Wednesday Reads: Free Range

Good morning, enjoying farm fresh eggs today? That cartoon is cute…not sure what statement it is making, since it is from the foreign press.

Via Cagle:

I’ve got a killer migraine…so it’s just cartoons today.

Have a pleasant afternoon.

But…be sure to read through this thread:


Tuesday Reads: Heatwave! And Other News

Good Morning!!

collioure-in-the-summer-by-henri-matisse-1905

Collioure in the Summer, by Henri Matisse

We’re having another heatwave here in the Boston area–four days of 90 degrees or more–with a high temperature today of 99 degrees. Thunderstorms are expected to break the heat tomorrow night, with temperatures in the 80s on Thursday. But that is nothing compared to what is happening in the Pacific Northwest. I talked to my sister in Portland, OR, yesterday, and she said the temperature was supposed to hit 115 degrees! She said her garden is dying even though she is soaking her plants every morning.

The New York Times: How Weird Is the Heat in Portland, Seattle and Vancouver? Off the Charts.

Heat waves and the “heat domes” that can cause them aren’t rare, but the recent weather that’s been smothering the Pacific Northwest has little precedent in at least four decades of record-keeping….

The heat has been not only widespread, but also intense, in some places surpassing previous records by double digits.

In Vancouver, British Columbia, this past weekend’s temperatures were far above norms for this time of year, and a town in British Columbia reached nearly 116 degrees, the highest recorded temperature for any place in Canada in its history. In Seattle, there have been only two other days in the last 50 years with temperatures in the triple digits: in 2009 and 1994.

The heat has resulted from a wide and deep mass of high-pressure air that, because of a wavy jet stream, parked itself over much of the region. Also known as a heat dome, such an enormous high-pressure zone acts like a lid on a pot, trapping heat so that it accumulates. And with the West beset by drought, there’s been plenty of heat to trap.

In Seattle, Portland and other areas west of the Cascades, hot air blowing from the east was further warmed as it descended the mountains, raising temperatures even more.

Martha Walter, American impressionist painter

Beach Scene by Martha Walter, American impressionist painter

Climate is naturally variable, so periods of high heat are to be expected. But in this episode scientists see the fingerprints of climate change, brought on by human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

Karin Bumbaco, Washington’s assistant state climatologist, said that any definitive climate-change link could be demonstrated only by a type of analysis called an attribution study. “But it’s a safe assumption, in my view, to blame increasing greenhouse gases for at least some portion of this event,” she said.

On a global average, the world has warmed about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit since 1900. “When you have that warmer baseline, when you do get these extreme events it’s just going to get that much warmer,” she said.

This heat wave is also unusual because it occurred earlier than most. Those two previous triple-digits days in Seattle, for example, happened in late July, about 30 days later.

This one occurred just a few days after the summer solstice, which may have contributed to the extreme conditions. “The days are longer, and we’re not getting that cool-off at night,” she said.

Read more details at the NYT, with maps and charts.

The Washington Post: The Pacific Northwest heat wave is shocking but shouldn’t be a surprise.

More than three decades ago, in his seminal study predicting the course of human-caused climate change, NASA scientist Jim Hansen wrote that “temperature changes within several decades will become large enough to have major effects on the quality of life for mankind in many regions.”

Hansen used the analogy of “loaded dice” to describe how climate change would increase the likelihood of extremely hot weather in a given year while decreasing the chance of unusually cold weather.

Even before that, in 1979, the National Research Council published a study led by the late meteorologist Jule Charney that predicted serious global warming would evolve. “It appears that the warming will eventually occur, and the associated regional climatic changes so important to the assessment of socioeconomic consequences may well be significant,” the report said.

Since those prescient projections 30-to-40-plus years ago, heat waves all over the world have intensified. Heat domes, the sprawling zones of high pressure at high altitudes that essentially bake the air underneath them, have strengthened.

Claude Monet, The Beach at Sainte-Adresse

Claude Monet, The Beach at Sainte-Adresse

During the European heat wave in 2003, blamed for 70,000 deaths, the average temperature was higher than any year since at least 1851. A study published in 2004 found human influence “at least doubled the risk” of a heat wave of that magnitude.

