Thursday, October 18, 2018

Oct. 17, 2018
Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said on Wednesday that the special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation has already revealed an elaborate and widespread effort by the Russians to meddle in the 2016 US election.
Trump has made numerous public and private attempts to exert more influence over the investigation, at one point reportedly wondering why "my guys" at the "Trump Justice Department" weren't protecting him from scrutiny.
Oct. 17, 2018
Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy on Wednesday told Business Insider that President Donald Trump's overall response to the alleged killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and subservient behavior toward Saudi Arabia has made the US look "weaker" than ever.
Oct. 17, 2018
One of the largest organisms in the world, a Utah forest of genetically identical trees, is slowly being devoured by deer.  
The Pando quaking aspen colony, also known as the "Trembling Giant," has likely survived for thousands of years. But about 80 percent of it is in a perilous state, according to a new paper published today (Oct. 17) in the journal PLOS One.
Part of the problem is that game such as mule deer do not have natural predators in the area anymore. In the early 1900s, humans killed off most natural predators, such as wolves and grizzly bears, Rogers said. Now, most of the grounds in Pando are set aside for recreational uses like camping, where the browsers are protected from hunting. "The deer know that very early on, and they find it a safe harbor."
But really, "Pando is failing because of human decisions," Rogers said. "Humans control wild animals, particularly wild-game species like deer and elk."
Oct. 17, 2018
Spain will overtake Japan's long-held position at the top of the world's life expectancy table by 2040, while the United States is set to take a big fall in rankings, new research finds.
People in Spain will live for 85.8 years on average, marginally edging out expected lifespans in Japan (85.7), Singapore (85.4) and Switzerland (85.2).
The United States will take the biggest drop in ranking of all high-income countries, falling from 43rd in 2016 to 64th by 2040, with an average life expectancy of 79.8.
The US will be overtaken by China, which rises 29 places to 39th in the table.
"Whether we see significant progress or stagnation depends on how well or poorly health systems address key health drivers," said Kyle Foreman, director of data science at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation (IHME) and lead author of the study.
"The future of the world's health is not pre-ordained, and there is a wide range of plausible trajectories," said Forman.
Spain is one of several European countries to offer tax-funded healthcare, with their healthcare system ranked as the seventh best in the world by the World Health Organization.

I find it silly that how much DNA Elizabeth Warren might have inherited from a possible American Indian ancestor is getting so much attention is utterly silly.
You really think she is horrible for believing her family beliefs about their ancestry? Have you done a DNA test to make sure what your family has passed on about it's ancestry is true? And going back a few generation, the percentage of DNA you get from anybody in that generation will vary widely as a matter of chance. Just in your grandparents generation, ON AVERAGE, you will inherit 25% from each, but you might inherit anywhere from 0 - 50% from any of them. It's pretty sure that you will inherit more than 25% from some, less than 25% from others.
Oct. 17, 2018
At least 14 people died and one remained missing after the storms and floods that battered southwest France earlier this week, local authorities said Wednesday, updating the toll.
The equivalent of three months rainfall was dumped overnight Sunday to Monday in the region of the fortress city of Carcassonne, bursting the banks of rivers, including the Aude, which reached levels not seen in 100 years.
tags: extreme weather, severe weather
Oct. 17, 2018
About 1 foot of rain fell in parts of central and south Texas over the last two days, overwhelming rivers and lakes, and causing intense flash flooding.
Oct. 16, 2018
Flooding in central Texas turned deadly Tuesday following days of pouring rain. Some rivers are 13 feet above flood stage, prompting evacuations. CBS News' Courtney Zubowski reports.
tags: extreme weather, severe weather

[Noticeable that the headline does not note that the kids were black. If the copy had shot one of the kids, the headline would have noted that the kids were black.]
[Actual headline:] Ohio Cop Uses Words, Not Bullets On 11-Year-Old Carrying Realistic BB Gun
Oct. 17, 2018
Video of an Ohio police officer responding to a 911 call about two young black men with a gun has gone viral. But unlike circumstances that typically warrant the release of such videos, this one gained momentum not because it ended in violence, but because it could have, and didn’t.
Oct. 16, 2018
Republicans said their tax law was supposed to pay for itself. But according to new data from the Treasury Department, their overhaul of the tax code isn't producing the desired result.
The Treasury said the budget deficit hit $779 billion for fiscal 2018 — which was October 2017 through September 2018 — the highest level since 2012.
Particularly significant is the corporate tax side of the ledger, where the effects of the law have already taken hold. While most Americans have not yet filed their taxes under the new system, corporations pay taxes quarterly and have already been operating under the new lower rate.
According to Treasury data, tax revenue from corporate returns dropped 31% in fiscal 2018 compared with fiscal 2017. Meanwhile, individual tax revenue was up 6.1%, and total revenue increased by just 0.4% from fiscal 2017.

