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Mac the Knife, the Sun is asleep, a ton of memes, and existential despair
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Published Thursday, May 14, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 14 2020

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Oops

The email version of yesterday's report said it was Tuesday. Of course, it was Wednesday. When I dusted off the old blogging software, I forgot to adjust for the fact 2020 is a leap year. I'm not blaming the software: it was strictly human error.

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Today is Thursday, May 14, the 135th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 231 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is "The Stars and Stripes Forever" Day, National Dance Like a Chicken Day, International Dylan Thomas Day, National Buttermilk Biscuit Day, and National Underground America Day.

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The Sun is asleep. Deep 'solar minimum' feared as 2020 sees record-setting 100-day absence of sunspots.

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Remembering Richard Deacon. (May 14, 1921-  August 8, 1984) (Video)

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Remembering Bobby Darin (May 14, 1936 – December 20, 1973) (Video)

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George Lucas is 76 today. (Video)

George Lucas quotes.

Related: Carrie Fisher's family reportedly doesn't want her likeness used in Star Wars again.

Also related: Star Wars actor Mark Hamill, 68, is 'done' with the franchise. "I'm full of gratitude for what it has given me and my career but I don't want to be greedy. There are still so many more stories to tell and so many great actors to tell them, they don't need me."

Somewhat related: Coronavirus has moved visual effects work to the cloud- and it may stay there. "With this technology, you can set up 1,000 workstations in less than an hour and have people working on a project simultaneously in Mumbai, New York, Dublin and Vancouver," says Botham. "It's a seamless process."

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Robert Zemeckis is 68 today. (Video)

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Tim Roth is 59 today. (Video)

(He's perhaps more famous as the restaurant robber in Pulp Fiction, but that clip's a bit over the top.)

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On this date in 1796, Edward Jenner administered the first smallpox inoculation.

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On this date in 1948, Israel was declared to be an independent state and a provisional government was established. Immediately after the declaration, Israel is attacked by the neighboring Arab states, triggering the 1948 Arab–Israeli War.

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On this date in 1973, Skylab, the United States' first space station, was launched. (Video)

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AP FACT CHECK: Trump’s perfect China ban, death toll myths.

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Whistleblower: US could face virus rebound 'darkest winter'. Immunologist Dr. Rick Bright makes his sobering prediction in testimony prepared for his appearance Thursday before the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Aspects of his complaint about early administration handling of the crisis are expected to be backed up by testimony from an executive of a company that manufactures, respirator masks.

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Wisconsin Supreme Court strikes down state's stay-at-home order. "This isn't a game. This isn't funny. People die every day because of this virus- often times painful and lonely deaths- and the more we delay or play political games the more people die."

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As each day passes, I become more convinced he's determined to destroy the Republic: Mitch McConnell is pushing the Senate to pass a measure that would let the FBI collect Americans' web-browsing history without a warrant. The Senate is expected to vote to renew the 2001 Patriot Act, and Mitch McConnell is pushing an amendment to the law that would expand the FBI's surveillance powers.

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Atmospheric CO2 soars to record heights in spite of global pandemic. While the coronavirus pandemic has led to a decline in carbon emissions in some areas, the effect is expected to be short-lived.

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Rand Paul says secret to social distancing is making everyone despise you. (Andy Borowitz)

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The real reason Trump wants to reopen the economy. (Video)

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Vitamin D determines severity in COVID-19. Vitamin D has many functions in the human body, and now researchers claim it can also support the immune system through a number of immune pathways involved in fighting SARS-CoV-2. Many recent studies confirm the pivotal role of vitamin D in viral infections. This may be because vitamin D is important in regulation and suppression of the inflammatory cytokine response, which causes the severe consequences of COVID-19 and acute respiratory distress syndrome associated with ventilation and death.

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Get ready for a Covid-19 vaccine information war... Social media is already filling up with misinformation about a Covid-19 vaccine, months or years before one even exists.

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JCPenney gives executives bonuses ahead of deadline for possible bankruptcy filing. Well, they won't have any money afterwards, will they?

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Tired of binge-watching old science fiction movies? Use SpaceX's ISS Docking Simulator to dock with the International Space Station.

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Justice Clarence Thomas brings up Frodo Baggins during Supreme Court oral arguments. He finally speaks, and it's a Lord of the Rings reference. Related: Supreme Court appears poised to let states keep 'faithless electors' out of the Electoral College. President Trump once supported abolishing the Electoral College- he previously felt it was a "total disaster for democracy"- but since his 2016 presidential victory over Hillary Clinton, in which Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million votes, but Trump received 304 electoral votes, he has changed his mind.