By 2010, when a historically intense heat wave killed 50,000 people in Russia, the risk of such an event was tripled due to climate change, according to a study published in 2012.

In 2016, a report from the National Academies of Sciences concluded that of the connections between human-caused climate change and extreme weather events, heat waves had among the most straightforward ties.

See also this excellent piece at Axios that summarizes a great deal of information about the heat wave. It’s much longer and more detailed than the usual Axios post: Pacific Northwest heat wave reaches astonishing peak  on Monday.

In other news, Axios analyzed traffic at “partisan” news sites and discovered big drops in clicks since Trump was ejected from the White House: Boring news cycle deals blow to partisan media.

In the months since former President Donald Trump left office, media companies’ readership numbers are plunging — and publishers that rely on partisan, ideological warfare have taken an especially big hit.

Why it matters: Outlets most dependent on controversy to stir up resentments have struggled to find a foothold in the Biden era, according to an Axios analysis of publishers’ readership and engagement trends.

By the numbers: Web traffic, social media engagement and app user sessions suggest that while the entire news industry is experiencing a slump, right-wing outlets are seeing some of the biggest plunges.

  • A group of far-right outlets, including Newsmax and The Federalist, saw aggregate traffic drop 44% from February through May compared to the previous six months, according to Comscore data.
  • Lefty outlets including Mother Jones and Raw Story saw a 27% drop.
  • Mainstream publishers including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Reuters dropped 18%.

App visits tell a similar story. Both right-leaning (including Fox News, Daily Caller) and left-leaning (including Buzzfeed News, The Atlantic) saw considerable average drops in app user sessions over this time period at 31% and 26%, respectively, according to Apptopia data.

  • Data from Sensor Tower shows that downloads of fringe-right social networking apps like MeWe, Rumble, Parler and CloutHub have also plummeted.

Engagement on social media has taken the biggest dive, according to data from NewsWhip.

  • Left-leaning and right-leaning publishers have seen social interactions on stories drop by more than 50%, while mainstream publishers have experienced a slightly more modest drop of 42%.

The big picture: Opposition media traditionally relies on traffic booms when a new party takes office, but right-wing outlets have seen some of the most precipitous declines in readership since a Democratic president took office.

Untitled and undated painting by Harold Newton

Untitled and undated painting by Harold Newton

Political news sites would get a big upsurge in hits if the Trump Organization is indicted in New York this week. The Washington Post: Trump attorneys meet with New York prosecutors to argue that his company should not be criminally charged over its business practices, By David Fahrenthold, Josh Dawsey, and Shayna Jacobs.

Attorneys for the Trump Organization met with New York prosecutors on Monday to argue that former president Donald Trump’s company should not be criminally charged over its business dealings, according to three people familiar with the meeting.

Previously, the prosecutors — working for Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus R. Vance Jr. (D) and New York Attorney General Letitia James (D) — had set Monday as the last day for the organization’s lawyers to make their case.

After Monday’s session, spokespeople for both Vance and James declined to comment. No charges were announced on Monday. Vance has convened a grand jury in Manhattan to vote on potential indictments in the investigation, but so far, no person or entity connected to Trump has been charged. It remains possible that none will be. Those familiar with the investigation spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the private meetings.

Trump issued a lengthy written statement Monday denouncing the prosecutors, saying they were seeking to punish him because of his politics. Trump did not specify what practices prosecutors were focused on, but said they were “things that are standard practice throughout the U.S. business community, and in no way a crime.” [….]

In interviews with Politico and the Associated Press on Monday, Trump’s attorney Ron Fischetti said he believed the charges would focus on whether the proper taxes were paid on benefits that the Trump Organization gave to its executives, such as free apartments or company cars. In a brief call with The Washington Post, Fischetti said he did not attend Monday’s meeting with prosecutors.

The Post previously reported that prosecutors view Weisselberg as a key potential witness in the ongoing investigations, but that they have become frustrated with what they view as a lack of cooperation from him. If Weisselberg was charged with crimes, he could face new pressure to offer testimony against his boss in exchange for a reduction in his legal risk.

I’ll end with two stories on the tragic building collapse in Florida.

