Surrounded by foes, Emperor Trump moves to put himself above the law

Amanda Marcotte:

’The heat is turning up on Donald Trump this week, as special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation is making news every day, giving a strong impression that justice circles ever closer to Trump himself. … As the walls close in around the president this week, there’s been a detectable shift in the way that Trump and his protectors in both the right-wing media and the Republican Party have defended him. The pretense of innocence is slipping away and in its place is rising a new excuse: Donald Trump and his associates are and should be above the law….

This pretense of respect for rule of law is quickly eroding as it becomes likelier that Trump could be in real trouble. While Trump still occasionally throws the word “innocent” around, he’s been increasingly bold about implying that he and his associates simply cannot be held accountable to the same rules as everyone else.…’


Trump Is Compromised by Russia

Omirmkrisciilkr32f99Michelle Goldberg, NYT opinion columnist:

’One of the chief questions in the Trump-Russia scandal has been whether Vladimir Putin has leverage over the president of the United States, and, if so, what that leverage looks like. The significance of the fabled “pee tape,” after all, is not that it would reveal Donald Trump to be a pervert bent on defiling the place where Barack Obama slept. Rather, the tape matters because, if real, it would show the president to be vulnerable to Russian blackmail.

That’s also why evidence of Trump’s business involvement with Russia would be significant, as Trump himself acknowledged shortly before his inauguration, when he tweeted, “Russia has never tried to use leverage over me. I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA — NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!”

We still don’t know for certain if Russia has used leverage over Trump. But there should no longer be any doubt that Russia has leverage over him.…’

Via New York Times

Strange seismic waves rippled around Earth, and nobody knows why

Detected as far as 10,000 miles away but, bizarrely, nobody seems to have felt them:

01 mayotte hw8hfe adapt 1900 1’On the morning of November 11, just before 9:30 UT, a mysterious rumble rolled around the world.

The seismic waves began roughly 15 miles off the shores of Mayotte, a French island sandwiched between Africa and the northern tip of Madagascar. The waves buzzed across Africa, ringing sensors in Zambia, Kenya, and Ethiopia. They traversed vast oceans, humming across Chile, New Zealand, Canada, and even Hawaii nearly 11,000 miles away. These waves didn’t just zip by; they rang for more than 20 minutes. And yet, it seems, no human felt them. Only one person noticed the odd signal on the U.S. Geological Survey’s real-time seismogram displays. An earthquake enthusiast who uses the handle @matarikipax saw the curious zigzags and posted images of them to Twitter. That small action kicked off another ripple of sorts, as researchers around the world attempted to suss out the source of the waves. Was it a meteor strike? A submarine volcano eruption? An ancient sea monster rising from the deep?

“I don’t think I’ve seen anything like it,” says Göran Ekström, a seismologist at Columbia University who specializes in unusual earthquakes. “It doesn’t mean that, in the end, the cause of them is that exotic,” he notes. Yet many features of the waves are remarkably weird—from their surprisingly monotone, low-frequency “ring” to their global spread. And researchers are still chasing down the geologic conundrum. Why are the low-frequency waves so weird? In a normal earthquake, the built-up tensions in Earth’s crust release with a jolt in mere seconds. This sends out a series of waves known as a “wave train” that radiates from the point of the rupture, explains Stephen Hicks, a seismologist at the University of Southampton. The fastest-traveling signals are Primary waves, or P-waves, which are compression waves that move in bunches, like what happens to an extended slinky that gets suddenly pushedat one end. Next come the secondary waves, or S-waves, which have more of a side-to-side motion. Both of these so-called body waves have relatively high frequencies, Hicks says, “a sort of ping rather than a rumbling.”

Earthquakes 101 Finally, chugging along at the end come slow, long-period surface waves, which are similar to the strange signals that rolled out from Mayotte. For intense earthquakes, these surface waves can zip around the planet multiple times, ringing Earth like a bell, Hicks says. However, there was no big earthquake kicking off the recent slow waves. Adding to the weirdness, Mayotte’s mystery waves are what scientists call monochromatic. Most earthquakes send out waves with a slew of different frequencies, but Mayotte’s signal was a clean zigzag dominated by one type of wave that took a steady 17 seconds to repeat. “It’s like you have colored glasses and [are] just seeing red or something,” says Anthony Lomax, an independent seismology consultant.

Mayotte’s volcanic roots Based on the scientific sleuthing done so far, the tremors seem to be related to a seismic swarm that’s gripped Mayotte since last May. Hundreds of quakes have rattled the small nation during that time, most radiating from around 31 miles offshore, just east of the odd ringing. The majority were minor trembles, but the largest clocked in at magnitude 5.8 on May 15, the mightiest in the island’s recorded history. Yet the frequency of these shakes has declined in recent months—and no traditional quakes rumbled there when the mystery waves began on November 11.

The French Geological Survey (BRGM) is closely monitoring the recent shaking, and it suggests that a new center of volcanic activity may be developing off the coast. Mayotte was formed from volcanism, but its geologic beasts haven’t erupted in over 4,000 years. Instead, BRGM’s analysis suggests that this new activity may point to magmatic movement offshore—miles from the coast under thousands of feet of water. Though this is good news for the island inhabitants, it’s irksome for geologists, since it’s an area that hasn’t been studied in detail. “The location of the swarm is on the edge of the [geological] maps we have,” says Nicolas Taillefer, head of the seismic and volcanic risk unit at BRGM. “There are a lot things we don’t know.” And as for the November 11 mystery wave, he says, “it’s something quite new in the signals on our stations.”

Motion in the ocean Though baffled, scientists aren’t without leads. For one, they know that Mayotte is on the move. Since mid-July, GPS stations on the island have tracked it sliding more than 2.4 inches to the east and 1.2 inches to the south, according to a BRGM report from November 12. Using these measurements, Taillefer notes, the agency estimates that a magma body that measures about a third of a cubic mile is squishing its way through the subsurface near Mayotte.…’

Via National Geographic

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Endgame May Be in Sight

Manafort 954638624 wOne of the most surprising and least noticed aspects of Mueller’s approach all along: 

‘…He’s been writing the long-anticipated “Mueller Report” bit by bit, in public, since his very first court filing.

Those waiting for Mueller to issue some massive, 9/11 Commission–style report at the end of the investigation often overlook the sheer volume of detailed information Mueller has pushed into public view already. Nearly every court document he has filed has been what lawyers call a “speaking indictment,” going into deeper detail and at greater length than is strictly needed to make the case for the criminal behavior charged.

Similarly, his “criminal informations,” the indictment-like documents filed as part of guilty pleas, have often included extraneous evidence of additional, formally uncharged criminality.

