Apparently, Eric was wrong.

Everything did not magically return to normal upon firing President Badstupid. I had to take some time off, as being too informed was causing significant mood impairment. And I really wanted to get to the other side of Rudy Giuliani’s embarrassing public dissembling at a landscaping company and dyeing live on television. It’s almost too easy to make jokes about. And it’s also really sad how completely the country has arrived at the cross section of Idiocracy and Veep. Anyhoo... we are going to change it up a bit. Despite the massive increase in covid in America which is worse than it was in March/April/May, this time, we are apparently supposed to go on about our business, which leaves less time for this. We are adapting. Thinking two newsy posts per week, one good, one bad. Alas. Here is the bad news -- feels more fitting for a Monday. Look for good news on Little Friday (aka Thursday).

The Trump Administration, in its waning days, has not given up on trying to kill you. As if ignoring covid-19 wasn't enough...

CNN: Justice Department rushing to expand execution methods like firing squads for federal death row inmates

The Justice Department has rushed to change the rules around federal death penalties as they expedite a slew of scheduled executions in the final days of the Trump administration, including expanding possible execution methods to include electrocution and death by firing squad.

The approved amendment to the "Manner of Federal Executions" rule gives federal prosecutors a wider variety of options for execution in order to avoid delays if the state in which the inmate was sentenced doesn't provide other alternatives.

The rule was included among three dozen policy changes President Donald Trump is attempting to push through before the end of his term. The proposed changes were first reported by ProPublica.

We really ought to pay attention to microwave weapons. I wonder if that's what the tinfoil hats protect against? These articles freak me out and seeing them in more and more mainstream publications does make me fear a little bit that we are racing to implement something without regard to the consequences. We've been burned by this before. You ever watch Watchmen on HBO? It's wild. And good. And scary. And timely. You should really just watch it. And the thought that the hardware being installed is manufactured almost entirely in China seems... worrisome?

The Mail Online (not my favorite source but…) Has Moscow been secretly microwaving our spies for years? CIA investigates after the world was shocked by claims Indian troops had been 'cooked alive' by Chinese electromagnetic pulse weapon

One moment, they felt healthy and alert, eyes peeled for signs of their aggressive neighbour’s troops. Then, within less than a minute, they began to vomit almost simultaneously, as if struck down by a violent stomach bug

The soldiers’ bodies grew weak, with some barely able to stand, and they fled, leaving the hilltops open for units of Chinese soldiers to move in and occupy. Not a shot had been fired.

And this about our government developing more tools to control crowds after what we witnessed at BLM protests and marches in the spring and summer with tear gas and rubber bullets is... unsettling.

The existence of directed-energy weapons (DEWs) has long been known, yet this seems to be the first time such a weapon has been used openly.

The US military has developed its own DEW, the non-lethal Active Denial System, which was deployed in Afghanistan in 2010 but was withdrawn without seeing combat...

The American DEW is thought to be known as MEDUSA – which stands for Mob Excess Deterrent Using Silent Audio – and it beams microwaves that are turned into sound inside the head. It is not thought to be hazardous and could potentially be used as a form of crowd control.

Remember the mysterious diplomat concussions in Cuba?
The New Yorker: Brain Scans Shed New Light on Mysterious Attacks on U.S. Diplomats and Spies in Havana

Lee and her colleagues felt somewhat vindicated last week, when brain specialists at the University of Pennsylvania, who examined and treated forty U.S. government employees who suffered strange injuries while working at the Embassy in Havana, published their first brain-imaging findings in The Journal of the American Medical Association, or JAMA. The results showed tangible neurological changes that “are not like anything we’ve ever seen before,” Douglas Smith, the director of the university’s Center for Brain Injury and Repair and the investigative team’s leader, told me.

Smith and his team were following up on their preliminary findings, published by JAMA in February, 2018, which described what appeared to be a new type of “brain network disorder.” According to the first study, the victims appeared to have sustained serious brain injuries that resembled concussions suffered by soldiers struck by roadside bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan. But there were no signs of impact. One of the specialists at the University of Pennsylvania said that it was as if the victims had a “concussion without concussion.” After those preliminary findings were published, JAMA received letters from other medical specialists arguing that the study was flawed, especially in neglecting psychological explanations for the victims’ symptoms.
And this...

GQ: The Mystery of the Immaculate Concussion

As the Cold War progressed, both the United States and the Soviet Union raced to find military uses for what came to be called directed energy weapons. American researchers had studied things like beaming words into subjects’ heads—great for psychological warfare—while also researching the thermal aspects of microwaves. Packaged in the right way, researchers theorized, a microwave weapon could be mounted on a truck, where it could cast a beam outward to create an invisible barrier anywhere, anytime, capable of immobilizing any person who got within its range. This research ultimately culminated in the development of a weapon the Pentagon calls an Active Denial System, or ADS. In a video touting its capabilities, the U.S. military boasts that this highly portable weapon can be attached to a military vehicle and used to direct precise beams of electromagnetic radiation at, say, an armed militant in a crowd or a suspicious person approaching a military checkpoint. The beam would instantaneously produce a sensation of heat on the skin, which would trigger a person’s reflex to flee. (This summer, a military official inquired about deploying the technology against American protesters who flooded into the streets of Washington, D.C., to protest police brutality.)

