Garrison Keillor: An old man talking to himself again (Denver Post)
I've been confused about politics ever since Republican states became red states, which to me, growing up in the era of Red China, suggested commissars and gulags and thought control, which of course Utah and Texas and Georgia do not have. You can believe in God in those states, same as in blue states. Blue makes me think of Robert Johnson and Muddy Waters, but that's another matter.
Andrew Tobias: "Brazile: 'NOT Rigged'; The Tax Plan: Even Worse Than You Thought"
But first - as we wait for the election results today - can we just give Donna Brazile the last word? On CBS Morning News today she stated clearly that, no, the 2016 primary process was NOT rigged, "it was a fair fight." No disrespect to Bernie, but according to Donna, Hillary won millions more votes, fair and square. (She also says she thinks the new DNC chair, Tom Perez, is doing the right things.) Needless to say, it would be have been more helpful for her now-famous Politico excerpt to have been framed this way - but there you are.
Michele Hanson: Nigel Farage isn't just crass. I find him dangerous and cruel (The Guardian)
The politician-turned-presenter has been ranting on the radio, proving that insidious stereotypes about Jewish people are alive and well. Why do these myths still live on?
Oliver Burkeman: Are the Amish right about new technology? (The Guardian)
… as Kevin Kelly points out in his book What Technology Wants, the Amish have never been unequivocal shunners of modernity. "Amish lives are anything but anti-technological," he writes. Visiting Amish communities, he found battery-powered radios, computer-controlled milling machines, solar panels, chemical fertilisers and GM crops. What distinguishes the Amish stance toward any given invention isn't that they reject it outright; it's that they start by assuming they don't want or need it, then adopt it only if they decide it's in line with their values.
Lucy Mangan: How to style out a naked photo leak: Sia's approach is just one of a few options (The Guardian)
Faced with pictures being sold to the highest bidder, the singer published them herself on Twitter. It's one way to go - but is it the best?
Ben Child: Marvel, DC, whatever ... why all superhero movies look the same these days (The Guardian)
From Thor: Ragnarok to Justice League, the current slate of comic-book films all seem to share a similar wisecracking tone. Something needs to change before the genre becomes one big joke.
Why Are Some Theaters Refusing To Play The Last Jedi? (YouTube)
When Star Wars: The Last Jedi hits theaters on December 15, it's guaranteed to be one of the biggest box office hits of the year, if not all time. So why are some theaters flat-out refusing to screen the movie at all?
James Lachno: "The Nickelback phenomenon: explaining the world's most hated band" (Telegraph)
Indeed, these Nickel-backers are legion, global and hardy. And they have their reasons. Nickelback absolutely know how to write well-crafted, catchy pop-rock songs. I spent a good chunk of two afternoons listening to the band while preparing this piece, and I still find myself merrily humming 2003 hit Someday in moments of solitude.
Amy Fleming: Is your gut microbiome the key to health and happiness? (The Guardian)
Research suggests the vast ecosystem of organisms that lives in our digestive systems might be as complex and influential as our genes in everything from mental health to athleticism and obesity. But is 'poop doping' really the way ahead?
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Michelle in AZ
Happy times, happy times:
Jeannie the Teed-Off Temp
from Marc Perkel
from that Mad Cat, JD
ACADEMIC FREEDOM IN THE AGE OF TRUMP.
"HE LOST HIS HOME."
THE UGLY AMERICAN!
THE THREE STOOGES.
"FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD."
DON'T ASK STUPID QUESTIONS.
Visit JD's site - Kitty Litter Music
In The Chaos Household
Sunny and on the cool side.
Justice Department Demands Sale
The Justice Department has reportedly demanded that AT&T and Time Warner sell Turner Broadcasting - which includes CNN - before it will sign off on their $85.4 billion deal.
This requirement "would be unusual," George Hay, a leading antitrust expert and professor at Cornell University Law School told Yahoo Finance in an email. "It would be less unusual if AT&T already controlled a competing news network like Fox or MSNBC but I'm not aware that such is the case."
Last week, the Wall Street Journal reported that the Justice Department was considering blocking AT&T's bid to buy entertainment powerhouse Time Warner - a development that antitrust expert Christopher Sagers called "a big surprise" since the two companies aren't direct competitors.
