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Military Spending Has Been Remarkably Flat Over the Past 50 Years

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 13:26

I don’t have any special reason for posting this except that Congress is getting ready to vote on an override of Donald Trump’s veto of the annual defense spending bill. So here is defense spending over the past 50 years:

It goes up and down during wars and peacetime, but ever since we came down from the Vietnam peak it’s remarkable how steady it’s been. The American populace seems willing to spend about $2000 each for defense, and that changes only modestly and temporarily over time.

Categories: Politics

'His death did not have to happen': Family of first person to die of COVID-19 in ICE custody sues

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 13:26

The family of the Salvadoran immigrant who in May became the first person to die of COVID-19 while in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) custody has filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the federal immigration agency and private prison profiteer CoreCivic, The San Diego Union-Tribune reports. The company operates the notorious Otay Mesa Detention Facility, the San Diego detention camp where Carlos Ernesto Escobar Mejia contracted the virus.

The 57-year-old had been on a court-mandated list of medically vulnerable detainees who could have been released by ICE due to pandemic, but by then he was already in the hospital, where he died on May 6. “CoreCivic deprived him of adequate personal protective equipment, proper social distance, and appropriate treatment, all with the knowledge and participation of ICE and its officials,” the complaint states according to the report. “His death did not have to happen.” It didn’t.

Categories: Politics

GOP Blocks Violence Against Women Act Because Stalkers Should Have Guns

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 13:26

You would think being "anti-wife beating" would be a bipartisan thing.

But what about "that guy I went out with once is stalking me and he has a gun"?

This week Senate Republicans again showed us who they are.

Senate Republicans are blocking re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) over the so-called "Boyfriend Loophole." USA Today:

...the most recent version of the bill passed by the House last year intended to close the “boyfriend loophole,” which proved to be a large point of contention for many Republicans.

Previous versions of the act barred those convicted of domestic violence or abuse from purchasing and owning a gun if they were married to, lived with or had a child with the victim. But the 2019 amendment hoped to extend that provision to include dating partners and stalkers.

Though it had support from all Democrats who voted but one, only 33 Republicans voted to move the legislation forward, and the GOP has been accused of giving into the National Rifle Association, which has opposed the change.

I really don't like ending posts with "Republicans are evil" but sometimes I don't have a choice.

Categories: Politics

Apple's Longtime Supplier Accused of Using Forced Labor in China

Slashdot - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 13:01
One of the oldest and most well-known iPhone suppliers has been accused of using forced Muslim labor in its factories, according to documents uncovered by a human rights group, adding new scrutiny to Apple's human rights record in China. From a report: The documents, discovered by the Tech Transparency Project and shared exclusively with The Washington Post, detail how thousands of Uighur workers from the predominantly Muslim region of Xinjiang were sent to work for Lens Technology. Lens also supplies Amazon and Tesla, according to its annual report. Lens Technology is one of at least five companies connected to Apple's supply chain that have now been linked to alleged forced labor from the Xinjiang region, according to human rights groups. Lens Technology stands out from other Apple component suppliers because of its high-profile founder and long, well-documented history going back to the early days of the iPhone.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

Fuck It, I Can’t Top This

Balloon Juice - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:54

I was going to write a post about entitled while male economists and found this while googling for pictures of Jeffrey Epstein and Larry Summers (which exist, btw).  Open thread.

The post Fuck It, I Can’t Top This appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Hooray for the ACA

Kevin Drum - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:51

The New York Times reports that Obamacare has worked pretty well during the pandemic:

State Medicaid enrollment, according to one report, had an 11 percent increase between February and September in the 36 states that have released data…Sign-ups for plans in marketplaces run by the federal government are up 6.6 percent compared with last year, according to a new federal tally. It is the only year during the Trump administration when enrollment increased, and amounts to a half-million more people seeking coverage from the federal marketplace.

The Commonwealth Fund has surveyed the health coverage scene recently and reports that being uninsured is up only slightly in 2020:

All things considered, that’s not bad considering the severity of the downturn. Someday, perhaps, Americans will finally come around to the idea that anything above zero is unacceptable.

