Sam Stein: Democrats Say They Sometimes Need To Ignore Elections In Order To Win (Huffington Post)
Trying would have backfired, they say - though they lost anyway.
Josh Marshall: Trump Threatens to Torch More Republicans (TPM)
There's quite a lot going on at the moment. The President has two genuine international crises on his hands. But I wanted to note the latest developments on health care and so-called 'tax reform' because they are striking both for the President's on-going failure to pass any legislation
Tom Danehy: Want to know what Tom thinks of Pancho Villa, Betsy DeVos and texting while driving? Cash him outside, how bow dah? (Tucson Weekly)
I'm going to learn how to fly a drone so we can follow State Rep. Phil Lovas (R-Peoria) around. He's the chair of the House Rules Committee and he refuses to give a hearing to a bill that passed the Senate by an overwhelming 24-6 margin, one that would ban the use of cell phones by new drivers for the first six months they have a license. I'm actually surprised that such a bill doesn't pass every legislative body in the United States by a margin of everybody-who-showed-up-to-zero.
Olivia Solon: Burger King's 'OK Google' ad wakes up devices - and prompts complaints (The Guardian)
The commercial, which features a man giving Google Home devices a command, 'punches through that fourth wall', prompting gadget to read out Wikipedia.
Jen Mills: Haunting stairway of knives discovered by hero cops who saved domestic abuse victim (Metro; UK)
One picture shows the horrific and sinister reality of domestic abuse for many victims in the UK. It shows 21 kitchen knives embedded in the wood on every step going up a flight of stairs, along with what appears to be a bullet. Anyone going up or down would be confronted with the threat, with the clear implication that their life could be in danger.
Stuart Heritage: Better Call Saul is notoriously glacial. Here's how to speed it up (The Guardian)
Over two whole seasons, Jimmy McGill has so far managed to make an advert and tamper with a document. Here's a wishlist for giving the new series of the Breaking Bad prequel a bit more oomph.
Van Badham: David Schwimmer's sexual harassment films are good. But this is women's work (The Guardian)
It's hard to shake the feeling that David Schwimmer's #ThatsHarassment videos have received such acclaim because he has lent some masculine validity to the cause.
Suzanne Moore: Our high streets don't need new shops - they need new ideas (The Guardian)
We can all laugh at knitted, vegan cupcake pop-ups - but the sociability of a shared space should not be underestimated.
Lucy Mangan: This way to the ginger pop shop! The day I stepped into the pages of the Famous Five (The Guardian)
From Whispering Island to the golf course she owned, Enid Blyton raided Dorset for story locations. As the Famous Five turns 75, our writer goes putting with Enid.
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
"Five Came Back"
I write this whilst in the middle of the second episode, (of three), of "Five Came Back" on Netflix. I am being seriously blown away by this documentary of the WW2 efforts of star movie directors who gave up lucrative careers to put themselves into harm's way to document war footage from the actual scenes.
Even had the doc limited itself to footage and perspectives of George Stevens, Frank Capra, John Huston, John Ford and William Wyler, it would've been gripping, but the added background of their travels, personalities and motives, along with the peripheral history, is completely fascinating.
I approached this thinking that it was another dry newsreel, expecting nothing but raw war footage and kudos for the directors, but it is SO much more. One example of many, stands out as I watch: "The Negro Soldier", directed by Capra. All of the directors had massive obstacles to confront; from government meddling with the "message" they wanted to convey, specific deployments, artistic vision, etc.
Ken Burns couldn't have done a better job of interspersing historical fill, from animations provided by Disney and the Warner Bros. , personal interviews and profiles of the directors involved then and now, political rivers to cross and personal issues they each dealt with. John Ford lost it as I watch.
Of course, Stephen Spielberg narrating is perfect, he's done his homework.. I used to think I had somewhat of a grasp on Hollywood history, I am disabused now.
It's late tonight for me, so the last episode will have to wait, but I can't recommend enough!!!!!
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
Great Lakes Deluge
From the 'Is This Where The Melting Sea Ice Is Going?' File...
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
"MAKE AMERICA WHITE AGAIN"
KICKING PACHYDERM BUTT!
THE FRUMPY FASCIST.
HARPOON THE HUMANS.
JEFFERSON BEAUREGARD SESSIONS 111. WTF?
THE "AMERICA FIRST " FOREIGN POLICY.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Kinda cloudy but pleasant.
Reports show Florida health inspectors cited Donald Trump's (R-Grifter) Mar-a-Lago resort with 15 violations in late January, days before the U.S. leader hosted Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a diplomatic visit.
Still, the state inspectors allowed the luxury resort's main restaurant and beach club grill to remain open as staff scrambled to make several immediate corrections.
