16 April 2017

27 February 2017

NYT | Reality-Checking DT's First Month In Office

Quoctrung Bui | Claire Cain Miller | Kevin Quealy
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From The Upshot:
It’s understandable if President Trump’s first month in office has left your head spinning, given the pace of news, the middle-of-the-night Twitter posts and the vows to upend Washington.
To help us get our bearings, we asked experts across the ideological spectrum — people who have served in government or studied the way governments work — to rate 20 news events for importance and abnormality. More often than not, the administration’s actions have been both highly unusual and highly consequential, The Upshot’s 15 survey panelists said.
We asked our panelists: Was the event normal, like the veto of a bill in a prior administration? Or was it highly unusual in contemporary American democracy, like ordering newspapers to suspend publication of the Pentagon Papers? Also, was it unimportant, with limited or no consequences for federal policy, like the menu for a state dinner? Or was it important, creating lasting and significant changes in policy, like the establishment of Social Security?
On average, more than half the events were rated abnormal and important. The most extreme instances, they said, were the immigration ban; the use of falsehoods; and the president’s business conflicts of interest. The Supreme Court nomination and immigration raids were on average considered normal but important. The experts thought just two of the events would have limited or no policy consequences: the firing of the acting attorney general and Kellyanne Conway’s promotion of Ivanka Trump’s products.
Click here to review all 20 items, grouped by their quadrant on [the NYT's] reality-check matrix.

Made Me Laugh

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14 February 2017

05 February 2017

From Ms. Lanny-yap's FB Feed

Theodore Geisel | 1941

Damien Love | Sunday Herald | Scotland | 16 Jan 2017

04 February 2017

People's Climate March | 29 April 2017

Motivated by the success of the women's march ... as well as the Trump administration's efforts to revamp the nation's environmental protection and science policy, advocacy groups have announced a People's Climate March on Washington for April 29.
A steering committee of more than two dozen organizations is organizing the event. It is supported by the major national environmental groups and an array of social justice, religious, and labor groups, ranging from the Hip Hop Caucus to the Franciscan Action Network to the BlueGreen Alliance. More than 100 groups have endorsed the march.
The People's Climate effort is recreating the coalition that put together the largest climate march in history: when 400,000 people gathered in the streets of New York City in September 2014 to coincide with the United Nations general assembly. This time, the groups are turning their sights on Washington, where Donald Trump is embarking on his agenda for his first 100 days, which aims to sweep aside climate protections and expand fossil fuel development.
Climate activist Bill McKibben, the co-founder of 350.org, wrote in a story in Rolling Stone magazine that the purpose of the march was "to show the election didn't cancel physics." "Politicians need to be reminded, even as they do the bidding of the industry, that the rest of us are watching," McKibben wrote, noting that the march will take place on the 100th day of the Trump administration. "His early surge can't be avoided, but it can be slowed."
InsideClimate News

27 January 2017

Presented Without Comment

March For Science | 22 April 2017

What started as offhand comments on social media have spiraled into the beginnings of a potentially large nationwide protest in support of empirical science. 
Inspired by the success of Women's Marches held worldwide in support of women's rights and other causes, and in light of numerous moves apparently aimed at silencing, minimizing, defunding, or discrediting the work of scientists during President Trump's first week in office, numerous groups and individuals have proposed holding a "March for Science" or "Scientists' March on Washington".  
As reported by the Washington Post, the idea went viral almost immediately after it was conceived:

In short order, the march had a Facebook page (whose membership swelled [overnight] from 200 people to more than 150,000 by ]the following afternoon]), a Twitter handle, a web site, two co-chairs, [postdoc Jonathan] Berman and science writer and public health researcher Caroline Weinberg, and a Google form through which interested researchers could sign up to help.  
In response to our inquiry, organizers told us that things were moving quickly and that they plan on releasing both a date for the event and a platform statement by 30 January. In terms of the group’s ability to handle such a rapidly growing concept proposed by a diffuse group of different individuals, they said in an e-mail:
At present we have around 10 people spending a truly horrifying amount of time working to pull this off and around 30 contributing wherever they can. We also have, at present count, 9000 people who have reached out to volunteer to help.  
Though their platform is not finalized, they told us that their motivation was both non-partisan and straightforward: 
Scientists worldwide have been alarmed by the clear anti-science actions taken by the Trump administration. It has been less than a week and there have already been funding freezes and efforts to restrict scientists from communicating their findings (from tax-funded research!) with the public. These actions are absurd and cannot be allowed to stand as policy. This is not a partisan issue — people from all parts of the political spectrum should be alarmed by these efforts to deny scientific progress. Scientific research moves us forward and we should not allow asinine policies to thwart it. 

According to the Scientists' March on Washington web site, the event will be open to “anyone who believes in empirical science” and not restricted to scientists specifically.
Snopes! Now more than ever! 

Source: snopes.com

28 Jan 2917 - Updated to reflect organizer's choice of title for the march.

22 January 2017

Declassified | Millions Of Pages Of Material Released By CIA

Since 2000, CIA has installed and maintained an electronic full-text searchable system named CREST (the CIA Records Search Tool), ... in College Park, Maryland. The CREST system is the publicly accessible repository of the subset of CIA records reviewed under the 25-year program in electronic format (manually reviewed and released records are accessioned directly into the National Archives in their original format). Over 11 million pages have been released in electronic format and reside on the CREST database, from which researchers have printed about 1.1 million pages.
Previously, in order to directly access CREST, a researcher was required to visit the National Archives at College Park, Maryland. [The] CIA recognized that such visits were inconvenient and presented an obstacle to many researchers. Therefore, in January 2017, the CIA published the records of the CREST collection online.
Declassified material includes information on The Family Jewels, Project Stargate, UFOs: Fact or Fiction, Nazi War Crimes Disclosure Act, Atomic Spies: Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, and POW MIA.

Wired published The Best of the CIA's 12M Pages of Files Online. Start Here on 19 February 2017.

Link to CREST online.

Reputable (And Not So Reputable) News Sources

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Via FB

21 January 2017

Women's March On Washington | Sister March | 5000 Attend Baltimore Vigil

Baltimore Sun photo | Click to enlarge
Ms. Lanny-yap is circled in red.

The Baltimore Sun estimates that 5,000 people attended a demonstration in Charles Village today as part of the Women's March on Washington. Organizers say they originally "envisioned a small vigil for Baltimore ... thinking [it] might attract 20 to 40 people who would stand on the sidewalk."

And, from the Women's March in Washington:

You said it, Jennifer.