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For the purposes of this show, I operate on two mottoes:
- You’re entitled to your own opinion, but not your own facts;
- An educated electorate is a prerequisite for a democracy.
“Trump simply cannot avoid committing impeachable offenses. He’s like the scorpion stinging the turtle ferrying it across the river, even though they will both drown. It’s in his nature.” ~ Michael R. Honig, Jan. 13, 2017
- Make sure you are registered to vote?
- Supreme Court refuses to block Pa. ruling invalidating congressional map, by Robert Barnes February 5, 2018 at 5:55 PM [Washingtonpost.Com]
- The Supreme Court on Monday denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to delay redrawing congressional lines, meaning the 2018 elections in the state will most likely be held in districts far more favorable to Democrats.
- The GOP leaders asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene, but Justice Samuel A. Alito Jr. turned down their request for a stay without even referring the case to his colleagues. He gave no reason for the decision, but generally the Supreme Court stays out of the way when a state’s highest court is interpreting its own state constitution.
- MIKE: Add this to North Carolina.
- Wealthy self-funder could upend open race to replace Houston U.S. Rep. Gene Green – Just a few weeks ago, Houston political observers were predicting state Sen. Sylvia Garcia would easily win the Democratic primary to replace U.S. Rep. Gene Green. Then Tahir Javed pledged to “spend whatever it takes” to come out on top. by Abby Livingston [Texas Tribune] Feb. 2, 2018 Updated: 9 AM
- … Texas state senator [Sylvia] Garcia is running for Congress … and, until recently, some in Houston were predicting she would effectively swamp the other six Democrats in the race, winning the party’s nomination in a clear shot on the March 6 primary and avoiding a runoff.
- The wildcard appears to be Tahir Javed, an outspoken healthcare executive who told the Tribune that he will “spend whatever it takes” to win the seat U.S. Rep. Gene Green, D-Houston, is giving up after 25 years. “I have invested in people all my life, and I want to do it one more time,” said Javed, CEO of Riceland Healthcare.
- After land office inks Harvey contract, Land Commissioner George P. Bush gets donations from contractor – The Texas General Land Office, led by Republican Land Commissioner George P. Bush, signed a contract with Horne LLP for Harvey disaster recovery services on Oct. 30, 2017. Three days later, Bush received $27,500 in campaign money from Horne executives. by Jay Root Feb. 2, 2018 12 AM
- Two Bacteria Revealed as Culprits Behind Colon Cancer in New Study: Two species of bacteria work cooperatively to trigger colon cancer tumors, a study published Thursday reports. The finding, which surprised the researchers, could eventually lead to new avenues for treatment. By Melissa Matthews On 2/5/18 at 3:23 PM [NEWSWEEK]
- A 2015 study by Dr. Cynthia Sears and colleagues at the Sydney Kimmel Cancer Center, part of Johns Hopkins University, found that two bacterial strains invaded the mucus of the colon in people with colon cancer who were not genetically predisposed to it. Now, researchers from Johns Hopkins University studied people who have an inherited form of colon cancer and found that two particular types of bacteria were present in all cases.
- Most bacteria can’t travel past the protective layer surrounding the colon. But these two species—Bacteroides fragilis and Escherichia coli—could bypass this guardian and reach the epithelial cells, where tumors typically originate.
- Sears has a theory about how these two species conspire to spur cancer: colitriggers genetic mutations and B. fragilis produces a toxin that promotes cancer. “It is the combination of these effects, requiring coexistence of these two bacteria, that creates the ‘perfect storm’ to drive colon cancer development,” Sears said in a statement. The study is published in the February issue of Science.
- The discovery could have practical applications. Finding a way to block the bacteria or the toxin produced by fragilis, could potentially prevent tumors from forming, Sears explained.
- At the moment, we are powerless to stop these bacteria from colonizing the colon. And scientists don’t know whether certain foods exacerbate the issue, said Sears.
- No mention was made of whether any antibiotics might be effective, but I infer there are none.