[Anybody who has followed this issue for years knows that the reason the republicans gave huge tax cuts to the very rich was not just to help them, but also to cause a big enough budget deficit so as to force cutbacks in programs that help ordinary people, such as Social Security and Medicare.]
Oct. 16, 2018
After instituting a $1.5 trillion tax cut and signing off on a $675 billion budget for the Department of Defense, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Tuesday that the only way to lower the record-high federal deficit would be to cut entitlement programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.
New Treasury Department analysis on Monday revealed that corporate tax cuts had a significant impact on the deficit this year. Federal revenue rose by 0.04 percent in 2018, a nearly 100 percent decrease last year’s 1.5 percent. In fiscal year 2018, tax receipts on corporate income fell to $205 billion from $297 billion in 2017.
Feb. 16, 2016
This is what happens when you take Ayn Rand seriously
what if people behaved according to Rand’s philosophy of “objectivism”? What if we indeed allowed ourselves to be blinded to all but our own self-interest?
In 2008, Sears CEO Eddie Lampert decided to restructure the company according to Rand’s principles.
Lampert broke the company into more than 30 individual units, each with its own management and each measured separately for profit and loss. The idea was to promote competition among the units, which Lampert assumed would lead to higher profits. Instead, this is what happened, as described by Mina Kimes, a reporter for Bloomberg Business:
the divisions turned against each other — and Sears and Kmart, the overarching brands, suffered. Interviews with more than 40 former executives, many of whom sat at the highest levels of the company, paint a picture of a business that’s ravaged by infighting as its divisions battle over fewer resources.
It got crazy. Executives started undermining other units because they knew their bonuses were tied to individual unit performance. They began to focus solely on the economic performance of their unit at the expense of the overall Sears brand.
Sears became a miserable place to work, rife with infighting and screaming matches. Employees, focused solely on making money in their own unit, ceased to have any loyalty to the company or stake in its survival.
We all know the end of the story: Sears share prices fell, and the company appears to be headed toward bankruptcy. The moral of the story, in Parramore’s words:
What Lampert failed to see is that humans actually have a natural inclination to work for the mutual benefit of an organization. They like to cooperate and collaborate, and they often work more productively when they have shared goals. Take all of that away and you create a company that will destroy itself.

[That is what I have noticed about some republicans I know personally. They enjoy hurting people.]
Oct. 3, 2018
The cruelty of the Trump administration’s policies, and the ritual rhetorical flaying of his targets before his supporters, are intimately connected. As Lili Loofbourow wrote of the Kavanaugh incident in Slate, adolescent male cruelty toward women is a bonding mechanism, a vehicle for intimacy through contempt.
Taking joy in that suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere on the wide spectrum between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men in the lynching photographs are the Trump supporters whose community is built by rejoicing in the anguish of those they see as unlike them, who have found in their shared cruelty an answer to the loneliness and atomization of modern life.
The president’s ability to execute that cruelty through word and deed makes them euphoric. It makes them feel good, it makes them feel proud, it makes them feel happy, it makes them feel united. And as long as he makes them feel that way, they will let him get away with anything, no matter what it costs them.
Oct. 17, 2018
September 2018 was tied with 2017 as the planet's fourth-warmest September since record keeping began in 1880, said NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI) on Wednesday. The only warmer September months came in 2015, 2016, and 2014, according to NOAA. NASA rated September 2018 as tied for the sixth-warmest September on record. Minor differences in rankings between NASA and NOAA arise mostly due to how they handle data-sparse regions such as the Arctic, where few surface weather stations exist.
Global ocean temperatures during September 2018 were the fourth warmest on record, and land temperatures were the sixth warmest on record, according to NOAA.
Four billion-dollar weather-related disasters hit the Earth last month, according to the September 2018 Catastrophe Report from insurance broker Aon Benfield: Hurricane Florence in the U.S. ($10+ billion), drought in India ($1.1 billion), Typhoon Jebi in Asia ($2+ billion), and Typhoon Manghut in Asia ($2+ billion). In addition, damage claims from Typhoon Rumbia in China topped the $1 billion mark by the end of September, giving the planet 27 billion-dollar weather disasters so far in 2018. This already ranks as the sixth highest yearly total since 1990, according to Aon Benfield, with three months to go in the year.
After starting the year with record lows in January and February, Arctic sea ice extent ended tied with 2008 for the sixth lowest average September extent in the satellite record,

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