FREYEday FUNNies

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Treacherous Thursday

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Gen. John Kelly’s ramping up of deportation measures against undocumented residents of the US, in accordance with Donald Trump’s campaign promises, contains many hidden dangers.

The rational way to deal with long-term unauthorized immigrants would be to offer them a path to citizenship, not waste taxpayers’ money deporting 10.9 million people– the vast majority of whom do essential and backbreaking labor that the native-born eschew. Most people don’t realize that there is no way for someone brought up in the US without citizenship to apply for it. The US needs its immigrants if it is to remain a great power.

If the undocumented residents of the US who have not committed any other crime here become afraid that they will be arrested on sight, this fear will endanger the rest of us.

The undocumented will become less likely to seek drivers’ licenses and automobile insurance, which is a menace to other US residents. California, which has 3 million, convinced 800,000 undocumented residents to get drivers’ licences, a victory for public safety, which could now be undone.

Likewise, in California some 93% of the children of undocumented families are enrolled in school. Some proportion of these children were born in the US and we want them educated as future citizens. But will undocumented parents start avoiding all government facilities, including schools?

It is undesirable that this large population avoid getting vaccinations, or that battered women should fear to go to the authorities. Making law-abiding undocumented people go underground poses substantial health and other risks to the rest of us.

@ Juan Cole

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Waste Full Wednesday

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The Department of Energy, to the consternation of environmental groups, is preparing to transport 6,000 gallons of highly toxic liquid nuclear waste over American roadways.
The liquid waste will be transported in at least 100 to 150 truck trips over a three-year period.

The spent nuclear fuel is “target residue material” containing highly enriched uranyl nitrate—which after processing can be used as fuel. The DOE has spent years planning for the transfer of the waste from Canada’s Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario to the Savannah River Site, a reprocessing facility in South Carolina. It will be transported in at least 100 to 150 separate truck shipments over a period of about three years, encased in cannisters normally used to transport solids that have been retrofitted to handle liquids. For security reasons, DOE won’t reveal the exact timing or routes of the shipments. But elected officials in states it is likely to pass through are concerned about safety.

@ MOTHERJONES

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Espionage Tuesday

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The Russian hacking of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and members of Hillary Clinton’s campaign is being treated too much like a novelty and not enough as a serious and persistent security threat. The problem becomes more urgent as we see it spread to other countries.

WikiLeaks, which disseminated stolen DNC documents, announced last week that it would turn its attention to France, and has released material relating to presidential candidates François Fillon and Emmanuel Macron, opponents of Marine Le Pen.

US intelligence agencies found clear links between Wikileaks and the Russian state; we have to assume Russia will use these to undermine Vladimir Putin’s arch-nemesis, Angela Merkel, when she faces the far-right Alternative für Deutschland at the polls in September.

But there’s a deeper dimension to Russia’s actions, which deserves the free world’s urgent attention: its capacity to silently influence domestic legislation and policy-making between elections.

Leaders in the US and Europe must stop any attempt by Trump to ease sanctions on Russia

With his success in the US last year, Putin has put opponents on notice that there will be a price to pay for crossing him. Indeed, the complex infrastructure that Russia built to infect public discourse with false or stolen information isn’t going anywhere. It can be unleashed at any time, on any issue, domestic or international.

# TG

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Megalomania Monday

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Timothy Snyder, a Yale scholar and an authority on European political history, has spent decades studying the rise of fascist movements. With the ascension of Donald Trump to the U.S. presidency, Snyder sees echoes from history, and warns that the time to save America from autocracy is in short supply.

“I think things have tightened up very fast; we have at most a year to defend the republic, perhaps less,” Snyder stated in an interview with German outlet Süddeutsche Zeitung. “What happens in the next few weeks is very important.”

Snyder, whose multiple books include On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century, points out that Americans must dispense with wishful thinking about institutions helping to curb Trump’s power. In fact, that misguided notion is precisely what landed us in this situation.

@ ALTERNET

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Fireball Sunday

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During this period the moon starts out just slightly less than half illuminated and wanes down to a thin sliver, rising just before the sun. This weekend the moon rises near 0100 as seen from mid-northern latitudes. It’s nearly half illuminated and still bright but it does not possess the overpowering effect on faint objects that the full moon does. One can hold successful meteor viewing sessions this week by simply facing away from the moon toward darker portions of the sky. You can also view before the moon rises but February evenings are dreadfully slow as seen from the northern hemisphere. The estimated total hourly meteor rates for evening observers this week is near 3 for those viewing from the northern hemisphere and 4 for those located south of the equator. For morning observers the estimated total hourly rates should be near 7 as seen from mid-northern latitudes (45N) and 14 as seen from tropical southern locations (25S) Morning rates are reduced due to moonlight. The actual rates will also depend on factors such as personal light and motion perception, local weather conditions, alertness and experience in watching meteor activity. Note that the hourly rates listed below are estimates as viewed from dark sky sites away from urban light sources. Observers viewing from urban areas will see less activity as only the brightest meteors will be visible from such locations.

@ AMSMETEORS

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Saturday Reading

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Love is in the air as the American Legislative Exchange Council cozies up to the Real Donald.

ALEC and Trump are unlikely lovers. One gets excited about slamming borders shut, raising tariffs on imports, and promising massive infrastructure spending ($1 trillion in borrowed money says Steve Bannon), the other has never seen a free trade agreement it hasn’t embraced and objects to spending programs that might actually grow jobs.

But ALEC is casting doubts aside and is ready to guide Trump to mutual fulfillment.

This is a big change of heart for one of the nation’s largest associations of far-right politicians and corporate lobbyists.

No Trump backers were spotted at the ALEC meeting in San Diego in 2015. The Times of San Diego described how famed Fox pollster Frank Luntz asked the ALEC luncheon crowd at the Manchester Grand Hyatt:

“How many of you are supporting Donald Trump?”

The reply?

“Crickets,” wrote the paper. “None of the hundreds of American Legislative Exchange Council members or guests, including more than 400 lawmakers, said a word.”

Moreover, ALEC stalwarts like ALEC President Leah Vukmir, a State Senator from Wisconsin, were part of a “never Trump” team that first endorsed Marco Rubio, before rallying behind Ted Cruz, helping to put Wisconsin into the unlikely Cruz column in the GOP primary.

My, have times changed.

@ TRUTHOUT

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