Russell Brown: Fred (publicaddress.net)
Fred died last week. He was my mate Shane's dad, having come into his life 50 years ago when Shane was three. I hadn't known Fred well, but I'd seen a bit of him over the years and I so I went to the family gathering to see him off, to be there for my friend.
Josh Marshall: Opposing a Corrupt Transaction (TPM)
We seem to be on a clear path toward a showdown not only over the confirmation of Neil Gorsuch but over the abolition of the filibuster for Supreme Court nominations. Aside from the pros and cons of Gorsuch's nomination and the strategic wisdom of the Democrats' decision to mount a filibuster, it is worth noting something that is being ignored: In practice, Republicans abolished the Supreme Court filibuster in 2005.
EMILY STEEL and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT: Bill O'Reilly Thrives at Fox News, Even as Harassment Settlements Add Up (NY Times)
About $13 million has been paid out over the years to address complaints from women about Mr. O'Reilly's behavior. He denies the claims have merit.
Judd Legum: Advertisers flee 'The O'Reilly Factor' en masse (ThinkProgress)
Latest sexual harassment claims has corporations rethinking their association with Bill O'Reilly.
Interview by Ben Beaumont-Thomas: Andres Serrano's best photograph: a white man with black skin (The Guardian)
'I made sure you would see there was a white man under this black skin, because prejudice is only skin deep.'
Julia Carrie Wong: Pepsi pulls Kendall Jenner ad ridiculed for co-opting protest movements (The Guardian)
Company admits it 'missed the mark' after ad was mocked on social media and by civil rights activists including Martin Luther King Jr's daughter.
Suzanne Moore: Labour is weak and immoral - as shown by Livingstone's refusal to apologise (The Guardian)
The party's failure to deal adequately with Ken Livingstone's antisemitism strengthens its slow collapse, helmed by Jeremy Corbyn's tragic incompetence.
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.
Michelle in AZ
Lake Michigan waves, some up to 14ft, striking the St Joseph, MI breakwater during the Thursday Nor'easter... Offshore waves in southern Lake Michigan were reported up to 28ft (probably from a NOAA weather buoy)...
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
I CHALLENGE YOU TO A DUEL!
NUNERS SAYS "GOODNIGHT".
WHAT WOULD JESUS DO?
THE PRESIDENT WILL BREAK THIS PROMISE.
THE LIAR IN CHIEF.
OH YUMMY, A REPUBLICAN! THEY TASTE LIKE BACON!
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Clouds rolled in - supposed to get some more rain.
Joe and Jill Biden
First the Obamas, now the Bidens. Former Vice President Joe Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have book deals.
Flatiron Books told The Associated Press on Wednesday that it will release two books by Joe Biden and one by Jill. Joe Biden's first book will "explore one momentous year," when his son Beau died in 2015 and his agonized decision against running for president. Biden has said recently that he regrets his choice and believes he could have defeated Republican Donald Trump, who pulled off a stunning upset against the Democratic candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Biden's memoir is currently untitled and no release date was announced. Flatiron, a Macmillan imprint, is calling the book "the story of not just a politician, but of a father, grandfather, friend and husband."
Flatiron did not provide details about the two other books it acquired or about financial terms. Two publishing officials with knowledge of negotiations said bidding went at least into seven figures. The officials were not authorized to discuss negotiations and asked not to be identified. The Bidens were represented by Creative Artists Agency.
Joe and Jill Biden
For Next 200 Years
Global Warming Prediction
Donald Trump (R-Loser) wants to reinvigorate the domestic fossil fuel industry, which he says will create jobs, and to defend the move, which is categorically catastrophic for the planet, he has either denied human-induced climate change outright or at best, been non-committal in acknowledging. But irrespective of what the president, who is not a scientist, may say, the fact that burning fossil fuels is a major contributor to the accumulation of greenhouse gases in Earth's atmosphere is undeniable, as evidenced by numerous scientific studies and climate data from across the world.
A study published Tuesday puts another nail in that coffin (not that it needed one) by predicting that if we exhaust all readily available fossil fuel resources and also fail to control the already existing concentration of greenhouse gases, the global warming caused as a consequence could make Earth warmer than it has been in the last 420 million years.
