Suggestions for Posts?

If you’d like to suggest an article you think should be posted for view and/or discussion – just add a comment below including the url. The editors are always willing to consider suggestions from our readers that don’t involve self-immolation.

We’ll probably delete the suggestion after deciding to Post or not – just to keep the place tidy. 🙂 Oh, you can ignore the “count” of how many suggestions are in the pool. WordPress can’t keep that straight once we’ve started deleting unused suggestions.

76 thoughts on “Suggestions for Posts?

  1. Footnote says:

    Edward R. Murrow, “See it Now” (CBS-TV, March 9, 1954)
    “A Report on Senator Joseph R. McCarthy”
    (transcript) http://www.plosin.com/beatbegins/archive/Murrow540309.htm Video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vEvEmkMNYHY

    “We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty. We must remember always that accusation is not proof and that conviction depends upon evidence and due process of law. We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men — not from men who feared to write, to speak, to associate and to defend causes that were, for the moment, unpopular.”
    “This is no time for men who oppose Senator McCarthy’s methods to keep silent, or for those who approve,” Murrow continued. “We can deny our heritage and our history, but we cannot escape responsibility for the result. There is no way for a citizen of a republic to abdicate his responsibilities. As a nation we have come into our full inheritance at a tender age. We proclaim ourselves, as indeed we are, the defenders of freedom, wherever it continues to exist in the world, but we cannot defend freedom abroad by deserting it at home.”

  2. Footnote says:

    “Gabriel Over the White House” is a 1933 American pre-Code film starring Walter Huston that has been described as a “bizarre political fantasy” and which “posits a favorable view of fascism.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gabriel_Over_the_White_House [“the film received the financial backing and creative input of William Randolph Hearst”].
    “…When Congress impeaches him [U.S. President Judson C. ‘Judd’ Hammond (Huston)], he responds by declaring martial law, dissolving the legislative branch, assuming the “temporary” power to make laws as he “transforms himself into an all-powerful dictator.” He orders the formation of a new “Army of Construction” answerable only to him and nationalizes the manufacture and sale of alcohol.
    The reborn Hammond’s policies include “suspension of civil rights and the imposition of martial law by presidential fiat.” He “tramples on civil liberties,” “revokes the Constitution, becomes a reigning dictator,” and employs “brown-shirted storm troopers”, called “Federal Police”,[10] led by the President’s top aide, Hartley ‘Beek’ Beekman (Franchot Tone).
    When he meets with resistance from the organized crime syndicate of ruthless Al Capone analog Nick Diamond, the President “suspends the law to arrest and execute ‘enemies of the people’ as he sees fit to define them,” with Beekman handing “down death sentences in his military star chamber” in a “show trial [that] resembles those designed to please a Stalin, a Hitler or a Chairman Mao,” after which the accused are immediately lined up against a wall behind the courthouse and “executed by firing squad.”
    By threatening world annihilation with America’s newest and most deadly secret weapon, Hammond then blackmails the world into disarmament, ushering in global peace.[12] At the very moment the other nations of the world finish acceding to his “covenant” of world disarmament, Hammond, his supposed divine mission completed, suffers a fatal stroke which also seems to be divinely attributable and the story ends.
    The Library of Congress comments: “The good news: he reduces unemployment, lifts the country out of the Depression, battles gangsters and Congress, and brings about world peace. The bad news: he’s Mussolini.”
    Impeachment and declaration of martial law sequence: “Gabriel Over the White House” (1933) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ivMiVQjGeyg

  3. White House Louse says:

    “Somewhat lost in the frenzy over impeachment this week was a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center on Stephen Miller, a White House speechwriter and close adviser to the president. https://www.nytimes.com/2019/11/15/opinion/stephen-miller-emails.html
    An analysis of more than 900 emails from Miller to editors at Breitbart News, the report shows Miller’s single-minded focus on nonwhite immigration and his immersion in an online ecosystem of virulent, unapologetic racism. The Miller of these emails isn’t just an immigration restrictionist, he’s an ideological white nationalist. https://www.splcenter.org/hatewatch/2019/11/12/stephen-millers-affinity-white-nationalism-revealed-leaked-emails
    It’s tempting to dismiss this as old news. Miller is, after all, the architect behind the Trump administration’s most draconian border and immigration policies, as well as some of its harshest anti-immigrant rhetoric.”

