* More than a thousand crows roost in Sunnyvale every night, ruffling locals’ feathers with caws and droppings.* At least they do it with good caws.
Can Buffy slay crows?Deep-water coral reefs
Some deep-water coral reefs seem to be safe from world-wide coral damage.
What I wonder is, can all the coral species that live in shallow reefs also live in deep reefs?Sanctioning and aiding
* Keynes argued that aiding our allies is more effective than sanctioning our foes.*
Sanctions are not very effective, so I suppose this is true.
The difficulty about aiding allies is that it costs money. Governments that are prostrate from having lowered taxes on the rich are not in a position to do this very much — and likewise the other good things they ought to do.Misleading banks and tax officials
*New York attorney general alleges Trump firm misled banks and tax officials.*
Questioning the wrecker himself for a civil suit might be a mistake, since it would require giving him immunity from prosecution, and that would be most unfortunate.Eliminating rules
The Tories have given in to right-wing pressure by saying that they will soon eliminate all the rules to reduce spread of Covid-19. Teachers and medical personnel say this is absurd.
This will allow people to "live normally", if they can ignore the danger from all the unmasked Covid-infected people they pass by. They will all catch and spread Covid-19 from time to time. Each time, it might kill them, or give them long Covid disabilities.
For the people who are "vulnerable", which is a large fraction of the US population, it will be extremely dangerous to come near other people, since many will be doing little or nothing to avoid transmitting the virus. Using public transit will be dangerous, so those who don't have cars will be stuck at home.Anarchist cookbook
UK censorship: jail sentence for possessing a copy of The Anarchist's Cookbook.
Nazism is despicable, and the Anarchist's Cookbook explains how to make some explosives — but merely possessing a copy of a book must never be criminalized. That is just one small step away from thoughtcrime.Encouraging vaccine
*Florida health official put on leave after encouraging staff to get Covid vaccine.*Blasphemous WhatsApp activity
*Woman sentenced to death in Pakistan over "blasphemous" WhatsApp activity.*
Unusually, the target this time is a Muslim who claims to be religious. But morally that makes no difference. It is vicious to punish anyone for "blasphemy" against any religion, and it demonstrates the danger of giving religion any more power than any other opinion.Antibiotic-resistant bacteria
*[Antibiotic-resistant bacteria] now a leading cause of death worldwide, study finds.*
Scientists have warned us for years that we need to put an end to overuse of antibiotics, or they will cease to work and that will kill lots of people. The reason we did not do so is that it would have reduced the profits of Big Ag. It's not the farmer workers that get more pay, nor the owners of small farms that sell their crops to Big Ag. It's the giant distributor/processors that get the money.Government documents
*Supreme Court rejects [the bullshitter's] bid to shield [official government] documents from January 6 panel.*Prescribed burn turning into wildfire
A prescribed burn in Texas got out of control and now needs to be treated as a wildfire.
The US does not do enough prescribed burns, and that insufficiency makes fires more dangerous when they eventually happen. But part of the reason for the insufficiency is that they are risky. Global heating makes them more risky.Urgent: Postal Service Reform Act
US citizens: call on Congress to pass the Postal Service Reform Act.Tax us
* More than 100 members of the global super-rich called on Wednesday for governments around the world to "tax us now" to help pay for the pandemic response and tackle the gulf between rich and poor.*Book club
Teenagers in Kutztown, Pennsylvania, have responded to Republican book-banners by starting a book club for reading banned books.Toxic corporate culture
A study from the MIT business school found that America's "toxic corporate culture" is one of the main factors that motivated many workers to quit their jobs last year.Oil companies greenwashing
Exxon (and other oil companies) are trying to distract us by committing to to eliminate the greenhouse emissions from their own operations.
Those emissions are nothing compared with the emissions generated when their customers burn the oil or gas that Exxon sells them. That is the real problem.Students demanding for proper Covid protection
Students in many US cities have demanded proper Covid protection or they will refuse to go to school.Targeted advertising
A bill in the US Congress would try to prohibit targeted advertising based on certain personal characteristics, such as Google does. For instance, it would be forbidden to target an ad to "gay men".
Would the bill also forbid targeting an ad to a complicated criterion, which Google chose to correlate well with being a gay man? I think that's what Google actually does.Annual wealth tax
*An annual wealth tax targeting the world's millionaires and billionaires would raise enough revenue to lift 2.3 billion people out of poverty, provide universal healthcare to the people of low- and middle-income nations, and produce enough coronavirus vaccines to meet global demand.*Denialism as free speech
Exxon is suing the California officials who brought suit against Exxon for deceitfully denying its part in global heating.
The argument based on the First Amendment is absurd. Indeed, the First Amendment covers claiming that burning oil does not cause global heating. It is not a crime to make that claim. But that is not an excuse, if making that claim was part of a scheme to damage other people and they sue.
It worries me greatly that judges are reportedly giving credence to that argument.Dumped fishing gear
*Dumped fishing gear is killing marine life. Yet no governments seem to care.*
I don't recall seeing a proposal to pass US laws to curb this practice. It is easy to think of ways to do it. Which way would be best, I wouldn't propose to say with my lack of experience.Expanding nation parks
* Expanding national parks not enough to protect nature, say scientists. "Urgent": coordinated action to tackle overconsumption, farming subsidies and the climate crisis also needed to halt biodiversity loss.*Evicted family
Israel evicted one more Palestinian family from Sheikh Jarrah. There is always some good project as an excuse, but the net result if to kick out Arab residents, because the plan is to convert the neighborhood.
Israel annexed Sheikh Jarrah to Jerusalem. It was not part of Jerusalem at all before 1967.Burying toxic waste
*How a Powerful Company Convinced Georgia to Let It Bury Toxic Waste in Groundwater.*Parking tracking
In the UK, computer systems track parking in stores' parking lots.
