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Abbreviated pundit roundup: Impeaching a corrupt president

Daily Kos - 9 hours 49 min ago

We begin today’s roundup with USA Today’s editorial in favor of impeachment:

In his thuggish effort to trade American arms for foreign dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter, Trump resembles not so much Clinton as he does Richard Nixon, another corrupt president who tried to cheat his way to reelection.

This isn’t partisan politics as usual. It is precisely the type of misconduct the framers had in mind when they wrote impeachment into the Constitution. Alexander Hamilton supported a robust presidency but worried about “a man unprincipled in private life desperate in his fortune, bold in his temper” coming to power. Impeachment, Hamilton wrote, was a mechanism to protect the nation “from the abuse or violation of some public trust.”

Here is Eugene Robinson’s analysis of the evidence so far:

The president’s defenders are correct when they say “abuse of power” and “obstruction of Congress” are not statutory crimes. They are, in fact, worse. The stripped-down impeachment articles against President Trump go to the heart of his blatant misconduct, which poses a direct challenge to the Constitution. I know that sounds grandiose to describe the offenses of such a small man as Trump. But it is true.

Categories: Politics

AT&T 5G swaps pretence for the real thing, launching in 10 cities today

9to5Mac - 9 hours 56 min ago

iPhone and iPad users were rather surprised to see an AT&T 5G E symbol appear back in February. Surprised partly because AT&T didn’t have a 5G network at the time, and partly because no current iPhone or iPad could connect to one anyway.

What AT&T launched then was a fake 5G which was really just a form of LTE that had existed since 2014. It’s continued to use the misleading symbol despite a lawsuit and full page ad designed to draw attention to the fakery, but has now finally launched the real thing …


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Categories: Geek

Daily Kos Radio is LIVE at 9 AM ET!

Daily Kos - 10 hours 19 min ago

So here it is, Friday again. And this time, there’s actually work to be done on Capitol Hill. The Judiciary committe’s “markup” of the impeachment resolution continues, after two full days of… whatever it is they think they’re doing in there. Late last night, the chairman closed up shop, saving the voting for today. Lucky us!

We certainly haven’t wrapped up our business for the week, either. So before we bow out for the weekend, we’ll take a two-hour slice out of chaos. Join us! And bring the kiddies, why don’t ya? It’s a clean show! As one reviewer recently put it, “I listened for two whole hours, and he didn’t say $h*t!”

Listen right here at 9:00 AM ET!

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For now, how about one on the house? Here’s what we did on our last new show:

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Today, Just up the road from KITM World Headquarters, history is being made. Following that, it is lovingly prepared by David Waldman and Greg Dworkin then shipped to you in fun-size two-hour packages: With the impeachment trial coming up in January, Republicans plan to try a tactic they probably wished they thought of long ago: No witnesses. They hope do just enough to say they did, with minimal Lib-triggering, so of course going against the central tenet of Trumpism. Meanwhile, Democrats want what what everybody else wants, they just differ on what that is, exactly. Congress shouldn’t stop with Donald Trump, they should impeach William Barr and everyone else that deserves it, then impeach Trump again. By that time Donald will have earned at least 3 more articles. No, the Trump administration Is not redefining Judaism as a nationality. Maybe they don’t know what they are doing. Maybe they don’t care. The White House rolled out a new reason that they withheld money for Ukraine, because it’s been a while and they needed to roll out a new reason. Can you believe that in Ukraine they study Trump's twitter feed for guidance on what to do next? (Which is like gleaning marriage advice from the neighbor’s dog, but these are desperate times) Well, Lev Parnas picked up a $1 million check from Putin, so… Trump, having nothing better to do recently, tried to score against Greta Thunberg, who “OK, Boomer”ed him into the next timezone. It’s also election day! Unfortunately not yet here, but in Britain, where they have always given us a chance to learn from their mistakes. Former Attorney General Eric Holder feels William Barr is pretty worthless, although he exceeds all criteria established by this present administration. The most Trumpy TV channel attempts the most Trumpy things but not everyone gets away with that. It’s the holiday season! Think of buying the gift of Kagro in the Morning for your loved ones… Who knows, we might get our “The Kagro” cryptocoin start-up off the ground!