John Singer SargentEn Route pour la peche (Setting Out to Fish), 1878

John Singer Sargent, En Route pour la peche (Setting Out to Fish), 1878

CNN: Letter sent months before deadly Florida collapse warned damage to condo building was accelerating.

A correspondence from the board president of Champlain Towers South, part of which unexpectedly crashed to the ground last week in Surfside, Florida, describes the progression of decay at the building since 2018 saying, “the observable damage such as in the garage has gotten significantly worse since the initial inspection.”

Board President Jean Wodnicki addressed the letter to neighbors April 9

“The concrete deterioration is accelerating. The roof situation got much worse, so extensive roof repairs had to be incorporated,” says the letter, acquired by CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront.”

Wodnicki further describes issues facing the building saying, “When you can visually see the concrete spalling (cracking), that means that the rebar holding it together is rusting and deteriorating beneath the surface.” [….]

The letter confirms what Surfside Mayor Charles Burkett has been saying all along, he said: “There was something very, very wrong at this building.

“Buildings in America just don’t fall down like this. This is a third-world phenomenon, not a first-world phenomenon. … I think from the perspective of a condominium association, which is just like a homeowner except bigger, they probably don’t grasp the intensity of the issue and probably just thought it was a pro forma sort of operation we have to get around to doing. Obviously, that was a fatal mistake.”

Miami Herald: Two days before condo collapse, a pool contractor photographed this damage in garage. (See photos at the link.)

There was nothing unusual about the lobby and pool area at Champlain Towers South condo, which looked clean and well maintained to a commercial pool contractor who visited the building last Tuesday, just 36 hours before half of the building unexpectedly collapsed. Then, he saw the basement-level garage.

At-The-Beach Edward Henry Potthast

At The Beach by Edward Henry Potthast

“There was standing water all over the parking garage,” the contractor, who asked not to be named, told the Miami Herald. He noted cracking concrete and severely corroded rebar under the pool.

He also took photos, which he shared with the Herald.

The contractor visited the condo building last week to put together a bid for a cosmetic restoration of the pool as well as to price out new pool equipment — a small piece of the multimillion-dollar restoration project that just was getting underway at the 40-year-old building.

While he had worked in the industry for decades and had “gone in some scary places,” he said he was struck by the lack of maintenance in the lower level. The amount of water at Champlain Towers seemed so unusual that the contractor mentioned it to a building staff member, Jose, who was showing him around.

“He thought it was waterproofing issues,” the contractor said of the staff member. “I thought to myself, that’s not normal.” He said Jose told him they pumped the pool equipment room so frequently that the building had to replace pump motors every two years, but he never mentioned anything about structural damage or cracks in the concrete above.

There’s much more at the link.

That’s it for me today. Please take care if you’re in one of the areas experiencing extreme heat.


Monday Reads: Same ol’ Same ol’

Dog Lying in the Snow by Franz Marc, 1911, Städelscher Museums-Verein. This is the artist’s dog Russi.

Good Day Sky Dancers!

There’s some actual news happening which reminds me of the good ol’ bomb bomb bomb Iran days. First, president Joe Biden released the bombers on Iraqi-Syrian militia forces backed by Iran.  The link goes to the Statement of the Department of Defense.

“At President Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.

As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks. We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS. The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation – but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.

You may read more at the link.  Additionally, the Supreme Court surprised us today by refusing to hear a school district’s case to return to banning transgender students from using bathrooms that do not reflect their sex at birth. Alito and Thomas were–once again–the outliers.

Pluto Aged Twelve by Lucian Freud, 2000, Private Collection. This is Lucian Freud’s Dog.

The most unhappy real news is the huge number of likely evictions once the moratorium on evictions due to Covid-19 expires.  This is from Newsweek. This could be devasting to the economy as well as the lives of 6 million families. Landlords say they can not sustain the financial impact.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on June 24 extended the nationwide ban on evictions from June 30 until July 31, but even with that added time, experts have voiced concern about the estimated 5.7 million to 7 million Americans who owe back rent.

Federal restrictions on evictions for nonpayment of rent took effect soon after the coronavirus pandemic hit in early 2020. The first moratorium, which came with the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act, ran from the end of March 2020 to the end of July 2020.

