Tuesday Reads: Today’s News and Old Barns

Barn and blue sky in North Dakota

Old barn and blue sky in North Dakota

Good Morning!!

What I’ve got for you this morning is mostly a link dump. There is so much interesting news today that it’s difficult to pick and choose. So here we go.

Ancient History

The “fossilized remains” of a real unicorn have been discovered, according to CNN.

New research has revealed the ‘Siberian unicorn’ roamed the planet far more recently than we originally thought….This real unicorn, or ‘Elasmotherium sibiricu’, was originally thought to have gone extinct 350,000 years ago.

But a well-preserved fossilized skull found in Kazakhstan reveals the shaggy creature was still alive and walking this earth a mere 29,000 years ago, according to a study published this month in the American Journal of Applied Sciences….
The team are hoping the find will help them understand what environmental factors played a part in the eventual extinction of the species, and what role migration played in its survival up until that point.
Something they think might come in useful considering our current climate change situation.

Check out the drawing of what this animal may have looked like at the link.

Unlike getting an esa, emotional support animals, including cats, can be pets that people already own.

Kansas barn and windmill, by Dan Heddon

Kansas barn and windmill, by Dan Heddon

Apple vs. FBI Battle

After a months-long legal battle, the “FBI has accessed San Bernardino shooter’s phone without Apple’s help.”  Washington Post:

In a three-sentence filing, prosecutors wrote that they had “now successfully accessed the data” stored on Syed Rizwan Farook’s iPhone and that they consequently no longer needed Apple’s court-ordered help getting in. The stunning move averts a courtroom showdown pitting Apple against the government — and privacy interests against security concerns — that many in the tech community had warned might set dangerous precedents.

It is unclear how, precisely, investigators got into the phone, or what FBI agents learned about the plot from the materials they were able to review. On the eve of a hearing in the case last week, the FBI had signaled that it might have found a way into Farook’s device, writing in a court filing that “an outside party demonstrated to the FBI a possible method.” But government officials said they wanted to test that method further before employing it in Farook’s case, and they did not offer details about who proposed it or how it would work.

I’m glad this happened, because I don’t think technology companies should be able to make their devices completely inaccessible to law enforcement. Of course a warrant should be required; but if cell phones and other portable devices are made completely secure—-it will be nearly impossible to catch terrorists, child pornographers, and other such vicious criminals who attempt to conceal their crimes with encryption.

And making their phones inaccessible even to hacking by Apple itself is what this company is working toward, according to a story I heard on Radio Boston (NPR) last week. They eventually hope to design encryption such that only the user has access to the data on his or her phone–even Apple would not be able to break in. Farook’s phone was an iPhone 5. If it had been an iPhone 6, it would have been even more difficult to hack.

More links:

Fortune: FBI Might Not Tell Apple How It Cracked the iPhone.

This one is from a privacy obsessive. Trevor Timm: The FBI may have dropped one case against Apple, but the battle is far from over.

LA Times: FBI hacks iPhone: Does this make your phone less private?

Barn in Southhampton, by Ellsworth Kelly

Barn in Southhampton, by Ellsworth Kelly

Stalker Hijacks Plane to Get to Ex-Wife

USA Today: Hijacker arrested after EgyptAir plane diverted to Cyprus airport.

CAIRO — An Egyptian man hijacked a passenger plane and forced it to land at Larnaca airport in Cyprus on Tuesday in an incident that Cyprus’ president said was related to a woman, not terrorism….

Egyptian authorities told a news conference that little more than a half hour after takeoff, a passenger confronted the pilot with a bomb threat. The man originally wanted to land in either Turkey or Cyprus, and after some negotiation they agreed on Larnaca. The plane touched down at 7:50 a.m.

The man did not have a gun, but there was still a danger to passengers and crew because officials were unsure if the bomb was real or fake, authorities said. Officials reached out to the families of the hostages to let them know what happened….

Cyprus’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs named the suspected hijacker as Seif Eldin Mustafa. The Egyptian government apologized to a man it earlier wrongly named as the hijacker, Al Arabiya reported.