Thanks to Scott Anderson for the show summary! Please help me pay him more! Need more info on how to listen? Find it below the fold.
Categories: Politics

How to enable Dark Mode in Safari on Mac for most any site

iDownloadBlog - 10 hours 19 min ago

Enable Dark Mode Any Site Safari Mac

You can enable Dark Mode in Safari on your Mac for almost any website you come across with a couple of simple tools. Here’s how they work.
Categories: Geek

Tune provides a sexier Now Playing interface for pwned iPhones

iDownloadBlog - 10 hours 49 min ago

Tune brings two pleasant new Now Playing interfaces to jailbroken iPhones.
Categories: Geek

The Final Revenge of the Evil Dex

Kevin Drum - 12 hours 39 min ago

Why am I blogging at one in the morning? It’s the Evil Dex™, of course.

A few months ago I restarted the dex and this had very positive effects on my cancer load. Hooray! However, it’s always been the case that the longer I use it, the more sensitive I get to it. Years ago I started out at 20 mg and this has steadily decreased to 8 mg. By now even this is too much, so we addressed this by switching from 8 mg once a week to 4 mg twice a week.

This worked well at first. Thanks to the smaller dose I could still sleep on dex nights with the help of a big slug of Ambien. But that slowly gave way. Initially the Ambien gave me about six hours of sleep, then five, then four. A few weeks ago it dropped to two, which meant it was having no effect. Even without Ambien I usually snooze for a couple of hours after I’ve been up all night.

Now it’s gotten even worse: I’m literally not sleeping at all until the following night. The dex is just laughing off the Ambien.

So that’s that. I’m already using the highest safe dose of Ambien and it doesn’t work. What’s more, since I’m taking the dex twice a week, I have two sleepless nights per week as well. Blah.

I suppose I can try other sleeping meds, or perhaps some combination of a different med with a return to 8 mg of dex once a week. It can’t hurt, though I doubt it will do much good.

Anyway, that’s why I’m blogging at one in the morning.

Categories: Politics

New Zealand Orders 1,300 Square Feet of Skin From US To Help Burned Volcano Victims

Slashdot - 13 hours 19 min ago
schwit1 shares a report from People: Doctors in New Zealand are currently awaiting nearly 1,300 square feet of skin from the United States in order to treat the dozens of victims who suffered severe burns when a volcano erupted on White Island Monday afternoon. Dr. Peter Watson, chief medical officer of Counties Manukau Health, said at a press conference Wednesday that there are 29 patients being treated in intensive care and burn units at four different hospitals throughout New Zealand. Twenty-four of the burn patients remain in critical condition. "We currently have supplies but are urgently sourcing additional supplies to meet the demand for dressing and temporary skin grafts," Watson said. "We anticipate we will require an additional 1.2 million square centimeters [1,292 square feet] of skin for the ongoing needs of the patients. These supplies are coming from the United States and the order has been placed." Watson said the nature of the victims' injuries had been made "complicated" by the gases and chemicals in the eruption, thus making "more rapid" surgical treatment necessary, as opposed to if they'd suffered thermal-only burns. CNN reports that the skin grafts are coming from people who are registered to donate skin after their deaths, and typically are taken from the donors' backs or the backs of their legs. There were a total of 47 travelers on the island when the volcano erupted Monday just after 2 p.m. Six people were killed.

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Categories: Geek

Retraction: Police Shootings Not Bad For Black Babies After All

Kevin Drum - 13 hours 37 min ago

Last week I wrote about a study showing that when police shot an unarmed black man, it affected the birthweight of black babies born nearby. The proximate cause was that shootings produced stress in the mothers, which in turn affected birthweight.

However, it turns out that there were errors in the data used by the study. The author, Joscha Legewie, describes them here. The original chart of the data is shown below on the left and the corrected chart is on the right:

As you can see, the original chart shows that nearby shootings cause birthweight to be reduced by as much as 50 grams. However, when the data is corrected the loss in birthweight is about half that and only for very nearby shootings. What’s more, the trendline for the first and second trimesters is almost identical to the trendline for the third trimester. This is suspicious since stress is known to have only a small effect on birthweight by the third trimester.

In any case, Legewie has retracted his article and so, of course, do I too.