Even if the store decides not to act like an ass, it is still wrong to track people. But London is planning to make it even more complete, by charging owners of fossil fuel cars a fee for each trip made.
I am in favor of charging fossil fuel cars a bigger fee to operate, but if the purpose is reducing emissions, there is no reason to care where the car travelled, not even whether it was in London or not.Global solidarity
UN Secretary General Guterres pointed out that, to cope with global heating, global pandemic, global debt, and global inequality, we need global solidarity. "If we leave anyone behind, in the end, we leave everyone behind."Rejection of anti-protest measures
The UK's House of Lords rejected the repressive anti-protest measures in the Tories' latest repression bill.
That does not mean they are dead. If the Tories are stubborn enough and have no defectors, they can eventually push this through.Military and economic power
China and Russia are increasing their military and economic power while that of the US is crumbling.
Many of us have hoped to see the weaker parts of the world overcome US imperialism and violence, for the sake of justice and human rights. Now it seems that the US may lose its power, but not in a way that benefits human rights for anyone weak.
China and Russia have become vicious mad dictatorships. Different, of course — the Chinese Communist Party cares to some extent about the well-being of Chinese and China, whereas Putin and his barons are more short-term greedy — but they both vaunt their contempt for human rights to discourage anyone who might thing of trying to defend them. Each has rehabilitated the mass-murderers that ruled them in the past (Mao and Stalin).
Against them, the only bastion in the world is the United States, whose evil aspects are quite familiar to us, and which teeters on the edge of falling into a dictatorship as mad and vicious as China and Russia already are.Next mass extinction
The next mass extinction, the first to be caused by humans, is slowly accelerating, but most people hardly pay attention. The IUCN Red List of threatened species covers only 5% of the species we have identified, and many more species are extinct already than it mentions.Eyes off the ball
*America has taken its eyes off the ball on Iran.* The US has not tried offered enough to get a return to the non-nuclear deal with Iran. The unfortunate consequences could be unending.Anti-mask Justice
To avoid being infected by anti-mask Justice Gorsuch, Justice Sotomayor never attends Supreme Court sessions in person.Urgent: Voting rights bill
US citizens: phone your Democratic senators at 833-346-1256 and call on them to hold a prolonged debate on the voting rights bill, as pressure on senators Manchin and Sinema.Air strike at oil installation
The Houthis launched an air strike at an oil installation in the UAE. This has inspired peculiar outrage.
Salafi Arabia and the UAE have attacked the Houthis in Yemen for years, on the ground and from the air, attacking all sorts of targets including homes. Why in the world would people feel outrage when the Houthis retaliate in kind?
Both Salafi Arabia and UAE are ruled by murderous despots. The acting king of Salafia Arabia, Crown Prince Bone Saw, arranged the murder of Jamal Khashoggi. One of the nobles of the UAE has just been formally accused of torture.
The Houthis are probably not much better, but I see no reason to judge it by a stricter standard than the other two.Annoying dissident
China arrested a long-time annoying dissident on charges of pleading to be allowed to join his dying wife in the US. He was charged with suspicion of intending to annoy the state.Torture complaint against president of Interpol
*Torture complaint filed against new president of Interpol.* It has been filed with a French court on the occasion of his visit to Interpol headquarters in France, on behalf of two people who were tortured in the UAE.Police and crime bill
*I study crowds — that’s why I know the [UK's] police and crime bill will make us less safe.*
* The irony is that the repressive power of the police, supposedly the means of stopping violence, is actually the source of most violence in crowd events — either directly (the police inflict far more violence than is inflicted upon them) or indirectly (the repression of protesters' rights inflames previously peaceable crowds).*Global level of chemical pollution
Some scientists assert that the global level of chemical pollution threatens to destabilize global ecosystems.
This threat would be on top of that of climate mayhem, which is already destabilizing global ecosystems.Dissidents living overseas
China has got its hands on 2500 dissidents who were living overseas.
In some cases this was done by kidnapping. In some cases, China used Interpol. Some returned "voluntarily" after China used their relatives as hostages.
Sometimes ordinary extradition sufficed, since China does not hesitate to fabricate accusations of nonpolitical "crimes".Bipartisanship
*Another 'Big Lie' Corporatists Like to Tell: Bipartisanship Will Lead to Progress.*
I prefer the term "plutocracy" to "corporatocracy", because the crucial thing about that bad system is that the rich wield the power. Their use of corporations to do so is a detail of methods.
Bipartisanship existed in the US when both the major parties in the US were working for the rich. To the extent that Democrats worked for working people, or disprivileged racial groups, that broke the bipartisanship.
We are seeing a dangerous outbreak of bipartisanship right now: various congresscritters claim that the Biden administration has implemented the No Surprises Act — which is meant to prevent shocking, unexpectedly high medical bills — in an excessively effective fashion. They say the law was not supposed to work so effectively.
One of them, Richard Neale, was reelected in 2020 by means of dirty tricks against his opponent.Hiring more thugs
The article proposes better ways to spend that money on reducing low-level crime, without increasing repression.
The most destructive crimes in the US are committed by powerful companies, and can't be stopped at the level of city governments.Placebo effect
Most "negative reactions" to some Covid-19 vaccines are not caused by the vaccine itself; they result are caused by the negative form of the placebo effect.Pegasus spyware
*Investigation alleges Israeli police carried out phone intercepts [using Pegasus spyware] without court supervision or monitoring of how data was used.*
Pegasus was used to snoop on dozens of journalists and human rights activists in Bahrain and Jordan.Australia immigration copies travelers' phone contents
Australia's immigration agency takes travelers' phones and copies their contents, much as the US does.