The CDC put its own evictions ban into place in September 2020. It was set to expire on June 31 before CDC Director Rochelle Walensky announced last week that the agency had extended it through July 31.

A federal appellate court ruled on May 5, before the latest CDC extension, that the agency had overstepped its authority with its moratorium. President Joe Biden‘s administration appealed the decision the same day, and the appeal proved successful. However, that legal action shows the difficulty the CDC would face should it try to enact another extension.

Along with the need to curb the possibility of a sudden surge in homelessness throughout the nation, there is evidence showing that housing evictions increase the threat of coronavirus infections spreading, including one lengthy study published in the April issue of Nature.

David Hockney 1995 Dachshunds Dogs Couple Sleeping. These are the artist’s dogs.

The Trump Revenge Tour is turning out to be a disaster.  Even the QAnon quacks are bored. This is also from Newsweek: “QAnon Supporters Express Boredom With ‘Same Old’ Trump Speech: ‘This Is Getting Ridiculous.'”

QAnon supporters, some of whom are the former president’s most fanatical online backers, sent a barrage of messages through the Telegram app that expressed boredom and even anger at the speech Trump described as “the very first rally of the 2022 election.” They blasted Trump for not mentioning how his January 6 insurrection supporters are “rotting in jail.” And numerous others said Trump should be booed by the Ohio rallygoers for even “bringing up the word ‘vaccine,'” specifically because they believe COVID-19 was entirely a hoax.

But a majority of the top QAnon user comments simply expressed their outright boredom with Trump’s post-election stump speech, in which he baselessly claimed to have won in November 2020 and blasted any dissenting GOP members as “traitors.”

“I’m 100% with the dude, but literally switched from his speech 3 mins ago. Im [sic] done with his speeches,” wrote QAnon user Jacob.

“Judging by the Trump-supporting normies I live with, they were bored with his speech,” wrote another QAnon user. “I support Trump but this is getting ridiculous.”

Funny, I don’t see any Trump supporter as a normie. The outspoken Illinois Republican Congressman who is the target of the Trump Revenge Tour spoke out.  This is from CNN; “Republican lawmaker calls Donald Trump a ‘loser president.'”  You may watch the interview at the link.

Congressman Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) gives his thoughts on the state of the Republican Party, speaking truth, and former President Donald Trump as he hits the road again at rallies.

Le Chien (The Dog) by Pablo Picasso. The artist’s dog is named Lump.

Ivanka may have found herself in hot water already. This is from David Corn, writing for Mother Jones. “Documents Show Ivanka Trump Didn’t Testify Accurately in Inauguration Scandal Case. She said she played no role in planning inaugural events. These records suggest otherwise.”

During a December 1 deposition—in which she swore to tell the truth—Ivanka Trump, the eldest daughter of Donald Trump who was an executive at the Trump Organization before becoming a White House adviser to her father, was asked if she had any “involvement in the process of planning the inauguration.” She replied, “I really didn’t have an involvement.” Ivanka testified that if her “opinion was solicited” regarding an inauguration event, she “would give feedback to my father or to anyone who asked my perspective or opinion.” And that was as far as her participation went.

But this wasn’t accurate, according to the documents, which indicate she was part of the decision-making for various aspects of the inauguration, including even the menus for events.

One email chain shows that Ivanka Trump was directly involved in the planning of at least one proposed event for the inauguration. On November 29, 2016, Rick Gates, then the deputy chairman of the Presidential Inauguration Committee (known as the PIC), emailed her the current schedule of inauguration events. He noted that Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, a lead producer working with the PIC, “is going to call you to discuss some additional ideas she has about some other events that we would like to see if you would be willing to do based on our meetings.” Ivanka replied to Gates and Winston Wolkoff, “Great. I am looping in my assistant Suzie who can coordinate a time for us to connect.”

A few days later, Winston Wolkoff sent a long “Dear Ivanka and Jared” email to Ivanka Trump and her husband. She thanked them for “our meeting yesterday” and presented them with a “high-level summary” of the inauguration plans “for your review.” This was a detailed report on the assorted events and themes being created for Trump’s inauguration. The “overarching strategic objective,” she reported, was “reinforcing” the theme “With the People: Making America Great.” She laid out “key” messages, including “Our greatest strength is our people” and “Americans deserve to be heard, and their government needs to listen.” She noted that in their recent meeting, she and Ivanka Trump had discussed how to include Donald Trump’s “constituency” in the events, and Winston Wolkoff referred to proposals for doing so. This included inviting “families from all 50 states to attend official functions” and provide them “Airfare. Accommodations. Hair & makeup.”

