Froma Harrop: Republican 'Takers' Take Down the Establishment (Creators Syndicate)
Working-class Republicans have finally rebelled against the notion that everything they get is beneficence from the superrich - and that making the superrich super-duper-rich would drop some tinsel on their grateful heads. They were done with quiet protest and ready to take down the Republican bastille, stone by stone. And the angrier Trump made the establishment the happier they were.
Lucy Mangan: "The Great British Sex Survey review: the nation's fetishes get aired in all their gory glory" (The Guardian)
The Great British Sex Survey (Channel 4) was, as the astute-to-barely-sentient among you will no doubt have suspected from the first sighting of the title in your schedules, a pile of toss. Don't forgive the pun, there's no reason you should. Ninety minutes of filler on a Thursday night, balanced on the back of research commissioned by Channel 4 from YouGov.
Alison Flood: Mormons clash with the ungodly in war by Amazon customer review (the Guardian)
An unholy row has broken out between believers and cynics who consider The Book of Mormon a 'waste of a good tree.'
Aisha Gani: Amazon sues 1,000 'fake reviewers' (The Guardian)
Online retailer files lawsuit in US against people whose names it says it does not know, claiming they offer reviews for sale.
David Barnett: Amazon accused of 'Big Brother' tactics over customer reviews (The Guardian)
Author Jas Ward has launched change.org petition after it emerged that the retail giant is monitoring social networks to screen would-be reviewers.
Diana Cook: 5 Reasons the NCAA Tournament Is a Total Scam (Cracked)
#5. Cinderella Stories and the Perfect Bracket Are Fantasies
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
A moment, please, to remember our old buddy Bart?
Hey, anybody else hear about the St. Louis Archdiocese hating on the Girl Scouts?
It was quite the talk here for a while.
Good thing I'm not Catholic (or anything else, really)
I love the cookies!
Thanks, Gateway Mike!
Meant to mention the sad 'anniversary' yesterday, but spaced it.
As to the Girl Scouts in St. Louis, check out BC-E - Saturday, 20 February and BC-E - Thursday, 25 February,
I was raised a rather hard-core catholic, complete with a Sisters of St. Joseph education. Was even on the parish council.
Have more than one pal who was molested, not believed, and made a pariah. None of them has received so much as a 'mea culpa'.
Bart was the master of writing about a catholic up-bringing.
I have a tendency to get not-funny nasty about a lot of it.
I was also a 10-year Girl Scout and spent 3 years as a troop leader.
Love the Girl Scouts to this day. They made a positive difference in my life.
I'm delighted the Girl Scouts of St. Louis had a record-setting cookie sale this year.
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
WALKING IT BACK.
"QUICK… I NEED AN ABORTION!"
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Still barking like a seal.
Slams 'Insane Bigot'
Louis C.K. is urging voters to stop supporting Donald Trump (R-Wichser), calling him an "insane bigot" and comparing him to Adolf Hitler.
In an email blast sent Saturday announcing the sixth episode of his web series "Horace and Pete," the comedian included a long a scathing postscript telling readers, "Please stop it with voting for Trump."
"It was funny for a little while," he added. "But the guy is Hitler. And by that I mean that we are being Germany in the '30s. Do you think they saw the shit coming? Hitler was just some hilarious and refreshing dude with a weird comb over who would say anything at all."
C.K. also called on his Republican fans to vote for any GOP candidate other than Trump.
And just in case the Hitler comparison didn't sink in, C.K. went on to compare the real estate mogul and reality TV star to cancer.
Opposition To All Things Obama
Republicans can blame their united stand against President Barack Obama for their party's splintering.
Conservatives' gut-level resistance to all things Obama - the man, his authority, his policies - gave birth to the tea party movement that powered the GOP to political success in multiple states and historic congressional majorities. Yet contained in the movement and its triumphs were the seeds of destruction, evident now in the party's fracture over presidential front-runner Donald Trump (Pinche Pendejo Gabacho Cagaleche).
Now the party of Abraham Lincoln is engaged in a civil war, pitting establishment Republicans frightened about a election rout in November against the unpredictable Trump, who has capitalized on voter animosity toward Washington and politicians.
"There would be no Donald Trump without Barack Obama," said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-Narnia). No fan of Trump, Graham argued that resentment of Obama plus his own party's attitude toward immigrants are responsible for the deep divide and the billionaire businessman's surge.
Mainstream Republicans are hard-pressed to figure out a way forward with Trump, who has pledged to build a wall on the Mexican border, bar Muslims from entering the United States and equivocated over former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke's support. The candidate has assembled a growing coalition of blue-collar workers, high-school educated and those craving a no-nonsense candidate.
Case Exposes Ongoing Rift Over Encryption
Even as the Department of Justice battles Apple in court over access to encrypted data, the Obama administration remains split over backing requirements that tech manufacturers provide law enforcement with a "back door" into their products, according to a dozen people familiar with the internal debate.
FBI Director James Comey and the DOJ - who are fighting to access an iPhone tied to the San Bernardino attacks - have long tried and failed to convince other departments to join the broader battle against unbreakable encryption, the current and former government officials said.
Federal justice officials argue that strong encryption makes it harder to track criminals, a central contention in the iPhone case. But officials in other departments - including Commerce, State and the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy - counter that encryption is integral to protecting U.S. secrets and the technology industry. The issue has been discussed in meetings of the interagency National Security Council and elsewhere.
Some government officials also worry that confronting the tech sector on the issue could heighten distrust of American products overseas and drive terrorists and top criminals to seek foreign-made encryption.
Several key officials in the National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security opposed the fight with Apple based on those concerns, the sources said.
Ready to Hatch in Slovenian Cave
A bevy of blind baby "dragons" may soon hatch in a Slovenian cave.
Biologists at Postojna Cave, a 15-mile-long (24 kilometers) cave system in southwestern Slovenia, are waiting with bated breath for the arrival of up to 55 baby olms (Proteus anguinus). These underground animals are also known as European cave salamanders, but locals call them "human fish," said Stanley Sessions, a biologist at Hartwick College in New York and a Fulbright scholar at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. That's because their cave-adapted skin lacks pigment and is a fleshy pinkish-white color.
Olms are the largest of all cave-adapted animals, but they have long been enigmatic, Sessions and his colleague, Lilijana Bizjak Mali, of the University of Slovenia, wrote in an email to Live Science. They can grow up to 16 inches (40 centimeters) long. In the 1600s, people saw the long, slim bodies of these salamanders washed out of their cave habitats by rain and mistook them for baby dragons - an understandable impression, given the olms' frilly gills, which look a bit like the neck frill of a fantastical dragon. The salamanders are blind, but very sensitive to smell, taste, sound and even electric fields, studies have found.
The appearance of the eggs is occasion for excitement among biologists because rearing olms in captivity is difficult, Sessions and Mali wrote. What's more, olms live life in the slow lane: They don't reach sexual maturity until age 14, and they can live to be at least 70 years old. Their metabolisim is so slow that olms can go without food for up to 10 years. They also have an unusually large genome, Sessions and Mali said, with about 15 times as many base pairs of nucleotides as humans.
GOP Senator: Federal Aid Not Needed
Federal aid is not needed in Flint, Michigan, where lead-contaminated pipes have resulted in an ongoing public health emergency, a Republican senator said Friday.
Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, said he is holding up bipartisan legislation to address the water crisis in Flint because Michigan's Republican governor, Rick Snyder (R-Environmental Racist), has not asked for federal help and the state does not need it.
"Michigan has an enormous budget surplus this year" and a rainy-day fund totaling several hundred million dollars, Lee said. The state has approved $70 million in emergency funding for Flint, and Snyder has requested at least $165 million more toward the Flint emergency.
Senators from both parties reached a tentative deal last month for a $220 million package to fix and replace lead-contaminated pipes in Flint and other cities, but the bill remains on hold.
Sen. David Vitter (R-Diapers), also has objected to the bill, which is attached to a broader energy measure being debated in the Senate. Vitter's concerns are unrelated to Flint and center on efforts to expand fishing areas for red snapper and other species in the Gulf of Mexico.
Still 'Much To Do'
The Vatican Friday defended the Catholic Church's action on paedophile priests, saying popes Francis and Benedict XVI had "courageously" tackled the issue but admitting there was still much to be done in many countries.
Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said "sensationalism" surrounding the Oscar-winning film "Spotlight" and hearings into an alleged cover-up of abuse by Cardinal George Pell in Rome had given the public the wrong impression.
Much of what went on in Boston has been compared to abuse committed in the Australian town of Ballarat and the city of Melbourne in the 1970s and 1980s.
The Vatican defended Australian Pell, the pope's powerful finance minister, despite accusations by victims of sex abuse that he protected paedophile priests in his hometown of Ballarat.
Despite Pell's widely-reported gaffe, in which he told the commission the abuse "wasn't of much interest to me" at the time, Lombardi said on the whole the testimony had helped towards "purifying the memory" of the Church.
Climate change doubters may have lost one of their key talking points: a particular satellite temperature dataset that had seemed to show no warming for the past 18 years.
The Remote Sensing System temperature data, promoted by many who reject mainstream climate science and especially most recently by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Pinche Pendejo), now shows a slight warming of about 0.18 degrees Fahrenheit since 1998. Ground temperature measurements, which many scientists call more accurate, all show warming in the past 18 years.
"There are people that like to claim there was no warming; they really can't claim that anymore," said Carl Mears, the scientist who runs the Remote Sensing System temperature data tracking.
The change resulted from an adjustment Mears made to fix a nagging discrepancy in the data from 15 satellites.
The satellites are in a polar orbit, so they are supposed to go over the same place at about the same time as they circle from north to south pole. Some of the satellites drift a bit, which changes their afternoon and evening measurements ever so slightly. Some satellites had drift that made temperatures warmer, others cooler. Three satellites had thrusters and they stayed in the proper orbit so they provided guidance for adjustments.
Worst In 900 Years
Middle East Drought
A recent, 14-year dry spell in the Middle East was the worst drought in the past 900 years, according to a new NASA study released this week.
NASA's researchers examined records of rings of trees in several Mediterranean countries to determine patterns of dry and wet years across a span of 900 years. They concluded that the years from 1998 to 2012 were drier than any other period, and that the drought was likely caused by humans.
The study's lead author Ben Cook said the range of extreme weather events in the eastern Mediterranean has varied widely in the past nine centuries, but the past two decades stand out.
Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, said the NASA study is one of several worrying reports about unprecedented climate conditions.
Middle East Drought
Development Plan Rejected
U.S. land managers on Friday rejected a plan that could have opened the way for housing and commercial expansion near the Grand Canyon's celebrated South Rim, a surprise decision that was decried by developers but praised by environmental groups.
The plan submitted by the town of Tusayan, a community of about 600 residents on the outskirts of Arizona's most famous national park, called for shops, restaurants, hotels and more than 2,000 homes on acreage near the South Rim.
But the development, which was to include 3 million square feet of commercial space, was contingent on the U.S. Forest Service agreeing to road upgrades and utility installations on national forest land adjoining the park.
In a letter delivered to Tusayan on Friday, Kaibab National Forest Supervisor Heather Provencio said the application for those improvements had failed to meet minimal requirements under the forest's overall mandate to protect the adjacent national park and tribal lands.
The development plan ignited heated debate when the town and its Italian partners in 2014 asked federal land managers for permission to construct paved roads and related infrastructure near a World Heritage Site valued for its famed multi-hued canyons sculpted over millions of years by water and wind erosion.
Author Pat Conroy, whose beloved works "The Great Santini" and "The Prince of Tides" are set against the vistas of the South Carolina coast that was his home, was lauded Saturday as a great chronicler of the human condition and a humble and loving soul.
Conroy, 70, died Friday at his home in Beaufort, about an hour south of Charleston, surrounded by family and friends at the time, according to his publisher.
Conroy, who sold 20 million books worldwide, candidly and expansively shared details of growing up as a military brat and his anguished relationship with his abusive father, Marine aviator and military hero Donald Conroy. He also wrote of his time in military school, The Citadel in Charleston, and his struggles with his health and depression.
Much of his youth was spent in the shadow of Donald Conroy, who "thundered out of the sky in black-winged fighter planes, every inch of him a god of war," as Pat Conroy would remember. The author was the eldest of seven children in a family constantly moving from base to base, a life described in "The Great Santini," the film of which starred Robert Duvall as the relentless and violent patriarch.
The 1976 novel initially enraged Conroy's family, but the movie three years later made such an impression on his father that he claimed credit for boosting Duvall's career. The book also helped achieve peace between father and son.
"The Prince of Tides," published in 1986, brought Conroy a wide audience, selling more than 5 million copies with its story of a former football player from South Carolina with a traumatic past and the New York psychiatrist who attempts to help him.
Conroy's much-anticipated "Beach Music," published in 1995, was a best-seller that took nine years to complete. During that time he had been working on "The Prince of Tides" screenplay, but he also endured a divorce, depression, back surgery and the suicide of his youngest brother.
He was born Donald Patrick Conroy on Oct. 26, 1945. The Conroy children attended 11 schools in 12 years before the family eventually settled in Beaufort, about an hour from Charleston.
Following college graduation in 1967, he worked as a high school teacher in Beaufort. While there, he borrowed $1,500 to have a vanity press publish "The Boo," an affectionate portrait of Col. Thomas Courvoisie, an assistant commandant at The Citadel.
For a year he taught poor children on isolated Daufuskie Island, not far from the resort of Hilton Head. The experience was the basis for his 1972 book, "The Water Is Wide," which was made into the movie "Conrack."
Conroy was married three times and had two daughters. Although he lived around the world, he always considered South Carolina his home and lived in the coastal Lowcountry since the late 1990s.