If you only read one of these articles today, you need to make it this one: “This Is How We Radicalized The World.”

Yes, yes, I know, it’s “on BuzzFeed,” they just do stupid listicles.

Stop. It’s on BuzzFeed News. BuzzFeed’s news product is separate from the listicles and quizzes. It’s a legit news organization doing some extremely good reporting. And you need to read the article linked above, this one, right now.

Chances are, by now, your country has some, if not all, of the following. First off, you probably have some kind of local internet troll problem, like the MAGAsphere in the US, the Netto-uyoku in Japan, Fujitrolls in Peru, or AK-trolls in Turkey. Your trolls will probably have been radicalized online via some kind of community for young men like Gamergate, Jeuxvideo.com (“videogames.com”) in France, ForoCoches (“Cars Forum”) in Spain, Ilbe Storehouse in South Korea, 2chan in Japan, or banter Facebook pages in the UK.


BuzzFeed News, “This Is How We Radicalized The World”

Here’s the other four things you should read today.

Look, I know this shit is exhausting. The problems are piling up faster than we can deal with them. It seems like we’re never going to make a dent in this mess.

But eyes on the prize, people. We are making a dent. We are succeeding at this. We were never going to fix this quickly. It’s going to take years. But it can be done. It will be done.

“The arc of history is long,” etc. We’re going to win this. We just have to persevere.

Happy Friday! My dump file is full of links to stories. Here’s five good ones. Particularly number 5, from Wired. Scientists encoded a computer virus in a strand of DNA and the gene sequencer that read the DNA picked up the virus. That’s amazing.

  1. ProPublica: I’m a Journalist. Apparently, I’m Also One of America’s “Top Doctors.”
  2. SPLC: New hate map helps users explore landscape of hate
  3. The Verge: The secret lives of Facebook moderators in America
  4. Politico: ‘Sustained and ongoing’ disinformation assault targets Dem presidential candidates
  5. Wired: Biohackers Encoded Malware in a Strand of DNA

I think the biggest take-away from Micheal Cohen’s testimony yesterday is that most of Congress is not great at hearings and could do with hiring some experts to handle that stuff for them.

It’s notable that the best questioning sessions came from folks who were 1. Democrats, and 2. had a prosecution background. (With the exception of Ocasio-Cortez, that gal apparently just does her homework.)

These two points underline a problem with hearings like this. The first problem is that the opposition party is generally just at the hearing to score points or obfuscate the truth. The second problem is that congresspeople Mostly don’t know how to do this job.

It seems like you could go a long way towards solving both problems by having involved congresspeople represented by prosecutors and hearings rules that center discovering the truth.

  1. Politico: Michael Cohen’s most fiery accusations against Trump
  2. Vox: Why Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Michael Cohen questioning mattered
  3. Washington Post: 5 key takeaways from the Michael Cohen hearing
  4. Lawfare: The Cohen of Silence Breaks: What to Make of Wednesday’s Testimony
  5. TPM EdBlog: Looking at the Cohen Testimony Big Picture

I’m not sure what to expect from a “Mueller report,” really. I could see it being a damning indictment outlining all of Trump’s many crimes, or a report that points fingers and provides evidence against tons of people in Trump’s circle, but not Trump himself. I mention that second one because there’s an off chance that maybe Trump managed to insulate himself well enough from his crimes that they can’t nail him on much of anything.

I don’t know how much of a chance there is that the second one happens. Trump and his cronies are not smart guys. Trump’s own stupidity and arrogance may have gotten in the way of any attempts to insulate him.

Anyway, here’s a few things to read this morning.

Photo credit: Donald Trump, by Gage Skidmore. (Source and licensing.)

So Bernie Sanders threw his hat in the ring, to no one’s surprise, and, I mean… Okay, let’s be honest here. I’m voting the Whomever Isn’t Trump 2020 ticket almost irregardless of who the Democrats run. They could run a literal turnip, and that’s probably who I’m voting for.

I mean, at least a literal turnip is not in a criminal conspiracy with Russia, right? That seems highly unlikely.

But am I excited for another Bernie Sanders run? Not really. I was done with Sanders when I realized what a pile of rabidly awful fanatics his fanboys were. No one who inspires that kind of behavior is going to be at the top of my Happy Favorites List.

Anyway…

  1. Politico: Emails reveal coordination between Chao, McConnell offices
  2. NBC News: Bernie Sanders enters 2020 presidential race: ‘Complete the revolution’
  3. NPR: Poll: 6-In-10 Disapprove Of Trump’s Declaration Of A National Emergency
  4. National Centers for Environmental Information: January 2019 was third warmest on record for the globe
  5. AV Club: The Newsroom might come back to finally fix journalism once and for all

Of particular interest today is item number 3, from the News & Observer, which is live-blogging the investigation into the absentee ballot tampering scandal in North Carolina. Also worth a look is #5, where an engineer on Twitter tackles the Monsters, Inc. “scare floor” and redesigns it for better safety and efficiency.

  1. CNN: California AG Becerra says states to sue over Trump’s national emergency declaration
  2. Politico: McCabe: ‘I was fired because I opened a case against the president’
  3. News & Observer: Bladen County operative ‘told us what we were to say’ at hearing, worker testifies
  4. LA Times: Rare L.A. mega-storm could overwhelm dam and flood dozens of cities, experts say
  5. Twitter: Engineer takes on Monsters, Inc. “scare floor”

Settle in for another shutdown, kids. It looks like they’re gearing up for it in Congress.

5 Things to Read Today

🤬 New York Times: Talks Over Border Security Break Down, Imperiling Effort to Prevent Shutdown

Negotiations over the spending bill crapped out on Sunday. If Congress doesn’t get it together by this Friday at midnight, we’re shutting down again. And hell, even if they do get it together, there’s a fair chance Trump just won’t sign the damn thing, because it doesn’t have his wall money.

🛫 The Hill: Flight attendant union calls for general strike if government shuts down again

Meanwhile, Sara Nelson, the president of the Association of Flight Attendants, a huge flight attendant union, is calling for a general strike if they shut the government down again. Reminder: it’s usually flight problems that gets the government open again once they shut down, because it turns out senators and representatives don’t like being trapped in DC.

😲 Pew Research Center: About a third of Americans say blackface in a Halloween costume is acceptable at least sometimes

I cannot believe that this still needs saying in 2019. Blackface is never, under any circumstances, for any reason, acceptable. Never ever, not even one time, no matter how “funny” or “clever” or “topical” or whatever you think you are. Do not. Just don’t.

⚕️ Vox: Utah Republicans have officially blocked their state’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion

Back in November Utah voters voted to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). The Republican legislature in Utah decided, Naaaah, and instead passed a bill that only allowed a partial expansion. The bill’s on the way to the Utah governor to be signed.

💉 The Oregonian: Proposal would eliminate personal vaccine exemption for Oregon school kids

In Oregon you can get a personal exemption from vaccinations and still send your kids to school. This is how anti-vaxxers get their kids into classes, and anti-vaxxers are the reason why we have a measles outbreak in Oregon. State rep Mitch Greenlick (D) has a bill proposed that would eliminate non-medical exemptions for kids, meaning you’d have to have an actual reason for not vaccinating your kids to get them into school.