Link Roundup, 2/14/2017

From Wired: Coders have rescued NASA’s climate data.

From The Atlantic: How ‘Religious Conservatives’ are betraying religion and conservatism.

From Smithsonian Magazine: Mapping a century of white Christian terrorism in the US.

From The Week: Oklahoma GOP legislator describes pregnant women as ‘hosts.’

From CNBC: Elon Musk speculates on the human evolutionary impact of AI.

56 Comments

  1. So Dear Leader is OK with a “1-state or 2-state solution”. He just signaled to israel that they have carte-blanche to do whatever they like to the Palestinians.

    Some have said it before, and I agree. The largest terrorist states on the planet are the U.S. and their pit bull they just unleashed.

    1. The big Bebe/potus take away from today’s photo op? “…concerns over anti-Semitism matter not at all to the President or, quite sadly, to the Prime Minister. Those concerns were treated by both men today as nothing more than a political toy, a matter of no concern beyond how it needed to be handled and how it could be manipulated for political gain.”

      There is going to be some heavy fall out in the US among the Jewish community who is already concerned about the white Nationalist leanings of potus….

      http://lobelog.com/netanyahu-and-trump-no-palestinian-state-no-condemnations-of-anti-semitism/#more-38041

      1. So, ALEC is rolling out its anti-union bill, to crush one of the last mainstays of Democratic support….The legislation prohibits members from even having a right to negotiate over their health benefits. Recall all the squealing that happened with Sen. Grassley required MoC and their staff to participate in the ACA? They got a gold plan, subsidized by taxpayers (71% of premium, t u America) and they got their income excluded so that they all qualified….That, my friends, is how the privileged negotiate. But, average folks? Especially those who vote blue? No way. The division of public safety unions is a tactic and is another despicable tool. What is the difference?

        You are right, BoBo. They are s**ts. The worst part? They enjoy hurting people.

        If you haven’t signed up to work in one of the resistance groups, now’s a great time.

    1. I have trouble coming up with any reason for some of the GOP’s actions. What do they gain by limiting a person’s ability to save for retirement? It makes no sense!

      Even reversing the Fiduciary Rule? All that does is hurt the people that are the least able to help themselves, people who have the least understanding of investing. to me, it seems cruel to do something like that! But the GOP does! All the while patting themselves on the back for being such good Christians!

      It hurts to see stuff like this! It;s one thing to be partisan! But to go out of your way to hurt the little people? What kind of low life scum does stuff like this??

  2. The first congressional election of the Trump Era will be held, in all places, Georgia’s 6th congressional district, formerly held by the anti-Obamacare point man, Tom Price. As those who watched R. Maddow tonight know, it’s an otherwise very conservative district where Price has won by more than 60% through several consecutive election cycles, but where Trump absolutely cratered, barely carrying the district by slightly more than a point.

    Let’s not sugarcoat it, this district is a tall wall for any Democrat to climb, especially when the DSCC has already decided to be ‘realistic’ about it, but these are precisely the kinds of voters that need to be reached if Democrats want to compete in other districts held by Republicans. A win here, or at the very least a much closer race than Republicans are expecting, could send a strong message just as the fight over the ACA is heating up.

    One of the Democrats running in the primary is an investigative journalist named Jon Ossoff, endorsed by his fellow Georgian, John Lewis. If you’re able, please consider giving even just a little to help his campaign. As we look forward to ’18, let’s do all we can to start helping on all fronts. I’ve already donated.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/1/28/1626607/-Want-to-do-something-right-now-Then-donate-to-this-Democrat-running-in-a-House-special-election

    1. Profile photo of EJ EJ

      Ethical question: I’m a foreigner who works in a field that will suffer heavily from the cutbacks to science. As such, I have a very definite vested financial interest in America’s elections. Would it be wrong of me to donate to an American political race?

      1. No, but you could trade donations with a citizen who wants to donate someplace. So, your friend wants to donate to ACLU? You make that donation, then your citizen friend can make the donation you want to make. Just a thought.

      2. Profile photo of EJ EJ

        Thanks for that, all.

        Archetryx, that’s a very cunning workaround and I’ll use it. Thanks for that.

        Mary, I’ve already been organising up every scientist I know to come on that march. It won’t be as good as the huge Inauguration Day one, but it should be good nonetheless.

        Now I just need to source a lab coat from somewhere.

      3. Not sure, but that still might be illegal if you have an understanding that there would be reciprocity between the two parties.

        Take the case of Dinesh D’Souza:

        “The government charged Mr. D’Souza with illegally arranging to have two people — an employee and a woman with whom he was romantically involved — donate $10,000 each to the campaign of an old friend from Dartmouth College, Wendy E. Long, with the understanding that he would reimburse them in cash for their contributions.”

        https://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/24/us/dsouza-is-spared-prison-time-for-campaign-finance-violations.html

      4. Archetryx, I would gladly take you up on your offer to eat radicchio salad and drink white wine around your leftie table. I will have to request a feta free salad since I am trying to go dairy (and gluten) free.