Cypriot state media reported that the hijacker’s ex-wife was taken from Larnaca to the airport to talk with the man, who was asking authorities deliver a 4-page-letter to her or he would detonate explosives strapped to his body.

More info fromCyprus Mail: Hijacker used mobile phone covers in fake suicide belt.

Falling Barn, by Dana Middleton

Falling Barn, by Dana Middleton

Washington DC Shooting

Washington Post: Alleged Capitol gunman charged in shooting incident.

A man who authorities said took out a gun and pointed it at officers as he tried to enter the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center on Monday was shot by police, prompting a scramble by law enforcement amid heightened security after terrorist attacks in Brussels and Paris.

Authorities identified the wounded suspect as Larry Russell Dawson, a minister from Tennessee. The 66-year-old Dawson previously was arrested in October in the District after he allegedly disrupted Congress by shouting that he was a “prophet of God.”

Police said Dawson walked into the visitor center about 2:40 p.m. Monday and was going through security screening when at least one officer opened fire. In the chaotic moments that followed, loudspeaker alerts warned tourists in the center of an “active shooter,” and officers yelled at people to get down.

Police swarmed the Capitol grounds, raised barricades and put the Capitol building and, briefly, the White House under lockdown, upending an otherwise tranquil day when Congress was in recess and tourists were flocking to the cherry blossoms and the White House Easter Egg Roll. Officers with long rifles stood guard at District intersections.

Two hours later, U.S. Capitol Police Chief Matthew R. Verderosa calmed nerves by saying that investigators “believe this is an act of a single person who has frequented the Capitol grounds before. There is no reason to believe this is anything more than a criminal act.”

Monday night, police said Dawson had been charged with assault with a deadly weapon and assault on a police officer while armed. They said he was in stable but critical condition and would appear in D.C. Superior Court after his release from the hospital. Two officials familiar with the case said Dawson was shot in the chest and thigh.

Washington Post this morning: Streets around U.S. Capital Visitor Center reopened after suspicious packages.

Old barn in Nebraska

Old barn in Nebraska

Politics News

Thankfully, we’re in the midst of a break from the presidential primaries, but here’s today’s news on the political front. First up, fallout from Bernie Sanders surrogate Susan Sarandon’s bizarre interview on Chris Hayes MSNBC show last night. The Daily Beast quotes the gist of it:

“I think, in certain quarters, there’s growing concern that the folks that are into Bernie Sanders have come to despise Hillary Clinton or reject Hillary Clinton and that should she be the nominee, which is as yet undetermined, they will walk away,” Hayes said.

“That’s a legitimate concern,” Sarandon replied. “Because they’re very passionate and principled.”

“But isn’t that crazy?” the host asked. “If you believe in what he believes in?”

“Yeah but she doesn’t,” Sarandon shot back. “She accepted money for all of those people. She doesn’t even want to fight for a $15 minimum wage. So these are people that have not come out before. So why would we think they’re going to come out now for her, you know?”

…Hayes pressed Sarandon to see the election as potentially a choice between Clinton and Trump, arguing that Sanders himself would “probably” urge his supporters to vote for her.

“I think Bernie would probably encourage people, because he doesn’t have any ego in this thing,” Sarandon told him. “But I think a lot of people are, ‘Sorry, I just can’t bring myself to [vote for Clinton].’”

“How about you personally?” Hayes asked.

“I don’t know. I’m going to see what happens,” Sarandon said.

That bit of honesty prompted Hayes to stop in his tracks. “Really?” he asked incredulously.

But this is the most incredible statement from Sarandon.

“Well, you know, some people feel Donald Trump will bring the revolution immediately,” Sarandon said. “If he gets in, then things will really explode.”

Old barn near Yorktown, Indiana

Old barn near Yorktown, Indiana

Jonathan Capehart: What Susan Sarandon said about Trump was out of this world.

When Hayes asked Sarandon if she didn’t think that argument was “dangerous,” she said, “The status quo is not working, and I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with the low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around.” ….

