Links 6/18/19

Links for you. Science:

You’re not imagining it: The pollen increase is real, and it’s linked to climate change
Top UCLA Doctor Denounces HBO’s “Chernobyl” As Wrong And “Dangerous”
Planet is entering ‘new climate regime’ with ‘extraordinary’ heat waves intensified by global warming, study says
Wine has barely changed since Roman times, and that’s a problem
Why Trump’s clampdown on academia is forcing many Chinese researchers into a difficult corner


Banks gets scolding on voucher plan in DC
The Labor Movement’s Newest Warriors: Grad Students
This Deepfake of Mark Zuckerberg Tests Facebook’s Fake Video Policies
A Historic Breakthrough for Sex Workers’ Rights
I said goodbye to my car a year ago. I don’t miss it.
Hollywood and hyper-surveillance: the incredible story of Gorgon Stare
He asked the FBI to analyze ‘Bigfoot’ hair 40 years ago and never heard back. Until now.
Protesters want to fly ‘Baby Trump’ balloon during the president’s Fourth of July address in Washington
Judge releases man who triggered panic at D.C. Pride parade
Maryland Town’s First Black Mayor Says She’s Target of Racist Attacks, Bullying
The ‘Platform’ Excuse Is Dying
I Wrote This on a 30-Year-Old Computer
Maine Exhales
Road trip! DC Councilmembers try out the H & I pilot bus lanes (Cool. Now use mass transit for six months)
The Day the Music Burned
No charges for personal drug possession: Seattle’s bold gamble to bring ‘peace’ after the war on drugs
Leading voting-machine vendor vows to ditch paperless voting
Congressional Republicans target efforts to decriminalize sex work in the District
Punishing Kids With Years of Debt
Federal watchdog agency recommends removal of Kellyanne Conway from federal office for violating the Hatch Act (someone should ask Orrin Hatch what he thinks about this…)

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

Why Pelosi Might Be Opposing an Impeachment Inquiry: Margolies-Mezvinsky

Many Democrats and their ‘Resistance’ allies* are puzzled as to why Speaker Pelosi is opposing an impeachment inquiry. Multiple thinky pieces argue that she has learned the wrong lesson from the Clinton impeachment. But the problem is that I don’t think the Clinton impeachment is her frame of reference. Instead, it’s the short-lived career of Congresswoman Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky**.


In 1992, Democrats did very well and won a number of swing seats with a large class of freshmen. Among these freshmen was Margolies-Mezvinsky. In 1993, President Bill Clinton wanted to pass a modest tax hike, which, in that era, was not popular. While the Democratic House leadership tried to protect as many of its vulnerable freshmen as they could, some freshmen were called on to take a tough vote. In Margolies-Mezvinsky’s case, she cast the deciding vote, and that vote probably cost her re-election.

I have no doubt Pelosi despises Il Trumpe. But she views her job as protecting seated House Democrats–all of them, even that shithead Lipinski. When Margolies-Mezvinsky fell on her sword, at least Democrats got something out it. But Pelosi doesn’t want to force Democrats in swing districts to take a tough vote when nothing will come of it (impeachment likely won’t pass two-thirds of the Senate). That’s what I think is motivating Pelosi. For obvious reasons, she can’t say this out loud (these sorts of statements have a knack of becoming reality through repetition).

That said, I think Pelosi’s calculus is wrong here. Even if she is right and an impeachment inquiry would ultimately lead to tough votes (an assumption I don’t buy at all), some House seats are worth harming Trump, demoralizing the Republican base, and forcing conservatives onto the defensive. In other words, ten House seats are worth a shot at the Senate, a better chance of winning the presidency, and helping down ballot candidates.

But Pelosi isn’t willing to take that risk, so instead, we are left with the risk of not impeaching Trump. And that’s a pretty high risk too.

*One of the… something things about the conservative Never-Trumpers is watching them finally realize just how gormless Congressional Democrats are.

**In 2007, she divorced her husband and now goes by Margolies. At the time, she went by Margolies-Mezvinsky.

Posted in Democrats, Resistance Rebellion And Death | 3 Comments

Links 6/17/19

Links for you. Science:

White House blocked intelligence agency’s written testimony calling climate change ‘possibly catastrophic’
With 2020 in mind, Trump overruled top health official on fetal tissue
The NIH’s extramural workforce craves stability
Here’s Why the Black-White IQ Gap Is Almost Certainly Environmental
Meet the biggest and smallest dinosaurs in the Smithsonian’s redesigned exhibit
During the mating season male echidnas will follow females around in a line.


