Links 1/2/2020

Belated Happy New Year!

Putting up “2020” is so weird!

Interactive robotic cat hits Kickstarter New Atlas (furzy). Gross. One of the points of cats is how graceful they are, that they never get over their predatory nature, even if they are indoor-only cats, and that they are independent and often quirky. Plus soft to pet and nice bed warmers!

Australia Burning

Australia fires: Race to flee ‘leave zone’ as fresh threat looms BBC

NSW fires: State of emergency declared as PM urges calm amid mass exodus SBS (Kevin W)

Just 2 per cent of Britain’s power now comes from coal. In Australia, it’s more like 75 per cent Sydney Morning Herald

Queensland government was warned about risks of Chinese company’s water extraction Guardian

Indonesia: Death count rises as Jakarta flood conditions worsen DW

Chinese start-up Mobike loses more than 200,000 bikes BBC

How the Smartphone Became Boring Vice (resilc)

Polio Eradication Program Faces Hard Choices as Endgame Strategy Falters Science. Scary.

Mysterious oil washes up on Brazilian shores Reuters. UserFriendly: Downwind effects of our war on Venezuela.”

The Missing 99%: Why Can’t We Find the Vast Majority of Ocean Plastic? Guardian. It’s in the food chain and you are eating it? Oh, and the Kuta beach (in Bali) was totally disgusting in the early 1990s. Tons of plastic crap in every wave to the shore. I shudder to think what is is like now.

In Pictures: India’s homeless bear brunt of record cold Al Jazeera (resilc) :-(

I Spent a Full Week Wearing a CBD-Infused Bodysuit Mother Jones (resilc). Read the URL!

Against cheerfulness Aeon. From the subhead: “But being cheerful the American way borders on psychosis.”

China?

President Trump says China trade deal will be signed Jan. 15 Washington Post

Huawei’s Revenue Hits Record $122B in 2019 Despite U.S. Sanctions TechCrunch

75% of young want to escape South Korean ‘Hell’ Asia Times (Kevin W)

The pastor versus the populist: Hungary’s new faith faultline Guardian

We Must Call a Coup a Coup Jacobin. Shame this point has to be argued.

New Cold War

Russia-Ukraine Finalize Key Gas Deal OilPrice (resilc)

Syraqistan

Donald Trump loses ground in fight to contain Iran as militias attack US embassy in Iraq abc.net.au (Kevin W)

Shock Waves From American Airstrikes in Iraq May Have Just Begun New York Times (Kevin W). Editorial.

Netanyahu to seek immunity from criminal charges Washington Post

The Backfiring Iran Obsession and the Baghdad Embassy Protests American Conservative (resilc)

Big Brother is Watching You Watch

How California’s new privacy protections could affect all Americans Fast Company

US Retailers Rush To Comply With California Privacy Law Reuters

What U.S. Intelligence Thought 2020 Would Look Like Atlantic (resilc)

‘Shattered’: Inside the secret battle to save America’s undercover spies in the digital age Yahoo (Robert M)

‘It’s Creepy’: Unexplained Drones Are Swarming by Night Over Colorado New York Times (David L)

Trump Transition

‘Nothing Less Than a Civil War’: These White Voters on the Far Right See Doom Without Trump New York Times. UserFriendly: “An interview with the the insane right wing.”

Trump signs bill to eliminate rape kit testing backlog The Hill. UserFriendly: “Sigh contrast the headline with the story.”

Trump Winery Fires Undocumented Employees After Harvest: Report Daily Beast (resilc)

Muslim teen in Brooklyn helps police catch man who attacked Orthodox Jewish woman on subway ABC 7 NY (Chuck L)

2020

Trump, Democrats and the Lumpenproletariat Problem CounterPunch (resilc)

Getting Past Reagan by Simon Johnson Project Syndicate (UserFriendly)

Joe Biden Bundler Is a Major Player in Prison Health Care Intercept (resilc)

Pete Buttigieg once boasted he helped McKinsey ‘turn around’ Fortune 500 companies. Not anymore. Washington Post (UserFriendly)

Our Fabulously Free Press

Chief Justice John Roberts warns about dangers of fake news Politico (UserFriendly)

L’affaire Epstein. Running this only because a slow news day

Jeffrey Epstein’s socialite ‘madam’ Ghislaine Maxwell ‘is being hidden from the FBI in a series of safe houses because of the information she has on powerful people’ Daily Mail

India’s Richest Man is Ready To Take on Amazon and Walmart TechCrunch. Moar Mothra v. Godzilla.

IRS Reforms Free File Program, Drops Agreement Not to Compete With TurboTax ProPublica

How Chemists, Chinese Factories, and ‘Dark Web’ Dealers Spread Fentanyl Across the US The Nation (resilc)

Google veterans: The company has become ‘unrecognizable’ CNBC (Kevin W)

Class Warfare

Exclusive: Drugmakers from Pfizer to GSK to hike U.S. prices on over 200 drugs Reuters (furzy)

Amazon is Opening the Largest Family Shelter in Washington State Right Inside Its Headquarters Input Magazine. 275 people. Virtue signaling.