People who are concerned about this danger don't bring phones when they travel. They get a phone in the destination country and leave it there when they depart it.(Satire) Smart home security camera
(satire) *Smart Home Security Camera Conspires With Burglars In Exchange For Half The Loot.*Dr. King
Sanders: *As We Honor Dr. King, We Must Remember What He Truly Stood For.*
Some people cite King to attack the Liberals of the day, but none of these ideas was outside the range of what American Liberals supported.Populism
*In an era of rightwing populism, we cannot destroy democracy in order to save it.*UK government aims to stop end-to-end encryption
My understanding is that real sexual abuse of real children is usually carried out by relatives and friends of the family. The abusers don't use the internet either to carry out that abuse or to meet the children.
Some points in the article suggest that the word "child" is being misapplied to adolescents. What adolescents need is help navigating the area of sex, showing them how to avoid bad trysts and relationships and find good ones.Americans accustomed to being walled off
An anthropologist says many Americans have become accustomed to walling themselves off from their surroundings — that could be why they wanted a wall against Mexico.UK removed a man's citizenship
The UK took away a man's citizenship, claiming that was OK because in theory he could apply Bangladeshi citizenship. But in fact he couldn't, so the UK had to restore his citizenship.
Meanwhile, his youngest daughter, born while he was exiled, is still denied British citizenship, perhaps forever.
He was never told any reason for his five-year exile, and never accused of a crime.North Korean defectors face poverty
North Korean defectors in South Korea face a life of poverty (despite government aid) and loneliness.Report suggests Russia could conquer Ukraine
A review of the military situation in Ukraine suggests that Russia could probably conquer Ukraine, but could not occupy it for long.
Russia might attack through Belarus. Or it might try to capture only parts of Eastern Ukraine.
I am skeptical of the idea of deterring that attack by threatening economic sanctions, because that approach has almost never succeeded in changing a country's policies.
This suggests to me that the US and NATO should announce a commitment to defend Ukraine from an overt invasion by Russia, and move divisions into Poland (if Poland agrees) near the frontiers with Ukraine and Belarus.
If Russia attacks Ukraine through Belarus, it would be legitimate and easy to send NATO troops into Belarus to fight the Russian troops there. This would probably spark an uprising, as it would offer an opportunity to overthrow Lukashenko. The Belarusian army would be unable to suppress an uprising while facing invading forces. Its units might even accept the invitation to change sides, or remain in their bases doing nothing.
I think this would make Putin hesitate to launch an invasion. He might engage in destabilization, but Ukraine does not need NATO troops to deal with that.Women protested in Kabul
20 women protested in Kabul, standing on a street and chanting "equality and justice" with signs. Taliban thugs came and shot them with pepper spray.
Even racist American thugs probably wouldn't attack 20 Black Lives Matter supporters with pepper spray.
The Taliban thugs stole the phone from a bystander who was making a video. American thugs often do that sort of thing. It is despicable in either country: if you know your action will look like cruelty, don't do it!Strife that killed over 200 people in Kazakhstan
The strife that killed over 200 people in Kazakhstan seems to have been a power struggle between Nazarbayev, the retired ruler, and the new president Tokayev, who was supposed to preserve the power of Nazarbayev's family.
Maybe the truck drivers' protests were organized by Tokayev's supporters. Or maybe they were real popular protests, and Tokayev hijacked them for his own ends. I don't know how we can find out.Biden administration's lousy job protecting from Covid-19
The Biden administration has done a lousy job of protecting the US from Covid-19. It relied on vaccines alone, without enough effort to use other methods, such as masks that effectively protect the wearer (as well as others), distancing, and testing.
Much of the problem was due to intentional obstruction by the disease-spreader party, and some of it was surely a matter of bowing to powerful plutocratic forces. But if Biden had pushed visibly for a better response, he would be able to blame those enemies for the failure.Corporate Polluters want us distracted
*Corporate Polluters Want Us to Stay Distracted.*Reasons OAS Secretary-General must go
*10 Reasons the OAS Secretary-General Must Go.*Time for Corporate Crime Database
Ralph Nader: *Time for Attorney General Garland to Create Corporate Crime Database.*New year's resolutions for NPR
Ralph Nader: Eight New Year's Resolutions for NPR to Consider Now.
I would add: stop running commercials! I stopped donating to my local NPR when I heard commercials on it — not messages of thanks for a donation, but messages that companies paid it to read — and I also greatly reduced my listening to it.Spoof interview fooled people
A spoof interview with a spoof member of the UK parliament fooled people — it seemed normal for members of parliament to make absurd excuses.Huntington Beach oil spill
There is no way to clean up the oil that spilled on Huntington Beach last year, and it may continue harming seabirds and marine animals for a long time.More volcanic eruptions and tsunamis
Israel forcing Palestinians out of Sheikh Jarrah
Israel is trying to force Palestinians out of Sheikh Jarrah, where many families have lived since before 1967. One man says he will set himself on fire rather than leave.Why it is important to protect yourself from Omicron
Rivers polluted without consequence
*This is what "cutting red tape" gets you: rivers polluted without consequence.*
Our safety depends on enforcement of safety regulations; that's one of the many missions for which we need the state.Long hours for NHS doctors
The UK's NHS doctors are working such long hours that they are losing track of their actions while treating patients.Obscuring party donations
*As long as party donations can be obscured, British politics will not be clean.*Kashmir's independent press club shut down
India has shut down Kashmir's independent press club.Suppressing all languages
China is firmly suppressing all languages other than Mandarin. Not only the languages of non-Chinese peoples, such as Tibetan and Uyghur, are under attack: even the other Chinese languages, such as Shanghainese and Cantonese, are being eliminated in China.
This reminds me of what the US and Canada did to indigenous languages — and, with the Uyghur, China is using even more cruelty than the US and Canada used.