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Stocks fall as Fed Chairman Powell warns of lasting economic damage.

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House Democrats' stimulus bill rolls back $10,000 state and local tax deduction cap for two years. It's unlikely Mitch McConnell and his minions in the Senate will go along.

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Forget murder hornets. Giant gypsy moths could bring 'serious, widespread damage' to the US.

Incidentally, the fella in the photo below has been in the U.S. since the mid-1800s: the hornet moth, which mimics a stinging hornet as protective coloration. They're harmless, aside from the heart attack they induce when they land on you.

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From The Scarlet Pimpernel to Spiderman, superheroes have had secret identities. This history of that trope also explains why the practice may be disappearing.

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Astronauts could live in lava tubes on Mars. That's beginning to sound pretty attractive.

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The world's last Blockbuster remains open, pandemic and Netflix be damned.

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Topic of the Day:

Failure.

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Thoughts of the day:

I do not dispute that God speaks to you, but I am dubious that He speaks to you for the purpose of relaying instructions to me.
-Robert Brault

It is difficult to get a man to understand something, when his salary depends upon his not understanding it.
-Upton Sinclair

What people want, mainly, is to be told by some plausible authority that what they are already doing is right. I don't know know of a quicker way to become unpopular than to disagree.
-John Brunner

Hubris and hypocrisy are a deadly combination.
-Anne-Marie Slaughter

Insanity is contagious.
-Joseph Heller

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Things are really rough out there. Please consider donating to Feeding America.


Categories: Bobby Darin, Carrie Fisher, Clarence Thomas, Covid-19, Donald Trump, Edward Jenner, Electoral College, Federal Reserve, Inoculation, Israel, ISS, JC Penney, Mark Hammill, Robert Penn Warren, SCOTUS, Secret Identities, Skylab, Smallpox, SpaceX, Star Wars, Supreme Court, Tim Roth, Vaccines, Video, YouTube


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Facebook censorship, vaccines, Trump v everybody, Social Security, SCOTUS, the shopping cart theory
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Published Wednesday, May 13, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 13 2020

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Before commencing the usual daily festivities:

Senseless censorship:

For the past few months, Facebook's "community standards" scanner has been periodically stopping my KGB Report newsfeed on the social network and, most recently, prohibiting me from posting anything at all, including to my personal account. This was particularly irritating, since I couldn't respond to comments or even use Facebook Messenger. My guess is they've grown sensitive to criticisms about some of the conspiracy, white supremacy and other nut job postings, so they've turned their post-scanning censor software up to 11. For example, if you post a meme that contains a photo of a swastika, the words "hoax", "5G", or some other conspiracy/coronavirus-type reference, you'll get suspended for "activities... that don't comply with Facebook policies."

This posting in February got me kicked off for a week. Facebook labeled it "Hate Speech":


I still don't know who was being hated upon: the men or the dog. I had posted it a year earlier without incident. I guess Facebook is getting touchier as it gets older.

The current offense in question was shared from another page which, incidentally, is still up and running. This image is also all over Twitter as well:

Just a few hours after the expiration of my latest suspension, this appeared on my page last night:

I have no idea what I did to deserve this. It doesn't reference a specific post, so I have no way of knowing what "didn't comply with Facebook policies." Does Andy Borowitz or The Onion have this problem?

See the box that says "Disagree With Decision"? It used to be that you could appeal and a human would review it, and generally you'd get an "oops" and the post would be restored. But now you get the message:

So the strike remains on your record, and there's no way to remove it. And then you get this, should you happen to stumble across the "Page Quality" tab, which is hidden under a "More" button on the administration page:

As A.J. Liebling wrote in The New Yorker in 1960, "Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one." With the Internet, everyone owns a personal electronic printing press. The trick is getting people to read it. On Facebook, KGB Report has over 10,000 followers. The KGB Report blog has -ahem- somewhat less.

If you read and enjoy the blog, spread the word. If you're receiving the email version, forward it to a friend or five. If you're reading it on the website, please copy our url (https://www.kgbreport.com) and pass it along.

Maybe this is what got me the boot. Do not taunt The Zuck, I guess:

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Today is Wednesday, May 13, the 134th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 232 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Cough Drop Day, Donate a Day's Wages to Charity Day, Frog Jumping Day, International Hummus Day, International Receptionists' Day, National Apple Pie Day, National Fruit Cocktail Day, National Leprechaun Day, National Root Canal Appreciation Day, National Third Shift Workers Day, Top Gun Day, World Cocktail Day, and World FM Day.