In former national security adviser Michael Flynn’s plea agreement, Mueller detailed how Flynn served as an unregistered foreign agent for the government of Turkey. Manafort’s criminal information—a document that often is only a few pages, the bare minimum that prosecutors and a defendant will agree upon—this fall stretched to nearly 40 pages, including voluminous details about the so-called Hapsburg group, European politicians enlisted in Manafort’s alleged scheme, information that hadn’t appeared in any of the indictments or charges against Manafort until that point.

With his major court filings, Mueller has already written more than 290 pages of the “Mueller Report.” As Lawfare’s Benjamin Wittes has said, if a 9/11 Commission–style body had gathered in the wake of the 2016 election to study Russian interference, its findings would read much like Mueller’s novelistic charges against the Internet Research Agency and the military intelligence agency commonly referred to as the GRU.

Together with the charges against Michael Cohen by federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York—which stemmed from findings by the Mueller investigation—the Justice Department has outlined over the course of this year two separate alleged criminal conspiracies that aided the election of Donald Trump in the 2016 presidential election.

But even that’s not the full story.

Mueller’s courtroom strategy—guided surely by Michael Dreeben, one of the nation’s top appellate lawyers—has been all but flawless. His prosecutors have batted away numerous challenges, and he has notched a steady stream of guilty pleas. Earlier this fall, when Manafort became the first and only of those cases to go to trial, Mueller’s team convinced a jury of his guilt in each area of crimes they charged and, according to reporting afterward, came within a single vote of conviction on all 18 charges.

And now, Manafort’s apparent dissembling has given Mueller’s team an excuse to publish everything they know about Manafort’s “crimes and lies,” whether they’ve been publicly discussed yet or not. That could potentially include new information about that mysterious 2016 Trump Tower meeting—prompted by a Russian offer to help the campaign—or details about the apparent Assange connection.

A Manafort sentencing submission, meanwhile, would sidestep the current awkward question of delivering a “Mueller Report” to the acting attorney general, Matt Whitaker, that could be suppressed politically or redacted before release.…’


NASA Scientists Find Possibly Infectious Superbugs on Board the ISS

Xfnhvdtx8im5ukhnn0iq’No place is safe from the scourge of superbugs, a new study suggests, not even space. According to the study, samples of bacteria resistant to several antibiotics have been found on the International Space Station (ISS). And while the bacteria may not have made any astronauts sick, the authors say it’s pretty likely that they can…

The new study is actually an update to the researchers’ ongoing work. In January, the same team published research looking into the bacterial genetics of samples swabbed from the surfaces of the ISS in 2015. Within these samples, they found more than 100 bacterial genes known to help make bacteria resistant to antibiotics. And strains belonging to a particular species of bacteria, Enterobacter bugandensis, were resistant to all nine antibiotics tested against them.…’

Via Gizmodo

Airlines use ‘exploitative’ algorithm that splits up families on flights unless they pay more for seat selection

Unknown’Speaking to a parliamentary communications committee, Digital Minister Margot James described the software as “a very cynical, exploitative means… to hoodwink the general public”.

She added: “Some airlines have set an algorithm to identify passengers of the same surname travelling together.

How much money do airlines make from charging for extras? “They’ve had the temerity to split the passengers up, and when the family want to travel together they are charged more.”

It’s an issue that will be looked at by the Centre for Data Ethics and Innovation, launched by the government this week to identify and address areas where clearer guidelines and regulation are needed in how data is used.

Passengers first started noticing they were being split up from their party if they didn’t pay more for allocated seating in June 2017, with Ryanair most commonly associated with the practice.

However, Europe’s biggest airline never admitted to changing the way seating was allocated, insisting there was no change and saying that those who don’t pay to choose a seat are “randomly” assigned one.…’

Via The Independent

3 types of Schadenfreude and when you feel them

Images’A group of psychologists at Emory University have proposed a new three-part model to explain schadenfreude. Their proposal, published in New Ideas in Psychology, suggests that the motivation behind the feeling is important and that an element of viewing others as less than human is often at play.

Drawing upon decades of work, the researchers suggest that three different motivations can drive the feeling of schadenfreude; aggression, rivalry, and justice.

Aggression based schadenfreude involves group identity. Often, improving the group you’re in can require the defeat of other groups. This kind of Schadenfreude is the one you might feel when your favorite team’s rival loses a game to somebody else and can’t make the playoffs, even though your team is already long out of the running.

Rivalry based schadenfreude is similar but distinct. This one is tied to individual achievement and jealousies. It occurs when you go out of your way to do better than another person, such as when you make a move in a game that improves your lead over one player in particular, but that doesn’t help you otherwise. Like when you play The Settlers of Catan with somebody and place a settlement right where they wanted to build one, even though there was a better option for you.

The third kind is justice based and revolves around the joy we feel when somebody who we think deserves some comeuppance, say a successful person who we all know robs, cheats, steals, and overcharges for lifesaving drugs who then goes to prison.…’

Via Big Think

Trump Fears Someone Might Kill Him if He Visits the Troops

Steve Jones writes:

‘Since World War II, and especially since 9/11, American presidents have often dropped in to share holiday meals with U.S. troops deployed in combat zones or potentially dangerous areas.
But don’t expect that from Donald Trump.
The man who couldn’t venture out in the rain to honor fallen Americans in France on the centennial of the World War I armistice has admitted being afraid to visit U.S. troops deployed in hot spots around the world.
According to a Washington Post report, an anonymous White House insider reportedly said, “He’s never been interested in going. He’s afraid of those situations. He’s afraid people want to kill him.” …’

Source: Medium.

R.I.P. Nicolas Roeg

Merlin 147254736 993350a7 bb67 4bbf bc9a 478170bb9048 superJumboDirector of ‘The Man Who Fell to Earth’ Dies at 90:

’Nicolas Roeg, a British director acclaimed for a string of films in the 1970s that included the rite-of-passage tale “Walkabout,” the psychological thriller “Don’t Look Now” and the David Bowie vehicle “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” died on Friday. He was 90.…

Two of his movies made the British Film Institute’s list of the 100 best British movies ever made…’

Via The New York Times

Psychology’s Replication Crisis Is Running Out of Excuses

Lead 720 405’Over the past few years, an international team of almost 200 psychologists has been trying to repeat a set of previously published experiments from its field, to see if it can get the same results. Despite its best efforts, the project, called Many Labs 2, has only succeeded in 14 out of 28 cases. Six years ago, that might have been shocking. Now it comes as expected (if still somewhat disturbing) news.

