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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
Number of posts: 74,622

Journal Archives

GA Repubs have descended into backstabbing with Senate on the line. Trump probably likes it that way

(Salon) Despite having begrudgingly allowed the General Services Administration to issue an "ascertainment" that Joe Biden is the president-elect and the normal transition process could begin, Donald Trump is still relentlessly flogging the lie that the election was stolen by the Democrats and he is the rightful winner. And he's sending out a daily fusillade of emails begging for money, with the alleged goal of overturning the results.

There is no record of how much the Trump campaign have raised with his grift. According to some reports, they were taking in $10 million a day shortly after the election was called. It appears Team Trump plans to use most of the money for a post-presidency slush fund, either to finance Trump's hypothetical 2024 run or to curry favors with Republican politicians. I don't think we need to wonder whether any of it will wind up in Trump's pockets, because of course it will.

So far, the legal challenges have all been thrown out of court since they offered no real evidence. Once all the lawyers who cared about their reputations dropped out, the only ones left were a clown car full of fools driven by Rudy Giuliani, with the even more delusional legal sidekick Sidney Powell riding shotgun.

Powell was shoved out the door this week when her conspiracy theories proved to be too much even for the Trump campaign, which should tell you everything you need to know. But for a worked-up, cult-like base primed by the likes of Pizzagate and QAnon to believe anything, Powell's wild stories about how the election was stolen from Trump make perfect sense.


So, the Republican Party in Georgia was already a big mess, with its various players and the president engaged in a circular firing squad armed with rhetorical AR-15s. Along came Sidney Powell, seemingly implicating the state party in a massive kickback and voter-fraud conspiracy which had to make Mitch McConnell get a little bit twitchy. Unfortunately for Mitch, Georgia Republicans may not be able to put that toothpaste back in the tube. All this infighting hasn't just tapped into the paranoid strain among the base, it has revitalized one of the most powerful themes of the old conservative movement: a powerful hatred of "RINOs," or Republicans in Name Only. ............(more)


New York is no longer Jarvanka-friendly. .... Florida or bust.

With their reputation in tatters after serving as senior White House advisors, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner are looking to move somewhere other than New York City when Donald Trump's term ends in January.

"Town officials in Bedminster, N.J., have the plans for a possible Trump family future, or at least the blueprints: a major addition to Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner's 'cottage' on the grounds of the Trump National Golf Club, four new pickleball courts, a relocated heliport, and a spa and yoga complex. As Manhattan awaits word of the Trump family's return, the first daughter and her husband appear to be making preparations elsewhere: a Garden State refuge behind guarded gates, perhaps, or Florida, where President Trump is renovating his Mar-a-Lago estate," The New York Times reported Tuesday. "But New York now seems inhospitable and nowhere in their plans." ...........(more)


How viruses use bats' bodies as an evolutionary training ground

(Salon) Imagine that you are a Shamel's horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus shameli). With a complex nose shaped like a horseshoe, you use echolocation to find insects that you can eat, since as an invertivore your diet depends on consuming invertebrates. You live in southeast Asian countries like Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Not that you have a concept of the nation-state, as a bat; rather, your range is defined by tropical forests, and that is how you think of geography. Indeed, you do not think far beyond these tropical forests; how could anything outside of their range concern you?

It certainly would surprise you to learn that a mostly hairless primate species are suddenly tremendously interested in you, stricken, as millions of them are, with a deadly virus that may have become more lethal by and through your being. Some of these upright-walking primates even think that your anatomy contains clues as to how this disease moved through their population.

Indeed, because of their unique immune system, there has been a sudden flurry of interest in Shamel's horseshoe bats, a species few humans know about. As reported in Nature, researchers told the scholarly journal that two Shamel's horseshoe bats, which had been stored in a freezer in Cambodia since 2010, contained in their bodies a coronavirus closely related to SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for the disease COVID-19. If that coronavirus is found to share more than 97% of its genome with SARS-CoV-2, it could help explain how a pandemic that originated in bats was able to be passed along to humans, according to virologists at the Pasteur Institute in Phnom Penh, Cambodia.

