What News was in My In-Box

Kind of a mixed bag on articles this week. Quite a few articles on what I would call general interest, kind of interesting stories. An abused elephant tears his owner into two pieces. An article about a pod of penguins(?) save a swimmer from a shark? It is worth a read just to find out the author meant dolphins (which is in the text).

Sad Good Byes

Judith Durham obituary | Pop and rock | The Guardian, Garth Cartwright, As you age, you begin to notice the people you knew are disappearing. I was into folk music, went to the local coffee house with friends, and pre USMC in the late sixties. I was probably the soon-to-be private Joker back then. Just found out that I missed the announcement of the death of Judith Durham August 5th.  That voice will be missed.

Just to Read

Elephant Rips Owner in Half After Making Him Work in Heat” (msn.com), An elephant ripped its owner in half after the animal was forced to carry wood in Thailand in a period of extreme heat.

Viral video: When a pod of ‘hero’ penguins protected a swimmer from a great white shark,” (msn.com), Getting stalked by a shark and coming off the water without any injuries will either require a sheer amount of luck or some extraordinary survival skills.

Hiker takes terrifying climb up 2,300-foot tall staircase with no handrail” (msn.com), This fearless hiker made the terrifying climb up a 2,300ft-high carved stone staircase — with no handrail.

101 Year Old Betty Reid Soskin on Civil Rights” – Hour Detroit Magazine, Betty Reid Soskin, Spent only the first few months of her life in Detroit — but she remembers well the story of what brought her family here from New Orleans.

Her father did something to offend a white man (which, in 1917, could have been just about anything) and was given until sundown to leave town. They picked up and moved to Detroit, where her father worked for the Ford plant.

Fundraisers pass $100K for Michigan library defunded over LGBTQ books” | Bridge Michigan, Ron French, A library defunded by voters in a spat over LGBTQ books is coming closer to being saved by online donations.

Uncommon Path” – An REI Co-op Publication 


A Flexible Policy Toolkit: What The Biden Administration’s Groundbreaking SPR Reform Unlocks” (employamerica.org), Arnab Datta & Skanda Amarnath, The administration’s recently proposed regulation for flexibly refilling the SPR is a welcome policy change with serious potential to deliver price and supply stabilization benefits.


“Breakthrough over potentially harmful chemicals found in most homes” – BBC News,  Esme Stallard, identified was a new mechanism to break down the PFAS by using a common chemical called sodium hydroxide – which is used to make household products like soap or painkillers.

Climate bill could slash US emissions by 40% after historic Senate vote” | Climate crisis | The Guardian, Oliver Millman, Inflation Reduction Act could put US within striking distance of Biden’s goal of halving emissions by 2030, analysis suggests.


How Physicists Cracked a Black Hole Paradox” – Scientific American, George Musser, A few years ago a team of chemists unboiled an egg. Boiling causes protein molecules in the egg to twist around one another, and a centrifuge can disentangle them to restore the original. The technique is of dubious utility in a kitchen, but it neatly demonstrates the reversibility of physics. Anything in the physical world can run both ways—

Politics and Law

John Malone makes his move” – Digby’s Hullabaloo (digbysblog.net), Digby, CNN thrills the wingnuts

Destruction of the Georgia Guidestones, a monument puzzling from the start, only has heightened the mystery” (msn.com)  “It’s unfortunate,” Kubas said. “There are people that think that just because they don’t like it, that nobody should have that opportunity to see it or experience it, and so they’re going to destroy it for everybody else.” 

Oakland judge: County prosecutors can’t enforce Michigan abortion ban (detroitnews.com), Kara Berg, A person carrying a child has the right to bodily autonomy and integrity as well as a safe doctor-patient relationship free from government interference, as they have been able to do so for nearly 50 years, 

American Democracy Was Never Designed to Be Democratic” | The New Yorker, Louis Menand, The partisan redistricting tactics of cracking and packing aren’t merely flaws in the system—they are the system.

The Trouble Trump Is In” | The Mahablog, maha, maha’s list . . .

Should Donald Trump and Other Former Presidents Get Special Legal Treatment?” | The New Yorker, Isaac Chotiner, Last week, the F.B.I. searched the Florida home of former President Donald Trump and removed twenty-seven boxes of material that he had taken from the White House. A number of the boxes contained classified information. The followup to this should be giving senators the ability to avoid grand hurries after asking a state about votes with the intent to defraud.

Canceling Student Debt Would Increase Wealth, Not Inflation” – Roosevelt Institute, Mike Konczal, Alí Bustamante, From energy to trade policy, there are many difficult administrative policy questions that could impact inflation over the next year. Student debt cancellation is not likely to be one of them. 