Among the "high priority" problems described as "potentially hazardous" were faulty fridges with meats stored well above the required 41 degrees Fahrenheit. For example, in the restaurant's walk-in cooler the duck and beef were measured at 50 degrees, while a ham was at 57.
Other issues included smoked salmon being served without undergoing "proper parasite destruction." A handwashing sink for employees ran water that was not hot enough.
The January inspections were not the first time inspectors have found problems at Mar-a-Lago. Over the last three years, records show the club has been cited 78 times for violations that included chefs handling food without washing their hands, dirty cutting boards, a slicer "soiled with old food debris" and an "accumulation of "black/green mold-like substance" in the ice machine.
Bans Eating Dogs & Cats
Taiwan has banned the eating of dogs and cats, lawmakers said Wednesday. as pressure grows to improve animal welfare after a spate of cruelty cases that stirred public outrage.
Parliament passed legislation to outlaw the consumption, purchase or possession of dog and cat meat, with offenders facing a fine of up to Tw$250,000 ($8,170).
The bill also hiked the penalty for killing or abusing animals to a maximum two-year jail term and a stiff fine of Tw$2 million, more than doubling that for repeat offenders.
"This shows that Taiwan is a society with advanced animal welfare," said lawmaker Wang Yu-min who proposed the amendment.
Like some other Asian nations, dog consumption was common in Taiwan decades ago and although it is much rarer now, there have been sporadic reports of shops being caught selling dog meet in recent years.
It was one of the most exclusive tickets in town: Only 800 were made available, and those lucky enough to score one had to show photo ID at the gate, where they were issued a wristband and a number. No signs bigger than a sheet of notebook paper were allowed, so as not to obscure anyone's view.
The rules weren't for a rock concert but for a town hall meeting Wednesday evening between Republican Rep. Mike Coffman and his suburban Denver constituents.
Town halls have become a risky proposition for GOP members of Congress since President Donald Trump's election. Liberal groups and constituents angry about the Trump agenda have flooded public meetings, asking their representatives tough questions, chanting, heckling them and even shouting them down in skirmishes that have made for embarrassing online video.
On Monday, for example, South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson, who became infamous for yelling "You lie!" at President Barack Obama during a speech to Congress in 2009, was himself confronted at a town hall by constituents chanting, "You lie!"
As a result, some Republicans aren't holding town halls. And some of those who are going ahead with such events are taking steps to keep things from getting out of control.
New Ad Tricks 'OK Google'
Voice-activated assistants like Siri and Alexa offer the ultimate in convenience since you can access a wealth of info and powerful usability features with nothing but a few spoken words. Unfortunately, that ease of use also makes them particularly vulnerable to trolling, and while you might expect such shenanigans from a bored friend, you probably won't be prepared for a Burger King commercial to attempt a hijack of your know-it-all speaker. Unfortunately, that's exactly what was about to happen, before Google stepped in to save the day.
The ad, which suggests that because the Whopper is just such an awesome menu item it can't be fully described in such a short ad slot, ends with a Burger King restaurant employee saying "Ok Google, what is the Whopper burger?"
If you happen to have a Google Home speaker nearby, or even an Android device like a smartphone or tablet with the voice command enabled, the goofy ad would have prompted your gadget to begin reciting the Whopper description from Wikipedia. That is, if Google hadn't seen the ad for itself and pushed a hotfix that prevents the ad from triggering anything.
It's a funny trick, at least in concept, but in reality the idea of an advertisement prompting one of your own devices to continue the ad in a different form is really, really obnoxious. That sentiment seems to be carrying over to Burger King's YouTube comments section and ratings, too, as it now has a negative overall like/dislike ratio as well as plenty of complaints from, well, pretty much everyone. Would-be customers with an already establish distrust of advertising aren't likely to find this kind of thing all that entertaining.
Unfavorable View Among Young Women
Donald Trump's (R-Crooked) elder daughter Ivanka Trump has an unfavorable rating among young women, according to a latest poll whose results were released Monday. Ivanka has been at the center of criticism surrounding her recent decision of taking up a job as the president's assistant.
Results of the poll conducted by Survey Monkey showed 52 percent of respondents aged between 18 and 34 viewed the first daughter unfavorably as opposed to those who had favorable views of her - 21 percent, according to Cosmopolitan that cited the poll results. However, Ivanka had slightly better ratings from men under the same age group with 32 percent holding a favorable view of the mother of two. Forty percent of men in that group had a negative view about her.
But, the 35-year-old seemed popular among women aged 65 and above, with 45 percent giving her positive ratings as opposed to those in the age group 34-64 where 37 percent held a favorable view of the first daughter, the poll results showed, according to Cosmopolitan
Meanwhile, 59 percent of poll voters held an unfavorable opinion of Ivanka's father, while first lady Melania Trump had 39 percent of favorable rating.
Survey Monkey conducted the poll from March 31 to April 5 and 5,493 Americans participated in it.
1,000 Sex Abuse Complaints
An advocacy group said Tuesday that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security's internal watchdog fielded more than 1,000 complaints of sexual assault or sexual abuse from people in custody in a little more than two years.
Community Initiatives for Visiting Immigrants in Confinement is the latest group in recent years to document allegations of abuse at immigration detention centers, based on information obtained from public records requests. It comes as President Donald Trumpseeks to expand detention capacity in a drive to deport more people.
The numbers obtained by the group don't provide details on individual cases or a full accounting of how the complaints were addressed, but they suggest complaints are common.
Homeland Security inspector general's office disclosed that it received 1,016 complaints from detainees reporting sexual abuse or assault from May 2014 to July 2016. More than 90 percent involved Immigration and Customs Enforcement, an agency within Homeland Security that has more than 30,000 beds at detention facilities nationwide.
The inspector general received more than 33,000 allegations of a broader range of abuses from January 2010 to July 2016, including 702 for coerced sexual contact, 714 for physical or sexual abuse and 589 for sexual harassment, according to the group. The group's analysis showed the inspector general investigated 247, or less than 1 percent. But it was unclear how many others were taken up by agencies in the department, such as Immigration and Customs and Enforcement or Customs and Border Protection.
Cougars & Bears
Wildlife conservation groups sued the U.S. government on Wednesday seeking to halt a plan to trap and kill as many as 120 mountain lions and black bears in Colorado in a bid to stem declines in populations of mule deer favored by hunters.
The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Denver, accuses the Wildlife Services agency, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, of violating federal law by failing to fully assess potential impacts of the predator-control plan on other native wildlife.
The same agency gained a measure of notoriety after one of its spring-loaded "cyanide bombs," used for killing coyotes and other "nuisance" animals, went off in the hands of a 14-year-old Idaho boy in March, injuring the youth and killing his pet dog.
Wednesday's lawsuit cites scientific research showing that habitat loss from oil and gas development, not natural predators, is mostly to blame for Colorado's plunging mule deer numbers. And it asserts that the plan for killing bears and mountain lions, originally devised by Colorado's own state wildlife managers, was designed to benefit hunters at public expense.
"The idea of using U.S. taxpayer money to kill native wildlife on public lands is outrageous," said Matthew Bishop, an attorney for the Western Environmental Law Center, a non-profit firm representing conservation groups in the lawsuit.
Dragging Passenger Off Plane Was Illegal
Not only did United Airlines make millions of enemies when it forcibly removed a passenger from a Louisville-bound flight, it also acted illegally, according to attorney Brian Mahany of Wisconsin-based Mahany Law.
"It's illegal," Mahany, who was part of a $16.6 billion fraud settlement with Bank of America in 2015 and specializes in consumer protection, told International Business Times in an interview Wednesday. "You can't remove, under the current rules, a passenger once they're seated on the aircraft. You can deny them entry if you're overbooked, but once they're on the aircraft, it's a completely different set of rules."
United, like all airlines, has protocol in place for overbooking incidents, said Mahany. Under United's Rule 25: Denied Boarding Compensation, the airline lays out its responsibilities in dealing with an overbooked flight, but the rule deals only with passengers who have not yet boarded the plane.
Per these rules, the company would have had to deny entry to the passenger before, not after, he boarded the plane. In order to require someone to leave the plane who is already seated, Mahany said, they would need to provide a lawful reason.
"If they're not dressed appropriately, if they have certain communicable diseases, if they're drunk, if they're violent, you can remove them," he said. "If they don't turn off their cell phone when they're supposed to, you can remove them. If they won't obey lawful instructions from a crew member, you can remove them. But telling someone, 'Hey, we've overbooked, get off the plane,' that wouldn't be a lawful instruction."
What Does It Look Like?
Astronomers believe that they have succeeded in taking the first-ever image of a black hole - or, more precisely, of its event horizon. On Wednesday, scientists associated with the Event Horizon Telescope (EHT) - a collaboration that uses network of telescopes spread across the globe to create an Earth-sized telescope - said that after five nights of observations, they may have snapped a photograph of the supermassive black hole residing in our galaxy's heart.
The staggering amount of data collected during the observations has been recorded on over 1,000 hard drives, and the first images of the black hole Sagittarius A* - a behemoth 4 million times the mass of our sun - will emerge either late this year or early next year.
"Even if the first images are still crappy and washed out, we can already test for the first time some basic predictions of Einstein's theory of gravity in the extreme environment of a black hole," Heino Falcke, a radio astronomer from the University in Nijmegen in the Netherlands who was involved in the project, told National Geographic magazine.
Black holes are perhaps the most mysterious class of objects in the known universe. Part of the enigma stems from the fact that despite overwhelming circumstantial evidence
This is because their gravitational influence is so great that not even light can escape them.