Impeach Trump and don’t worry (much) about President Mike Pence. We already have him.
Elizabeth Warren Has a Plan for Everything — Except Health Care
Why’s everyone talking about upzoning? It’s the foundation of green, equitable cities.
‘Help Us!’ The Panic at D.C. Pride (what actually happened here)
Every Debate Is About the Climate Crisis. But There Should be a Debate Solely Devoted to the Climate Crisis.
‘Cultural Marxism’: The Mainstreaming of a Nazi Trope
From The New Deal To The Green New Deal
Hotel In Small-Town Michigan Offers Free Lodging To Women Traveling For Abortion
Elizabeth Warren Is Right on Currency Values
The Washington Post Won’t Hire an Ombudsman, So CJR Just Hired One for It
Who says cheaters never prosper?
Uber’s Path of Destruction
The Democratic Presidential Candidates Mostly Agree on Marijuana Legalization. The Exception? Joe Biden
What a ‘Living Wage’ Actually Means
Elaine Chao’s conflicts of interests could have major consequences
When abortion was illegal: A 1966 Post series revealed how women got them anyway
Fact-checking Democrats in the age of chronic Trump lies
The thing that is so numbing and dispiriting about Pelosi’s refusal to impeach Trump is how it feels like his final conquest of American society. Now even his enemies have agreed to live his lie.
NYPD, Apology for Stonewall Not Accepted
Better Schools Won’t Fix America

Posted in Lotsa Links | 5 Comments

Cars Turned Everyone Into Lawbreakers

And we’re still paying the price for that.

There’s a really interesting article about the effects of the automobile on policing and law enforcement (read the whole thing). For me, this was the key part (boldface mine):

Contrary to what one might expect, though, the social and legal developments that made the systematic policing of minorities possible did not originate with an intention to do so.

Instead, the shift began with the mass production of the automobile and the immediate imperative to regulate the motoring public. Before cars, U.S. police had more in common with their eighteenth-century forebears than with their twentieth-century successors. What revolutionized policing was a technological innovation that would come to define the new century. In the span of a century, towns and cities throughout the country—and not just in metropolitan centers—expanded their forces and professionalized beat cops, turning them into “law enforcement officers.” Figures are hard to come by, but one early report indicated that in the sixteen smallest states, the number of officers as a percentage of the population nearly doubled from 1910 to 1930.

Those who became subject to regular police surveillance included not just criminals in getaway cars but, more importantly, and for the first time, the respectable class of citizens who were the automobile’s early adopters. The need to discipline drivers and to do so without giving offense necessitated changes to the police function and to well-established laws. Officers now required discretion to administer the massive traffic enforcement regime and deal with the sensitivities of “law-abiding” citizens who kept violating traffic laws. The law’s accommodation of discretionary policing profoundly altered what it meant to live free from state intrusion in the automotive age. By the Cold War, U.S. society’s dependence on the police to maintain order raised troubling comparisons with totalitarian police. Unforeseen by midcentury jurists, their solution to the potential arbitrary policing of everyone led directly to the problem of discriminatory policing against minorities. Only by considering how U.S. society as a whole came to be policed can we more fully understand the history of our criminal justice and its troubled present…

But towns and cities quickly ran into an enforcement problem: everybody violated traffic laws. Noncompliance was not a new phenomenon, but violations of the rules of the road presented a different quandary for two reasons. First, drivers included respectable people, and their numbers were growing every year. Second, traffic lawbreaking resulted in tremendous damage, injury, and death, and those numbers were increasing every day. It soon became clear that the public’s interest in street and highway safety required more policing.

This meant that everyone became subject to discretionary policing. The well-off were among the first to buy cars, as were farmers who needed cars for more practical reasons. Even if independent farmers may not have been as wealthy as the early auto enthusiasts, as a group, they enjoyed social standing in a country with a strong sense of agrarian virtue. Driving quickly became a middle-class, or what used to be called “business-class,” phenomenon by the mid-1920s, when car ownership passed a tipping point: 55.7 percent of families in the United States owned a car in 1926, and 18 percent of those had more than one. But even the rest of the population who did not drive and instead walked were policed, too, for the regulation of drivers on public streets also required the regulation of pedestrians on those same streets.

Once the freedom of movement became circumscribed by many laws and regulations, we enacted laws that ultimately can only be enforced in the breach–when a police officer was around. In other words, most lawbreaking could not be punished (though traffic cameras can do some of that), so when and for whom the police chose to enforce the law became very important. In the extreme case of Ferguson, MO, it became a revenue mechanism indistinguishable from one that would be designed by a racist (whether the designers were racist is somewhat debatable). This also turns the police into unelected lawmakers, as they determine how and when the law will be applied.

