Josh Marshall: Trumptanic Approaches Repeal Iceberg - Everything Is Fine (TPM)
The GOP and President Trump are now woefully exposed with a deeply unpopular reform, deep in enemy territory with little hope of an organized retreat. The Senate GOP wants to go left; the House GOP wants to go right. And you're already seeing a growing chorus from the feral Trump right that Paul Ryan has led Trump into a trap and he, Ryan, should be forced to pay the price. This can break Trump if his opponents can organize effectively, maybe even if they can't.
Josh Marshall: Time to Apply Pressure (TPM)
What it all comes down to is that if you want people to retain their coverage and want the GOP to have a shattering 2018, now is the time to pour on the energy. Grassroots pressure is working. And it's effectiveness is growing because of that.
Josh Marshall: Ryan Alone (TPM)
Trump's friends are telling him Ryan is leading him into a trap, either through malice or incompetence. The bill is looking like a loser, which will matter to Trump a lot. All of this looks to be converging on Paul Ryan being the fall guy. Which we can't say is really unfair because it is his creation.
Paul Mason: Bogus self-employment exploits workers and scams the taxman (The Guardian)
Philip Hammond's national insurance tax grab is a bad idea, but it has highlighted the rise of precarious employment and uneven taxation.
Suzanne Moore: Brexit was an English vote for independence - you can't begrudge the Scots the same (The Guardian)
The English were prepared to vote in a way that would disrupt the union, so it's no surprise that the UK is at risk.
Mark Lawson: Scandi noir is dead (The Guardian)
As European broadcasters team up to create ever more silly fusion cop shows, a beloved genre has gone from thriller to bland filler in just six years.
Michele Hanson and Clare Moynihan: What do men really think about sex? This is why we need better education (The Guardian)
We asked men how they learned about sex, and found that puerility and pornography have always trumped the facts. Mandatory sex education is most welcome.
Jonathan Jones: The beauty of art can counter Islamophobia - but it won't be easy (The Guardian)
An Arab and Islamic art museum is opening in New York to 'challenge misconceptions' - but has the US already made up its mind?
Tom Danehy: Tom travels to Philly and survives the Rocky steps (Tucson Weekly)
Forty or so years ago, Rocky became the first sports movie to win the Oscar for Best Picture. It was the Bicentennial Year and post-Vietnam patriotism was busting out all over. It was also an Olympic year, although the International Olympic Committee screwed over the United States (and, as it turned out, Canada, as well) by giving the Summer Games to Montreal. The star of those Olympics was Bruce Jenner, who was a guy back then ... not that there's anything wrong with that.
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Michelle in AZ
David E Suggests
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
Texas House Bill 4260
As you may recall, many years ago, I posted some medical information about the effects of masturbation for men in minimizing prostate disease. Although the information was given to me by a veteran doctor, little did I realize the uproar my statement would cause in the ranks of Bartcop Nation! Later, the well respected New England Journal of Medicine came out with this same information. Only you Marty, acknowledged the accuracy of my statement!
Now it appears that my former state is trying to minimize our (men) ability to spontaneously administer prostate self help only inside medical and health facilities, not to mention having to go through the "medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum!" The horror, the horror! Thanks a lot Trump!
"This month's award for expert trolling goes to Texas State Representative Jessica Farrar, who has grown tired of men legislating the care and use of women's bodies. So, she cranked up the Troll-o-Matic to 11 and let 'er rip, producing trolling of the first rank. From The Houston Chronicle:
The House Bill 4260 would encourage men to remain "fully abstinent" and only allow the "occasional masturbatory emissions inside health care and medical facilities," which are described in the legislation as the best way to ensure men's health. Farrar said she created the bill after feeling fed up with the various legislative bills introduced by men addressing women's healthcare. "A lot of people find the bill funny," Farrar said in a phone interview. "What's not funny are the obstacles that Texas women face every day, that were placed there by legislatures making it very difficult for them to access healthcare." A man would face a $100 penalty for each emission made outside of a vagina or medical facility. Such an emission would be considered "an act against an unborn child, and failing to preserve the sanctity of life," according to the legislation.