- Dow closes down nearly 1,200 points after plunging more than 1,500 points in volatile trading, By Thomas Heath (The Washington Post) February 5, 2018 at 4:00 PM
- …finishing at 24,342, or down 4.6 percent on Monday
- The Dow has swung more than 2,100 points in the last two sessions, a decline pushing more than 8 percent
- One of the big worries is that the Federal Reserve, under new chairman Jerome Powell who was officially sworn in Monday, will accelerate interest rate hikes and slow the economy. A slowing economy would likely turn the bull market toward bearish.
- 10-year Treasury bond, a closely watched harbinger of investor sentiment. The yield’s rise toward 3 percent is widely believed to be a marker for investors to eschew equities for the appetizing stability of bonds.
- “If the yield on the 10-year hits 3 percent in the next several days, equities are likely to decline dramatically because of fears of the Federal Reserve aggressively slowing down the economy by raising interest rates,” said James Norman, president of QS Investors.
- Bond yields are rising as the Federal Reserve trims its U.S. bond holdings. The U.S. Treasury is also having to borrow more money, partly because of the tax cuts, and issuing more debt tends to raise yields.
- The stock market has lost $1 trillion in value in the first five days of February.
- The Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index was down four of the last five sessions heading into Monday. The technology-laden Nasdaq was down six of its last eight sessions as markets opened Monday.
- The 10-year bond was trading at 2.851 percent on Monday, short of the feared 3 percent marker where investors consider leaving equities for the relative safe returns of bonds.
- The market has not had a 5 percent correction for more than 400 days. Historically, corrections of 5 percent occur every 90 to 120 days.
- Trump blasts ‘treasonous’ Democrats for not applauding at his State of the Union address, By Gregory Korte, USA TODAY Published 3:29 p.m. ET Feb. 5, 2018 | Updated 5:42 p.m. ET Feb. 5, 2018
- President Trump suggested Monday that Democrats who refused to applaud during his State of the Union address last week were traitors…
- “Somebody said ‘treasonous.’ I mean, yeah, I guess. Why not?” he said. “Can we call that treason? Why not. They certainly didn’t seem to love our country very much,”[said Trump.]
- Democrats denounced the remark as an affront to free speech and accused Trump of “emulating autocrats.”
- “When Vladimir Putin does his yearly news conference, he generally demands applause and supplication from those in attendance, but it’s beyond bizarre for an American president to demand the same from free-thinking citizens in a democratic republic,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper.
- Are we giving millennials enough of a reason to stay?, by Jonathan Aberman (The Washington Post) February 5, 2018 at 7:00 AM
- Last week, American University’s Kogod School of Business released its newest Millennial Index. … millennials as an age group are looking for jobs that offer high salaries and career progression while living in communities that provide affordable housing and to some lesser extent other lifestyle amenities, the index shows.
- This picture of millennial aspirations should get our attention… When asked to rank the most important factors they use to evaluate where to live, millennials
- rank jobs as most important (40 percent),
- affordability as next important (24 percent),
- followed by career and education options (18 percent),
- amenities (10 percent) and
- people (8 percent).
- This ranking shows … that millennials will be less likely to stay [in metro DC] because of people or amenities, if there are better economic opportunities or cheaper living elsewhere. This is a group that will vote with its feet and move away or never come at all.
- Indeed, … In the aftermath of the Great Recession, our region … But in 2017, our region saw a 0.2 percent drop in millennial residents, despite a 1.5 percent increase nationwide.
- MIKE: If we’re not careful, this can be the beginning of a “brain drain” like the one which benefited the US in the 1950s-60s, but in reverse. It may affect the nation rather than just a few regions.
- China’s watchful eye: CCTV footage taken in Beijing uses the facial-recognition system Face++. China, unburdened by concerns about privacy or civil rights, is integrating private cameras and security cameras into a nationwide surveillance system., Story by Simon Denyer, Photos by Gilles Sabrié, Video by Joyce Lee, January 7, 2018 (Washington Post)
- Beijing bets on facial recognition in a big drive for total surveillance
- …who’s a criminal? In China, documents for the Police Cloud project unearthed by Human Rights Watch list “petitioners” — people who complain to the government about perceived injustices — as potential targets of surveillance, along with anyone who “undermines stability” or has “extreme thoughts.” Other documents cite members of ethnic minorities, specifically Muslim Uighurs from Xinjiang, as subjects of scrutiny.