On the other side of the world, the Soviets focused on the non-thermal applications of microwave radiation. A 1976 report compiled by the Pentagon’s intelligence branch, the Defense Intelligence Agency, reviewed Soviet research on the topic. The report detailed Moscow’s investigation of the effects of microwaves on the nervous system. Soviet, and later Russian, scientists found that exposing an animal’s brain to microwaves changed the frequency at which neurons fired. Neurons also became suddenly out of sync with one another. Some brain cells in mice were found to have withered. Nerves became damaged. The radiation also showed the potential to disturb the sacrosanct blood-brain barrier and, according to the DIA, resulted in “the alterations of brain function.” The most common symptoms reported in humans who had been exposed to microwaves for long periods of time sounded familiar: headache, fatigue, perspiration, dizziness, insomnia, depression, anxiety, forgetfulness, and lack of concentration.

And also 5G... (This is a long one, there is an audio version of it available online as well.) It describes another toxic brew of political & industry calculations bulldozing scientific ones and those who are trying to warn people treated like crackpot conspiracy theorists. Hmmm. I feel like I've seen this movie before.

The New Republic: Is 5G going to kill us all?

As I talked with these newly minted citizen activists, I was reminded that modern public health calamities, from asbestos to auto safety to leaded gasoline and tobacco, often follow a predictable narrative. Industry dismisses the health risk, government regulators shrug and look away, and a beleaguered minority is left to sound the alarm. Sometimes, as with the anti-vax movement, they’re proven wrong; but sometimes their warnings are all too prescient. According to Persampire, some 200 new antennas, designed to operate with 5G millimeter waves, have already been built in the Huntington municipality.

In 2017, numerous signatories of the EMF Scientist Appeal called for a moratorium on the rollout of 5G wireless. These scientists were so distressed by the technology’s risks that they invoked the principles of the Nuremberg Code regarding experimentation on unwitting subjects. Our embrace of the wonders of wireless, they said, might someday prove to be a vast crime against humanity—one in which the telecom industry treats the public like so many lab rats confined to our personalized toxic reverberation chambers.

Coming soon in Bad News: We examine Hillbilly Elegy, Unicorns and why their stories help perpetuate the myth of the American Dream and in doing so make it so much harder to achieve and why Americans are so obsessed with sports that this is possible:

Washington Post: As thousands of athletes get coronavirus tests, nurses wonder: What about us?

From Nov. 8 to 14, the NFL administered 43,148 tests to 7,856 players, coaches and employees. Major college football programs supply dozens of tests each day, an attempt — futile as it has been — to maintain health and prevent schedule interruptions. Major League Soccer administered nearly 5,000 tests last week, and Major League Baseball conducted some 170,000 tests during its truncated season.

Sandoval, meanwhile, is a 58-year-old front-line worker who regularly treats patients either suspected or confirmed to have been infected by the coronavirus. In eight months, she has never been tested. She says her employer, California Pacific Medical Center, refuses to provide testing for its medical staff even after possible exposure

The Sideshow

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The generational breakdown of the 117th Congress, beautifully visualized by @kerning

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I don't want to rain on anyone's parade but these guys aren't going to jail. Our system was designed to protect people like Donald Trump & Jared Kushner, two of the most vile and corrupt humans on the planet, and yet they have failed upwards their entire lives. @realDonaldTrump

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"...a government paralyzed by the president's fragile emotional state; advisers nourishing his fables; expletive-laden feuds between factions of aides and advisers; and a pernicious blurring of truth and fantasy."

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So the monolith that was randomly found in the desert "was removed by unknown parties" and no one seems to think we should get down to the bottom of this because the government literally showed us videos this year of UFOs and we all were just like 'meh.'

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"Why honor the 'mother of feminism' with a statue of a naked woman? And not just a naked woman, but one emerging from six feet of swirling silver, like a Barbie glued to a melted popsicle...." From @helenlewis, who can write the hell out of anything:

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How did we get to the point where untold numbers of Republicans are just fine with efforts to invalidate the votes of thousands of Black Americans?This explanation, from Republican pollster Whit Ayres, is the most candid one I've seen.From my book:

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this mural inside an LA boutique is the most cursed thing ever made

And uh... this happened. Jeb! takes it to... Room Rater? Srsly?

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Mr. Room Rater, is it possible now that the election is over to rate rooms on a non partisan basis? Are you a room rater or a hyper partisan person that is the problem? We need less hyper partisanship on backgrounds at this time for our country.

And more jackassery out of Texas...

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