Henry Cuellar-Jessica Cisneros Texas Primary Too GOTDAMN Close To Call!



The Democratic primary between Rep. Henry Cuellar and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros is incredibly close, and almost certainly headed to a recount before an official result. With 100 percent of the votes counted, Cuellar, the sole remaining House Democrat who opposes abortion rights, led Cisneros by just 177 votes by midnight. Cuellar declared victory, but Cisneros has not yet conceded. Shortly after Cuellar's claim of victory, Cisneros tweeted last night, "This election is still too close to call, and we are still waiting for every ballot and eligible vote to be counted." She added, "This fight isn't over. It was a blessed 29th birthday." [Heart Emoji] Twenty-nine? Even if she ends up not winning this time, we haven't seen the last of Jessica Cisneros.

And as the Texas Tribune points out, it could be a few days before the race is finally decided. The gap is close enough that Cisneros can ask for a recount, and domestic mail-in ballots that were postmarked by Election Day can still be counted if they arrive at county elections offices by 5 p.m. today. What with it being Texas, we wouldn't be the least bit surprised to learn that in the event of a tie, the race might be decided by armadillos somehow.


Cuellar told reporters that he's cool with it taking a while for the outcome to become clear, since the 2004 election that sent him to Congress in the first place had to go to a recount, too.

I know what it is to do a recount in an election contest. [...] We have very good attorneys and if we need to, we will defend our election victory.

This is the second time Cisneros has challenged Cuellar; in 2020, Cuellar won the primary with an outright majority, and that seemed likely this year too, in terms of fundraising and polling. But then in January, his house and campaign office were both raided by the FBI as part of an investigation into nobody still knows yet what it was (his attorney says only that Cuellar isn't the target of the investigation).

That was enough of an opening for Cisneros to start attracting more funding and volunteers, and she did well enough in the March primary that Cuellar was unable to reach 50 percent plus one vote, forcing a primary. After that, boom, at the start of this month Politico released that draft SCOTUS opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, and Cuellar's status as the sole Democratic House member who still opposes abortion rights gave Cisneros a much wider fundraising base.

Even so, Cuellar has a lot of support in Laredo, and with his longstanding tenure in the House, he got plenty of financial and campaign support from the Democratic Party (that is how it goes do not yell at me for pointing it out). It may have been enough for him to hold onto the seat for another cycle. The winner of the primary will go on to face Republican Cassy Garcia, a former staffer for Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Ew Gross Yuck).

The usual political ratings outfits are calling the seat a toss-up, and as the Texas Tribune notes, November might not be easy sledding for either Cuellar or Cisneros:

Cuellar could again be damaged by FBI investigation, if not cleared by then, and Cisneros, some political analysts predict, is too progressive for the region. [...]

Cisneros and the many progressive groups that backed her repeatedly hammered Cuellar for taking campaign donations from the private prison industry, the oil and gas industry and health insurance companies. Cuellar also has broken with the party to side with Republicans who wish to extend Title 42, a Trump-era health policy that allows immigration officials to expel migrants quickly, even those seeking asylum, because of COVID-19 concerns.

Well no sir, none of that sounds like anything we can get behind much, apart from the obvious fact that if he does win the primary, Cuellar would still be far better than the GOP's Garcia, because have you seen those loons, the end.

[Texas Tribune / LMT]

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The Outrageous Truth About Green Gummy Bears Will Destroy Your World. Tabs, Wed., May 25, 2022



It's the most American of horrors, again. 19 children and two adults were killed in a shooting at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, Tuesday. The children were in the second, third, and fourth grades. By the end of the evening, some parents still didn't know whether their kids were alive or not.

The shooter was an 18-year-old high school dropout who killed his grandmother before heading to the school. He had purchased the two assault-style semiautomatic rifles used in the shootings earlier this month, on his 18th birthday. The shooter was shot and killed by one of several Border Patrol agents who responded to assist local law enforcement; the Border Patrol agent was wounded by the shooter but able to walk out of the school.

The National Rifle Association is scheduled to hold its annual convention in Houston this week, and isn't it something how that happened right after Columbine too? [AP]


President Biden addressed the nation Tuesday night, calling for sensible gun laws and asking "When in God’s name are we going to stand up to the gun lobby? When in God’s name will we do what we all know in our gut needs to be done?" [White House]

Honestly, I don't expect it to change in my lifetime, but I'd love to be proven wrong. Here's the video of Biden's brief remarks:

youtu.be


Sen. Ted Cruz (R-NRA) tweeted that he and his wife Heidi "are fervently lifting up in prayer the children and families in the horrific shooting in Uvalde," a sentiment very similar to that he's tweeted following other massacres.

We're with Rep. Ruben Gallego (D-Arizona), who tweeted, succinctly,

tweet by Ruben Gallego: "Just to be clear fuck you  @tedcruz  you fucking baby killer."

Just to be clear fuck you @tedcruz you fucking baby killer.

Cruz is slated to speak Friday at the NRA convention in Houston; we assume he'll show up and make everyone despise him harder somehow.

David Frum had some good thoughts on thoughts and prayers:

Thoughts and prayers. It began as a cliché. It became a joke. It has putrefied into a national shame.

If tonight, Americans do turn heavenward in pain and grief for the lost children of Uvalde, Texas, they may hear the answer delivered in the Bible through the words of Isaiah:

“And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood.”

It's right up there with "Just to be clear, fuck you @tedcruz you fucking baby killer." [Atlantic]

In non-shooting news, several states held primary elections Tuesday and we'll be updating you on the results this morning. It was a rough day for Donald Trump, who endorsed a bunch of losers.

Georgia: Gov. Brian Kemp won the Republican nomination, handily beating former Sen. David Perdue, who has now lost two elections after fluffing Trump. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who sucks deeply, beat Trump endorsee Rep Jody Hice, who in addition to sucking was an election denier. In the GOP primary for US Senate, former football person Herschel Walker did manage a win, largely because no one else had much name recognition. He was endorsed by Trump, so great job, big win, and good lord this guy does not belong in the Senate. Asked whether he thought new gun laws should be passed after the school shooting in Texas, he replied only "What I like to do is see it and everything and stuff." No, he did not elaborate. [AP / Manu Raju on Twitter]

Alabama: In the GOP race for US Senate, former Rep Mo Brooks came in 16 points behind Katie Britt; Britt fell just short of a majority so they'll go to a runoff. It won't count as a loss for Trump — or a win — because he unendorsed Brooks in March. [WTVM]

Texas Runoffs: In the GOP primary for attorney general, Ken Paxton survived a challenge by George P Bush. And the closely watched Democratic primary for US House between incumbent Henry Cuellar, the last officially anti-abortion Democrat, and challenger Jessica Cisneros, was too close to call when we called it quits. [Texas Tribune]

For some reason I took a picture of Thornton's shadow on the wall when he was sitting in the front window. The snack signal!