Titled "Future climate forcing potentially without precedent in the last 420 million years," the open-access study was published in the journal Nature Communications. It is based on a compilation of data from over 1,200 studies that estimate the concentration of carbon dioxide in the planet's atmosphere for nearly the last half a billion years.
The study's authors found that carbon dioxide concentration has fluctuated naturally - from as low as 200-400 ppm during cold periods to up to 3,000 ppm during the warm periods - a number of times during that period, but on multi-million year timescales. The current pace of climate change is "highly unusual," according to a statement by the researchers. Currently at over 405 ppm, it is far higher than the 280 ppm less than 150 years ago in pre-industrial era.
Global Warming Prediction
Feral Child Found
Indian police are reviewing reports of missing children to try to identify a girl who was found living in a forest with a group of monkeys.
The girl, believed to be 10 to 12 years old, was unable to speak, was wearing no clothes and was emaciated when she discovered in January and taken to a hospital in Bahraich, a town in Uttar Pradesh state in northern India.
She behaved like an animal, running on her arms and legs and eating food off the floor with her mouth, said D.K. Singh, chief medical superintendent of the government-run hospital.
After treatment, she has begun walking normally and eating with her hands.
"She is still not able to speak, but understands whatever you tell her and even smiles," Singh said.
Coal-Mining Museum With Solar Panels
Harlan County, Ky
A coal-mining museum in the heart of coal country is turning to solar power in an effort to save money and help the surrounding community.
The Kentucky Coal Mining Museum is located in Benham, in the southeast corner of the Bluegrass State. Housed in what was originally an International Harvester commissary, the museum opened in 1994 and contains tributes to the industry for which the area is best known.
The installation of solar panels by Bluegrass Solar began this week. Tre Sexton, the owner of the company, told Yahoo News that the installation was the first step in a program to help supplement the Benham-area power grid. Sexton said the project involved multiple companies and that funding was coming from many sources, including philanthropists in the area. Excess power from the panels will be fed back into the Benham grid.
The museum is owned by Southeast Kentucky Community and Technical College, and Brandon Robinson, the communications director for the college, sees the irony in the situation.
"It is a little ironic," said Robinson in an interview with EKB-TV, "but you know, coal and solar and all the different energy sources work together hand in hand. Of course, coal is still king around here, but when you talk about using other sources to start power, it's always good to have more than one.
Harlan County, Ky
Web Page Showcases Coal Mine
Bureau of Land Management
In a clear message about its policy priorities, the Trump administration has updated the home page for the federal agency that oversees public lands to showcase a large photo of an open-pit coal mine in Wyoming.
The photo was stripped across the Bureau of Land Management site after Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced approval Wednesday of a $22 million lease of more than 6,000 acres in Utah to a coal-mining company. In the past, the web page has more typically featured photos of fields of wildflowers, green forests and snow-capped mountains.
The coal mining photo replaced the image of a man and young boy with camping gear watching a scenic sunset.
The change came after Donald Trump (R-Crooked) last month lifted a freeze imposed in the waning days of the Obama administration on leases of public lands for coal mining. Trump, who has pledged to revive the struggling U.S. coal industry, also issued an executive order rolling back federal regulations on planet-warming carbon emissions.
The bureau manages more than 245 million acres of public land in a dozen Western states. Much of that acreage has for decades been leased for mining and drilling, but the use of public lands for coal mining has come under increasing scrutiny due to climate change.
Bureau of Land Management
T-rump Wants To Hire Foreign Workers
Westchester Golf Course
Donald Trump (R-Hypocrite) has railed against what he calls "low-skilled immigration that continues to reduce jobs and wages for American workers," but recent actions suggest he may prefer to hire such workers rather than U.S. citizens for his sprawling businesses.
The former reality TV star with an estimated $3.5 billion to his name filed a request with the Labor Department for the right to employ foreign servers for his Trump National Golf Club in Westchester, New York, BuzzFeed first reported Wednesday. The job order calls for the use of eight H-2B visas - which allow foreign workers to temporarily fill non-farm jobs if there are "not enough U.S. workers who are able, willing, qualified and available" for the positions - for waiters and waitresses. The employees would work at the golf course between May and October and earn a minimum of $14.08 hourly.