But, wait, there's more.
A registry would be created of non-profit organizations and hospitals that provide "fully-abstinent encouragement counseling, supervising physicians for masturbatory emissions, and storage for the semen."… Her latest bill also seeks to provide men with a safe and healthy environment during vasectomies, Viagra uses and colonoscopies by creating "A Man's Right to Know" booklet that should "exactly follow the rules and procedures of the informational booklet "A Woman's Right To Know," required to be given of women terminating pregnancies. During the consultation, the physician would verbally review the booklet with men and would be required to "administer a medically-unnecessary digital rectal exam and magnetic resonance imagining of the rectum," according to the bill. Farrar said she included this part of the bill to mimic the trans-vaginal ultrasound woman have when they are seeking an abortion… A doctor would also have the right to "to invoke their personal, moralistic, or religious beliefs" if they refuse to perform a vasectomy or prescribe Viagra. After reviewing the booklet, consent will be given to the man only after 24 hours have passed since the initial consultation."
From Charles P. Pierce @ Esquire Magazine
Always a fan,
OTOH, kinda like that a woman had the audacity to try to legislate men's health.
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
TRUMPCARE IS APOCALYPSE NOW.
STOP THE INSANITY!
LONG LIVE THE QUEEN.
THE FASCIST GOES DOWN.
A MATTER OF LIFE AND DEATH.
IMPEACHARA! GOES WELL WITH ICE CREAM.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Another foggy morning and a sunny afternoon.
Watch Kinks' Humbly Discuss
Ray Davies was knighted by Prince Charles at Buckingham Palace on Thursday, where the Kinks frontman thanked fans and met with members of the press. Davies previously received the CBE - Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire - by Queen Elizabeth in 2004.
"I think these things always kind of difficult for me take," he told Belfast Telegraph of the honor in a video interview. "I'm quite a loner person, so to be accepted to any part of society is good… I don't know what I have to do for it, just keep on working, do good work."
Ever since he and his brother Dave (they've had a storied fractious relationship over the years) reunited for a live performance at the Islington Assembly Hall in North London in December 2015, Kinks fans have been talking about a possible reunion. In an interview with ITV News, Ray revealed that he's working on a new Kinks album where he will invite ex-band members to take part, but played coy about whether Dave would be involved. "It depends on the deal offered," he said.
Davies will return with his first solo album in nearly a decade, Americana
Breaking a 42-Year Tradition
Saturday Night Live
As its 42nd season gradually draws to a close, Saturday Night Live is enjoying a boosted profile, thanks to the absurdities of the Trump administration and starry guest turns from the likes of Alec Baldwin and Melissa McCarthy. Eager to capitalize on a ratings high and cultural relevancy it hasn't had in decades, the series is making a number of bold moves. Hot on the heels of announcing a summer prime-time spin-off of sorts for its "Weekend Update" segment, NBC revealed today that the show would buck four decades of tradition by airing live across the country for most of the remainder of the season. In other words: the West Coast no longer needs to worry about social media spoiling that next surprise McCarthy appearance. Instead, Saturday Night Live will now start at 8:30 p.m. Pacific time. Along with booking a roster of returning favorites to host its final five episodes, executive producer Lorne Michaels seems committed to keeping a tight grasp on his long-running show's renewed popularity.
Uproxx's Alan Sepinwall had the scoop on the news, writing that S.N.L. "will be broadcast live at 11:30 p.m. Eastern, 10:30 Central, 9:30 Mountain, and 8:30 Pacific. (The episodes will then repeat at 11:30 Mountain and Pacific.)"
The time slot change won't take effect until April 15, so there's one more episode on April 8-with four-time host Louis C.K.-that will adhere to the old system. From there, it's a murderers' row of stars closing out the year: Jimmy Fallon (April 15), Chris Pine (May 6), Melissa McCarthy (May 13), and Dwayne Johnson(May 20). Pine is the only first-time host of the bunch, though he made a very charming "Weekend Update" appearance back in 2009. Fallon, a long-time cast member, will be hosting for the third time, and The Rock and McCarthy will both be hosting their fifth episodes.
This move to a Saturday prime time slot on the West Coast is also a bold one. S.N.L. has always been a show made for kids who are too young for Saturday plans and adults who get home in time to close out the evening with late-night comedy. It will be fascinating to see if viewers in the Pacific time zone really do tune into the show at 8:30 p.m. on a weekend. Given how firmly S.N.L. has dominated the political humor landscape over the past month, it truly is beginning to feel like must-see TV. At least, Lorne Michaels seems to believe that enough to break a 40-year tradition.
Saturday Night Live
Turner, Fox, Viacom
Major U.S. media companies Time Warner Inc's Turner, Viacom Inc and 21st Century Fox Inc's Fox Networks Group will launch OpenAP, a programme for advertisers to laser focus their commercials at specific audiences on television.
With the TV upfront season weeks away, advertisers are seeking audiences beyond the ones measured by Nielsen , which are based on age, gender and income, mimicking ad buying on the digital side.
Over the next two months, most major U.S. media companies will sell the bulk of their TV ad inventory for the next year in what is known as the upfront market.
Targeted advertising has mostly been deployed for smaller and one-time ad deals, but "each upfront we've been getting more interest and more negotiations on audience buying," said Donna Speciale, Turner's president of advertising sales.
Ancient Tomb Decorated with Vibrant Murals Found
A 1,000-year-old circular tomb, whose walls are decorated with colorful murals, has been discovered in Datong City, in northern China.
Because the tomb's entranceway is sealed off with bricks, archaeologists had to enter through a hole in the deteriorating arch-shaped roof.
The team, from the Datong Municipal Institute of Archaeology, found cremated human remains in an urn in the middle of the tomb. No texts were found in the tomb, but the archaeologists believe that the tomb likely belonged to a husband and wife.
The murals on the walls show servants, cranes and numerous articles of clothing that hang on several stands, their colors still vibrant despite the passage of a millennia.
Colorful clothing abounds on the tomb's murals. One clothes stand, painted on a mural on the west wall, has "sky blue, beige, bluish-gray, yellowish-brown and pink clothes," wrote the archaeological team in a paper published recently in the journal Chinese Cultural Relics. "The garment to the far right has a green-diamond grid pattern, each diamond of which has a small red decorative flower in it," wrote the archaeologists, noting that another article of clothing has what appears to be a jade ring that "hangs at the waist."
Republican Family Values
An Oklahoma state senator was booked Thursday on child prostitution charges for allegedly hiring a 17-year-old boy for sex, leading to calls for his resignation and a separate internal investigation into his years of work with a youth program.
Ralph Shortey, a 35-year-old conservative Republican who has a wife and three young daughters, surrendered to authorities on charges of engaging in child prostitution, transporting a minor for prostitution and engaging in prostitution within 1,000 feet of a church. He was released after about two hours on a $100,000 bond.
The allegations led to Shortey's removal from his volunteer position with the Oklahoma City YMCA's Youth and Government program, in which he has been active for 17 years and served as a chaperone on several out-of-state trips, YMCA spokeswoman Brenda Bennett said. She said she was unaware of any allegations of wrongdoing involving Shortey's work for the program, but that the agency is conducting an internal investigation due to the nature of the criminal case.
Acting on a tip from the teen's father, police went to the Super 8 Hotel in the Oklahoma City suburb of Moore last week to check on the boy, who was seen going into a room with a man, according to a police report. The officers were told the boy had solicited sex through Craigslist on other occasions and had a history of drug abuse.
Taxpayers On The Hook
North Dakota officials appear poised to go after the U.S. government - and thus U.S. taxpayers - to recoup more than $38 million in state expenses related to months of protests against the Dakota Access pipeline, though a longstanding offer from the project's developer to pay up is still on the table.
One taxpayer watchdog group questions why the state isn't jumping at the offer from Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners, a company worth billions of dollars.
"You take the money when you can get it," said Dustin Gawrylow, managing director of the North Dakota Watchdog Network, which keeps tabs on how public money is spent.
The matter might not be that simple. Common Cause, a nonpartisan group that promotes government accountability, says accepting money from a private-sector business in an industry it regulates would present the state with an ethical dilemma.
Pipeline opponents have long accused the state of being too cozy with ETP, and if the state takes the company's money "it certainly would lend credence to those arguments," said Joye Braun, a protest leader.
Stopping Global Warming Only Way To Save
Reducing pollution and curbing overfishing won't prevent the severe bleaching that is killing coral at catastrophic rates, according to a study of Australia's Great Barrier Reef. In the end, researchers say, the only way to save the world's coral from heat-induced bleaching is with a war on global warming.
Scientists are quick to note that local protection of reefs can help damaged coral recover from the stress of rising ocean temperatures. But the new research shows that such efforts are ultimately futile when it comes to stopping bleaching in the first place.
Across the world, scores of brilliantly colored coral reefs once teeming with life have in recent years become desolate, white graveyards. Their deaths due to coral bleaching have grown more frequent as ocean temperatures rise, mainly due to increasing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The hot water stresses corals, forcing them to expel the colorful algae living inside them, which leaves the corals vulnerable to disease and death. Given enough time, bleached coral can recover if the water cools, but if the temperature stays too high for too long, the coral will die.
The researchers conducted aerial and underwater surveys of the Great Barrier Reef, which has experienced three major bleaching events, the worst of which occurred last year. The scientists found that the severity of bleaching was tightly linked to how warm the water was. In the north, which experienced the hottest temperatures, hundreds of individual reefs suffered severe bleaching in 2016, regardless of whether the water quality was good or bad, or whether fishing had been banned. That means even the most pristine parts of the reef are just as prone to heat stress as those that are less protected.
Not Ramses II
A massive statue recently unearthed in Cairo and thought to depict one of the country's most famous pharaohs may be of another ancient Egyptian ruler, the country's antiquities minister said Thursday.
Khaled el-Anani said the colossus discovered last week in a Cairo suburb by an Egyptian-German team almost certainly depicts Psamtek I, a little known pharaoh from the 26th dynasty who ruled Egypt between 664 and 610 B.C.
"We are not going to be categorical, but there is a strong possibility that it's of Psamtek I," el-Anani told reporters in the front yard of the famed Egyptian museum in the heart of Cairo.
Sitting just meters (yards) away were parts of the statue, including the torso and a partial head, which were ferried across the city before dawn on Thursday. The statue was thought to be of Ramses II, who ruled Egypt more than 3,000 years ago.
"There is a possibility, albeit small, that Psamtek I reused an older statue that may be of Ramses II," el-Anani said.
Numbers Double Previous Estimates
Almost six million Adelie penguins are living in East Antarctica, more than double the number previously thought, scientists said Wednesday in findings that have implications for conservation.
Research by an Australian, French and Japanese team used aerial and ground surveys, tagging and resighting data and automated camera images over several breeding seasons, which allowed them to come up with the new figure.
They focused on a 5,000 kilometre (3,100 mile) stretch of coastline, estimating it was home to 5.9 million birds -- some 3.6 million more than previously thought. On this basis, they estimate a likely global population of 14 to 16 million.
Before, population estimates only took into account breeding pairs, said Australian Antarctic Division seabird ecologist Louise Emmerson.
"Non-breeding birds are harder to count because they are out foraging at sea, rather than nesting in colonies on land," she said.