Margaret Atwood and her publisher, Penguin Random House, will be auctioning off a one-of-a-kind book: A specially made copy of The Handmaid's Tale that is quite literally fireproof. The auction, through Sotheby's, will raise money for PEN America, the nonprofit that supports freedom of expression in literature. The project arose out of the last year's wave of book bannings (and calls for book burnings, even) by rightwing Republicans around the country. The AP explains,

The fireproof narrative is a joint project among PEN, Atwood, Penguin Random House and two companies based in Toronto, where Atwood is a longtime resident: the Rethink creative agency and The Gas Company Inc., a graphic arts and bookbinding specialty studio.

Rethink’s Robbie Percy said that he and fellow creative director Caroline Friesen came up with the idea. Late last year, they had heard about a Texas legislator who listed hundreds of works for potential banning from school libraries: Percy and Friesen wondered if it were possible to make a book protected from the most harrowing censorship. [...]

“We thought an unburnable copy of ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ could serve as a symbol,” he said.

It took two months to create the book out of "Cinefoil," a flame resistant aluminum product that was so thin that printing the pages was a challenge, since pages would slip out of place and get et by the printer. The pages had to be hand sewn with nickel copper wire.

To promote the auction, Atwood went all Fahrenheit 451 in a video, turning a flamethrower on her unburnable novel. She looks pretty into it, frankly.

youtu.be

It was a pleasure not to burn. [AP / Unburnablebook.com]

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Widespread Backlash To Racist GA Voter Suppression Law Doesn’t Make It NOT Racist Voter Suppression Law



Good news for democracy in Georgia: It's hanging on despite last year's new election law that sought to eliminate all the voter fraud that wasn't there in 2020. As a matter of fact, Georgia saw a surge in early voting for the primary that set new records, with over 800,000 Georgians casting primary ballots by the end of early voting. That's more than in 2018 or even in the 2020 primaries.

Not surprisingly, that's led to a lot of rightwing outlets crying, "See? All those Democrats who worried about 'voter suppression' were just lying, so the new voting laws are only making elections more secure, not stopping anyone from voting, hahaha, what a bunch of liars!"

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, an enthusiastic supporter of Georgia's SB 202, insisted the record turnout was a direct result of it, because of course he would. In a statement, Raffensperger claimed the "incredible turnout we have seen demonstrates once and for all that Georgia’s Election Integrity Act struck a good balance between the guardrails of access and security."

Mind you, the 2020 election in Georgia (and the rest of the country) didn't actually include any noteworthy incidents of fraud, apart from the predictable Trumpers voting twice to offset what they imagined was widespread fraud by Democrats. So it's hard to say the "security" side of things accomplished a damned thing.


SB 202 did include one measure supporters claim made voting easier: it set minimum requirements for early voting, which hadn't been mandated previously. It's difficult to say that change truly offset the many ways the law restricted voting -- like new voter ID requirements for absentee voting; limits on ballot drop boxes; the stupid ban on groups giving food or water to people waiting in line to vote; a prohibition on local governments using outside grants to pay for election administration; and a weird ban on mobile voting vans, which forbade Fulton County from using two such vehicles it purchased for $700,000 and used only in the 2020 election cycle. Some jurisdictions also eliminated voting on Sundays, in a pretty transparent attempt to curtail Black churches' "Souls to the Polls" voting drives, which van-pool people to vote after services.

Ah, but early voting set records, so wasn't all that worry about voter suppression misplaced, stupid libs?

Frankly, no, not so much.

For starters, much of the high early voting turnout for the primary elections was driven by the high-stakes Republican fights for nominations for governor, secretary of state, and for the Senate seat held by Raphael Warnock (D). As Raffensperger's press release notes, early voting by Republicans far outweighed that by Democrats:

Republican: 483,149
Democrat: 368,949
Nonpartisan: 5,303

It's not too surprising Democratic turnout is lower, since Stacey Abrams is running unopposed for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and Sen. Raphael Warnock has just one opponent we've never heard of. That said, yes, good turnout for the other races, indeed, but the real impacts of the new law won't really show up until voting for the general election gets going.

For another, it only makes sense that Democratic turnout this year will be higher because many voters are pissed off at the new law, as the Washington Post reports:

Voting rights groups and Democrats say they have changed their strategies to mobilize voters under the new rules. In Spalding County, for instance, local activists moved Souls to the Polls to a Saturday, and they defiantly promised that they would work twice as hard if that was what it took to protect voter access.

“It was a direct way to send a message to the Black community that they’re in charge now,” said Elbert Solomon, vice chairman of the county Democratic committee. “But every day we get people walking through the door, White and Black. A lot of people are concerned about their democracy.”

Raffensperger claims Abrams and President Biden "lied" about the law's impact, but Republicans haven't exactly been explaining why measures like banning mobile voting stations do a goddamn thing to "balance security and access." Mostly, they just cut access, and the fact that Democrats so far seem willing to redouble their get-out-the-vote efforts doesn't change that in the least.

It's a little too early for fans of SB 202 to be claiming it's had no ill effects, as the New York Times points out:

The picture will grow slightly clearer on Tuesday, when Election Day turnout can be observed; clearer still in the days afterward, when final absentee ballot rejection rates and precinct-level data will emerge; and will fully come into focus after the November general election, when turnout will be far higher and put more strain on the system. [...]

“Just because turnout is up doesn’t mean that voters face no hurdles,” said Richard L. Hasen, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “It could well mean that voters overcame those hurdles, and that means that time and money were put into efforts to assure that voters could overcome those hurdles. And that seems unjustified if those hurdles serve no important anti-fraud or other purpose.”

And again: It shouldn't have to take an extraordinary effort to overcome the roadblocks to voting set up by the new law. If white, middle class voters can vote easily on their lunch hours, but Black voters have to take off a day from work in anticipation of hours-long lines, that's not a demonstration of how beautifully the great pageant of democracy is working out. And that's to say nothing of the potential fuckery that may yet arise from the provision in SB 202 that has led to GOP takeovers of local elections boards, which have indicated a willingness to reduce the number of polling places on the flimsiest of pretexts, and could do far worse, like arbitrarily disqualify voters or ballots. Gosh, not that Republicans would ever do such a terrible thing.