Categories: Politics

Crows Could Be the Smartest Animal Other Than Primates

Slashdot - 17 hours 19 min ago
In a piece for the BBC, Chris Baraniuk writes about how the intelligence of New Caledonian crows may be far more advanced than we ever thought possible. An anonymous reader shares an excerpt from the report: Intelligence is rooted in the brain. Clever primates -- including humans -- have a particular structure in their brains called the neocortex. It is thought that this helps to make advanced cognition possible. Corvids, notably, do not have this structure. [New Caledonian crows belong to the corvid family of birds -- as do jackdaws, rooks, jays, magpies and ravens.] They have instead evolved densely packed clusters of neurons that afford them similar mental prowess. The specific kind of brain they have doesn't really matter -- corvids and primates share some of the same basic capabilities in terms of problem-solving and plasticity, or being able to adapt and change in the face of new information and experiences. This is an example of convergent evolution, where completely different evolutionary histories have led to the same feature or behavior. It's easy for humans to see why the things corvids can do are useful. From identifying people who have previously posed a threat to them or others in their group to using gestures for communication -- we too rely on abilities like these. [Christian Rutz at the University of St Andrews] is unequivocal. Some birds, like the New Caledonian crows he studies -- can do remarkable things. In a paper published earlier this year, he and his co-authors described how New Caledonians seek out a specific type of plant stem from which to make their hooked tools. Experiments showed that crows found the stems they desired even when they had been disguised with leaves from a different plant species. This suggested that the birds were selecting a kind of material for their tools that they knew was just right for the job. You wouldn't use a spanner to hammer in a nail, would you? Ranking the intelligence of animals seems an increasingly pointless exercise when one considers the really important thing: how well that animal is adapted to its niche. In the wild, New Caledonians use their tools to scoop insects out of holes, for example in tree trunks. Footage of this behavior has been caught on camera. You might think that some animals are smarter than others -- with humans at the top of the proverbial tree. Certainly, humans do rely excessively on intelligence to get by. But that doesn't mean we're the best at every mental task. Chimps, notes Dakota McCoy at Harvard University, have been shown to possess better short-term memories than humans. This might help them to memorize where food is located in the forest canopy, for example. Ranking the intelligence of animals seems an increasingly pointless exercise when one considers the really important thing: how well that animal is adapted to its niche. Intelligence is, first and foremost, a means towards specialization. "New Caledonian crows, like us and other clever animals, have moods and memories. Strategies and expectations. They seem remarkably able to engage with complexity," writes Baraniuk in closing. "Evolution made this possible. But cognition, like life itself, serves more than just a need. Animal intelligence allows all sorts of fascinating phenomena to arise. [...] Nature provided the notes, but animal brains make the music. The mind, as they say, is the only limit."

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Categories: Geek

5 More Reasons To Hate The Phone Company

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 23:29

The title of the article that started all the ruckus appeared in the London Guardian, and was headlined, “Language at risk of dying out — the last two speakers aren’t talking.” Technically, when the last speaker of a language dies, it’s classified as extinct. This headline came across like something in between, a kind of linguistic TKO.

The article, which ran in 2011, was based on a story circulating about a dying language that could survive only if some old men buried the hatchet. After an impressive thousand-year run that brought the word cocoa to the world, the imminent death of the language made for a gripping and heartbreaking human-interest piece.

According to the Guardian, and other reporting at the time, neighbors Manuel Segovia and Isidro Velazquez (sometimes identified as brothers) were the last two speakers of the Ayapaneco language, native to the small village of Ayapa, in the Mexican state of Tabasco. These two old men refused to speak with each other, though no one in town could remember why or when this wedge was driven between them. The grumpy old men themselves couldn’t remember. The language was going to die unless they let bygones be bygones — or unless someone convinced them to.

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Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Spray Paint

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 23:01

Austin, Texas weirdo rockers Spray Paint recently released the first full length album in three years. Titled Into The Country, it starts off sounding like Krautrock recorded in a bouncy house...that someone died a violent death in.

And from there, things get more deviant.

If your interested, I penned a fuller take on the LP over at the thing I do called Smashin' Transistors.

What are you listening to tonight?

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Categories: Politics

Open thread for night owls: Income of top 1% has grown 100 times faster than bottom 50% since 1970

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 23:00

Julia Conley at Common Dreams writes—'Staggering' New Data Show Income of Top 1% Has Grown 100 Times Faster Than Bottom 50% Since 1970:

New data released Monday explains the numbers behind Sen. Bernie Sanders’ often-cited statistic that the three richest Americans hold more wealth than the 160 million people who make up the bottom 50% of the population.

Washington Post columnist Greg Sargent published what he called “stunning” findings from UC Berkeley economist Gabriel Zucman, showing how both an explosion in annual earnings by the rich and an increasingly regressive tax structure have combined to allow the top 1% of Americans’ wealth to triple over the past five decades.

Meanwhile, working people are taking home just $8,000 more per year than they did in 1970.

In what Sargent called “the triumph of the rich, which is one of the defining stories of our time,” the richer a household is, the more its take-home wealth has grown in the past 50 years. His data:

For top 1%, average income has risen by $800,000 since 1970.
For top 0.1%, it has risen by $4 million.
For top .01%, it has risen $20 million
Bottom 50%? $8,000 [...]

