Dominic Rushe: "JP Morgan chief blasts US dysfunction: 'It's almost an embarrassment being American'" (The Guardian)
Jamie Dimon rails at Washington and laments 'stupid shit' in US politics.
Josh Marshall: Elections have Consequences (TPM)
With today's [July 14, 2017] mix of incriminating, lurid and fantastical news, it's worth taking a moment to remember that we as a nation made a collective decision to make Trump's world of corruption and nonsense into our world. And here we are.
Jonathan Cohn: "'Simply Unworkable': Insurers Blast New Provision In Senate Health Bill" (Huffington Post)
The industry sounds just as angry as the patient advocates.
Paul Krugman: The New Climate Of Treason (NY Times Blog)
In the long run, it makes you wonder whether and how we can get the country we used to be back. As Branko says, there was a time when Serbs and Croats seemed to get along fairly well, indeed intermarrying at a high rate. But could anyone now put Yugoslavia back together? At this rate, we'll soon be asking the same question about America.
Mark Dion: Hillbilly Huntin' (Creators Syndicate)
Ever since Donald Trump won the presidency with the votes of people who have never been to a Whole Foods, American writers and reporters have been hillbilly huntin'.
Bim Adewunmi: Janeane Garofalo is a tiny thing, but the air around her crackles (The Guardian)
I think about all Garofalo's combined experience on screen and stage, and smile at how lucky I am to have seen her in the flesh.
Stuart Heritage: What happened, Netflix? You were king of the hill - now you're circling the drain (The Guardian)
It was the envy of the entire TV industry, but it's becoming notorious for embarrassing duds like Gypsy and Friends from College. Can the streaming giant come back from this?
Peter Robinson: "will.i.am: 'We live in a world where destroying people and their dreams is a business'" (The Guardian)
Some things just take long. Some people are in it for the long haul. And throughout the whole journey of growing, you have the people on the sidelines who are afraid to fail, criticising people who are fearless.
Peter Robinson: Foo Fighters' Dave Grohl: 'I got 6,000 muffins from Lionel Richie after missing Glastonbury' (The Guardian)
When a broken leg scuppered the Nirvana legend's plans to headline the Pyramid stage in 2015, his only consolation was a present from a pop hero. But now, the Foos are ready to finally hit Worthy Farm.
Alexis Petridis: Are Spotify's 'fake artists' any good? (The Guardian)
The streaming giant has been accused of commissioning generic instrumental music to go on its hugely popular playlists - and save it millions in royalties. We take a listen.
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Michelle in AZ
new post concept
Hey y'all, send in your daily choices of favorite music.
I'll kick it off with a big favorite of mine for many years.
The Kinks - The Kink Kronikles -
I got this record at a friends' garage sale. Two discs on vinyl with tons of the best early Kinks songs, plus rarities & B-Sides.
To my ears it holds up great, though it's from quite a while ago.
A very British album in musical style, & lyric content.
What music do you like enough to tell us about it?
I also have a great fondness for The Kinks - probably have seen them about a dozen times over the years.
Hard to pick just one album, but Everybody's in Show-Biz is a favorite.
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
ARE YOU AS SMART AS A BIRD?
A SHIT-STAIN ON DEMOCRACY.
SO, WHAT'S A BROTHER FOR?
A TALE OF TWO CITIES.
DON'T BET ON IT.
CAUGHT RED HANDED!
TRUMP JOINS THE CIRCLE OF SATAN.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Had about a foot of hair cut off.
Robotics Team Arrives In US
Twice rejected for U.S. visas, an all-girls robotics team from Afghanistan arrived in Washington early Saturday after an extraordinary, last-minute intervention by Donald Trump (R-Tone Deaf).
The six-girl team and their chaperone completed their journey just after midnight from their hometown of Herat, Afghanistan, to enter their ball-sorting robot in the three-day high school competition starting Sunday in the U.S. capital. Awaiting them at the gate at Washington Dulles International Airport were a U.S. special envoy and Afghan Ambassador Hamdullah Mohib, who described it as a rare moment of celebration for his beleaguered nation.
In the short time since their visa dilemma drew global attention, the girls' case has become a flashpoint in the debate about Trump's efforts to tighten entrance to the U.S., including from many majority-Muslim countries. Afghanistan isn't included in Trump's temporary travel ban, but critics have said the ban is emblematic of a broader effort to put a chill on Muslims entering the U.S.
The girls' story has also renewed the focus on the longer-term U.S. plans for aiding Afghanistan's future, as Trump's administration prepares a new military strategy that will include sending more troops to the country where the U.S. has been fighting since 2001. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday the strategy was moving forward but "not finalized yet."
Unearthed After 250 Years
When a Canadian construction team came across a giant cannonball as they excavated a building site in Quebec, they did what anyone else would do in this age of Snapchat and Instagram.
They moved the 200lb projectile into better view and posed with it for photographs.
It was only later, when an archaeologist was studying the missile, the workers learned of their lucky escape: The cannonball was still live, packed with a charge and gunpowder just as it would have been when fired by British gunners during the Battle of the Plains of Abraham in 1759.
A team of army bomb disposal experts was hurriedly called in to make the artefact safe.
It had lain buried for more than 250 years in what is now known as Old Quebec, the historic quarter of Quebec City.
Can't Land Humans On Mars
For years, NASA has been promoting its Journey to Mars mission, which would have given many a chance to land on the hot planet. People who were looking forward to make a trip to Mars will be disappointed to know that NASA has no money to execute its plan.
On Wednesday, NASA's chief of human spaceflight, William H. Gerstenmaier, announced the agency cannot achieve the targeted mission to Mars in the 2030s with the current budget.
"I can't put a date on humans on Mars, and the reason really is the other piece is, at the budget levels we described, this roughly 2 percent increase, we don't have the surface systems available for Mars," Gerstenmaier reportedly said during a propulsion meeting of the American Institute for Aeronautics and Astronautics. "And that entry, descent, and landing is a huge challenge for us for Mars."
It is believed the cost to build the Space Launch System, and spacecraft, Orion, went higher than expected, due to which the agency failed to begin designing vehicles to land on Mars or ascend from the surface.
2,500-Year-Old Greek Cold Case
More than 2,500 years ago, an Athenian nobleman named Cylon -- the first recorded Olympic champion -- tried to take over the city of Athens and install himself as its sole ruler.
According to Thucydides and Herodotus, Athenian and Greek historians who wrote about the coup, Cylon enticed an army of followers to enter the city and lay siege to the Acropolis.
They were defeated, but Cylon managed to escape.
Now archaeologists in Athens believe they may have found some of the remains of Cylon's army in a mass grave in Phaleron, four miles (6 kilometres) south of downtown Athens.
The discovery of the 80 skeletons of men is "unequalled" in Greece, said site project director Stella Chrysoulaki.
Doesn't Want to Pay His Lawyers
Donald Trump (R-Crooked) may be the richest president in United States history, with an estimated net worth of $3.5 billion (cough, cough), but he still doesn't want to pay the lawyers appointed to represent him and his administration in the ongoing Russia inquiries. According to a report in The Washington Post Thursday, some of Trump's aides are pushing for the Republican National Committee (RNC) to cover the legal costs, which the RNC is said to be reluctant to do.
The question of who foots the bill is said by one source to have led to "robust discussions" between Trump's people and the RNC. While the RNC does have a legal defense fund, it was designed to be used for legal issues facing the Republican Party rather than specific individuals. The RNC has yet to make a decision on whether it should, or is even legally able to, cover the legal fees, according to the report. However, many in the RNC are said to believe it would be inappropriate to be responsible for paying the various lawyers.
Trump is far from the only member of his team requiring legal representation amid increasing revelations about contact between his campaign and Russia. Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner hired one of the country's leading criminal defense lawyers last month to join his existing legal team. Last month, Vice President Mike Pence also hired outside counsel.