Around the same time, researchers in Japan claimed that they found a virus called Rc-o319, which has also been found in bat droppings, inside a Japanese horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus cornutus). Because Rc-o319 only shares 81% of its genome with SARS-CoV-2, it will not be able to directly help scientists learn more about the pandemic's origins. Still, that discovery still confirms viruses closely related to SARS-CoV-2 are relatively common in horseshoe bats, including species outside of China.

The next question, then, is why are bats so prone to getting coronaviruses? ...........(more)


Trump goes out with a whimper and a tweet. It was always going to be that way

(Independent UK) The end, for Donald Trump, has begun.

It came just as it had to, with that now all-too familiar mobile phone Twitter notification.

“In the best interest of our Country, I am recommending that Emily and her team do what needs to be done with regard to initial protocols, and have told my team to do the same,” Mr Trump tweeted, referring to GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, a loyalist who had been keeping the keys to Joe Biden’s transition under lock and key.

The outgoing president likely will never concede he lost to Mr Biden, now more officially the president-elect than at any point in the two weeks since he was projected the winner of a bitter fight with Mr Trump.

It’s just not in his personality, which has been so analysed and diagnosed by mental health experts, journalists, relatives and political observers. There’s little remaining question whether the 45th president has a massive ego, a willingness to bend the truth, and a stubborn insistence to put his own interests above even an entire country.


A whimper

The truth he ultimately could not ignore came into further focus that evening, when US district judge Matthew Brann tossed the Trump campaign’s suit claiming widespread voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Mr Brann delivered a fiery decision, writing the Trump team presented little more than “strained legal arguments without merit and speculative accusations". ..........(more)


Trump Library development ALREADY underway.

'He was a radical': John Belushi remembered by his wife and fellow comics

'He was a radical': John Belushi remembered by his wife and fellow comics
The gruesome decline and drugs-related death of the comedy icon has overshadowed his legacy, says his widow Judy, who welcomes a new film showing him as a sensitive star full of doubts

Brian Logan
Tue 24 Nov 2020 09.11 EST

(Guardian UK) Can you disentangle the life of John Belushi from his tragic death? Has he left a comic legacy – or just a template for living fast and dying young? On the one hand, he spearheaded the pioneering comedy show Saturday Night Live, still running 45 years later, becoming its first breakout star with smash-hit movies Animal House and The Blues Brothers. The poster for the latter has been a fixture on teenagers’ bedroom walls ever since. But is that down to Belushi’s comedy – or because he was dead within two years of the film’s release, a victim of drug addiction and the pressures of extreme success?

This week sees the release of a Showtime documentary, Belushi, made by the team behind the Emmy-nominated Brando documentary Listen to Me, Marlon. It’s the first telling of Belushi’s story, says his widow Judy Belushi Pisano, to apportion “even-handed” attention to her husband’s life and death. Pisano has always regretted how Bob Woodward’s 1984 book Wired, a fix-by-fix account of the star’s gruesome decline, came to define her husband’s memory. “Had John died in his sleep,” she says, speaking to me by phone, “we would view his life much differently. We really would.”

The documentary uses animation by Robert Valley, maker of the Gorillaz videos, as well as home videos and oral testimony to trace the star’s journey from Wheaton, Illinois, via the Second City comedy/improv club in Chicago, to national prominence – first with the National Lampoon Radio Hour (which Belushi directed as well as performed in) then SNL. It took producer John Battsek 10 years to secure Pisano’s approval for the film, during which time a biopic of the star has languished in development gridlock, with Joaquin Phoenix and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood star Emile Hirsch in the running for title role.

What distinguishes the new doc, says Pisano, is that it doesn’t assume – as many do – that Belushi was destined for self-destruction. “I know how John worked through things,” she says, “and I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t have worked through this problem, just as others have.”

What does Battsek think marks the film out? “What’s powerful about it,” he says via Zoom, “is that it’s a beautiful love story.” Alongside the personal photos and newspaper clippings, the film features scores of adoring letters over many years from John to Judy. They do indeed offer a corrective to the idea of Belushi as one of the “wild and crazy guys” (the title of a book on his generation of SNL comics). You do wonder, however, whether publishing his most intimate correspondence is the best way to memorialise a man hounded to death by the penetrating gaze of fame. ...........(more)


Trump's on his way out, but leaves a lasting legacy: The right's open embrace of terrorism

Trump's on his way out, but leaves a lasting legacy: The right's open embrace of terrorism
How did the Kenosha shooter post $2 million in bail? Because conservatives are normalizing right-wing terrorism

NOVEMBER 23, 2020 6:01PM

(Salon) In any sensible society, Kyle Rittenhouse would be shunned across the political spectrum.