The top 1% of earners make an average of more than $1 million per year after accounting for taxes they pay, a 50-year increase of more than $800,000—100 times the growth rate of the bottom 50%.

The wealth of the top .1% is five times larger than it was in 1970, while that of the top .01% is seven times larger, at over $24 million in 2018.

inequality, wealth



“Responding to climate change requires that we break every rule in the free-market playbook and that we do so with great urgency. We will need to rebuild the public sphere, reverse privatizations, relocalize large parts of economies, scale back overconsumption, bring back long-term planning, heavily regulate and tax corporations, maybe even nationalize some of them, cut military spending, and recognize our debts to the Global South. Of course, none of this has a hope in hell of happening unless it is accompanied by a massive, broad-based effort to radically reduce the influence that corporations have over the political process.”
         ~~Naomi Klein, The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal (2019) 




At Daily Kos on this date in 2017—Republicans ratcheting up class war from above with attacks on Medicaid, Medicare, food aid and more:

Republicans have spent years cutting holes in the social safety net. Now they’re ready to bring it down entirely and let vulnerable Americans hit the floor with no net to break the fall. The plan for a concerted attack includes an executive order and congressional legislation:

The president is expected to sign the welfare executive order as soon as January, according to multiple administration officials, with an eye toward making changes to health care, food stamps, housing and veterans programs, not just traditional welfare payments. [...]

The exact provisions of the pending bill are unknown, but a conservative group closely aligned with lawmakers said Republicans intend to pass broadly focused legislation.

“They’re thinking about welfare reform in a large, all-encompassing way, not a program way,” said Jason Turner, executive director of the Secretaries’ Innovation Group, a group of conservative officials who run state-level social programs and met with Ways and Means Committee Republicans on the Hill last week.

This is a lifetime dream for Republicans like House Speaker Paul Ryan, and a move Republicans will justify as being needed to reduce the debt that they’re working to increase through their tax plan:

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Somebody scheduled the impeachment markup opposite our show! Greg Dworkin rounds up i-word (and British election) news. Senate Gop leaning toward witness-less "trial." OMB has a new excuse for stiffing Ukraine. One new name in the Ukraine game.

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Categories: Politics

The Colbert Late Show Presents Jim Jordan's Future Tombstone

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 23:00

Representative Jim Jordan of Ohio told reporters he doesn't care how history remembers him.

The Colbert writing staff are aware of that. They designed a tombstone for how history will remember Jim Jordan.


Reminds me of my Mitch McConnell Funeral Hat.

Open thread below...

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Categories: Politics

Apple Arcade debuts new ‘Ultimate Rivals’ exclusive sports game franchise

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 22:08

Apple has announced a major new sports game franchise that is now available on Apple Arcade. “Ultimate Rivals,” developed by Bit Fry Game Studios, Inc., brings together athletes from hockey, basketball, football, baseball, and soccer.


The post Apple Arcade debuts new ‘Ultimate Rivals’ exclusive sports game franchise appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Microsoft's Next Xbox Is Xbox Series X, Coming Holiday 2020

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 21:50
At the 2019 Game Awards today, Microsoft revealed the name and console design of its next-generation gaming console: Xbox Series X. The Verge reports: The console itself looks far more like a PC than we've seen from previous Xbox consoles, and Microsoft's trailer provides a brief glimpse at the new design. The console itself is designed to be used in both vertical and horizontal orientations, and Microsoft's Xbox chief, Phil Spencer, promises that it will "deliver four times the processing power of Xbox One X in the most quiet and efficient way." The Xbox Series X will include a custom-designed CPU based on AMD's Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA architecture. Microsoft is also using an SSD on Xbox Series X, which promises to boost load times. Xbox Series X will also support 8K gaming, frame rates of up to 120 fps in games, ray tracing, and variable refresh rate support. Microsoft also revealed a new Xbox Wireless Controller today. "Its size and shape have been refined to accommodate an even wider range of people, and it also features a new Share button to make capturing screenshots and game clips simple," explains Spencer. This updated controller will work with existing Xbox One consoles and Windows 10 PCs, and will ship with every Xbox Series X.

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Categories: Geek

‘Snowflake Weather’ is powerful new weather app designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 21:29

The developers of the popular iStat Menus app for Mac have debuted a powerful new weather app for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch. Dubbed “Snowflake Weather,” the app is designed to offer a detailed look at weather data, in a sleek and consistent interface across platforms.