Assuming we had powerful enough dilithium crystals, we suppose we could settle the question of whether SB 202 suppressed a lot of votes by comparing turnout on Earth Prime to turnout on an alternate Earth where SB 202 failed because Donald Trump had been altogether repudiated.

The problem then might be that too many of us might want to emigrate to that Earth.

[CNN/ WaPo / NYT]

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David Perdue Says EV Truck Plant Jobs Too Woke, Georgians Can Drive Culture War To Work Instead



Polls in Georgia are open today for the state's primary election, and David Perdue, the former senator who's challenging incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp in the Republican primary, has mostly been campaigning on Donald Trump's Big Lie, suggesting Kemp helped evil Democrats steal the 2020 election. Polling suggests that's not going so great, even though Donald Trump endorsed Perdue. Also he's closing his campaign out by being an out-and-out racist to Stacey Abrams.

But as NBC News reports, Perdue is padding his righting crazy cred with some extra culture war bullshit, fighting against construction of a huge electric vehicle factory slated to be built on farmland in Morgan and Walton Counties about an hour's drive from Atlanta (a round trip is well within the Rivian R1T pickup's 314 mile range). Yep, the site is so big it's in two counties.

The factory is expected to create about 7,500 full-time jobs, plus jobs in construction and support, but Perdue claims the Rivian truck plant might also fill Georgia with scary woke cooties, because Rivian is based in California, which is where Nancy Pelosi and Adam Schiff are from! Even worse, to attract the $5 billion plant, being touted as the biggest industrial project in Georgia history, Kemp and the state lege offered $1.5 billion in tax incentives.

Predictably, Perdue couldn't be satisfied with asking whether that's a good use of state money. You see, wingnut boogeyman George Soros owns a small share in Rivian, so Perdue has been insisting Kemp handed your taxpayer money personally to Soros, "minority shareholder" be damned. And everyone in the Republican base knows what that means. (Jews. It means "Jewish Puppetmaster" to their target audience.)

See how scary these puppetmaster pickups are?

Tweet by David Perdue campaign:

So you see, kids, these Rivian pickups and SUVs are truly the $80,000 light trucks of the woke socialist radical Great Replacement apocalypse. And it's true, there really is a plan to replace your internal combustion cars and trucks with clean vehicles with terrific torque and lower maintenance costs. Oh, the horror!


Perdue complains that going ahead with the Rivian factory will bring Globalist Taint to Georgia, because OMG California and EVs!

“It’s a woke California company whose mission is to turn the world green,” Perdue said this month while stumping with local activists trying to stop the plant. “They aren’t interested in this part of the country. They just want to make money off of us.”

Read More: Former GA Dem Vernon Jones Cramming For His Advanced GOP Bigot Degree

(Just an aside here, but Wonkette's Evan who is editing this and who lives in Memphis notes that they are building that multi-billion dollar megasite an hour east of Memphis where Ford will make its woke electric F150s, and you know what Republican electeds here are doing? Tripping over their dicks to take credit or at least make sure you know they are part of it. All of this is to say sheesh, David Perdue is an idiot.)

Another Trump-endorsed Georgia candidate, the Vernon Jones, who's already tried to benefit from Trump-style racism and immigration panic in his campaign for Congress, went even further in his attack on Rivian. In a Facebook post back in December, when the deal was announced, Jones accused Kemp of selling out Georgia voters and trying to turn the state into a woke hellhole!

Governor Brian Kemp’s campaign’s email claims that he wants to stop “Hollywood, liberal billionaires & “woke mob” from turning Georgia into the next California or New York. Today, he welcomes a company whose corporate attitude is seemingly inconsistent with Georgia values. I’m asking Brian Kemp to release the details of the incentive package & how much tax payer money was used to bring Rivian to Georgia. This company is Woke. Their vaccine mandate limits the jobs Georgians can’t get, since many Georgians are not vaccinated. Not to mention they have a large focus on diversity & inclusion; including transgender benefits. Again, Kemp’s campaign promises don’t match his actions. Are you part of the Woke Mob or stopping the Woke Mob?

Oh no! vaccines! Diversity and inclusion! How horrifying! Maybe the "T" in the Rivian R1T stands for transgender, you ever think of that?

NBC News says the Rivian foofaraw represents a "a growing rift inside the GOP between its traditional pro-business wing, embodied by Kemp, and an ascendent populist wing, embodied by Perdue," and also predicts — accurately, we're afraid — that it "underscores the challenge the entire country will face in transitioning to a greener economy."

In fact, the local opposition to the plant has pretty much nothing to to do with culture war stuff. With the precise planning for the facility still only in the early phases, there are a lot of local concerns about how a giant industrial development will impact the area, what with increased traffic, light pollution (the area is home to a Georgia State observatory), and potential environmental effects. Any big factory can pollute, even if it's building a green product. Also, this is Georgia, where environmentalism is a dirty word. But even if the production process can be kept clean, a great big factory on former farmland could affect wildlife and local quality of life. If Rivian is successful and reaches its goal of producing 400,000 vehicles a year, the plant could become a hub for more manufacturing in the area. Paradoxically, until the US actually gets more clean heavy trucks on the road, the factory is sure to at least temporarily mean more pollution from diesel trucks, too.

Based on polling statewide, it seems unlikely the combination of culture war panic and local opposition to the Rivian plant will be enough to win Perdue the nomination, but the whole stupid "green is woke and bad" thing feeds off the same buttheaded resentment that has fueled dumb reactionary crap like diesel truck owners "rolling coal" (spewing thick smoke) on bicyclists and Prius drivers. So we can look forward to more of the same, no doubt upgraded to accusations that EVs promote the Gay Agenda and cause kids to read banned books. We can probably expect vandalism of solar panels, keying the paintjobs of EVs, and the occasional torching of any Teslas that haven't caught fire on their own.

Read More: Jerk Babies With Big Diesels Find Exciting Way To Annoy Liberals: 'Rollin' Coal'

[NBC News / AP]

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Nice Time! Central Park Birder Guy Gets Own TV Show, For The Birds!



You probably remember Christian Cooper, the Black man who in 2020 was screamed at by a super privileged white lady because he asked her to please leash her dog in Central Park's "Ramble," a birding spot where dogs aren't allowed to run loose. He recorded her freaking out and phoning police to report she was being threatened by "an African American man," and falsely accusing him of threatening her life — while she also choked her dog by lifting it up by the collar. It was the Platonic Ideal of white panic that summer, a white person apparently trying to get police to come and get rid of — and maybe shoot to death — a Black person for the crime of being Black in public. Well, and for catching her breaking park rules, which is terrifying too.

