Lazy Saturday Reads

Good Morning!!

Seven U.S. Sailors are missing following a collision off the coast of Japan. NBC News: 7 U.S. Sailors Unaccounted for After Navy Destroyer Collides With Ship Off Japan.

The USS Fitzgerald, a 505-foot destroyer, collided with a Philippine container vessel at approximately 2:30 a.m. Saturday local time (1:30 p.m. ET Friday), about 56 nautical miles off Yokosuka, the U.S. 7th Fleet said.

The ship, which had experienced some flooding after the collision, was tugged back to Yokosuka Naval Base, south of Tokyo, early Saturday.

Meanwhile search and rescue efforts by U.S. and Japanese aircraft and boats were underway in the area where the vessels collided.

The U.S. Navy said damaged areas of the ship will also be searched for the seven unaccounted-for sailors after the ship is safely docked.

“Right now we are focused on two things: the safety of the ship and the well-being of the Sailors,” Adm. Scott Swift, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, said in a statement. “We thank our Japanese partners for their assistance.”

More details from The Washington Post:

The operators of the merchant ship, ACX Crystal, reported all of the 20-member Filipino crew were safe….

The Philippine-flagged Crystal is nearly four times as large as the Fitzgerald, an Aegis guided-missile destroyer. Japanese and U.S. vessels and aircraft fanned out across the scene of the collision, about 12 miles off Japan’s Izu peninsula. The Japanese coast guard led the search teams.

USS Fitzgerald arrives at the U.S. naval base in Yokosuka, south of Tokyo. TORU HANAI / Reuters

Three of the Fitzgerald’s crew, including the destroyer’s commanding officer, Cmdr. Bryce Benson, were evacuated from the damaged vessel and are being treated at the U.S. naval hospital at Yokosuka, the home of the U.S. Navy’s Seventh Fleet.

Benson was reported to be in stable condition, while the other two were still having their injuries assessed. The Seventh Fleet had set up an information center for families of sailors serving on the ship.

The USS Dewey, another Navy destroyer and two naval tugboats were at the scene, about 56 nautical miles southwest of Yokosuka. Two Japanese coast guard cutters with helicopters were helping with the search.

The Crystal, which is fully loaded with cargo, is bound for Tokyo, according to a website that tracks maritime traffic. Nippon Yusen K.K., the Japanese shipping company that operates the container ship.

The Fitzgerald, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer commissioned in 1995, is part of the Yokosuka-based group that includes the aircraft carrier USS Ronald Reagan, but it was operating independently of the carrier when the collision occurred, Flanders said.

It still is not clear how the vessels collided, but one thing we know is that “President” Trump’s unfilled appointments could be a problem for those trying to find the missing sailors and determine the cause of this tragedy. The Guardian reports: USS Fitzgerald collision: Trump criticised for leaving key posts unfilled.

Donald Trump has been criticised for delays in appointing a navy secretary and ambassador to Japan, leaving a communications vacuum as the countries continued their search for seven missing sailors off the east coast of Japan.

The commanding officer of the USS Fitzgerald, Bryce Benson, and two other crew were injured after the vessel collided with a Philippine-registered container ship before dawn on Saturday.

The US has been without an ambassador to Japan since Caroline Kennedy left Tokyo in January.

William Hagerty, nominated but not yet confirmed as Ambassador to Japan

Her successor, the Tennessee businessman William Hagerty, has attended a Senate confirmation hearing but has yet to take up his post.

Brandon Friedman, a former Obama administration official and co-founder of the McPherson Square Group, a strategic communications firm in Washington, pointed to the absence of an ambassador and navy secretary – two officials who would be expected to take a lead in liaising between the US navy, and Japanese and US government officials during the search.

“The USS Fitzgerald might sink off Japan and the US President can’t call our ambassador or our navy secretary because we have neither,” Friedman said.

Trump’s nominee for US navy secretary, Richard Spencer, has yet to be confirmed by the Senate.

The “president” has been too busy tweeting and raking in money from foreign governments to attend to his constitutional duties. According to Max Boot at Foreign Policy, he is also “proving to be too stupid to be president.”

