January 12, 2020

Posted by orrinj at 6:07 PM


Donald Trump tweets extraordinary attack on Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer wearing a hijab and a turban  (NIKKI SCHWAB,, 13 January 2020, dAILY mAIL)

In his ideology, that demonizes them.

Posted by orrinj at 6:04 PM


Hillary Clinton: The most exonerated politician ever (Jennifer Rubin, Jan. 12, 2020, Washington Post)

 It may be hard to remember given then-FBI Director James B. Comey's voluminous investigative report in the midst of the 2016 election, his testimony before Congress and his intrusion into the campaign 11 days before Election Day, but he found no basis she committed a crime. His subjective comments about poor judgment and negligence were entirely irrelevant (and frankly inappropriate for the FBI, which is charged with finding or not finding criminal conduct). The bottom line: Clinton committed no crimes.

That was not enough for Trump. Based on no new evidence but rather on an undisguised personal vendetta, Trump opened up another investigation. The Post reported:

John Huber, the U.S. attorney in Utah, was tapped in November 2017 by then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions to look into concerns raised by President Trump and his allies in Congress that the FBI had not fully pursued cases of possible corruption at the Clinton Foundation and during Clinton's time as secretary of state, when the U.S. government decided not to block the sale of a company called Uranium One.

As a part of his review, Huber examined documents and conferred with federal law enforcement officials in Little Rock who were handling a meandering probe into the Clinton Foundation, people familiar with the matter said. Current and former officials said that Huber has largely finished and found nothing worth pursuing -- though the assignment has not formally ended and no official notice has been sent to the Justice Department or to lawmakers, these people said.

The coverage of her exoneration has been minimal. The number of stories such as Clinton cleared in witch-hunt probe or Right-wing accusations debunked has been underwhelming. The legitimate media does not seem interested in asking Trump or other Republicans to acknowledge that their accusations were baseless. You would think legitimate media outlets at the very least would self-reflect on their coverage that often treated long-ago disproved accusations as still unsettled.

The hordes of right-wing media pundits and columnists will not fess up for pushing a blatantly false narrative. Because they are held to such a low standard by legitimate media outlets, the voices in the right-wing echo chamber pay no price for joining in the persecution of Trump's nemesis.

"One of the most common tools of autocrats around the world is to use law enforcement as a weapon to go after political opponents," explains Ian Bassin, executive director of the nonpartisan organization Protect Democracy, which has litigated against Trump's unconstitutional actions. "That this misguided investigation has been brought to an end is a sign the walls of our system are still holding; that it was allowed to happen at all is a sign that Trump's constant pounding at those walls is producing cracks." Bassin adds, "With a president who has boasted wrongly that he can do 'whatever he wants' with the Justice Department, we can't afford to just hope that sanity prevails the next time -- and there will be a next time."

Posted by orrinj at 5:37 PM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The weird phenomenon of Death in Paradise: One writer's mid-life crisis pipe-dream has birthed that rarest of things: the unkillable franchise (Ed Power, 1/12/20, The Independent)

The puzzle of Death in Paradise's appeal is, in fact, easily cracked. For all its impressive body-count, Thorogood's romp harks back to breezier and more innocent times. Each week a fresh crime is committed on Saint Marie, a fictional setting loosely based on the French-governed archipelago of Guadeloupe (where Death in Paradise is filmed).  

Enter Detective Inspector Mooney, that rare modern TV detective whose personal life is not a distracting mess. As with his two predecessors on the show - played in chronological order by Ben Miller and Kris Marshall - he disentangles the mystery, the killer is unmasked. All before the news and bedtime.  

To say I'm an obsessive Death in Paradise fan would be an exaggeration. I did not spend December counting down to the latest series. Nor did the revelation that Ardal O'Hanlon is moving on after three years - apparently the relentlessly sunny weather is too much - send me to the internet to vent my outrage. The news that he is to be replaced by Royal Family star Ralf Little wasn't a topic of conversation with my friends in the pub over Christmas. There is no Death in Paradise expanded universe to become immersed in. Once done, each episode immediately erases itself from your memory. 