In recent years, it has become painfully clear that psychology is facing a “reproducibility crisis,” in which even famous, long-established phenomena—the stuff of textbooks and ted Talks—might not be real. There’s social priming, where subliminal exposures can influence our behavior. And ego depletion, the idea that we have a limited supply of willpower that can be exhausted. And the facial-feedback hypothesis, which simply says that smiling makes us feel happier.

One by one, researchers have tried to repeat the classic experiments behind these well-known effects—and failed. And whenever psychologists undertake large projects, like Many Labs 2, in which they replicate past experiments en masse, they typically succeed, on average, half of the time.…’

Via The Atlantic

The Egregious Lie Americans Tell Themselves

AP 18228605172200 850x567’There’s a verbal tic particular to a certain kind of response to a certain kind of story about the thinness and desperation of American society; about the person who died of preventable illness or the Kickstarter campaign to help another who can’t afford cancer treatment even with “good” insurance; about the plight of the homeless or the lack of resources for the rural poor; about underpaid teachers spending thousands of dollars of their own money for the most basic classroom supplies; about train derailments, the ruination of the New York subway system and the decrepit states of our airports and ports of entry.

“I can’t believe in the richest country in the world. …”

This is the expression of incredulity and dismay that precedes some story about the fundamental impoverishment of American life, the fact that the lived, built geography of existence here is so frequently wanting, that the most basic social amenities are at once grossly overpriced and terribly underwhelming, that normal people (most especially the poor and working class) must navigate labyrinths of bureaucracy for the simplest public services, about our extraordinary social and political paralysis in the face of problems whose solutions seem to any reasonable person self-evident and relatively straightforward.…’

Via Truthdig

19 Years

Wallp 1172
Follow Me Here is 19 years old today. Thank you to all my loyal readers, and here’s to many more years of fun curation and occasional sardonic commentary. Keep reading!

Trump’s latest interview with Fox News should make us glad he’s mostly too lazy to govern

1063109196 jpg 0’Speaking to Fox News’s Chris Wallace in an interview that aired on Sunday, President Donald Trump explained that he didn’t manage to make it across the river to Arlington National Cemetery for a Veterans Day commemoration because “I was extremely busy on calls for the country, we did a lot of calling as you know.”

Had a Democratic president pulled this remarkable snub/gaffe combination, conservative media and conservative politicians would have pretended to be sincerely outraged and mainstream media would have pretended to believe them. But thanks to the normal operation of the hack gap, Trump’s unwillingness to inconvenience himself in the slightest in order to commemorate Veterans Day simply becomes the subject of arch commentary rather than faux outrage.

Perhaps the strangest thing about it is that Trump pretended to be busy when his public schedule for the day was empty. And thanks to his Twitter feed, we know perfectly well that he spent the day repeating weird misunderstandings of what a trade deficit is, flinging around absurd conspiracy theories about election fraud, feuding with the president of France, etc.

Yet the strangest thing about life in the United States in 2018 is that every time Trump sits down for an interview like this, he gives new evidence that we should almost certainly be glad he’s too lazy to actually bother doing his job most of the time. After all, he has no real understanding of any of the relevant issues.…’

Via Vox

China’s ‘artificial sun’ reaches fusion temperature

980xTemperatures over 100 million degrees:

’In a breakthrough for nuclear fusion research, scientists at China’s Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor have produced temperatures necessary for nuclear fusion on Earth. STEPHEN JOHNSON 15 November, 2018 The EAST reactor was able to heat hydrogen to temperatures exceeding 100 million degrees Celsius…

At the Experimental Advanced Superconducting Tokamak (EAST) reactor in Hefei, China, researchers managed to heat hydrogen within the ‘artificial sun’ to a temperature of more than 100 million degrees Celsius, or 212 million degrees Fahrenheit, at which point it becomes plasma. The temperatures inside EAST are actually about seven times hotter than the center of the sun, where the added pressure from gravity allows for fusion to occur.…’

Via Big Think

101 ‘tortured’ whales jammed into offshore pens

980xSecret whale jail discovered by Russian reporters:

’Russian news network discovers 101 black-market whales. Orcas and belugas are seen crammed into tiny pens. Marine parks continue to create a high-price demand for illegal captures.…

This giant group of whales — 11 orcas and 90 belugas — are reportedly believed to have been captured by LLC Oceanarium DV, LLC Afalina, LLC Bely Kit and LLC Sochi Dolphinarium. According to VL, these four firms dominate an illegal export market for marine animals. The four companies appear to be largely unregulated.

These whales are believed to be for sale to one of China’s 60 marine parks and aquariums, with a dozen more venues reportedly under construction. With an individual orca said to be going for about $6 million on the black market, there’s money to be made in supplying all of these attractions, in China and elsewhere. There are thought to be at least 71 orcas currently in captivity — 166 orcas have been captured since 1961, and 129 of them have died since. SeaWorld still has 21 orcas; 48 have previously died at their parks…’

Via Big Think

The Pittsburgh Synagogue Attack Makes Me Fear a New American Civil War

1540829759035 GettyImages 1054587820Time to be afraid for the future:

’…[We] are a nation profoundly divided about what it means to be American. The Atlantic’s Adam Serwer suggested, in Anna Holmes’ documentary The Loving Generation, that the US has long been pledging allegiance to two very different visions of what it means to be an American. On one side, being an “American” involves signing up for a civic faith dedicated to the Constitution, to the rule of law, to the privacy of the voting booth and liberty and justice for all. This is the Americanness of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton, of the pulsing urban coastal centers, a vision that’s open to your tired, your poor, your refugees from around the world yearning to be free and ready to work hard. On the other hand are those who believe that “American” means people whose parents were born here, who are white and Christian, who want to bar the doors against the swarthy hordes. And yes, at least some of the latter—like this weekend’s gunman—believe in the more sinister slogan that arbeit macht frei.

The US government has been teetering back and forth between these two visions for generations. And no matter which side occupies the White House, the other wants their country back. One side was happy with George W. Bush’s red meat, red state presidency, invading freedom-hating nations, torturing suspected enemies to show strength, and keeping the country secure with a sprawling (and enduring) “security” apparatus. The other side—the globalists, the diversity-lovers, the cosmopolitans, the blue-coastal urbanites—thought that by electing Barack Obama, they had won back their country. Now, if they didn’t before, these people know that boiling underneath Obama’s presidency was a furious resistance: the Tea Party, the racists, the white nationalists who then elected their Birther-in-Chief.…’

Via Vice

California’s Wildfires Are Exposing the Rotten Core of Capitalism


It’s going to get weirder from here.

