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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.
- FIRST: A major announcement about this show: Beginning next week, Monday, April 23rd, we’ll be moving to a NEW time slot! Next Monday, Thinkwing Radio will be from 2-3 PM on Monday afternoons.
- Are you ready for the runoffs? Make sure you are registered to vote?
- A 150-Foot Asteroid Flew Alarmingly Close to Earth Just Hours After Being Spotted, By Kate Samuelson [TIME.com] 4-26-2018, 9:14 AM EDT
- An asteroid estimated to be at least 150 feet in diameter made an alarmingly close pass to Earth on Sunday morning [4-15-2018] just hours after it was first observed by astronomers.
- The asteroid, named Asteroid 2018 GE3, was closest to Earth at around 2.41 a.m. ET on April 15 when it was spotted about 119,500 miles away…
- … Asteroid 2018 GE3 could be as much as six times bigger than the Chelyabinsk meteorite, which exploded over central Russia in 2013. When the rock hit the atmosphere it caused a bright flash, and thousands of fragments fell throughout the region of Chelyabinsk, breaking windows and injuring about 1,500 people.
- [Mike Pompeo,] President Trump’s Pick for Secretary of State Just Confirmed ‘Hundreds’ of Russians Were Killed in a U.S. Attack in Syria, By Justin Worland, [TIME.com] April 12, 2018
- President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of State confirmed Thursday that “a couple hundred Russians were killed” by U.S. forces in Syria earlier this year.
- Mike Pompeo, who currently serves as CIA director, offered the confirmation in response to questions about the U.S. relationship with Russia. The February attack by U.S. special forces — acknowledged at the time by Russian and Syrian officials but until now unconfirmed by the U.S. — targeted pro-government Syrian forces who were working alongside Russian mercenaries.
- “In Syria, now, a handful of weeks ago the Russian met their match,” Pompeo told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “A couple hundred Russians were killed.”
- A U.S. official previously said that the U.S. had communicated with Russia prior to the attack and no Russian government forces were killed.
- The gaping hole in Sean Hannity’s story about being Michael Cohen’s client, by Callum Borchers [Washington Post) April 16, 2018 at 5:07
- It’s not what it looks like. … [L]awyers for President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, revealed in court on Monday that the Fox News host is one of only three clients that Cohen represented this year and last.
- what it looks like, of course, is that Cohen could have similarly helped Hannity silence a woman who might have told an embarrassing story. That is not the case, Hannity insisted …
- “I tell you why they’re going nuts,” Hannity said of the media. “They’re assuming — because I guess he did some type of work for some Republican guy — they’re figuring, ‘Oh, he must’ve done a big settlement case for Hannity.’ That’s not — no, that’s not what happened. Ever.”
- “Not one of any issue I ever dealt with Michael Cohen on ever — ever — involved a matter between me and any third party,” Hannity added.
- … Why, as he railed against FBI raids of Cohen’s office, home and hotel room last week, did Hannity not disclose to viewers and listeners that his communications with Cohen could have been among the materials seized?
- … the [ FOX] network issued the following statement, attributed to Hannity: “Michael Cohen has never represented me in any matter. I never retained him, received an invoice, or paid legal fees. I have occasionally had brief discussions with him about legal questions about which I wanted his input and perspective. I assumed those conversations were confidential but, to be absolutely clear, they never involved any matter between me and a third party.”
- Hannity made further comments that appear to be somewhat inconsistent …. [Hannity] said that he might have paid Cohen a small fee, after all, and said he did not merely assume that their conversations were privileged but rather sought assurances.
- “I might have handed him 10 bucks [and said,] ‘I definitely want your attorney-client privilege on this,’ ” Hannity said on the radio. “Something like that. I requested that privilege with him …
- As a commentator, Hannity need not be neutral. But as a self-described “opinion journalist,” he could reasonably be expected to divulge a conflict of interest such as the one involving Cohen.
- Watchdog finds EPA broke law by spending $43K on Scott Pruitt’s soundproof booth and not telling Congress, By Ledyard King, [USATODAY] Published 12:31 p.m. ET April 16, 2018 | Updated 2:41 p.m. ET April 16, 2018
- The EPA broke the law when it failed to tell lawmakers on House and Senate spending committees that it was allocating more than $43,000 to install a soundproof phone booth in Administrator Scott Pruitt’s office last year, according to a congressional watchdog agency.
- In a report issued Monday, the Government Accountability Office said …
- … Any office expenditure above $5,000 requires lawmakers be notified, according to the eight-page GAO repor The total cost of the soundproof booth and its installation amounted to $43,238.68. …
- Nikki Haley finds herself under the bus as Trump shifts course on Russia, by Aaron Blake [WASHINGTON POSY] April 16, 2018 at 3:17 PM Email the author
- Less than 20 hours later, Trump reversed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley’s announcement that the United States would be ramping up sanctions on Russia.
- … [Haley] has a tendency to clear her remarks with Trump personally before she makes them. It seems entirely possible that she got Trump to sign off on saying more Russia sanctions were coming on Sunday morning, and then the White House got cold feet (possibly because Trump suddenly felt the need to exert his influence over the process).