  4. Science be damned says:

    Essentially the entirety of physics centers on four forces that control our known, visible universe, governing everything from the production of heat in the sun to the way your laptop works. They are gravity, electromagnetism, the weak nuclear force, and the strong force.
    New research may be leading us closer to one more.
    Scientists at the Institute for Nuclear Research at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (Atomki) have posted findings showing what could be an example of that fifth force at work. https://arxiv.org/abs/1910.10459
    The scientists were closely watching how an excited helium atom emitted light as it decayed. The particles split at an unusual angle, 115 degrees, which couldn’t be explained by known physics.

    “The Martians” was a term used to refer to a group of prominent Hungarian scientists (mostly, but not exclusively, physicists and mathematicians) who emigrated to the United States in the early half of the 20th century. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martians_(scientists)
    See also “The Martians of Science: Five Physicists Who Changed the Twentieth Century” https://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195178456.001.0001/acprof-9780195178456

  5. Epilogue says:

    “I was a juror in Roger Stone’s trial. I am proud of how we came to our decision.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/i-was-a-juror-in-roger-stones-trial-we-took-his-rights-seriously/2019/11/22/234d7df0-0d46-11ea-97ac-a7ccc8dd1ebc_story.html (includes link to video)
    See also “Roger Stone should be a footnote in history. Instead, his life shows our descent to shamelessness.” https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/roger-stone-embodies-the-political-age-from-nixon-to-trump/2019/11/15/fd2a5006-07f2-11ea-8ac0-0810ed197c7e_story.html

  6. Josef K. says:

    For the 18-year lifespan of the war on terrorism, an obscure provision of the PATRIOT Act permitting the indefinite detention of non-citizens on U.S. soil has gone unused. But to keep a Palestinian man behind bars even after he finished serving his sentence, the Trump administration has fired this bureaucratic Chekhov’s gun.
    https://www.thedailybeast.com/trump-invokes-patriot-act-to-detain-palestinian-adham-amin-hassoun-forever
    Adham Amin Hassoun, now in his late 50s, has spent nearly the entire war on terrorism in cages. First picked up on an immigration violation in June 2002, he ended up standing trial alongside once-suspected “dirty bomber” Jose Padilla. But Hassoun was never accused of any act or plot of violence. His crime was cutting checks to extremist-tied Muslim charities operating in places like Kosovo and Chechnya that Congress outlawed after the 9/11 attacks. Hassoun wrote all but one of those checks before 9/11.
    ICE wanted to deport Hassoun, but his statelessness as a Palestinian got in the way. No country—not the Lebanon of his birth, not the Israel that occupies the West Bank and Gaza—was willing to take him. Aided by attorneys at the University of Buffalo Law School, Hassoun in January won what should have been his freedom, on the grounds that his deportation was unlikely.
    The Trump administration instead declared him a threat to national security. It did so at first using an also-obscure immigration regulation designed to sidestep a 2001 Supreme Court ruling imposing a six-month detention limit. And it was aided by a testimonial, under seal, of Hassoun’s alleged misdeeds behind bars as related by what his attorneys describe as jailhouse snitches who provided second- or third-hand accounts. But as the government fought what had become a habeas corpus case for Hassoun’s release, the Department of Homeland Security invoked, for the first time in U.S. government history, section 412 of the PATRIOT Act.
    …Attorneys for Hassoun, who were in federal court on Friday to argue for his freedom, are stunned at the invocation of Section 412. They noted that the PATRIOT Act provision is written to “take [a non-citizen] into custody,” not to retroactively designate someone already in detention as a threat.
    “If the government were to prevail in its claim of extraordinary and unprecedented executive power, the government would be free to lock up non-citizens indefinitely based solely on executive say-so, even after they completed serving their sentences,” said Jonathan Hafetz, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union.
    ICE, citing the ongoing litigation, declined comment. The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to requests for comment.
    [re: Chekhov’s gun see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chekhov%27s_gun )
    Prologue of the Orson Welles’ adaptation of the Franz Kafka novel. “The Trial” (1962) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IlKEybkVl0M