Unknown’“No matter what the kind of natural disaster, whether it’s flooding or wind damage or fire, the biggest burden of the longest duration falls on the already-poor,” David Lodge, director of Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future, told me.

In addition to the immediate threats to life and limb that come with any severe natural disaster, there may be a temporary period of homelessness or unemployment that can send someone on the brink of poverty over the edge. Without adequate insurance, savings to rebuild, or a reliable social safety net in place, what Lodge has called “the human face of policy-induced suffering” is revealed.

And with the current trajectory of increasing weather disasters, that suffering is likely to grow.…’


A debate over plant consciousness is forcing us to confront the limitations of the human mind

Consciousnessplants 2’The inner life of plants arouses the passions of even the mildest-mannered naturalists. A debate over plant consciousness and intelligence has raged in scientific circles for well over a century—at least since Charles Darwin observed in 1880 that stressed-out flora can’t rest.

There’s no doubt that plants are extremely complex. Biologists believe that plants communicate with one another, fungi, and animals by releasing chemicals via their roots, branches, and leaves. Plants also send seeds that supply information, working as data packets. They even sustain weak members of their own species by providing nutrients to their peers, which indicates a sense of kinship.

Plants have preferences—their roots move toward water, sensing its acoustic vibes—and defense mechanisms. They also have memories, and can learn from experience. One 2014 experiment, for example, involved dropping potted plants called Mimosa pudicas a short distance. At first, when the plants were dropped, they curled up their leaves defensively. But soon the plants learned that no harm would come to them, and they stopped protecting themselves.

But does any of this qualify as consciousness? The answer to that question seems to depend largely on linguistics, rather than science—how humans choose to define our conceptions of the self and intelligence.…’

Via Quartz

Stop It!

I’ve been sending this Mad TV Bob Newhart Skit with Mo Collins around to all my friends in the psychiatric field for years. (If it is not what we actually do in dealing with some patients, perhaps it is what we ought to do??) You might find it amusing. It runs around 6 min. Via YouTube

Violence against nurses: bill would protect millions of health care workers

GettyImages 543076252 0’A group of House Democrats will introduce a bill on Friday to help protect millions of nurses and other health care workers from the high rates of violence they experience on the job.

The new bill, called the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, would require hospitals, nursing homes, rehab centers, and jails to develop a workplace safety plan to protect their workers from violence they experience at the hands of patients — a surprisingly common phenomenon. The bill would also require employers to record and investigate all complaints of violence, and prohibits retaliation against employees who call 911. A draft of the bill was shared with Vox.…’

Via Vox

How to Spot the Next Mass Shooter

Fcrzpb9c1drhjiufrlvd’The FBI released a report earlier this year on “pre-attack behaviors” of mass shooters, Quartz reports. … The FBI writes in the report’s conclusion:

What emerges is a complex and troubling picture of individuals who fail to successfully navigate multiple stressors in their lives while concurrently displaying four to five observable, concerning behaviors, engaging in planning and preparation, and frequently communicating threats or leaking indications of an intent to attack.

It takes a community to spot all the red flags, they say. But they include forms of abuse, harassment, bullying, and violence, to name just a few. Among the red flags:

  • Threats or confrontations (35 percent of shooters)
  • Physical aggression (33 percent) 
  • Anger that concerns people around them (33 percent) 
  • Intimate partner violence (16 percent of shooters) and stalking (11 percent)
  • Suicidal ideation (48 percent) 
  • “Concerning” interpersonal behavior (57 percent) 
  • Inappropriate firearms use (21 percent)

Via Lifehacker


Obvious caveat: while mass shooters may display this cluster of behaviors, far from everyone displaying this cluster of behaviors becomes a mass shooter. 

What was the worst year in human history?

UnknownWhy 536 was ‘the worst year to be alive’

’Ask medieval historian Michael McCormick what year was the worst to be alive, and he’s got an answer: “536.” Not 1349, when the Black Death wiped out half of Europe. Not 1918, when the flu killed 50 million to 100 million people, mostly young adults. But 536. In Europe, “It was the beginning of one of the worst periods to be alive, if not the worst year,” says McCormick, a historian and archaeologist who chairs the Harvard University Initiative for the Science of the Human Past.

A mysterious fog plunged Europe, the Middle East, and parts of Asia into darkness, day and night—for 18 months. “For the sun gave forth its light without brightness, like the moon, during the whole year,” wrote Byzantine historian Procopius. Temperatures in the summer of 536 fell 1.5°C to 2.5°C, initiating the coldest decade in the past 2300 years. Snow fell that summer in China; crops failed; people starved. The Irish chronicles record “a failure of bread from the years 536–539.” Then, in 541, bubonic plague struck the Roman port of Pelusium, in Egypt. What came to be called the Plague of Justinian spread rapidly, wiping out one-third to one-half of the population of the eastern Roman Empire and hastening its collapse, McCormick says.

Historians have long known that the middle of the sixth century was a dark hour in what used to be called the Dark Ages, but the source of the mysterious clouds has long been a puzzle. Now, an ultraprecise analysis of ice from a Swiss glacier by a team led by McCormick and glaciologist Paul Mayewski at the Climate Change Institute of The University of Maine (UM) in Orono has fingered a culprit. At a workshop at Harvard this week, the team reported that a cataclysmic volcanic eruption in Iceland spewed ash across the Northern Hemisphere early in 536. Two other massive eruptions followed, in 540 and 547. The repeated blows, followed by plague, plunged Europe into economic stagnation that lasted until 640, when another signal in the ice—a spike in airborne lead—marks a resurgence of silver mining, as the team reports in Antiquity this week.…’

Via Science | AAAS

By comparison, read about the cataclysmic effects of the 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora, on the island of Sumbawa, in present-day Indonesia.. Everyone knows about Krakatoa in 1883, but this was an order of magnitude greater.

But the worst may be yet to come. Consider Ragnarok:Fenrir and Odin by Frølich

Described in several Norse sources (primarily Snorri Sturluson’s 13th century Prose Edda), Ragnarök begins with a brutal winter lasting three times longer than usual, driving mankind to lawless desperation. The stars disappear, and the giant wolf, Fenrir, breaks free of his chains and devours everything in his path. A gigantic sea-dwelling serpent named Jormungand rises, and the trickster god Loki leads an army of giants into battle against Odin and the other gods at Asgard. The gods perish, and whatever remains of the world sinks into the sea.

California’s Wildfires Have Spawned a Truly Weird New Conspiracy Theory

Tzffl4dwlrhpjeimtoud’The claim, being taken up by an increasing number of people in QAnon circles, is that the fires are caused by “directed energy weapons”—that is, government-directed lasers bent on destroying homes, property, and lives. And if recent history is any judge, there’s a chance the country’s biggest conspiracy-peddlers, up to and including the one who lives in the White House, will take up the cause.

