Showing posts from January 22, 2017

Today's Trumpery

[A daily pastiche of Trumpisms and responses thereto. *RON*]

AP fact check: Trump’s inaugural speech, PBS Newshour [worth a quick look]
'It's made in Vietnam!' At inauguration, origin of red Trump hats shocks many, Reuters

Trump's First Move as President: Screwing Over Homeowners, Mother Jones ["The forgotten men and women of our country will be forgotten no longer. Everyone is listening to you now." Populist Trump's inauguration speech.]

Israel pushes ahead with settlements as they welcome the Trump presidency, The Star

White House Announces TPP Withdrawal, Plans For NAFTA Talks, Huffington Post [giving Justin Trudeau a case of the Hershey squirts]

The Women’s March is double the size of Trump’s inauguration, Think Progress

Mark Zuckerberg sues over 100 Hawaiians to force them to sell them their ancestral land

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[Guillotine watch. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg sues over 100 Hawaiians to force them to sell them their ancestral land to give himself the privacy he denies to everyone else. *RON*]

Cory Doctorow, BoingBoing, 19 January 2017

In 2015, Mark Zuckerberg (who insists that privacy is dead) bought 100 acres of land around his vacation home in Hawaii to ensure that no one could get close enough to spy on him.

The Zuckerberg estate on Kauai North Shore engulfs several smaller pieces of land deeded in the 1800s -- kuleana lands that were granted to native Hawaiians. The owners of this land are entitled to easements through Zuckerberg's property, so they can reach their own.

Disillusioned in Davos

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[Larry Summers is shocked -- Shocked! -- to find that bazillionaires are rank opportunists. *RON*]
Mark Thoma, Economist's Vie, 20 January 2017

Larry Summers:
Disillusioned in Davos: Edmund Burke famously cautioned that “the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.” I have been reminded of Burke’s words as I have observed the behavior of US business leaders in Davos over the last few days. They know better but in their public rhetoric they have embraced and enabled our new President and his policies.
I understand and sympathize with the pressures they feel. ... Businesses who get on the wrong side of the new President have lost billions of dollars of value in sixty seconds because of a tweet. ...

How statistics lost their power – and why we should fear what comes next

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[How does democratic government work in a post-truth, post-reality world where corporations control mountains of pertinent information, and governments collect our secrets? See also: Sean Spicer is a Groucho Marxist, asking us not to believe our own eyes. *RON*]

William DaviesThe Guardian, 19 January 2017

In theory, statistics should help settle arguments. They ought to provide stable reference points that everyone – no matter what their politics – can agree on. Yet in recent years, divergent levels of trust in statistics has become one of the key schisms that have opened up in western liberal democracies. Shortly before the November presidential election, a study in the US discovered that 68% of Trump supporters distrusted the economic data published by the federal government. In the UK, a research project by Cambridge University and YouGov looking at conspiracy theories discovered that 55% of the population believes that the government “is hi…

Breathing While Muslim in the Age of Trump

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[On the changed behaviors and perceptions of Muslim Americans in the last 12 months. *RON*]
Michael Kalin & Nazita Lajevardi, Denver Dialogues / Political Violence at a Glance, 17 January 2017

On the eve of Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration, many Muslim Americans have reason to fear.

Plague Outbreak Hits Remote Part of Madagascar

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[Some are thinking that the recent outbreak was kick-started by deforestation. *RON*]
Anita Powell, Voice of America, 18 January 2017

Even for Madagascar, this is no ordinary bubonic plague outbreak.

The African nation has the world’s highest incidence of the bacterial infection that earned the grim name “the Black Death” after it killed an estimated 50 million people in the 14th century. The rat- and flea-borne illness hits the island nation every year from about December to April.

But this year is different, says the World Health Organization’s Dr. Eric Bertherat. This latest outbreak has popped up in a completely new area. The mountainous area of Befotaka in southeastern Madagascar has seen 68 cases — of which 27 have died — since the end of last year, according to WHO estimates.