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stopdiggin's Journal
stopdiggin's Journal
March 6, 2024

I have read several of these 'Schiff helps Garvey' articles recently. Please stop.

In fact, Garvey was (by some margin) the acknowledged closest contender for Schiff in this election. Schiff ran against that competition. And money was spent in the process. (Amazing!) What reason allows us to spin this off as some sort of dodgy ploy - wherein Schiff was actually aiding the Republican candidate? This kind of convoluted 'spin' is complete misrepresentation and misinformation. Pisses me off!

YahooNews, 03/06/24
Unconventional tactics in California Senate race

Calif. Rep. Adam Schiff became a Democratic star during the Trump presidency as he led the impeachment effort against the Republican president.
In his run for U.S. Senate, Schiff sought to eliminate his top Democratic opponent for the seat, Rep. Katie Porter, by elevating a Republican.
California’s election rules dictate that the primary is open to candidates of all parties but that only two candidates advance to the fall election. So Schiff’s play was to help Republican Steve Garvey, a former star player for the Los Angeles Dodgers, to beat Porter.
Because California almost never elects Republicans to statewide office, Schiff wanted to run against Garvey, not Porter. And so his campaign spent $25 million to frame the race as one between himself and Garvey only, sidelining Porter.

So - Schiff is suppose to spend money against Porter - in order to help Porter?
Y'all making my head hurt!

October 19, 2023

Sierra Hull (I got to see her a couple times this year. my good luck.)

One of the things that I like about the 'youngsters' representing the bluegrass scene today ..
Is that they are just so grounded, and versatile - as much or more than being flat out talented.

One moment they can be just kicking down the walls and tearing the house apart with a standard (that would put a smile on any of the 'old boys') ..
And the next they give you something like an exquisite ... Well listen ...
- - Mad World - -

and now - to prove my words about 'holding their own' (and then some) with the real stuff ...

October 18, 2023

Pepper Expert Scorches His Own Guinness Book Heat Record

Ed Currie, the South Carolina hot pepper expert who crossbred and grew the Carolina Reaper that’s hotter than most pepper sprays police use to subdue unruly criminals, has broken his own world record with a pepper that’s three times hotter.

Pepper X was publicly named the hottest pepper in the world on Oct. 9 by the Guinness Book of World Records, beating out the Reaper in Currie’s decade long hunt to perfect a pepper that he says provides “immediate, brutal heat.”

Heat in peppers is measured in Scoville Heat Units. Zero is bland, and a regular jalapeno pepper registers about 5,000 units. A habanero, the record-holder about 25 years ago, typically tops 100,000. The Guinness Book of World Records lists the Carolina Reaper at 1.64 million units.

Pepper X’s record is an average of 2.69 million units. By comparison, pepper spray commonly holstered by police is around 1.6 million units. Bear spray advertises at 2.2 million units.

Pepper X has been in the works since Currie last set the hottest pepper record in 2013 with the Carolina Reaper, a bright red knobby fruit with what aficionados call a scorpion tail. The goal was to offer an extremely hot pepper flavored with sweetness.

Pepper X is greenish-yellow, doesn’t have the same shelf appeal and carries an earthy flavor once its heat is delivered. It’s a crossbreed of a Carolina Reaper and what Currie mysteriously classifies as a “pepper that a friend of mine sent me from Michigan that was brutally hot.”


(and for the 'record' - terrible pun - I think anyone that is within 20 yards of this kind of insane heat - is utterly and completely out of their tree!)
June 26, 2023

general question on tipping

Been wondering this for some period of time now ..
When the server at the coffee house spins the little screen around to me - to either add a percentage tip to total, or conversely decline ... Is that 'tip' handled in the same way as the the dollar bill(s) I stuff in the jar on the counter?

Basic question/concern is obviously - is that money actually getting to the servers and wait staff? (when and how) And then, further, if someone has a real answer - are there other implications involved - taxes, withholding, reporting - fair splits and distribution? And - is anybody, beyond perhaps owner and site manager, in possession of those figures and (purported) distributions?

June 25, 2023

Documents reveal Eric Adams sent migrants to Florida, Texas and China

This is where Politico (along with a few others) really drops the ball and loses my respect. Read halfway through the article to find that the 'obvious comparison' being drawn here - doesn't hold up at all. And yet, that is the headline and slant that we are intent on 'getting out there.'

NEW YORK — After lashing out at leading Republicans for busing asylum-seekers to Democrat-led cities, New York Mayor Eric Adams turned around and did something similar — sending dozens of migrants to red states like Florida and Texas.

And Adams didn’t stop at the nation’s borders.

Between April 2022 and April 2023, New York City spent around $50,000 to resettle 114 migrant households in cities around the U.S. and the globe, according to information obtained exclusively by POLITICO through a public information request. Some were sent to countries in South America — and one all the way to China.

- snip - Mayoral spokesperson Kate Smart said the efforts of Texas and New York are completely different.

Texas has been chartering whole buses to New York City whereas the Adams administration has been purchasing individual tickets for migrants who want to leave the state, she said. New York officials found that some asylum-seekers who arrived from Texas did not want to come in the first place and were dehydrated and malnourished when they got to Manhattan. She pointed to reports that asylum-seekers leaving Texas were wearing barcoded bracelets, were prevented from getting off the bus mid-journey and signed waivers many did not understand.

“In contrast, New York City has, as we have discussed very publicly for months, worked to connect individuals with friends, family, and networks whether in New York City or outside of it,” Smart said in a statement. “We are not coercing people to leave, we are not suggesting or recommending locations, and we are not presenting any kind of false choice. We are helping people who want to reconnect with loved ones or communities do so.”

- snip - At a press conference in October, Adams administration officials said around a third of migrants who came to New York City ultimately wanted to be somewhere else, but arrived in Manhattan anyway because the only free buses out of Texas were to New York and Chicago.

Because the country’s largest population of Venezuelans live in Florida, for example, most Venezuelan asylum-seekers said they wanted to head south, according to Manuel Castro, head of the Mayor’s Office of Immigrant Affairs.

“It really is up to the individuals,” he said at the October press briefing. “We want to make sure that we support people [getting] to where they wish to go themselves.”


It would seem that these efforts regarding the immigrant influx, and needs, are quite, quite dissimilar. So why the effort to draw analogy?
June 12, 2023

Indictment as Tactical strike (Empty Wheel)

Interesting read - with the suggestion (addressing many queries and concerns voiced here on DU) that the intelligence community has in fact already burned (closed, shut down) assets and programs based on the 'exposure' that the Trump documents represent. And that is one of the few explanations for the 'massive exposure' (unlike common practice) that the indictment represents to security information. (remembering that the government doesn't like to bring this stuff into the courtroom - and there was some 'crazy sensitive' stuff included in that indictment!)


I’ve become convinced that what I will call the Mar-a-Lago indictment — because I doubt this will be the only stolen documents one — is a tactical nuke: A massive tool, but simply a tactical one.
As I’ve laid out, it charges 31 counts of Espionage Act violations, each carrying a 10-year sentence and most sure to get enhancements for how sensitive the stolen documents are, as well as seven obstruction-related charges, four of which carry 20-year sentences. The obstruction-related charges would group at sentencing (meaning they’d really carry 20 year sentence total), but Espionage Act charges often don’t and could draw consecutive sentences: meaning Trump could be facing a max sentence of 330 years.

Obviously, Trump won’t serve a 330 year sentence, not least because Trump is mortal, already 76, and has eaten far too many burgers in his life.

(per Jack Smith's public statement, June 9 )
- snip - He packed a lot in fewer than three minutes, but the thing that surprised me was his promise for a Speedy Trial. He effectively said he wants to try this case, charging 31 counts of the Espionage Act, within 70 days. (bolding mine)

That means the trial would start around August 20, and last — per one of the filings in the docket — 21 days, through mid-September. While all the other GOP candidates were on a debate stage, Trump would be in South Florida, watching as his closest aides described how he venally refused to give boxes and boxes of the nation’s secrets back.

There’s not a chance in hell that will happen, certainly not for Trump. Even if Trump already had at least three cleared attorneys with experience defending Espionage Act cases, that wouldn’t happen, because the CIPA process for this case, the fight over what classified evidence would be available and how it would be presented at trial, would last at least six months. And as of yesterday, he has just one lawyer on this case, Todd Blanche, who is also defending Trump in the New York State case.

In fact, even though I understand how CIPA works, I’m not convinced this case can be tried. Before the indictment was unsealed, I imagined that Smith would charge about six documents, classified Secret, each of which demonstrated that Trump was exploiting the nation’s secrets, and just nod to the sensitivity of all the more sensitive secrets he was storing in an unlocked bathroom. Boy howdy was I wrong! Peter Strzok does the math to show that DOJ actually charged all but 13 of the Top Secret documents obtained either with the May 11, 2022 subpoena or in the August 8, 2022 search. And these are not just Top Secret. Of those documents whose compartments themselves are not classified, the documents include satellite intelligence, human intelligence, nuclear intelligence. Brandon Van Grack, one of the few other people who has been interested in the CIPA aspect of this case, seemed to struggle to describe the documents charged in this case.

One of the only ways I can imagine taking this to trial easily would be if the government had simply burned all the collection involved (including on the two Five Eyes documents), meaning presenting the documents he stole at trial would consist of one after another spook describing collection programs the government had to shut down because of Trump. In fact, last September, DOJ suggested they had had to do just that by invoking a letter NSA Director Mike Rogers sent in sentencing Nghia Pho. That letter described how, after discovering that Pho had compromised a bunch of NSA programs, the NSA had had to abandon much of it.

(NSA director’s statement) - “Once the government loses positive control over classified material, the government must often treat the material as compromised and take remedial actions as dictated by the particular circumstances. Depending on the type and volume of compromised classified material, such reactions can be costly, time consuming and cause a shift in or abandonment of programs. In this case, the fact that such a tremendous volume of highly classified, sophisticated collection tools was removed from secure space and left unprotected, especially in digital form on devices connected to the Internet, left the NSA with no choice but to abandon certain important initiatives, at great economic and operational cost.”

For the moment, then, consider the possibility that this indictment is, as far as it involves Trump, simply a messaging document to alert Republicans who can still be reasoned with that Trump left the most sensitive secrets on a stage at Mar-a-Lago while weddings were going on and as a result, the IC simply shut down all the programs he had compromised.

May 23, 2023

Public Criticism Might Be the Best Way to Reform the Supreme Court

solid points. worthwhile perspective. good read.

sorry if there is a paywall issue (I don't actually know)
and I will provide as much 'representative' as possible

In an interview last month, Justice Samuel Alito complained about excessive criticism of the Supreme Court. To him, these criticisms have not identified discrete problems to be solved but rather represent bad-faith efforts by critics to do nothing more than give the public a “reason to question our legitimacy.”

The not-so-subtle implication of what has become a regular talking point for conservatives is that the court isn’t — and shouldn’t be — responsive to public criticism. And if that’s true, it must follow that public criticism doesn’t serve a legitimate purpose, especially if it is unlikely to spur meaningful reform from Congress.

Yet this attempt to delegitimize public criticism fails at its inception. Even if reform from Congress is not imminent, we ought not drop the focus on another potential vehicle for reforms — the court itself.

There are both historical and recent examples of how the court, in response to mounting public pressure and criticism, has changed its ways, examples that underscore the value and opportunities provided by continued public pushback today.

Perhaps the most famous example of the court’s responding to public criticism came in 1937. After the 1936 election, in which President Franklin Roosevelt ran as much against the court — which was blocking economic measures meant to respond to the dire conditions of the Depression — as against Gov. Alf Landon of Kansas, Justice Owen Roberts made “the switch in time that saved nine,” a shift that historians debate was either because of Roosevelt’s proposal to add six seats to the court or, more generally, in response to the broader atmospherics of the president’s re-election. Either way, the court’s shift was precipitated by substantial public backlash against its recent behavior, and it opened the door to an era of greater judicial deference to economic regulation and greater judicial protection of civil rights.

- snip - In the past 18 months, we’ve seen a similar — if subtler — shift in the court’s behavior that again closely correlates with public criticism and pushback. In this case, it has been related to how the justices issue unsigned and (usually) unexplained orders concerning applications for emergency relief, on what Will Baude, a University of Chicago law professor, first called “the shadow docket.”

To underscore that, in spring 2022, in an emergency relief case involving environmental regulation, Chief Justice John Roberts strikingly joined a dissent by Justice Kagan, joined by Justices Stephen Breyer and Sonia Sotomayor, emphasizing concerns about the procedural shortcuts the other conservative justices had been taking.

Since then, the court has intervened far less often and in ways that have looked far less partisan even when it has granted emergency relief. - - snip -

March 25, 2023

I was kind of sitting on the fence here, until ...

Fortune - Elon Musk says Jerome Powell is so bad at his job that GPT-4 would be a better Fed chair:

If Elon Musk is running his mouth - isn't it almost a given ... ?
Also kind of leaning toward Musk (in more recent incarnations) as in many ways aping Trump's style as a deliberate provocateur and 'chaos agent.' If you think either one of these guys is even slightly interested in (or in fact even considers) the plight of the working stiff ...
- snip - Musk’s frustration with the Fed rate hike hikes goes back a ways. In December, he blamed the central bank for the steep drop in Tesla stock—last year the carmaker’s shares fell 65% and it lost $700 billion in market valuation—arguing interest rate hikes had made the stock market less appealing to investors.

March 19, 2023

Lab Leak or Not? How Politics Shaped the Battle Over Covid's Origin (NYTimes)

A lab leak was once dismissed by many as a conspiracy theory. But the idea is gaining traction, even as evidence builds that the virus emerged from a market.
The story of the hunt for Covid’s origin is partly about the stonewalling by China that has left scientists with incomplete evidence, all of it about a virus that is constantly changing. For all the data suggesting that the virus may have jumped into people from wild animals at a Chinese market, conclusive proof remains out of reach, as it does for the competing hypothesis that the virus leaked from a lab.
But the story is also about politics and how both Democrats and Republicans have filtered the available evidence through their partisan lenses.

Some Republicans grew fixated on idea of a lab leak after former President Donald J. Trump raised it in the early months of the pandemic despite scant evidence supporting it. That turned the theory toxic for many Democrats, who viewed it as an effort by Mr. Trump to distract from his administration’s failings in containing the spread of the virus.

The intense political debate, now in its fourth year, has at times turned scientists into lobbyists, competing for policymakers’ time and favor. Dr. Relman is just one of several researchers and like-minded thinkers who has successfully worked the corridors of power in Washington to force journalists, policymakers and skeptical Democrats to take the lab leak idea seriously.

But the political momentum has not always aligned with the evidence. Even as the idea of an accidental lab leak has now gained standing in Washington, findings reported last week bolstered the market theory. Mining a trove of genetic data taken from swabs at the Huanan Seafood Wholesale Market in Wuhan in early 2020, virus experts said they found samples containing genetic material from both the coronavirus and illegally traded raccoon dogs. The finding, while hardly conclusive, pointed to an infected animal.

The new data from the market suggests that China is holding onto clues that could reshape the debate. But for now, at least, the idea of a lab leak seems to have prevailed in the court of public opinion: Two recent polls show that roughly two-thirds of Americans believe that Covid probably started in a lab.

August 8, 2022

Bo Ramsey

don't have any particular reason - other than any time this guy picks up a guitar ... nice things happen.

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