Reluctance to pay lawyers is nothing new for Trump. New York City law firm Morrison Cohen LLP alleged in court records in 2008 that Trump failed to pay nearly half a million dollars in legal fees, according to USA Today. In 2012, Virginia-based firm Heyward, Lee, Hopper & Feehan filed a lawsuit against the Trump Organization claiming nearly $100,000 in unpaid fees and costs.
That history was one of the reasons cited, along with Trump demonstrating refusal to follow legal advice, by four top law firms rejecting offers to represent Trump.
Voter Fraud Commission
Public comments on the voter fraud commission released by the White House late Thursday were overwhelmingly, and in many cases profanely, critical of the project.
The Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity posted on its page on the White House website, without comment or explanation,112 pages of emails received through July 11, commenting on the organization's request for states to send them voter information. The posted material did not redact the email addresses, phone numbers and home addresses of the authors.
Some of the initial responses from state election officials were colorful, such as Mississippi Secretary of State Delbert Hosemann telling the commission it could go "jump in the Gulf of Mexico" and suggesting his home state as a launch point, while others pointed out Kobach's history of voter suppression charges. The emails released by the White House are slightly more creative and far more profane, including one responder who sent a nine-page missive listing Republicans who had been charged with or convicted of sex crimes. There were some constructive suggestions and a few that supported the commission, along with those recommending that Kobach - who has announced his intention to run for governor of Kansas in 2018 - consider fornicating with himself.
"Who the f*** are you evil people?" wrote one emailer.
"I know you are looking for ideas from the public on ways to 'undermine the American people's confidence in the integrity of the federal election process,'" said another emailer. "Your panel sounds like a good way to start."
Read all the emails.
Now Deported for Running a Red Light
Just before 7 a.m. on May 11, Jonatan Palacios quietly closed the door to his apartment in Haverford, Pennsylvania, to avoid waking his wife. In the parking lot, he got into his car to drive to the restaurant where he works as the head cook. But as he pulled out of his parking space, Palacios saw two law enforcement officers in his rearview mirror walking toward his car. As they got closer, Palacios, who is an undocumented immigrant, could see the small logo on the upper left side of their chests-and knew they were from immigration. He checked the door handles, and felt a moment of relief when he realized the doors had locked automatically.
The immigration agents knocked on the window and asked him to get out of his car. Palacios froze. After a few seconds, he told the agents through the glass that he needed to make some phone calls. He called his boss to tell him he wouldn't make it to work, his lawyer, and his wife, an American citizen, who was still asleep in the apartment. She came to the parking lot to ask the agents if they had a warrant to arrest her husband.
They didn't have an arrest warrant, they told her, but they did have a deportation order issued by a judge in 2008-a couple of years after Palacios had arrived in America from Honduras when he was 17. Seeing no way out, Palacios opened the car door, hugged his wife, and allowed the officers to bind his arms behind his back with plastic zip ties. They brought Palacios to a processing center in Philadelphia before moving him to Pennsylvania's York County Prison.
Trump has taken immigration enforcement in a different direction. His orders effectively overturned Obama's policy. Whereas before, agents had to follow a specified list of priorities, they can now go after any undocumented immigrant they deem to be a "risk to public safety or national security" -a deliberately vague mandate, say immigration experts, that gives individuals in the agency a lot of leeway to make their own choices. "With his executive orders, Trump played into [ICE officers'] worst instincts," says Matthew Archambeault, Palacios's lawyer, adding that officers "feel like they can be mean and not give any breaks to anyone."
The result has been an increase in enforcement against immigrants without criminal records. Several lawyers in Philadelphia told Newsweek that ICE officers are arresting any undocumented immigrant they encounter, even ones that run red lights or stop signs. ICE agents now routinely raid houses, take in undocumented immigrants picked up for minor traffic violations like speeding, or go after old cases of illegal re-entry or missed court dates for immigrants who otherwise have no criminal records, according to Peter Pedemonti, the director of the New Sanctuary Movement, a grassroots, interfaith organization that works with immigrant families in Philadelphia during their court cases. "They [ICE officers] feel like the chains have come off," he says.
Secretary of State Whines Again
Secretary of State Rex Tillerson (R-Elite) has said life as a CEO was "easier" than working for the Trump administration.
Mr Tillerson spoke candidly to reporters on the plane returning from his latest diplomatic tour, which included visits to Ukraine, Turkey, Germany, Qatar, and France, the Los Angeles Times reported.
"Well it is a lot different than being CEO of Exxon because I was the ultimate decision-maker...that makes life easier," said Mr Tillerson.
He had spent four decades with the oil company and had grown accustomed to his staff and the organisation he helped shape.
"You own it, you make the decision, and I had a very different organisation around me. One that I spent my whole life with, people knew me very well and they knew what to expect," he explained, adding that he was exhausted from the recent tightly-scheduled tour.
What Climate Change?
Rising temperature due to climate change is likely to impact our transportation system, evidenced by many flights being cancelled in Phoenix last week. Flights could not take off and planes had to be grounded because of a heat wave.
Steadily rising temperatures with constant air pressure causes decline in air density. This results in less lift being generated by airplane wings at a given airspeed, causing longer takeoff time, resulting in flight delays according to a study titled "Climatic Change: The impacts of rising temperatures on aircraft takeoff performance."
Airline schedules are constructed on the assumption that every flight will depart and arrive as planned. As take off time increases because of rising temperatures, it might increase costs substantially for airlines. The study says both mid-sized and large size aircraft will be affected. Airports which have short runways and those located at high elevations will be impacted most.
To ensure timely takeoff, future planes need to have more weight restrictions and even have lighter frames. The researchers behind the study -E.D. Coffel, T.R. Thompson and R.M. Horten- have created a model of weight restrictions, and its impact on different airports and planes.
In addition to rising temperatures, climate change also causes a strengtheningof atmospheric jet streams - the strongest winds in the atmosphere. This is expected to cause an increase in air turbulence, which will be difficult to detect even by satellites and radars or pilots. This might not just lead to bumpier flights, it could also cause journey times to increase and also create a higher consumption of fuel and emissions, according to a study titled "Intensification of winter transatlantic aviation turbulence in response to climate change
Maryam Mirzakhani, an Iranian-born mathematician who was the first woman to win the coveted Fields Medal, died Saturday in a US hospital after a battle with cancer. She was 40.
Mirzakhani, a professor at Stanford University in California, died after the cancer she had been battling for four years spread to her bone marrow, Iranian media said.
In 2014 Mirzakhani won the Fields Medal, the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for Mathematics, which is awarded by the International Congress of Mathematicians.
The award recognized her sophisticated and original contributions to the fields of geometry and dynamical systems, particularly in understanding the symmetry of curved surfaces such as spheres.
Born in 1977 and raised in Tehran, Mirzakhani initially dreamed of becoming a writer, but by the time she started high school and showed an affinity for solving math problems she shifted her sights.
"It is fun -- it's like solving a puzzle or connecting the dots in a detective case," she said when she won the Fields Medal.
Mirzakhani said she enjoyed pure mathematics because of the elegance and longevity of the questions she studies.
In 2008 she became a professor of mathematics at Stanford. She is survived by her husband, Stanford mathematician Jan Vondrak, and her young daughter Anahita.
Mirzakhani became known on the international mathematics scene as a teenager, winning gold medals at both the 1994 and 1995 International Math Olympiads -- and finished with a perfect score in the latter competition.
She went on to win the 2009 Blumenthal Award for the Advancement of Research in Pure Mathematics, and the 2013 Satter Prize of the American Mathematical Society.
Mirzakhani studied mathematics at Sharif University in Iran and earned a PhD degree from Harvard in 2004. She then taught at Princeton University before moving to Stanford in 2008.