Paul Krugman: Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and the Con Man Caucus (NY Times)
The House tax legislation is the end result of seven years of phoniness.
Mike Konczal: Trump Is Creating a Grifter Economy (The Nation)
The White House's economic plans help the scheming and powerful swindle ordinary Americans.
Josh Marshall: Wrestling With the Fact That Papadopoulos is a Moron (TPM)
As I wrote a few days ago, intelligence operatives trying compromise or penetrate a foreign government or organization look for people who are crooked or desperate. Stupid doesn't hurt either. With Papadopoulos it sounds like they had at least two of the three.
Josh Marshall: There's A Lot of News Today [2 Nov 2017] (TPM)
It's a little bewildering just how many news stories are bursting out today. Mercer resigning from his hedge fund and selling his stake in Breitbart, albeit to his daughter. Is this just deciding it no fun becoming a public villain? Or is there more.
Alison Flood: "Triple trouble: why book trilogies are better than film" (The Guardian)
In a handy justification for all the multi-volume fantasies cluttering my house, a statistician has calculated that they get better as they go on, while movies decline.
Fiona Noble: "Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend review - a magical debut" (The Guardian)
This enchanting adventure of a 'strange little girl with black eyes' more than holds its own against a certain H Potter. Roll on the franchise.
Amelia Tait: Apple is cataloguing photos of people in bras, is it justified to freak out? (New Statesman)
The iPhone's "bra" photo album exposes a serious privacy flaw - but it's not the one you think.
Marina Hyde: Can we get to the bottom of the mystery virus streaking through Hollywood? (The Guardian)
Harvey Weinstein and Kevin Spacey appear to be the latest victims of a new illness coursing its way around the film industry. How long before it's given a name?
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
FIRE THE REPUBLICAN PARTY!
'WHO'S AFRAID OF THE IRANIAN BOMB?'
THE LAND OF FREE AND THE HOME OF THE BRAVE.
"THANK YOU MR. PRESIDENT. HOW ARE YOUR BONE SPURS DOING?"
LET'S GO VISIT SOME DESPOTS.
"A LITTLE NUTTY, A LITTLE SLUTTY"
THE MAN WHO WOULD DESTROY AMERICA.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Mostly sunny and on the cool side.
Disappointed With John Kelly
Samantha Bee feels very let down by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly.
On Wednesday's broadcast of "Full Frontal," the host explained how most Americans had hoped Kelly would rein in the wildest excesses of President Donald Trump and his administration. Kelly was supposed to be "the adult in the room," said Bee.
But in light of Kelly's revisionist comments about the Civil Warearlier this week, Bee said she couldn't help but feel disappointed.
"John Kelly, how could you talk like this?" Bee asked. "You were supposed to be the one we didn't have to watch like a hawk. You were supposed to be the hawk."
Still, Bee said she shouldn't have been so surprised by Kelly's about-face because the signs that he was "a racist dickbag" were always there. Then, she broke down exactly what those indicators were.
Told To 'Get A Lawyer
The ex-Twitter employee who deactivated Donald Trump's (R-Crooked) account should not say anything and "get a lawyer", a prominent cybersecurity lawyer has said.
For 11 minutes on Thursday, Mr Trump was prevented from re-tweeting Fox & Friends videos or attacking Democrats on the social media platform after a Twitter customer support employee, on their last day at the company, intentionally cut off service to the President's account.
But while many applauded the ex-employee's action, there is a reasonable chance the person could have violated the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act - the primary law used to prosecute hackers, Tor Ekeland told the newspaper The Hill.
The legislation states that unauthorised use of a "protected" computer system is against the law. But the definition of protected is very broad and in practice could refer to any computer, The Hill reported.
The statute has been unevenly applied, Mr Ekeland noted, and various courts around the country have come up with seemingly contradictory rulings on what unauthorised access actually means.
More Popular Than Actual Women Scientists
LEGO 'Women of NASA'
LEGO's "Women of NASA" set quickly became Amazon's bestselling toy after going on sale Wednesday morning. But although the set, which features four pioneering space scientists, including astronauts Sally Ride and Mae Jemison, is a resounding success, female scientists who are not made from plastic still struggle to achieve recognition.
No women were awarded a Nobel Prize this year in any category. Though the National Science Foundation found the number of women earning doctoral degrees in science and engineering has nearly doubled since 2005, that progress toward parity has plateaued in recent years. Since 2009, about 42 percent of all science and engineering doctorates have been awarded to women. Less than a third of all new astronomy Ph.D.'s were women in 2012, according to the American Institute of Physics. (2012 was the last year for which data was available.)