The whole article (an excerpt from a book) is definitely worth reading.

Posted in Automobiles, Racism, The Rule of Law | 1 Comment

Links 6/16/19

Links for you. Science:

Who Were the Ancestors of Native Americans? A Lost People in Siberia, Scientists Say
To Map a Coral Reef, Peel Back the Seawater
U.S. measles outbreak spreads to Idaho and Virginia, hits 1,022 cases
‘The cleanest air in the world’? No, Mr. President. It kills lots of Americans.
Archaeologists dig up new clues about Angkor Wat and its ancient civilization


Pro-Choice Squishes
U.S. Customs and Border Protection says photos of travelers were taken in a data breach
Ta-Nehisi Coates Revisits the Case for Reparations
Nine Montgomery County officials agree to ditch their cars this week (good, but do it for six months, then you’ll understand)
Jeff Bezos’s Corporate Takeover of Our Lives
Sweet Deal: Housing Authority allows developer to not develop its site
How to Stop Robocalls—or At Least Slow Them Down
I Needed to Save My Mother’s Memories. I Hacked Her Phone.
Banneker and Shaw: Was the fight really about gentrification?
When we think of America, we shouldn’t think rural
There Are Now Enough Jack Evans Challengers To Make A Barbershop Quartet
Don’t smile for surveillance: Why airport face scans are a privacy trap
Revealed: Americans Care More About Social Needs Than Deficits
Underpaid Adjunct Professors Sleep in Cars and Rely on Public Aid (Sanders had a plan for that)
How to avoid facial recognition at the airport
How did WeWork’s Adam Neumann turn office space with “community” into a $47 billion company? Not by sharing.
The Merch Primary (funny)
Rashida Tlaib’s new proposal is the easiest smart idea in Washington
Pelosi and Schumer Are Playing Too Nice
Show me where I’m wrong

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Big Cannabis?

In this article about former House Speaker John Boehner’s lobbying for legalizing marijuana, this surprised me (boldface mine):

The chain-smoking, merlot-sipping, former 12-term congressman from Ohio says he had never lit a joint in his life when he and the former Massachusetts governor William F. Weld, now a Republican candidate for president, joined Acreage’s board last year. This year, Acreage announced plans to sell itself to Canopy Growth, a Canadian company that is the biggest cannabis holding in the world. The deal, worth around $3 billion, based on current stock prices for both Acreage and Canopy, would create an $18 billion behemoth, industry analysts say.

Bust that Pot Trust!And, of course:

Buried deep in a financial filing from Nov. 14, 2018, is Acreage’s disclosure that the two men each hold 625,000 shares in the company, which if sold after the company’s sale to Canopy would net them a fortune.

Because family values something something.

Also, “merlot-sipping?” Sipping?

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Links 6/15/19

Links for you. Science:

Reducing Lead Levels In Kids Reduces Crime When They Grow Up
Little legal recourse for astronomers concerned about Starlink
African Swine Fever Is Spreading Fast and Eliminating It Will Take Decades
We need worms: You might think they are disgusting. But our war against intestinal worms has damaged our immune systems and mental health (maybe. In certain circumstances)
Jeff Bezos explains why he’s trying to colonize the moon: ‘We need to go to the moon to save the Earth’


Out of Touch (excellent)
The Business of Health Care Depends on Exploiting Doctors and Nurses
Barr Is Lying About Mueller’s Evidence
Progressive Posturing
Americans May Be Strapped, But the Go-To Statistic Is False
At Democratic Retreat, Chiefs of Staff Coached on Schmoozing With K Street
Schools Are Deploying Massive Digital Surveillance Systems. The Results Are Alarming
Young voters have Buttigieg and Beto. So why do they prefer old socialists?
Rashida Tlaib Breaks the Curse of the Trapezoid
Rotten Goes Rancid
Hadrian’s Wall may be older, bigger, stronger and better known, but the Unesco-listed Antonine Wall was the real final frontier of the Roman Empire.
The Nudgeocrat: Navigating freedom with Cass Sunstein
Barnes & Noble is sold to hedge fund after a tumultuous year
The strange life and death of Moe Berg, the baseball catcher who became a spy
Some U.S. embassies still hoisting rainbow flags, despite advisory from Washington
Jared Kushner’s ‘Opaque Off-Shore Vehicle’ Is Not a Yacht With Tinted Windows
3-D Chess? We Just Want Nancy Pelosi to Connect the Dots.
He always hated women. Then he decided to kill them.
When Joe Biden Collaborated With Segregationists
The Corporate Debt Stories Show People Still Don’t Understand the Great Recession

Posted in Lotsa Links | Leave a comment