But the Academy Award-winning actress displayed the downside of such fervent participation: the inability or unwillingness of too many to see that their insistence on political purity could lead to calamity.

This is not Sarandon’s first time making the perfect the enemy of the good. In the 2000 presidential campaign, when misguided progressives believed that a vote for Vice President Al Gore was the same as voting for then-Texas Gov. George W. Bush, she was an active supporter of Ralph Nader. And we all know how that turned out.

It defies logic that a progressive would find anything redeeming about the Trump candidacy. Sure, the Republican presidential front-runner “will bring the revolution immediately” if, God help us, he’s elected. But that revolution would be fueled by a campaign that thrived on racism, xenophobia and misogyny. And, as far as we know, that revolution would involve deporting 11 million undocumented immigrants, restricting all Muslims from entering the United States and alternately treating women like pretty prized possessions or objects of ridicule.

Clinton is not perfect. We all know it. And she would be the first to admit it. But it is monumentally insane to argue that a Trump in the White House would be preferable to a Clinton in the Oval Office.

No kidding. Both MSNBC and Chris Hayes own this now. MSNBC has been allowing Trump and Sanders to dominate their airwaves throughout this campaign. The Morning Joe Show has acted as cheerleader for Trump, and the prime time programs have run numerous Trump speeches in full. Hayes and Rachel Maddow have been openly backing Sanders. And now Hayes has invited this freak onto his show to spout her vile idiocy. Sarandon is worth $50 million. She would do just fine under a Trump presidency, and clearly she doesn’t give a shit what happens to the rest of us.

Old barn in Northern California

Old barn in Northern California

More politics stories:

NBC News: Trump Campaign Manager Corey Lewandowski Charged With Battery for Incident With Reporter.

Politico: Obama scolds media for enabling Trump. The job of a political reporter, Obama said, is ‘more than just handing someone a microphone.’

Nate Cohn at the NYT: Bernie Sanders Faces Tougher Terrain After a Big Week.

Politico: Clinton camp on Sanders: ‘What kind of a campaign is that?’

XOJane: An Open Letter to Trump Supporters From His Top Strategist Turned Defector.

Bloomberg: Trump Struggles With Presidential Demeanor Ahead of Wisconsin Primary.

Politico NJ: Heidi Cruz cancels N.J. campaign events.

The Atlantic: A Narrow Escape for Public-Sector Unions. The justices split 4-4 in Friedrichs v. CTA, leaving a pro-union ruling in the lower courts intact.

What stories are you following today?

35 Comments on “Tuesday Reads: Today’s News and Old Barns”

  1. dakinikat says:

    I lived within a few miles of that old barn in Nebraska. I imagine it’s gone now.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Really? That’s cool. The one in Yorktown, IN is right near where I grew up.

      • dakinikat says:

        Yeah. it was in a field outside of Old Millard right off the interstate but that neighborhood has really been flipped to a suburb so I imagine that farm is gone now. There used to be a lot of farms all the way to the Elkhorn river but now it’s all sprawl. Omaha does a rotten job of controlling that. Their downtown and midcity areas are basically parking lots for a few big companies. They tear down all the old stuff, pave it over, and just sprawl west. Most urban areas have quit doing that.

      • purplefinn says:

        That’s the one I Like the best.

  2. NW Luna says:

    Love the barn photos, BB. And that great hulking gorilla-shouldered unicorn!

    Vermont’s minimum wage is $9-something/hr. I brought that up to a Berniegal when caucusing. She said “So what? Bernie can’t do anything about that, it’s a state thing.” Yeah, all this time in Vermont and Bernie has so little influence on the process. He’s far more comfortable up at the podium yelling than actually doing something about the problem.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I’ve known many, many people like Bernie throughout my life, all talk, no action. His primary base of support is 18-30 with some support among the 31-40 crowd. After that his message doesn’t resonate well. By the time it gets to people over 60, it falls on deaf ears altogether because we’ve all lived long enough to know that what he’s selling are ideas that he can’t possibly deliver on, In other words, Bullshit. The only reason the 69 year old Sarandon is buying in is that she lives in a world apart from the rest of us and has little to no idea or recollection of what it’s like to be an ordinary person, living an ordinary life, in an ordinary USA. She Can’t Touch This from her Ivory tower life.