I’m starting to suspect that Donald Trump may not have been right when he said, “You know, I’m like a smart person.” The evidence continues to mount that he is far from smart — so far, in fact, that he may not be capable of carrying out his duties as president.

There is, for example, the story of how Trump met with the pastors of two major Presbyterian churches in New York. “I did very, very well with evangelicals in the polls,” he bragged. When the pastors told Trump they weren’t evangelicals, he demanded to know, “What are you then?” They told him they were mainline Presbyterians. “But you’re all Christians?” he asked. Yes, they had to assure him, Presbyterians are Christians. The kicker: Trump himself is Presbyterian.

Trump claims he originated the saying “priming the pump.”

Or the story of how Trump asked the editors of the Economist whether they had ever heard of the phrase “priming the pump.” Yes, they assured him, they had. “I haven’t heard it,” Trump continued. “I mean, I just … I came up with it a couple of days ago, and I thought it was good.” The phrase has been in widespread use since at least the 1930s.

Or the story of how, after arriving in Israel from Saudi Arabia, Trump told his hosts, “We just got back from the Middle East.”

These aren’t examples of stupidity, you may object, but of ignorance. This has become a favorite talking point of Trump’s enablers. House Speaker Paul Ryan, for example, excused Trump’s attempts to pressure FBI Director James Comey into dropping a criminal investigation of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn on the grounds that “the president’s new at this” and supposedly didn’t realize that he was doing anything wrong. But Trump has been president for nearly five months now, and he has shown no capacity to learn on the job.

More broadly, Trump has had a lifetime — 71 years — and access to America’s finest educational institutions (he’s a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, he never tires of reminding us) to learn things. And yet he doesn’t seem to have acquired even the most basic information that a high school student should possess. Recall that Trump said that Frederick Douglass, who died in 1895, was “an example of somebody who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more.” He also claimed that Andrew Jackson, who died 16 years before the Civil War, “was really angry that he saw what was happening in regard to the Civil War.”

Read the rest at Foreign Policy.

Think Progress on all those emoluments: Trump details how he’s profiting off the presidency.

New financial disclosure forms provide insight into where and how Donald Trump has reaped profits since he launched his bid for the presidency.

The 98-page filing with the Office of Government Ethics, released on Friday afternoon, provides an incomplete snapshot of Trump’s financial picture. But since Trump has broken presidential precedent by refusing to release his taxes, it’s the closest look into his investments the public has gotten so far.

The documents provide financial information for the period of time between last January and this spring — encompassing the lead-up to the presidential election and Trump’s transition into the White House.

Trump’s sprawling business empire is difficult to definitively quantify. However, the filings do show that the properties Trump has visited frequently as president have seen significant gains in income, the D.C. hotel at the center of an ethical controversy has generated millions in revenue, and the royalties for Trump’s books have soared.

Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort, where he spent most of his weekendsimmediately after his inauguration, returned millions more in income after his campaign and subsequent election. Trump reported about $16 million in profits for Mar-a-Lago in his report filed in 2015, about $30 million in his report filed in 2016, and about $37 million in his most recent report.

Trump didn’t hide the fact that his presidency made Mar-a-Lago a more profitable venture for him. The initiation fee for the so-called “Winter White House” doubled to $200,000 — a figure that doesn’t include taxes and $14,000 annual dues — immediately after Trump was inaugurated.

Please click on the link and read the rest.

I’m sure you’ve already heard about this story, but it’s important to take note of it. In Trump’s America, police officer can kill unarmed black people on video and still evade punishment. Slate: Philando Castile’s Killer Acquitted Despite Forensics That Contradicted His Case.

Philando Castile’s killer, police officer Jeromino Yanez, was acquitted of manslaughter and two counts of dangerous discharge of a firearm on Friday. The case of Castile’s shooting last July in a suburb of St. Paul, Minnesota had sparked mass protests after his girlfriend Diamond Reynolds posted a dramatic and wrenching video of the shooting’s aftermath. The video, taken with Reynolds’ 4-year-old daughter in the car, included footage of Castile lying in a puddle of blood after he was struck five times from seven shots.