The request was filed March 7 by a national processing center, but it was unclear when the Trump Organization submitted its initial request.
Trump has a long and well-documented history of employing foreign workers. He got permission from the Labor Department to hire 64 foreign workers to cook, clean and wait on guests at his Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida for between $10.17 and $12.74 per hour, the Palm Beach Post reported in December. He also got foreign worker visas for 69 housekeepers, cooks and waiters for the same club earlier last year, the paper found in March 2016.
Between 2010 and February 2016, Trump requested visas for more than 500 foreign nationals to work at Mar-a-Lago, despite only hiring 17 of the nearly 300 U.S. residents who'd applied for or been referred to the waiting, cooking and cleaning jobs at the resort over the same period, the New York Times reported.
Westchester Golf Course
Murder Suspect Posts
A Chinese real estate scion charged with orchestrating the murder of her children's father was released from a San Francisco Bay Area jail Thursday after posting $35 million bail, a highly unusual financial transaction that startled and angered the victim's family and friends.
Tiffany Li will remain out of custody after family, friends and business associates of her mother raised $4 million cash and pledged San Francisco Bay Area properties valued a combined $62 million to post her bail. Courts require double the bail amount when property is pledged instead of cash.
Court records show 15 properties being pledged. Li's attorney Carr said the properties are owned by family and business associates of Li's mother, who spends most of her time in China where she profited from real estate investments there.
Li, 31, is charged with directing her boyfriend and another man to kill Keith Green, 27, and dispose of his body, which was found in May with a bullet wound to the neck 80 miles (129 kilometers) north of the suburban San Francisco mansion he and Li once shared with their two young daughters.
Prosecutors say Li feared she would lose custody of her daughters. Li and the two men were arrested shortly after Green's body was found and the trio is scheduled to stand trial in September. Li has pleaded not guilty.
National Republicans Make Large Ad Buy
Democratic candidate James Thompson accused national Republicans Thursday of trying to buy a Kansas House seat by making a large advertising buy less than a week before the nation's first congressional election since Donald Trump (R-Grifter) won the White House.
His comments came following a candidate event at Wichita State University in which Republican Ron Estes failed to show up, the latest in 10 candidate forums and debates Estes has skipped during the campaign. Estes has attended three others.
"I think it shows how desperate they are," Thompson said. "Rather than have a candidate who will actually get out and work and listen to people, they are trying to buy the campaign because that is what they do."
The special election was called after Trump named Rep. Mike Pompeo his head of the CIA.
Hunting Each Other Not Worth The Hassle
You know those snacks that are OK if they're handy, but not worth the bother if you have to go track them down? Our Stone Age forerunners may have felt the same way about eating each other.
Neanderthals and prehistoric members of our own species occasionally practiced cannibalism and explaining that is a scientific challenge. Generally, it has been attributed to factors like starvation, violence between groups or ceremonial practices following a death.
Now a new study suggests they were probably not hunting each other just for food.
That's because "we are not very nutritious, on a calorie level," compared to large game animals, says James Cole of the University of Brighton in England. Next to a mammoth, even a dozen burly Neanderthals would be slim pickings.
He focused on nine previously reported fossil sites where researchers have found evidence of cannibalism, like marks on the bones that indicated butchery. The sites were dated to between roughly 14,000 years ago to more than 900,000 years ago, which falls within the Paleolithic period the study focused on. Five involved our evolutionary cousins the Neanderthals, two involved our own species, and the rest were other extinct members of the human evolutionary branch.
Don Rickles loved everybody: black or white, gay or straight, fat or thin.
But don't get him started on his wife, or the time she dove into their swimming pool while wearing all her jewelry.
For more than half a century, the hollering, bald-headed "Mr. Warmth" let everyone have it. Insults rained on the meek and the mighty, from unsuspecting fans to such fellow celebrities as Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Johnny Carson.
And few seemed to mind. Rickles, who died Thursday at age 90, was among the most loved people in the business.
He was the acknowledged grandmaster of insult comedy. Despite jokes that from other comics might have inspired boycotts, he was idolized by everyone from Joan Rivers and Louis CK to Chris Rock and Sarah Silverman. James Caan once said that Rickles helped inspire the blustering Sonny Corleone of "The Godfather." An HBO special was directed by John Landis of "Animal House" fame and included tributes from Clint Eastwood, Sidney Poitier and Robert De Niro. Carl Reiner would say he knew he had made it in Hollywood when Rickles made fun of him.