In the aftermath of that horror, America also got to find out that not only was Mr. Cooper the target of racism, he was also just a hell of a nice guy who was as passionate about birding as the white lady was about trying to get that scary Black man arrested for existing in her presence.

He also turned out to be telegenic as all get out. A lifelong birder, environmentalist, gay activist, and nerd (he worked as an editor at Marvel Comics and introduced the first gay character in Star Trek comics), Cooper was boffo on camera, and before long he was doing guest spots on science shows, like this nifty vid from PBS's NOVA, in which he talks about the importance of diversity in outdoorsy stuff:


youtu.be


And now, hooray, Cooper has parleyed his many TV appearances into an actual job in TV. He'll be hosting a National Geographic series to be called "Extraordinary Birder," in which he'll basically share his love of birds and birding.

We bet it'll be way better than this press release from National Geographic, which is a bit too National Geographic press release-y for our taste:

Life-long birder Christian Cooper takes us into the wild, wonderful and unpredictable world of birds. Whether braving stormy seas in Alaska for puffins, trekking into rainforests in Puerto Rico for parrots, or scaling a bridge in Manhattan for a peregrine falcon, he does whatever it takes to learn about these extraordinary feathered creatures and show us the remarkable world in the sky above.

Well okay.


For a better sense of Christian Cooper nerding out about birds, watch this segment from ABC's "Good Morning America" (Yes, ABC and National Geographic are both owned by Disney) that aired a few weeks after his encounter with the racist lady. The only word to describe him here is "ebullient." This man doesn't just love birds, he loves talking about birds and birding to others, clearly in the hope that they will become infected with birding flu.


www.youtube.com


You can skip right past the clip of the video that made him famous; it's the birding stuff that feels like an audition for National Geographic. And as it happens, it might well have been, since he tells the New York Times he first heard from National Geographic about doing the show around a year and a half ago.

“I was all in,” he said. The six planned episodes will feature Cooper birding in deserts, cities, rainforests and the rural South.

“I love spreading the gospel of birding,” he said in an interview on Tuesday, adding that he was looking forward to encouraging more people “to stop and watch and listen and really start appreciating the absolutely spectacular creatures that we have among us.”

I've always liked birders, ever since that time around 1986 when my first wife and I went camping at a remote campground in the Chiricahua Mountains in Arizona, ages ago. We had a hell of a time getting our little Datsun 510 up the road, which was incredibly rough — a county road, but still probably better if you had 4-wheel drive.

We camped near an older couple who had somehow maneuvered a biggish RV up there, and from our campsite, we could hear them reading aloud to each other from birding books and talking enthusiastically about birds. They were marvelous sweet people who had clearly mated for life.

I haven't yet met any birders who've spoiled that impression, so please, if you know any asshole birders, don't introduce me.

Now, Christian Cooper and his six-episode show — no release date yet, sorry — may not make me want to take the plunge and become a birder. But he absolutely makes me want to watch him birding.

[NPR / NYT]

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Great Republican Idea: What If 2000 Rural CO Voters Got Twice As Many ‘Votes’ As 761,000 People In Denver?



The state of Colorado has a problem, at least if you're a Republican seeking high office: In the past 50 years, the state has only elected one Republican as governor (Bill Owens, who served from 1999 to 2007). But one of the GOP candidates for governor this year, Greg Lopez, has a great idea that he thinks could fix that little difficulty, mostly by putting in place a kind of state electoral college, in which rural counties' voters would have far more power than voters in cities. Forget "one person, one vote," because it's far fairer if you don't count all votes equally.

Don't stare at us like that. It's not our idea, it's Lopez's.

You might also be unsurprised to know that Lopez, the former mayor of Parker, Colorado, thinks Donald Trump really won the 2020 election but had it stolen from him. Just because Democrats far outnumber Republicans statewide shouldn't mean they really represent Coloradans.


Yeah, You've Seen This Weirdo Before. And The Reporter Who Destroyed Him

You may remember Lopez from his insane evasions in an interview earlier this month with Denver TV journo Kyle Clark, in which Lopez refused to own up to his very funny homophobic joke about Gov. Jared Polis (D), who is gay. Lopez had said to a Republican crowd, “I think it’s time we had a real first lady, don’t you?” The crowd ate that up, because Polis is married to a dude, and isn't that just hilarious? Pressed to explain exactly what he'd meant by a "real first lady," Lopez told Clark he simply was talking about what a wonderful gal his wife is, you see? They've been married 34 years!

Clark wasn't having it, no thank you, and drily replied, "I think that there’s a chance that you think I and the folks watching are dumber than we are."


Who Needs Tyranny Of The Majority When Tyranny Of The Minority Is More Fun?

Now Clark is back with the lowdown on Lopez's state electoral college idea, which a "political tracker" recorded when Lopez outlined it during a May 15 campaign appearance. It's really the bestest idea, as long as you're willing to throw out the idea that every citizen's vote should count equally — and it should not, since that hasn't helped Republicans. We like the part where he openly says he supports "doing away with the popular vote" just right there in plain English. We've bolded it below so you won't miss it.

“One of the things that I’m going to do, and I’ve already put this plan together, is, as governor, I’m going to introduce a conversation about doing away with the popular vote for statewide elected officials and doing an electoral college vote for statewide elected officials,” Lopez said.

Lopez said his electoral college plan would weight counties’ votes based on their voter turnout percentage to encourage turnout.

“I’ve already got the plan in place,” Lopez said. “The most that any county can get is 11 electoral college votes. The least that a county can get is three.”

You can see the logic: Republicans keep losing the popular vote for president, but they sometimes win the Electoral College anyway, so clearly the electoral vote is fair and the popular vote has to be suspect.

Here's video from KUSA/KTVD, which explains exactly how extremely the scheme would skew voting in Colorado. "Cockamamie " doesn't even begin to describe it.


youtu.be


Lopez's campaign wouldn't agree to talk to the TV station about the plan unless Clark would agree to another sit-down interview with Lopez at his campaign headquarters. Gosh, considering the fact that Lopez became a national laughingstock after that earlier interview, we can only assume he and his campaign are masochists. (We kid. The homophobia and misogyny no doubt brought in all sorts of attention and money from rich GOP donors.)


Oh No, Not Math!

So instead, Clark and his team decided to approximate how the scheme might have worked in the 2018 election that put Polis in office. Using the rough criteria Lopez outlined, they distributed between three and 11 electoral votes per county based on county turnout in the governor's race. The rubric completely disregarded the population size of each county since Lopez said he's getting rid of undemocratic ideas like the "popular vote."

The results were pretty impressive. Instead of winning the 2018 election for governor by 10 points — the actual results — Polis would have been blown out of the water by Republican Walker Stapleton. In mere reality, Polis won 53.4 percent to Stapleton's 42.8 percent. But an electoral system like Lopez wants would have "swung that race for Republicans by nearly 30 percentage points, resulting in the equivalent of an 18 percentage point victory for Stapleton over Polis." Some details:

Colorado’s rural, conservative counties had seven of the 10 highest voter turnout percentages in the 2018 race for governor. Those counties had an average of 1,077 ballots cast in the election.

A 9NEWS analysis estimated that, under Lopez’s plan, Polis would have received 181 electoral votes to Stapleton’s 263.

And because Lopez's system would apparently include no weighting for population size, his electoral college would be even more lopsided than the federal one, which at least includes some consideration of state population by including states' House seats. The federal system still gives small states disproportionate power, but wowie, look at this hypothetical outcome in Colorado. We've added boldface to emphasize the population disparities:

Lopez’s weighting system would have given the 2,013 combined voters in Hinsdale, Kiowa and Mineral counties a total of 33 electoral votes, more than double the 14 electoral votes of Denver, Arapahoe and Adams counties’ combined 761,873 voters.

Well that seems fair. You want a little more representation, Denver, you'll have to improve your voter turnout so maybe someday you'll have equal political power to a county with 3,000 voters.


'One Person, One Vote' Is Not Even In The Bible

At that May 15 campaign appearance, Lopez explains why this scheme would be waaaaay better than merely letting the tyrannical depraved liberal majority in urban areas have their votes count equally to those of the God-fearing voters in rural areas:

“It’s not about one-person, one-vote. It’s about true representation.”

As we keep saying, this is what you get when you subscribe to the most extreme versions of the John Birch Society's insistence that America isn't a democracy, it's a republic: Not only is democracy bad, anything that even allows too much majority influence is bad, too, so to truly avoid what the Founders feared was "the tyranny of the majority," it's probably best to let numerical minorities engineer the system to keep themselves in power. Representation is all fine and well, but the less it's tainted by democracy, the better for the Republic.

Happily, U of Denver political science prof Sara Chatfield told Clark in an interview that in the extremely unlikely event Lopez could become governor and persuade voters to pass it as a constitutional amendment, it's so glaringly unconstitutional that it wouldn't stand a chance in court. And wouldn't you know it, the case that established one person, one vote as the standard came out of an earlier attempt to disenfranchise minorities!

Chafield pointed to the 1964 Supreme Court decision in Reynolds v. Sims striking down Alabama’s plan to give one state Senate seat to each county.

“The Supreme Court struck that down on the principle of one-person, one-vote. So I think that case, although it’s a little different, demonstrates that just because something is in the U.S. Constitution doesn’t mean it’s actually democratic or constitutional at the state level,” Chatfield said.

Mind you, while it's an entirely hypothetical notion for Colorado, we can see a smaller, already red state like Idaho doing it just to make sure scary urban liberal coastal elites in Boise don't get too much power in the state Lege.


This Guy's FULL Of Bad Ideas!

Lopez's campaign website says nothing about this state electoral college idea, although its "issues" page does promise Lopez would issue an executive order that would effectively end automatic voter registration. The site explains it's actually a vital moral issue, because "It is wrong for the state government to force a citizen to register to vote; that is an individual choice that should not be imposed by the government." His ideas on choices are flexible; Lopez is fine with banning abortion with no exceptions, not even for the life or health of the pregnant person.

Also, in that earlier interview with Clark, Lopez explained he wants to end Colorado's statewide vote-by-mail system, because voting is too easy and people should show their commitment to citizenship by standing in line. Here's the video, cued up to that bit of brilliance:


www.youtube.com


It's about making sure people feel they're providing their civic duty, that they're standing in line because they're proud Americans. A lot of people fought for the right to stand in line! You know, we stand in line for concerts, we stand in line for baseball games and football games. Why can't we stand in line to vote? We don't ask people to do this every week, we ask them to do it every two years.

Lopez said he believed that when voting is more inconvenient, people will actually be better informed about the issues, somehow. He also doesn't buy the idea that standing in line could be a burden for people who don't have a lot of time to stand in line, because "where there's a will, there's a way," and people will obviously just have to make the time if they want to exercise their franchise. Indeed, he explained, if more people had to stand in line to vote, it would "send a message to future generations that this is our civic duty."

After all, Martin Luther King simply wanted the right to vote. He never fought for voting to be easy, and indeed, maybe the best way to honor his dream is to make sure people get clubbed and hit with firehoses before they can vote. That can be their way to prove their willingness to have some skin — and hair, blood, bone fragments, and bits of brain matter — in the game.

[ KUSA-KTVD / Photo: Greg Lopez on Facebook]

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With Great Salt Lake Drying Up, Utah Lege Looks Into Pipeline From Pacific Ocean. Yes Really.



Utah's Great Salt Lake is, like a lot of western lakes, drying up and shrinking at an alarming rate due to long-lasting drought that's intensified by climate change. Unlike Lake Powell and Lake Mead, the Now Just Adequate Salt Lake is a natural lake, not the result of damming the Colorado River (or damning it, as Ed Abbey used to say), but the calamitous drop in water levels results from similar causes: not enough water coming into the lake from rivers, plus lots of thirsty humans and their agriculture using upstream sources. In late April, state water officials projected the lake will once again hit a new record low water level this year, a good two feet lower than the previous record low level of 4,190 feet, set just in October 2021.

The Deseret News explains,

The projection is based on levels that flow into the lake from its core tributaries, like the Bear, Weber and Jordan rivers. Normally those rivers add about 3 feet of water during the irrigation offseason, while there’s a 2-foot reduction once the irrigation begins. That’s a net gain of about a foot per year.

But this year’s spring runoff is not looking good for the lake. The National Weather Service’s Colorado Basin River Forecast Center announced last week that it adjusted its forecast to project a runoff at 60% of normal. It previously forecast a normal runoff at the start of the year.

Last year, instead of the usual off-season increase of a foot, the lake's level only rose by six inches. And the state's snowpack is far lower than normal due to the drought. Also, fun fact: because of mineral concentrations in the lakebed, the drier the lake gets, the greater the chance of toxic dust blowing into populated areas.