Directed energy weapons, or DEWs, have an interesting place in conspiratorial circles. DEWs are, to begin with, a real technology, but one still in its infancy: a report produced for Congress describes that term as an umbrella to refer to technologies “that produce concentrated electromagnetic energy and atomic or subatomic particles.” The consensus is that there are a number of logistical issues to work out before that the U.S. government will be able to build a laser system that would actually be workable on a battlefield, but that the Department of Defense and private contractors are eager to leverage laser power towards killing people and/or destroying enemy missiles, aircrafts, or satellites.

If you ask people in the deep end of the conspiracy theory pool, though, DEWs are here already. There’s a small body of people who believe themselves to be “targeted individuals”—stalked, harassed, and attacked by the government or other shadowy groups—and at least some of them believe those attacks are being carried out by DEWs. Now, through a strange confluence of forces, the paranoia over DEWs is making its way into the discussion about natural disasters. What we’re seeing is a convergence of longstanding American fears about government mind control and manipulation of the weather merging with climate change skepticism, as climate science becomes ever-more-politicized.…’

Via Earther

Learn How to Pass (or Beat) a Polygraph “Test”

Polygraph quackery 09Did you know:

Educate yourself. Before playing Russian roulette with yourreputation, learn how to protect yourself against this invalid test. Download’s free book (4 mb PDF):

TlbtldThe Lie Behind the Lie Detector

(Also available in EPUB and MOBI/Kindle formats)…’


President Trump Admits Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker Was Installed Over Robert Mueller’s Russia Probe

Jack Holmes writes:

‘The president just admitted, unprompted, that he fired the head of the Justice Department and installed a loyalist over a Justice Department investigation into him and his associates. This is obstruction. This is corrupt. This is an untenable assault on the rule of law in a democratic republic. And the Republican majorities in Congress—to say nothing of his base—will happily let him get away with it. …’

Source: Esquire

Trump’s latest interview shows a president who’s in way over his head

Daily Caller interview transcript shows he has no clue

’In some ways, the friendliest Donald Trump interviews are the most revealing. Given the opportunity to ramble and free-associate without any pushback whatsoever, you can see what channels his mind naturally follows.

His latest interview with the Daily Caller shows a president who’s fundamentally out to sea. The sycophantic interviewers can’t get Trump to answer a policy question of any kind, no matter how much of a softball they lob at him. The only subjects he is actually interested in talking about are his deranged belief in his incredible popularity and how that popularity is not reflected in actual vote totals because he’s the victim of a vast voter fraud conspiracy.

It’s the kind of thing that would be a bit sad if it were just your elderly uncle ranting about his past glories, but Trump mixes it in with authoritarian asides and the fundamental reality that whether he cares to do the actual job or not, he is ultimately the president of the United States.…’

Via Vox


Donald Trump: incompetent or authoritarian? Both are scary. Reject journalist David Brooks’s false choice:


’While promoting an excellent article by Weekly Standard editor Jonathan Last about President Donald Trump’s tendency to be the vaporware president, New York Times columnist David Brooks offers an unfortunate false dichotomy, saying that Americans should fear Trump’s incompetence rather than his authoritarianism.


This is a frequent theme among intelligent conservative commentators who find themselves trapped between the bombast of the MAGA-maniacs and the ideological betrayals of the hardcore Never Trumpers. Ross Douthat wrote in January in the New York Times, for example, that “Trump so far is more farce than tragedy.” …


There are undoubtedly real examples of autocratic rulers who are also savvy, highly skilled technocrats who excel at devising and implementing public policy.


Singapore’s former leader Lee Kwan Yoo is the example one hears most commonly, but the likes of Paul Kagame in Rwanda, Deng Xiaoping in China, and Park Chung-hee in South Korea are also often said to fit the bill.


But a much more common situation is for authoritarians to appoint people to positions of authority based on considerations of loyalty and regime stability rather than competence…’



Via Vox

Trump’s latest lies: a linguist explains how the media should respond

Unknown’George Lakoff, a professor of linguistics and cognitive science at UC Berkeley and the author of the 2004 book Don’t Think of an Elephant, recently published an article laying out the media’s dilemma. Trump’s “big lie” strategy, he argues, is to “exploit journalistic convention by providing rapid-fire news events for reporters to chase.”

According to Lakoff, the president uses lies to divert attention from the “big truths,” or the things he doesn’t want the media to cover. This allows Trump to create the controversies he wants and capitalize on the outrage and confusion they generate, while simultaneously stoking his base and forcing the press into the role of “opposition party.”

I reached out to Lakoff to talk about Trump’s media strategy, but also, more importantly, about solutions. If the president has indeed turned journalistic conventions to his advantage, how can we, the media, respond constructively?…’

Via Vox

Jeff Flake says he’ll block judicial nominees until a Mueller protection bill gets a vote

973543570 jpg 0’Sen. Jeff Flake, the lame-duck Arizona senator who’s long clashed with President Donald Trump, is once again threatening to use his position to express concerns about executive power and the fate of the Russia investigation.

It’s not an empty threat. But it’s not yet clear to what extent he’ll follow through.

Flake said on Wednesday that he would oppose all judicial nominees coming through the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate floor until Majority Leader Mitch McConnell puts a bill protecting special counsel Robert Mueller up for a vote.…’

Via Vox


McConnell just said there’s no need for a “protect Mueller” bill. Trump already made that look silly.

1027286420 jpg 0Trump rages against Robert Mueller:


’In an angry Twitter rant, Trump describes Mueller as “a disgrace to our Nation.”…’



Via Vox

Fox News ain’t what it used to be

Fox backs jim acostaFox backs CNN in lawsuit against Trump Administration:

’On Tuesday, CNN filed a lawsuit against the Trump administration for allegedly violating the First and Fifth Amendments when it revoked Jim Acosta’s press badge. Opinions on Acosta may vary among media professionals, though the general consensus seems to be that administrations shouldn’t bar journalists from the White House based on the content of their reporting. White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders, who had tweeted a doctored video of the heated exchange between Acosta and President Donald Trump, described CNN’s lawsuit as “more grandstanding.” Fox News voiced support on Wednesday for CNN’s effort to restore the press pass of reporter Jim Acosta after it was revoked by the White House.…’

Via Big Think

A dark matter hurricane is slamming into us

980x’Technically, “S1” is a stream of debris from a dwarf galaxy torn apart by the Milky Way’s gravity, passing through space. What S1 is pulling along with it, though, is being described in a far more dramatic way, as “a dark matter hurricane.” Scientists believe this companion stream of dark matter (DM) is hurtling through us right now at a jaw-dropping speed of 500 kilometers a second. Hence the “hurricane” metaphor. Is it time to head down into our quantum storm cellars? Not quite. This is dark matter, after all, material we can’t directly perceive and with which we can’t interact, so no worries. On the other hand, this blast of DM has the potential to afford us our best glimpse yet of the elusive stuff.…’

Via Big Think

How the appendix may play a role in Parkinson’s disease

1245x700Is the appendix a useless organ, an immune system benefactor, a Parkinson’s disease instigator, or all of the above?

