October 9, 2017

Posted by orrinj at 9:19 PM


A 'pressure cooker': Trump's frustration and fury rupture alliances, threaten agenda (Robert Costa, Philip Rucker and Ashley Parker October 9, 2017, wASHINGTON pOST)

Trump in recent days has shown flashes of fury and left his aides, including White House chief of staff John F. Kelly, scrambling to manage his outbursts. He has been frustrated in particular with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was reported last week to have earlier called the president "a moron." Trump's Sunday morning Twitter tirade against Corker caught staffers by surprise, although the president had been brooding over the senator's comment a few days earlier about Trump's "chaos" endangering the nation.

One Trump confidant likened the president to a whistling teapot, saying that when he does not blow off steam he can turn into a pressure cooker and explode. "I think we are in pressure cooker territory," said this person, who requested anonymity to speak candidly.

This portrait of the president increasingly isolated in the capital city is based on interviews with 18 White House officials, outside advisers and other Trump associates.

On the other hand, there is no agenda so he's not losing anything.

Posted by orrinj at 4:17 PM


White House lets Puerto Rico Jones Act waiver expire (Dave Lawler, 10/09/17, Axios)

Ten days after issuing a waiver allowing foreign ships to provide aid to Puerto Rico, the Trump administration has let it expire. 

Posted by orrinj at 10:04 AM


Schrödinger's fridge: physicists find the act of observation can make heat flow backwards : Simply observing a quantum system may be enough to temporarily turn thermodynamics on its head. (Michael Lucy, 10/09/17, Cosmos)

Heat flows from hot things to cold things. That's common sense. It's also one way to state the second law of thermodynamics, which is notoriously one of the universe's strictest rules.

In the nanoscale world ruled by quantum mechanics, however, causing heat to flow backwards may be as easy as making an observation.

According to a theoretical paper published in Nature Quantum Materials, by Angel Rubio of the Universida del Pais Vasco in San Sebastian, Spain, and colleagues, this is yet another way in which common sense goes out the window in the quantum realm.

Posted by orrinj at 9:59 AM


After Forty-four Years, It's Time Brent Musburger Apologized to John Carlos and Tommie Smith : When Tommie Smith and John Carlos raised their black-gloved fists at the 1968 Olympics, they were called "black skinned stormtroopers" by a young journalist named Brent Musburger. It's past time for an apology. (Dave Zirin, JUNE 4, 2012, The Nation)

In 1968 Musburger was a restless, ambitious young sports writer looking to make his name. He found his opportunity when Smith and Carlos made their stand. Musburger didn't see a demonstration. He saw a target.

"One gets a little tired of having the United States run down by athletes who are enjoying themselves at the expense of their country," he wrote. Musburger then infamously called Smith and Carlos "a pair of black-skinned stormtroopers."

The above quote has been disseminated in books and articles for years but Musburger's full column is a difficult find. With an assist from Professor Jules Boykoff and an old-school tool called microfilm, I found it, and if anything, it's even uglier than the above quotes suggest. The headline is "Bizarre Protest By Smith, Carlos Tarnishes Medals." Despite seeing what they did as "bizarre," Musburger doesn't once address why Smith and Carlos did what they did or quote them directly. He does however find time to mock them repeatedly. He describes Smith and Carlos as "juvenile", "ignoble," and--this actually is bizarre--"unimaginative." Musburger calls Tommie Smith "the militant black." In describing a scene of Carlos trying to defend their actions, Musburger writes, "Perhaps it's time 20-year-old athletes quit passing themselves off as social philosophers."

And then there are those words that still singe the eyes: "black-skinned stormtroopers." You almost don't believe it until you read it.

As for the actual stormtrooper-sympathizer, Musburger refers to Brundage as a kindly old grandfather and with great affection and addresses him as "Avery". No mention of course that many of the athletes called him "Slavery Avery."

Posted by orrinj at 6:25 AM


Donald Trump: Las Vegas shooter Stephen Paddock was 'probably smart' (Harriet Agerholm, 10/09/17, Independent)

Donald Trump has praised the intelligence of mass murderer Stephen Paddock, as authorities continue their investigations into the motives and background of the Las Vegas gunman.

Posted by orrinj at 5:15 AM


Vice President Mike Pence Upstages Peyton Manning With Orchestrated Anthem Walkout (Peter King October 08, 2017, MMQB)

When Peyton Manning was drafted by the Colts in 1998, Mike Pence--born in Indiana, raised in Indiana, college-educated in Indiana--was a conservative talk-show host and avowed Colts fan. When Pence was elected to Congress in 2000, he moved away from Indiana for the first time, but continued to root hard for the Colts in the Manning glory years. When Manning left and after Pence was elected governor in 2012, Pence continued to root for Manning when he played the Patriots, presumably because of the rivalry between the Colts and Patriots; Pence even tweeted his best wishes to Manning before a Denver-New England game several years ago.

So it surprised no one when Vice President Pence announced last week he would be attending the ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday when Manning's number would be retired at halftime of the Colts-49ers game. Pence would be in Las Vegas on Saturday to honor the victims of the murderous gun rampage there, and he would be moving on to California for a vice presidential appearance Monday, but he would fly on Air Force 2 with his traveling party for the 1,600-mile trip back to central Indiana to pay tribute to Manning at his halftime ceremony.

With Pence's trip, of course, there would be a traveling press pool of about 20 and a traveling Secret Service detail of approximately 10 with Pence and about 20 more doing advance work to sweep Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis hotel where the party would stay Saturday night and Sunday morning. There would be an ambulance in front of his motorcade and there would be a trauma team on alert at a local hospital. There certainly would be other manpower needs associated with a vice presidential trip at a significant cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Meanwhile, at some point during the weekend, President Donald Trump and Pence spoke, and Trump told Pence--he admitted as such on Twitter--that if there was a demonstration with players kneeling during the national anthem Sunday, Pence was to leave the stadium.

If there was one certain thing at the 49ers-Colts game, it was that some 49ers would protest during the anthem. This is the only team since the start of the 2016 season that had one or more players either sit or kneel for every game--preseason and regular season. There was absolutely no chance that this game would go off with 45 Colts standing on their side of the field and 45 members of the Niners standing on their side of the field. For at least the previous 26 games the 49ers played, first with Colin Kaepernick sitting and then kneeling, and this year with safety Eric Reid leading players in some form of demonstration, the team did something during the anthem. Last week in Arizona, about 30 players kneeled.

So why did Pence show up? This was a fait accompli--that some Niners would kneel, that Pence would walk out, and that it would turn into the story of the day in the NFL.

The vp could have, at least, pretended to have a spine, instead of acting like Beauregard.