Henry Rollins: Hurricane Harvey Is Trump's First Real Test and He's Already Failing (LA Weekly)
Texas is getting pounded by the weather. William Brock Long, administrator of FEMA, said that bringing the affected areas back will take years. Long's burden is extra heavy. Without all the key positions at FEMA, NOAA and the National Hurricane Center filled, he'll be multitasking. Beyond what Long estimates will be at least a couple of years of rebuilding and relocation, it's going to take a lot of money. Hopefully, Texas will be open to funding that will be coming in from those dreaded liberal blue states.
Josh Marshall: He Can't Even Fake It (TPM)
People with certain autism spectrum disorders have difficulty reading social cues which most people understand intuitively. Therapists have developed techniques which can help them learn through training what comes effortlessly to others. I can't help thinking of this when I see President Trump touring Texas with his litany of jarring, tone-deaf or just plain weird comments. But the deficit in this case isn't social cue cognition. It's empathy.
Daniel Politi: Trump Drafted an Angry Screed Explaining Comey Firing. Now Mueller Has it. (Slate)
The key question, writes Mariotti, is what McGahn actually told Trump. If McGahn warned Trump that firing Comey for the reasons outlined in the letter would be illegal that "would be slam dunk evidence of a corrupt intent." But if McGahn merely just expressed concern about the tone of the letter then that could actually help Trump's case.
Lucy Mangan: Peeing in the shower: the rules (The Guardian)
Don't start until the water has - and never do it at a friend's.
Lucy Mangan: the NHS, a cautionary tale (The Guardian)
The proposal to close my local hospital draws together all the major narrative threads of the damage being done to the NHS.
Lucy Mangan: "Margaret Atwood - You Have Been Warned! review: precious little of the woman herself" (The Guardian)
Still, there were great moments, such as when she explained that she never intended or claimed to be a feminist writer. When she began to describe the world around her in her writing, she became popular with the movement because "the women in my novels suffer, because most of the women I talk to seem to have suffered". It is this sense of organic development in an Atwood novel, rather than of writing to or within the imposed constraints of an external ideology, to which, I hazard, we devotees most respond. But we have the books. In a documentary, it's more of her we need.
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Rank Country Production (tonnes) 1 Uzbekistan 547,000 2 Turkey 278,210 3 Iran 252,747 4 Italy 222,690 5 Algeria 216,941 6 France 177,000 7 Pakistan 170,504 8 Spain 136,446 9 Greece 125,100 10 Japan 111,400 World 3,365,738Source
Michelle in AZ
Obama's letter to Predator
If you've not already seen this, Cassandra shared this link giving the text of Obama's departing letter to Predator. Too bad that good advice is wasted on the turd currently in the WH.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
MEN OF SLEET. THE SNOWFLAKE REPORT.
CHOOSING THE RED PILL.
SOUP TO NUTZ.
THE STINK OF DEATH.
PROBLEM, WE HAVE A HOUSTON.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
The baby caterpillar became a snack for a hornet (or maybe a wasp). Sigh.
Still too hot, still too humid, and boy am I cranky!
Quietly Gives Asylum
The federal government of Canada has been secretly helping gay Chechen men flee persecution in an under-the-radar programme.
The arrangement has been introduced under the guidance of Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign affairs minister.
Ms Freeland "wanted to be able to save a few individuals", according to a government source. "And we also wanted to allow Canada to serve as a demonstration for like-minded countries about what could be done."
Over the last three months, 22 people, many of whom were living in Russian safe houses, are now safe in several Canadian cities, including Toronto. Other people fleeing Russia's harsh anti-gay discrimination are expected to touch down in Canada over the next few weeks.
"Canada accepted a large number of people who are in great danger, and that is wonderful," said Tanya Lokshina, the Russian program director for Human Rights Watch, in an interview with The Globe and Mail.
Moves To Portugal
A mum's life is often taken over by her child's football practice and it seems Madonna is no different!
The megastar has reportedly moved to Lisbon to kickstart her son David's football career after he was head hunted by the prestigous Benfica soccer team youth academy.
The 'Hung Up' singer has been sharing snaps of her family in Portugal since March, after her 11-year-old adopted son - who she has with ex-husband Guy Ritchie - joined the training school and according to Portuguese weekly magazine Visão, "Madonna is no longer a tourist, she now lives in Lisbon."
The publication revealed Madonna has been staying in a Lisbon hotel as the £7 million 19th century house she has bought in Sintra could take up to six months to renovate.
Another local newspaper, Correio da Manhã, revealed David had joined the Benfica training facility in Seixal, and he has enrolled in a French high school in Lisbon where he'll start his secondary education in the Spring.
World Record Guacamole
The recipe for a record-breaking guacamole? 25,000 avocados and 1,000 people to mash them.
That is what avocado growers in Mexico's Jalisco state mobilized on Sunday to break the world record for the biggest guacamole, a whopping 3 tonnes (6,600 lbs) of delicious dip made from "green gold."
The mass mash-up was part entertainment and part politicking, as growers and Mexico make the point that they - and the guacamole loving Americans - have benefited from the North American Free Trade Agreement that is now under threat from Donald Trump (R-Corrupt).
Negotiators from Canada, Mexico and the United States were meeting in the Mexican capital this weekend to revamp the 23-year-old NAFTA accord that Trump has threatened to end if he does not get concessions to curb a trade deficit with Mexico.
Some 80 percent of U.S. avocado consumption comes from Mexico's growing expanse of orchards. Jalisco has become the second biggest producer of the Hass variety in Mexico behind Michoacan state, according to producers.
Princess Announces Engagement
Japan's Princess Mako and her fiancé -- a commoner -- announced their engagement Sunday, a match which will cost the princess her royal status according to a law that highlights the male-dominated nature of Japan's monarchy.
Like all female imperial family members, Mako, who is Emperor Akihito's eldest granddaughter, forfeits her status upon marriage to a commoner under a controversial tradition. The law does not apply to royal males.
"I was aware since my childhood that I'll leave a royal status once I marry," she said. "While I worked to help the emperor and fulfill duties as a royal family member as much as I can, I've been cherishing my own life."
Her fiancé, Kei Komuro, a telegenic 25-year-old who works at a law firm and once won a tourism promotion contest to be crowned "Prince of the Sea", said he had proposed to her more than three years ago.
The announcement had originally been planned for July but the couple decided to postpone it out of consideration for a southern region hit by heavy rains and flooding in the month.
Russian State TV Host Attacks
A Russian state television host mocked Donald Trump (R-Crooked) as a "political infant", punctuating deteriorating relations between America and Russia.
Mr Trump is "being severely swaddled", added the host, whose co-presenter taunted Mr Trump as being "placed into geopolitical coffin."
"So why did we elect such a president"? the host said.
Breaking with other world leaders who criticise the human rights record of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Mr Trump has had warm words for his Russian counterpart. He has consistently advocated stronger ties between the two nations.
But the relationship has frayed amid the fallout of Russian interference in the 2016 election, which intelligence agencies concluded Mr Putin directed, and an ongoing investigation probing potential ties between Mr Trump's campaign and Russia. Congress authorized fresh sanctions to punish Russia for election meddling, which Mr Trump reluctantly signed.
Defuses Massive WWII Bomb
German explosives experts defused a massive World War Two bomb in the financial capital of Frankfurt on Sunday after tens of thousands of people were evacuated from their homes.
The evacuation area included two hospitals, care homes, the Opera House and Germany's central bank, the Bundesbank, where $70 billion in gold reserves are stored underground. Police maintained security at the building.
The all-day effort took longer than planned but officials expressed relief that residents would start returning home before sundown and that the operation wouldn't disrupt business on Monday.
