20 February 2018

Linkage


To my mind, this is the quintessential country music song: (Warning: kind of NSFW)

19 February 2018

The New Pennsylvania Map is Out

Following the complete inability of the legislature and the governor to agree on come up with something that meets the requirements of the Pennsylvania constitution, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has drawn the new Congressional map, and it appears to be a far fairer map:
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Monday imposed a new congressional district map that upends previous boundaries, renumbers districts across the state and gives a potential boost to Democrats in the 2018 House elections.

Under the court's redrawn map, districts more closely align with county lines and only 13 counties are split among two or three districts. By contrast, under the last map, enacted by the state legislature in 2011, more than twice as many counties were split among multiple districts.

In striking down that map last month as unconstitutional, the justices said the new districts should be as compact and contiguous as possible. Their new map, they wrote in an order, is “superior or comparable” to proposals submitted by the participants and interested groups during in the legal challenge that led to the historic ruling.

The reconfigured map prompted a sharp rebuke from top Republican legislators, who said honoring it would create a "constitutional crisis." Extending a political clash that has roiled the state for months, they said they might challenge the map — or the justices' authority to impose it — in federal court as early as Tuesday.
The US Supreme Court has already declined to review this, since the ruling is under the aegis of the Pennsylvania constitution, so I see it as somewhat unlikely that a Federal court overruling this.

The only way that I see an injunction is if the Supreme Court reverses itself and agrees to take the case directly.

They gave the legislature and governor an opportunity (albeit a short time) to come together on this, and they failed, so the court had to draw their own map.

18 February 2018

Ex-CIA Director Tells the Truth

On Fox News, (where else) Former CIA director James Woolsey admitted that the US routinely meddles in foreign elections, but "Only for very good cause," because, I guess it's OK when we do it.

You see laundering money to politicians in foreign countries is MUCH better than trolling on Facebook and Twitter:
Following a federal indictment of Russians accused of meddling in the U.S election, a former CIA director on Friday said the U.S. “probably” meddles in other countries’ elections, as well.

The Russian embassy flagged his comments.

When asked whether the U.S. interferes in other countries’ elections, James Woolsey said, “Well, only for a very good cause in the interests of democracy."

“Oh, probably, but it was for the good of the system in order to avoid communists taking over,” he told Laura Ingraham on her Fox News show on Friday night.

Woolsey served as CIA director under former President Clinton.
The New York Times has suddenly discovered this historical fact as well:
Bags of cash delivered to a Rome hotel for favored Italian candidates. Scandalous stories leaked to foreign newspapers to swing an election in Nicaragua. Millions of pamphlets, posters and stickers printed to defeat an incumbent in Serbia.

The long arm of Vladimir Putin? No, just a small sample of the United States’ history of intervention in foreign elections.

On Tuesday, American intelligence chiefs warned the Senate Intelligence Committee that Russia appears to be preparing to repeat in the 2018 midterm elections the same full-on chicanery it unleashed in 2016: hacking, leaking, social media manipulation and possibly more. Then on Friday, Robert Mueller, the special counsel, announced the indictments of 13 Russians and three companies, run by a businessman with close Kremlin ties, laying out in astonishing detail a three-year scheme to use social media to attack Hillary Clinton, boost Donald Trump and sow discord.

Most Americans are understandably shocked by what they view as an unprecedented attack on our political system. But intelligence veterans, and scholars who have studied covert operations, have a different, and quite revealing, view.

“If you ask an intelligence officer, did the Russians break the rules or do something bizarre, the answer is no, not at all,” said Steven L. Hall, who retired in 2015 after 30 years at the C.I.A., where he was the chief of Russian operations. The United States “absolutely” has carried out such election influence operations historically, he said, “and I hope we keep doing it.”
Hypocrisy much?

This Has Gotta Hurt

Republican Kevin Nicholson is running in the primary for a chance to run against Tammy Baldwin's for US Senate.

His parents have donated the maximum to the Baldwin campaign:
This is amusing. Apparently, Kevin Nicholson's parents are staunch Democrats, so much so they'd rather give their money to Tammy Baldwin than a Republican, even if he's their own son.
Sharper than a serpent's tooth, neh?

Tweet of the Day


Yeah, pretty much.

17 February 2018

Brazil Shows Us What We Need for Good Healthcare

It appears that all you need is a community minded hyper-violent drug lord:
Thomaz Vieira Gomes, also known as 2N, is considered one of the most dangerous criminals in Rio de Janeiro, but recently he actually did something decent, albeit still illegal, for once.

He and his gang kidnapped two male nurses and made them vaccinate the poor people of his favela against yellow fever.

For months, Brazil has been dealing with a yellow fever epidemic that has already left dozens dead. Despite the Health Ministry’s plans to vaccinate millions of people in the hopes of containing the outbreak, immunisation centres struggle to keep up with the high number of patients, and, as always, the poorest communities are usually ignored.

………

On January 27th, the young gang leader and a few of his cronies descended on a local state-run clinic in two black cars, took as many syringes and vaccine doses as they could find, and kidnapped two of the male nurses on duty that night.

They then drove to the Amarelinho bar in Salgueiro where the two nurses spent hours administering yellow fever vaccines to members of the local community.

………

After doing their job, the two victims were reportedly taken back to their workplace.

………

Even the country’s former Minister of Environment took to Twitter to comment on this bizarre story, saying that while 2N is still an “a-hole” his actions were a “public service”.
I'm not entirely sure WHAT the lesson to be learned here, but I am sure that there IS a lesson to be learned here.