"This LEGO set is very unique in that it highlights actual, real-life women. That is quite new," set creator and science writer Maia Weinstock said. "That was my original goal with creating custom LEGO minifigures in the first place: I wanted to highlight people who were still alive and doing amazing things in science, technology, and engineering."
Though Weinstock also expressed frustration with the dearth of women in the Nobel committee's choices this year, she emphasized that the set actually does celebrate some of the real, breathing women working in science. Of the set, at least two-Mae Jemison and Margaret Hamilton, an Apollo software engineer who recently received the Presidential Medal of Freedom-are still working scientists, she said.
"The success of the launch today isn't so much surprising," she said. "It is the most recent testament to the fact that the public really does want to see more products celebrating women and girls."
LEGO 'Women of NASA'
Emotional Anti-War Address
Pope Francis made one of his most emotional anti-war addresses on Thursday, saying during a visit to a U.S. military cemetery that the world seemed to be headed into war perhaps bigger than any before.
Francis said a Mass for several thousand people at the Sicily-Rome American Cemetery in the town of Nettuno, south of the Italian capital, on the day Roman Catholics commemorate their dead.
The burial ground is the final resting place for 7,860 American soldiers who died in the liberation of southern Italy and Rome in 1943 and 1944.
"Please Lord, stop. No more wars. No more of these useless massacres," he said, speaking in hushed tones in an improvised homily.
Francis said that remembering the many young people who died in World War Two was even more important "today that the world once more is at war and is preparing to go even more forcefully into war."
Justice Department Wants Lawyers Disciplined
The Trump administration asked the Supreme Court on Friday to take up a case involving an undocumented teen who received an abortion, urging the high court to toss an appeals court ruling that allowed the procedure and to consider disciplining American Civil Liberties Union lawyers who represented the girl.
The Justice Department's lengthy filing indicates the administration planned to seek Supreme Court intervention before the teen, known the court case by the pseudonym Jane Doe, received her Oct. 25 abortion after month of delay by U.S. authorities. The filing alleges the girl's ACLU lawyers misled the government about the timing of the abortion.
"After informing Justice Department attorneys that the procedure would occur on October 26th, Jane Doe's attorneys scheduled the abortion for the early morning hours of October 25th, thereby thwarting Supreme Court review," DOJ spokesman Devin O'Malley said in a statement. "In light of that, the Justice Department believes the judgment under review should be vacated, and discipline may be warranted against Jane Doe's attorneys."
The ACLU said called the allegation "baseless." The group's legal director, David Cole, said the lawyers were working in the best interests of their client.
"That government lawyers failed to seek judicial review quickly enough is their fault, not ours," Cole said in a statement. "We won't let this distract us from the real issue here, which is that there are many more young women like Jane Doe out there who are still unable to get the care they need because of the Trump administration's unconstitutional policies. We will not stop fighting until we have justice for every young woman like Jane."
Selling Stake In Breitbart
Billionaire investor Robert Mercer, who was Donald Trump's (R-Corrupt) biggest single donor during the presidential election, is to sell his stake in the controversial alt-right news site Breitbart.
The 71-year-old also plans to step down as co-chief executive of hedge fund Renaissance Technologies from 1 January, according to a letter he sent to investors.
Mercer and his daughter, Rebekah, are Republican mega-donors and patrons of Steve Bannon (R-Satan's Catamite), the chairman of Breitbart News and former White House chief strategist known for his
populist racist views.
Turning to notorious former Breitbart provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos, Mercer reportedly added: "I supported Milo Yiannopoulos in the hope and expectation that his expression of views contrary to the social mainstream and his spotlighting of the hypocrisy of those who would close down free speech in the name of political correctness would promote the type of open debate and freedom of thought that is being throttled on many American college campuses today.
"But in my opinion, actions of and statements by Mr Yiannopoulos have caused pain and divisiveness undermining the open and productive discourse that I had hoped to facilitate. I was mistaken to have supported him, and for several weeks have been in the process of severing all ties with him."
Half Of Coral Reefs Bleached
Nearly half of Hawaii's coral reefs were bleached during heat waves in 2014 and 2015 and fisheries close to shore are declining, a group of scientists told state lawmakers.