The work by bomb technicians started later than scheduled because some residents refused to leave the evacuation area despite fire chiefs warning that an uncontrolled explosion would be big enough to flatten a city block. Police said they took stragglers into custody to secure the area.
More than 2,000 tonnes of live bombs and munitions are discovered each year in Germany, more than 70 years after the end of the war.
Serial Killer's Remains Exhumed
Herman Webster Mudgett
Holmes, the pseudonym of New Hampshire-born physician Herman Webster Mudgett, is believed to have killed an undetermined number people at his hotel of horrors during the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. It featured a bizarre labyrinth of windowless rooms, secret passageways, false floors, trapdoors and a vault. Most of the rooms had gas vents that were controlled from Mudgett's bedroom. Many of the rooms were soundproof and could only be locked from the outside.
But it was the murder of his business partner in Philadelphia that led to his conviction and hanging in 1896.
University of Pennsylvania anthropologist Samantha Cox, who did the forensic science on the exhumed remains, tells the NewsWorks online site that because of his unique burial requests, Holmes' body had not properly decomposed.
She said his clothes were almost perfectly preserved and his moustache was intact on his skull. But the corpse had decayed.
"It stank," Cox told the news site. "Once it gets to that point we can't do anything with it. We can't test it, can't get any DNA out of it." Holmes' teeth were used to identify him, she said.
Herman Webster Mudgett
Colorado Construction Crew Finds
A Colorado scientist says he's "over the moon" after a construction crew in the city of Thornton reportedly stumbled upon a triceratops fossil last week.
Joe Sertich, the museum's curator of dinosaurs, arrived at the site Monday and discovered to his delight that the workers had indeed unearthed something remarkable.
Sertich believes the crew uncovered parts of a skull and skeleton of a triceratops. He says it's "one of only three" triceratops skulls ever found in the Front Range of the Rocky Mountains. Most fossils found in the Front Range are about 10,000 to 12,000 years old, he said, but the bones discovered in Thornton appear to be much, much older.
Construction at the fossil site has reportedly been halted as scientists search for any other fossils potentially awaiting discovery.
Weekend Box Office
"The Hitman's Bodyguard"
With no new wide releases, Hollywood basically took the Labor Day weekend off and put an end to what's expected to be the lowest earning summer movie going season since 2006 - the last time the industry saw a sub-$4 billion summer.
Things weren't as apocalyptic as analysts suggested going into the weekend, which had the potential to be the worst since 1992, but that's hardly cause for celebration. While official numbers for the four-day weekend won't be available until Tuesday, studio estimates and projections expect that in total this Labor Day weekend will be the lowest earning since 1998.
Some did make it out to the multiplexes over the holiday weekend, though. According to studio estimates on Sunday, the R-rated actioner "The Hitman's Bodyguard" topped the charts for a third weekend with $10.3 million. The Samuel L. Jackson and Ryan Reynolds pic has earned a total of $54.9 million from North American theaters.
In second place was the horror spinoff "Annabelle: Creation," from Warner Bros., which added $7.3 million, bumping its domestic total to $89 million.
Estimated ticket sales for Friday through Sunday at U.S. and Canadian theaters, according to comScore. Where available, the latest international numbers for Friday through Sunday are also included. Final domestic figures will be released Tuesday.
1. "The Hitman's Bodyguard," $10.3 million ($14.2 million international).
2. "Annabelle: Creation," $7.3 million ($15.6 million international).
3. "Wind River," $5.9 million ($850,000 international).
4. "Leap!" $4.9 million.
5. "Logan Lucky," $4.4 million ($1.3 million international).
6. "Dunkirk," $4.1 million ($36.5 million international).
7. "Spider-Man: Homecoming," $3.7 million ($1.6 million international).
8. "The Emoji Movie," $2.5 million ($6.8 million international).
9. "Despicable Me 3," $2.4 million ($9.9 million international).
10. "Girls Trip," $2.3 million ($1.9 million international).