Castile had informed the officer that he was carrying a firearm, for which he had a permit. Shortly thereafter, Yanez opened fire. In his opening statement, Yanez’s defense attorney claimed that Castile was holding his gun when he was shot.

Philando Cast

“He has his hand on the gun,” Engh reportedly said during opening arguments. “The next command is, ‘Don’t pull it out.’ … [Yanez] can’t retreat … But for Mr. Castile’s continuous grip on the handgun, we would not be here.”

The prosecution argued that the 32-year-old school cafeteria supervisor with no violent criminal record was reaching for his driver’s license—as Yanez had instructed—and not his gun when he was shot. The forensic evidence and Reynold’s testimony would both seem to back up the prosecution’s account and rebut the defense’s version. Reynolds testified that he was trying to unbuckle his seatbelt so that he could get out his wallet and driver’s license when he was shot. As the Associated Press reported, this was supported by forensics:

Prosecutor Jeff Paulsen highlighted autopsy evidence in his closing argument, reminding the jury of a bullet wound to what would have been Castile’s trigger finger — and that there was no corresponding bullet damage nor wounds in the area of Castile’s right shorts pocket, where he carried his gun. He also cited testimony from first responders who saw Castile’s gun in his pocket as he was loaded onto a backboard.

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune reports: Hours after officer Yanez is found not guilty in fatal shooting of Philando Castile, marchers close I-94.

After 27 hours of deliberation, a jury of seven men and five women reached a verdict in Philando Castile’s death. Eight hours later, after a march in St. Paul, hundreds went on the freeway, where some faced off with police before 18 were arrested.

A jury found St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez not guilty Friday in the fatal shooting of Philando Castile, whose livestreamed death during a traffic stop stunned a nation.

Castile’s family called the decision proof of a dysfunctional criminal justice system, while prosecutors cautioned the public to respect the jury’s verdict “because that is the fundamental premise of the rule of law.”

“I am so disappointed in the state of Minnesota,” Castile’s mother, Valerie Castile, said at a news conference shortly after the verdict was read in court about 2:45 p.m. “My son loved this state. He had one tattoo on his body and it was of the Twin Cities — the state of Minnesota with TC on it. My son loved this city and this city killed my son. And the murderer gets away.”

Castile’s girfriend Diamond Reynolds, who videotaped his murder.

Castile was a cafeteria worker who was very popular with the children he served. Twin Cities Pioneer Press: J.J. Hill school’s grief over Philando Castile’s death continues after verdict.

Philando Castile’s death last year rattled the J.J. Hill Montessori Magnet School community.

Friday’s verdict acquitting the officer who fired the shots that killed the beloved school cafeteria worker brought no relief to their grief, parents contacted afterward said.

“I’m appalled, unbelievably sickened,” parent Chad Eisen Ramgren said about the verdict.

Castile — called “Mr. Phil” by the students — had worked at J.J. Hill for two years as nutrition services supervisor before he was fatally shot by St. Anthony officer Jeronimo Yanez during a traffic stop on July 6. A vigil and children’s march were held in the days after outside the school where his smile and kindness were recalled….

Families knew Mr. Phil as the man who gave their children high-fives in the lunch line and helped them with their lunch numbers.

More at the link.

I’ll have more links in the comment thread. Please join me in posting your thoughts and links.

43 Comments on “Lazy Saturday Reads”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Thanks to Delphyne for this exciting story.

    The Baltimore Sun: Johns Hopkins researchers say they’ve unlocked key to cancer metastasis and how to slow it.

    Hasini Jayatilaka was a sophomore at the Johns Hopkins University working in a lab studying cancer cells when she noticed that when the cells become too densely packed, some would break off and start spreading.

    She wasn’t sure what to make of it, until she attended an academic conference and heard a speaker talking about bacterial cells behaving the same way. Yet when she went through the academic literature to see if anyone had written about similar behavior in cancer cells, she found nothing.