The other Chinese languages are traditionally called "Chinese dialects" in English, but that is a misnomer. They are not dialects of Mandarin; they are far too different for that.
Cantonese will survive among people of Chinese origin in countries to the south, such as Vietnam and Singapore.Calling for genocide
Some of India's Hindu extremists are calling for genocide of Muslims, with tacit support from the ruling Hindu-extremist party.
Some of them call for genocide against Christians. Hindu extremists are persecuting Christians already. Surely they won't spare Buddhists.Concentrating wealth
Just 0.01% of bitcoin holders control 27% of the existing bitcoin. Thus, bitcoin is basically a system for concentrating wealth.Students on strike
Students in some US cities are going on strike, demanding either protective masks and testing, or remote education.
I understand their wish for remote education, for safety. Unfortunately, the way US schools normally do remote education is a threat to their freedom. Schools should not ask students to run a nonfree program or give data to an online dis-service.Blocking voting rights bills
Manchin and Sinema say they will block the voting rights bills, by refusing to vote an exception to the filibuster for them.
I heard that Schumer plans to have a floor vote on this question on Wednesday, to put them on the spot.Special drawing rights
The IMF should reallocate its "special drawing rights" to help poor countries make up for the harm done by slavery and colonialism.
I see one flaw in the article: it talks about "solutions" for the climate crisis in a way that seems shifty. Does this refer to efforts to reduce and stop global heating, which is treating the disease, or does it refer to assuaging some of the immediate symptoms for the short term? The former will help save civilization and nature; the latter will only help delay some of the damage for a few decades.
We must insist on this distinction so we can focus on the long term.Cyber-attacks on government web sites
Russia is apparently making cyber-attacks against Ukrainian government web sites.What more could Novak Djokovic have done?
*What more could Novak Djokovic have done? Get vaccinated, isolate and get the facts right.*
The Australian government should get its policies straight, and avoid confusion in its decisions, but there's no reason to give anyone permission to enter who is unvaccinated by choice.Vaccination for public transit usage
The Philippines will require vaccination as a condition for using public transit.
The article does not state whether poor people can easily get vaccinated gratis. If they cannot, that puts them in danger; furthermore, this requirement amounts to discrimination.
However, if everyone can get vaccinated, that is their solution: to get vaccinated.
The policy properly offers exemptions for those who, for medical reasons, cannot be vaccinated.Antisocial media posts leading to Jan 6
The Jan 6 attack investigation committee will investigate how various antisocial media companies handled postings leading up to the attack, and how they interpreted and enforced their rules.Filibuster
*Timeline of Filibuster Helps Explain Why So Many Say It Now Needs to Go.*
For decades, the filibuster has been extremely convenient for right-wing forces to block legislation to reduce racism.
If Republicans succeed in imposing minority rule, the remaining Senate Democrats might find it useful — but the Republicans would surely eliminate it immediately if it got in their way. Most Republicans believe victory overrides any and all principles; the few who do not, don't have any principles against imposed minority rule.Overthrow of democracy
*The [possible] Overthrow of American Democracy: A Scorecard for [the corrupter]'s Next Coup.*Cultural bigotry
The triumphal march of cultural bigotry advances ever onward: there is a movement to allow only Jews to play parts that are Jewish.
There are many intersecting subsets of Americans (for instance) who have a certain aspect of their culture in common. New Yorkers tend to have much in common, and so do Texans. But not all New Yorkers are similar, nor all Texans, nor are all Jews. With equal validity, casting directors could be compelled to classify parts and actors into lots of small pigeonholes.
Here's a part for a white Midwestern Evangelical Christian. There's one for an Irish Protestant. And that one, for a Texan Evangelical from Austin. Another role is someone from Dallas. Yet another, from a rural area near the Mexican border. These cultures are not the same.
Here's a part for Hasidic Jew of Polish background, from Brooklyn. That part likewise, calls for a Jew of Polish extraction, but Orthodox. There's a part for a mostly assimilated not-very-religious Jew from a New Jersey suburb, who went to a prestigious university, like per parents. And another for one who went to a community college. These cultures are not the same either. Which of those differences are the most important?
Who should be allowed to play a transsexual Nazi Eskimo (as suggested in "Can't Watch This", by Weird Al Yankovic)? Or a neo-Nazi playwright (as in The Producers)? Should those roles be limited to actors who are real American Nazis?
Productions won't carry this to the point where it makes casting impossible. But those are not morally significant questions — only variations among groups of people. If it is ok to ignore most of these divisions, then it is ok to consider only the ones that are important for good performance of any particular role. Along with everything else that is important for a good performance.
If gentiles are forbidden to play Jewish parts, gentile actors will demand, for fairness, that Jews be forbidden to play gentile parts. Here are some Jewish actors who have been very successful playing non-Jewish parts, and might have been barred by cultural bigotry.
Jamie Lee Curtis, Tony Curtis, Kirk Douglas, Robert Downey Jr, Douglas Fairbanks Jr,
Mira Furlan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Dustin Hoffman, Kate Hudson, Harvey Keitel, Hedy Lamarr,
Peter Lorre, Leonard Nimoy, Sean Penn, Rhea Jo Perlman, William Shatner, Eli Wallach,
all three stooges.
Prisoners hunger strike
200 prisoners in New York City's Riker's Island jail are on hunger strike to condemn the dangerous conditions that they are subjected to.Urgent: Require corporations to publish the amount of their greenhouse emissions
US citizens: call on the SEC to require large corporations to publish the amount of their greenhouse gas emissions.Pass H.3453/S.2304 in Massachusetts
Citizens of Massachusetts: call on your state legislators to pass H.3453/S.2304, to stop jailing people and suspending their driving licenses over debt.Future corruption probes
(satire) *[New York City mayor] Eric Adams Appoints Deputy Patsy For All Future Corruption Probes.*(satire) 1-Second workout
(satire) *The Onion's 1-Second Workout.*Canada's national childcare system
Last year Canada set up a national childcare system for all parents that need it. It is a big success.Senator Sinema pretends to support voting rights
Senator Sinema pretends to support voting rights, but she doesn't really support them much if she would drop them to protect the filibuster.Council for environmental quality
Two of the main officials of the Council for Environmental Quality have recently quit.