  7. Aftermath says:

    UN report claims Israeli occupation of West Bank costs Palestinians billions https://www.aljazeera.com/ajimpact/israeli-occupation-west-bank-costs-palestinians-billions-191203114531218.html
    The report blames the fiscal crisis in Palestine mostly on “fiscal leakage”, which is the idea a substantial portion of the revenues collected by Israel on behalf of the Palestinian treasury never reaches the Palestinian government.
    According to an agreement signed between the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) and Israel in 1994, Israel levies taxes on behalf of the Palestinian authorities, in particular revenues from indirect imports from third countries. But instead of regularly transferring these funds to the Palestinian government, the report says Israel withholds funds, sometimes for very long periods.
    Reportedly this practice not only limits the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) ability to plan and invest but it also directly impacts the region’s economic development.
    According to the report, which will presented to the UN General Assembly today, “the cumulative fiscal costs during the 18 years under consideration, without interest, are estimated at $19.5bn. Adding the interest increases the losses by $28.2bn, bringing the total valuation to $47.7bn” – which is more than three times Palestine’s 2017 economic output. See https://unctad.org/en/PublicationsLibrary/gdsapp2019d2_en.pdf?utm_source=UNCTAD+Media+Contacts&utm_campaign=4a5ede8c19-EMAIL_CAMPAIGN_2019_11_26_11_17&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_1b47b7abd3-4a5ede8c19-70649809
    The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) says this estimate is a conservative figure based on the data available, but the correct amount is likely to be much higher.

  8. HAR says:

    DPRK News Service @DPRK_News [‘Official News feed of Democratic Peoples Republic of Korea’] 7:23 AM – 3 Dec 2019: “Donald Trump meets with archbishop of Canterbury, and unidentified man he never met in millionaires clubs and “discos” of 1980s New York, or at parties and private island orgies hosted by coincidental mutual friend Jeffrey Epstein.” https://pbs.twimg.com/media/EK3ztT0WoAASfwe.jpg

  9. Déjà Vu says:

    For nearly two decades of war in Afghanistan, U.S. leaders have sounded a constant refrain: We are making progress. They were not, documents show, and they knew it.
    https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/
    “Senior U.S. officials knowingly lied to the public about their progress throughout the 18-year war in Afghanistan, consistently painting a rosier picture of the state of the war than they knew to be true, according to a cache of documents obtained by the Washington Post.
    In private interviews conducted by a watchdog that span the Bush, Obama and Trump administrations – which the Post obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request — U.S. officials frequently acknowledged a lack of understanding, strategy and progress in a war they regularly described publicly as being on the cusp of success.” https://thehill.com/policy/defense/473635-documents-show-us-leaders-misled-public-on-progress-in-afghanistan-war-report

    “The Pentagon Papers, officially titled Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force, is a United States Department of Defense history of the United States’ political and military involvement in Vietnam from 1945 to 1967. The papers were released by Daniel Ellsberg, who had worked on the study; they were first brought to the attention of the public on the front page of The New York Times in 1971. A 1996 article in The New York Times said that the Pentagon Papers had demonstrated, among other things, that the Johnson Administration “systematically lied, not only to the public but also to Congress.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pentagon_Papers In June 2011, the entirety of the Pentagon Papers was declassified and publicly released.

  10. रामराज्य says:

    “Blood and Soil in Narendra Modi’s India : The Prime Minister’s Hindu-nationalist government has cast two hundred million Muslims as internal enemies.” (The New Yorker, December 9, 2019 issue) https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2019/12/09/blood-and-soil-in-narendra-modis-india
    “India moved a step closer on Tuesday to making it easier to imprison and deport some members of its 200-million strong Muslim minority, in a significant challenge to the country’s secular constitution. https://time.com/5746688/india-citizenship-amendment-bill/
    On Tuesday, Indian lawmakers passed the Citizenship Amendment Bill through the lower house of Parliament where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has a huge majority.

  11. Bilagáana says:

    Stolen and Erased : A Navajo girl was exploited and sex trafficked in urban and rural New Mexico. Why did so many fail to help her? https://www.searchlightnm.org/stolen-and-erased
    “Nobody Saw Me” : One Navajo girl’s experience shows how sex trafficking happens in America. https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/12/sex-trafficking-in-america-native-women-lack-of-screening.html A 2016 National Institute of Justice study found that 4 in 5 indigenous women will experience violence in their lifetimes. A landmark national needs assessment was slated to begin in 2018, but the Department of Justice eliminated its funding.
    “Why was a study on trafficking in Indian Country canceled? After the Trump administration transition, the Department of Justice killed a critical needs assessment initiative.” (Jan 2019) https://www.hcn.org/articles/tribal-affairs-how-trafficking-in-native-communities-has-been-ignored-under-the-trump-administration

  12. Pedant says:

    Animation of a rotating globe of Jupiter’s moon Io, with a geologic map superimposed over a global color mosaic. The 51-second animation begins as a global color mosaic image of the moon, then at 28 seconds, it displays the geologic map overlain on the mosaic. (USGS) https://www.usgs.gov/media/videos/rotating-globe-io-geology

    Illustration “Fantastic Adventures” (May 1940) illustration by Frank R. Paul. https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/b/bd/Life_on_Io_-_Back_cover_of_%22Fantastic_adventures%22_-_may_1940.jpg
    See also https://i.pinimg.com/originals/f8/e1/d9/f8e1d9b376c2c0ad3ae501585fbdc410.jpg
    In the essay “Life on Io” by Henry Gade the Galilean moon is inhabited by furry, black-and-white intelligent beings living in the city of Crystallis, built entirely of crystals http://www.isfdb.org/cgi-bin/pl.cgi?FANTADMAY1940

    “Moons of Jupiter”, Scruffy the Cat (1988) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qhy6SZf_3Gk

  13. McLeod says:

    Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory in New Mexico are modeling the complicated dynamic feedback loop between wildfires and the atmosphere to help prevent and control the spread of devastating wildfires in the future https://arstechnica.com/science/2019/12/scientists-model-dynamic-feedback-loop-that-fuels-the-spread-of-wildfires/
    See also “Fluid dynamics of wildfires” (Physics Today, 11/1/19) https://physicstoday.scitation.org/doi/10.1063/PT.3.4350 [includes computer-generated snapshot of a grass fire] and “Fighting fire with software” (Los Alamos National Laboratory) https://youtu.be/nVp8OH426-0

  14. Gwailo Joe says:

    COLUMBUS, Ohio – A growing number of Chinese scientists working in the United States and other parts of the world are returning to their homeland, enhancing China’s research productivity.
    (Ohio State University press release 12/30/19) https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2019-12/osu-mcs123019.php
    In a new study, researchers found that more than 16,000 researchers have returned to China from other countries since that nation has opened up to international engagement. More than 4,500 left the United States for China in 2017 – nearly double the number who left in 2010.
    These foreign-trained researchers are helping grow China into a scientific powerhouse, said Caroline Wagner, co-author of the study and associate professor in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at The Ohio State University.
    “In our lifetime, China has joined the global scientific community to become world-class in a number of critical fields, such as AI and materials science,” Wagner said.
    “As more of their researchers return home, that rise is going to continue.”
    The study was published online this month in the journal Science and Public Policy.
    See “Returning scientists and the emergence of China’s science system”. Science and Public Policy, scz056, https://doi.org/10.1093/scipol/scz056 December 5, 2019

  15. WTFU says:

    “It is largely the top 1 percent that will disproportionately benefit — the wealthiest people in the world.” Brett Wells, a tax law professor at the University of Houston on how the Trump administration is transforming a tax package that slashed taxes for big companies into an even greater corporate windfall.
    See “How Big Companies Won New Tax Breaks From the Trump Administration : As the Treasury Department prepared to enact the 2017 Republican tax overhaul, corporate lobbyists swarmed — and won big.” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/business/trump-tax-cuts-beat-gilti.html and “Why the Impact of the Trump Taxes Remains Partly Hidden” https://www.nytimes.com/2019/12/30/business/corporate-tax-cuts-impact.html

  16. Mr. McGuire says:

    New study reveals Microplastic pollution is raining down on city dwellers : The health impacts of breathing or consuming the tiny plastic particles are unknown, and experts say urgent research is needed to assess the risks. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/dec/27/revealed-microplastic-pollution-is-raining-down-on-city-dwellers
    “Recent research shows the whole planet appears to be contaminated with microplastic pollution. Scientists have found the particles everywhere they look, from Arctic snow and mountain soils, to many rivers and the deepest oceans. Other work indicates particles can be blown across the world.”
    See also “New study reveals higher microplastics in London air compared to other cities” https://phys.org/news/2019-12-reveals-higher-microplastics-london-air.html
    “Atmospheric microplastic deposition in an urban environment and an evaluation of transport”, Environment International (2019). DOI: 10.1016/j.envint.2019.105411

  17. Atë says:

    “Fox’s Tucker Carlson breaks with colleagues and criticizes Trump’s strike on Iranian general” https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/04/media/fox-news-iran-soleimani/index.html
    “Trump administration warns Congress Iran could retaliate against US ‘within weeks'” https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/04/politics/trump-iran-intel-retaliation-concerns/index.html
    “After Suleimani, Iran will hit back hard – possibly on multiple fronts” https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/jan/04/after-suleimani-iran-will-hit-back-hard-simon-tisdall

  18. Cassandra says:

    President Trump’s stock market gamble https://thehill.com/opinion/international/476955-president-trumps-stock-market-gamble

    “Irving Fisher (1867~1947) was an American economist, statistician, inventor, and Progressive social campaigner. He was one of the earliest American neoclassical economists, though his later work on debt deflation has been embraced by the post-Keynesian school. Joseph Schumpeter described him as “the greatest economist the United States has ever produced”, an assessment later repeated by James Tobin and Milton Friedman.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irving_Fisher

  19. Bilagáana says:

    New Mexico: Located just a half-mile from the Village of San Mateo, Mount Taylor can be seen rising from the San Mateo mountains 100 miles in any direction. The mountain, whose peak stretches nearly 12,000 feet upward, sits east of Grants and has long been considered a place of cultural and spiritual significance. Mount Taylor is a pilgrimage destination for at least 30 indigenous communities, including the Navajo Nation, the Hopi and Zuni peoples, and the Acoma and Laguna Pueblos.
    The mountain is one of the four sacred mountains that make up the boundaries of the Dinétah land. It holds special significance for the Acoma people, where streams on the mountain feed into the Rio San Jose, one of the pueblo’s primary water sources.
    But Mount Taylor also sits atop one of the country’s largest uranium deposits, and was mined for decades. The mine once provided jobs for the surrounding communities, but a prolonged slump in the uranium market has left the operation inactive since 1990. Now, indigenous communities and environmental advocates are cheering a recent decision to close down the mine for good.
    “We are excited,” Susan Gordon, coordinator for the Multicultural Alliance for a Safe Environment (MASE), told NM Political Report. MASE is comprised of groups representing communities impacted by uranium mining in New Mexico. https://nmpoliticalreport.com/2020/01/10/an-inactive-uranium-mine-located-on-a-sacred-mountain-will-finally-close/
    See links – also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mount_Taylor_(New_Mexico)

  20. Legacy of Ashes says:

    “Suleimani killing the latest in a long, grim line of US assassination efforts : There has been no shortage of US attempts to remove foreign adversaries through highly dubious legal or ethical means” https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/04/us-political-assassinations-history-iran-suleimani
    “Killing Hope : U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II” https://williamblum.org/books/killing-hope (includes links to excerpts)

    • Kill4Peace says:

      President Trump and officials in his administration have put forward shifting explanations to justify the strike on Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, most involving unsupported claims that he had been planning “imminent” attacks. Trump recently asserted Soleimani was targeting four U.S. embassies, a claim Secretary of Defense Mark T. Esper declined to defend. Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) went so far as to say the claim about the embassies “seems to be totally made up.” On Monday, Trump tweeted affirmation that Soleimani posed an imminent threat but also said the question “doesn’t really matter because of his horrible past.”
      In fact, the question of imminence is crucial under both domestic and international law. Under the U.N. Charter, the president’s authority to kill Soleimani required that the United States was facing an armed attack — as well as that the use of force was necessary to repel or prevent it. The United States has long understood that doctrine to also permit force necessary to stop an imminent attack. Whether an attack was truly imminent is also key to the domestic legal question, because U.S. law does not permit the president to use force unilaterally (that is, without congressional authorization) outside of the most exigent circumstances. These legal questions are no mere technicalities. The purpose behind the law is to limit unnecessary war to the greatest possible extent. U.S. presidents have at times pushed the limits of such laws, but doing so has dire consequences — including unnecessary conflict, civilian casualties and the lost trust of our allies, as well as of the U.S. public. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/01/15/if-there-was-no-imminent-attack-iran-killing-soleimani-was-illegal/
      See also “Why Soleimani’s death is personal for Pompeo” https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-51069090

  21. Cassandra says:

    The world’s oceans are now heating at the same rate as if five Hiroshima atomic bombs were dropped into the water every second, scientists have said. https://www.cnn.com/2020/01/13/world/climate-change-oceans-heat-intl/index.html
    A new study released on Monday showed that 2019 was yet another year of record-setting ocean warming, with water temperatures reaching the highest temperature ever recorded. https://link.springer.com/content/pdf/10.1007%2Fs00376-020-9283-7.pdf

    At 6:55 PM, Jan 12, 2020, the White House tweeted a picture of the north portico of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, complete with falling snowflakes, captioned “First snow of the year!”
    The only problem? According to the National Weather Service, the temperature was sitting at a high of 65 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit (18.3 to 21.1 C) on Sunday afternoon and evening in Washington D.C., and while the day was cloudy and overcast, it didn’t actually snow. https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/01/13/grim-irony-white-houses-first-snow-tweet/

    “Since September, at least 24 million acres of Australia have burned in one of the country’s worst fire seasons on record. That’s an area larger than Portugal, and more than 12 times the area that burned in California in 2018, the state’s most destructive year for wildfires.” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/1/8/21055228/australia-fires-map-animals-koalas-wildlife-smoke-donate “The severity of the widespread fires is a symptom of global warming, and the blazes may even contribute to it — at least in the short term. Australia’s bushfires have released 400 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, according to the European Union’s Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service. Burning huge swaths of forest introduces carbon stored in biomass back into the atmosphere, and that carbon will stay there essentially as long as it takes the forest to regrow.”

  22. HOCUS POCUS SCOTUS says:

    This morning the justices will hear two oral arguments. The first case on the agenda is Kelly v. United States, which stems from the “Bridgegate” controversy in New Jersey and involves the extent to which federal fraud statutes cover the politically motivated acts of public officials. https://www.scotusblog.com/2020/01/tuesday-round-up-513/

    “Bridgegate” was the political scandal that marked the beginning of the end of New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential hopes. The scandal’s legal consequences could prove more consequential if, as prosecutors fear, the criminal convictions in the case are thrown out by the Supreme Court. https://www.npr.org/2020/01/14/796024449/at-supreme-court-another-potential-loss-for-prosecutors-fighting-public-corrupti
    On Tuesday, the justices will revisit the case that made headlines in 2013 on the first day of school when, unbeknownst to the public, officials close to Christie ordered the shutdown of two of three access lanes from Fort Lee onto the George Washington Bridge.
    The George Washington Bridge, which connects New York and New Jersey, is the busiest bridge in the world, with 250,000 to 300,000 vehicles crossing each day. So when two of Fort Lee’s three access lanes were closed, the gridlock was so serious that even paramedics answering 911 calls had to abandon their ambulances to walk with whatever equipment they could carry.
    In the end, it turned out that officials appointed by the Republican governor had ordered the closings to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee for refusing to endorse Christie for reelection.
    …when it comes to white-collar crime and political corruption, the modern-day Supreme Court has made it increasingly difficult to prosecute wrongdoers. In recent years, for instance, the Supreme Court has thrown out multiple public corruption convictions — in some cases, the court has all but eviscerated broad statutes aimed at ensuring the honest services of public employees.
    As a result, federal prosecutors have increasingly relied on anti-fraud statutes instead. So a loss in the Kelly case could strip prosecutors of yet another tool.
    See also “Supreme Court’s war on prosecutors meets ‘Bridgegate’ https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2020/01/13/bridgegate-supreme-court-chris-christies-lane-closers/4420543002/

    • The Fix Is In says:

      Supreme Court justices question whether Bridgegate was a federal crime. ‘I don’t see how this case works,’ one says. (Updated 5:24 PM)
      …at least six of the nine justices appeared openly skeptical over whether the 2013 incident orchestrated by former officials of the Christie administration was a federal crime, as they peppered the government and defense attorneys with questions.
      “I don’t see how this case works,” said Justice Stephen Breyer said, in remarking that what happened at the bridge may not have been a good thing to do, but questioning if it was a crime.
      Chief Justice John Roberts asked Eric J. Feigin, who argued the case for the Justice Department’s Office of the Solicitor General, how Bridgegate could be an issue of taking public resources for personal use, under the federal statute used to prosecute the case.
      “Your theory is that by the actions in this case, they have commandeered the lanes on the expressway,” said Roberts. But he noted that, the lanes were “Still being used for public purposes,” and not for private use.
      The case has national implications because if reversed, it could further limit the ability of federal prosecutors to prosecute public corruption.

  23. Woah says:

    “One of science’s most challenging problems is a question that can be stated easily: Where does consciousness come from? In his new book “Galileo’s Error: Foundations for a New Science of Consciousness”, philosopher Philip Goff considers a radical perspective: What if consciousness is not something special that the brain does but is instead a quality inherent to all matter? It is a theory known as “panpsychism,” and Goff guides readers through the history of the idea, answers common objections (such as “That’s just crazy!”) and explains why he believes panpsychism represents the best path forward. He answered questions from Mind Matters editor Gareth Cook.” (Scientific American Jan 15, 2020) https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/does-consciousness-pervade-the-universe/ [An edited transcript of the interview]

    “Most nails hammered with the head – Guinness World Records” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=li223z2CreQ

  24. Déjà Vu says:

    Fearing potential violence, Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam is declaring a state of emergency and is banning firearms and other weapons on the Capitol grounds in Richmond ahead of a gun rights demonstration planned for next week. https://www.npr.org/2020/01/15/796666321/virginia-governor-declares-state-of-emergency-ahead-of-pro-gun-rally
    “We have received credible intelligence from our law enforcement agencies that there are groups with malicious plans for the rally that is planned for Monday,” Northam said during a press conference Wednesday afternoon.
    Gun rights supporters are preparing to converge on Richmond for a lobbying day and a rally Monday morning. They’re opposed to efforts by Virginia Democrats — who’ve just taken over control of the Virginia legislature following the November 2019 elections — to pass a slate of gun control bills backed by Northam.
    Northam is raising concerns about a reprise of the deadly violence surrounding the white supremacist march in Charlottesville in August 2017. He said state intelligence analysts have identified threats and rhetoric online that mirror the chatter they were picking up around that time.
    “Please know that we have been preparing extensively to protect public safety at Monday’s rally. But no one wants another incident like the one we saw in Charlottesville in 2017,” Northam said.