    Seven years later, the theory Jayatilaka developed early in college is now a bona fide discovery that offers significant promise for cancer treatment.

    Jayatilaka and a team at Johns Hopkins discovered the biochemical mechanism that tells cancer cells to break off from the primary tumor and spread throughout the body, a process called metastasis. Some 90 percent of cancer deaths are caused when cancer metastasizes. The team also found that two existing, FDA-approved drugs can slow metastasis significantly.

    • Enheduanna says:

      Amazing! Very hopeful if this spares patients from having to endure chemo.

      Just think – not all that long ago this remarkable woman would not have had the opportunity to study medicine or contribute to medical research.

    • NW Luna says:

      Quite a step forward! Reading the article, I thought this was key:

      Many researchers believe metastasis happens after the primary tumor reaches a certain size, but Jayatilaka found it was the tumor’s density that determined when it would metastasize.

      We should also note that blocking the IL (Interleukin) 6 and 8 slows but does not stop metastasis. Depending on rate of slowing, that could extend life or, if slow enough (as most prostate cancer is) allow a normal life span.

      “…the side effects from the drugs used in the study would be minimal.” Well, compared to chemo, just about anything may be considered “minimal.” Yet I disagree.

      Tocilizumab is a monoclonal antibody (Mab). There are a number of these Mab drugs on the market, and there are some I prescribe in appropriate cases. I do not think they are benign.
      The Presdribing info for tocilizumab (brand name Actemra) has a black-box warning:

      “serious infections leading to hospitalization or death including tuberculosis (TB), bacterial, invasive fungal, viral, and other opportunistic infections have occurred in patients receiving Actemra.”
      Serious Infections – do not administer Actemra during an active infection, including localized infections. If a serious infection develops, interrupt Actemra until the infection is controlled.
      • Gastrointestinal (GI) perforation – use with caution in patients who may be at increased risk.
      • Laboratory monitoring – recommended due to potential consequences of treatment-related changes in neutrophils, platelets, lipids, and liver function tests.
      • Hypersensitivity reactions, including anaphylaxis and death have occurred.
      • Live vaccines –avoid”

      Reparixin, the other drug, is also being studied in a trial of pancreatic islet transplantation in type 1 diabetes patients (no longer recruiting). It also seems to “reduce both neutrophil recruitment and vascular permeability during inflammation or injury” which sounds useful in decreasing risk of metastasis and some acute systemic reactions. It also may improve recovery after spinal-cord injury, but that is only a guess now.

      Exciting, but getting this advance to proof of benefit in humans is likely to take 10 years and longer. Length of time metastasis is suppressed — we’ll just have to wait and see.

      • quixote says:

        The other little nugget I found interesting was that the reason this relationship wasn’t found earlier is that tumor cells are studied in tissue culture, which is 2D. Jayatilaka noticed that in 3D, like tumors are in real life, there’s this curious relationship between cell density and migrating away.

        Which, now that she’s mentioned it, seems like it ought to have always been screamingly obvious!

        • Earlynerd says:

          I’m reminded of an ad for the United Negro College Fund that asked, “Imagine if the person who found a cure for cancer wasn’t white? Or a man?”

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Megyn Kelly should be fired immediately. This is disgusting.

    Media Matters:

    What Megyn Kelly says in leaked audio from Alex Jones

  3. Sweet Sue says:

    Mistrial in the Cosby case.
    Another big win for pussy grabbers everywhere.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    CNN: House Russia investigators want to bring in Trump digital director.

    House Russia investigators are planning to call on Brad Parscale, the digital director of President Donald Trump’s campaign, as the congressional and federal probes dig into any possible connections between the Trump digital operation and Russian operatives, congressional sources said this week….

    Parscale played a critical role behind the scenes on the Trump campaign, directing online spending and voter targeting with the use of a highly sophisticated data bank built by the Republican National Committee. Parscale, was running the Trump Organization’s digital operation in early 2015, when he was hired onto the Trump campaign — months before Trump officially announced his bid….