Categories: Politics

WATCH LIVE: Sanders And Markey Filibuster NDAA Override To Push $2000 Covid Aid

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:48

Live Senate Debate. WaPo reports:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) on Tuesday blocked consideration of a House bill that would deliver a $2,000 stimulus payments to most Americans — spurning a request made by President Trump even as more Senate Republicans voiced support for the dramatically larger checks.

McConnell’s move was just the beginning of a saga that is likely to engulf the Senate for the rest of the week. Democrats are pushing for an up-or-down vote on the House bill, while more Republicans acknowledge a need for larger stimulus checks...

Emboldened politically, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also issued his own ultimatum on Monday, threatening to hold up the chamber unless lawmakers are able to vote on the heightened stimulus payments.

Categories: Politics

Control HomeKit devices from your Mac’s menu bar with the free Scenecuts app

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:46

Scenecuts is a simple yet efficient Mac app to quickly trigger your HomeKit scenes right from the macOS menu bar.
Categories: Geek

Apple is researching reconfigurable Mac keyboards

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:34

MacBook keyboard - News app keyboard shortcuts

Apple's latest patent win indicates the company is researching reconfigurable keyboards for Macs.
Categories: Geek

Whoops, Trump's DC Hotel Puts Inauguration Rooms On Sale

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:20

Joe Biden is asking people to stay home and stay safe on his Inauguration Day. The traditional inauguration day luncheon with Congress is canceled due to Covid, as well as balls, parades, and other festivities. The Presidential Inaugural Committee (PIC) is urging people to celebrate from home:

“President-elect Biden’s unwavering commitment to the safety of the American people is our North Star as we plan an inauguration that protects public health while honoring inaugural traditions and engaging Americans across the country. We are excited to share more information soon about the new and innovative ways all Americans can watch and participate in a historic inauguration that will unify our country,” said PIC Executive Director Maju Varghese.

“The pandemic is continuing to have a significant public health impact across the nation. Americans everywhere must do their part to slow the spread of the virus: wear masks, stay home, and limit gatherings. We are asking Americans to participate in inaugural events from home to protect themselves, their families, friends, and communities,” said PIC Chief Medical Advisor Dr. David Kessler.

read more

Categories: Politics

Nikki Haley Uses Red Scare Tweet In Attempt To Be Relevant For 2024

Crooks and Liars - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:08

Nikki Haley wrote an op-ed claiming that socialism "went mainstream in America" because of COVID, even after Republicans in office, lead by Trump, lied to the American people and destroyed the pandemic response.

How much more can Republicans increase the suffering of the American people?

Fox News is promoting her words as if Haley is Moses walking down from the mountain with tablets in hand.

This was the year socialism went mainstream. The dangerous ideology, which has failed everywhere it has been tried and ruined countless lives, is on its way to becoming the default economic policy of the Democratic Party. This terrifying trend threatens the future of every American.

Haley's words are as empty and unserious as Trump's telling Americans that the virus will just go away and to use ultraviolet lights and drink disinfectants as a cure.

[clmediameta nid=158396]

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Categories: Politics

Goodfellas and The Town $5, Knives Out and 1917 $10, bundles starting at $15, and more iTunes deals

iDownloadBlog - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:03

Heads up movie-lovers! Apple is running a huge promotion in the iTunes Store right now that offers discounts on over 1,000 films. Among the deals are franchise bundles like John Wick and The Dark Knight starting at just $15, and recent releases like 1917 and Knives Out starting at $5. Check out our full roundup below. 
Categories: Geek

Investigation underway after Keyon Harrold's son falsely accused of stealing iPhone

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:02

A Black musician who said he was assaulted when a white woman wrongfully accused his 14-year-old son of stealing and demanded the teen turn over his iPhone to her is seeking assault and battery charges. Keyon Harrold, a Grammy Award-winning jazz trumpeter, retained civil rights attorney Ben Crump in his fight for justice in the incident involving the unidentified woman on Saturday. Harrold was a guest at the Arlo SoHo when the woman, a former guest at the hotel, demanded repeatedly that his son prove his own phone wasn’t stolen. Harrold said in the process she tried to get physical with the teen and Harrold stepped in to protect his son. 