"The Hitman's Bodyguard"
John Ashbery, an enigmatic giant of modern poetry whose energy, daring and boundless command of language raised American verse to brilliant and baffling heights, died early Sunday at age 90.
Ashbery, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and often mentioned as a Nobel candidate, died at his home in Hudson, New York. His husband, David Kermani, said his death was from natural causes.
Few poets were so exalted in their lifetimes. Ashbery was the first living poet to have a volume published by the Library of America dedicated exclusively to his work. His 1975 collection, "Self-Portrait in a Convex Mirror," was the rare winner of the book world's unofficial triple crown: the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Book Critics Circle prize. In 2011, he was given a National Humanities Medal and credited with changing "how we read poetry."
Among a generation of poets that included Richard Wilbur, W.S. Merwin and Adrienne Rich, Ashbery stood out for his audacity and for his wordplay, for his modernist shifts between high oratory and everyday chatter, for his humor and wisdom and dazzling runs of allusions and sense impressions.
Interviewed by The Associated Press in 2008, Ashbery joked that if he could turn his name into a verb, "to Ashbery," it would mean "to confuse the hell out of people."
Ashbery also was a well-regarded translator and critic. At various times, he was the art critic for The New York Herald-Tribune in Europe, New York magazine and Newsweek and the poetry critic for Partisan Review. He translated works by Arthur Rimbaud, Raymond Roussel and numerous other French writers. He was a teacher for many years, including at Brooklyn College, Harvard University and Bard College.
Ashbery was born in Rochester, New York, in 1927 and remembered himself as a lonely child and bookish child, haunted by the early death of his younger brother and by his attraction to other boys. Ashbery grew up on an apple farm in the nearby village of Sodus, where it snowed often enough to inspire his first poem, "The Battle," written at age 8 and a fantasy about a fight between bunnies and snowflakes. He was so satisfied with the poem that he didn't write another until boarding school, the Deerfield Academy, when his work was published in the school paper.
His style ranged from rhyming couplets to haiku to blank verse, and his interests were as vast as his gifts for expressing them. He wrote of love, music, movies, the seasons, the city and the country, and was surely the greatest poet ever to compose a hymn to President Warren Harding. As he aged, he became ever more sensitive to mortality and reputation. "How to Continue" was an elegy for the sexual revolution among gays in the 1960s and '70s, a party turned tragic by the deadly arrival of AIDS, "a gale (that) came and said/it is time to take all of you away."
Walter Becker, a bassist whose eclectic tastes from jazz to reggae helped create the intricate bohemian rock sound of Steely Dan, died Sunday. He was 67.
Becker in July missed The Classic East and The Classic West -- twin festivals in Los Angeles and New York featuring rock veterans including Steely Dan -- with his bandmate Donald Fagen saying Becker was recovering from an unspecified ailment.
A New York native, Becker met Fagen while studying north of the city at Bard College. The pair moved to California where they gained both mainstream and underground recognition for their artistic brand of rock.
Steely Dan -- named for a phallic toy from Beat novelist William S. Burroughs' classic novel "Naked Lunch" -- shared elements of jazz by enlisting a revolving cast of musicians and jamming out in winding tunes that gave ample space for solos even while keeping pop melodies.
Steely Dan was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2001 but never reached number one on the US charts, reaching a height of number four with the 1974 song "Rikki Don't Lose that Number."
Becker, who eventually also took up guitar, said he grew up listening to jazz greats including Miles Davis, John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins.
As Steely Dan gained fame, Becker's life turned turbulent as he wrestled with drug use. He faced legal action after his girlfriend died of a drug overdose in his apartment in New York, where soon afterward he was hit by a taxi and injured.
Becker moved to Hawaii where he set up a studio and started a second career as a producer, notably for China Crisis, a pop group from Britain where Steely Dan enjoyed a particularly sizable following.
A reformed Steely Dan won the prestigious Grammy for Album of the Year for its 2000 album "Two Against Nature."