        I promise not to make any political donations for you. 😉

      1. Mary, like Armchair Philosopher said, I’m using countable.org and relying heavily on Jen Hofmann’s list, my Indivisible Group, and the good old fashioned Facebook feed for information.

        I’ve found websites that make bills available but it’s still so much and so many that I haven’t streamlined the process yet. Trying to figure out a way of truly tracking the progress of the initiatives I care for.

        It’s a learning process.

  3. With all the fuss around Flynn and it being Valentine’s Day, it’s understandable if you missed it, but a lot has happened in the past two days in healthcare that should give anyone sincere pause.

    Today, most notably, Humana, a major health insurer in 11 states announced that it was going to pull out of the exchanges. To put that in context, Humana is the only insurer in 11 counties in Tennessee, so now that they’ve pulled out, if no one else steps in to take their place, well… you all know where this is going.

    On a broader scale though, we’re inching closer towards a real market collapse. This is not some hypothetical anymore. If Republicans can’t get their shit together and start reassuring insurers, other major ones like Aetna are going to pull out too, and soon. This snowball has started rolling and it’s going to start picking up momentum real quick.

    http://finance.yahoo.com/news/2-big-insurance-break-ups-225519705.html;_ylt=A0LEVicQvKNYbx0AIIgnnIlQ;_ylu=X3oDMTByMjB0aG5zBGNvbG8DYmYxBHBvcwMxBHZ0aWQDBHNlYwNzYw–

    That’s bad enough, but Republicans in Congress are now even more gridlocked than they were before. Thanks to our old pals in the Freedom Caucus, not only have they just openly declared that they will steadfastly refuse ANY repeal measure that doesn’t go at least as far as what they passed in ’15 (which includes the Medicaid expansion repeal, repeal of the insurer and employee mandate and all of the subsides and the taxes and pay for them).

    Oh, and did I mention that they also just announced today that they want an Obamacare repeal vote now? Like, five minutes ago now?

      1. Well, unless the GOP really screws up and decides to mess with Medicare and Medicaid (which they may be just stupid enough to do), seniors and the poor will be ok. Everyone else in between? Not so much.

        Here’s the thing. Who do you think will be held responsible for this fiasco?

      2. That sound you hear in the distance is the hammer that’s about to come crashing down on the Republican Party on Capitol Hill and if there’s a way to stop it, someone please explain it to me.

        Big-time insurers like Humana are exiting the exchanges for ’18 and others are sure to follow, and soon, if Republicans don’t start assuring them, not with vague promises, but with actual action.

        Spoiler Alert: They are not going to come up with a viable replacement.

        But, as is par for the course for House Republicans, their seemingly never-ending headache comes from our dear friends, the Freedom Caucus. They want an Obamacare repeal vote, they want it now and they want it all gone, Medicaid expansion and all. Unless you believe they’re bluffing and will cave, they’ve already openly stated that they will be united in opposing any repeal measure that doesn’t have that. And of course Republicans don’t have the votes to pass anything without them, so they’re trapped.

        As for who gets blamed for this shitshow, Republicans will obviously try everything in their power to blame it on the Democrats. Best of luck with that, is all I can say.

      3. Considering that no Republicans voted for Obamacare, the rollout was bungled, many insurers dropped out way before the election, and that costs for coverage have been mounting the past seven years …

        Sorry, this one’s the Democrat’s baby, and sorry, the Republicans aren’t the daddy.

      4. But then Trump signed adoption papers when he said everybody could have health insurance and it would be even better!! You aren’t using your critical thinking skills. If the GOP wasn’t terrified of getting the blame, the repeal bill would be on it’s way through Congress right now.

        Bitching is easy. Writing bills that actually do something is real work.

      5. Hmmm, fly, I think Trump may be trying to abort the baby since it has defects which prevent it from living outside the womb. But, aren’t you okay with that? After all, you are pro-choice. 🙂

      6. And, yes, bitching is easy and writing a bill that will work is hard. I confess that I’m a little uneasy with repealing the whole thing since the replacement might be worse.

        Unfortunately, Obamacare is a monstrosity. I’m curious to know if you would want it replaced if it were Democrats writing the bill.

      7. Given that the ACA is seven years old, an abortion analogy is lame and irrelevant. Better to use a CPS abuse and neglect case analogy, because a good deal of the problems with the ACA are the result of the GOP undermining if. No GOPer voted for it, but they were not shut out of any chances to influence it. They chose not to participate, and considering that the whole foundation of the plan, the individual mandates to create a risk pool large enough to allow covering people with pre-existing conditions, was a GOP idea ITFP, they have been grossly hypocritical in all their bitching and moaning. ANY bill of this size with so many moving parts has all sorts of bugs and glitches once it goes into effect, and SOP for Congress and been to pass various legislative patches to deal with them, but not this time. Then we have all the GOP governors who passed on Federal funds that could have been used for insurance subsides.

        The bottom line is that this program was never given a chance to thrive and to reach its full potential to help people. But even worse, the GOP has absolutely no alternative. They are not crass enough to come out and admit that they just don’t want ant gov’t involvement in health care. But now they are in a bind of their own making. One indicator that I see as 100% reliable is the professional politicians’ instinct for avoiding things that hurt their reelection chances. The fact that they are hesitating here, in their moment of victory, with zero obstacles between them and their avowed goal of killing the ACA, ought to be telling you something obvious. But you fall back on your old blame the Dems routine. You say you’re “concerned”. You are far behind the reaction curve here, years behind.

        I think single payer is going to be the ultimate solution, although the path there isn’t clear yet. The ACA looks to me to be too damaged and even GOP hesitation pushes it into a death spiral as major insurers are more likely to bail because of uncertainty. Even a half or quarter loaf was better than nothing, and after 7 years the GOP is offering nothing. That will be on them. They had 7 years to figure something out. They chose not to. No excuses.

      8. A couple of other points to yours, Fly. Consistent with their beliefs and agenda, the GOP wants health care to have a profit basis – they want an industry to build up around a vital service. Second, the GOP doesn’t CARE about providing health care unless you do pay for it. Consistent with their beliefs and agenda, they consider ALL programs that assist the poor, elderly, disabled welfare and a drain on the income of workers. Of course then they run smack dab into the affordability, deniability, accessibility problems, but they swat those away as insignificant.

        Republicans are becoming more comfortable with showing their true feelings about any programs that they consider welfare. Look at the demands the Freedom Caucus is making to Ryan – repeal the whole thing now! They don’t care about the people who will be hurt.

        It’s all.about.them.

    1. Well there is somebody, somewhere on the case:

      https://www.nytimes.com/2017/02/14/us/politics/russia-intelligence-communications-trump.html

      “Phone records and intercepted calls show that members of Donald J. Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign and other Trump associates had repeated contacts with senior Russian intelligence officials in the year before the election, according to four current and former American officials.

      American law enforcement and intelligence agencies intercepted the communications around the same time that they were discovering evidence that Russia was trying to disrupt the presidential election by hacking into the Democratic National Committee, three of the officials said. The intelligence agencies then sought to learn whether the Trump campaign was colluding with the Russians on the hacking or other efforts to influence the election.

      The officials interviewed in recent weeks said that, so far, they had seen no evidence of such cooperation.

      But the intercepts alarmed American intelligence and law enforcement agencies, in part because of the amount of contact that was occurring while Mr. Trump was speaking glowingly about the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin. At one point last summer, Mr. Trump said at a campaign event that he hoped Russian intelligence services had stolen Hillary Clinton’s emails and would make them public.

      The officials said the intercepted communications were not limited to Trump campaign officials, and included other associates of Mr. Trump.”

  4. Posting this response to Mary here rather than have it buried. The post is only 20% about reminding Mary, the rest is making the information visible so other people know how this stuff is supposed to go down:

    “”The Montgomery County Indivisible group I belong to have asked repeatedly to schedule a town hall meeting to no avail. A staffer stated that the senators feel this group – 575 members strong – represent an intense small number of people….which I guess means, “not worth their time”. This chapter, BTW, infiltrated the Brady presentation to the Woodlands chamber and notified media they would be attending (uninvited).”

    FYI, the Indivisible Guide states this is where your Indivisible Group pickets the offices and home of your MoC and invite the media. The message to keep on should be, “Our MoC refuses to face his/her constituents. Apparently our MoC doesn’t care what we think and doesn’t want to represent us.””

      1. Some groups are making full-size photographs of the missing MoC and conducting “mock” Town Halls…complete with signs, crowd, people asking questions, making comments, press releases, media…the whole schmear. So fun!

      2. Me either, Aaron. The energy and passion and common purpose is highly stimulating. And, I haven’t been able to march or go to protests! Those people are pumped! This is when I wish I was younger and had more freedom to engage because the cause is right. The people in our group are amazing.

  5. Very, very happy to read the data rescue story. These people are heroes. To me, purging data would be the ultimate blasphemy, and I absolutely do not trust this current administration as far as I could throw a tacky gold-leaf adorned skyscraper. There will be a lot more good work for rogue elements to do.

    1. Don’t forget that many of the scientists and others were informally backing up and archiving data personally. They were concerned that the Trumpikans would “disappear” data; as the article pointed out it has already happened. That happened under the GWB administration and it happened under the Harper administration in Canada. The scientists were aware of the threat. So hopefully, probably not all but a good share of the data has been rescued. In time maybe the data will be reassembled in a central depository. However, that would need to be kept quiet because the Trumpikans would try to get to that, too.

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