’As far back as Darwin, scientists have thought the appendix was a vestigial organ, but opinions have changed in recent years. A new study found that the appendix houses Lewy bodies, abnormal protein deposits that contribute to Parkinson’s disease. Researchers suggest an appendectomy may lower one’s risk of Parkinson’s, while other research suggests the appendix has important roles to play in our immune system.…’

Via Big Think

This is Our Lane

UnknownAn Open Letter to the NRA from American Healthcare Professionals:

’Dear National Rifle Association, On Wednesday night (11/7/2018), in response to a position paper released by the American College of Physicians (ACP) Reducing Firearm Injuries and Death in the United States, your organization published the statement “Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane.”

On that same day, the CDC published new data indicating that the death toll from gun violence in our nation continues to rise. As we read your demand for us doctors to stay in our lane, we awoke to learn of the 307th mass shooting in 2018 with another 12 innocent lives lost to an entirely preventable cause of death–gun violence.

Every medical professional practicing in the United States has seen enough gun violence firsthand to deeply understand the toll that this public health epidemic is taking on our children, families, and entire communities.

It is long past time for us to acknowledge the epidemic is real, devastating, and has root causes that can be addressed to assuage the damage. We must ALL come together to find meaningful solutions to this very American problem.

We, the undersigned – physicians, nurses, therapists, medical professionals, and other concerned community members – want to tell you that we are absolutely “in our lane” when we propose solutions to prevent death and disability from gun violence.

As the professionals who manage this epidemic, we bear witness to every trauma resuscitation, regardless of outcome:…’ (AFFIRM, the American Foundation for Firearm Injury Reduction in Medicine)

If you are a healthcare professional, you can add your signature to this letter, as I did.

Trump’s Vicious Proposed ‘Public Charge’ Rule Change

UnknownHelp Stop Trump Demonization of Immigrants:

An individual who might become a “public charge”, according to US immigration law, is inadmissible to the US and ineligible to become a permanent resident. However, up to now, receiving public benefits does not automatically qualify an immigrant as a public charge. Thus, non-citizens could apply for public benefits and participate in essential health, nutrition and housing  programs without jeopardizing their immigration status. (Via Public Charge Fact Sheet). 

However, the Trump administration has proposed changes to the “public charge” regulation to remove those essential protections. This would be Donald Trump’s most far-reaching immigration policy change and one of his most mean-spirited actions.

Under the proposed rule, the list of public benefits that count against an immigrant would greatly expand. The benefits that the administration proposes be added to the public charge list are benefits that support disadvantaged families and protect public health and child welfare. Immigrants currently receiving public services would incur increased risk of deportation and would be excluded from becoming permanent residents of the US. The chilling effect of the regulation would prevent many others from applying for benefits and services in the first place. If enacted, this regulation would dramatically enhance the misery of many immigrants who have already suffering severe misfortune.

You can submit written comments about this proposal by December 10, 2018, which must be taken into account before a final rule is issued.

So, please join me in voicing opposition to this proposed regulation.

You may submit comments on this proposed rule by any one of the following methods:

— Federal eRulemaking Portal (preferred): Follow the website instructions for submitting comments.
— Mail: Samantha Deshommes, Chief, Regulatory Coordination Division, Office of Policy and Strategy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, Department of Homeland Security, 20 Massachusetts Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20529-2140.

To ensure proper handling, please reference DHS Docket No. USCIS-2010-0012 in your correspondence. Mail must be postmarked by the comment submission deadline.

One of many humanitarian agencies that offer further education on the proposed rule change and provide templates for drafting comments is CLINIC, the Catholic Legal Immigration Network.


How Will The Public Charge Rule Impact Employers And Immigrants? (Forbes)

Now the Trump administration is trying to punish legal immigrants for … (Washington Post)

Trump’s Public-Charge Rule Is a One-Two Punch Against Immigrants … (New Yorker)

Immigrants, fearing Trump crackdown, drop out of nutrition programs … (Politico)

Trump’s advisers worried about Mueller’s next steps in Russia probe

’The White House is bracing for the probe of Donald Trump’s presidential campaign to fire up again. Trump’s advisers are privately expressing worries that Robert Mueller, who’s been out of the news for the past month, has been stealthily compiling information and could soon issue new indictments or a damning final report. Trump abruptly altered the chain of command above Mueller on Wednesday, putting his work under the supervision of a Republican loyalist who has been openly sceptical of the special counsel’s authority and has mused about ways to curtail his power. But Trump and his aides are concerned about Mueller’s next move with the work that is complete, according to a White House official and a Republican with close ties to the administration.


Robert Mueller’s final report on the Russian investigation is being written right now, reports says…’

Via Medium

Apple ‘Confirms’ iPhones Have A Serious Problem

Https blogs images forbes com gordonkelly files 2018 09 2018 09 17 03 47 39’Picked up by MacRumors, iOS has started locking owners of iPhones (and to a lesser extent iPads and Apple TVs) out of their devices, disabling their Apple IDs. And Apple has now acknowledged it.

Apple’s new iPhone XS, iPhone XS Max and iPhone XR are among the devices affected by the widespread Apple ID lockoutAPPLE Citing multiple reports across Reddit and Twitter, MacRumors says users are being told they can no longer use their devices “for security reasons”. In response, @AppleSupport is recognising the issue and guiding users to the company’s Support Communities page which tells users how to restore access when Apple IDs are locked and disabled.…’

Via Forbes

Trump, stung by midterms and nervous about Mueller, retreats from traditional presidential duties

La 1542131746 q2aj893xds snap image’With the certainty that the incoming Democratic House majority will go after his tax returns and investigate his actions, and the likelihood of additional indictments by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III, Trump has retreated into a cocoon of bitterness and resentment, according to multiple administration sources. Behind the scenes, they say, the president has lashed out at several aides, from junior press assistants to senior officials. “He’s furious,” said one administration official. “Most staffers are trying to avoid him.” The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, painted a picture of a brooding president “trying to decide who to blame” for Republicans’ election losses, even as he publicly and implausibly continues to claim victory.…’

Via Los Angeles Times

Inside Trump’s Paris temper, election woes and staff upheaval

ICB4LGXF4MI6RO63OL637HKP5UFive days of fury: 

’Trump’s splenetic tweets and [testy tone were] described in interviews with 14 senior administration officials, outside Trump confidants and foreign diplomats, many of whom requested anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

“He was frustrated with the trip. And he’s itching to make some changes,” said one senior White House official. “This is a week where things could get really dicey.”