Some have speculated that President-for-now Donald Trump (R-Short Fingered Vulgarian) was behind the regulator's move because of his demonstrated animus against CNN. Last week, Sagers called that theory "pretty implausible."
Unseating GOP Men
The Women's March
In January, Atlantic City Freeholder John Carman posted a meme to his Facebook page mocking the Women's March.
"Will the women's protest be over in time for them to cook dinner?" read the text, laid over an image of a woman in the kitchen.
That "women's protest" stretched across the globe and became the largest single-day protest in U.S. history. And less than a year later, on Nov. 7, Carman would lose his seat to a woman who decided to run after protesting Carman's comments.
Ashley Bennett, 32, showed up with dozens of other women constituents at a public meeting Carman held on Jan. 24, just days after he posted the sexist meme. Inspired by the Women's March and what she saw as Carman's "mocking and belittling people who are expressing their concerns about their community and the nation," Bennett decided to run against him.
Though the seat is in a Republican district, Bennett bested Carman by 1,000 votes, out of 14,000 votes cast. Last month, Bennett told the AP that protests like the Women's March "woke a lot of people up."
The Women's March
Former News Anchor
A former Virginia news anchor whose journalist girlfriend was fatally shot during a live broadcast in 2015 has defeated an NRA-endorsed incumbent for a seat in the statehouse.
Chris Hurst was living with fellow journalist Alison Parker when she and cameraman Adam Ward were killed by a former co-worker while reporting for WDBJ-TV.
After the shooting, Mr Hurst became the public face of the grieving Roanoke station.
In February, the Pennsylvania native quit his TV job and moved to Blacksburg to run for a House seat, running on a strong gun control platform.
He received backing from several gun-control groups, but his main campaign focus was education, health care and the environment.
Moscow Reluctant To Mark Anniversary
Russian authorities were reluctant to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution on Tuesday, with just low-key events being held to mark an uprising that launched more than 70 years of Communist rule.
President Vladimir Putin has overseen a crackdown on opposition activists and celebrating any sort of dissent, let alone a revolution, is at odds with his political keyword of "stability".
A procession of several thousand supporters of the Communist Party -- still the largest nominal opposition party in parliament -- walked through central Moscow waving red Soviet flags and pictures of Bolshevik revolutionary Vladimir Lenin.
International delegations from Italy, Colombia and other countries were seen marching with the Russians, as party leaders complained about lack of free medical care and education in post-Communist Russia.
Throughout the Soviet era, anniversaries of the revolution were marked with a public holiday which included pomp and military parades on Moscow's Red Square.
Donald Trump's (R-Crooked) administration has detained an American citizen at a secret jail in Iraq for nearly two months, denying him access to a lawyer and refusing to release his name.
The unidentified American, who has not been charged, surrendered to US-backed fighters around 12 September and allegedly fought with Isis militants in Syria.
He has been detained as an unlawful enemy combatant, although the American Civil Liberties Union argued the Pentagon has yet to present any evidence.
"An American citizen has been locked up for nearly two months and repeatedly asserted his constitutional right to a lawyer. But the Trump administration is doing all within its power to deny him that basic protection," said Jonathan Hafetz, a senior staff attorney with the ACLU in New York.
Last month, the ACLU filed a petition in the US District Court in Washington, DC, challenging the man's detention and seeking to provide him legal counsel.
GOP Tax Plan
The House Republican tax reform plan would add $1.7 trillion to the U.S. national debt over the next decade, according to a preliminary debt calculation by the Congressional Budget Office, exceeding the limits Republicans agreed to for their reconciliation bill.
While the CBO has yet to score the legislation, an estimate of the bill's impact on debt projected the tax bill would decrease revenue by nearly $1.7 trillion over 10 years. To retain the special "reconciliation" status of their tax proposal in the Senate ? which would allow it to pass with only 51 votes instead of 60 ?- Republicans would have to bring the cost of the bill down to $1.5 trillion, though the House and Senate measures are expected to be different. Republicans control only 52 seats in the Senate.
The Senate budget chairman also has some discretion over what score the Senate uses to calculate the debt impact of its tax proposal, so Republicans don't necessarily need to use the CBO (though other estimates appear in line with it).