- Maya Wang, a researcher at Human Rights Watch, said what sets China apart is “a complete lack of effective privacy protections,” combined with a system that is explicitly designed to target individuals seen as “politically threatening.”
- “In other countries, we are often concerned about the use of big data for deepening existing policing bias — for example, for targeting historically disadvantaged groups like African Americans in the U.S. context — but for the Chinese systems, the targeting of people of certain ethnicity is a fundamental function of the system,” she added.
- Protests in Iran:
- Iran bans teaching English in primary schools, By Valerie Strauss January 8 at 3:08 PM (Washington Post)
- Iran just banned the teaching of English in primary schools — even after school hours — because, it said, those early years should be devoted to strengthening students’ skills in the Persian language and Iranian Islamic culture.
- Mehdi Navid-Adham, head of the state-run High Education Council, told state television, “Teaching English in government and non-government primary schools in the official curriculum is against laws and regulations,” the BBC reported. Iran’s education system is divided into the primary and secondary grades, with children moving from the former to the latter at age 12. There are both public and private schools.
- Navid-Adham did not mention the deadly anti-government protests that have erupted in Iran, which authorities have linked to foreign powers, including the United States and Iraq. Iranian authorities blocked social media apps Instagram and Telegram — “temporarily” — after demonstrators used them to share videos of protests.
- According to the BBC, English is widely studied in Iran and is so popular in higher grades that classes started to be offered in primary schools. This has happened despite concerns expressed by Iran’s rulers, who have said that the teaching of English and other foreign languages amounts to a “cultural invasion.” In a speech to teachers in 2016, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, bemoaned the prevalence of English classes in Iranian schools, saying:
- This insistence on promoting the English language in our country is an unhealthy course of action. Of course, we should learn foreign languages, but foreign languages are not confined to the English language. The language of science is not only English. Why do they not specify other languages in school as language lessons? Why is there such an insistence? . . .
- I am not saying that we should cancel English classes shortly. This is not what I am saying. What I am saying is that we should know what we are doing. We should know what kind of generation the other side wants to be built in the country and with what characteristics. . . .
- Iran bans teaching English in primary schools, By Valerie Strauss January 8 at 3:08 PM (Washington Post)
- America’s Cultural Revolution, by Catherine Rampell
- Last month in Shanghai, Chinese venture capitalist Eric X. Li made a provocative suggestion. The United States, he said, was going through its own “Cultural Revolution.” …
- Li said he saw several parallels between the violence and chaos in China decades ago and the animosity coursing through the United States today. In both cases, the countries turned inward, focusing more on defining the soul of their nations than on issues beyond their borders.
- He said that both countries were also “torn apart by ideological struggles,” with kinships, friendships and business relationships being severed by political differences.
- “Virtually all types of institutions, be it political, educational, or business, are exhausting their internal energy in dealing with contentious, and seemingly irreconcilable, differences in basic identities and values — what it means to be American,” he said in a subsequent email exchange. “In such an environment, identity trumps reason, ideology overwhelms politics, and moral convictions replace intellectual discourse.”
- 7 Reforms After Trump, by Keith Boykin (@keithboykin) 12/3/17, 19:31
- Repeal Shelby v Holder (LEGISLATE: Renew Voting Rights Act)
- Repeal Citizens United (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: Limit Money in Politics, abolish anonymous money in politics)
- Abolish electoral college (or can it be saved?)
- Apply anti-nepotism law to White House (It was WRITTEN for White House [Robert Kennedy serving with JFK])
- POTUS candidates must release tax returns (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: for how many years)
- Presidents may not self-pardon (AMENDMENT OR LEGISLATION: or pardon executive appointees?)
- Special counsel has power to indict president
- 2/3 Senate vote to confirm SCOTUS appointment
- Sex and Politics: Where’s the boundary between innocent and inappropriate?
TOPICS FROM PREVIOUS WEEKS:
- What do belts around Proxima Centauri mean for exoplanet research?, By John Wenz | Published: Friday, November 03, 2017 [http://www.astronomy.com]
- TV Talk:
- “The Good Place”
- “The Orville”
- “Adam Ruins Everything”
SOURCES WHICH MAY BE RELEVANT TO OTHER DISCUSSION: