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Cicadas, reining in the crazy, nun embezzlement, Jesus gets an accountant
(permalink)

Published Thursday, June 10, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 10 2021

Reporters traveling to the United Kingdom for President Joe Biden's first overseas trip were delayed seven hours after their chartered plane was overrun by cicadas.

(Video) Rachel Maddow: GOP succeeds in wasting Democrats' time in power. You would think they would have learned something from the Obamacare debacle.

Jobless in PA livid over new unemployment system errors as state declares victory. When's the best time to migrate to a new system using an entirely different platform and paradigm? Probably not during a pandemic with a record number of claimaints. Duh.

Susan Collins sad that Joe Manchin has replaced her as most annoying Senator. "It's only fitting that the baton be passed to an obscure senator from West Virginia," she said. (Andy Borowitz)

Biden disliked Putin before it was cool. For more than 20 years, Joe Biden has questioned Vladimir Putin's true intentions.

US to buy 500 million Covid vaccine doses for world. But let's draw the line at free beer and lottery tickets, ok?

San Francisco may be first major US city to hit herd immunity, experts say. City still recording small number of Covid cases per day but they don't appear to be triggering wider outbreaks.

From Crazytown:

Trump returns as a diminished TV draw. Not having the nuclear codes kind of diminishes the drama, I guess...

QAnon at a crossroads: leaders try to rein in the crazy. With Q silent and Trump out of office, QAnon's heroes are trying to pump the brakes on the right's most popular nutty conspiracy theory.

'5G towers,' other conspiracies flourish at hearing on vaccine bill. "They can put a key on their forehead, it sticks. They can put spoons and forks all over them and they can stick, because now we think there's a metal piece to that. There's been people who have long suspected that there was some sort of an interface, yet to be defined interface, between what's being injected in these shots and all of the 5G towers." (Video)

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is

On this date:

Birthdays

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Miscellany

Rio de Janeiro's Christ statue: 'Thou shalt not bribe'. The Rio branch of the international accounting firm KPMG has signed an agreement with the administration of the Sanctuary of Christ the Redeemer to ensure operations are aboveboard.

Retired nun will plead guilty to stealing more than $835K from Catholic school ...to "pay for expenses that the order would not have approved, much less paid for, including large gambling expenses incurred at casinos and certain credit card charges..."

"Not a good day to get tacos..."two Florida men flying to get tacos when their small plane went down in the Everglades."

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KGB Cap
KGB Merch


Categories: Andy Borowitz, Cicadas, Clergy, Computers, Congress, Covid-19, Democrats, Donald Trump, Florida, Jesus, Joe Biden, Joe Manchin, QAnon, Rachel Maddow, Republicans, Susan Collins, Vladimir Putin


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Martian watermelons, rich untaxed, beware the Delta Variant, they broke the Internet
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Published Wednesday, June 09, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 09 2021

New York Times: Fields of watermelons found on Mars, police say. Authorities say rise of fruit aliens is to blame for glut of outer space watermelons. Oops.

The secret IRS files: trove of never-before-seen records reveal how the wealthiest avoid income tax. In 2007, Jeff Bezos, then a multibillionaire and now the world's richest man, did not pay a penny in federal income taxes. He achieved the feat again in 2011. In 2018, Tesla founder Elon Musk, the second-richest person in the world, also paid no federal income taxes. Michael Bloomberg managed to do the same in recent years. Billionaire investor Carl Icahn did it twice. George Soros paid no federal income tax three years in a row. The reaction? Biden administration investigates 'illegal' leak of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and Warren Buffett's tax information.

Beware the Delta Variant. A new and deadlier variant of Covid-19 may cause another wave this summer among the unvaccinated and those who only received the first shot.

Fastly outage: why it just broke Amazon, Reddit, Twitch and much of the internet. As Corinne Cath-Speth, a Ph.D. candidate at Oxford Internet Institute and the Alan Turing Institute pointed out on Twitter, this means "a technical hiccup in a single company can have huge ramifications." Here's an more detailed and mostly non-technical explanation of CDNs (Content Delivery Networks) (Video).

And if that wasn't bad enough, CyberNews reported that an anonymous forum poster uploaded a 100GB text file containing 8.4 billion entries of passwords.

Global crime bust involving U.S., 15 other nations nabs hundreds, drugs, cash. Authorities worldwide have arrested hundreds of suspects connected to organized crime after decrypting messages sent over an FBI-controlled smartphone application popular with the criminal underworld.

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From Dementialand:

Rejecting Biden's win, rising Republicans attack legitimacy of elections. The next generation of aspiring G.O.P. congressional leaders has aggressively pushed Donald Trump’s false fraud claims, raising the prospect that the results of elections will continue to be challenged through 2024.

How America fractured into four parts. People in the United States no longer agree on the nation's purpose, values, history, or meaning. Is reconciliation possible?

Trump feared Democrats would replace Biden with Michelle Obama, book claims. Donald Trump called Joe Biden a "mental retard" during the 2020 election, a new book says, but was reluctant to attack him too strongly for fear the Democrats would replace him with Hillary Clinton or Michelle Obama.

QAnon supporter who chased Capitol police officer says he was deceived by 'pack of lies'. His attorney said he "fell victim to this barrage of internet sourced info" and came to the Capitol at the urging of former President Trump to "demonstrate that he was a 'true patriot.'"

Wisconsin ex-pharmacist gets prison for ruining vaccine. A former pharmacist in Wisconsin who purposefully ruined more than 500 doses of COVID-19 vaccine was sentenced to three years in prison on Tuesday. He is an admitted conspiracy theorist who believes he is a prophet and vaccines are a product of the devil. He also professed a belief that the Earth is flat and the 9/11 terrorist attacks were faked.

An anti-vaccine film targeted to black Americans spreads false information

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is

On this date:

  • 68 - Roman emperor Nero committed suicide, after quoting Vergil's Aeneid, thus ending the Julio-Claudian dynasty and starting the civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors.
  • 1856 - Five hundred Mormons left Iowa City, Iowa for the Mormon Trail.
  • 1934 - first appearance of Donald Duck in the cartoon, "The Wise Little Hen".
  • 1954 - Joseph Welch, special counsel for the United States Army, lashed out at Senator Joseph McCarthy during the Army-McCarthy hearings, giving McCarthy the famous rebuke, "You've done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir, at long last? Have you left no sense of decency?" (Video)
  • 1958 - "The Purple People Eater" by Sheb Wooley hit #1 in the U.S. (Video)
  • 1959 - The USS George Washington was launched, the first nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine. (Video)
  • 1973 - Secretariat (March 30, 1970 - October 4, 1989) won the U.S. Triple Crown. He still holds the fastest speed records in all three races.
  • 1980 - Comedian Richard Pryor suffered burns from freebasing cocaine. (NSFW Video)
  • 1989 - "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" premiered in USA. This was the one directed by Shatner. The less said the better.

Birthdays

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Miscellany

Hartlepool's monkey statue
(Sky News)

Hartlepool's monkey statue to be given 'explanatory sign' to avoid offending visitors. Unless you're a visitor from France: "Legend states that the animal was the only survivor of a shipwreck off the northeast coast of England and because the villagers had never seen a monkey before, they mistook it for a Frenchman and convicted it of being a spy."

Las Vegas woman crushes three watermelons in 7.5 seconds for world record. Olson used her thighs to smash three watermelons in 7.5 seconds, nearly halving Ukrainian bodybuilder Olga Liashchuk's Guinness World Record of 14.65 seconds.

I really wasn't planning to, but here's another good reason: FDA issues warning not to eat cicadas if you're allergic to seafood. The insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.

South African woman gives birth to decuplets. A South Africa woman who was expecting eight babies is believed to be a new record holder after she gave birth to 10 infants.


Categories: Covid-19, Cybercrime, Donald Trump, Internet, IRS, January 6, QAnon, Republicans, Taxes, The Big Lie


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Manchin madness, McDonald's AI, caffeine danger, lab leak theory
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Published Tuesday, June 08, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 08 2021

Manchin's opposition clouds future of Dems' elections bill. "Voting and election reform that is done in a partisan manner will all but ensure partisan divisions continue to deepen," Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia wrote. But how can you have bipartisan support when one of the parties has dedicated itself to subverting the democratic process?

CO2 concentration levels hit record high, show no impact from pandemic. Although carbon emissions fell 17 percent globally in spring 2020, they were on the rise again by September, with research from the World Meteorological Organization indicating they fell only a net 6.4 percent last year.

McDonald's is testing Siri-style AI technology at drive-thrus. Reminds me of the joke Jay Leno made when the chain announced it would start using robots in their kitchens: "You just know these were the robots that weren't smart enough to work for NASA."

Five ways to keep your brain sharp as you age. I'm certain one of them should be avoiding cable news.

Fact check: Video falsely presents joke as confession to QAnon blood-harvesting conspiracy theory. I'm no longer wondering - a large portion of our population is insane.

I just want to point out that "Who is the President of the United States?" is a question they ask people to tell if they are sane.
-Paula Poundstone

Warning: high caffeine consumption may increase risk of blinding eye disease. It works out to about three or four cups of coffee per day. Swell.

Frozen in siberian permafrost for 24,000 years, microscopic animal comes back to life. Gee, what could go wrong?

The Lab-Leak Theory: Inside the fight to uncover Covid-19's origins. State Department investigators say they were repeatedly advised not to open a "Pandora's box."

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is

On this date:

Birthdays

Miscellany

UK commandos fly over the sea with new jet pack. It's the 21st century. This is way overdue.

Putin says he has no intention of reinstating Trump. "I think if I were planning to put Trump back in power, I would know about it,"" the visibly annoyed Putin said. (Andy Borowitz)

No shirts, pants or undies needed on bike ride, just a mask.

The average home goes through 2,184 pounds of laundry a year — the weight of an adult black rhinoceros. Kids may be a large part of the reason why. The average child goes through three outfits on a typical day.


Categories: Artificial Intelligence, Caffeine, Coffee, Covid-19, Environment, Joe Manchin, McDonald's, QAnon, Voting


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Shortages explained, more QAnon lunacy, the return of Arthur Treacher.
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, June 02, 2021 @ 10:20 AM EDT
Jun 02 2021

Why there are so many shortages. (It's not Covid-19.)

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"A new inauguration date is set": Inside the latest QAnon conspiracy theory to "reinstate" Trump.

Flynn says he didn't endorse Myanmar-style coup after he appears to back plan in video exchange. Are these people not aware of the existence of video recording technology?

An Amazonian tribe may have discovered the secret to keeping the brain from aging. Some secret... good diet, exercise. Just once I'd like it to be some indigenous plant that can be synthesized in a home kitchen.

The pandemic is getting worse, even when it seems like it's getting better.

Contrary to earlier research, Vitamin D may not protect against COVID-19.

Remember Arthur Treacher's Fish and Chips? It's coming back.

You have a week to opt-out of Amazon Sidewalk. Do it now. "If the idea of sharing part of your network with the neighbors is totally fine with you, please consider the fact that Amazon is a company of liars who cannot be trusted."

After 75,000 Echo arbitration demands, Amazon now lets you sue it. The change apparently was brought about by a surge in arbitration demands over revelations that Amazon's Echo devices were sometimes recording and saving conversations without consent, including those involving children. Those recordings allegedly ran afoul of laws in several states that require consent before recording and data collection.

Humans are causing mass extinction at a rate not seen since the last major extinction event. A new study suggests that we are entering a period of mass extinction comparable to the one 66 million years ago.

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is American Indian Citizenship Day, Global Running Day, I Love My Dentist Day, National Bubba Day, National Leave the Office Early Day, National Rocky Road Day, National Rotisserie Chicken Day, National Tailors' Day, and Yell "Fudge" at the Cobras in North America Day.

Birthdays

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(Grandma and Edie, 1972)

My paternal grandmother, Esther Schotting, passed away on this date in 1979. She and my grandfather raised me for the most part; they and the late Earle Wittpenn are mainly responsible for the person I am today. I remember her watching me as I walked home from elementary school in the afternoon, or crossing Eighth Avenue to go to Isaly's or McCrory's. She was always at a window, always looking for me.

In her last years, when I was changing buses to go to my job in Pittsburgh, she was there in the window in the apartment on Ann Street. I probably looked like an idiot, waving in the dark to no one visible. But I knew she was there.

The only time I ever saw my grandmother in a church was when I got married. She claimed she was an "old-time Baptist" and liked listening to Mahalia Jackson records and watching Billy Graham on the tv.

The local Baptist minister graciously agreed to conduct her service. I was holding up pretty well, until he ended his eulogy to a woman he never met with a poem by Margaret Widdemer that precisely described her:

She always leaned to watch for us,
Anxious if we were late,
In winter by the window,
In summer by the gate.

And though we mocked her tenderly,
Who had such foolish care,
The long way home would seem more safe
Because she waited there.

Her thoughts were all so full of us,
She never could forget!
And so I think that where she is
She must be watching yet.

Waiting till we come home to her,
Anxious if we are late,
Watching from Heaven’s window,
Leaning on Heaven’s gate.


Categories: amazon.com, Arthur Treacher, Covid-19, Donald Trump, QAnon


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Signs of the Apocalypse, QAnon and UFOs, traditional values
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Published Wednesday, May 26, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 26 2021

Signs of the Apocalypse, #913. Game over, man. It has begun...

(Another link if video is missing.)

Signs of the Apocalypse, #914. Almost as scary- you don't need to be Douglas Trumbull or Jim Cameron to pull this off. Just about anyone can do this with easily obtainable software.

New grand jury seated for next stage of Trump investigation. Nope. Not gonna get excited. Been burned before...

Even worse: Arizona's Secretary of State 'stripped' of duties after criticizing election audit.

Republicans worried blind worship of Trump overriding traditional values like blind worship of Reagan. (The Onion)

Trumpland: QAnon crowd convinced UFOs are a diversion from voter fraud. "They want you talking about aliens because they don’t want you talking about Maricopa," Newsmax White House correspondent Emerald Robinson tweeted. You know things are bad when the story about the UFOs is true.

Social media heavyweights wooed for Pfizer smear campaign. Social media influencers in France with hundreds of thousands of followers say a mysterious advertising agency offered to pay them if they agreed to smear Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine with negative fake stories.

Germany gives greenlight to driverless vehicles on public roads. Germany has adopted legislation that will allow driverless vehicles on public roads by 2022, laying out a path for companies to deploy robotaxis and delivery services in the country at scale. While autonomous testing is currently permitted in Germany, this would allow operations of driverless vehicles without a human safety operator behind the wheel.

Missed opportunity: Tom Hanks, a life-long Star Trek fan, almost played Zefram Cochrane in "Star Trek: First Contact."

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, National Cherry Dessert Day, National Paper Airplane Day, National Senior Health & Fitness Day, Sally Ride Day, World Dracula Day, World Lindy Hop Day, World Product Day, and World Redhead Day.

Samuel E. Wright, voice of Sebastian the crab in The Little Mermaid, dead at 74. (Video)

Events:

1647 - Alse Young was the first person executed as a witch in the American colonies
1805 - Lewis and Clark see the Rocky Mountains for the first time.
1828 - Mysterious feral child Kaspar Hauser is discovered wandering the streets of Nuremberg
1868 – The Impeachment of Andrew Johnson ended with his acquittal by one vote.
1896 – Charles Dow published the first edition of the Dow Jones Industrial Average.
1897 – Dracula by Bram Stoker was published in London.
1927 – The last Ford Model T rolled off the assembly line after a production run of 15,007,003 vehicles.
1967 – The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band was released in the UK. (Video)
1975 - Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy single was released. (Video)
1978 - first legal gambling casino opened in Atlantic City.

Birthdays

Isadora Duncan (b. Angela Isadora Duncan, May 26, 1877 – September 14, 1927)
Al Jolson (b. Asa Yoelson, c. 1885 – October 23, 1950)
John Wayne (b. Marion Robert Morrison, May 26, 1907 – June 11, 1979)
Jay Silverheels (b. Harold Jay Smith, May 26, 1912 – March 5, 1980)
Peter Cushing (May 26, 1913 – August 11, 1994)
Peggy Lee (b. Norma Deloris Egstrom, May 26, 1920 – January 21, 2002)
James Arness (b. James King Aurness, May 26, 1923 – June 3, 2011)
Miles Davis (b. Miles Dewey Davis III, May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991)
Dr. Jack Kevorkian (b. Murad Jacob Kevorkian May 26, 1928 – June 3, 2011)
Stevie Nicks (b. Stephanie Lynn "Stevie" Nicks, May 26, 1948)
Pam Grier (b. Pamela Suzette Grier, May 26, 1949)
Sally Ride (May 26, 1951 – July 23, 2012)
Bobcat Goldthwait (b. Robert Francis "Bobcat" Goldthwait, May 26, 1962
Lenny Kravitz (b. Leonard Albert Kravitz, May 26, 1964)
Helena Bonham Carter (b. May 26, 1966)

Cartoon: National Holiday

Delusional

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We're taking an extended Memorial Day holiday and will resume on Tuesday, June 1.


Categories: Arizona, Cartoons, Covid-19, Deep Fakes, Donald Trump, Jim Carrey, Republicans, Ronald Reagan, Signs of the Apocalypse, Star Trek, The Big Lie, Tom Hanks


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Way too much stuff happened on this date
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Published Tuesday, May 25, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 25 2021

Wow... lots of things happened on May 25:

1803, Ralph Waldo Emerson was born;
1878, Gilbert and Sullivan's comic opera "H.M.S. Pinafore" opened at the Opera Comique in London;
1921, Hal David was born;
1925, John T. Scopes was indicted for teaching human evolution in Tennessee;
1926, Claude Akins was born;
1929, Beverly Sills was born;
1936, Tom T. Hall was born;
1939, Sir Ian McKellen and Dixie Carter were born;
1943, Leslie Uggams was born;
1944, birth of Frank Oz;
1947, Karen Valentine was born;
1955, birth of Connie Selleca;
1960, Amy Klobuchar was born;
1961, U.S. President John F. Kennedy announced, before a special joint session of the US Congress, his goal to initiate a project to put a "man on the Moon" before the end of the decade. (video);
1962, The Isley Brothers release "Twist and Shout" (video) ;
1963, birth of Mike Myers;
1968, The Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Missouri was dedicated;
1969, "Midnight Cowboy" was released and Anne Heche was born;
1970, Octavia Spencer was born;
1977, the original "Star Wars" movie premiered (without the Episode IV-A New Hope subtitle);
1979, "Alien" debuted;
1983, "Return of the Jedi" hit theaters;
1986, The Hands Across America event took place;
1990, Vic Tayback died;
1992, Jay Leno became host of "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno";
2001, the first Towel Day;
2007, Charles Nelson Reilly died;
2011, the last episode of "The Oprah Winfrey Show" aired; (video)
2017, "Wonder Woman" was released;
2020, George Floyd was murdered in Minneapolis, Minnesota during an arrest.

Five years ago today:

"Donald Trump is now ahead of Hillary Clinton in the polls. This was reported today in the Washington Post and 2,000 years ago in the Book of Revelations."
-Conan O'Brien

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The Havana Syndrome first affected spies and diplomats in Cuba. Now it has spread to the White House. US officials suspect Russian spies are aiming microwave radiation devices at targets to collect intelligence from their computers and cell phones. Brain frying is just collateral- not intentional- damage.

re: spies: Jeff Bezos, a real-life Bond villain, may own James Bond very soon. The Wall Street Journal reports that Amazon's recently rumored plans to acquire MGM have taken a major step forward, in a roughly $9 billion deal that is one of the e-commerce giant's largest acquisitions.

re: wealth: Wikipedia is swimming in money— why is it begging people to donate? The site is way richer than it wants you to know.

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Why is Anthony Fauci hedging on the origins of the coronavirus? Three researchers from China's Wuhan Institute of Virology became sick enough in November 2019 that they sought hospital care, according to a previously undisclosed U.S. intelligence report that could add weight to growing calls for a fuller probe of whether the Covid-19 virus may have escaped from the laboratory. Nah. It was the takeout pangolin nuggets they got from Wuhan's Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market.

The 2021 vaccination map looks like the 2020 election map. The scary thing is if something that can save a lot of lives has fallen into the usual political traps, then pretty much anything can.

Speaking of scary things: Once nearly extinct, the Florida panther is making a comeback. Not as scary and aggressive as the Florida cougar.

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Republicans claim January 6th rioters were middle schoolers on field trip. (Andy Borowitz satire)

Senate GOP misrepresents Jan. 6 riot panel. (Associated Press; not satire, alas.)

cartoon: What Insurrection?

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Body of missing man found inside dinosaur statue. While police have not confirmed how he got inside, local media reports that the man dropped his phone inside the statue and was trying to retrieve it, BBC News reports. He fell inside, hanging upside down, and was unable to call for help.

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John Oliver humiliates local TV stations with 'sexual wellness blanket' sponsored content.

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A mysterious rise in methane levels is sparking global warming fears.

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US warns against all travel to Japan as Olympics loom. The State Department's warning, which followed the CDC alert, was more blunt. "Do not travel to Japan due to COVID-19, it said in the announcement, which raised the department's travel alert from Level 3 — Reconsider travel — to Level 4 — Do not travel. The previous alert was issued on April 21.

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"I assume the person who first said 'to coin a phrase' said it twice in a row."
-The Covert Comic


Categories: Andy Borowitz, Anthony Fauci, Covert Comic, Covid-19, Cuba, Florida, Havana Syndrome, James Bond, January 6, Japan, Jeff Bezos, John Oliver, May 25, MGM, Olympics, Republicans


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Mr. T, UFOs, volcanoes, hurricanes, brainless sleep
(permalink)

Published Friday, May 21, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 21 2021

"You pity the fool because you don't want to beat up a fool. You know, pity is between sorry and mercy. See, if you pity him, you know, you won't have to beat him up. So that's why I say fools, you gotta give another chance because they don't know no better. That's why I pity them."
-Mr. T (b. Lawrence Tureaud is 69 today.)

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Reality Checks:

YouTube termintated the "Truth About Vaccines" channel. The channel had about 75,000 subscribers but some of its videos had a much broader reach, including one that had over 1.5 million views and featured Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., a prominent voice in the anti-vaccine movement.

Vax and scratch... New York offers $5M lottery for newly vaccinated. Why not? It appears to work.

When your company is named Covid, you've heard all the jokes. "You know, we get a lot of customers who always want to come up with our new taglines ... 'Covid, we had it first.' Or 'The only thing that's contagious is our quality.' We get all kinds of jokes from people. And a lot of people call and they talk to us and they just, 'can you believe that?' And you just smile a little bit and say, 'yeah,' and you just tell some of the stories that's happened because of it. But, yeah, it's OK."

This guy bought a fake COVID-19 vaccine card on Etsy.

Hundreds of PPP loans went to fake farms in absurd places. An online lending platform called Kabbage sent 378 pandemic loans worth $7 million to fake companies (mostly farms) with names like "Deely Nuts" and "Beefy King."

QAnon believers see Trump's mounting legal troubles as part of 'the plan.' "Do you think they realize how much MOAR powerful Trump will be after being falsely arrested?"

The myth of labor shortages. One of the few ways to have a true labor shortage in a capitalist economy is for workers to be demanding wages so high that businesses cannot stay afloat while paying those wages. But there is a lot of evidence to suggest that the U.S. economy does not suffer from that problem. If anything, wages today are historically low.

They have been growing slowly for decades for every income group other than the affluent. As a share of gross domestic product, worker compensation is lower than at any point in the second half of the 20th century. Two main causes are corporate consolidation and shrinking labor unions, which together have given employers more workplace power and employees less of it.

Former President Obama on UFOs: "What is true, and I’m actually being serious here, is that there's footage and records of objects in the skies, that we don't know exactly what they are, we can't explain how they moved... And The Onion has a summary of what's in the Pentagon report on UFOs, including the revelation that most UFOs were acquired by United Airlines in 1998 as part of a $7 billion merger. Also: How to talk about the Pentagon's UFO report without sounding like a conspiracy theorist.

111-year-old Australian recommends eating chicken brains. Of course he does.

Kevin McCarthy proposes removing January 6th from month of January. (Andy Borowitz)

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Nature:

Alaskan volcano may erupt... Due to low-level volcanic ash emissions and the detection of explosion signals, scientists at the USGS Alaska Volcano Observatory (AVO) have upgraded the color code and alert level at the Semisopochnoi volcano. Semisopochnoi is the easternmost land location in the United States and North America, located just 9.7 miles west of the 180th Meridian in Alaska. (It's eastern because it extends beyond the International Date Line.)

U.S. government forecasts above-normal 2021 Atlantic hurricane season. They predict 3-5 major hurricanes, six to ten moderate hurricanes, and ten to 14 tropical storms. A storm expected to form off Bermuda this week.

Sleep evolved before brains. Sleep affects metabolism pervasively in the body, suggesting that its influence is not exclusively neurological.

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Researchers are restarting a DNA study of the remains of Christopher Columbus to try to settle the question of his nationality. Given his drop in popularity, one has to wonder if this is so the Italians can blame the Portugese.

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Ford's F-150 pickup truck has been the best-selling vehicle in America for decades. A $40K all-electric version may help push the transition away from internal combustion engines. In the meantime, a semiconductor chip shortage has halted production of the F-150, Bronco Sport, and others.

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Federal authorities have seized 68 big cats from an animal park in Oklahoma featured in Netflix's "Tiger King" citing recurring inhumane treatment and improper handling of animals protected by the Endangered Species Act.

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Colonial Pipeline paid hackers $4.4 million to restore its computer systems. In the old days before the Internet, companies who needed to network computers did so by obtaining dedicated leased lines from the telephone company. While expensive, it makes hacking from outside sources far more difficult, since breaking into a system requires actual physical access to the circuit connecting the sites or to a system directly connected to the private network. Also, systems providing essential services should be isolated from the public Internet. (I guess some executives never saw the reboot of Battlestar Galactica. Also, cybercrime is now a major industry- with its own trading markets and even CSR.

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Senators expected to announce deal on US Postal Service reform. It would eliminate the absurd law that required the postal service to pre-pay $5 billion a year in mandatory retiree health care benefits, and require future retirees to enroll in Medicare.

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"I hate everybody including you." The art of saying "no."


Categories: Andy Borowitz, Barack Obama, Covid-19, Donald Trump, Mr. T, QAnon, The Big Lie, UFOs, Unemployment, YouTube


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Cockroaches and Cher, reality check, Charles Grodin
(permalink)

Published Thursday, May 20, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 20 2021

"I've come back so many times. Someone once told me that after World War III, the only things that will still be around are cockroaches and Cher."
-Cher (Cher is 75 today. Born Cherilyn Sarkisian on May 20, 1946)

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On this date in 2015, David Letterman, after 33 years on late night, hosts the "Late Show with David Letterman" for the last time.

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Reality check:

Covid-19 vaccines do not contain magnetic microchips.

Trump fans claim their ballots were fed to chickens. And then the chickens were incinerated to destroy the evidence.

A state senator in Texas falsely claimed at a hearing that animal tests were "stopped" because the "animals were dying" and that "they didn’t do the human testing."

QAnon revives America's "Satanic Panic."

Arizona's election audit is worse than you think.

This IRS letter isn't a scam, and you should keep it.

A fungus is pushing cicada sex into hyperdrive and leaving them dismembered.

New York's probe into Trump Organization is now a criminal inquiry.

House approves January 6 commission over GOP objections. Lawmakers passed the bill in a 252-175 vote, with 35 Republicans joining all Democrats in support. Of course, unless ten GOP senators go along, it's an exercise in futility.

An amazing photo of a west Texas thunderstorm.

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Pittsburgh's Charles Grodin (April 21, 1935 – May 18, 2021) was valedictorian of his class at Peabody High School and was elected class president all four years. An accomplished actor, I remember him mainly from his many appearances as a talk show guest with an attitude:

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The World Health Organization says overworking is a major killer worldwide. So I'm outta here.


Categories: Arizona, Charles Grodin, Cher, Conspiracy Theorists, Covid-19, Donald Trump, IRS, January 6, Johnny Carson, QAnon, The Big Lie, The Tonight Show, Weather, World Health Organization


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Rudy raided, Bugs Bunny, Betty White, assorted potential catastrophes...
(permalink)

Published Friday, April 30, 2021 @ 1:56 AM EDT
Apr 30 2021

Feds raid Giuliani's home, office, escalating criminal probe. Federal agents raided Rudy Giuliani's Manhattan home and office Wednesday, seizing computers and cellphones in a major escalation of the Justice Department's investigationin a major escalation of the Justice Department's investigation into the business dealings of former President Donald Trump's personal lawyer.

America is running low on chicken. Blame covid-19, a sandwich craze and huge appetite for wings.

Turn up the thermostat. living or working in a cool environment for extended periods can lower core body temperature. That decreases metabolic rate – how fast we burn calories – and commonly causes weight gain.

On the other hand... Phoenix could become uninhabitable due to climate change. Also, Declassified satellite images show glaciers are melting faster than ever

The link between 'The West Wing' and Biden's address. Viewers notice remarkable similarity to a plan set out by Martin Sheen's character in long-running political drama.

Jimmy Kimmel gently tells MyPillow's Mike Lindell he thinks Lindell's old crack habit made him paranoid.

Flu has disappeared worldwide during the COVID pandemic. The public health measures that slow the spread of the novel coronavirus work really well on influenza.

FDA moves to ban menthol cigarettes and flavored cigars. "Banning menthol—the last allowable flavor—in cigarettes and banning all flavors in cigars will help save lives, particularly among those disproportionately affected by these deadly products," Acting FDA Commissioner Dr. Janet Woodcock said in a statement. "With these actions, the FDA will help significantly reduce youth initiation, increase the chances of smoking cessation among current smokers, and address health disparities experienced by communities of color, low-income populations, and LGBTQ+ individuals, all of whom are far more likely to use these tobacco products."

Phasers on stun? US investigating possible mysterious directed energy attack near White House.

Well, this is disburbing: The clockwork universe: is free will an illusion? A growing chorus of scientists and philosophers argue that free will does not exist. Could they be right?

Physicists prove that the imaginary part of quantum mechanics really exists! The exclamation point is theirs, not mine. Still, scientists discover imaginary numbers aren't imaginary.

More good news: Omega-3 fish oil supplements linked with heart rhythm disorder. Omega-3 supplements are associated with an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with high blood lipids. That's the finding of a study published today in European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).

Earth has been knocked off its axis over the last 25 years, changing the locations of the north and south poles.

Andy Borowitz: Explosive video reveals Biden plot to use his power to improve living conditions

I have the sinking suspicion I'm cheugy.

San Francisco sound engineer accidentally dosed with LSD while cleaning 1960s radio equipment.

Man cooking up ramen in a Speedo accidentally shoots himself in the nuts with 20 bottle rockets.

99-year-old Betty White's secret to a long and happy life is junk food. "She eats crap," her former Hot in Cleveland co-star Jane Leeves told UsMagazine.com in 2011. “She eats Red Vines, hot dogs, French fries, and Diet Coke. If that's key, maybe she's preserved because of all the preservatives.”

It's Bugs Bunny Day. On this date in 1938, a preliminary version of Bugs (named Happy) appeared in Porky's Hare Hunt.

Among other things, today is Adopt a Shelter Pet Day, Childcare Professionals Day, Day of the Child, Hairstyle Appreciation Day, International Jazz Day, Lag B'omer, National Animal Advocacy Day, National Arbor Day, National Bubble Tea Day, National Hairball Awareness Day, National Honesty Day, National Military Brats Day, National Mr. Potato Head Day, National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National PrepareAthon! Day, National Raisin Day, National Sarcoidosis Day, and Spank Out Day.

Have a great weekend! See you Monday!


Categories: Andy Borowitz, Astronomy, Betty White, Bugs Bunny, Cheugy, Chicken shortage, Climate change, Covid-19, FDA, Health, Jimmy Kimmel, Joe Biden, Mike Lindell, Phoenix, Porky Pig, Quantum mechanics, Rudy Giuliani, The West Wing


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Going maskless, Arizona madness, birthdays, more memes
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, April 28, 2021 @ 12:56 AM EDT
Apr 28 2021

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased its guidelines Tuesday on the wearing of masks outdoors, saying fully vaccinated Americans don’t need to cover their faces anymore unless they are in a big crowd of strangers. So we grabbed the dogs and some grandkids and headed to the park to enjoy the 80° temperatures.

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A so-called audit of the 2020 election in Arizona was always going to be crazy. This is something else. The counting has just begun, but already the audit has become almost inextricable from the far-right internet. There, audit-watchers share tips and concerns about security offered by Ron Watkins, a man suspected of helping birth the QAnon craze.

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Thought of the day: "I think perhaps the most important problem is that we are trying to understand the fundamental workings of the universe via a language devised for telling one another where the best fruit is."
-Terry Pratchett (b. Terence David John Pratchett on April 28, 1948 – March 12, 2015) (More Terry Pratchett quotes)

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Among other things, today is Biological Clock Day, Clean Comedy Day, Denim Day, Great Poetry Reading Day, International Guide Dog Day, International Noise Awareness Day, International Pay it Forward Day, National Blueberry Pie Day, National Cubicle Day, National Kiss Your Mate Day, National Superhero Day, Stop Food Waste Day, Workers' Memorial Day, and World Day for Safety and Health at Work.

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Remembering Lee Falk (b. Leon Harrison Gross; April 28, 1911 – March 13, 1999), American writer, theater director and producer, best known as the creator of the popular comic strips Mandrake the Magician (1934–2013) and The Phantom (1936–present). At the height of their popularity, these strips attracted over 100 million readers every day.

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Remembering Harper Lee (b. Nelle Harper Lee; April 28, 1926 – February 19, 2016), novelist best known for her 1960 novel "To Kill a Mockingbird", which won the 1961 Pulitzer Prize and has become a classic of modern American literature. (Quotes by Harper Lee)

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Remembering Carolyn Jones (b. Carolyn Sue Jones; April 28, 1930 – August 3, 1983) American actress of television and film. Jones began her film career in the early 1950s, and by the end of the decade had achieved recognition with a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for "The Bachelor Party" (1957) and a Golden Globe Award as one of the most promising new actresses of 1959. Her film career continued for another 20 years. In 1964, she began playing the role of Morticia Addams in the original black and white television series The Addams Family.

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On this day in 1930, the Independence Producers hosted the first night_game in the history of organized baseball in Independence, Kansas.

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Remembering Madge Sinclair (b. Madge Dorita Walters on April 28, 1938 – December 20, 1995) Jamaican actress best known for her roles in "Cornbread, Earl and Me" (1975), "Convoy" (1978), "Coming to America" (1988), Trapper John, M.D. (1980–1986), and the ABC TV miniseries "Roots" (1977). Sinclair also voiced the character of Sarabi, Mufasa's wife and Simba's mother, in the Disney animated feature film "The Lion King" (1994). A five-time Emmy Award nominee, Sinclair won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Drama Series for her role as Empress Josephine in Gabriel's Fire in 1991. Sinclair, in her brief uncredited role as the captain of the USS Saratoga in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", is commonly cited as the first female Starfleet starship captain to appear in Star Trek. Years later, Sinclair played Geordi La Forge's mother, captain of the USS Hera, in Star Trek: The Next Generation's "Interface".

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Ann-Margret (b. Ann-Margret Olsson on April 28, 1941) is 80 today.

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On this day in 1947, Thor Heyerdahl and five crew mates set out from Peru on the Kon-Tiki to demonstrate that Peruvian natives could have settled Polynesia.

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Jay Leno (b. James Douglas Muir Leno on April 28, 1950) is 71 today. (Jay Leno quotes)



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On this date in 1965, CBS aired the special "My Name Is Barbra," Barbra Streisand's first television special. A solo performance, she sang 26 songs during the one hour program. The show was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards in 1965, for which it won five. Streisand won the award for "Outstanding Individual Achievements in Entertainment." It also won the Directors Guild of America Award for "Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Television" in 1966.

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On this date in 1973, The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd, recorded at Abbey Road Studios reached number one on the US Billboard 200 chart, beginning a record-breaking 971-week chart run. The album is in the top 25 of the list of best-selling albums in the United States. Although it held the number one spot in the US for only a week, it remained in the Billboard album chart from 1973 to 1988. The album re-appeared on the Billboard charts with the introduction of the Top Pop Catalog Albums chart in May 1991. (Older "catalog albums" had been dropped from the weekly list between May 1999 and December 2009). In the UK, it is the seventh-best-selling album of all time and the highest selling album never to reach number one.

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"Florida hasn't always been the weird state claims the book "The Thing About Florida" which was written by, er, a Florida man. Speaking of Florida, here's a stupendous obituary from the Tampa Bay Times.

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Memes of the day:


Categories: Ann-Margret, Barbra Streisand, Baseball, Carolyn Jones, CDC, Covid-19, Florida, Harper Lee, Jay Leno, Kon-Tiki, Madge Sinclair, Meme of the day, Obituaries, Pink Floyd, QAnon, Republicans, Star Trek, Terry Pratchett, The Big Lie, The Dark Side of the Moon, Thor Heyerdahl


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Facebook jail, Grant's Tomb, Für Elise, why McDonalds ice cream machines are always broken
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, April 27, 2021 @ 12:01 AM EDT
Apr 27 2021

I'm scheduled to be released from Facebook "jail" today, a week after I was suspended from the social networking platform for a satirical cartoon I posted six years ago that supposedly violated "Community Standards." My only guess is that it popped up in the daily "Memories" feed and got tagged there. Bear in mind, the post was perfectly okay in 2015, when I shared it from another account.

Ah, Community Standards... a vague set of rules established to protect Facebook from criticism that it harbors Bad People Thinking Bad Thoughts. But the standards are subjectively interpreted, and randomly and arbitrarily enforced by buggy AI software that doesn't understand the concepts of satire, sarcasm, and parody.

I was suspended two years ago for this picture, which Facebook's artificial intelligence bots tagged as "hate speech":

It's an obvious, self-deprecating male joke. I was offending men? Women? The dog?

Facebook has an appeal process, and for several times each day in the past week I stated my case in the form supplied, hit the send button, and received this:

I think it's hard coded into the page.

What's particularly frustrating is the whole banning business is totally opaque. You're told you can't post for a specified period of time, and then are directed to review the Community Standards to make certain you don't do it again. But in many cases, Facebook doesn't tell you what it was you were doing that triggered the censorbot: violating some advertising rule, promoting hate speech, etc. It's like being pinched by the feds, having them hand you the U.S. Code, and telling you to read it to discover why you were arrested.

And of course, there's no way to actually contact a human being at Facebook. If you go to the page to report a problem and send them the details, you just get a pop-up acknowledging submission.

The guy in the video sums up the whole thing. Understandably NSFW language, but it's no worse than some of the stuff that appears on Facebook that, for some reason, doesn't get flagged for violating community standards:

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Thought of the day: "I rise only to say that I do not intend to say anything. I thank you for your hearty welcomes and good cheers." (Known as Grant's perfect speech.)
-Ulysses S. Grant (born Hiram Ulysses Grant, April 27, 1822 – July 23, 1885) (More Ulysses S. Grant quotes)
Speaking of dead presidents... on this day in 1994, Richard M. Nixon was buried on the grounds of the Nixon Library in Yorba Linda, California.

Contemporary Thought of the Day: Just think, in 30 years this country will be run by people who were home schooled by alcoholics.

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Among other things, today is Babe Ruth Day, Marine Mammal Rescue Day, Matanzas Mule Day, Morse Code Day, National Devil Dog Day, National Prime Rib Day, National Tell a Story Day, International Design Day, and World Tapir Day.

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On this date in 1810, Ludwig van Beethoven wrote Bagatelle No. 25 in A minor (WoO 59, Bia 515) for solo piano, commonly known as Für Elise. One of his most popular compositions, and one of the most famous piano pieces of all time, it was not published during his lifetime, only being discovered (by Ludwig Nohl ) 40 years after his death.

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On this day in 1897, Grant's Tomb was dedicated. Officially the General Grant National Memorial, President Ulysses S. Grant and his wife Julia Grant are entombed there. Thus, "Who is buried in Grant's Tomb?" is a pedantic, trick question. No one is buried there.

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Sheena Easton (b. Sheena Shirley Orr, 27 April 1959) is 62 today. She had 15 US Top 40 singles, seven US top tens and one US No.1 on the Billboard Hot 100 between 1981 and 1991.

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The current junior United States Senator from New York, Cory Booker, (b. Cory Anthony Booker, April 27, 1969) is 52 today. Notable quote: "Before you speak to me about your religion, first show it to me in how you treat other people. Before you tell me how much you love your God, show me in how much you love all His children." (More Cory Booker quotes)

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On this date in 1981, Xerox introduced the first commercially available computer mouse.

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On this date in 2011, the 2011 Super Outbreak devastated parts of the Southeastern United States, especially the states of Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and Tennessee. 205 tornadoes touched down on April 27 alone, killing more than 300 and injuring hundreds more.

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Florida man indicted for selling over $1 million worth of toxic COVID-19 'miracle cure' that was bleach.

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Why the world should worry about India. The world's largest vaccine producer is struggling to overcome its latest COVID-19 surge—and that's everyone's problem.

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When you see a headline like Biden isn't banning meat, USDA chief says, you just know it's just another conservative delusion.

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Now this is great investigative journalism, no sarcasm intended: the REAL reason McDonalds' ice cream machines are always broken.

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This looks interesting, but is it really necessary? Of course, the original 1961 film was a yet another take on Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, which itself was based on the 1562 narrative poem The Tragical History of Romeus and Juliet and a 1556 work by William Painter.

And speaking of movies, the television rating for the Oscars® plunged 58% from 2020, with less than ten million viewers tuning in.


Categories: Computers, Cory Booker, Covid-19, Facebook, Florida, Ice Cream, Ludwig Nohl, Ludwig van Beethoven, McDonald's, Oscars, Republicans, Richard Nixon, Romeo and Juliet, Sheena Easton, Steven Spielberg, Ulysses S. Grant, Weather, West Side Story, Xerox


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The Osmond Misinterpretation, innumeracy, strawberries...
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Published Monday, April 26, 2021 @ 12:33 AM EDT
Apr 26 2021

With all the police shootings and references to "bad apples," this is worth revisiting..

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Thought of the day: "I don't know why we are here, but I'm pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves."
-Ludwig Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) (More Ludwig Wittgenstein quotes)

Along those lines, Experts say humanity faces a grim and "ghastly future"– state of planet is much worse than most people understand. But then, if you're not rich, good news: You're probably getting a tax cut.

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AP Fact Check- all the news that didn't happen last week.

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Millions are skipping their second doses of COVID vaccines. More than 5 million people, or nearly 8% of those who got a first shot of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, have missed their second doses, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That is more than double the rate among people who got inoculated in the first several weeks of the nationwide vaccine campaign. Meanwhile, virus 'swallowing' people in India; crematoriums overwhelmed. And Alaska Airlines has banned Alaska state senator Lora Reinbold for her continued refusal to comply with employee instruction regarding the current mask policy.

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IRS is holding millions of tax returns, delaying refunds. We filed with TurboTax the first day the IRS began accepting returns, and had our refund in just ten days.

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Innumeracy: Wandering through the produce department of Giant Eagle over the weekend, I strolled past a rather large display of fresh strawberries. There were two groups: one pound containers, which appeared to be selling faster than the adjacent two pound packages. The sign said the one pound packages were on sale: two for $6. The two pound packages were $4.99. So the one pound packages cost $3 per pound, while the two pound packages were about $2.50 per pound. Canned and packaged goods on the self usually have a unit cost on their price stickers which show the cost of the item per ounce. Take a close look the next time you're at the store... that "large economy size" actually costs more than the "standard" size.

Speaking of grocery stores, I was engaged in a discussion with a lady in the checkout line who was asserting that cats were better overall pets than dogs. I have nothing against cats, but dogs are indisputably better companions; it's intrinsic to their make-up. Compare a 20 pound dog to a 150 pound dog. Aside from size, they're, well, dogs. Compare a 20 pound cat to a 150 pound cat. The former is a house pet, the latter is something that's higher on the food chain than you.

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Quotation trivia: "What fresh hell can this be?" is a line that has been attributed many times to Shakespeare but is actually from American author/critic/poet and wit Dorothy Parker. She is reported to have used the phrase when interrupted by a telephone. She then started using it in place of "hello" when answering the phone. In many ways she can be considered the patron saint of all tech support workers. (More Dorothy Parker quotations.)

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This would be funny if it weren't a direct threat to our democracy:

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Don't be evil: Google shifted more than $75.4 billion (£63 billion) in profits out of the Republic using the controversial "double-Irish" tax arrangement in 2019, the last year in which it used the loophole.

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Cheerleader's Snapchat rant leads to 'momentous' Supreme Court case on student speech. ...an adolescent outburst and the adult reaction to it has arrived at the Supreme Court, where it could determine how the First Amendment's protection of free speech applies to the off-campus activities of the nation's 50 million public school students.

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Why are there no horse-sized rabbits?

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Among other things, today is Alien Day, Audubon Day, Get Organized Day, Hug a Friend Day, Hug an Australian Day, International Chernobyl Disaster Remembrance Day, National Dissertation Day, National Help a Horse Day, National Kids and Pets Day, National Pretzel Day, National Richter Scale Day, National Static Cling Day, Pesach Sheni, and World Intellectual Property Day.

On this date in 1986, a nuclear accident occurred at the No. 4 reactor in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Pripyat in the north of the Ukrainian SSR. It is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in terms of cost and casualties, and is one of only two nuclear energy accidents rated at seven —the maximum severity— on the International Nuclear Event Scale, the other being the 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in Japan. The initial emergency response, together with later decontamination of the environment, ultimately involved more than 500,000 personnel and cost an estimated 18 billion Soviet rubles— roughly US$68 billion in 2019, adjusted for inflation.

Remembering Vic Perrin, (April 26, 1916 – July 4, 1989) American radio, film, and television actor, perhaps best remembered for providing the "Control Voice" in the original version of the television series The Outer Limits (1963–1965).


Carol Burnett (b. April 26, 1933) is 88 today. Famous quote: "Having a baby is like taking your lower lip and pulling it over the top of your head." (More Carol Burnett quotes.)


Melania Trump (born Melanija Knavs, Germanized as Melania Knauss, on April 26, 1970) is 51 today.

Bobby Rydell (b. Robert Louis Ridarelli, April 26, 1942) is 79 today.

Giorgio Moroder (b. Giovanni Giorgio Moroder, April 26, 1940) is 81 today. An Italian composer, songwriter, and record producer, he has been called the "Father of Disco", and is credited with pioneering euro disco and electronic dance music. His work with synthesizers had a large influence on several music genres such as Hi-NRG, Italo disco, new wave, house and techno music.

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Andy Borowitz: Trump blasts Biden for firing almost no one in first hundred days. At the rate Biden is going, Trump said, "He's going to be looking across his desk at the same losers the entire time he's in office."

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I didn't watch the Academy Awards last night because the "pre-game" show featuring performances of the nominated songs left me underwhelmed. It reminded me of an Oscar performance so sublime that I remember it clearly 42 years later. Thanks to the miracle of YouTube, let's return to those thrilling days of yesteryear to the 51st Annual Academy Awards (1979), when they really knew how to pull out all the stops and put on a show. With lyrics by Fred Ebb and music by Larry Grossman, "Oscar's Only Human (Not Even Nominated)" featured Steve Lawrence and Sammy Davis Jr. performing a medley of outstanding songs that were not even nominated for a Best Original Song Oscar®.

If your song didn't win the Academy Award
And you're feeling dejected and deflated,
Imagine the shape you might have been in
If you hadn't even been nominated.

Running an impressive ten minutes, the Academy's music branch initially protested the segment and urged it be dropped from the ceremony. It remained after producer Jack Haley Jr. threatened to quit and take first-time emcee Johnny Carson with him.


Categories: Alphabet, Andy Borowitz, Bobby Rydell, Carol Burnett, Cats, Chernobyl, Covid-19, Dogs, Dorothy Parker, First Amendment, Google, Ireland, IRS, Ludwig van Beethoven, Melania Trump, Strawberries, Supreme Court, Taxes, Vic Perrin


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Trump, dementia, asteroids, Twitter, laboring from home under duress.
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, May 27, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 27 2020

Today is Wednesday, May 27, the 148th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 218 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Cellophane Tape Day, National Grape Popsicle Day, National Gray Day, National Senior Health & Fitness Day®, Nothing to Fear Day, Old-Time Player Piano Day, Sunscreen Protection Day, and World Product Day.

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On this day:

in 1837, American folk hero Wild Bill Hickock (d. August 2, 1876) was born.
in 1907, Silent Spring author Rachel Carson (d. April 14, 1964) was born. Quotes by Rachel Carson.
in 1911, Vincent Price (d. October 25, 1993) was born.
in 1911, Hubert H. Humphrey (d. January 13, 1978) was born. Quotes by Hubert H. Humphrey
in 1922, Christopher Lee (d. June 7, 2015) was born.
in 1923, Henry Kissinger was born. Quotes by Henry Kissinger
in 1933, Walt Disney's cartoon 3 Little Pigs was released. It won the Academy Award Best Animated film in 1934;
in 1934, Harlan Ellison (d. June 28, 2018) was born. Quotes by Harlan Ellison
in 1935, Lee Meriwether was born.
in 1936, Louis Gossett Jr. was born.
in 1937, the Golden Gate Bridge opened to pedestrian traffic.
in 1941, the German battleship Bismarck was sunk in the North Atlantic.
in 1962, the Centralia mine fire was ignited in the town's landfill above a coal mine. It could burn for another 250 years.
in 1995, actor Christopher Reeve (September 25, 1952 – October 10, 2004) was paralyzed from the neck down after falling from his horse in a riding competition in Culpeper, Virginia. Quotes by Christopher Reeve

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PSP Frontotemporal Dementia

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Where U.S. coronavirus cases are on the rise... Twenty U.S. states reported an increase in new cases of COVID-19 for the week ended May 24, up from 13 states in the prior week, as the death toll from the novel coronavirus approaches 100,000, according to a Reuters analysis.

