Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

April 23, 2018

Tumbleweeds are tumbling all over Victorville, California, home of the old Roy Rogers Ranch. The town is buried in the things after wind gusts of 35 to 70 mph swept the thorny brush balls in from the high desert. The thorns will rip your hands if you don’t wear gloves, and the dry, accumulated brush is a fire hazard.

“Tumbleweeds — which, for many, only exist in movies or shows about the Wild West — have a history of invasion. Known as the Russian thistle, the invasive weed is thought to have been introduced to the U.S. in the 1870s through contaminated flax seeds brought by Russian immigrants to South Dakota. Once the plant matures, it breaks off at ground level and spreads seeds by tumbling with the wind.”

— “‘A nasty nightmare’: Homes in California, Utah invaded by prickly tumbleweeds again,” Allyson Chiu, Washington Post

More:

“Attack of the giant tumbleweed: California town swamped in invasion” Rory Carroll, The Guardian

“‘Houses Disappeared’ When Tumbleweeds Rolled Into This California City,” Amy Held, NPR

Related:

“The Weed That Won the West,” Diane Cook and Len Jenshel, National Geographic

 

Video: “Tumbling Tumbleweeds,” written by Bob Nolan, recorded by Roy Rogers and the Sons of the Pioneers, 1934.

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Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

April 18, 2018

Supreme Court to Rod Blagojevich: Stay In the Slammer

The U.S. Supreme Court has rejected an appeal from former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, the incarcerated Chicago Democrat who tried to sell Barack Obama’s vacant senate seat after the 2004 election. “Blago,” a devoted Elvis fan, is probably all shook up. He’s serving a 14-year sentence, and won’t be sprung until May 2024.

More:

“U.S. Supreme Court again rejects hearing Rod Blagojevich’s appeal,” Jason Meisner, Chicago Tribune

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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Why there are twice as many solar jobs as coal jobs

March 23, 2018

“The past decade has seen a revolution in residential solar systems. Cheap panels and creative financing options have led to a massive increase in solar installations– and that increase is driving an employment boom. At the same time, the coal industry is experiencing a major downturn. But despite the current political rhetoric, it’s a downturn that’s been in the works for nearly 100 years. Automation, technical advances, and more recently, the rise of cheap natural gas have led to a significant drop in demand, one that the industry may never recover from.”

A Vox video.

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More Daylight. Less Sleep.

March 10, 2018

More Daylight. Less Sleep.

At 2:00 AM this Sunday morning people in most of the United States will set their clocks ahead one hour as we begin Daylight Saving Time. Many households will also change the batteries in their smoke detectors. In Arizona, where they don’t believe in Daylight Saving Time, people mark the day by putting fresh ammunition in their handguns.

The continental United States observes DST beginning on the second Sunday in March; the European Union on the last Sunday in March. Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Fiji have joined Arizona and no longer observe Daylight Saving Time. We do not know if these counties also concur with Arizona’s denial of Climate ChangeWater FluoridationInternational Law, and Evolution.

Why does Arizona reject Daylight Saving Time? Perhaps the state’s many retirees can’t figure out how to change the time settings on their old VHS machines.

So “Spring Ahead,” even if Spring won’t actually be here until March 20th. And your lost hour of sleep? You’ll get it back on November 4th.

More on Daylight Saving Time here. And change your batteries and stuff.

Related:

“Time to wake up: Daylight saving time is dangerous and unnecessary,” David Wagner, Quartz

“Daylight saving time starts this weekend. Here’s how things would change if we got rid of it.” Justin Grieser, Washington Post

“Can We Fix Daylight-Saving Time for Good?” Alan Burdick, The New Yorker

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Stormy Daniels Sues Donald Trump

March 7, 2018

Stormy Daniels Sues Trump
Porn star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) has filed suit against Donald Trump, claiming her nondisclosure agreement with him isn’t valid since he never signed the contract, in which he is referred to under the alias David Dennison. Ms. Daniels inked the agreement just 12 days before the 2016 election, pledging silence about her intimate relations with the married Mr. Trump from 2006 to 2007 in return for $130,000 in hush money. As usual when bills are due, Donald Trump was nowhere to be found, so Trump lawyer Michael Cohen paid the gag fee out of his own pocket.

The suit filed this Tuesday further claims that lawyer Cohen attempted to intimidate Ms. Clifford into silence and “shut her up” to “protect Mr. Trump.” Read the new court filing lawyer Michael Avenatti submitted on behalf of Stormy Daniels here . The original NDA is attached, and the spaces where “David Dennison” was supposed to sign are clearly blank.