Yeah, that's bad. Here, have some video from a BOAT, mofo, with more walking than there oughta be on a boat tour.

youtu.be


In late April, Gov. Spencer Cox declared a drought emergency for the second year in a row, since apparently his admonition last summer for Utahns to "pray for rain" didn't quite do the job. The state legislature has passed a number of water conservation bills, including $450 million in water infrastructure projects, and also established a "Great Salt Lake Watershed Enhancement Program" that will include a new $40 million water trust aimed at helping the lake. Other measures will offer financial aid to homeowners who replace grass lawns with more desert-friendly landscaping, which seems like a smart idea.

And then there's the plan to at least study the feasibility of building a 700-mile pipeline that would pump saltwater from the Pacific Ocean to the Salt Lake, because desperate times and all that. That's one of several ideas being explored by the Lege's Water Development Commission, although it's probably the most radical one; the Salt Lake Tribune reports other ideas being studied include

metering residential water connections in rural Utah; examining the impacts of new groundwater wells on senior water rights holders; limiting releases from Utah dams; reusing treated wastewater; re-evaluating diversions from the Weber to the Provo river; and altering Utah’s representation on interstate compact regarding the Bear River, which Utah shares with Idaho and Wyoming.

The package of study items also includes one measure that might even be more desperate than "pipeline," which would involve looking into "putting septic effluent into Utah’s water supply," which of course sounds gross but works great if you're on the International Space Station. It's treated, people.

State Sen. David Hinkins (R), co-chair of the Water Development Commission, did some logic on the pipeline idea, which would require getting the pipeline over the Sierra Nevada mountains and crossing the states of California and Nevada:

"There’s a lot of water in the ocean and we have very little in the Great Salt Lake." [...]

"It’s just an idea," cautioned Sen. Hinkins in an interview with FOX 13 News. "Other countries are doing it to fill their lakes because of the drought situations. We ought to know if there’s a feasibility or even if we’ll get right of ways for that sort of stuff, but get an idea of how much it’ll cost."

Now, before you go snottily pointing out that lakes are freshwater, the Salt Lake Trib explains Hinkins was talking about an Israeli proposal to pipe Mediterranean water to replenish the Dead Sea, which is getting deader all the time.

Hinkins also suggested that, on the downslope run from the Sierra Nevadas, the water could even be used to generate electricity, although that sounds kind of like a perpetual motion thingy to us, since you'd expend a lot of energy getting the water up there in the first place? We'll freely admit we are not a Doktor of Hydrostuff, though.

Lynn de Freitas, executive director of Friends of Great Salt Lake, was skeptical of the pipeline idea, and not solely the feasibility and cost of the damn thing. She argued

A pipeline would not only degrade the landscape it crosses but would also disrupt the terminal lake’s chemistry.

“Rather than bringing fresh water to a system already challenged by impacts from increased salinity concentrations, it would be bringing in even more salinity,” she wrote in a text. “What’s wrong with this picture?"

She suggested it would be smarter to reconsider a proposed project to divert water from the Bear River for municipal and industrial use, saying that project would "only exacerbate the effects of a mega drought and climate change on our Lake.”

State Rep. Joel Briscoe (D), didn't seem too gung ho on even the notion of studying the pipeline. Following Tuesday's meeting of the Water Development Commission, Briscoe

sighed loudly and said: "Why don't we try water conservation?"

Beyond the feasibility of it, Rep. Briscoe said he had concerns about the cost to taxpayers.

"I thought we were a state that respected frugality and efficiency," he said. "There’s no way you’re going to be able to afford pumping saline water from the Pacific to Utah."

Environmental advocates also criticized the idea as a "boondoggle," as if spending billions of dollars that would enrich construction companies was somehow not the best possible use of state money. They have a point. Heck, maybe it would be a better idea to put money into reducing use of fossil fuels, just to see if not warming the planet might do something to slow the effects of drought.

Haha, like anyone could afford that! Maybe the Utah Lege could start researching the feasibility of developing stillsuits.

[KSTU-TV / Salt Lake Tribune / Deseret News]

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Egad, A Dinesh D’Souza Movie LIED? Fetch Forth My Smelling Salts!



Poor Dinesh D'Souza can't seem to get a break, apart from his pardon from Donald Trump, his constant appearances in rightwing media, and all the money he gets from adoring low-information fans. His latest documentary-shaped object, 2000 Mules, alleges there's evidence off rampant voting fraud in the 2020 election. But it's being ignored by Tucker Carlson and even Newsmax, and there's practically nothing too stupid or crazy for Newsmax.

Read More: No One Taking Dinesh D'Souza's Documentary Seriously, Except Other People Who Also Make Things Up

And now some snotty liberal fact checkers at NPR have confirmed that one of the film's central claims is just plain false. In the film, the bogus "election integrity" group True the Vote claims it used cellphone tracking data to prove massive voter fraud; to show just how reliable its methods are, the group claimed its data analysis even helped solve a MURDER that had police baffled.

But as NPR explains, hahaha LOL LMAO True the Vote didn't solve dick. (Slight paraphrase of NPR.) Also, have we mentioned D'Souza was himself convicted of election fraud? But he was pardoned, so now he's blameless.


The claim was so impressive that Donald Trump spokesperson Liz Harrington gushed that True the Vote

"solved a murder of a young little girl in Atlanta. I mean, they are heroes." Fans of the film have echoed that message on social media.

Unfortunately, that's a load of codswallop:

Authorities in Georgia arrested and secured indictments against two suspects in the murder of Secoriea Turner in August 2021.

In response to NPR's inquiries, True The Vote acknowledged it had contacted law enforcement more than two months later, meaning it played no role in those arrests or indictments.

That's not just NPR proving the claim is false; that's True the Vote admitting it didn't solve, as we say, dick.


Phone-y Business

The movie purports that True The Vote proved a massive vote fraud effort by analyzing a shitload of phone geolocation data purchased from companies what track location information from phones and other mobile devices. Supposedly, the data identifies around 2,000 people who made at least 10 visits each to absentee ballot drop boxes, many of them located in different parts of cities, as well as to a number of nonprofit groups. They're the "mules" of the title, because mail-in voting is just like drug dealing! (Yes, the movie refers to "ballot trafficking" and calls the nonprofits "stash houses," because of course it does. These may be terms Dinesh learned in prison.)