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Remembering Bea Arthur (May 13, 1922 - April 25, 2009) (Video)

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Harvey Keitel is 81 today. (Video)

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Remembering Mary Wells (May 13, 1943 - July 26, 1992). (Video)

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Little Stevie Wonder is 70 today. (Video)

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Remembering Ritchie Valens (May 13, 1941 - February 3, 1959). (Video)

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Stephen Colbert is 56 today. (Video)

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Listen to the audio- Supreme Court oral argument: President Trump's financial records. Justice Elena Kagan told Trump lawyer Jay Sekulow a "fundamental precept of our constitutional order is that the president is not above the law." Chief Justice John Roberts asked Trump lawyer Patrick Strawbridge: "Do you concede any power in the House to subpoena personal papers of the president?" The Trump attorney said it was “difficult to imagine” a situation in which that would be justified. However, in 1974 the justices acted unanimously in requiring President Nixon to turn over White House tapes to the Watergate special prosecutor. And in 1997, another unanimous decision allowed a sexual harassment lawsuit to proceed against President Clinton. In those cases, three Nixon appointees and two Clinton appointees, respectively, voted against the president who chose them. Ginsburg and Breyer were those Clinton appointees. The New York Times story is here.

Related: I've seen Trump's tax returns and you should, too: "If all of this information from Trump's taxes, bankers and accountants was good enough for me over a decade ago, it's certainly good enough for Congress and the Manhattan district attorney today."

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Unreleased White House report shows coronavirus rates spiking in heartland communities. Trump's claim that cases are falling everywhere is contradicted by his own task force's report... showing the virus spreading far from the coasts.

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Reopening America... "...daring Mother Nature to kill you or someone you love...Mother Nature bats last, and she bats a thousand."

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Credit where credit's due... The four men responsible for America's COVID-19 test disaster..

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Fact check: McConnell claims Obama didn't leave Trump a pandemic 'game plan.' Obama left a 69-page playbook.

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Mall optometrist Rand Paul doesn't know why Dr. Fauci thinks he's such an 'expert' on pandemics.

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Developing a COVID-19 vaccine quickly is possible... but not without risks and some ethical rationalizations. (Video)

Related: Let's say there's a COVID-19 vaccine—who gets it first? An immunization shot is still in development, but debate over who gets priority has already begun.

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Broadway theaters will remain dark at least through Labor Day. The closed productions will offer refunds or exchanges to ticket holders through Labor Day.

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The filmed performance of the blockbuster Broadway musical "Hamilton" is coming to Disney+ a year earlier than anticipated, just in time for Fourth of July festivities. Disney paid $75 million for the worldwide rights in February and had set a theatrical release date of fall 2021. But with the pandemic shuttering so many cinemas and theaters worldwide, Disney is clearly betting on its hugely successful streaming service (which just surpassed 50 million subscribers) to recoup its investment.

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Our weird behavior during the pandemic is messing with Artificial Intelligence models. (Video)

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Judge invites outside parties to weigh in on Flynn case, delaying DOJ effort to drop charges. The judge, a Clinton appointee, still needs to approve the DOJ's motion to drop the charges. He has yet to schedule a hearing or ask for further briefing.

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Clarence Thomas wants to shrink your free speech rights- unless you're a rich donor.

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Thoughts of the day:

There is a road from the eye to the heart that does not go through the intellect.
-G.K. Chesterton

Some call the adage "Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results" a cliché. Others call it practice.
-Variously attributed

I used to think that the brain was the most wonderful organ in my body. Then I realized who was telling me this.
-Emo Philips

There is no happiness for people at the expense of other people.
-Anwar Sadat

I am truly horrified by modern man. Such absence of feeling, such narrowness of outlook, such lack of passion and information, such feebleness of thought.
-Alexander Herzen

Authority has always attracted the lowest elements in the human race.
P.J. O'Rourke-

The smartest thing ever said on the Internet: "Laws are just stories we tell poor people."
-Variously attributed

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Social Security beneficiaries might not receive much of a cost-of-living adjustment next year- and some say recipients might not get anything at all.

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Things are really rough out there. Please consider donating to Feeding America.


Categories: AI, Anthony Fauci, Artificial Intelligence, Barack Obama, Bea Arthur, Broadway, Censorship, Clarence Thomas, Covid-19, Disney+, Donald Trump, Facebook, Hamilton (musical), Harvey Keitel, Michael Flynn, Mitch McConnell, Ritchie Valens, SciShow, SCOTUS, Social Security, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Colbert, Stevie Wonder, Video, YouTube


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