All entries by this author

How widespread the problem is

Feb 3rd, 2018 10:59 am | By

In the Times, Emily Kelly tells us about her husband, a former football player who took a lot of blows to the head.

Professional football is a brutal sport, he knew that. But he loved it anyway. And he accepted the risks of bruises and broken bones. What he didn’t know was that along with a battered body can come a battered mind.

For decades, it was not well understood that football can permanently harm the brain. Otherwise, many parents would most likely not have signed their boys up to play. But this reality was obscured by the N.F.L.’s top medical experts, who for years had denied any link between the sport and long-term degenerative brain diseases like chronic

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A historic world leader

Feb 3rd, 2018 10:36 am | By

Trump is feeling perky.

The Moony paper calls him “Trump the orator” – because he read an address written by other people, from a teleprompter, slowly and with difficulty and not at all well. Some orator.

Also, applauding himself. Also Mussolini-face.

Funny how he always cites … Read the rest


Feb 2nd, 2018 4:52 pm | By

Pennsylvania Republicans are refusing to obey a court order to redraw their congressional map to make it not so grotesquely gerrymandered.

A top Pennsylvania state Senate Republican is refusing to follow a court order requiring lawmakers to turn over data that would redraw the state’s congressional map.

In a letter to the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, which struck down the map, state Sen. Joe Scarnati on Wednesday called the order unconstitutional and said he would not comply.
“In light of the unconstitutionality of the court’s orders and the court’s plain intent to usurp the General Assembly’s constitutionally delegated role of drafting Pennsylvania’s congressional district plan, Senator Scarnati will not be turning over any data identified in the court’s orders,” wrote Brian

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What’s down there

Feb 2nd, 2018 3:58 pm | By

To move to a less distasteful subject than rapey theocrats and constitution-trampling crooks, there’s this exciting story that’s been in the headlines for a couple of days of finding huge previously unknown Maya sites buried in Guatemala.

By raining down laser pulses on some 770 square miles of dense forest in northern Guatemala, archaeologists have discovered 60,000 Maya structures that make up full sprawling cities.

And the new technology provides them with an unprecedented view into how the ancient civilization worked, revealing almost industrial agricultural infrastructure and new insights into Maya warfare.

“This is a game changer,” says Thomas Garrison, an archaeologist at Ithaca College who is one of the leaders of the project. It changes “the base level

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Tariq Ramadan again

Feb 2nd, 2018 12:33 pm | By

Tariq Ramadan has been charged with rape and is currently incarcerated.

I don’t see anything in English yet so this is from Le Monde:

Tariq Ramadan a été mis en examen, vendredi 2 février, pour viol et viol sur personne vulnérable. L’islamologue suisse a demandé qu’un éventuel placement en détention provisoire, requis par le parquet, fasse l’objet d’un débat ultérieur entre le juge des libertés et de la détention (JLD) et sa défense. Dans l’attente de ce débat, qui doit avoir lieu dans les quatre jours, il a été incarcéré.

Les enquêteurs du deuxième district de police judiciaire ont enquêté pendant trois mois, méthodiquement et sans laisser échapper la moindre information, avant de se décider à entendre, à partir

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No more money for containing epidemics

Feb 2nd, 2018 12:03 pm | By

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest that Trump is chopping down – now we want more global disease outbreaks.

Four years after the United States pledged to help the world fight infectious-disease epidemics such as Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is dramatically downsizing its epidemic prevention activities in 39 out of 49 countries because money is running out, U.S. government officials said.

But don’t worry, Donald Trump’s golf courses and hotels are profiting like crazy.

The CDC programs, part of a global health security initiative, train front-line workers in outbreak detection and work to strengthen laboratory and emergency response systems in countries where disease risks are greatest. The goal is to stop future outbreaks at

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It’s on

Feb 2nd, 2018 10:12 am | By

Thug Donald says hell yes release the memo, the memo is out.

The House Intelligence Committee made the memo public after a week of pleading from senior national security officials not to disclose the classified details, reading it aloud on a conference call with reporters after President Trump declassified the memo.

“A lot of people should be ashamed of themselves and much worse than that,” Mr. Trump said on Friday.