- Russia is sponsoring cyberattacks in U.S. homes and businesses, U.S. and U.K. officials warn, By Bart Jansen and Elizabeth Weise, USA TODAY Published 1:25 p.m. ET April 16, 2018 | Updated 4:20 p.m. ET April 16, 2018
- Cybersecurity officials from the U.S. and United Kingdom accused the Russian government Monday of sponsoring attacks for possible use in espionage or stealing intellectual property from large corporations down to individual homes.
- The attacks have targeted millions of computer networks worldwide through equipment such as routers, switches and firewalls, according to the officials from the White House, Department of Homeland Security and FBI, and counterparts in Britain. The targets included government and private organizations, including internet service providers, officials said.
- The goal of the announcement Monday was to warn corporations and individuals to protect themselves against attacks.
- ,,, The campaign launched Monday is designed to encourage companies and individuals to protect their systems including routers, switches and firewalls through changing passwords and configuring their devices to prevent them from being hijacked.
- Routers have long been known to be vulnerable to hacking and infiltration. Multiple studies have found that companies often install routers with their default passwords (often simply 1-2-3-4), making them child’s play to break into. In addition, many small and home offices as well as individuals never set up any security on their home routers.
- European women twice as likely to be blonde as men, study says, Com/News/Health, 4-16-2018, 9 hours ago
- Women from European descent are twice as likely to be naturally blonde as men, according to new research.
- … The study which is published in Nature Genetics, builds on previous genetic studies that had only identified a dozen or so hair…
- … They found men were three times as likely as women to have black hair. …
- “It’s a mystery and it’s intriguing because it wasn’t what we were looking for. We thought it was a bias but it wouldn’t go away and it’s found in every sub-group of every population we saw,” he said.
- “It’s a curious mystery because it’s a very big effect – to see two and threefold effects both in a whole variety of American populations and European ones was quite amazing.”
- Uber’s Self-Driving Car Just Killed Somebody. Now What?, By Aarian Marshall [www.wired.com] 03.19.18
- At about 10 pm on Sunday evening, a self-driving Uber struck and killed a woman crossing the street in Tempe, Arizona. The crash appears to be the first time a self-driving vehicle has killed someone—and could alter the course of a scantily regulated, poorly understood technology that has the power to save lives and create fortunes.
- The Tempe Police Department reports the Volvo XC90 SUV was in autonomous mode when the crash occurred, though the car had a human safety driver behind the wheel to monitor the technology and retake control in the case of an emergency or imminent crash. The woman, Elaine Herzberg, was transported to a local hospital, where she died from her injuries. The police department will complete its full report later today.
- Uber, Waymo, and other autonomous vehicle developers like Arizona not just for the sunny weather and calm conditions but for the near total lack of restrictions on how they test: Self-driving vehicles don’t need any sort of special permit, just a standard vehicle registration. And their operators don’t have to share any information about what they’re doing with the authorities.
- Thus far, only California demands developers make public specific data on their operations, including descriptions of any crashes, how many miles they drive each year, and how often their human safety operators take control from the robot. Even those numbers are less than helpful in understanding the pace of their work or just how well these things really drive. The state will begin allowing the testing of totally driverless vehicles—without safety drivers for backup—on public roads next month.
- …companies … await legislation that would put the federal government firmly in charge of all autonomous vehicle design, construction, and performance, and allow even more testing—as many as 100,000 vehicles per manufacturer—all over the country. The bill, called the Self Drive Act, passed in the House this fall. But the companion Senate bill, the AV Start Act, has been held up by a few senators who wonder whether the young technology needs more aggressive oversight.
- … Tempe police report the woman was outside the crosswalk when she was hit and killed.
- … human drivers kill just 1.16 people for every 100 million miles driven. Waymo and Uber and all the rest combined are nowhere near covering that kind of distance, and they’ve already killed one.
- What is a “Populist”?
- From Wikipedia: … a political philosophy supporting the rights and power of the people in their struggle against a privileged elite. Critics of populism have described it as a political approach that seeks to disrupt the existing social order by solidifying and mobilizing the animosity of the “commoner” or “the people” against “privileged elites” and the “establishment”. Populists can fall anywhere on the traditional left–right political spectrum of politics and often portray both bourgeois capitalists and socialist organizers as unfairly dominating the political sphere.
- Political parties and politicians often use the terms “populist” and “populism” as pejoratives against their opponents. Such a view sees populism as demagogy, merely appearing to empathize with the public through rhetoric or unrealistic proposals in order to increase appeal across the political spectrum.
- From Merriam-Webster:
- 1: a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people; especially, often capitalized : a member of a U.S. political party formed in 1891 primarily to represent agrarian interests and to advocate the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies
- 2 : a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people
- A person, especially a politician, who strives to appeal to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are disregarded by established elite groups.
- 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/Revise 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])
- All declared POTUS candidates must release at least 5 years tax returns and medical physical data. (LEGISLATE/AMENDMENT: for how many years)
- Presidents may not self-pardon (AMENDMENT OR LEGISLATION: or pardon executive appointees?)
- No “self-funding” of campaigns beyond legal donor limit.
- Special counsel has power to indict president
- 2/3 Senate vote to confirm SCOTUS appointment
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: