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Inflation, cybercrime, another ocean, Toobin returns, misremembering the Alamo
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Published Friday, June 11, 2021 @ 12:00 AM EDT
Jun 11 2021

(Note: KGB Report will be on vacation until June 28)

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Another jump in prices tightens the squeeze on US consumers. And Deutsche Bank issues dire economic warning for America. If the U.S. economy descends into an inflation spiral like that experienced after World War II, we could be on the brink of excruciating economic pain. As Donald Trump's more or less sole lender, they know about economic pain.

Why Democrats are voting on bills that have no chance of passing. A vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act this week marked the start of this process, which will soon include votes on a series of Democratic priorities that will likely fail. These votes are intended to demonstrate Democrats’ commitment to issues like voting rights protections and gun control, while underscoring how willing Republicans are to obstruct these policies.

Half of the pandemic's unemployment money may have been stolen. Criminals may have stolen as much as half of the unemployment benefits the U.S. has been pumping out over the past year, some experts say.

You know those scary television ads about Biden weaponizing the IRS? You really have nothing to worry about if you're a normal person or business. The plan is aimed at legally owed but uncollected taxes, which could total over $7 trillion over the next ten years.

These businesses found a way around the worker shortage: Raising wages to $15 an hour or more.

Study shows Bitcoin is actually traceable. The F.B.I.’s recovery of Bitcoins paid in the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack showed cryptocurrencies are not as hard to track as it might seem. But ransomware rolls on: JBS says it paid $11 million ransom after cyberattack. And hacker known as Max is 55-year-old woman from Russia, US says.

National Geographic says there’s a fifth ocean on Earth. The 130-year-old exploration and education nonprofit marked World Oceans Day on Tuesday by declaring that the waters around Antarctica will now be known as the Southern Ocean - the planet’s fifth ocean.

Americans could be cut off from the internet over copyright claims. A court ruled that ISPs can avoid liability by kicking customers off the internet. The ruling is being challenged.

Well, this is awkward: Jeffrey Toobin is back at CNN eight months after exposing himself on Zoom.

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From Crazytown:

No, Trump's not delusional - it's actually much worse than that. Trump's Big Lie about the election and fantasies of "reinstatement" aren't delusional. They're devious strategies./p>

21 QAnon-linked candidates are running for office in 2022. Newsweek asked them about Q. Lots of fun evasions here.

Gohmert asks if federal agencies can change Earth's or moon's orbits to fight climate change. "Did the tree lady call back with the moon answer?" (Video)

Poll: US image abroad rebounds sharply with Biden in office. In 12 of the surveyed countries, a median of 75% expressed confidence in Biden, compared with 17% for Trump in 2020. A median of 62% across 12 nations had a favorable overall opinion of the U.S., while only 34% held that view last year.

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KGB's daily agglomeration of stuff I find interesting:

Among other things, today is

On this date:

  • 1742 - Benjamin Franklin invented his Franklin stove
  • 1776 - The Continental Congress appointed Thomas Jefferson, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston to the Committee of Five to draft a declaration of independence.
  • 1920 - During the U.S. Republican National Convention in Chicago, U.S. Republican Party leaders gathered in a room at the Blackstone Hotel to come to a consensus on their candidate for the U.S. presidential election, leading United Press to coin the political phrase "smoke-filled room".
  • 1935 - Inventor Edwin Armstrong gave the first public demonstration of FM broadcasting in the United States at Alpine, New Jersey.
  • 1962 - Frank Morris, John Anglin and Clarence Anglin allegedly became the only prisoners to escape from the prison on Alcatraz Island.
  • 1963 - Alabama Governor George Wallace defiantly stood at the door of Foster Auditorium at the University of Alabama in an attempt to block two black students, Vivian Malone and James Hood, from attending that school. Later in the day, accompanied by federalized National Guard troops, they were able to register.
  • 1963 - Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc self-immolated himself with gasoline in a busy Saigon intersection to protest the lack of religious freedom in South Vietnam.
  • 1963 - John F. Kennedy addressed Americans from the Oval Office proposing the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which would revolutionize American society by guaranteeing equal access to public facilities, ending segregation in education, and guaranteeing federal protection for voting rights. (Video)
  • 2001 - Timothy McVeigh was executed for his role in the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • 1937 - Marx Brothers' "A Day At The Races", was released in the US (Video)
  • 1982 - "E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial" was released (Video)
  • 1993 - "Jurassic Park" released, sets box office weekend record of $502 million (Video)

Birthdays

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Miscellany

Dog ejected from vehicle in Idaho crash found herding sheep.

We've been telling the Alamo story wrong for nearly 200 years. Now it's time to correct the record. Thank heavens John Wayne isn't around to hear this...

Ice block containing frozen poo crashes into the street from passing airplane. At least it wasn't alien.

Automobile semiconductors, meat, wood products, food service employees... what next? Glad you asked: New Orleans strip club offering contract bonuses due to exotic dancer shortage.

Signs of the Apocalypse: Crocs with stiletto heels.

Zombie sea slugs (video) and dangerous little ticks.

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KGB Cap
KGB Merch


Categories: Alamo, Bitcoin, CNN, Cryptocurrency, Democrats, Dogs, Donald Trump, Environment, Filibuster, Inflation, Internet, IRS, Jeffrey Toobin, Joe Biden, Louie Gohmert, National Geographic, QAnon, Republicans, Taxes, The Big Lie, Unemployment


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Mr. T, UFOs, volcanoes, hurricanes, brainless sleep
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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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Trump, dementia, asteroids, Twitter, laboring from home under duress.
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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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Brain-eating killer songbirds and other existential threats...
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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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