One can guess that they feel it is impossible to achieved what they hoped to do, a year ago. They may be disappointed with Biden. Or they may be disappointed with Sinema and Manchin's defeat of Biden's climate defense legislation.Doctors protested Spotify
Many doctors protested Spotify for letting Joe Rogan distribute vaccine disinformation.Contract tracing to investigate a crime
Germany's contact tracing organization rebuked German thugs for using contact tracing data to investigate a crime.
It is extremely short-sighted for thugs to do this. The benefit of finding one criminal is not worth the cost of undermining trust in the state.(satire) China invented English language
(satire) *Newly Uncovered Manuscript Reveals China Invented English Language 700 Years Before Western World.*How Oath Keepers plotted an armed coup
*Guns, ammo … even a boat: how Oath Keepers plotted an armed coup.*US claims Russia planning 'false-flag' operation
*US claims Russia planning ‘false-flag’ operation to justify Ukraine invasion.*
Putin's seizure of Crimea was a kind of false-flag operation, carried out by Russian soldiers disguised as something other than Russian soldiers.Dramatic form of tragedy
* Pandemics, the climate crisis and the algorithms used by tech giants feel too amorphous to squeeze into the dramatic form [of tragedy].*Global heating linked to premature birth
*Global heating linked to [premature] birth and damage to babies' health, scientists find.* Also to obesity.Tough luck if you get Covid at work
*The US supreme court to Americans: tough luck if you get Covid at work.*Extinction Rebellion activists cleared
*Extinction Rebellion activists cleared over London rush hour disruption.*
It looks like the British public understand what is really at stake when the same authorities that disregard the climate danger prosecute those who try to wake people up.Letting climate disaster build
Powell, the Republican that Biden continued as head of the Federal Reserve, is willing to let climate disaster build up for fear of the pain of making changes to prevent it.
That's like an idiot who won't get dental treatment for a cavity or won't get tested for cancer. The longer you let these things go, the worse they get.Tigray running out of insulin
Tigray is running out of insulin, as no supplies have reached that region in months.
Tigray's government says that Ethiopia is blockading Tigray. Ethiopia's government says that Tigrayan forces are attacking aid trucks. The latter is a priori implausible, so I think that a blockade is the real cause.
It is easy for the Ethiopian government to block supply from Ethiopia. Why can't supplies be brought in from Sudan? Is it possible to air-drop medicine?Oil spill poisoned seaweed farms
In 2009, a giant oil spill poisoned seaweed farms of East Timor and Indonesia. The company that let it happen has resisted in court, and the people's whose farms are still poisoned have received no compensation.Objecting to meetings to allow generic vaccines
The EU objects to holding a meeting of the WTO to consider allowing generic vaccines while the pandemic is going on.
I'm surprised they aren't ashamed of making such a transparently bogus excuse.(satire) Pig rib transplant
(satire) *Breakthrough Procedure Allows Surgeons To Transplant Pig Rib Directly Into Human Mouth.*Loss of US social cohesion
The US is losing the social cohesion that is needed for any country to thrive. What could possibly get it back?
It is cute to describe political camps as "tribes", but when one of the camps aims to abolish democracy, spread disease and surrender the climate battle, letting that camp "win" for a while would allow them to create even bigger and broader deadly strife.Urgent: Disinfo Defense League
US citizens: support the Disinfo Defense League platform.Look out for bullets
(satire) *LAPD Cautions Residents To Look Out For Dozens Of Bullets Officers Sent Ricocheting Around City.*Congress and stocks
Senators Ossoff and Kelly have proposed a bill to prohibit members of Congress (and their families) from buying and selling stocks.
A Republican proposed something similar.Worsening climate crisis
*Big Bank, Corporate Destruction of Forests Worsening Climate Crisis.*Tool for repression
Human rights defenders warn that a new treaty to combat "cybercrime" could become a tool for repression of dissent.One day off each week
Frito-Lay employees ended a strike when the company agreed to give each worker at least one day off in each week.
How is it that any business operating in the US is allowed to deny that to any worker? I thought that US law required a lot more than that. But apparently not. What's the origin of this problem?Ballot drop-off boxes
A Wisconsin court reinterpreted state law to prohibit ballot drop-off boxes. Those who could overrule this decision are Republicans, and won't do so.Electricity consumption
Electricity consumption grew 7% last year, and renewable generation grew only 6%. Thus, fossil fuel consumption for generating electricity increased too. This is going in the wrong direction.Mail-in ballots
New bureaucratic requirements in Texas are causing rejection of many applications for mail-in ballots.
In some counties, the rejection rate is 50%. In other places, it is less but it is substantial.Sale of coal leases
Biden allows continued sale of coal leases. This caused a 14% increase in coal consumption in 2021 alone.Vasectomies
Increasing numbers of young men are having vasectomies because they recognize that it's not good to have children in a world headed into climate disaster.
It's not good for the children, and it's not good for the rest of the world.Safe to return
The UK government is telling Afghan and Yemeni refugees that their home countries are safe to return to.
In the case of the specific Afghan refugee, it could well be true that the Taliban have no specific interest in bothering him. But Afghanistan is a violent, dangerous place, and is facing hunger because of sanctions. As for Yemen, that is still a war zone, facing hunger because of sanctions and combat.Kroger
8000 workers in Kroger supermarkets near Denver are on strike.