The memo alleges that senior government officials favored Democrats over Republicans and accuses federal law enforcement officials of abusing their authorities when they sought permission to surveil a former Trump campaign adviser, Carter Page.

Never mind the fact that Carter Page was already dirty, independently of Trump; that he … Read the rest

Not future tense any more

Feb 1st, 2018 5:47 pm | By

By the way we’re no longer approaching or heading for or in danger of a constitutional crisis, we’re in one. We have met the crisis and it is all around us.

Reasonable people are saying the US appears to be teetering on the edge of a constitutional crisis, as the system of checks and balances that has kept democracy humming in America for more than 240 years could be on the verge of breaking down.

“We’re in absolutely uncharted waters,” Heather Richardson, a professor of American history at Boston College and the author of a history of the Republican party, told Quartz, adding “I’m beside myself.”

The framers of the constitution “did not construct a system that was designed

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Not exactly justice

Feb 1st, 2018 5:05 pm | By

Speaking of “where was the mother while this man was torturing a baby?” – the ACLU offers one example of a woman punished because a man abused their children.

Tondalao Hall spent her 13th New Year’s Day inside a prison cell this month. The man who abused her and her young children never served a single day in prison. The details of Hall’s story speak volumes about criminal injustice in the nation today.

Thirteen years ago, Tondalao Hall’s ex-boyfriend and abuser, Robert Braxton Jr., pleaded guilty to breaking the ribs and femur of their 3-month-old daughter. Hall had not abused her children. She herself was also a victim of her ex’s violence. Prosecutors presented no evidence that Hall, then

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Guest post: They keep treating it as politics as usual

Feb 1st, 2018 2:21 pm | By

Originally a comment by iknklast on Grave concerns.

why nobody in the media seems to grasp the gravity of what the GOP is trying to do

The media has struggled with the Trump dumpster fire from the beginning, because they keep trying to do things the same way. They keep treating it as politics as usual, so they try to figure out what the strategy is, what the end game is, what Plan B might be. None of these things exist. This is a demolition operation, and unless you understand demolition, you can’t get there.

Maddow gets it because she is able to see that this is not business as usual. But most of the pundits are in the … Read the rest

No objections

Feb 1st, 2018 12:58 pm | By

Trump has said sure, go ahead.

President Trump cleared the way on Thursday for the release of a secret memo written by Republican congressional staffers and said to accuse federal law enforcement officials of abusing their surveillance authorities.

Mr. Trump, who had a brief window to block the memo’s disclosure on national security grounds, was expected to tell Congress on Friday that he had no objections and would likely not request any material be redacted, according to a senior administration official. It would then be up to the House Intelligence Committee, whose Republican leaders have pushed for its release, to make the document public.

The president’s decision came despite a growing chorus of warnings from national security officials who

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No one will ever find out

Feb 1st, 2018 12:32 pm | By

Another This Looks Bad item for Mueller’s note pad: last July, that Times story about the Russia meeting at Trump Tower, the scramble on the flight home from Yurrup to put out a statement by Team Trump saying we talked about adoption and nothing else.

The latest witness to be called for an interview about the episode was Mark Corallo, who served as a spokesman for Mr. Trump’s legal team before resigning in July. Mr. Corallo received an interview request last week from the special counsel and has agreed to the interview, according to three people with knowledge of the request.

Keep that bit about resigning in July in mind; it’s important.

Mr. Corallo is planning to tell Mr. Mueller

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Self-conscious contrarianism throughout history

Feb 1st, 2018 12:04 pm | By

John Elledge at the Staggers:

Crack opinion-haver Brendan O’Neill reports throughout history

WAR 2 July 1916

Don’t listen to the virtue-signallers and their lazy contempt for the noble Tommy

It’s just a bit of mud – why the hysteria over the Somme, asks Field Marshal O’Neill.


CONQUEST 17 October 1066

The revealing hysteria over the Norman Invasion

Anglo-Saxon elites finally reveal how much they despise ordinary people.


FEAR 10 October 1940

Keep calm and carry on? No thanks

Brendan O’Neill makes the case for abject panic in the face of German onslaught.

121 cmments

And more.

Feel free to add your own.

Updating to add:

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Grave concerns

Feb 1st, 2018 11:50 am | By

The crazy is ratcheting up. Even a Republican senator is urging Nunes and his gang not to be in such a hurry to release the memo.

Mr. Thune’s note of caution joined a growing chorus of warnings from national security officials who say that releasing the memo would jeopardize sensitive government information, including how intelligence is gathered, and from Democrats who say it is politically motivated and distorts the actions of the Justice Department and the F.B.I. by omitting crucial context.

President Trump, who has made clear that he wants the memo to be public, was expected to indicate as early as Thursday that despite strong objections by the F.B.I. and the Justice Department, he did not intend to

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That contract has now been spectacularly broken

Jan 31st, 2018 6:15 pm | By

Adam Schiff (the ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee) explains why the release of Nunes’s memo is such a terrible move.

As multiple investigations work to unearth the full truth, the president has lashed out with Nixonian ferocity at the Justice Department, the FBI, congressional investigators and the media.

However, unlike President Richard Nixon, who waged his Watergate fight without the same kind of vocal allies, Trump not only has an entire media ecosystem dedicated to shielding him from accountability but also senior Republicans on the Hill who have cast aside their duty to uphold the law and perform oversight in favor of protecting the Trump presidency — no matter the cost. Nunes may have wielded the committee

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R U my devoted slave?

Jan 31st, 2018 4:04 pm | By

Chapter 785 of Trump doesn’t know what the rules are and he doesn’t care either. CNN reports:

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein visited the White House in December seeking President Donald Trump’s help. The top Justice Department official in the Russia investigation wanted Trump’s support in fighting off document demands from House Intelligence Chairman Devin Nunes.

But the President had other priorities ahead of a key appearance by Rosenstein on the Hill, according to sources familiar with the meeting. Trump wanted to know where the special counsel’s Russia investigation was heading. And he wanted to know whether Rosenstein was “on my team.”

We know he’s been told repeatedly that the whole entire Justice Department is purposely and carefully … Read the rest

The reality of being born female

Jan 31st, 2018 12:45 pm | By

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Jan 31st, 2018 12:39 pm | By

The drawbacks to being born female:

An eight-month-old baby girl has been raped, allegedly by her cousin, in the Indian capital Delhi.

Police say she is in a critical condition after being admitted to hospital on Sunday. They have arrested the 28-year-old cousin.

Delhi Commission for Women chief Swati Maliwal, who visited the girl, described her injuries as “horrific”.

Ms Maliwal tweeted that the baby had undergone a three-hour operation and that her cries could be heard in the hospital.

Geeta Pandey, BBC News, Delhi, has analysis:

This distressing case of assault on an infant has shocked India and made national headlines. The extent of her injuries has horrified many and prompted them to wonder whether we have

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Some people are happy

Jan 31st, 2018 11:42 am | By

Al Jazeera gently points out mash notes to Trump’s speech from white supremacists.

White supremacists quickly took to social media to comment on the president’s comments, with many of them praising the characterisation of Americans as “dreamers”.

In a Twitter post, David Duke, former leader of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a racist organisation popular in the southern US for over a century after slavery ended in the 1860s, thanked the president.

Yes, some Americans Dream of a White Country.

During Trump’s electoral campaign in 2016, he came under fire for hesitancy to disavow Duke, who had pledged his support for the then Republican candidate.

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Wisdom digested

Jan 31st, 2018 11:20 am | By

John Crace at the Guardian does a Digested Read version of Jordan Peterson’s already brisk 12 rules for being like Jordan Peterson.

1 Stand up straight with your shoulders straight
Most lobsters are complete bastards left to their own devices. Most humans are complete bastards left to their own devices. This proves there is a God who wants us to have Order. Order is Masculine and Chaos is Feminine. Therefore to move towards Order, we all need to man up.

Order is Masculine and Chaos is Feminine except when it’s the other way around. Men are the rebels, the lone geniuses, the innovators, the disrupters, while women are the boring anal petty rule-followers and tidiers of messes who stay home … Read the rest