  3. Fannie says:

    Good to the court decision today………..it leaves it intact, and will likely be heard by a full court.

    Luv those old barns.

  4. Fannie says:

    Patty Duke has died from ruptured intestine.

  5. dakinikat says:

    Hillary Clinton’s ‘Hack Supporters’ Have Skin in the Game. Bernie Sanders’s Dreamers? Not So Much.


    To hear many Bernie Sanders supporters tell it, if you’re for Bernie, you’re a bold reformer who’s not afraid to see truth spoken to power. And if you’re for Hillary Clinton, you’re a corporatist hack who opposes and can’t face up to the need for fundamental change.
    It’s a seductive narrative for those of us who enjoy having the leisure time to debate political ideas, which many Americans do not; and it’s a framing that quite obviously benefits Sanders and casts Clinton and her fans as a priori sellouts.
    But there’s another framing device that gets mostly overlooked in the media, because no one really articulates it. And I think of it anew considering the results from Saturday, with Sanders sweeping to these gargantuan wins in mostly white caucus states, and as looking toward the April 5 showdown in Wisconsin, where Clinton is up six in the latest poll but which favors Sanders on paper (very white, open primary).

    Yup, us poor folks and groups that face discrimination can’t afford his purity stances.

  6. William says:

    The comments about the Sarandon interview, and Chris Hayes’ complicitness in putting it on, are very important. If I may mention, I just wrote an essay at the Uppity Woman blog,
    expressing my views on the dreadful state of modern media, and how they have turned everything, including politics, and the all-important governing of the nation, into ratings-driven entertainment, without any regard for the consequences of what they do. If Trump gets elected, and starts horrific wars, they will say, “Well, it wasn’t our doing.” But of course much of it would be, because they have sold their souls for profits and the creation of drama which gets people watching.

    Sarandon has hated Hillary Clinton for years. She said as much in 2008. She also said, about her support of Obama, “I don’t know what he’ll do, but it will be exciting.” She apparently now feels that way about Trump. I don’t want to spend much time trying to analyze her childish psychology and world view, but I think she believes that Trump being elected would somehow hasten the grand revolution which would bring a workers’ paradise. That is apparently what the naive German Socialists thought in the ’20’s, as they confidently predicted that after Hitler would come them. And just as likely, it is that Sarandon hates Hillary so much, that she would vote for anyone instead of her.including Trump, Cruz, and the devil.

    No one should care a whit what Sarandon has to say about anything. She is a Hollywood actress who I used to think was physically attractive, until she revealed the ugliness beneath. She is the kind of self-indulgent, self-styled Hollywood radical which Middle America understandably hates. But it is Chris Hayes,, in his quest to help Sanders, and give his campaign more airtime, who put her on. And then he acts surprised at her comments. Appparently journalistic principles of fairness and a regard for facts have become artifacts of another era. Creating “excitement” and “controversy” is the coin of the realm. “Can we get Trump on today for another interview? Our ratings will soar! And get Sarandon back on, too. We got a lot of feedback about her segment. People are watching us, we are winning!”

    • janicen says:

      She’s just trying to stay relevant.

      • ANonOMouse says:

        Just another washed up actor trying to find a ray of bygone glory. And if she’s so damned worried about the plight of immigrants, minimum wage workers, low and middle income workers and all who are oppressed she should immediately divest herself of her massive fortune and aid those most in need. The hypocrisy is chilling.

        • Riverbird says:

          I was thinking today that if she donated the maximum to Democrats running for down-ticket offices, she could accomplish more than she does by campaigning for Sanders.