"I'm a trumpet player, so now my hand's bleeding because I'm trying to protect my son because of a crazy person saying she took his iPhone and trying to go into his pocket, trying to go into my pocket," Harrold said in video Crump tweeted Monday. “This is unacceptable, unacceptable on a day when I’m just trying to have a good time with my son right here.”

Categories: Politics

Police Turn To Car Data To Destroy Suspects' Alibis

Slashdot - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 12:00
In recent years, investigators have realized that automobiles -- particularly newer models -- can be treasure troves of digital evidence. Their onboard computers generate and store data that can be used to reconstruct where a vehicle has been and what its passengers were doing. From a report: They reveal everything from location, speed and acceleration to when doors were opened and closed, whether texts and calls were made while the cellphone was plugged into the infotainment system, as well as voice commands and web histories. But that boon for forensic investigators creates fear for privacy activists, who warn that the lack of information security baked into vehicles' computers poses a risk to consumers and who call for safeguards to be put in place. "I hear a lot of analogies of cars being smartphones on wheels. But that's vastly reductive," said Andrea Amico, founder of Privacy4Cars, which makes a free app that helps people delete their data from automobiles and makes its money by offering the service to rental companies and dealerships. "If you think about the amount of sensors in a car, the smartphone is a toy. A car has GPS, an accelerometer, a camera. A car will know how much you weigh. Most people don't realize this is happening." Law enforcement agencies have been focusing their investigative efforts on two main information sources: the telematics system -- which is like the "black box" -- and the infotainment system. The telematics system stores a vehicle's turn-by-turn navigation, speed, acceleration and deceleration information, as well as more granular clues, such as when and where the lights were switched on, the doors were opened, seat belts were put on and airbags were deployed. The infotainment system records recent destinations, call logs, contact lists, text messages, emails, pictures, videos, web histories, voice commands and social media feeds. It can also keep track of the phones that have been connected to the vehicle via USB cable or Bluetooth, as well as all the apps installed on the device. Together, the data allows investigators to reconstruct a vehicle's journey and paint a picture of driver and passenger behavior. In a criminal case, the sequence of doors opening and seat belts being inserted could help show that a suspect had an accomplice.

Read more of this story at Slashdot.

Categories: Geek

COVID-19 can leave damage to the heart, lungs, eyes, and even the mind that may be permanent

Daily Kos - Tue, 12/29/2020 - 11:56

For weeks, a popular meme on the right has run under the heading: “How can a disease with 1% mortality shut down the United States?” That idea not only incorporates several pieces of misinformation—the United States was never “shut down” and the mortality of COVID-19 is higher than 1%—but it misses a couple of things that should be obvious to the most casual observer. First, if “just” 1% of Americans died, that would be over 3 million people. That’s more people than die in an average year from all causes, combined. Just having that level of death would not only leave the nation in shock, it would crumple the economy. Second, death is just one thing that COVID-19 causes.

Over the last year, people have often been frustrated because it seems that anything can be a symptom of infection by coronavirus. Headaches, cough, fever, loss of sense of smell, dizziness, low oxygen, muscle ache, fatigue, and even blindness have all been ways in which the SARS-CoV-2 virus announces its presence. That list is far from complete. COVID-19 isn’t a respiratory disease, it’s a disease that can strike anywhere. That means that the symptoms can be almost anything. So can the lingering effects. It can leave college athletes with lingering heart damage, generate strokes even in very young children, and trigger a severe infection of the eyes. But this horrible list may not even touch the worst that COVID-19 can do. Because some patients are literally losing their minds to the disease. COVID-19 is leaving behind a path of psychosis.

Categories: Politics