During his 43-hour stay in Paris, Trump brooded over the Florida recounts and sulked over key races being called for Democrats in the midterm elections that he had claimed as a “big victory.” He erupted at his staff over media coverage of his decision to skip a ceremony honoring the military sacrifice of World War I.

The president also was angry and resentful over French President Emmanuel Macron’s public rebuke of rising nationalism, which Trump considered a personal attack. And that was after his difficult meeting with Macron, where officials said little progress was made as Trump again brought up his frustrations over trade and Iran.

“He’s just a bull carrying his own china shop with him when ever he travels the world,” presidential historian Douglas Brinkley said.…’

Via Washington Post

Neuroscientists identify a surprising low-tech fix to the problem of sleep-deprived teens

Marissa Harris (UCLA):

’In a time of borderline hysteria over the effects of technology on sleep and brain development, little attention goes to the fundamental elements of good sleep in adolescents. Ensuring they have comfortable bedding may help improve sleep in all adolescents, particularly among poorer families. And it’s a lot easier to convince parents and teens to invest in pillows than to bicker over phone privileges.…’

Via The Conversation

What if the Placebo Effect Isn’t a Trick?

11mag Placebo image3 superJumbo’When Ted Kaptchuk was asked to give the opening keynote address at the conference in Leiden, he contemplated committing the gravest heresy imaginable: kicking off the inaugural gathering of the Society for Interdisciplinary Placebo Studies by declaring that there was no such thing as the placebo effect. When he broached this provocation in conversation with me not long before the conference, it became clear that his point harked directly back to Franklin: that the topic he and his colleagues studied was created by the scientific establishment, and only in order to exclude it — which means that they are always playing on hostile terrain. Science is “designed to get rid of the husks and find the kernels,” he told me. Much can be lost in the threshing — in particular, Kaptchuk sometimes worries, the rituals embedded in the doctor-patient encounter that he thinks are fundamental to the placebo effect, and that he believes embody an aspect of medicine that has disappeared as scientists and doctors pursue the course laid by Franklin’s commission. “Medical care is a moral act,” he says, in which a suffering person puts his or her fate in the hands of a trusted healer.…’

Via The New York Times

The walls have crumbled for Trump

Erens embed’Political scientist and journalist David Rothkopf says Trump’s days in the White House are numbered. In a blistering Twitter thread, Rothkopf makes the case that any high-quality people Trump had supporting him have either fled or are getting ready to, and now that the House is under control of Democrats, Trump’s inner circle of bottom-of-the-barrel crooks and buffoons won’t be able to protect him from his sordid history of sleazy dealings and self-destructive narcissism.…’

Via Boing Boing

Calling Bullshit

UnknownCan it become a sort of bullshitting itself?

’Calling bullshit has a venerable intellectual pedigree. Plato first carved out a space for philosophy by distinguishing the philosopher’s search for knowledge from the persuasive speech of the sophists, the bullshit artists of antiquity. These wandering debate coaches instructed the Greek political class in the art of making the weaker argument the stronger. The rhetoric of the sophists is just fancy talk that creates the impression of wisdom, Plato tells us, but philosophy offers the genuine article.

In recent years, calling bullshit has become its own cottage industry. Debunkers like Michael Shermer and James Randi make a healthy living by exposing pseudoscience, and Harry Frankfurt scored an unlikely best seller when Princeton University Press managed to package his essay “On Bullshit” into a very small book. The mathematician Alan Sokal landed a blow against postmodern pretension by publishing a sham article in the journal Social Text in 1996, and when a more ambitious act of pomo-baiting surfaced about a month ago—a team of three pranksters had successfully submitted seven sham articles to journals peddling in what they derisively called “Grievance Studies”—the hoax came to be known as “Sokal Squared.”

Bullshitting has its obvious incentives and pleasures: you get all the kudos of saying interesting and important things without any of the work of actually thinking interesting and important things. As Frankfurt notes, there’s even an enjoyable play in concocting bullshit. Less obvious are the incentives and pleasures of calling bullshit. And yet they’re pretty much the same: you get all the kudos of asserting your intellectual superiority to the bullshitters, and it brings a certain aesthetic enjoyment with it as well. Just saying “bullshit” is deeply satisfying, its rich soup of consonants opening with an aggressive plosive and then sliding into the disdainful slurred hiss of “shit.” Where the bullshitter gets to bask in the glow of unearned wisdom, the bullshit-caller gets to strike the pose of the undeceived straight-talker bravely swimming against a rising tide of baloney.…’

Via The Point Magazine

Why We Should Be In the Streets

Credit CBS NewsAkim Reinhardt writing in 3 Quarks Daily:

’Donald Trump is not a fascist. He’s far too stupid to be a fascist, or to coherently advocate for any complex national political doctrine, evil or otherwise. He is, however, a would-be tin pot dictator. And his largely failed but still very dangerous attempts to establish himself as a right wing autocrat need to be countered, not just by opposition politicians and the press, but also by responsible citizens.

It has been the case for a while now that the proper reaction to Trump’s presidency is frequent public protest. As responsible citizens, we need to engage in not just one or two massive protests per year, but rather in a steady diet of public protests that sends a strong, clear message to the body politic: We the people reject Donald Trump’s would be totalitarianism. That while his very limited abilities and profound incompetence may prove to be our saving grace, it is not enough to quietly accept his likely ultimate and embarrassing failure as reasonable consolation. Instead we must make certain that the power elite in government, corporations, and the media understand our collective revulsion at and resistance to Trump’s failing autocracy. Here are the reasons why.…’

America’s Fever Is Still Rising

Andrew Sullivan writes:

‘Tuesday, if you step back, was an ordinary election in an extraordinary time. The swing against the president’s party in the first midterm election was not far off the historical range. The average loss for the president’s party in the House two years into a first term over the last century is 29. Trump’s GOP, at last estimate, lost 37. For some recent perspective: In 1982, Reagan’s GOP lost 26 seats; in 1990, George H.W. Bush’s GOP lost 8; in 1994, Clinton’s Democrats lost 54; in 2002, W.’s GOP gained 8 (but in the context of 9/11); in 2010, Obama’s Democrats lost a devastating 63 seats. In terms of the popular vote in the House, the Dems’ share — 51.7 percent — is also very close to the norm for the opposition in a first-term midterm.

