Tuesday update

√ The bombast coming from the White House is merely meant to get the rubes into the voting booth. There is no threat to Americans from any caravan. There is no need for US combat soldiers at the border.

Trump’s claim that he can sign a piece of paper and eliminate “birthright citizenship” is bogus. Even if he signs such an executive order, it will go straight to the courts … and be decided long after the mid-term elections. His claim that the US is the only nation in the world to grant birthright citizenship is an outright lie.

These are tricks right out of the Fascist playbook. Shame on Axios for becoming Trump’s lapdog, and spreading his lies. The US media at all levels needs to stop accepting White House agit-prop as news. 

Since this isn’t a site for rubes, we move on  to the real news.

6 in 10 American jobs won’t support a middle-class life
USA Today
— Esther Akutekha, who lives in Brooklyn, New York, has a good job as a public relations specialist that pays more than $50,000 a year.
— But because of the $1,440 a month rent on her studio apartment in the Prospect-Lefferts Gardens neighborhood, she never takes vacations, dines out just once a month and scrapes together dinner leftovers for lunch the next day.
— “I’m frustrated with the fact that I’m not going to be able to save anything because my rent is so high,” says Akutekha, who says she’s 30ish. “I don’t even know if I can afford” to have children.
Despite an unemployment rate that has reached a 50-year low of 3.7 percent, most jobs across the U.S. don’t support a middle-class or better lifestyle, leaving many Americans struggling, according to a new study.

12 young people on why they won’t bother voting
NY Mag
… “Everyone on Twitter can be like, “Oh, we need the Democratic Senate to pack the courts.” But have they watched the Democratic Party at any time during my lifetime? They have not done anything. Like, they don’t stand for anything. And I just don’t see the point anymore.”


A rapid warming in the world’s oceans is radically changing the lives of its creatures
— Salmon, lobsters, sardines, flounder among the many species on the move trying to find a habitat that suits them.

Billionaires join quest for “holy grail of energy”
— Not long before he died, tech visionary Paul Allen traveled to the south of France for a personal tour of a 35-country quest to replicate the workings of the Sun. The goal is to one day produce clean, almost limitless energy by fusing atoms together rather than splitting them apart.
— The Microsoft Corp. co-founder said he wanted to view the early stages of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor in Cadarache firsthand, to witness preparations “for the birth of a star on Earth.”
— Allen wasn’t just a bystander in the hunt for the holy grail of nuclear power. He was among a growing number of ultra-rich clean-energy advocates pouring money into startups that are rushing to produce the first commercially viable fusion reactor long before the $23 billion ITER program’s mid-century forecast.

Home prices cool for 5th straight month
Yahoo finance

Study finds MDMA (“Ecstasy”) dramatically helps trauma recovery
— A newly published study of MDMA-assisted psychotherapy for people diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder illustrates the striking results that led federal regulators to expedite the process for approving the drug, which has been banned since 1985, as a prescription medicine. One year after the last of three MDMA sessions, three-quarters of the 25 subjects who completed the study, reported today in the Journal of Psychopharmacology, no longer qualified for a PTSD diagnosis.

93% of world’s children breathing toxic air which ‘stunts brains’ and causes deadly disease, WHO warns

Exhaust fumes and pollution ‘uniquely damaging’ to children and causing deaths of half a million under-fives each year
The Independent

Danish leader mocks White House claim to higher living standards
— “Our children can get an education – no matter who you are and where you come from.”
— “We can get to the hospital and get help if we get sick… And if you become unemployed, run into problems or otherwise need a helping hand, then the community is ready to seize and help one back on the right track.”
— The only area where the US outperforms Denmark, Mr Rasmussen added, was in praising its own achievements: “Maybe we should just get better at bragging more about everything that we actually do really well?”


Bears enjoy their lunch hour in Anchorage.

–New Jersey, which has the densest population of bears of any state, recently banned bear hunting on state land. State officials have previously said New Jersey’s bear population would double within four years without a hunt.
— In Connecticut, there is an increasing population of several hundred bears, state authorities say. In a recent incident, a 82-year-old woman woke up to find a bear in her bedroom in the town of Canton. The bear headed to the kitchen, where it rifled through her cabinets before fleeing into the woods after police officers fired bean bags at it. Another bear broke into a car. Yet another was shot after being found in a pen of goats.

Brazil’s new president plans to plunder the Amazon
Popular Science
— Among his many controversial statements, Bolsonaro vows to open up indigenous lands to resource exploitation, ban environmental NGOs like the World Wildlife Fund, place Brazil’s environmental ministry under the control of its ministry of agriculture, and relax laws safeguarding the Amazon from development.

German nurse admits he killed 100 patients
germankillernurse— An ex-nurse in Germany has admitted at the start of his trial that he murdered 100 patients, making him one of the world’s most prolific serial killers.
— Detectives say Niels Högel, 41, administered fatal doses of medication to the people in his care at two hospitals in northern Germany.
— His motive, prosecutors say, was to impress colleagues by resuscitating the very patients he had attacked.

