as other voters. They are simply bodies collected in the coffers of the party’s ineffective longing for power.

the only argument they have made in their efforts to convince black voters to vote for Jones is that one thing he did for black people that one time. Every solicitation is the same: “Remember when he convicted the racists who bombed the 16th Street Baptist Church? See? He’s down!”

It’s amazing what one learns when you actually listen to people. Harriot also notes that, unlike Democrats, Republicans manage to get ‘non-base’ voters to go along with the demands from the base:

Even if they convince us to vote, even if Doug Jones wins, it doesn’t mean Dems are going to go hard for us like the Republicans go hard for their base. The floor of Trump’s core supporters is probably a 25-30 percent, mostly Southern minority. Who does that remind you of?

The Republican Party wins not only because it caters to its base, but because (and this is the important part) it goes all out in efforts to convince the rest of the mainstream voters to get on board.

If you look at the poll numbers, a vast number of Republican voters disagree with their party on gun control, abortion or white supremacy (well, maybe not white supremacy, but still … ). But the party leadership finds a way to convince them to vote for the party. They talk about job creation, lowering taxes and kitchen-table issues.

In fairness, Democrats are pretty good at attracting ‘progressive deplorables‘–the problem is that, once they win, they abandon their base constituencies of labor, what used to be called liberal Democrats, and minorities (and, of course, these three groups overlap. Intersect, if you will).

That said, Doug Jones will be vastly better than Roy Moore. But as some asshole with a blog put it:

Reciting your resume, even if it is strong, isn’t the same as telling people how you’re going to make their lives better. People don’t really want to hear how awesome you are, they want to hear how awesome (or at least not as sucky) they will be if they vote for you. I’ll go out on a limb and suggest that’s not limited to younger voters too.

We desperately need a win here, and we deserve better than the Democratic consultants who take our campaign contributions and come up with this stupid crap.

Posted in Democrats, Fucking Morons | 1 Comment

Links 12/10/17

Links for you. Science:

The surgeon general and his brother: A family’s painful reckoning with addiction
Scientists are trying to figure out which bacteria have colonized our space station
What Makes a Dinosaur a Dinosaur?
Why Is Giving Birth So Hard? New theories are challenging a long-standing notion that the difficulty of childbirth is simply an evolutionary trade-off.
How to Tell If a Dinosaur Is Fake


A Weekend with Bernie
Another way Trump will get us Killed: to move US embassy in Israel to Jerusalem
Monetary Mental Illness
D.C. Council Approves Bill Changing How City Provides Homeless Services And Who Can Get Into Shelter
Don’t Buy Anyone an Echo
Trump administration’s proposed tipping rule raises fear of legal wage theft
Teacher uses Tom Brady cutouts to get cars to slow down in school zone
Weinstein’s Complicity Machine
An Open Letter to the U.S. Congress: The tax plan will have disastrous consequences for the American people
Q&A: Getting Millennials Off That Treadmill
Millions Are Hounded for Debt They Don’t Owe. One Victim Fought Back, With a Vengeance
The Trump Promises
MSNBC Reverses Decision to Fire Contributor Sam Seder
Walter Benn Michaels on how liberals still love diversity and ignore inequality: A conversation with the UIC professor whose controversial 2006 polemic The Trouble with Diversity now looks prescient (“But it’s obvious that you cannot build a working-class movement with a commitment to antidiscrimination. That doesn’t mean discrimination is right, of course—it’s wrong and we should oppose it. But you can’t build a working-class movement with that kind of campaign, because they’re not the victims of discrimination, they’re the victims of exploitation. If you keep telling them the problem is discrimination, what you’re actually telling them is, “We don’t want to get rid of inequality, we want to legitimize it.” It’s to say, “Look, if you’re poor because you’re a victim of racism, sexism, homophobia—that’s a problem because it’s an inequality of opportunity. But if you’re not a victim of one of those things, fuck you.””)
#MeToo is working: New data shows attitudes on harassment are changing: New polling info suggests Americans get why sexual harassment is wrong — and want Donald Trump held accountable
Ben Jealous calls for single-payer health care in Maryland
Palestinians recognize Texas as part of Mexico
Georgetown University refuses to recognize graduate student union

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