There was, in other words, no blue wave. It was rather a familiar blue tide (which nonetheless looked more impressive by Thursday night than it did in the wee hours of Wednesday morning). If you just looked at the data, and knew nothing about the last two years, you’d think it was a conventional, even boring, election.

I wrote last week that the midterms would finally tell us what this country now is. And with a remarkable turnout — a 50-year high for a non-presidential election, no less — we did indeed learn something solid and eye-opening. We learned that the American public as a whole has reacted to the first two years of an unfit, delusional, mendacious, malevolent, incompetent authoritarian as president … with relative equanimity. The net backlash is milder than it was against Clinton or Obama (and both of them went on to win reelection). …’

Source: New York Magazine

Overlooked subset of people thrive after major depression

The public “deserve to know”:

Unknown’Long-term studies certainly suggest that a substantial population of people are affected by a burdensome, recurrent form of the disorder. But Rottenberg’s team cite three studies finding that an average of 40 to 50 per cent of people who suffer an episode of depression don’t go on to experience another (for example, this study in Sweden) – but overall these individuals have been little studied. “This omission, and the field’s lack of focus on good outcomes after depression more broadly, virtually guarantees an unduly pessimistic impression of depression’s course”, Rottenberg and co write – and this is an impression they would like to see changed.…’

Via Big Think

Is It Time to Say Good-Bye to the Mediterranean?

VeniceFlooding 1050X700’The Mediterranean region, colloquially called the cradle of civilization, may not be able support much of that civilization within the next 50 years. For starters, it’s poised to suffer from the changing climate much worse than many other locales, according to a paper published by an international network of scientists who worked together to synthesize the predictions and risks for the region.

Future warming in the Mediterranean region will likely surpass global rates by 25 percent, with summer temperatures increasing at a pace 40 percent larger than the global mean, the paper notes. Precipitation will decrease but heavy rainfalls will intensify, with possibly destructive outcomes. Heat waves will get more severe. While the 2003 summer European heat wave was deemed as one of the worst on record, responsible for 22,000 to 35,000 human deaths, as well as killing thousands of birds and fish, the future will bring harsher and more frequent spikes. Droughts and heat waves will spark more wildfires. In warmer weather more disease-carrying pests will survive, spreading West Nile virus, Dengue, and chikungunya further north. During the hot summer of 2017, outbreaks of chikungunya happened in France and Italy and recently, dengue fever was reported in Croatia, France, Greece, Italy, Malta, Portugal and Spain.…’

Via JSTOR Daily

R.I.P. Roy Hargrove


Merlin 46628074 f363de86 e75f 4e7e 88ad f3642c798e98 superJumboTrumpeter Who Gave Jazz a Jolt of Youth Dies at 49

’Roy Hargrove, a virtuoso trumpeter who became a symbol of jazz’s youthful renewal in the early 1990s, and then established himself as one of the most respected musicians of his generation, died on Friday in Manhattan. He was 49.

His death, at Mount Sinai Hospital, was caused by cardiac arrest brought on by kidney disease, according to his manager, Larry Clothier. He said Mr. Hargrove had been on dialysis for 13 years.

Beginning in his high school years Mr. Hargrove expressed a deep affinity for jazz’s classic lexicon and the creative flexibility to place it in a fresh context. He would take the stock phrases of blues and jazz and reinvigorate them while reminding listeners of the long tradition whence he came.

“He rarely sounds as if he stepped out of a time machine,” the critic Nate Chinen wrote in 2008, reviewing Mr. Hargrove’s album “Earfood” for The New York Times. “At brisk tempos he summons a terrific clarity and tension, leaning against the current of his rhythm section. At a slower crawl, playing fluegelhorn, he gives each melody the equivalent of a spa treatment.” In the late 1990s, already established as a jazz star, Mr. Hargrove became affiliated with the Soulquarians, a loose confederation of musicians from the worlds of hip-hop and neo-soul that included Questlove, Erykah Badu, Common and D’Angelo. For several years the collective convened semi-regularly at Electric Lady Studios in Manhattan, recording now-classic albums. Mr. Hargrove’s sly horn overdubs can be heard, guttering like a low flame, on R&B classics like “Voodoo,” by D’Angelo, and “Mama’s Gun,” by Ms. Badu.

“He is literally the one-man horn section I hear in my head when I think about music,” Questlove wrote on Instagram after Mr. Hargrove’s death.…’

Via The New York Times


The Second Coming

W. B. Yeats 1865-1939


Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

Donald Trump Jr. Tweets Out a Neo-Nazi Dog Whistle

Z4vf4y0taitnylnjrjo1Perhaps because they are running scared, the Trump family—and Republicans in general—are going all-in on a campaign of overt racism and white supremacist dog whistles to rally MAGA voters across the country as Tuesday’s midterm elections approach.

And in a continual effort to please his racist daddy, Donald Trump Jr. is doing his part to spread the hate. On Saturday, Don Jr. tweeted an attack against independent Maine Sen. Angus King that could have come straight from the white supremacist Iowa Republican congressman Steve King. It had the standard fearmongering of the “other,” in this case, Syrian and “Somalian” refugees; it criticized Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer, who is Jewish; and for good measure, it included the dog whistle term “88,” which neo-Nazis use as code for “Heil Hitler.”

And no, it wasn’t a typo.

“Angus King is a Fake Independent who votes with Schumer 88% of the time. Angus wants to repopulate Maine with Syrian and Somalian refugees. Support @SenatorBrakey who fights for secure borders and Better Jobs for Maine. #me #maine,” Don Jr. tweeted.

“Repopulate.” Where have we heard that concept, which is linked to the myth of “white genocide,” before? Oh, that’s right—Steve King.

As BuzzFeed’s Hayes Brown pointed out, that 88% statistic is wrong. King voted in agreement with Schumer 83% of the time in the 115th Congress, according to ProPublica. But Don Jr. knew that.

“Let’s be clear about what happened here — Donald Trump Jr misstated statistics so he could attack Angus King with a neo-Nazi dogwhistle,” ThinkProgress journalist Aaron Rupar tweeted.

Republican Senate candidate Eric Brakey, currently a state senator from Maine, was elated with the message. “Thank you, we support your family!” Brakey tweeted back at Jr.

Less than a week ago, Brakey tweeted out a similar message, claiming the “left” has a “new strategy” of “mass importation of new voters to transform our political culture.”

Tuesday can’t come fast enough.…’

Via Splinter News