Even in cloistered resorts, rape of Jamaica tourists has become common
USA Today
…. When the women reported the rape to hotel staff, management told them that they had never heard of this type of assault happening there before. Local officials took the same position, implying that sexual assaults were rare.
— But according to multiple victims interviewed by the Detroit Free Press, lawyers, lawsuits and hundreds of State Department and U.S. Embassy records, Jamaica has a sexual assault problem that it is not confronting. And the tourism industry is well aware of the problem.


Sirens sounded across the city early in the day when the water surpassed 43 inches. By late afternoon more than 70 percent of the city was flooded. The elevated levels shut down the city’s water bus service known as vaporetti except to the outer island.

nonono-lineGov’t porn surfer gawked at 9,000 porn sites, infected a whole system
— An Interior Department watchdog recommended the U.S. Geological Survey ratchet up internet security protocols after discovering its networks had been infected with malware from pornography sites.
— The agency’s inspector general traced the malicious software to a single unnamed USGS employee, who reportedly used a government-issued computer to visit some 9,000 adult video sites, according to a report published Oct. 17.

From supression to fraud: Voting obstacles of 2018
— A state by state rundown. And yes, there are lots of obstacles in our so-called Democracy.  Just to pick one national example: Researchers say the voting systems of 30 states are eminently hackable.

Right-wing site Gab, connected with synagogue murders, goes down
The Independent 

Muslims crowd-fund to help victims of synagogue attack

Drug prices too high, so Utah workers sent to Mexico to fill Rx
The Salt Lake Tribune
— Utah insurer is offering plane tickets to San Diego, transportation to Tijuana, and a $500 cash payout to patients who need certain expensive drugs for multiple sclerosis, cancer and autoimmune disorders.

The West is losing the gene-editing sweepstakes.
And the stakes: Everything.
— I fear that the West is losing today’s version of the “space race” — this one to use and control gene editing. That worries me because the nations that gain control of the most effective gene-editing technologies will, quite literally, control the world.
— As someone who helped give birth to the gene-editing field 30 years ago, I have a unique perspective on the changes that have been happening in the six years since CRISPR-Cas9 opened the eyes of every biologist, life scientist, and biomedical researcher.

√ Meanwhile, we’ve got more important things to do in America, like shoot each other…
Guns send 8,000 KIDS to ER every year
— Gun injuries, including many from assaults, sent 75,000 U.S. children and teens to emergency rooms over nine years at a cost of almost $3 billion, a first-of-its-kind study found.
— The scope of the problem is broader though; the study doesn’t include kids killed or injured by gunshots who never made it to the hospital, nor does it count costs for gunshot patients after they’re sent home.

Couple finds spy camera in cruise ship bedroom
USA Today
— Carnival PR dep’t response: “This is certainly a unique and unusual occurrence and it is unclear who or why this transmitter (i.e. camera) was placed in the guest’s stateroom.”
√ Note to Carnival PR dep’t: Please look up the meaning of “unique.” 

FBI: Ariz. Border Patrol agent paid smugglers $650K for cocaine while on duty
— A veteran Border Patrol agent handed over $650,000 to drug traffickers and picked up 90 pounds of cocaine during his late-night shifts at a remote border crossing in Southern Arizona, an FBI special agent wrote in a federal criminal complaint.
— Ramon Antonio Monreal Rodriguez, a 32-year-old Vail resident who worked at the Border Patrol’s station in Three Points, is accused of conspiring to smuggle cocaine in Tucson and on the Tohono O’odham Reservation, federal court records show.

Bitcoin mining alone could raise global temps above crucial limit
— Bitcoin requires massive amounts of energy to run the computers that secure the record of transactions that have occurred on the network, which are stored in a digital ledger called a blockchain. Each computer is simultaneously searching for the solution to a complex math problem—a process known as mining since the first computer to solve the problem is rewarded with newly-minted Bitcoin.
— Bitcoin’s environmental footprint has been a serious point of criticism for years, mostly thanks to the work of the Dutch economist Alex de Vries.

Drunk students overload ER, causing mayhem at university hospital
The State
— So many drunk University of South Carolina students are being transported to the emergency room during home football games that stretchers line the hallways of Palmetto Health Baptist, emergency services are strained and drunken antics slow nurses who are trying to tend to the truly sick.
— “They try to run away, fight people, pee in the corner,” said a nurse at Palmetto Health Baptist. “It’s been that way the whole time I’ve worked there.”
— “We do get violent USC students,” another nurse at Palmetto Health Baptist said. “It just takes away from other patients.”

Americans staying put in dicey housing market
Market Watch
— Housing-market headwinds are keeping American homeowners in their properties for the longest stretches on record, in a sharp distortion of the mobility Americans have for decades prized.
— Across the country, homes that sold in the third quarter of this year had been owned an average of 8.23 years, according to an analysis from Attom Data Solutions. That’s almost double the length of time a home sold in 2000, when Attom’s data begin.

Daylight Savings ends in Europe, maybe for the last time

In a medical first, couple BOTH carry their baby
Uh, yeah, it is possible. Read on.

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