In this email, Winston Wolkoff also asked Ivanka to confirm that she would host a “Women’s Entrepreneurs Reception/Dinner” as part of the inauguration. “Please let me know who…you would like invited,” she added. And she asked whether Ivanka Trump would prefer for the event to be hosted at the National Museum of African American History or the National Gallery of Art. Winston Wolkoff also attached to the email the communications strategy for the inauguration, the proposed event schedule, and a list of the “100 most influential women in Business, Philanthropy, Fashion, Politics and Finance.” She ended the note saying she would “follow up” with them “at TT”—a reference to Trump Tower.

Archie by Andy Warhol, 1976, Private Collection. Another artist with paints his dachshund.

The POS never falls far from the asshole.  Speaking of the former guy, HuffPo reports he’s totally deranged over the Bill Barr Image Recovery Tour and book interview. He also takes a swipe at Mitch McConnell. Frankly, I don’t think they give a damn, my dear. “‘Utterly Deranged’ Trump Has Full Meltdown Over Bill Barr, Mitch McConnell.  The former president attacked the two key figures who enabled his agenda, calling them “spineless RINOs.”

Donald Trump issued a lengthy and rambling statement late Sunday attacking two of his staunchest allies during his one term in office.

Trump called former attorney general Bill Barr and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell “spineless RINOs” (Republicans in Name Only) after Barr told The Atlantic that Trump’s constant claims of election fraud were “bullshit.” Barr also told the magazine that McConnell urged him to “inject some reality” into Trump as he repeated debunked claims of election fraud and baseless conspiracy theories last winter.

McConnell confirmed that account, the magazine reported. That was enough to trigger the former president.

The only weirdo afraid of him appears to be the Florida Governor who would like to be the next Emperor with no clothes.  But enough of that!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Sunday Reads

Happy Sunday….

Here’s your cartoons from Cagle:

This is an open thread.


Lazy Caturday Reads: Lots of News and Bookstore Cats

Kat's Book Nook, Bemidji, MN

Kat’s Book Nook, Bemidji, MN

Good Morning!!

Today is a pretty busy news day for a Saturday. The building collapse in Florida is looking worse the more we learn about it. The Delta variant is still in the news and looking more dangerous by the day. Trump will begin holding his revenge rallies tonight in Ohio and then continue his pity party in Florida over the Fourth of July Weekend. The Trump Organization may be criminally charged in New York next week. But the scariest news was broken last night in The New York Times by Trump whisperers Michael Schmidt and Maggie Haberman: Trump Aides Prepared Insurrection Act Order During Debate Over Protests

Responding to interest from President Donald J. Trump, White House aides drafted a proclamation last year to invoke the Insurrection Act in case Mr. Trump moved to take the extraordinary step of deploying active-duty troops in Washington to quell the protests that followed the killing of George Floyd, two senior Trump administration officials said.

The aides drafted the proclamation on June 1, 2020, during a heated debate inside the administration over how to respond to the protests. Mr. Trump, enraged by the demonstrations, had told the attorney general, William P. Barr, the defense secretary, Mark T. Esper, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, that he wanted thousands of active-duty troops on the streets of the nation’s capital, one of the officials said.

Mr. Trump was talked out of the plan by the three officials. But a separate group of White House staff members wanted to leave open the option for Mr. Trump to invoke the Insurrection Act to call in the military to patrol the streets of the capital.

They decided it would be prudent to have the necessary document vetted and ready in case the unrest in Washington worsened or the city’s mayor, Muriel Bowser, declined to take measures such as a citywide curfew, which she ultimately put in place….

the new details about internal White House deliberations on a pivotal day in his presidency underscore the intensity of Mr. Trump’s instinct to call on the active-duty military to deal with a domestic issue. And they help to flesh out the sequence of events that would culminate later in the day with Mr. Trump’s walk across Lafayette Park to St. John’s Church so he could pose in front of it holding a Bible, a move that coincided with a spasm of violence between law enforcement and protesters camped near the White House.