But if it's on and I'm not doing anything else - such as meaningfully engaging my brain - then, sure, I'll watch. Such, I suspect, is the general feeling among its regular viewers. They, like me, may enjoy being reminded of such uncomplicated treats of yesteryear as Bergerac, Lovejoy or Murder, She Wrote​. The world is angry and frightening, full of people shouting at one another on Twitter. Death in Paradise presents an irresistible weekly escape hatch. 

It has a charming backstory too. In the mid-Noughties, Thorogood was nearing 40 - a struggling writer beginning to suspect he was wasting his life. His wife, a broadcast journalist with Classic FM, was supporting the family. His days were spent knocking around in his pyjamas writing scripts he knew would never amount to anything. 

Then, one morning in 2007, he happened to switch the radio on and hear a news report about the suspicious death of Pakistan cricket coach Bob Woolmer at the Cricket World Cup in Jamaica. The detail that intrigued him was that local police had brought in detectives from Scotland Yard to help with the murder investigation (it was never proved conclusively whether or not Woolmer was the victim of a crime). In his bedroom office, where he was wrapped in his dressing gown and feeling slightly sorry for himself, a light-bulb went off.  

"I imagined an uptight and by-the-book London copper trying to solve a murder in the sweltering heat of the Tropics. There was a series in this. I was sure of it," Thorogood later told the BBC. 

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


On-farm solar grows as farmers see economic rewards -- and risks (LISA HELD, JANUARY 11, 2020, Salon)

According to the 2017 Census of Agriculture, the number of farms with solar panels increased nearly 150 percent between 2012 and 2017, from 36,000 to 90,000. Even American Farmland Trust (AFT), an organization dedicated to preserving agricultural land, is promoting agriculture and solar "co-location." AFT just hosted an event last month for Long Island farmers called, "Combating Climate Change: Solar Energy, Farming, and the Future in New York."

"Renewable energy is a natural fit for America's farmlands. When you put a solar array or wind turbine on a farm, it pays dividends both economically and environmentally," said Gregory Wetstone, president and CEO of the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE). "We're just scratching the surface of the partnership potential."

"The commitment to sustainability is waking up before the sun and farming in a way that supports ecosystems--and solar has been part of our on-farm work for years," said Stanley Minnick, Organic Valley's energy services and technology manager, during a presentation at the Solar Energy Industries Association conference in November. Minnick was at the event to present the results of a project the company had completed at its corporate headquarters. After installing solar panels on three rooftops, investing in both solar and wind farms, and forming creative alliances, the company's operations are now powered by 100 percent renewable energy.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


Study links Medicaid expansion to 6 percent reduction in opioid overdose deaths (German Lopez, Jan 10, 2020, Vox)

Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which gave millions of low-income adults access to health insurance, was linked to a 6 percent reduction in opioid overdose death rates -- potentially preventing thousands of deaths -- according to a new study in JAMA Network Open.

The study looked at what happened in counties in states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act by 2017, compared to counties in states that didn't expand Medicaid, accounting for variables like demographic and policy differences. The Medicaid expansion was made optional in a 2012 Supreme Court ruling, and only 32 states and Washington, DC, had opted to expand by the study period (with the total rising to 37 in the past few years).

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


The UK is abandoning its alliance with Trump as the United States 'withdraws from its leadership around the world' (Adam Bienkov, 1/12/20, Business Insider)

In remarkably outspoken comments, UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said on Sunday that Trump's isolationist foreign policy stance meant the UK was now looking for alternative allies around the world.

"I worry if the United States withdraws from its leadership around the world," he told the Sunday Times.

He added: "The assumptions of 2010 that we were always going to be part of a US coalition is really just not where we are going to be."

The comments came after Boris Johnson's government distanced itself from the attack last week, with the UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab labelling it a "dangerous escalation," which risked a conflict in which "terrorists would be the only winners."

Whoever replaces Donald in November is going to have the easiest presidency this side of Bill Clinton.