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The coronavirus is deadliest where Democrats live. Democrats are far more likely to live in counties where the virus has ravaged the community, while Republicans are more likely to live in counties that have been relatively unscathed by the illness, though they are paying an economic price. Counties won by President Trump in 2016 have reported just 27 percent of the virus infections and 21 percent of the deaths — even though 45 percent of Americans live in these communities, a New York Times analysis has found.

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Remembering Sara Little Turnbull, whose bra cup design became the N95 mask.

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New hormone that stimulates sexual functions in fish could lead to novel infertility treatments in humans.

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Asteroid that doomed the dinosaurs struck earth at “deadliest possible” angle. Related: Meteor that blasted millions of trees in Siberia only 'grazed' Earth, new research says.

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Twitter refuses to remove Trump's false tweets, but in some cases has begun fact-checking them.

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America's unemployment numbers are stabilizing. That's not a good thing.

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Kate Mulgrew might 'move to Ireland' if Trump wins second term.

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McConnell: Talking about fifth coronavirus bill 'in the next month or so'.

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NOAA's outlook for US summer weather—and hurricane season... wet, dry, and windy.

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'Something isn't right': U.S. probes soaring beef prices. One hundred years ago, U.S. antitrust prosecutors broke down monopolies in meatpacking. But can they do it again?

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Thoughts of the day:

In prosperity, our friends know us; in adversity, we know our friends.
-Charles Caleb Coulton

I was thinking that we all learn by experience, but some of us have to go to summer school.
-Peter De Vries

If you cast your bread upon the water and you have faith, you'll get back cash. If you don't have faith, you'll get soggy bread.
-Don King

Population density is a term that has two meanings.
-William W. Webb

Does history repeat itself, the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce? No, that's too grand, too considered a process. History just burps, and we taste again that raw-onion sandwich it swallowed centuries ago.
-Julian Barnes

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You are not working from home. You are laboring in confinement, under duress.

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


Categories: Astronomy, Bismarck, Centralia Mine Fire, Christopher Lee, Christopher Reeve, Climate change, Covid-19, Democrats, Donald Trump, Frontotemporal Dementia, Golden Gate Bridge, Harlan Ellison, Henry Kissinger, Hubert H. Humphrey, Kate Mulgrew, Lee Meriwether, Louis Gossett Jr., Mitch McConnell, NOAA, Rachel Carson, Republicans, Three Little Pigs, Twitter, Unemployment, Vincent Price, Weather, Wild Bill Hickock


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John Wayne, Tonto, Grand Moff Tarkin, smart squirrels, Rhinestone Cowboy, and, of course, Covid-19
(permalink)

Published Tuesday, May 26, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 26 2020

Today is Tuesday, May 26, the 147th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 219 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is National Blueberry Cheesecake Day, National Cherry Dessert Day, National Paper Airplane Day, Sally Ride Day, World Dracula Day, World Lindy Hop Day, and World Redhead Day.

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Rmembering John Wayne (born Marion Robert Morrison; May 26, 1907 - June 11, 1979) (Video)

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Remembering Jay Silverheels (born Harold Jay Smith, May 26, 1912 - March 5, 1980) (Video)

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Remembering Peter Cushing (May 26, 1913 - August 11, 1994) (Video)

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The video you must watch today. A little over 21 minutes, but worth it. (Video)

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Stevie Nicks is 72 today; Pam Grier is 71 today; Bobcat Goldwaith is 58 today; Helena Bonham Carter is 54 today.

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Glen Campbell's recording of Rhinestone Cowboy was released on this day in 1975. (Video)

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China's 'Bat Woman' warns coronavirus is just tip of the iceberg. Shi Zhengli, a virologist renowned for her work on coronavirus in bats, said in an interview on Chinese state television that viruses being discovered now are "just the tip of the iceberg" and called for international cooperation in the fight against epidemics.

Related: Nobel laureates and science groups demand NIH review decision to kill coronavirus grant.

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First human trial of possible COVID-19 vaccine triggers rapid immune response, few side-effects. But... the ability to trigger these immune responses does not necessarily indicate that the vaccine will protect humans from COVID-19.

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Desperate rats are brazenly searching for food during the coronavirus pandemic, CDC warns. "They're mammals just like you and I, and so when you're really, really hungry, you're not going to act the same. You're going to act very bad, usually," Bobby Corrigan, an urban rodentologist, told NBC News.

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"The new normal." On weekend dedicated to war dead, Trump tweets insults, promotes baseless claims and plays golf.

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WHO pauses trial of hydroxychloroquine as coronavirus treatment amid safety concerns.

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Scientists warn against high doses of vitamin D supplementation for preventing or treating COVID-19. Examining previous studies in this field scientists found no evidence of a link between high dose supplementation of vitamin D in helping to prevent or successfully treat Covid-19 and cautioned against over supplementation of the vitamin, without medical supervision, due to health risks.

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What happens when your health care system is based on making a profit: At a time when medical professionals are putting their lives at risk, tens of thousands of doctors in the United States are taking large pay cuts.

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Wealthiest hospitals got billions in bailout intended for struggling health providers. Seattle-based Providence Health System, one of the country's largest and richest hospital chains is sitting on nearly $12 billion in cash, which it invests, Wall Street-style, in a good year generating more than $1 billion in profits. And this spring, Providence received at least $509 million in government funds, one of many wealthy beneficiaries of a federal program that is supposed to prevent health care providers from capsizing during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Hot dogs sales skyrocket by more than 120% during the coronavirus pandemic, as Americans embrace the 'best quarantine food.' The question no one is asking: Which will kill you first?

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Borowitz:

Fauci urges Trump to remain on golf course until pandemic is over.

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Trump says Republican National Convention might move from Charlotte if the state doesn't relax is coronavirus rules... but no other city wanted to host it. An article published by New York Magazine's Intelligencer blog laid out the GOP's struggle with the headline: "GOP Awards Its 2020 Convention to the Only City That Sorta Kinda Wanted It."

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Trump sees a 'rigged election' ahead. Democrats see a constitutional crisis in the making. The president’s increasingly amped-up rhetoric surrounding the integrity of the November elections has many wondering how he might respond to a defeat.

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China warns U.S. taking world to brink of 'new Cold War' over coronavirus. The ratcheting up of tensions comes as Beijing is hounded by questions over alleged missteps in its initial response to contain the virus.

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SpaceX is about to launch two astronauts into space in a historic first. NASA's Commercial Crew program, aimed at developing private spacecraft to transport American astronauts in to space, began under Barack Obama.

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Want to buy a used car? Rental car companies are offering up some good deals. All of the major car rental companies- Hertz, Enterprise, Alamo Avis, Budget and others- list their used rental cars for sale on their web sites. Shoppers can search inventories and test drives are usually much more generous than you'll find at typical used car dealers.

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Microsoft confirms new Windows 10 update warning The problem, once again, is KB4556799, a recent Windows 10 update pushed to millions of PCs which has already caused numerous issues, including Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crashes, deleted user data, performance issues, broken audio and more. Microsoft is investigating these problems, but the company has now also confirmed on the official KB4556799 update page that it can break Internet connections as well.

 




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Mr. T, Star Wars, Newhart, CDC muzzled, NASA chief quits, Chuck E. Cheese cheats, Distraction!
(permalink)

Published Thursday, May 21, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 21 2020

Note: KGB Report will return on Tuesday, May 26. The Memorial Day weekend is when we traditionally clean up, reconfigure, and re-wire the office. And it's been a tough year...

Today is Tuesday, May 21st, the 142nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 224 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is American Red Cross Founder's Day, Ascension, Brown Bag It Thursday, Global Accessibility Awareness Day, Hummus Day, I Need a Patch for That Day, National Apéritif Day, National Memo Day, National Notebook Day, National Strawberries and Cream Day, National Waiters and Waitresses Day, Rapture Party Day, Sister Maria Hummel Day, and World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

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Mr. T is 68 today. (Video)

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On this day in 1980, The Empire Strikes Back was released. (Video)

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The last episode of Newhart aired on this day in 1990. (Video)

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'We've been muzzled': CDC sources say White House putting politics ahead of science.

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GOP fronts 'pro-Trump' doctors to prescribe rapid reopening.

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Two dam breaches in central Michigan force mass evacuations. (Video)

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Uh oh. Study shows 70% of consumers would rather watch new movies at home. 13% say they are more likely to watch at a local cinema (with 17% not sure).

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Trump threatens to withhold aid to two states over expanded voting by mail. President Trump on Wednesday threatened to halt federal funding to Michigan and Nevada over the distribution of absentee ballots in those states amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak that has left more than 90,000 Americans dead.

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NASA's head of human spaceflight abruptly resigns, citing 'mistake'. The source familiar with the reason for Loverro's departure said the issue centered on contracts that were awarded earlier this year for development of lunar landers, or vehicles that can carry astronauts to the moon's surface.

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Trump announces executive order 'suspending' regulations impeding US economy. The order is about "instructing federal agencies to use any and all authority to waive, suspend and eliminate unnecessary regulations that impede economic recovery," Mr Trump said before signing it with a large black felt pen.

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Windows 10 warning: anger at Microsoft rises with serious new failure. Microsoft’s new KB4556799 Windows 10 update is causing a myriad of problems for users, including Blue Screen of Death (BSOD) crashes, deleted data, performance issues, broken audio and more. And users are not happy.

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Will government mandate COVID-19 vaccinations? The Congressional Research Service says the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that "The states' general police power to promote public health and safety encompasses the authority to require mandatory vaccinations."" And states have all exercised that authority for children, usually allowing for some exceptions. CRS also says, "Congress, as a result of various enumerated powers in the Constitution, likewise has some authority over public health matters, including regulation of vaccination."

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Chuck E. Cheese tricks Grubhub customers with sneaky new name.

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Borowitz:

Trump Fears Painting of Obama at White House would spy on him.

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Thoughts of the day:

Any government which made the welfare of men depend on the character of their governors was an illusion.
-Daniel J. Boorstin

The difference between a democracy and a dictatorship is that in a democracy you vote first and take orders later; in a dictatorship you don't have to waste your time voting.
-Charles Bukowski

I try to avoid experience if I can. Most experience is bad.
-E.L. Doctorow

All scientifically possible technology and social change predicted in science fiction will come to pass, but none of it will work properly.
-Neil Gaiman

You have more to do than you can possibly do. You just need to feel good about your choices.
-David Allen

Distraction! (Video)




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Categories: Andy Borowitz, Bob Newhart, CDC, Chuck E. Cheese, Covid-19, Donald Trump, Microsoft, Mr. T, NASA, Star Wars, Vaccines, Windows


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Jimmy Stewart, Cher, parallel universe, Batwoman, TMI in general
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, May 20, 2020 @ 12:48 AM EDT
May 20 2020

Today is Tuesday, May 20th, the 141st day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 225 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Be a Millionaire Day, Eliza Doolittle Day, Emergency Medical Services for Children Day, Flower Day, International Clinical Trials Day, National Quiche Lorraine Day, National Rescue Dog Day, Pick Strawberries Day, Turn Beauty Inside Out Day, World Autoimmune Arthritis Day, and World Bee Day.

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Remembering James "Jimmy" Stewart (May 20, 1908 - July 2, 1997) (Video)

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Remembering George Gobel (May 20, 1919 - February 24, 1991) (Video)

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Cher is 74 today.

(Video) Click here for a collection of quotes by Cher.

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Scientists in China believe new drug can stop pandemic 'without vaccine'. The drug uses neutralising antibodies- produced by the human immune system to prevent the virus infecting cells... isolated from the blood of 60 recovered patients.

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'Hard stop': States could lose National Guard virus workers. The Trump administration’s order ends deployments on June 24, just one day before thousands would qualify for education and retirement benefits.

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NASA scientists detect evidence of parallel universe where time runs backward. Maybe we can run it back to, say, 2016?

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Coronoavirus, murder hornets... what's next? 17-year cicadas to emerge in 3 states this spring, summer. Also... Rabbits are facing a deadly virus of their own. And this: The coronavirus pandemic could indirectly cause measles outbreaks, CDC warns.

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Trip of a lifetime with no end in sight- life on small boats stuck at sea. Thanks to quarantine orders, small recreational boaters are stuck where they are.

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Bicycle sales surge as Americans seek to avoid mass transit and get exercise.

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How a pizza shop owner reportedly turned DoorDash's own fee structure against it.

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Florida man who downplayed coronavirus as 'fake crisis' gets infected, warns others after ending up in ICU with wife.

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The scientist who created Florida's COVID-19 data portal wasn't just removed from her position on May 5, she was fired on Monday by the Department of Health, she said, for refusing to manipulate data.

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The pandemic is not all bad for all businesses... As coronavirus crushes small restaurants, big chains see room to move in.

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Batwoman bails. In a major surprise, Ruby Rose has departed the lead role on The CW's Batwoman after a single season. Producer Warner Bros. TV says the role will be recast.

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If you wash berries in salt water, little bugs will start to crawl out. At least they're not murder hornets.

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Borowitz:

New test indicates hydroxychloroquine causes delusions.
Trump orders Pence to start picking up Pompeo's laundry.

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Thoughts of the day:

"...the new Space Force flag... they clearly ripped off from Star Trek. Star Trek is a CBS property sir, I'm gonna have to ask you to cease and desist your copyright infringement or, at the very least, remove the tribble from your head."
-Stephen Colbert

"When a new baby laughs for the first time a new fairy is born, and as there are always new babies there are always new fairies. "
-J.M. Barrie

"Disease can never be conquered, can never be quelled by emotion's wailful screaming or faith's cymballic prayer. It can only be conquered by the energy of humanity and the cunning in the mind of man. In the patience of a Curie, in the enlightenment of a Faraday, a Rutherford, a Pasteur, a Nightingale, and all other apostles of light and cleanliness, rather than of a woebegone godliness, we shall find final deliverance from plague, pestilence, and famine."
-Sean O'Casey

"Nationalism is an infantile disease, the measles of mankind."
-Albert Einstein

"Physicians pour drugs of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, into humans of which they know nothing."
-Voltaire (François Marie Arouet

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Categories: Andy Borowitz, Animals, Batwoman, Cher, Covid-19, George Gobel, James Stewart, Jimmy Stewart


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Star Trek, Space Force, Marilyn, Mount St. Helens, NASA says don't worry...
(permalink)

Published Monday, May 18, 2020 @ 12:31 AM EDT
May 18 2020

Today is Monday, May 18, the 139th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 227 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is HIV Vaccine Awareness Day, I Love Reese's® Day, International Museum Day, Mother Whistler Day. National Cheese Soufflé Day, National No Dirty Dishes Day, National Visit Your Relatives Day, Send an Electronic Greeting Card Day, and World AIDS Vaccine Day.

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Supreme Court debacle: On this date in 1896, the United States Supreme Court ruled in Plessy v. Ferguson that the "separate but equal" doctrine was constitutional.

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On this date in 1933 as part of the New Deal, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the act creating the Tennessee Valley Authority, a federally owned corporation created by congressional charter to provide navigation, flood control, electricity generation, fertilizer manufacturing, and economic development to the Tennessee Valley, a region particularly affected by the Great Depression.

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On this day 70 years ago, St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Tommy Glaviano made errors on three consecutive grounders in the bottom of the ninth, allowing the Brooklyn Dodgers a 9-8 victory. At least he could tell himself it wasn't, you know, something people would remember two decades into the next century or anything

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On this day in 1962, A birthday salute to U.S. President John F. Kennedy took place at Madison Square Garden, New York City. The highlight was Marilyn Monroe's rendition of "Happy Birthday." (Video)

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Tina Fey is 50 today. Click here for quotes by Tina Fey.

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On this date in 1980, Mount St. Helens in Washington state erupted, directly killing 57 people and releasing thermal energy equivalent to 26 megatons of TNT, over 1,700 times larger than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, Japan in 1945. (Video)

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Ever listen to Trump ramble and wonder what he was asked about in the first place? Now it's a game you can play at home! From The Daily Show. (Video)

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This just about sums it up... (Video)

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Inside Trump's coronavirus meltdown. Again and again, the story that emerged is of a president who ignored increasingly urgent intelligence warnings from January, dismisses anyone who claims to know more than him and trusts no one outside a tiny coterie, led by his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner- the property developer who Trump has empowered to sideline the best-funded disaster response bureaucracy in the world. "It is as though we knew for a fact that 9/11 was going to happen for months, did nothing to prepare for it and then shrugged a few days later and said, 'Oh well, there's not much we can do about it,'" says Gregg Gonsalves, a public health scholar at Yale University. "Trump could have prevented mass deaths and he didn't."

Meanwhile, on Earth 2: Eric Trump accuses Democrats of "milking" coronavirus lockdowns to win the election.

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Borowitz: Trump says nation will have vaccine before it sees his taxes.

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Obama openly criticizes Trump administration's coronavirus response. (Video)

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'A lot to be hopeful for': Crisis seen as historic, not another Great Depression.

Related: Drastic makeover looms for world's most followed stock index. "The S&P committee is going to have to decide how long they want to wait before ditching COVID-damaged companies..."

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As cable TV fades, fearing 'the end of Comedy Central.' The network that made the careers of Dave Chappelle, Stephen Colbert and Amy Schumer has laid off top executives while looking to make shows that are cheaper to produce.

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Space Force launches robotic X-37B space plane on new mystery mission. While the X-37B's exact purpose is a secret, Space Force officials have revealed that the craft is packing numerous experiments on this trip to test out different systems in space. Some of those experiments include a small satellite called FalconSat-8, two NASA payloads designed to study the effects of radiation on different materials as well as seeds to grow food, and a power-beaming experiment using microwave energy. (story includes video)

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ViacomCBS, which owns Paramount and the Star Trek® franchise, should sue Trump for using the phrase "warp speed" for the vaccination projects and the delta shield emblem as the core of its Space Force logo. Not for intellectual property violations, but for damaging the value of its brand via association with a malignant miscreant.

And speaking of Star Trek, seven years ago today my wife and I saw "Star Trek: Into Darkness," by far the worst Star Trek film ever made.

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Meteor caught on doorbell camera. A Summerville, SC family caught a meteor entering Earth's atmosphere on their doorbell video camera early Thursday morning. The video, provided by the Giltner family, was taken around 12:42 a.m. (video)

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Trump 'spiritual adviser' Paula White imitates queen bee dance to declare end to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Expert's COVID-19 swimming pool study: chlorine no safety guarantee, high-level controls the way back to the water.

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Here's what a solar minimum is and why NASA says it's nothing to worry about. Some say the current cycle could be a repeat of the Dalton Minimum, which was one of the most extreme weather periods in history. The Dalton minimum was a period that lasted over three solar cycles from 1790-1830 and resulted in heavy snows, deep frost and general cooling around the globe. NASA scientists say there's no mini ice age on the horizon, because planetary warming due to climate change will offset the cycle. There. Feel better?

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Offered without comment: (Video)

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Thoughts of the day:

Among the rich you will never find a really generous man even by accident. They may give their money away, but they will never give themselves away; they are egotistic, secretive, dry as old bones. To be smart enough to get all that money you must be dull enough to want it.
-G.K. Chesterton

The written word will soon disappear and we'll no longer be able to read good prose like we used to could. This prospect does not gentle my thoughts or tranquil me toward the future.
-James Thurber

There are few things in life harder to find and more important to keep than love. Well, love and a birth certificate.
-Barack Obama

We can usually recognize the consequence of our actions. It is the consequence of our inaction that gets confused with the inevitable.
-Robert Brault

The more you know, the sadder you get.
-Stephen Colbert

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I'm a sucker for rescue dogs to begin with, but this sweetheart tore my heart out. Thank goodness she found a loving home with a great mom dedicated to caring for special needs dogs. (Video)



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Categories: Andy Borowitz, Barack Obama, Climate change, Comedy Central, Covid-19, Daily Show, Donald Trump, Eric Trump, FDR, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Meteors, Mount St. Helens, NASA, New Deal, Paula White, Rudy Giuliani, SCOTUS, Space Force, Star Trek, Supreme Court, Tennessee Valley Authority, The Sun, Tina Fey, Tommy Glaviano, Video, YouTube


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Mickey remembered, Elsa whacked, fold your own viruses, secret spaceplane, big bang bust, Alaska tsunami, happy facts, tear gas ice cream
(permalink)

Published Friday, May 15, 2020 @ 4:15 AM EDT
May 15 2020

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Today is Friday, May 15, the 136th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 230 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Bring Flowers to Someone Day, Endangered Species Day, HG Awareness Day, International Conscientious Objectors Day, International Day of Families, International MPS Awareness Day, International Virtual Assistants Day, NASCAR Day, National Bike to Work Day, National Chocolate Chip Day, National Defense Transportation Day, National Pizza Party Day, National Safety Dose Day, National Tuberous Sclerosis Day, Nylon Stockings Day, O. Henry Pun-off Day, Peace Officers Memorial Day, Relive Your Past By Listening to the First Music You Ever Bought No Matter What It Was No Excuses Day (here's mine), Shades Day, Straw Hat Day, and VBF Day of Awareness.

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Remembering L. Frank Baum (May 15, 1856 - May 6, 1919), an American author chiefly known for his children's books, particularly The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. Click here for quotes by L. Frank Baum.

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Madeleine Albright, former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and the first female United States Secretary of State in history, is 83 today. Click here for quotes by Madeleine Albright.

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Remembering Clifton Fadiman (May 15, 1904 – June 20, 1999), an erudite essayist and editor whose affable wit delighted millions during his long reign as moderator of the popular "Information Please" radio quiz show and even longer tenure as senior editor of the Book of the Month Club. Click here for quotes by Clifton Fadiman.

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On this day in 1928, the Walt Disney character Mickey Mouse premiered in his first cartoon, a silent film called "Plane Crazy", in a test screening before a theater audience. Sound was added, and the film was later released as the fourth Mickey Mouse cartoon, after Steamboat Willie, The Gallopin' Caucho, and The Barn Dance. (Video)


The sound-added version of Plane Crazy, released a year later in 1929.

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Whistleblower Rick Bright's damning testimony on Trump's COVID-19 failures: A Closer Look (Video)

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Use your computer's idle time to fight disease. Folding@home (FAH or F@h) is a distributed computing project for simulating protein dynamics, including the process of protein folding and the movements of proteins implicated in a variety of diseases. It brings together citizen scientists who volunteer to run simulations of protein dynamics on their personal computers. Insights from this data are helping scientists to better understand biology, and providing new opportunities for developing therapeutics.

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There are sensible ways to reopen a country. then there's America's approach.

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Private jet company founded by Trump donor gets $27 million bailout. It's a grant, not a loan. The vast majority of the other 96 recipients of government funding or loans on the list are major commercial airlines, regional carriers or support companies.

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CDC releases scaled-back guidance on reopening after White House blocked earlier release. The new guidelines provide brief checklists meant to help key businesses and others operating in public reopen safely.

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McConnell admits he was wrong to say Obama administration failed to leave a pandemic playbook.

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McDonald's is going to look drastically different when it opens.

Related: On this date in 1940, Richard and Maurice McDonald opened the first McDonald's restaurant in San Bernardino.

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Opinion: stock market crash round 2 is coming.

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Delta Air to retire all of its 777 jets and replace them with Airbus SE aircraft in another hit for the beleaguered U.S. plane maker. Delta will continue flying its fleet of long-haul, next-generation Airbus A350-900s, which burn 21% less fuel per seat than the 777s they will replace, the airline said.

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Everything you need to know about a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks. TLDR: Good stuff, but McConnell and his GOP Senate goons will probably gut stuff that actually helps individuals.

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Cities crack down on food delivery app fees as restaurants struggle to survive.

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Nearly 40% of the poorest households hit with a job loss during pandemic, Fed study shows.

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Mysterious spaceplane prepares for launch on Saturday. The spacecraft may remain in orbit for two years. "What they're trying to do is anyone's guess."

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Scientists warn about risk of massive tsunami in Alaska's Prince William Sound, potentially within the next year. The scientists say an unstable slope sitting above Barry Glacier in Barry Arm, about 60 miles east of Anchorage, could slide into the water below — impacting tourists, fishermen and hunters, and potentially leading to a 30-foot wave...

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Is the Big Bang in crisis? Stubborn problems with dark matter, dark energy, and cosmic expansion have some astronomers rethinking what we know about the early universe.

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Hong Kong shop offers 'tear gas' flavor ice cream. The main ingredient is black peppercorns, a reminder of the pungent, peppery rounds fired by police on the streets of the semi-autonomous Chinese city during months of demonstrations last year. "We would like to make a flavor that reminds people that they still have to persist in the protest movement and don't lose their passion," he said.

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Stopped cold: 'Frozen' musical on Broadway not to reopen. Citing the "global pandemic," Thomas Schumacher, president and producer of Disney Theatrical Productions, said Thursday that running three Disney shows on Broadway was "untenable.""

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40 happy facts that'll make your day a little better.

"Fact: Sea otters hold hands when they sleep." Uh, you're going to have to do better than that. From 2003, some happy facts of my own:

100% TRUE
(and insipid)

1. At least two people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
No, wait a minute. Technically, your ferrets aren't really "people".

2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
But be advised that two of those ways are felonies in most states.

3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
...and they lack that interesting muscular aberration that helps you while away those lonely hours.

4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
And you thought forgetting to wear your dentures was a mistake.

5. Every night, someone thinks about you before they go to sleep.
Something along the lines of "I can't believe someone hasn't murdered that little bastard yet."

6. You mean the world to someone.
Someone with a vocabulary of one word, that word being "world"

7. If not for you, someone may not be living.
But since you skipped town before the paternity hearing, you'll never know.

8. You are special and unique.
Just like everyone else.

9. Someone that you don't even know exists, loves you.
Thanks to your ex, who posted that "special" picture of you on the Really Hot Amateurs porn site.

10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
Like discovering you really aren't cut out to be an air traffic controller.

11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take another look, you most likely turned your back on the world.
And the world is just waiting for you to bend over.

12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it. But if you believe in yourself, sooner or later, you may get exactly what you want.
Especially if what you want is arthritis, hair loss, erectile dysfunction and declining cognitive capabilities.

13. Always remember the compliments you receive; forget about the rude remarks.
No need to remember the rude remarks. You hear them incessantly, you being you and all.

14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you'll feel much better when they know.
Just be certain there are no witnesses.

15. If you have a great friend, take time to let them know that they are great.
And buy them a gift. Their Blow-Up Betty could use a patch kit.

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Borowitz: Trump wishes he could replace Fauci with the doctor who saved him from Vietnam, Obama unworried about Trump accusing him of crime because Bill Barr does not prosecute criminals.

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Florida man attacks victim who didn't thank him for holding open door to liquor store, deputies say.

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Thoughts of the day:

Today is Mark Zuckerberg's birthday. I don't care, I just wanted to give away some of his personal information.
-Seth Meyers

The creator of the universe works in mysterious ways. But he uses a base ten counting system and likes round numbers.
-Scott Adams

I've never been quarantined, but the more I look around, the more I think it might not be a bad idea.
-George Carlin

So let me get this straight... Captain Clorox thinks schools are safe enough for your kids but jail is too dangerous for Paul Manafort.
(from Facebook)

"Obamagate"- A nonsensical word you create when your cult stops buying your lies about Covid-19, and you desperately need to change the narrative.
(from Facebook)

Not sure Trump is thinking through the implications of normalizing extensive investigations into former presidents.
-@matthewamiller

Donald Trump was never going to get along with anyone called "Dr. Bright.""
-@middleageriot

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Well, there's our problem:

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Just aesthetics? You're overlooking all that great foreign protein:

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There are worse ways you can go...

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


Categories: 777, Airbus, Barack Obama, Boeing, CDC, Clay Lacy, Clifton Fadiman, Covid-19, Delta Air, Donald Trump, Folding@home, L. Frank Baum, Madeleine Albright, McDonald's, Mickey Mouse, Mitch McConnell, Richard and Maurice McDonald, Rick Bright, Seth Meyers, Video, Walt Disney, YouTube


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Mac the Knife, the Sun is asleep, a ton of memes, and existential despair
(permalink)

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
(permalink)

Published Wednesday, May 13, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 13 2020

Forward our URL to a friend. They can subscribe here.

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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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Florence Nightingale, George Carlin, Colin Powell, Katharine Hepburn, Yogi Berra and more...
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Published Tuesday, May 12, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 12 2020

Today is Tuesday, May 12, the 133rd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 233 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is International Awareness Day, International Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Awareness Day, International Nurses' Day, Lag B'omer, Limerick Day, National Fibromyalgia Awareness Day, National Nutty Fudge Day, Odometer Day, and Sex Differences in Health Awareness Day.

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Remembering Florence Nightingale (May 12, 1820 - August 13, 1910), British social reformer and statistician, and the founder of modern nursing.

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Remembering Katharine Hepburn (May 12, 1907 - June 29, 2003) a leading lady in Hollywood for more than 60 years. She appeared in a range of genres, from screwball comedy to literary drama, and she received a record (for any gender) four Academy Awards for Lead Acting Performances, plus eight further nominations. In 1999, Hepburn was named by the American Film Institute the greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. She was known for her fierce independence and spirited personality. (Video)

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Remembering Yogi Berra (May 12, 1925 - September 22, 2015), legendary baseball catcher and manager, perhaps best remembered for his "Yogi-isms".

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Burt Bacharach is 92 today. (video)

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Remembering Tom Snyder (May 12, 1936 - July 29, 2007) (Video)

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Remembering the great comedian and social philosopher George Carlin (May 12, 1937 - June 22,  2008). (Video)

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Actor Ving Rhames is 61 today. (video)

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Remembering Jerry Stiller (June 8, 1927 - May 11, 2020) (video)

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Thoughts of the day:

The damage done in one year can sometimes take ten or twenty years to repair.
-Chinua Achebe

We're a virus with shoes, okay? That's all we are.
-Bill Hicks

The point is that if you are a little different, or a little outrageous, or if you do things that are bold or controversial, the press is going to write about you.
-Donald Trump

In government the sin of pride manifests itself in the recurring delusion that things are under control.
-George F. Will

Some people are so sensitive that they feel snubbed if an epidemic overlooks them.
-Frank McKinney (Kin) Hubbard

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The stakes of Trump's tax return case couldn't be higher. The dispute over Trump's tax returns has been politically heated but, legally, this should be an easy call for the court. Trump has fought to the bitter end, though ultimately the law should give him no refuge: the tax returns must go to Congress, and even as a sitting president, he cannot be immune from investigation by prosecutors. You can listen to the arguments today at 10 a.m. on most cable news stations.

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Maddow: Trump is 'visibly struggling' and can't 'keep it together' right now. "Whether or not you like the president or not, whether you enjoy his public affect or not on a regular basis, it is clear that there is something wrong. And that's important whenever the president of the United States is visibly unwound like that."

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Susan Collins to self-quarantine to avoid possible contact with decisions. (Borowitz)

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Americans' views of the news media during the covid-19 outbreak. Even in crisis, Republicans and Democrats remain starkly divided in their attitudes toward journalists. Personal reality apparently isn't as effective as is thought.

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The Risks - Know Them - Avoid Them. This is an impressively clear explanation of how the virus often spreads inside confined spaces, like restaurants, churches, workplaces and schools. Even when people remain more than six feet apart, they can become infected by breathing the same air as an infected person for an extended period of time... Those scenarios are more worrisome than a quick trip to the grocery store or almost any outdoor activity.

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Senate Republicans break with Trump over 'Obamagate. President Donald Trump's aggressive campaign to encourage sweeping investigations of his predecessor Barack Obama met a unanimous response from Senate Republicans: No thanks.

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How pandemics end. An infectious outbreak can conclude in more ways than one, historians say. But for whom does it end, and who gets to decide?

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Trump storms out Of Coronavirus briefing after female reporters challenge him. Go easy on him, ladies. He has small hands.

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Will there be a second round of coronavirus stimulus checks?

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The Glove Challenge- People are wearing disposable gloves to protect themselves from the coronavirus, but who will protect the oceans and waterways from the gloves that get tossed on the ground?

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More than 1,900 former Justice Dept. employees again call for Barr's resignation, asserting in an open letter he had “once again assaulted the rule of law” by moving to drop the case against President Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn.

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CEOs were asked to remove their masks before meeting with Pence in Iowa. This took place only a few hours after Katie Miller, Pence's press secretary, tested positive for COVID-19.

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


Categories: Andy Borowitz, Burt Bacharach, Colin Powell, Covid-19, Dick Cavett, Donald Trump, Florence Nightingale, George Carlin, Jerry Stiller, Katharine Hepburn, Michael Flynn, Susan Collins, Tom Snyder, Ving Rhames, William Barr, Yogi Berra


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Mid-Day Memes & Miscellany
(permalink)

Published Monday, May 11, 2020 @ 10:45 AM EDT
May 11 2020

(Note to Email readers: if you're not seeing videos, click here.)

John Oliver explains in this video why the Post Office is important, why Trump is trying to kill it, and a series of new stamps.

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An engineer dies and goes to hell. Dissatisfied with the level of comfort, he starts designing and building improvements. After a while, Hell has air conditioning, flush toilets, and escalators.

The engineer is a pretty popular guy.

One day God calls and asks Satan, "So, how's it going down there?"

Satan says, "Hey things are going great. We've got air conditioning and flush toilets and escalators, and there's no telling what this engineer is going to come up with next."

God is horrified. "What? You've got an engineer? That's a mistake -- he should never have gone down there! You know all engineers go to Heaven. Send him up here!"

Satan says, "No way. I like having an engineer on the staff. I'm keeping him."

God says, "Send him back up here or I'll sue."

"Yeah, right," Satan laughs, "and where are you going to get a lawyer?"

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The word Velcro is a portmanteau of the two French words velours ("velvet"), and crochet ("hook").
You're welcome.

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What we think of 2020 so far...

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Everything you do costs money, dissipates heat, and makes crumbs.
-Joe Fineman

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Categories: 2020, Covid-19, John Oliver, Last Week Tonight, Mid-Day Memes & Miscellany, Velcro


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Cupcakes, Egos, Little Richard, Covid continues
(permalink)

Published Monday, May 11, 2020 @ 6:06 AM EDT
May 11 2020

(Note to Email readers: if you're not seeing videos, click here.)

Today is Monday, May 11, the 132nd day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 234 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Eat What You Want Day, Hostess CupCake Day, National Twilight Zone Day, National Women's Check-Up Day, and World Ego Awareness Day (does Donald Trump know about this?)

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Remembering Little Richard (December 5, 1932 - May 9, 2020), "The Architect of Rock and Roll." He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986. He was also inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. His first hit recording, Tutti Frutti, was included in the National Recording Registry of the Library of Congress in 2010, noting its "unique vocalizing over the irresistible beat announced a new era in music".

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Remembering Irving Berlin (May 11, 1888 – September 22, 1989), Russian-born Jewish-American composer and lyricist. Widely considered one of the greatest songwriters in American history, his music forms a great part of the Great American Songbook. He published his first song, "Marie from Sunny Italy", in 1907, receiving 37 cents for the publishing rights, and had his first major international hit, "Alexander's Ragtime Band" in 1911. Composer George Gershwin called him "the greatest songwriter that has ever lived," and composer Jerome Kern concluded that "Irving Berlin has no place in American music- he is American music." (full Wikipedia article)

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Remembering theoretical physicist and Nobel prize winner Richard Feynman (May 11, 1918 - February 15, 1988), who assisted in the development of the atomic bomb during World War II and became known to a wide public in the 1980s as a member of the Rogers Commission, the panel that investigated the Space Shuttle Challenger disaster. Along with his work in theoretical physics, Feynman has been credited with pioneering the field of quantum computing and introducing the concept of nanotechnology. Here's a great explainer of "The Great Explainer."

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On this date in 1963, Peter, Paul and Mary's recording of Puff, The Magic Dragon reached #2, its highest position, on the Billboard Hot 100.

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On this date in 1968, Richard Harris' recording of songwriter Jimmy Webb's MacArthur Park entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number 79, peaking at number 2 on June 22, 1968 behind Herb Alpert's "This Guy's in Love with You". The record won the 1969 Grammy Award for Best Arrangement Accompanying Vocalist(s).

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Thoughts of the day:

Where is the future they promised me? The 21st century is just the 20th century all over again, only in high definition.
-Lewis Black

The flight to Mars is six months; eight, if you leave from Newark.
-David Letterman

For a successful technology, reality must take precedence over public relations, for Nature cannot be fooled.
-Richard Feynman

History is not a game of chess, and we're not pawns of historical forces. We're more like marbles of historical forces in a game of Hungry Hungry Hippos.
-John Alejandro King (The Covert Comic)

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Going viral:

"I'm so honored to be your valedictator!" Alec Baldwin as Trump in Saturday Night Live cold open gs a commencement speech to 'the class of COVID-19', drinks bleach, and claims the coronavirus originated in "a lab in Obama."