The post ‘Snowflake Weather’ is powerful new weather app designed for iPhone, iPad, and Apple Watch appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Lawsuit Forces CenturyLink To Stop Charging 'Internet Cost Recovery Fee'

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 21:10
CenturyLink has agreed to pay a $6.1 million penalty after Washington state regulators found that the company failed to disclose fees that raised actual prices well above the advertised rates. CenturyLink must also stop charging a so-called "Internet Cost Recovery Fee" in the state, although customers may end up paying the fee until their contracts expire unless they take action to switch plans. Ars Technica reports: "CenturyLink deceived consumers by telling them they would pay one price and then charging them more," Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said in an announcement yesterday. "Companies must clearly disclose all added fees and charges to Washingtonians." Ferguson encouraged Washington residents "who believe they have received bills that include undisclosed fees to file a complaint" with the state. Ferguson's office said it began investigating CenturyLink in 2016 "after receiving complaints from consumers that their actual bills were more than the advertised price, or the price that they were promised by sales representatives." Here's what Ferguson's office found: "There were three main fees CenturyLink did not disclose: a broadcast fee of $2.49 per month, a sports fee of $2.49 per month, and CenturyLink's 'Internet Cost Recovery Fee,' ranging from $0.99 to $1.99 per month. CenturyLink charged its Internet Cost Recovery Fee to 650,000 Washingtonians. Of those, another 60,000 were also charged the broadcast and sports fees. These fees alone added up to $7 per month to a television subscriber's bill -- $84 per year. The investigation found that CenturyLink did not adequately disclose additional taxes and fees for its cable, Internet and telephone services." CenturyLink admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to a financial settlement and changes in business practices as part of a consent decree filed in King County Superior Court on Monday. The attorney general's office detailed its allegations in a lawsuit filed the same day.

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Categories: Geek

Apple Watch with cellular officially debuts in New Zealand following pre-orders

9to5Mac - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 20:31

Last Friday, Apple opened pre-orders for the cellular Apple Watch in New Zealand. Now, the first orders are arriving to customers and support is rolling out from New Zealand carrier Spark.


The post Apple Watch with cellular officially debuts in New Zealand following pre-orders appeared first on 9to5Mac.

Categories: Geek

Less Than 10 Percent of Americans Are Buying $1,000 Smartphones, Report Says

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 20:30
According to a new report from research firm NPD, less than 10% of Americans are actually spending $1,000 or more on a smartphone. 9to5Google reports: The report was produced by research firm NPD and shows that while the media and brand focus is on the flagships such as the Samsung Galaxy Note 10, Galaxy S10, and iPhone 11 Pro, everyday Americans are less likely to spend their hard-earned dollars on these expensive trinkets. NPD does note in their report that this could be due to the rate of 5G adoption. Currently, 5G is in its early rollout stages in the U.S., with many regions simply not covered. 5G-enabled smartphones are thin on the ground and also come with the associated "early adopter" price-tags of well over $1000 in most cases -- although that isn't the case with products like the OnePlus 7T Pro 5G McLaren edition. Some buyers may simply be holding out until 5G becomes more affordable or viable before taking the plunge and opting for those $1000+ flagship smartphones. The report also highlights the significant difference in buying habits from region to region. NPD notes that those living in major cities such as Los Angeles and New York City are far more likely to spend over $1000 on a smartphone.

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Categories: Geek

Spin's San Francisco Staff Becomes First E-Scooter Workforce To Unionize

Slashdot - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 19:50
The San Francisco workforce of Spin, the e-scooter company owned by Ford, have unionized, in a first for the industry. Mashable reports: Having voted to unionize on Dec. 5, the workers were authorized to join the Teamsters Local 665 chapter on Wednesday. As well as office-based staff, scooter rental companies largely rely on a workforce of independent contractors, i.e. gig workers, to charge, maintain, relocate, and check the 85,000 or so vehicles scattered in cities around the U.S. But Spin says its entire San Francisco workforce of 100 people is comprised of W2 employees, and this is "the model" for its 60-plus other markets. A Spin spokesperson told Mashable on Wednesday evening that the company would not be approaching the collective bargaining negotiations with an "adversarial" mindset, as it respects workers' right to unionize, and that the labor peace agreement the San Francisco office signed with the Teamsters earlier this year included a neutrality clause for that reason. "Spin has long differentiated itself with our workforce policies, choosing a W-2 model and local hiring over independent contractors and staffing agencies," the spokesperson said. "We believe investing in everyone from our headquarters to our warehouses leads to a safer, more reliable service." "We don't anticipate any changes to our work force from unionization."

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Categories: Geek