Mark Morford: "The first 30 days: A fine month of unmitigated hell" (SF Gate)
As evidenced by the Milo Yiannopolous "scandal," we might have finally found the Republican threshold for gross wrongdoing: pedophilia. Everything else - sexual abuse, rape culture, groping women, fellating Russia, mocking immigrants and refugees, gutting science and the environment, violating Senate rules to cram through unqualified monsters to Trump's cabinet, et al - these are no problem for the Republicans. But molesting kids, even for the heartless GOP, is just too ugly of a PR mess to shrug off.
Michael Moore: DO THESE 10 THINGS, AND TRUMP WILL BE TOAST
7. HELP FORM BLUE REGIONS OF RESISTANCE: People keep saying to me, "Mike - I live in a Blue State - what can I do?" If you live in a Blue State, you have one of the MOST important tasks to complete: Show the rest of America what it looks like when Trump isn't in charge! Blue States and Blue Cities must do an end-run around Trump and create the America we want to live in. That means New York goes ahead and offers Free College for All. California can create its own Universal Health Care. Oregon can stop mass incarceration of African Americans. Hawaii can enact its own climate change laws. Blue States can show the rest of country how much better life can be.
Suzanne Moore: Populists blame migrants - but hateful discourse starts at the top (The Guardian)
An Amnesty report about toxic language in politics warns of its dehumanising effect. It is rightwing leaders who have fomented this.
Nate Cohn: Democrats' Best Bet to Retake the House? Follow the Sun (NY Times)
Orange County was the heart of Sun Belt conservatism and one of the most reliably Republican bastions of the 20th century. It voted Republican in every presidential election from 1936 until 2016, when it voted for Hillary Clinton by a nine-point margin.
Mollie Reilly: "Angry Constituents Hammer Tom Cotton At Town Hall: 'Do Your Job'" (Huffington Post)
"Without coverage for preexisting conditions, I will die," she said. "Will you commit today to replacement protections for those Arkansans like me who will die or lose their quality of life or otherwise be unable to be participating citizens, trying to get their part of the American dream? Will you commit to replacement in the same way that you've committed to repeal?"
ESme Cribb: "Hillary Clinton: Get Out Of Congress 'If You Can't Stand The Heat'" (TPM)
"Members of Congress signed up for this when they ran for office. They were elected to serve," the paper's editorial board [Kansas City Star] wrote. "Representing the people means showing up, even when the exchange may not be among friends."
TARA PALMERI and DANIEL LIPPMAN: Chief digital officer steps down from White House job over background check (Politico)
White House Chief Digital Officer Gerrit Lansing was among the six staffers who were dismissed from the White House last week after being unable to pass an FBI background check, according to sources.
Scott Mendelson: DVD Review - Batman: The Complete Animated Series (Huffington Post)
For many Batman fans, there is no comparison. More than the live-action movies, more than the 1960s TV series, more even than the original comic books, Batman: The Animated Series was and remains the definitive presentation of The Dark Knight.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
David Bruce's Smashwords Page
David Bruce's Blog
David Bruce's Lulu Storefront
David Bruce's Apple iBookstore
David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
"Doug's Most Shared Facebook Post" Today
Michelle in AZ
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
WHERE YOU BEEN HIDING?
THE RIVER OF NO RETURN
"BLESSED ARE THE WINNERS"
"I DID IT BECAUSE I AM FREE."
"THE CHURCH OF AMERICA THE REDEEMER."
THE ZOMBIE PIPELINE.
"MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN" FOR POLLUTERS!
THE LIARS, THE CHEATS AND THE THIEVES.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny, clear and cold (for these parts).
'If You Can't Stand The Heat ...'
Hillary Clinton has a message for Republican members of Congress who are ducking angry constituents as they return to their home districts.
"If you can't stand the heat, get out of the…Congress," Clinton tweeted Wednesday, linking to an op-ed in the Kansas City Star about the growing wave of demonstrations seen at town halls across the country this week.
GOP lawmakers have been greeted by overflow crowds in their states filled with angry voters and protesters demonstrating against President Trump's polarizing policies, and some GOP members of Congress have canceled or skipped their town halls altogether. According to Salon.com, more than 200 congressional Republicans were prepared to skip out on the previously scheduled events.
"No one likes to be scolded," the Star wrote in an editorial. "No one wants to endure a public takedown. Politicians understandably flinch, knowing that someone could film an embarrassing exchange, itching for video that can go viral online."
"But members of Congress signed up for this when they ran for office," the paper continued. "They were elected to serve. And not just to adoring crowds, kissing cute babies and shaking the hands of veterans for touching photo ops. Representing the people means showing up, even when the exchange may not be among friends."
Reject Alt-Right Leader's Praise
Richard Spencer, the white nationalist and unofficial Alt-Right leader whose previous connection to music was getting punched in the head repeatedly to different songs, perhaps unwittingly picked a fight with Depeche Mode at the annual conservative gathering CPAC on Thursday.
When asked if he likes rock music, according to New York magazine's Olivia Nuzzi, Spencer joked, "Depeche Mode is the official band of the Alt-Right." Though the "lifelong Depeche Mode fan" later told Rolling Stone, "My tongue was firmly in cheek," the 38-year-old speaker-provocateur expounded on his love of the group, prompting a quick rebuttal from the left-leaning band.
"They aren't a typical rock band, in terms of lyrics and much else," he tells Rolling Stone. "Depeche Mode is a band of existential angst, pain, sadism, horror, darkness and much more. It's not bubblegum pop, with frontmen who sing about 'luuuuv' and sugarplum faries [sic]. There was a certain Communist aesthetic to an early album like [1982's] A Broken Frame as well as titles like Music for the Masses but then there's a bit of a fascist element, too. It's obviously ambiguous, and as with all art, everything is multi-layer, contradictory and ambivalent."
When reached for comment, a rep for the band told Rolling Stone, "Depeche Mode has no ties to Richard Spencer or the Alt-Right and does not support the Alt-Right movement."
Unlike Spencer, who was an outspoken Trump supporter during the campaign, Depeche Mode has explicitly denounced the new president and his policies. "The things that he's saying sound very similar to what someone was saying in 1935," singer Dave Gahan told Italian media last October. "That didn't work out very well. The things that he's saying are cruel and heartless and promoting fear."
Doomsday-Proof Vault Receives Major Deposit
A frozen tundra is perhaps the worst place in the world to grow crops. But that didn't stop people from bringing nearly 50,000 seeds of potatoes, lentils, wheat, barley and other food staples to the Arctic Circle this week.
The seeds won't be sprinkled across frozen farmlands. Instead, they'll be stored indefinitely at a global seed vault on Norway's Svalbard archipelago.
The vault is designed to safeguard the world's food sources from any variety of doomsday scenarios: nuclear war, climate change, natural disasters or even an asteroid strike.
This week's seed deposit includes samples from seed collections in Benin, India, Pakistan, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belarus, the U.K., Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as the United States and Mexico, Crop Trust announced on Wednesday.
Crop Trust is the charity organization helping to fund and manage the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, which sits between mainland Norway and the North Pole and is operated by the Norwegian government.
Training Eagles To Take Down Drones
In the past five years, drones have gone from being an expensive plaything for hobbyists to a much more ubiquitous tool. Inevitable, they've also found their way into the wrong hands. There are growing fears of terrorism involving these tiny flying machines, especially during holidays when hobbyist drones are everywhere. France hopes to combat the drone scourge with the original terror of the skies-eagles.
According to Reuters, the French Air Force began training four eagles last year to attack drones after seeing successful police trails in the Netherlands. These birds' training began at birth with handlers placing their shells on top of a drone, and after hatching, keeping them there during their early feeding period. This helps prepare the eagles to be a drone's worst nightmare.
The four eagles, whose names come from the main characters in The Three Musketeers, are now ready this month after spending several months of training to take down a drone. According to The Washington Post, the army has already ordered another brood of drone-destroying eagles. All these eagles will be outfitted with special kevlar and anti-blast material to help protect them from the more dangerous elements of the job.
Drilling In Wildlife Refuge
Former U.S. Sen. Frank Murkowski in 2001 gave a speech urging colleagues to approve oil drilling in America's largest wildlife refuge. The Alaska Republican held up a blank sheet of paper to illustrate his point.
The field of white, he said, was all you could see each winter on the coastal plain of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, implying that such a barren landscape would not be harmed by oil rigs.
Sixteen years later, Murkowski's daughter is trying again. U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski is sponsoring legislation to open the refuge that takes up Alaska's northeast corner and is larger than West Virginia and Connecticut combined. With a Republican Congress and president, she's hopeful that the timing is right.
The coastal plain is not the apex of Alaska scenery, but it's a nursery for polar bears, muskoxen and the vast Porcupine Caribou Herd. Migratory birds from all 50 states nest there. Few people visit, but the coastal plain is part of a refuge that's the very definition of wilderness: no roads, no campgrounds, not even any established trails. Environmental groups are planning strategies to keep drill rigs out.
"There are some places that are just too sacred to drill," said Alli Harvey, a Sierra Club campaigner in Anchorage.
Pamela Anderson plans to advocate for men falsely accused of rape.
The Baywatch star's new cause is inspired by friend - and rumored boyfriend(!) - Julian Assange. The WikiLeaks founder has been holed up at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London for four years amid rape allegations in Sweden. Anderson, 49, recently spoke out in support of Assange on the Russian television show The Underground.
"Sweden has these very progressive laws against sexual crimes," Anderson explained. "It's almost too progressive, it's almost paralyzing. I'm going to actually start campaigning for men who have been victims of being accused of rape when they haven't actually done anything."
Anderson, who was a victim of sexual abuse as a child, has campaigned for years on behalf of women and children who have been raped. However, she says her new crusade will not undermine those efforts.
Doctor Charged With Sex Assault
A Michigan sports doctor who treated elite female U.S. gymnasts was charged Wednesday with sexually assaulting nine girls, including some too reluctant to speak up about the alleged abuse years ago because he was considered a "god."
Roughly two dozen charges were filed against Dr. Larry Nassar, the first criminal cases related to his work at Michigan State University where he was the preferred doctor for gymnasts in the region who had back or hip injuries. He's also being sued by dozens of women and girls, including 2000 Olympian Jamie Dantzscher, who described the assaults on "60 Minutes" Sunday.
"This guy is disgusting. This guy is despicable," Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette told reporters. "He is a monster."
Nassar, 53, was a doctor for Indianapolis-based USA Gymnastics, until summer 2015, accompanying the women's team at international competitions, including the Olympics. Michigan State fired him last September after he violated restrictions that were put in place in 2014 following a complaint.
He's accused of sticking his fingers in their vaginas, without gloves, during treatments for various injuries. Parents were asked to leave the room or Nassar used a sheet or stood in a position to block any view, police said. Two girls were under age 13, and seven were 13 to 16.
Known Liar Releases Secretly Recorded Tapes
In a WikiLeaks-style dump Thursday, Project Veritas released more than 100 hours of audio from inside CNN's Atlanta headquarters. In a blog post, Project Veritas, a nonprofit organization, said the clips showed "misrepresentation of polling data" and "anti-Republican bias."
Founded by conservative activist James O'Keefe (R-Known Liar), Project Veritas said its mission is to "investigate and expose corruption, dishonesty, self-dealing, waste, fraud and other misconduct in both public and private institutions to achieve a more ethical and transparent society," its website says. It uses "undercover journalists" to expose alleged corruption.
The tapes released Thursday were recorded in 2009 by an anonymous source, Project Veritas said in a statement. CNN employees can be heard discussing which polls to run and denouncing Fox News. O'Keefe told CNN in an interview Wednesday it "has a very important role as the arbiter of news."
O'Keefe and Project Veritas have conducted fake undercover investigations in the past. In 2009, O'Keefe and a woman posed as a "pimp and prostitute" and went to the offices ACORN - the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now. ACORN employees were shown speaking to O'Keefe about how to get away with criminal activities and the organization ultimately shut down after it lost federal funding and private donations.
What It Tells Us About Future Sea Level Rise
A new study on an ancient ice sheet may hold important clues about our planet's future.
The research focuses on the Laurentide Ice Sheet, the massive expanse covering North America during the last Ice Age, which ended about 10,000 years ago. A team of scientists found that small spikes in the temperature of the ocean - not the air - likely caused periods of rapid melting and splintering of the ice.
Their findings add to a growing body of evidence that climate change could ultimately drive sea levels even higher than today's models predict, according to the study published Feb. 15 in the journal Nature. Glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica and other areas have been melting rapidly in recent years due in part to increasing ocean temperatures.
"It is possible that modern-day glaciers ... are more sensitive to ocean warming than we previously thought," said Jeremy Bassis, the study's lead author and an associate professor of climate and space sciences at the University of Michigan.
For the study, Bassis and his colleagues looked at so-called Heinrich events: the periods during which the Laurentide Ice Sheet would rapidly disintegrate.