    Monday is Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

  25. Gwailo Joe says:

    China’s pledge to buy U.S. farm goods based on “market conditions” during the Phase 1 trade deal signing ceremony on Wednesday added to doubts among farmers and commodity traders over the lingering tariffs on U.S. exports https://www.agriculture.com/markets/newswire/update-1-chinas-market-condition-caveat-on-us-ag-purchases-adds-to-trade-deal
    President Donald Trump’s insistence on a big commitment to buy farm products was a major sticking point in talks leading up to the signing, people briefed on the negotiations said, as China wanted the freedom to buy based on demand.
    Chinese Vice Premier Liu He, standing beside Trump, said on Wednesday that Chinese firms will buy American products “based on market conditions.”
    Following the comment, the price of soybeans, the top U.S. farm product shipped to China by value before the trade war, fell to a one-month low on the Chicago Board of Trade futures market.
    See also “The ‘giant hole’ in Trump’s new China deal : Trump signed an agreement that helps calm relations but fails to address issues at the heart of the trade war. https://www.politico.com/news/2020/01/15/hole-trump-china-trade-deal-099327 The 86-page text does not cover long-standing U.S. concerns about China’s industrial policy, including how to rein in the billions of dollars in government subsidies Beijing bestows upon its state-owned enterprises.

  26. Doc says:

    “America’s most widely consumed oil causes genetic changes in the brain : Soybean oil linked to metabolic and neurological changes in mice” (University of California – Riverside) https://eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2020-01/uoc–amw011620.php
    New UC Riverside research shows soybean oil not only leads to obesity and diabetes, but could also affect neurological conditions like autism, Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, and depression.
    Used for fast food frying, added to packaged foods, and fed to livestock, soybean oil is by far the most widely produced and consumed edible oil in the U.S., according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. In all likelihood, it is not healthy for humans.
    “Dysregulation of Hypothalamic Gene Expression and the Oxytocinergic System by Soybean Oil Diets in Male Mice” https://academic.oup.com/endo/advance-article/doi/10.1210/endocr/bqz044/5698148

  27. Apostate says:

    ‘Unparalleled privilege’: why white evangelicals see Trump as their savior https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/11/donald-trump-evangelical-christians-cyrus-king
    Donald Trump Is Promising ‘Big Action’ on School Prayer to Rally Evangelical Voters https://time.com/5765829/trump-school-prayer-evangelicals/
    Trump Supreme Court Short-Lister Says God Can Instruct Juries on Guilt and Innocence https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2020/01/trump-supreme-court-shortlister-william-pryor-god-juries.html
    Supreme Court Case Could Mandate Funding for Religious Schools : Right-wing legal institutes see an opportunity to undermine public education. https://prospect.org/education/supreme-court-case-could-mandate-funding-for-religious-schoo/ Espinoza v. Montana Department of Revenue, will be heard Jan. 22.

  28. Buddy says:

    A U.S. District judge Wednesday said he was troubled by a “sneak and peek deception’’ used in a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration operation that allowed marijuana trafficking suspects to think a storage warehouse manager had stolen their nearly 500-pound stash when it was the federal agents themselves who took the drugs. http://www.borderlandbeat.com/2020/01/judge-rips-deas-deception-that-got.html#more
    The State of the Marijuana Black Market (January 8, 2020) http://brownpoliticalreview.org/2020/01/the-state-of-the-marijuana-black-market/ “… In Oregon, a glutted legal market has yielded low prices and tiny profit margins for many marijuana cultivators, prompting them to send their weed across state lines to turn a better profit.”

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