The 17-year-old Illinois resident stands accused of shooting three people, killing two of them, during an August Black Lives Matter protest in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Whatever the specific facts of that incident, the larger truth is that Rittenhouse is lying in the bed he made for himself. If he had done the right thing, by simply staying at home and leaving the protesters alone, two men would be alive and he would not face homicide charges. But because he got enraptured by violent fantasies of armed confrontation with anti-racists, Rittenhouse picked up a gun, drove across state lines and got exactly what he was looking for. The results were tragic.

In the past, Rittenhouse would have been largely abandoned, even by right-wingers who might otherwise be generally sympathetic to insecure white men playing dress-up with camo and guns. We've seen this pattern from Timothy McVeigh in the 1990s right through the Trump years. Conservatives certainly didn't embrace Patrick Crusius, the 21-year-old white nationalist accused of murdering 23 people in an El Paso, Texas, Walmart store last year. The mainstream conservative movement often flirts with right-wing extremists, but when the bullets fly or the bombs go off, conservative leaders prefer to pretend that they had nothing to do with the violence.


Rittenhouse has Trump to thank for the hero's treatment he's getting on the right. Along with undermining the social prohibitions against blatant racism, overt misogyny and openly trying to steal elections, Trump spent the past five years dismantling the taboo against shamelessly encouraging domestic terrorism. Trump's incitement of violence started shortly after he announced his first presidential campaign, when he fantasized out loud about physical violence against Black Lives Matter protesters in August 2015. He has continued at a steady and intensifying clip over the last five years. By the time Rittenhouse rolled into Kenosha with a gun, Trump had made it safe for conservatives to openly support political violence.

That's exactly what happened in the case of Rittenhouse. In the days after the shooting, Tucker Carlson of Fox News painted Rittenhouse as a hero, rather than a kid who was looking for trouble and found it. Soon, much of the conservative media followed. Then Trump himself got involved, insisting that Rittenhouse was justified in shooting protesters. Trump's administration even pressured the Department of Homeland Security to depict Rittenhouse as a hero, even though there was no reason whatsoever for him to bring a gun to the Kenosha protest in the first place. ..........(more)


DiFi to step down as top Democrat on Senate Judiciary Committee

Senator Dianne Feinstein of California has announced she will not pursue the top position among Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

“After serving as the lead Democrat on the Judiciary Committee for four years, I will not seek the chairmanship or ranking member position in the next Congress," the 87-year-old politician said on Monday.

She added that California was facing “two existential threats” – wildfires and droughts – which was where she would focus her efforts as a senator.

But the decision from the Democrat comes after she faced scrutiny from members of her party for her performance during Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings – specifically when she praised Republican Lindsey Graham, the chair of the Senate Judiciary committee, for his handlings of the process. ...........(more)


Tweet from Michigan AG Dana Nessel


Why CEOs Are Uniting Against Trump's Election Fight

President Donald Trump has had no more prominent supporter on Wall Street than Stephen Schwarzman, the chief executive officer of the Blackstone Group. Yet on Monday, he said it was time for the president to accept the outcome of the election. And Schwarzman is not alone. His voice is joining a chorus of CEOs.

When Dave Calhoun took over as CEO of Boeing Co. late last year, Yahoo Finance noted that since 2017 he had contributed $64,000 to various Republican candidates and committees. “He didn’t contribute to any Democratic candidates or committees over that period,” the website added.

Yet on Friday, as Trump continued his futile but damaging effort to overturn election results, Calhoun’s company issued a statement that said bluntly, “We look forward to working with the Biden administration,” according to the New York Times.

Facebook’s chief operating officer, Sheryl Sandberg, wrote a post acknowledging the Biden victory and offering special praise for the nation’s first female vice president, Kamala Harris. Late last week, during Walmart Inc.’s quarterly earnings call, CEO Doug McMillon pointedly congratulated “President-elect Joe Biden.” Walmart, the country’s largest private employer, never makes political statements. But it did this time, even though many of its stores are in Trump country. ............(more)


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