The phone data supposedly "proves" the nonprofit groups were paying people to pick up ballots and to stuff the drop boxes! But as fact checks by the AP, and by Politifact, and by the Washington Post have all pointed out, the tracking data can only indicate a general location. It isn't anywhere near granular enough to prove even that someone was standing next to a drop box, much less that they put ballots (legally or illegally) inside. And since elections authorities put drop boxes in places people are likely to find convenient, there are plenty of reasons one person might have been near those locations at various different times without going up to a ballot drop box. (In Atlanta, for instance, 28 of Fulton County's 36 drop boxes were at public libraries.)


Murder, They Vote

Now, back to the murder claim. In the movie, True the Vote's executive director Catherine Engelbrecht and board member Gregg Phillips (who also have executive producer credits on the film) claim their analysis was so good it helped solved not one but two murders, both of which were "ebbing on cold case status." But they only talk about one, the killing of eight-year-old Secoriea Turner in Atlanta on July 4, 2020.

Phillips says he and his team obtained device data from the area of the shooting, which showed "only a handful of unique devices that could have pulled the trigger...each of these devices has a unique device ID, and we turned the bulk of this information over to the Federal Bureau of Investigation."

"Now, I read they've arrested two suspects," D'Souza responds to Phillips.

"They have," Phillips says.

Also too, on a podcast flogging the film, D'Souza made an even more specific claim, that True The Vote gave its data to the FBI, and that the feds passed on the data to the Georgia Bureau of Investigation.

"Shortly after that," D'Souza said, "boom" - there were two arrests and indictments.

NPR contacted the GBI to fact-check this claim.

"The GBI did not receive information from True the Vote that connected to the Secoriea Turner investigation," said Nelly Miles, the GBI's Director of the Office of Public and Governmental Affairs.

Aha. Neither Engelbrecht nor Phillips would give NPR an interview, but Engelbrecht did send an email saying that she

"called a contact at the FBI" and Phillips gave him the information about the Turner case "on or about October 25, 2021."

That would have been about two months after both suspects had already been indicted, on August 13. And contrary to Engelbrecht's assertion that the case was nearly "cold," police had arrested one of the two suspects within two weeks of the murder. Indeed, he turned himself in. The second suspect was arrested in early August. As WaPo's Philip Bump points out, "There is no indication that geolocation data played a role in either arrest, much less data provided by Phillips’s team."

So nope, True the Vote didn't solve dick. Like, maybe its data did include the two suspects' phones? But by the time that analysis was done, the alleged killers' names were already in the news for a couple months. Oh look, you found their phones somehow.


Antifa Super Soldier Vote Mules!!!@!

NPR points out other problems with the movie's assertions, debunking a claim D'Souza made in an interview that the phone data also matched up with another organization's data, to prove that some of the "mules" had also been Antifa rioters!!!!!

"There is an international organization called ACLED [Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project] that monitors the cell phones of all violent rioters around the world," D'Souza said on the Dan Bongino Show. "What True The Vote did was they took the cell phone data on the mules and matched it against the ACLED data on the rioters. And guess what? There's a pretty big overlap."

In the film, Phillips also cites ACLED, which is a nonprofit research organization.

"There's an organization that tracks the device IDs across all violent protests around the world. We took a look at our 242 mules in Atlanta and, sure enough, dozens and dozens and dozens of our mules show up on the ACLED databases," Phillips says in the film. "This is not grandma out walking her dog, these are, you know, violent criminals sometimes."

First of all, that Dinesh D'Souza quote right there -- "There is an international organization called ACLED [Armed Conflict Location & Event Data Project] that monitors the cell phones of all violent rioters around the world" -- can only be spoken by someone utterly confident that their target audience is absolutely fucking clueless about how everything in the entire works.

Even so, Sam Jones, a spox for ACLED, said both claims were "categorically false," and that it's "highly unlikely that these conclusions have any basis in fact." ACLED's director of research and innovation, Roudabeh Kishi, noted that the company "does not track device ID" at all.

And while ACLED does track riots and other violent incidents, plus peaceful protests,

Their data do not include specific locations inside a city - such as neighborhoods or city blocks - where protests took place. ACLED does not track the time of day of those incidents or generally note individual participants, except for high-profile leaders.

Kishi said nobody from the film had contacted the company at all.

Engelbrecht had an explanation, though! When Phillips said, "There's an organization that tracks the device IDs across all violent protests," he didn't mean ACLED, although she wouldn't identify where the supposed data proving "mules" had also been rioting came from. As for D'Souza's statement that the data came from ACLED, she wrote, "If you have questions about Dinesh's comments, my suggestion would be to ask Dinesh." Conveniently, D'Souza didn't respond to NPR's interview requests.


Dinesh Explains It (Not At) All

Now, we should at least note that D'Souza, grumpified by an earlier article Philip Bump wrote about the problems with trying to use phone data to prove "ballot trafficking," did sit down for an interview with Bump to explain why, logically, the movie's conclusions are 100 percent true. As Bump puts it, the takeaway is that the hourlong interview "can be summarized fairly succinctly: D’Souza admits his movie does not show evidence to prove his claims about ballots being collected and submitted."

D'Souza can't even prove that the "whistleblower" the movie claims blew the lid off the fraud scheme even exists. He never met the guy, who wanted to remain anonymous.

But he frequently tells Bump it's really unfair and illogical to demand he provide evidence that any of the "mules" the movie talks about submitted even a single illegal ballot, so that's amusing. He also accuses Bump of "armchair theorizing" about his great big MAGA fanfiction of a movie.

Read it only if you want to burn one of your free WaPo reads this month; it's not worth using one of my "gift" linkies for.

[NPR / WaPo / AP / WaPo]

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Trump Tells Oz Secret Of Winning, It Is Just Say ‘I WIN!’ Real Loud And Annoying-Like



With 95 percent of the votes counted, the Pennsylvania GOP primary for US Senate remains too close to call, with fewer than 1,500 separating the top two candidates, as the New York Times reports this morning.

The race is so close it's likely to trigger an automatic recount, which is required when there's a difference of less than half of one percent between the top two finishers. As you'd expect, the campaigns of Dr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick each confidently predict that when all the votes are counted, their guy will come out on top. That could take a while, though; the Pennsylvania Department of State has until May 26 to order a recount, though it might do so sooner.

Totally legitimate former president Donald Trump has an idea about how to speed up the process though. On his hilariously named social media site for idiots, Truth Social, he posted yesterday that Oz should simply "declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they just happened to find."

Trump didn't specify who "they" were, and it should go without saying he didn't offer evidence, because how naive you are to want proof the primary is rigged! There's a possibility Trump's chosen guy might not win, and if that doesn't prove massive cheating is at work, nothing will.


Besides, Trump knows how easy it is to be robbed of a landslide electoral victory. He went on TV late on election night in 2020 to say he'd won, which made him the winner. But then treasonous state elections officials insisted on counting all the ballots anyway, a failure of democracy that gave the election to Joe Biden simply because he won the most electoral votes. How is that even fair?

One noteworthy difference between the 2020 presidential election and the 2022 Republican primary is that in this case, the candidate who might win the nomination is hedge fund douche/walking dollop of Hellmann's mayonnaise David McCormick, who is himself a Trump devotee.

McCormick said when he announced his campaign in January that he too loves Donald Trump and America Firsting, and dutifully insisted that "the majority of Republicans in this state don't believe [2020] was a free and fair election" either. It would be pretty weird if "they" were rigging the election in favor of a slightly different flavor of their own selves, but there we go dragging logic into a discussion of Donald Trump.

Also, because there are still outstanding absentee ballots waiting to be counted — already suspicious, since real Republicans would never use those cursed things except when voting twice to offset cheating by Democrats, allegedly! — Trump complained in a separate antisocial media post:

Here we go again! In Pennsylvania they are unable to count the Mail-in Ballots. It is a BIG MESS. Our Country should go to paper ballots, with same day voting.

Good point, from a guy who regularly voted absentee, but it was OK when he did it.

Hey, you know what's kind of funny, if you have a really low bar for "funny"? Trump had no such qualms about the outcome of the GOP gubernatorial primary, in which Republicans nominated Big Lie lover and would-be election thief Doug Mastriano, whom Trump endorsed. (That's the one he endorsed at the last minute, which worked well for Trump because Mastriano was already so far ahead.) Those would be the very same damn ballots that Trump is now complaining are probably rigged. (Again with the logic, sorry bad habit.)

Then again, in his conspiratorial little brainlet, Trump no doubt assumes that if the voters picked one guy he endorsed, the fact that they didn't choose Oz by the exact same margin must indicate the votes aren't being counted correctly in the Senate race. Real Republican voters would never betray Trump that way, so the fix has to be in. Heck, if Mastriano manages to be elected governor, he'll be the one to appoint the secretary of state, who wouldn't allow any uncertainty about the outcome of any elections ever again.

So far, Dr. Oz has wisely said nothing at all about Trump's messages urging him to say out loud that he won. He hasn't actually tweeted anything since Tuesday, for that matter. We can't discount the possibility, however, that Oz may have written a declaration of victory in his dream journal, which will help it manifest into reality.

[NYT / CNN / WaPo]

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Say Goodbye To Lukewarm Coffee! Tabs, Thurs., May 19, 2022



Federal health officials warn that a third of the American populace lives in areas with rising rates of COVID-19, and should consider masking up indoors in public again The riskiest areas are currently in the Midwest and the Northeast US. Why no, Republicans have not agreed to pass COVID funding. [PBS Newshour]

The Biden administration still has lots of free rapid home COVID tests for you, so you can request another eight free test kits at the easy to remember covidtests.gov. Yes, even if you already received four tests in each of the two previous rounds! [NPR]


Now that genuine insurrectionist and Big Lie promoter Doug Mastriano has won the GOP nomination for governor in Pennsylvania, you may want to go back and read Eliza Griswold's May 2021 New Yorker profile outlining his "Christian nationalist" beliefs, which boil down to Jesus made America to be a Jesus country, so let's do theocracy! Gahh! [New Yorker]

They're still counting votes in the Pennsylvania GOP Senate primary, but that didn't stop Donald Trump from jumping in with some advice for his endorsed candidate, Dr. Mehmet Oz. On his MAGA social network, Trump wrote that Oz "should declare victory. It makes it much harder for them to cheat with the ballots that they just happened to find," After all, why bother counting votes when you can just insist you won and other Republicans cheated? Hell, maybe Trump thinks the other primary candidates are Democrats. [CNN]

George W. Bush had a pretty terrible Freudian slip in Dallas Wednesday. While condemning Russia's authoritarian government under Vladimir Putin, he seemed to admit a hell of a thing:

The result is an absence of checks and balances in Russia, and the decision of one man to launch a wholly unjustified and brutal invasion of Iraq ... I mean, of Ukraine.

Bush then joked "I'm 75," as the audience laughed.

4,431 US service members and several hundred thousand Iraqis, most of them civilians, were unavailable for comment forever. [Reuters]

The US Office of the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR), the government watchdog set up to monitor the US military adventure in Afghanistan, released an interim report on the collapse of the Afghan military last summer, concluding that the US decision to withdraw from the country and to make a deal with the Taliban led to a catastrophic collapse of morale. The Afghan military also relied heavily on US contractors for logistical support and maintenance for the advanced weapons systems the US provided, so the US withdrawal meant those awesome war toys were next to useless. As is typical with SIGAR reports, this one found plenty of fault to go around, from corruption in the Afghan government to a lack of coordination in the US agencies that were supposed to be preparing the Afghan military to fight on its own. [NPR]

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is being a butt, and has blocked bids by Sweden and Finland to join NATO. He accuses the two Nordic countries of harboring militants who belong to the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers Party, which seeks an independent Kurdish state in Turkey. He's demanding they be extradited (so he can execute them, one assumes) before he'll consider letting Sweden and Finland join NATO. So that's going to need some diplomacy. [CNN]

Now here's a thing that's never going to happen: An Apple autonomous car with no windows, also no steering wheel or pedals. It's all purely conjectural at this point, but hey, concept art:

Thank goodness for smartasses with photoshop:

Grubhub has apologized for a boneheaded promotion that offered $15 off any order to customers in New York City for three hours Tuesday, which meant lunches costing less than that would be free. Just one little problem: Grubhub neglected to tell restaurants about the plan, so many were slammed and unable to meet the sudden deluge of orders that started coming in, causing hourslong backups. As many as 6,000 orders a minute were coming in to the hub of grub, which had its own server failures to add to the confusion. Thank goodness Grubhub is very sorry. [NBC New York]

LOLOL a group called the 65 Project has filed a complaint with the Texas bar association seeking the disbarment of Ted Cruz for his attempts to overturn the results of the 2020 election and keep Donald Trump in office. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy! Maybe make him ride in one of those windowless Apple cars, too. [Seattle Times]

Also, about that lukewarm coffee in the hed: it's one of those glass Chemex things, so maybe try a Chemex cozy, really hot water to start with, or putting it on the stove on very low heat. Or get a Mr. Coffee and drink coffee like it's 1975, as God intended. [NYT]

Looka this little dang Thornton and his little dang kittyhands!


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