Paul Krugman: Republicans' Climate Change Denial Denial (NY Times Column)
Future historians - if there are any future historians - will almost surely say that the most important thing happening in the world during December 2015 was the climate talks in Paris. […] But the talks could mark a turning point, the beginning of the kind of international action needed to avert catastrophe. Then again, they might not; we may be doomed. And if we are, you know who will be responsible: the Republican Party.
Chris Thompson: Pharmaceuticals Rapscallion Martin Shkreli Now Playing the Stock Market Like a Goddamn Pan Flute (Gawker)
So, here we are. Martin Shkreli, as vile a person as there is, took a worthless stock in a folding company and turned it into a personal windfall, because the stock market is cool and good and yay capitalism and all that.
Alison Flood: JK Rowling recalls 'amazing' moment she met her idol Morrissey (The Guardian)
Harry Potter author remembers the shock of her encounter with the Smiths singer, in a Guardian interview that touches on Twitter trolls and the joy of being an undiscovered writer again.
Mark Coker: 2015 Smashwords Survey Reveals Insights to Help Authors Reach More Readers (Smashwords Blog)
Avoid $1.99. For the fourth year in a row, $1.99 was a black hole in terms of overall earnings. On a unit sales basis, although $1.99 books outperformed all books priced $5.00 and above, it dramatically underperformed on overall earnings, earning 73% less than the average of all other price points.
Michele Hanson: I despair that my recycling won't change the world. But others' will (The Guardian)
I tried to recycle my bed to do my bit and save some of the world's resources. I failed, but there's still hope - not everyone has given up.
Jonathan Jones: The dinosaur that proves the madness of the art market (The Guardian)
Today's dino sale (yes, you can buy them at auction) for a predicted £500,000 proves that we're criminally underpaying for our ancient wonders - and even more criminally overpaying for modern art.
Alex Ross: The Shadow (New Yorker)
A hundred years of Orson Welles.
David Bruce's Amazon Author Page
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David Bruce has over 80 Kindle books on Amazon.com.
Michelle in AZ
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
"IS DONALD TRUMP A FASCIST?" A CONSERVATIVE VIEW.
THE MOLE IN THE KOCH MACHINE.
10 Pro-Gun Myths, Shot Down | Mother Jones
"BREAK THE NRA"
"BREAK THE NRA" PART TWO.
IF IT'S GOOD FOR THE GOOSE THEN IT'S GOOD FOR THE GANDER.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Back to sunny and seasonal.
Drum Kit Sells For $2.2 Million
A drum kit that Ringo Starr used to record some of the Beatles' early hits has sold for $2.2 million at an auction to Indianapolis Colts owner Jim Irsay.
Julien's Auctions says Irsay bought the 1963 Ludwig Oyster Black Pearl three-piece drum kit Friday at a sale in Beverly Hills, California. The two-day auction includes over 800 items owned by Ringo Starr and his wife, actress Barbara Bach.
Starr used the kit in more than 200 performances between May 1963 and February 1964. He also played it on recordings including "Can't Buy Me Love," ''She Loves You," ''All My Loving" and "I Want to Hold Your Hand."
The auction concludes Saturday. A portion of the proceeds will benefit the couple's Lotus Children Foundation, which focuses on global social welfare issues.
Named California Poet Laureate
Dana Gioia, the poet and former chairman of the National Endowment for the Arts, has been named California Poet Laureate.
Gov. Jerry Brown announced Friday that Gioia will succeed Juan Felipe Herrera, who served from 2012 to 2014 and is now U.S. Poet Laureate.
Gioia, who turns 65 later this month, headed the NEA from 2003 to 2009. He has long advocated making poetry more accessible to the general public and teaching it in schools. His initiatives at the NEA included the student contest Poetry Out Loud.
Stand-up comedian Dave Chappelle has joined forces with a tech start-up in order to stop members of the audience using their mobile phones during his live shows.
The American comic has banned the use of phones at his shows for years, but is taking things a step further with the use of smartphone-locking pouches.
Members of the audience keep the phone pouches with them throughout the show, but as soon as they enter the 'no-phone zone', they are locked shut.
If someone needs to use their phone, they can simply step outside of the no-phone zone and the case will unlock.
Not only do the phone-locking pouches prevent fresh material being uploaded to YouTube before the performance has even finished, it also stops people from disturbing others with their backlit screens, leaving everyone free to enjoy the routine.
Royal Seal Unearthed
The royal seal of an ancient biblical king has been unearthed near the Temple Mount in Jerusalem.
The seal, a clay impression depicting a two-winged sun with two ankh symbols on either side, was once used to seal papyrus documents associated with King Hezekiah, who ruled the kingdom of Judea from 727 B.C. to 698 B.C. The seal was unearthed in a trash heap near the walls of the ancient Temple Mount.
King Hezekiah is one of the most famous of the Israelite kings. During his reign, he rooted out idol worship, spruced up the decrepit temple and centralized power, as told in biblical accounts.