Louisiana investigates homeless killings amid concern over rise in violence Guardian (resilc)

Football Coaches Highest Paid People ESPN. Jeff B:

Who’s the most powerful person in your state? Well, based on public employee salaries, it’s likely a college coach (sorry, governors). A whopping 28 college football coaches are the best-paid employees in their states, along with 12 college hoops coaches who top the state payrolls

‘He Was Going to Change the World’ Wall Street Journal. So sad.

Antidote du jour. Tracie H: “A Douglas squirrel.”

And a bonus antidote (Chuck L):

See yesterday’s Links and Antidote du Jour here.

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11 comments

    1. The Rev Kev

      I read about that earlier and then had a laugh when I saw a ‘Daily Beast’ article saying “Rockets Strike Near U.S. Forces at Baghdad Airport”-

      https://www.thedailybeast.com/rockets-strike-near-us-forces-at-baghdad-airport?ref=home

      Using US bases in Iraq to attack Iraqi or Iraqi-related forces in Iraq and Syria (or letting Israelis use those bases to do so) is a direct challenge to the Iraqi government and is bad enough. But the US has just confirmed that it did indeed murder Qassem Soleimani. That is like Iran murdering General Joseph F. Dunford, the US Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. How would the US react to that?

      Reply
      1. Steelyman

        I believe the Iranian leadership may try to avoid a knee jerk heat of the moment response (difficult under the circumstances). It’s also quite possible the Iranians may have gamed for such an event and have existing plans of action on file, plans which may target the US directly or its allies in the Gulf.
        The Iraqis might have a say in all this as well.

        I also wonder about the massive security failure that led to this successful attack.

        Reply
        1. The Rev Kev

          Ever looked on while watching a catastrophic mistake being made? An unnecessary one where you wanted to shout ‘No! Stop! Don’t do it!’? Trump even posted an American flag on his twitter account as if to say in-your-face to the Iranians. Idjut!

          It may have not been have been a massive security failure that led to his death. Perhaps he was in Baghdad to meet with Americans or to even help put a lid on tensions in Iraq because of the storming of the US Embassy and had an American promise of safe passage. Wouldn’t be the first time something like this happened.

          As they say in Star Wars – “I’ve got a bad feeling about this.” This is beyond going over a red line. This is jumping over it, pulling down your pants and taking an enormous dump as a punctuation mark. This is going to end badly but as you say, it will be in places and times of the Iranian’s choosing.

          Reply
        2. The Rev Kev

          Guess that it is just not you and me worried about this news of the attack. ‘Brent jumps nearly $3 after U.S. air strike kills Iran, Iraq officials’-

          https://uk.reuters.com/article/uk-global-oil/brent-jumps-nearly-3-after-u-s-air-strike-kills-iran-iraq-officials-idUKKBN1Z2032?il=0

          And just to calm down people, the US Marines conducted a series of raids in Baghdad arresting several people including a very high-ranking Member of Iraq’s Parliament-

          https://news.antiwar.com/2020/01/02/report-us-troops-capture-top-iraqi-mp-militia-leaders/

          Reply
          1. Steelyman

            You’re exactly right. Americans call it a slow motion train wreck and this has all the makings of a real humdinger!

            Reply
  1. Oregoncharles

    We have Douglas squirrels; cute as they are, I wish we didn’t. We have nut trees, so we have Gray Squirrels AND Douglas, as well as jays, also a pain in the you-know-what. And very few nuts.

    It’s easy to see why “chickarees” are also called red squirrels; around here they’re mostly black. They’re half the size of grays but twice the aggression, and they can get in where gray squirrels cannot. I once found a dead one hanging by its teeth from wires in the pump house. And I’ve seen them chasing grays.

    OTOH, the penguins chasing the laser light are very cute. Just amazing what will chase a laser: cows, praying mantis. Tigers, not so much, but housecats love them.

    Reply
  2. RMO

    “Trump, Democrats and the Lumpenproletariat Problem” An excerpt:

    “The 2016 US presidential vote saw counties with a greater percentage whites and a percentage of the population with only a high school degree or less voter for Donald Trump. This is the white working class.”

    I’m not commenting on what would seem to be the gist of the article as a whole but I’m just stunned that writing this muddled and unclear comes from someone who is apparently employed as a professor at a university.

    Reply
  3. Paul P

    Scary, the live virus polio outbreak. Pair the polio outbreak with
    flash floods in Jakarta, fires in Australia, and loss of antibiotic protection and we are heading for a perfect storm. Nightmares and scary movies are happening just outside my window. Am I being obsessively apocalyptic?

    Reply

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