“How the Democrats Rallied” – The Atlantic, Russell Berman, By now you’ve surely heard: Reports of the Democrats’ inevitable defeat this November (might) have been exaggerated. The party infamous for its disarray is suddenly passing legislation left and right (well, center), making a mockery of its effete opposition,


Healthcare Workers Who Wear Better Masks Get Less COVID” | MedPage Today, Ingrid Hein:  Among workers exposed to COVID-19 patients, those who always donned a respirator mask had a lower likelihood of infection (21% vs 35% for those that did not; OR 0.49, 95% CI 0.39-0.61), reported Philipp Kohler, MD, of Cantonal Hospital St. Gallen in Switzerland, and colleagues.

Why My Patients Go Opioid-Free After Surgery” | MedPage Today, Michael Day:  Spurred on by the insidious actions of the manufacturers of opioid medications, these drugs assumed a far too prominent role in the treatment of pain. 

Three Repurposed Drugs Flop for Thwarting Severe COVID” | MedPage Today, Ingrid Hein: High-risk patients saw no benefits from metformin, ivermectin, or fluvoxamine.

Meet the Manhattan Mom Running Her Own Formula Bank” | Washington Monthly  After learning about the baby formula shortage back in May and, after procuring the very last package of formula from her pediatrician’s office, the 33-year-old Manhattanite searched every pharmacy and big box store she could find for her 10-month-old daughter, Ellie.

Children’s Health and Well-Being Get Much Needed Attention from CMS this Week” – Center For Children and Families (georgetown.edu), Kelly Whitener, CMS made three big announcements yesterday, drawing attention to ways Medicaid and CHIP can support children’s health and well-being. 

Voting – Texas Addition

Top election officials in Texas’ Gillespie County have quit” : NPR,  Joey Placios, Dan Katz, David Martin Davies. “The threats against election officials and my election staff, dangerous misinformation, lack of full time personnel for the elections office, unpaid compensation, and absurd legislation have completely changed the job I initially accepted,”

Houston Officials Investigating Voter Intimidation By GOP-Linked Group” | Crooks and Liars, NewsHound Ellen, According to at least one resident, two men wearing “Texas Election Network” badges came to her door asking her to sign an affidavit about her address.


What happened” – Steve Schmidt – The Warning (substack.com), The beginning of the collapse of the American experiment can be traced to an exact moment.

August 20, 2022” – Heather Cox Richardson (substack.com), Earlier this month, on August 2, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and a Democratic delegation commanded headlines when they traveled to Taiwan, an independently governed East Asian country made up of 168 islands on which about 24 million people live, and which China claims.


“Inflation is causing real pain. But raising interest rates will make it worse” | Isabella Weber and Mark Paul | The Guardian, Isabella Weber and Mark Paul, Today American policymakers face a stark choice. Either, they can fight inflation by continuing to hike interest rates to generate unemployment and bring down aggregate demand. Or, they can employ a surgical approach that reins in the price increases that have been driving inflation, while encouraging investments to overcome chronic supply chain issues.

Democrats have tough work ahead in implementing huge bill” – Marketplace, David Brancaccio, Alex Schroeder, and Erika Soderstrom,  President Joe Biden and Democrats in Congress are on the cusp of implementing some of their most ambitious agenda items. The Inflation Reduction Act means to, well, bring down inflation by targeting climate change and health care. 

Crops, speculation and starvation” – The one-handed economist (one-handed-economist.com), David Zetland, Farmers are having a hard time in Europe. Production (“yield”) is falling due to drought . . .

Middle-Class Pay Lost Pace. Is Washington to Blame? – The New York Times (nytimes.com), Norman Scheiber, A new paper by liberal economists presents evidence that policymakers helped hold down wages for four decades. One of the most urgent questions in economics is why pay for middle-income workers has increased only slightly since the 1970s, even as pay for those near the top has escalated.


Christian Nationalism Breaches Cy-Fair ISD School Board | by Bryan James Henry” | Medium, Bryan James Henry, What began as a relatively predictable conservative opposition to mask mandates and vaccines morphed into an often-incomprehensible obsession with the “threat” of Critical Race Theory. The parents who initially disrupted school board meetings to question the recommendations of public health experts became consumed by the prospect, always ridiculous and unfounded, that their children were being indoctrinated by progressive and “woke” ideas that all White people are “oppressors” and that they should feel shame and guilt for being White.

Consumerism Alert

Find an unordered package on your doorstep? You might be a victim of a ‘brushing’ scam” (consumeraffairs.com), Gary Guthrie, If you find a package sitting on your front porch and it’s something you didn’t order, you might want to hold off on telling the world that you’ve just scored a freebie. In reality, what probably happened is that you just became the latest victim in a rapidly growing shakedown called “brushing.”