More:

“Stormy Daniels sues Trump, says ‘hush agreement’ invalid because he never signed,” Sarah Fitzpatrick, NBC News

“Stormy Daniels’ Lawyer: More Evidence ‘Is Going to Come to Light,’” Daily Beast

“The 7 most interesting aspects of Stormy Daniels’s lawsuit against Trump,” Aaron Blake, Washington Post

“Stormy Daniels isn’t suing Trump for money. She’s suing to make sure her story is told.” Anna North, Vox

“‘I have to see you again’: How Trump’s alleged affair with a porn star spilled into public view, Frances Stead Sellers, Emma Brown and David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Stormy Daniels’ attorney says Michael Cohen ‘threatened’ her to keep quiet,” Catherine Garcia, The Week

Updates:

“Trump’s lawyer got a restraining order to prevent Stormy Daniels from speaking out,” Jen Kirby, Vox

“Stormy Daniels: White House appears to confirm Trump contract with porn star,” David Smith, The Guardian

“Stormy Daniels Lawyer: ‘Laughable, Absurd’ Trump Didn’t Know About Hush Money,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

“Stormy Daniels lawyer says Americans need to know details because ‘cover-ups matter,'” Louis Nelson, Politico

“Michael Cohen used Trump company email in Stormy Daniels arrangements,” Sarah Fitzpatrick and Tracy Connor, NBC News

“Cohen $130,000 Payment To Stormy Daniels Came From His Home Equity Line,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

“Stormy Daniels Offers to Return $130K to Trump to End ‘Hush Agreement,’” Daily Beast

“Stormy Daniels taped a 60 Minutes interview, and Trump lawyer Michael Cohen might try to quash it,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Stormy Daniels friend describes listening in on her phone calls with Trump,” Beth Reinhard and Rob Kuznia, Washington Post

“CNN: Radio Host Says Stormy Daniels Discussed Trump Affair On Air In 2007,” Matt Shuham, CNN

Related:

“Stormy Daniels Lawsuit Raises Election Law Questions for Trump,” Griffin Connolly, Roll Call

“Stormy Daniels bringing down Trump would be the poetic justice America needs,” Matthew Walther, The Week

“Amid stories about Trump’s alleged past sexual activity, administration focuses on abstinence-only education,” Eugene Scott, Washington Post

“The First Porn President,” Maureen Dowd, New York Times

“It’s time to start taking the Stormy Daniels scandal seriously,”  Matthew Yglesias, Vox

If Michael Cohen Is Telling the Truth About His Stormy Daniels Payment, He Could Be Disbarred,” Stephen Lubet, Slate

“This Barrier-Breaking Porn Star May Prove Trump’s Biggest Nightmare,” James Watkins, OZY

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Gimme Little Sign

February 17, 2018

“Gimme Little Sign,” written by Alfred Smith, Joe Hooven and Jerry (Hal) Winn, recorded by Mr. Smith as “Brenton Wood,” 1968.

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Everybody Hurts

February 4, 2018

“Everybody Hurts,” written by Bill Berry, Peter Buck, and Michael Stipe, performed by The Corrs. The song was originally recorded by R.E.M in 1992.

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Sleeping in the Subway

January 26, 2018
Sleeping In the Subway

DC Metro 7000 car sleeping berth, 2 PM Saturday, January 20, 2018.

In 1956, Edmund G. Love wrote a magazine article about individual homeless New Yorkers, the circumstances which forced them to sleep  in the subway, and how they coped with daily needs. It was so fascinating that Mr. Love expanded the article into a book. So New York responded by implementing social policies that ended homelessness, right?

Ha. The book inspired a Tony-award-winning romantic musical comedy on Broadway. It was at the St. James Theatre, close to the sleepers on the A, C, and E trains.

(more…)

Rival Romeos

January 20, 2018

“Rival Romeos,” with Oswald the Lucky Rabbit, 1928. Animated by Ub Iwerks.

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New Jersey: Don’t Drone While Drunk

January 19, 2018

New Jersey: Don't Drone While Drunk

Last Monday, before leaving the Governor’s office, New Jersey’s Chris Christie signed a law making it illegal to fly aerial drones while drunk. Anyone flying a drone in the Garden State with a blood alcohol content of 0.08 percent or higher or while drugged faces up to six months in jail, a $1,000 fine, or both. Flying drones near a prison or while pursuing wildlife is also banned.

Good luck with that. While all of Washington DC is a no-drone zone, nearly a hundred of the things flew over sensitive military sites in the area last summer, and a drunk off-duty federal intelligence employee crashed a hobby drone right onto the White House lawn in 2015.

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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