          • ANonOMouse says:

            Of course she’ll never do that because then she would have to actually invest real live skin in the game and not just her famous face. No matter who is POTUS Susan Sarandon’s fortune makes her impervious to the results of the election.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Look what happened to this superdelegate from Washington state after he posted an Easter greeting on Facebook. Hint: Bernie bro attack

      • NW Luna says:

        Slimey bastards. Washington state voters did not choose Sanders. A mere 2% of Washingtonians picked Sanders in a caucus. Whoop-de-doo.

    • Riverbird says:

      That makes me sick.

    • quixote says:

      That’s quite the pile-on. And the Truthdig article maundering on about the “overwhelming support” of the voters for Bernie. They forgot to note that he got overwhelming support from 2% of the voters.

      It’s disturbing when your supposed allies not only don’t share common ground, they don’t even share the same reality. Weird.

      Maybe that’s because reality has a well-defined Hillary bias.

    • William says:

      This is of course obvious, and I’ve said it before–but it seems completely lost on Sanders and his supporters. If the superdelegates simply went for the candidate who won their state, there would be no point to them, they would be redundant. The idea of superdelegates is supposed to be that they are party leaders of one sort or another, and sort of a counterweight to the popular vote, particularly in caucuses. That is, they are supposed to be thinking about who is the better candidate, who is more likely to win the general election, and who would make a better President. Saying that because you’re a superdelegate and someone won a caucus in your state, you are now supposed to support that person, shows no understanding whatsoever of what they were put in there to do. Or how about, “all superdelegates should be compelled to automatically vote for the candidate who got the most popular votes nationally.” Makes at least as much sense as the Sanders campaign’s contention.

      • Valhalla says:

        Yeah, I just can’t figure out what kind of game they are playing with all the SD stuff. If they made the SDs proportional, Clinton still gets a majority. If they bound all SDs of a state to the winner (winner take all), Clinton still wins because the number of SDs per state is roughly proportional to population. If they pursue their supposed “persuasion” tact, they’ll never sway the majority of SDs, not with being behind in both popular vote and PDs. (And that’s even if they stop harassing SDs).

        I don’t believe for a second that Sanders or his senior campaign staff really believe he can win the nomination, no matter what happens with the SDs. So either it IS all just ego, lining Devine’s pockets, or for leverage against HRC and the DNC.

      • List of X says:

        I feel that we should just get rid of superdelegates altogether – not this year, obviously, since we’re already in the middle of an election, but maybe for the next primary. It seems like the only time when superdelegates even become relevant is when they give the party nomination to someone who lost the popular vote – which is an affront to the democratic process and the majority of voters who cast their vote only to have their votes essentially thrown out by the party officials.

    • NW Luna says:

      Rep. Larsen is from a district nearby. I’m going to write him a nice Thank-You letter and also donate to him just because he’s a Hillary supporter!

      These Sanders trolls need to be gagged.

    • NW Luna says:

      Thank Goddess. Scabs wanting a free ride should be made to work 12-hr days 7 days a week for crappy pay and no benefits.

  8. dakinikat says:

    Talking Points Memo ‏@TPM 1m1 minute ago
    Rubio working to play role at GOP convention, hold on to delegates

    • purplefinn says:

      Ahhh, some facts. A chink in the love fest? She also casts doubt on the advisability of promoting a Super Delegate “rescue ” if he’s short on pledged delegates.

  9. ANonOMouse says:

    “I’m glad this happened, because I don’t think technology companies should be able to make their devices completely inaccessible to law enforcement.”

    I agree!!!! There are many circumstances where I believe law enforcement should have access to cellphone data, especially in the case of terrorism. Privacy is one thing, National Security is another.

  10. jane says:

    I think we need Hillary in the White House. One reason the republicans don’t want her as Pres. is that if we have had a woman president it will be impossible to take the vote away from women and that is one of the goals of many republicans. Rush Limbaugh and other right wing radio people have talked about it as a goal.

  11. mablue2 says:

    It’s funny how ppl at MSNBC keep bringing John Nichols without ever disclosing that he’s a big Bernie supporters. That level of dishonesty really bugs me, even coming from MSNBC.