Rickles appeared everywhere from strip joints to the 1985 inaugural gala for President Ronald Reagan and remained a popular act well after his ethnic and racial humor had become outdated. In 2008, he won an Emmy for best individual performance in a variety show for the Landis film "Mr. Warmth: The Don Rickles Project." At the ceremony, he joked: "I've been in this business for 55 years and the biggest award I got was an ashtray from the Friars in New York." The Friars gave him a nice statuette in 2013 when they presented him a lifetime achievement award.
Rickles' many friends returned the wisecracks, whether labeling him as a man everyone loved to hate or, as his pal Bob Newhart once joked, a man with whom it was annoying to travel. But the topper came, from all people, radio host Casey Kasem, who dressed up as Hitler at a Martin roast in Rickles' honor and told the comedian: "You are the only man I know who has bombed more places than I have."
Placed by Jerry Seinfeld on the "Mount Rushmore" of comedy, Rickles patented a confrontational style that stand-up performers still emulate, but one that kept him on the right side of trouble. He emerged in the late 1950s, a time when comics such as Lenny Bruce and Mort Sahl were taking greater risks, becoming more politicized and more introspective.
Rickles managed to shock his audiences without cutting social commentary or truly personal self-criticism. He operated under a code as old the Borscht Belt: Go far - ethnic jokes, sex jokes, ribbing Carson for his many marriages - but make sure everyone knows it's for fun.
Rickles had set out to be a serious actor, enrolling in New York's American Academy of Dramatic Arts, where classmates included Jason Robards. He had little luck finding acting jobs, however, and supported himself by selling used cars, life insurance and cosmetics - badly, he said. ("I couldn't sell air conditioners on a 98-degree day.")
He finally decided to try comedy, appearing at small hotels in New York's Catskill mountains and in rundown nightclubs. The turning point came at a strip joint in Washington, D.C.
It would take a mad genius to imagine a band forged in the gutters of the swampy Florida metal scene could one day evolve into a fixture on PBS, a staple of Christmas radio and one of the biggest touring acts in the world.
Paul O'Neill was that madman. He invented the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, a holiday phenomenon with roots in Tampa Bay that for two decades filled arenas across America, delivering a seasonal spectacle of lasers, pyrotechnics and grandiose symphonic rock.
The composer and producer behind one of the world's most unique and successful rock bands died this week at 61 from a "chronic illness," Trans-Siberian Orchestra announced Thursday.
Born in New York, O'Neill had a long and fruitful career in rock and roll before forming TSO in 1996, successfully producing and tour-managing Aerosmith and other bands. One group he produced and took a shine to was Savatage, a metal group formed by brothers Criss and Jon Oliva in Tarpon Springs. When O'Neill got the opportunity in the '90s to launch his dream project, a rock symphony inspired by artists like Pink Floyd and Emerson, Lake and Palmer, he thought of them.
Inspired by visits to Russia in the 1980s, O'Neill envisioned a series of operatic albums that evoked the harshness of winter and warmth of a hearth. Holiday music was timeless - as O'Neill told the Times in 2008, "You write anything about Christmas, you're competing with the best of the last 2,000 years."
In 1996 TSO released Christmas Eve and Other Stories, featuring a striking mash-up of Carol of the Bells and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen called Christmas Eve/Sarajevo 12/24. The song was an immediate smash, becoming one of the most-played and best-selling holiday singles of all time.
In profiles over the years, O'Neill was portrayed as a mysterious, secretive figure, obsessed with world history and folklore. He collected letters from figures like Lincoln, Washington, Churchill, Edison, Queen Victoria and Oscar Wilde. Among his possessions, according to a 2016 profile in the British magazine New Statesman, was a Faberge egg containing microfilm of a snippet of the King James Bible that flew into space aboard Apollo 14.
He was generous with his fortune. He would hand cash and silver dollars to strangers, and donated a dollar from each concert ticket to a local charity. Dixon estimated that over the years, O'Neill and TSO had given his nonprofit Christmas Wish Fund more than $200,000.