The big supermarket conglomerates nowadays use many different brands. Wikipedia lists the names Kroger stores use. These stores are labeled "King Sooper".Negotiation
Negotiation between the US and Russia has failed. Putin demands that NATO make major concessions or he will attack.
Putin would be more likely to forego war if Ukraine were more strongly defended. The US should have made sure to strengthen Ukraine enough to deter war; there was no danger in doing that.
Threatening sanctions never had much chance of success. Indeed, sanctions have usually failed to change other countries' foreign policy. They often hurt the people of the targeted country, but its dictator generally doesn't care about them.
The sanction that would worry Putin is to refuse to buy Russia's gas, but Europe hasn't got the courage to do it. Indeed, Russia is cutting its gas sales to Europe to provoke distress there and make European leaders timid. The courageous response for Europe would be to boost construction of renewable generation facilities, while meanwhile using temporary measures to help people get along with less gas.
It would have been wiser all along for the US not to try to extend NATO to Ukraine and Georgia. But the way Putin has shaped this confrontation, to agree to the demand now would be an abject surrender.Cruelty of Islamic law
The bloodthirsty cruelty of Islamic law was on public display in Aceh. Nearly all the Islamic states deny religious freedom to their inhabitants by punishing blasphemy and by prohibiting Muslims from converting to any other belief.Urgent: Fix the filibuster and pass the John R. Lewis Act
US citizens: Phone your senators at 1-833-497-4273 to urge them to fix the filibuster and pass the Freedom to Vote: John R. Lewis Act. It is the combination of the two voting rights laws that progressives have campaigned for for several years.Urgent: Paid sick leave for Red Lobster employees
US citizens: call on Red Lobster to offer paid sick leave to its employees, and thus protect customers' health.Urgent: No slumlords on NYC Mayor Adams transition team!
US citizens: tell NYC Mayor Adams: No slumlords on your transition team!Urgent: Confirm Lael Brainard to the Federal Reserve
US citizens: call on senators to confirm Lael Brainard to the Federal Reserve.
The Capitol Switchboard number is 202-224-3121.
If you call, please spread the word!Getting food into Tigray
The UN says it can't get enough food into Tigray to keep people alive, nor the fuel to transport that food. The supplies of food have been insufficient since July.
Can anyone find reports that explain what is really going on in that war?Assad's torturer commander convicted
One of Assad's torturer commanders has been . Some of them testified in his trial.Pegasus used to spy on journalists
Someone used Pegasus spyware to spy on 35 journalists in El Salvador. Based on the fact that they were investigating accusations against the tyrannical president, we can suspect this was done behalf of the government or the president.UK general repression bill
The UK general repression bill plans intense repression of Gypsies. Their vehicles could be confiscated on suspicion and their children taken away. The UK already has laws to punish homeless people for sleeping on the street, or in an unoccupied home.
All this just as Britain is facing a critical shortage of housing.Animals that disperse seeds
As the animals that disperse seeds shift habitats in response to global heating, the plants they used to disperse tend to be left without a way to shift. That reduces their range, so that all sorts of random local accidents can wipe them out.Leader of the Oath Keepers charged
The leader of the Oath Keepers has been charged with seditious conspiracy for the Jan 6 attack on the Capitol, along with other members.Repair and protect Australian beaches
Some Australians call for public works to repair beaches and protect them. This would be worth doing if not for global heating. Two or more meters of sea level rise in this century will overwhelm these local efforts.
If they want to preserve today's beaches, they have to start by preserving today's sea level, and that calls for climate defense. Strange that this article doesn't say a word about this.Rescuing US elections from Republican Rigging
Sinema seems to have killed all hope to rescue US elections from Republican rigging.(satire) Pamphlet on probabilistic thinking
(satire) *CDC Announces Plan To Send Every U.S. Household Pamphlet On Probabilistic Thinking.*
When it comes to preventing Covid-19, the CDC should give people clear and simple recommendations. But these pamphlets could be useful to help people recognize and reject disinformation.GOP partisan Gerrymandering
*Ohio Supreme Court Strikes Down GOP Partisan Gerrymandering.*Report debunks Manchin's inflation argument
*Report Debunks Manchin's Inflation Argument Against Build Back Better.*Plutocratist Democrats
When plutocratist Democrats defeat progressive programs, the next thing they do is pretend that the programs failed because they went "too far left." This is supposed to be a reason to vote for plutocratist Democrats. Polls show that large majorities of Americans support the main progressive policy programs.
Now they are pushing for Clinton to run again for president.
I will back Sanders if he runs.N95 masks for all
*Biden Under Fire for Resisting Calls to Distribute N95 Masks to All.*Burmese army fighting with rebels
The Burmese army is fighting heavily with rebels in the city of Loikaw. Most of the inhabitants (perhaps over 100,000) have fled.140m people fell into poverty during pandemic
Since the start of the pandemic, *while wealthiest got richer, 140m people fell into poverty as jobs were lost, wiping out years of gains for poorest.*Global heating
Here's an article that tries to convince us that what's really bad about global heating is that it treats disprivileged groups worse than privileged groups.
Sure, unfairness is wrong. But if most people in every group are going to be killed -- plus over half the other living species -- isn't that much worse?
If, in that killing of billions, an equal fraction were going to be killed in every ethnic or racial group, that would not make it ok.NYC fire
NYC's new mayor, in regard to the recent fire, downplays the owner's failure to maintain and operate the building safely, and focuses on the tenants' dangerous methods for coping with those flaws.
It's generally better to fix the system than to try to teach many individuals to work perfectly within the existing flawed system. At one level, that's the reason to require central heating. At another, that's the reason for building codes. At another, that's the reason for progressive politics.Blood donation crisis
Blood donations in the US are down, due to the spread of Covid-19, and supplies of some blood types are running dangerously low.
Soon, injured people may start dying because there is no blood available to give them transfusions.Election process
*Trump loyalists form alliance in bid to take over election process in key states.*Campaign against teachers
Republican fanatics are now leading a blacklisting campaign against teachers that explain racism in American history.Vaccination mandate
The right-wing justices on the US Supreme Court rejected OSHA's vaccination mandate for medium and large businesses. With this ruling they began to support the Republican Party's strategy to incapacitate the US with disease, and blame the consequences on Democrats.ICBMs
Calling for the elimination of ICBMs, to eliminate the hurry to launch a nuclear attack because one seems possibly to be on its way.Filibuster
*What would the Supreme Court's "originalists" think of the filibuster?
If they were honest, they'd find it unconstitutional.*
An Israeli writes about his long friendship with his Palestinian Aseel friend, who worked for peace, and was shot dead for no reason by Israeli thugs while standing unarmed in the middle of a nonviolent rally.Real adventures
Covid-19 has transformed commercial sea cruises into real adventures! (I'd rather stay home.)Wealth tax
As the rich show off their wealth, they show we need to impose a wealth tax.Refusing to debate
The Republican Party will refuse to debate Democrats for the presidency.
Democrats should invite the Green Party and the "Libertarian" Party to the debate, so that the Republicans will miss out on the chance rather than cancel it.Felon disenfranchisement
*Mississippi: felon disenfranchisement is a racist labyrinth worthy of Kafka.*
The people who set up that system chose a set of felonies to trigger disenfranchisement, not because they were the worst of felonies, but because they were likely to disenfranchise blacks.Coup consequences
If the wrecker captures the presidency through a coup, the US could fall apart in chaos.Urgent: Regulate methane emissions
US citizens: push the EPA to regulate methane emissions.Cost increase for Medicare
The department of HHS is pushing back on a cost increase for Medicare that would be needed to pay for an exorbitantly expensive drug that might prevent Alzheimer's disease.
The approval of that drug may have been a mistake, and some corrupt influence is suspected.Complaint against Rep. Cawthorn
The complaint against Rep. Cawthorn requires him to demonstrate he is eligible to run for the House of Representatives — specifically, that he was not involved in the Jan 6 insurrection.Rejecting applicants for being poor
Several prestigious US universities are being sued for illegally rejecting applicants specifically for being poor.
A special law allows universities to collaborate (rather than compete) on how much financial aid they offer, but only with the condition that they don't consider need for financial aid as a criterion for admissions.
All in all, other countries do a much better job of keeping the cost of higher education down.Refusing Covid-19 precautions
People who refuse the basic precautions against the spread of Covid-19 endanger people who get badly sick or injured in any way.Effectiveness of lockdowns in Britain
The lockdowns in Britain whose purpose was to reduce cases of Covid-19 were effective for that. They also prevented nearly all of the expected hospitalizations of children for flu, meningitis, tonsillitis, and bronchiolitis: over 70,000 cases in all.Coal-ash ponds
*EPA begins enforcement on clean up of toxic coal-ash ponds.*Argentina
Argentina's new center-left government is doing surprisingly well at climbing out of the economic hole that the previous right-wing government and the IMF contrived to put it into.(Satire) No Past
(satire) *Man Horrified After Genealogy Test Confirms He Has No Past.*Texas schools blocking sites that help queer students
Arguing that the corruptor really is an antichrist. That statement doesn't make any supernatural claims.(Satire) Gates Philanthropy
(satire) *Gates Foundation Sues Thousands Of Charities For Infringing On Trademark Concept Of Philanthropy.*
The Gates Foundation's announcement fell into a common confusion by equating trademarks with patents. This sort of confusion turns almost any statement into conceptual garbage.Amazon Unionization
Workers at an Amazon warehouse will get a new vote on unionization.Pie-in-the-sky net-zero climate strategy
*UK government sued over "pie-in-the-sky" net-zero climate strategy.*Child Tax Credit
93% of the children in West Virginia were supported last year by the Child Tax Credit. Senator Manchin of West Virginia says he couldn't possibly justify continuing that support to the people of his state.Interrogation official
One of Assad's interrogation officials fled from Syria and described the system which tortured people to get information, which he participated in as a supervisor. Now he is on trial for his role in the system.Filling hospitals
Covid-19 is again filling US hospitals in many states. In addition, with so many medical workers sick with Covid-19, it is hard for the hospitals to treat so many the patients.Rebuilding flammable residences
A Tory minister has promised that the UK government will pay for rebuilding the flammable construction of residences in Britain. But this is no legal commitment, just a personal promise. He could be replaced as minister with the promise unkept.Pushing millions into penury
The UK is going to push millions into penury with rising prices for fossil fuel. Labour has joined the push for a windfall profits tax, such as the US adopted in the oil shortage of the 1970s.
The Tories have adopted plans to reduce use of fossil fuels, but they have cancelled them before it was time to spend money. That's because "more for the rich" is its priority.
Labour's plan is not particularly bold. It is an adequate plan, and much better than none at all. However, we won't see any bold plans from Labour now that it has kicked out Corbyn and his supporters. It has decided against boldness.Speed of carbon cuts
*German climate minister says speed of carbon cuts needs to be trebled* to achieve the country's targets.Tax those who refuse vaccination
Quebec plans to tax those who refuse Covid-19 vaccination, on the grounds that they are choosing to impose costs on the NHS.
Vaccination is so important that this is justified. However, it would be wrong to extend that to much actions that don't put others in danger; that would lead to a pervasively repressive society.Anger on Bogus Johnson
Bogus Johnson's decision to invite officials and friends to a party at his office, disregarding the strict rules that said no one else in Britain could have such a party, have focused anger at him.
Planet-roaster Tories want to seize the opportunity to replace him with someone who will officially cancel Britain's climate commitments.Half population infected
WHO Europe forecasts that half the population of Europe will be infected with Omicron soon.
The article presents recommendations, including mandating high-quality masks, priorities for vaccination, and others.Writer charged over critical tweets
*Ugandan writer charged over tweets critical of President Museveni.*
So many countries are repressive to those who criticize the rulers.Covid and global heating
*Covid has undermined fight against global heating, says WEF.*Coping with climate mayhem
*Cuba Shows How to Take Action [to cope with climate mayhem].
The more important climate action is to reduce the amount of global heating. As we do more of that, we spare every region lots of work coping with climate mayhem, because there will be less climate mayhem to cope with.Oath to defend the constitution
*Voters move to block [the corrupter's] ally Madison Cawthorn from re-election,* citing the constitutional amendment barring candidates that have taken the oath to defend the constitution and violated it.Last years
The last seven years were the seven hottest since records began.
The last three years set records for the heat of the oceans.Concealing background
Prejudice against Dalits is so powerful in India that those Dalits who make it into middle-class society work desperately to conceal their background. They could be shunned, fired, even murdered.Small killer robots
Small killer robots are feasible now — especially if they find their target by the IMSI and IMEI codes in the transmissions from a portable phone.
It is possible to prevent their use in war, with a treaty. But I think that criminal gangs will use them for assassination.Urgent: FCC
From Free Press: US citizens, please phone Senator Maria Cantwell at (202) 224-3441 and call on her to hold the vote to confirm Gigi Sohn in the FCC before the end of January. If no one answers, please leave a message.Climate-based disasters
Climate-based disasters in 2021 cost the US $145 billion last year.
This is going to get a lot worse over the next few decades, until we stabilize the greenhouse gas levels.White-supremacist murderers sentenced to life in prison
Ahmaud Arbery's murderers were sentenced to life in prison.
I think this is justice. However, for the goal of eliminating white supremacism, it is just a small step.Major course correction needed
*Sanders Says Democrats Need 'Major Course Correction' to Prevent GOP Takeover. "In too many ways the Democratic Party has turned its back on the working class," argues the Vermont senator.*Climate mayhem
Climate mayhem is wiping out the terns and puffins that lived on the islands of Maine. The water there is now too hot for the fish that used to live there.
*How the speed of [global heating] is unbalancing the insect world.*Regain sense of control
(satire) *Man Tries To Regain Sense Of Control In Chaotic Universe By Learning To Juggle.*Veto on bill permitting to unionize
Governors from the Democratic Party have vetoed bills in California and Maine that would have permitted farm workers to unionize.ISP data collection
The FTC has investigated what personal data ISPs collect from their customers. However it is thinking in terms of regulating how ISPs can use that data, rather than whether they can collect it. In general, that choice is the ineffective choice.
Proposing to unite the racial groups in a society by defining them as not exclusive of each other. The article proposes this specifically for the case of New Zealand, but it could be applicable elsewhere.Jail for criticizing policies
The Taliban have jailed a professor for criticizing their policies.Opposition win
An opposition candidate defeated one of Maduro's lieutenants in an election for Congress.
The article doesn't say which opposition position the winner supports — was it the "surrender to the US" golpista opposition of Guaidó, or was it the honest-government opposition? I wish I could find out.Defusing the climate emergency
*Defusing the climate emergency requires defusing threats to American democracy.*
This is because the Republican support for plutocracy goes so far you would expect it only in satirical exaggeration. Surely real plutocrats would not be so absurdly greedy!New political powers for army
*Bolsonaro Gave Brazil's Army New [Political] Powers. The Generals Won't Give Them Up Easily.*Europol forced to delete personal data
vast store of personal data that it has been found to have amassed unlawfully by the bloc’s data protection watchdog.*
To defend democracy requires anonymity. So the next challenge is to limit what data that agency, and other "security" agencies, can collect in the first place. Also what data businesses can collect.Laws helping overturn elections
Republicans are passing state laws to give themselves excuses to arbitrarily overturn elections for partisan motives.
Their planned elimination of democracy, followed by repression, could be lawful in a superficial sense. However, it would result in a blatantly undemocratic, thus blatantly illegitimate government.
No one knows how to make an institution that can adapt to all possible future situations without falling into a trap that perverts it into something worthless. But I did not expect to see that during my lifetime.
The United States had never implemented democracy and human rights fully and properly; there have been struggles over this through its whole history. But at least it provided a framework for that struggle, within which progress and victory were possible. If that is lost, where will it be possible to imagine victory? We may have a world in which all the pressing struggles are between one disgusting illegitimate regime and another. Will it be worth fighting for the US to prevent China's world domination if the US has become almost as repressive as China?
In that, in which the demand for democracy and human rights is seen as a distraction, one that people are permitted to talk about with some nostalgia only because that talk can have no consequences. In a few decades, what is now the United States may be split into dozens of little absolutist regimes that fight over whatever fragments of technology can still be used, and people will hardly remember what human rights once meant.Having fewer children
Now even in CNN: arguing that people should save the planet by having fewer children.
It's good to reproduce bugs, to fix them. It's good to reproduce works of art, to share them. But we need to have a lot less reproducing of human beings, in every part of the world, to greatly reduce the load we put on nature.Takeover by business
Ralph Nader calls for a ten-year plan to reverse the takeover of the US by business, including the idea that businesses deserve rights as much as human beings.
That takeover is why working people can't live like Homer Simpson.Sending refugees home
The UK has ordered a Syrian refugee to return to Syria. He fears he will be jailed for leaving rather than be conscripted to fight in Assad's army.