His reign is also one of the best documented by nonbiblical sources. The chronicles of the Assyrian kings Sargon II and Sennacherib, who laid siege to Jerusalem under Hezekiah's watch, describe the Israelite ruler paying tribute to them to fend off attacks. The Assyrians laid siege to Jerusalem but did not vanquish the Judean kingdom in Hezekiah's lifetime, according to the Assyrian chronicles.
The team found the seal while sifting through archaeological remains from a trash heap found outside what was once the Royal Building, essentially the food pantry for the ancient kingdom.
Appeals Court Hears Challenge
A U.S. appeals court heard arguments on Friday over the legality of the Federal Communications Commission's net neutrality rules, in a case that may ultimately determine how consumers get access to content on the Internet.
The fight is the latest battle over Obama administration rules requiring broadband providers to treat all data equally, rather than giving or selling access to a so-called Web "fast lane."
A three-judge panel, in a hearing that lasted over three hours, questioned lawyers for the FCC and broadband backers about whether the FCC properly extended the sweeping authority it has to regulate telecommunications to Internet service providers.
So-called net neutrality is a major issue for broadband providers like Verizon Communications Inc and Comcast Corp, which fear the rules may make it harder to manage Internet traffic and make investment to provide additional capacity less likely. It is also a big concern for content providers like Netflix Inc and Yelp Inc, worried that access to customers could be limited without net neutrality.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has ruled twice against the FCC since 2010 and Judge David Tatel, who wrote both opinions, is on the panel that heard the case.
Police Questioned For Hours
A third-grader was taken off a school bus and questioned for hours by police because another girl falsely reported the 8-year-old had chemicals in her backpack, her family said in a lawsuit Thursday.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Rhode Island, which filed the federal lawsuit against the town of Tiverton, compared the case to that of a Texas teenager who was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school in September. The group said such actions terrorize and traumatize children.
The family's lawyer, Amato DeLuca, said police essentially arrested the girl with no evidence. They had already searched her backpack and found nothing when school officials allowed them to put her in the back of a police cruiser and take her alone to the police department, where she was questioned, he said.
"What we've stooped to in the name of public safety is arresting third-graders," he said. "It's so un-American. It's so police state. It's so Gestapo. I never thought we'd do things like that here."
"The kid was just terrified. Upset, crying. It's a little girl. They both were. They didn't know what they did wrong. They felt intimidated by the police," DeLuca said. "If somebody told you that police arrest third-graders, you'd say, 'Nah, can't be.' But yeah, they do. In Tiverton, anyway."
Ghost Boats Mystery
Mystery surrounds a fleet of ghost boats with headless skeletons or rotting corpses on board that are washing up on Japan's shores.
At least 14 weathered vessels -- some badly damaged or capsized -- with almost two dozen bodies have been discovered since October.
Mounting evidence suggests that the rickety boats have come from isolated and impoverished North Korea.
Some net users in Japan speculate the dead could have been defectors looking for escape from the intolerant regime of Kim Jong-Un, but experts say they were likely fishermen on an ill-fated, but government-mandated, search for bigger catches.
The detachment of the heads indicates those onboard have been dead for a considerable time, with body parts separated by a lengthy natural decay.
Crews Finish Pumping
Salvage crews have finished pumping hazardous oil-based substances from a sunken barge that apparently had been sitting undiscovered on the bottom of Lake Erie for nearly 80 years, the U.S. Coast Guard said Thursday.
Federal officials overseeing the underwater operation say the barge no longer poses an environmental threat.
Crews discovered this week that six of the eight cargo tanks already were empty, suggesting that the oil-based substances either spilled when the barge sank or slowly trickled out over time.
The Coast Guard and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency have been monitoring the site near the U.S.-Canadian border since coming across a small leak in October that appeared to be from a barge called the Argo that sank during a storm in 1937. The wreckage was one of 87 shipwrecks on a federal registry that identifies the most serious pollution threats to U.S. waters.
What will be done with the remains of the steel barge, which is mostly intact and sitting upright, is still to be determined. Sonar images show outlines of the pilot house, railings and pipes.
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. Taylor Swift; $4,625,801; $114.47.
2. One Direction; $3,117,311; $85.47.
3. Madonna; $2,374,448; $125.33.
4. Luke Bryan; $1,705,573; $53.82.
5. Maroon 5; $1,613,381; $82.44.
6. Ed Sheeran; $1,357,513; $60.47.
7. Zac Brown Band; $1,325,371; $57.64.
8. Marc Anthony / Carlos Vives; $1,258,373; $106.90.
9. Violetta; $1,142,958; $68.40.
10. Juan Gabriel; $1,098,539; $120.78.
11. Foo Fighters; $974,983; $59.33.
12. Shania Twain; $902,011; $89.97.
13. Dave Matthews Band; $815,310; $58.46.
14. Janet Jackson; $802,887; $88.01.
15. Florence + The Machine; $692,151; $57.37.
16. 5 Seconds Of Summer; $619,719; $44.52.
17. Motley Crue; $616,525; $68.03.
18. Chayanne; $606,851; $87.04.
19. Def Leppard; $601,281; $47.29.
20. Chris Brown; $580,613; $39.72.
Global Concert Tours
Oscar-nominated actor Robert Loggia, who was known for gravelly voiced gangsters from "Scarface" to "The Sopranos" but who was most endearing as Tom Hanks' kid-at-heart toy-company boss in "Big," has died. He was 85.
A solidly built man with a rugged face and rough voice, Loggia fit neatly into gangster movies, playing a Miami drug lord in "Scarface," which starred Al Pacino; and a Sicilian mobster in "Prizzi's Honor," with Jack Nicholson and Kathleen Turner. He played wise guys in David Lynch's "Lost Highway," the spoofs "Innocent Blood" and "Armed and Dangerous," and again on David Chase's "The Sopranos," as the previously jailed veteran mobster Michele "Feech" La Manna.
It was not as a gangster but as a seedy detective that Loggia received his only Academy Award nomination, as supporting actor in 1985's "Jagged Edge." He played gumshoe Sam Ransom, who investigated a murder involving Glenn Close and Jeff Bridges.
Loggia gave an endearing comic performance in Penny Marshall's 1988 "Big," when he danced with Tom Hanks on a giant piano keyboard.
Loggia also appeared in five films for comedy director Blake Edwards, including three "Pink Panther" films and the dark comedy "S.O.B." He also portrayed Joseph, husband of Mary, in George Stevens' biblical epic "The Greatest Story Ever Told."
In 1966 Loggia had the rare opportunity for stardom, taking the lead role in the NBC television drama "T.H.E. Cat."
He played a former circus aerialist and cat burglar who guarded clients in danger of being murdered. When the series was cancelled after one season, however, the distraught Loggia largely dropped out of the business for a time.
He returned to TV with a role in a two-part episode of the TV show "Mannix," and he was soon working regularly again. He even starred in another TV series, "Mancuso, FBI," a spinoff of Loggia's character in the 1988 miniseries "Favorite Son."
Among his later roles was as a general and presidential adviser in the 1996 sci-fi thriller "Independence Day."
In 2003 Loggia appeared in four episodes of HBO's "The Sopranos," as gangster Feech La Manna, who was released from prison and sought to return to the Mafia. Tony Soprano worried about La Manna's uncontrollable temper and tricked him into violating his parole.
The son of Sicilian immigrants, Loggia was born in 1930 in New York City's borough of Staten Island. He grew up in Manhattan's Little Italy section.
He appeared on "Studio One," ''Playhouse 90" and other live dramatic series during television's Golden Age. He made his stage debut off-Broadway in 1956 in "The Man with the Golden Arm," appearing in the title role of a drug addict, played in the movie by Frank Sinatra.
In 1956 Loggia made his film debut in "Somebody Up There Likes Me," playing mobster Frankie Peppo, who tries to persuade boxer Rocky Graziano (Paul Newman) to throw a fight.
Loggia married Marjorie Sloane in 1954, and they had three children, daughters Tracey and Kristina and son John.
After their divorce, Loggia married Audrey O'Brien in 1982.
A former West Baltimore drug kingpin who had a recurring role on the television show "The Wire" has died.
The Baltimore Sun reports Melvin Williams died Thursday at a Baltimore hospital. The Wylie Funeral Home says it is handling the arrangements.
The Sun reports that the 73-year-old known as "Little Melvin" spent years in federal prison for drug and gun convictions but later spoke out against drug use and gang life.
"The Wire" co-creator David Simon covered Williams as a Sun reporter. After Williams met with Simon and a former homicide detective collaborating with Simon, Williams was offered the role of Deacon on "The Wire." He appeared in episodes in seasons three and four. The Wire ran from 2002 to 2008.
Scott Weiland, best known as the lead singer of popular "grunge" rock acts Stone Temple Pilots and Velvet Revolver, has died at the age of 48.
The death of Weiland -- a two-time recipient of the music industry's Grammy award -- was reported on the singer's Facebook page early Friday.
The singer "passed away in his sleep while on a tour stop in Bloomington, Minnesota, with his band The Wildabouts," the Facebook post read.
He had been scheduled to perform with his new band, Scott Weiland & The Wildabouts, when he was found dead in the group's tour bus, news reports said.
Weiland formed Stone Temple Pilots with friends more than two decades ago. Their first album "Core" came out in 1992.
But he suffered from substance abuse issues and left the band.
In 2003 he joined Velvet Revolver but quit in 2008, reportedly because of more personal issues.
Weiland had two children with his ex-wife Mary Forsberg.
News reports said he married photographer Jamie Wachtel Weiland in 2013.