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As deaths mount, Trump’s disinformation strategy will adapt. Bashing the epidemiological models didn't work. Now, the administration is questioning reality itself.

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The government turned down an opportunity to manufacture millions of N-95 masks here in the U.S. at the start of the pandemic. On January 22, a medical supply company in Fort Worth, Texas, Prestige Ameritech, offered to ramp up production to make an additional 1.7 million N95 masks, noting that the federal government’s stockpile was diminishing. The Department of Health and Human Services declined the offer.

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The Bailout is working- for the rich. The economy is in free fall but Wall Street is thriving, and stocks of big private equity firms are soaring dramatically higher. That tells you who investors think is the real beneficiary of the federal government’s massive rescue efforts. Case in point: Peloton can’t make bikes as fast as people are buying them.

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Trump says coronavirus will disappear without a vaccine. Fauci has said the opposite. Fauci: "It's not going to be over to the point of our being able to not do any mitigation until we have a scientifically sound, safe and effective vaccine."

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Fauci, two others on coronavirus task force to quarantine after being exposed to virus. Because Trump doesn't like to see face masks in the White House.

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How coronavirus — a 'rich man’s disease'- infected the poor. This virus may be remembered as the first pandemic that spread, to a significant extent, from the affluent to the lowly- agitating class grievances in some of the world’s most unequal societies and adding a dark twist to a pandemic that has killed more than 270,000 people.

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The world is taking pity on us... "The country Trump promised to make great again has never in its history seemed so pitiful," wrote Fintan O’Toole in The Irish Times. And he asked: "Will American prestige ever recover from this shameful episode?"

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Fact-checking Judy Mikovits, the controversial virologist attacking Anthony Fauci in a viral conspiracy video. In a video that has exploded on social media in the past few days, virologist Judy Mikovits claims the new coronavirus is being wrongly blamed for many deaths. She makes head-scratching assertions about the virus—for instance, that it is "activated" by face masks. And if you found that 'Plandemic' video convincing, read this too. Even more debunking here.

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Obama described Trump administration pandemic response "chaotic disaster"...

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Roy Horn, 75, of the Siegfried and Roy duo dies of coronavirus. From February 1, 1990, until Horn's career-ending injury on October 3, 2003, the duo performed as Siegfried & Roy at the Mirage Resort and Casino, and was the most popular show in Las Vegas.

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Alfredo and Susana Pabatao Die; Health Care Aides on the Front Lines. Married for 44 years, they both fell ill of the coronavirus and died within four days of each other in the New Jersey hospital where Mr. Pabatao worked.

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How we 'recovered' from the Spanish flu should be a warning for the coronavirus age. We deserve true reform in the aftermath of this crisis, but wishful thinking won't make it so. Given the current climate, it seems highly likely that fear may yet prevail.

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Miscellany:

He didn't file charges in the Arbery case, but he spent years accusing a black grandma of voter fraud.

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A new study involving two subjects with implanted brain-computer interfaces provides the most direct proof yet that human brains replay activities during sleep. Scientists believe the replays allow our brains to weed through the prior day's experiences to identify the stuff that merits long-term storage.

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


Categories: 1918 Pandemic, Covert Comic, Covid-19, David Letterman, Donald Trump, Lewis Black, Ray Horn, Saturday Night Live, Spanish Flu


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Mid-Day Memes and Miscellany...
(permalink)

Published Friday, May 08, 2020 @ 10:47 AM EDT
May 08 2020

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Once again, The Simpsons predicted the future. From 1993:

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Woman who accused Dr. Anthony Fauci of sexual assault now claims Trump supporters paid her to lie.

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Giant hornet a metaphor for Trump? Dunno...it's orange, creepy, cold and calculating by nature, merciless against the weak and it’s only 2 inches long... you decide.

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Coronavirus found in men's semen. Uh... what other kind is there?

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Off-duty officer in Alabama body slams Walmart shopper irate over face mask rule. The officer used a "takedown measure" to gain control of the woman because of "other threat factors in the store," a police official said.

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Improve your vocabulary, medical edition:

Proprioception: when you know where your body parts are when your eyes are closed.

Innaproprioception: when *I* know where your body parts are when your eyes are closed.

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"Wild Kingdom" - A visit to a sanctuary for Tasmanian devils. They're mean-spirited, vicious little animals. Like cheerleaders but with tails. Animal Planet.
-(Rick Polito, "That TV Guy")

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If the world were merely seductive, that would be easy. If it were merely challenging, that would be no problem. But I arise in the morning torn between a desire to improve the world, and a desire to enjoy the world. This makes it hard to plan the day.
-E.B. White


Categories: Anthony Fauci, Covid-19, Donald Trump, E.B. White, Face masks, Michael Flynn, That TV Guy, The Simpsons


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Brain-eating killer songbirds and other existential threats...
(permalink)

Published Friday, May 08, 2020 @ 12:00 AM EDT
May 08 2020

Today is Friday, May 8, the 129th day of the year in the Gregorian calendar. 237 days remain until the end of the year.

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Among other things, today is Fintastic Friday: Giving Sharks a Voice, Free Trade Day, Iris Day, Military Spouse Appreciation Day, National Coconut Cream Pie Day, National Give Someone a Cupcake Day, National Have a Coke Day, National Public Gardens Day, National Student Nurses Day, No Socks Day, Pesach Sheni, Provider Appreciation Day, Time of Remembrance and Reconciliation for Those Who Lost Their Lives during the Second World War, Victory in Europe Day, World Ovarian Cancer Day, and World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day.

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According to Wired, Covid-19's scary blood clots aren't that surprising. According to the author, "researchers have long known about the link between infectious diseases and blood clotting. There's even data to suggest a heightened risk of fatal heart attacks—a related complication—among those who get plain old influenza." Swell.

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Here's that CDC document that the Trump mob said "would never see the light of day." Nice work, Associated Press. The plan is to have no plan. "There is no genius there, only a damaged human being playing havoc with our lives." Speaking of having no plan, one of Trump's personal valets has tested positive for coronavirus. So, what's next? A senior administration official said he expects the president to begin publicly questioning the death toll as it closes in on his predictions for the final death count and damages him politically.

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Of course, the big question the country is asking today is Which Supreme Court justice flushed the toilet during oral arguments?

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Not only is our economy tanking, but so is our respect for the rule of law: The Justice Dept. is dropping charges against the former Trump aide Michael Flynn, a stark reversal for a defendant who'd twice pleaded guilty.

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How can there be anything worse than Murder Hornets? How about the brain-eating killer songbird apocalypse? No worries, though. The songbirds in question (a certain population of great tits) eat only bat brains. Of course, bats harbor zillions of viruses, which could be transferred to the birds, and... can you say "avian flu"?

We'll probably end up doing ourselves in. Think the coronavirus is nasty? How about a human-engineered pandemic (which the current SARS-CoV-2 most certainly isn't, conspiracy theories notwithstanding). Check out #3 on this video. The observation that our "outbreak response protocols are rapidly improving" is almost laughable given our current situation. But the video is over a year old, and I don't think anyone could have predicted how one man could ignore and even sabotage medical science.

By the way, I heartily recommend the SciShow channel on YouTube. They have thousands of brief, cogent, and entertaining videos covering an astonishingly large range of subjects.

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Harry S. Truman (May 8, 1884 – December 26, 1972), the 33rd President of the United States, was famous for the sign on his desk:

While this concept is totally foreign to the current President, some things don't change. As Truman observed: "A liar in public life is a lot more dangerous than a full, paid up Communist, and I don't care who he is."

More Truman quotes here.

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On this date in 1886, pharmacist John Stith Pemberton first sold his carbonated beverage named "Coca-Cola", which was originally was marketed and sold as a patent medicine.

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Remembering the original voice of Elmer Fudd, Arthur Q. Bryan (May 8, 1899 – November 18, 1959).

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On this day in 1912, Paramount Pictures Corporation was founded as Famous Players Film Company.

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Remembering Bob Clampett (May 8, 1913 – May 2, 1984), best known for his work on the Looney Tunes animated series from Warner Bros. Clampett directed 84 cartoons later deemed classic and designed some of the studio's most famous characters, including Porky Pig, Daffy Duck, and Tweety.

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Remembering Saul Bass (May 8, 1920 – April 25, 1996), the innovative graphic designer and Oscar-winning filmmaker, best known for his design of motion-picture title sequences, film posters, and corporate logos.

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Remembering Don Rickles (May 8, 1926 – April 6, 2017), the insult comedian aka "The Merchant of Venom" and "Mr. Warmth."

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On this date in 1962, the Broadway musical A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum had its first of 965 performances, winning six Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Performance by a Leading Actor in a Musical (Zero Mostel).

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Fifty years ago today, The Beatles' twelfth and final studio album, Let It Be, was released about a month after the group's breakup. The album spent four weeks atop the Billboard albums chart (June 13 - July 4) and has sold over four million copies since its initial release.

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Those were the days... on this date in 1980, the World Health Organization" confirmed the eradication of smallpox.

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Remembering Ricky Nelson (May 8, 1940 – December 31, 1985), who grew up on the long-running television series The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet where he became a pop star. His last hit, 1972's Garden Party, reached number six on the Billboard Hot 100. Nelson and six others were killed when his refurbished DC-3 aircraft crashed on December 31, 1985, on a "comeback tour."

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If 24/7 news coverage of the pandemic isn't enough, you can curl up with a book: Everything you ever wanted to know about pandemics in 'The End Of October'.

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Daniel and Valerie Zane, married 71 years, die two days apart. "He said that the end of Val's life was like being in the foxhole at the Battle of the Bulge, but even that was easier," Mr. Hettwer said. "He said that at least in war, you have all your soldiers around you. You have the camaraderie." Mr. Zane had always seemed to be a survivor. "We thought he would have more time with us," Robin Zane said. "In the end, it was almost as if she had said, 'I'm not going alone,' and as if he had said, 'You're not going alone.'"

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You're doing it wrong. Only 1 in 75 households are cooking chicken safely.

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The Trump administration is reversing nearly 100 environmental rules. Here's the full list.

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Why stop with destroying the environment? Trump vows complete end of Obamacare law despite pandemic. While the president has said he will preserve some of the Affordable Care Act's most popular provisions, including guaranteed coverage for preexisting medical conditions, he has not offered a plan to do so, and his administration's legal position seeks to end all parts of the law, including those provisions. (That's because he's a pathological liar.)

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What else can Trump destroy upon which we all depend? Trump ally named next postmaster general. Louis DeJoy, who is currently overseeing fundraising for this year's Republican National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., will assume the post, the Postal Service's board of governors announced Wednesday.

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Americans died from covid-19 at the rate of about one every 42 seconds during the past month. That ought to keep any president awake at night. Not Donald Trump.

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"Confronted with America's worst public health crisis in generations, President Trump declared himself a wartime president. Now he has begun doing what past commanders have done when a war goes badly: Declare victory and go home."

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Three Russian doctors have fallen from hospital windows in two weeks, amid reports of dire conditions. The exact circumstances of the separate incidents in the last two weeks remain unclear and they are being investigated by police, but they underscore the enormous strains that Russian doctors and nurses have faced during the outbreak. Reports said two of the doctors had protested their working conditions and the third was being blamed after her colleagues contracted the virus.

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It's come to this: Cornhole Mania 2020 to Air on ESPN and ESPN2.

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3.2 million filed for unemployment benefits last week.

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New research shows a rise in food insecurity without modern precedent. Among mothers with young children, nearly one-fifth say their children are not getting enough to eat, according to a survey by the Brookings Institution, a rate three times as high as in 2008, during the worst of the Great Recession.

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


Categories: ACA, A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Arthur Q. Bryan, Associated Press, Bob Clampett, Brain-eating killer songbirds, CDC, Child Hunger, Children, Coca Cola, Cornhole, Covid-19, Daffy Duck, Donald Trump, Don Rickles, Elmer Fudd, EPA, ESPN, Existential Threats, Feeding America, Food, Food Stamps, Harry S. Truman, John Stith Pemberton, Justice Department, Let It Be, Looney Tunes, Michael Flynn, Obamacare, Paramount Pictures, Porky Pig, Post Office, Rick Nelson, SCOTUS, Seth Meyers, Smallpox, SNAP, Supreme Court, The Beatles, Tweety, Unemployment, USPS, W.H.O., Warner Bros, Wired, YouTube, Zero Mostel


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