The scientists from the Nature Conservancy briefed the lawmakers on Thursday about what they called an unprecedented situation for Hawaii's sea life.
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration officials said 56 percent of the Big Island's coral were bleached, along with 44 percent along West Maui and 32 percent around Oahu.
The scientists said more severe and frequent bleaching is predicted.
As for Hawaii's fish, University of Hawaii researchers compiled data for 15 years and found a 90 percent decline in overall catch from the last 100 years, which includes fish such as ulua, moi and oio.
Bars L.A. Times Reporters
The Walt Disney Co. is apparently punishing the Los Angeles Times for a negative story about Disneyland, a reporter said in a series of tweets Friday that were supported by a written statement from the newspaper.
"The Los Angeles Times has been 'put on pause' by Disney, barring its reporters and critics from seeing its movies," tweeted Glenn Whipp, who writes columns about film and television for the newspaper. "Disney didn't like the Times' recent two-part story detailing Disneyland's business ties with the city of Anaheim," Whipp continued.
Disney reportedly didn't invite a Times reviewer to an advance screening of Thor: Ragnarok, but the retaliation apparently didn't stop with that one film, and Whipp blames CEO Bob Iger for creating the dustup.
In a tweet, Whipp called the decision "significant because Iger is said to harbor political ambitions when he retires from Disney in 2019. Is this how Bob Iger would react to reporters asking touch questions should he run for office?"
A statement at the newspaper's website reads: "The annual Holiday Movie Sneaks section published by the Los Angeles Times typically includes features on movies from all major studios, reflecting the diversity of films Hollywood offers during the holidays, one of the busiest box-office periods of the year. This year, Walt Disney Co. studios declined to offer The Times advance screenings, citing what it called unfair coverage of its business ties with Anaheim. The Times will continue to review and cover Disney movies and programs when they are available to the public."
Revealed To Be Fake
1878 Macallan Single Malt
When Chinese millionaire, Zhang Wei, splashed out £7,600 on the world's most expensive whisky shot in a Swiss bar, he boasted to his fans that it was the same age as his great, great grandmother would have been - 139 years old.
Unfortunately for the martial arts fantasy writer, the headlines generated not only admiration, but suspicion by experts who doubted the authenticity of the spirit's true provenance when they spotted discrepancies in the bottle's cork and label.
An analysis from Scottish experts has now confirmed that Mr Zhang was unwittingly duped into buying a fake dram, and the Waldhaus am See hotel in St Moritz has recently flown its manager, Sandro Bernasconi, to China to reimburse him, reported the BBC.
The whisky had been poured from an unopened bottle labelled as an 1878 Macallan single malt, and Mr Zhang's shot is believed to have been the largest sum ever paid for a poured dram of Scotch. Had the bottle been genuine, it would have been worth £227,000.
When doubts emerged about its provenance, the hotel sent the whisky to specialists in Dunfermline who carried out carbon dating tests that showed it was probably made between 1970 and 1972. Further lab tests revealed it was probably a blended a Scotch and not a single malt.
1878 Macallan Single Malt
Global Concert Tours
The Top 20 Global Concert Tours ranks artists by average box office gross per city and includes the average ticket price for shows Worldwide. The list is based on data provided to the trade publication Pollstar by concert promoters and venue managers.
1. U2; $9,236,988; $115.95.
2. Coldplay; $6,166,936; $101.46.
3. Celine Dion; $4,242,007; $141.26.
4. Guns N' Roses; $4,184,948; $101.50.
5. Lady Gaga; $3,466,727; $118.04.
6. Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers; $2,622,333; $104.88.
7. Bruno Mars; $2,285,426; $113.88.
8. Roger Waters; $1,889,748; $120.38.
9. Depeche Mode; $1,703,237; $73.91.
10. Ed Sheeran; $1,427,022; $85.48.
11. Queen + Adam Lambert; $1,266,289; $98.26.
12. Tim McGraw / Faith Hill; $1,178,428; $84.89.
13. Kendrick Lamar; $1,174,387; $87.83.
14. Florida Georgia Line; $1,128,420; $54.20.
15. Zac Brown Band; $1,122,451; $51.38.
16. Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band; $1,084,704; $89.82.
17. J. Cole; $1,047,887; $79.60.
18. Jerry Seinfeld; $1,041,007; $123.97.
19. Luke Bryan; $1,005,641; $53.91.
20. John Mayer; $926,171; $68.01.
Global Concert Tours