The Joint Committee on Taxation, a congressional panel that examines tax legislation, has said the bill in its current form would reduce revenue by about $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
The Republican plan sharply reduces individual and corporate tax rates, offsetting some of the revenue loss by eliminating deductions and exemptions in a bid to simplify the tax code. Initial estimates suggest the wealthiest taxpayers would reap most of the benefits of the changes.
Another T-rump Court Pick
President-for-now Donald Trump's (R-Corrupt) pick for an Alabama district court seat, Brett Talley, is "not qualified" to be a federal judge, says the American Bar Association.
The ABA announced its unanimous rating on Tuesday evening.
Talley, who is an assistant deputy attorney general at the Justice Department, is Trump's fourth judicial nominee to receive the terrible and rarely designated rating by the nation's top legal group. That's a huge number of a president's court picks to get the thumbs down, especially so early in the term. For some context: None of President Barack Obama's judicial nominees was rated as "not qualified" while he was in office.
One reason this keeps happening is that Trump isn't submitting his nominees to the ABA in advance of announcing their nominations. That's a break from many of his predecessors, who have waited for the ABA to weigh in on the qualifications of their court picks before making the nominations official.
Trump is also racing through his nominations of lifetime judges and not vetting nominees as thoroughly as, say, Obama did. That's increased the likelihood of problems with his court picks later in the confirmation process.
White supremacist Richard Spencer came off looking like a supreme idiot during an interview with a black British journalist.
Gary Younge, editor-at-large for The Guardian, interviewed Spencer for "Angry, White And American," a documentary airing Thursday night on the British network Channel 4.
In the clip, Younge makes no secret that he is conflicted about interviewing the white supremacist, and considers the term "alt-right" to be just "a new word for fascism."
However, he chose to talk with Spencer as Spencer and people like him "credit themselves with providing the intellectual underpinnings for the Trump revolution."
Spencer, who appeared surprised to discover his interviewer was a black man, attempted to justify why "Africans have benefited from their experience with white supremacy."
Spoiler alert: He didn't come across well.
The Trump administration is giving notice to about 5,300 Nicaraguan immigrants who have lived in the U.S. on temporary protected status for years: They now have until January 2019 to leave the country, find legal approval to stay or become undocumented.
But the fate of Honduran immigrants with temporary protected status, which allows them to legally remain in the U.S. and work, remains uncertain. Although the Department of Homeland Security had until Monday to determine whether to extend the protections for both countries, Acting Secretary Elaine Duke made no decision on temporary protected status (TPS) for Hondurans because she wanted to review more information, officials said Monday.
The non-decision automatically triggered a six-month extension for the approximately 86,000 Hondurans with TPS, with the possibility of further extensions.
Immigrants and their advocates have been concerned for months that President-for-now Donald Trump's (R-Pendejo) efforts to drive out undocumented people and keep out other foreign nationals would lead to similarly harsh action on TPS. The program allows some 300,000 immigrants to remain in the U.S. ? where many of them have lived for two decades or more and have U.S.-born children ? after a catastrophic event in their native country. DHS officials must decide in the coming months whether to extend the protections for Salvadorans, who make up the bulk of TPS recipients, and Haitians.
The situation is shaky for TPS holders. Last week, the State Department advised the Department of Homeland Security that countries in Central America and Haiti were no longer suffering from the problems that led past administrations to designate them for TPS.
Ban On Monsanto, BASF Weed Killers
An Arkansas regulatory body voted on Wednesday to bar the use of a weed killer critical to Monsanto Co's seed sales for a second consecutive summer, ratcheting up a standoff after the company sued the state to prevent restrictions on the product.
The Arkansas State Plant Board plans to prohibit sprayings of products containing a chemical known as dicamba between April 16 and Oct. 31, 2018, after an estimated 3.6 million acres of U.S. crops suffered damage linked to the herbicides this year.
The United States has faced a weed-killer crisis this year caused by new versions of herbicides with dicamba, which farmers and weed experts say harm crops because they evaporate and drift away from where they are applied.
Monsanto and BASF SE, which also manufactures a dicamba-based weed killer, say the products are safe when properly applied.
Arkansas previously prevented farmers from using Monsanto's dicamba herbicide in 2017 because the company did not submit studies the state wanted on volatility, or the product's tendency to evaporate.