    Senate investigators in particular have been interested in looking for a link between the prevalence of fake news that supported Trump and was pinpointed in key areas of Rust Belt states that ultimately flipped from blue to red — and helped Trump secure the White House.

    “There have been reports that their ability to target this information, some reports at least saying that in the last week of the campaign in certain precincts in Wisconsin and Michigan and Pennsylvania there was so much misinformation coming talking about Hillary Clinton’s illnesses or Hillary Clinton stealing money from the State Department or other. It completely blanked out any of the back and forth that was actually going on in the campaign,” Sen. Mark Warner, the top Democrat on the Senate intelligence committee, said at a March 30 hearing.

    • Enheduanna says:

      I missed the part where they targeted those crucial districts in PA, MI and WI. No wonder those closed meetings last year about the meddling disturbed Congressional members so badly.

      Joseph Cannon says this should lead to questions about Steve Bannon’s role with Cambridge Analytica. The Mercers are messed up with that, too. Cannon links to a tweet by Rick Wilson:

  5. bostonboomer says:

    Jane Mayer at the New Yorker:

    The Link Between Domestic Violence and Mass Shootings.

    • Joanelle says:

      Great post, BB, thanks!

    • Earlynerd says:

      Why should women’s lives matter only when we are finally recognized as canaries in men’s coalmines? Why didn’t the overt, shameless erosion of women’s most basic human and legal rights matter to the New Yorker as they continued to happen?

      In 2000, women lost the right to protection against male violence in Morrison v. USA, a decision that carefully carved out and maintained the protection, from murder to renting a fucking room, of non-white men’s rights against white men in Heart of Atlanta Motel.

      In 2005, that decision was nailed home in Gonzales v. Castle Rock, which ruled that women had no claim at all under any legal theory against male violence. “Gonzales” is now the law of the land. If your state’s police choose to ignore protection orders, tough luck – they’ve got a constitutional right to do so.

      The brave woman whose female children were murdered by the man the law allowed to do this went on to file in international court. “Jessica Lenahan (Gonzales) v. United States of America” is the -only- decision in the treaty of American states that declares the U.S. in violation of international law. For failing to protect female citizens.

      4,000 of us a year die because of this. But women will keep turning their heads away, keep finding other causes to champion, because fighting this is just too hard.

  6. dakinikat says:

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Detailed article about James Hodgkinson’s abuse of his foster daughter. No way should this man have been allowed to own guns.

    • Enheduanna says:

      What a colossal failure the adults in those girls’ lives were. Did they even have one single adult male responsible and normal in their lives? It also sounds like Hodgkinson’s wife was/is a huge part of the problem?

  8. Enheduanna says:

    BB – thank you for this posting. Will we make it through the weekend without tRump tRauma? I saw one report that he’s holed up at Camp David of all places with no appointments for 60 hours. He must be sulking.

  9. NW Luna says:

  10. dakinikat says:

    • NW Luna says:

      Nothin’ to see here, move along folks…..

      The coincidences are piled higher than Trump Tower.

  11. dakinikat says:

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    • NW Luna says:

      Oh, so they just now realized working in the Trump administration is bad for the resume.

  14. NW Luna says:

    Uh-oh. This could be the kiss of death for Jon.

    • quixote says:

      Say it ain’t so. (Don’t jinx it you old fool. Don’t jinx it. Don’t jinx it.) My first thought was Sanders is hopeful Ossoff will actually win and he wants his (Sanders) name associated with at least one victory. :/

  15. dakinikat says:

    okay, then … Matt Taibi

    • NW Luna says:

      That is hideous. Why isn’t this more widely known? Why aren’t there repercussions? Why aren’t these sadistic criminals outed, shamed, and never again published?

    • quixote says:

      I’ve boycotted him since 2007 when he wrote a piece making a joke out of child rape to be funny about Fred Thompson’s primary campaign.

      That was so sick, I couldn’t believe he still had a job, let alone anyone continued reading him.

      Now this. Even worse than what he wrote. Not surprising given what he was capable of writing.

      And, of course, zero consequences in all these years, just like all the other revolting criminals doing just fine, thank you.

  16. dakinikat says:

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