Dragon's Lair Comics and Fantasy, Austin, TX

Dragon’s Lair Comics and Fantasy, Austin, TX

More details from the story:

…invoking the Insurrection Act, a rarely used authority allowing presidents to use active duty military for law-enforcement purposes, would have been a dramatic escalation. The act has only been invoked twice in the past 40 years — once to quell unrest after Hurricane Hugo in 1989, and once during the 1992 Los Angeles riots.

“We look weak,” Mr. Trump said, according to one of the officials. He complained about having been taken to the bunker below the White House on the night of May 29 when the barricade outside the Treasury Department was pierced. The New York Times had reported the bunker visit a day earlier, infuriating Mr. Trump….

Mr. Trump’s meeting with Mr. Barr, Mr. Esper and Mr. Milley was marked by his rage at being embarrassed on the world stage, according to two of the officials.

Mr. Trump grudgingly went along with their counsel not to deploy active-duty troops, according to the officials. Immediately after the meeting, Mr. Trump joined a call with governors around the country, some of whom were seeing protests increase in their states. Mr. Trump urged them to “dominate” the protesters, as he said the National Guard in Minnesota had.

Mr. Esper told associates that he was so concerned that Mr. Trump would deploy active-duty troops that he echoed the need for them to get control of their states, hoping he could encourage governors to deploy the National Guard to head off federal action. Using Pentagon terminology that he later told associates he regretted, Mr. Esper told the governors to “dominate the battle space,” a sentiment stemming from concern about Mr. Trump’s intentions.

On the upcoming Trump rallies, Asawin Suebsaeng writes at The Daily Beast: Trump’s Underlying Rally Message Is Clear: Fear Me.

Early this month, as Donald Trump delivered his keynote address to the North Carolina Republican Party’s annual convention, the former U.S. president noticed something: His greatest crowd-pleaser of the night didn’t come when he attacked President Joe Biden, trashed Dr. Anthony Fauci, or repeated his lies about the 2020 election being stolen from him. It came when he railed against critical race theory, declaring that it should be banned from being taught to schoolchildren and government staff….

otis-clementines-books-coffee Halifax, Nova Scotia where you can adopt a kitten

Clementine’s Books and Coffee, Halifax, Nova Scotia, where you can adopt a kitten

The coming days and months should prove no different, with Trump planning on delivering yet another red-meat-hurling speech on Saturday evening, with plenty of time devoted to dumping accelerant on the flames of the culture wars and asserting his continuedsolidified sway over the GOP.

But his return to the rally circuit also serves another purpose: scaring off potential competition for holding dominant power over the Republican Party, and keeping himself positioned as the 2024 GOP frontrunner.

“In [recent] conversations that I’ve had with him, he has said that he wants to be everywhere to remind people, not just Republicans, that he’s still in charge,” a person close to the former president said, paraphrasing Trump. “The message is a pretty straightforward one: I am still leading this party, and if you want to try to challenge me for that, it will get ugly.”

More details at the link.

The condo collapse in Florida looks to be a horrific tragedy, as rescue workers are found no survivors yesterday. The New York Times: Frustration Mounts in Search for Survivors of Condo Collapse Near Miami.

After an initial two rescues, only bodies had been recovered, three of them overnight. The number of people unaccounted for rose to more than 150 — dozens more than officials had estimated a day earlier — and their families were losing their last threads of hope.

Family members of the missing were asked to provide DNA swabs in case they were needed to identify remains. President Biden said federal mortuary services would be available if needed.

Underneath the parking garage of the exposed building at 8777 Collins Ave., search-and-rescue teams drilled through concrete and inserted probes with cameras to peer through the rubble. Specialized hearing devices alerted them to any sounds that could indicate a person was waiting for help — tapping, scratching, falling debris, twisting metal.

On Thursday, crews briefly heard the voice of a woman trapped somewhere under the wreckage, but it went silent before they could find anyone. On Friday, crews were still using dogs trained to sniff out the scent of a living person; the dogs that come later find cadavers.

From the outside, in the stifling humidity and amid intermittent thunderstorms, little of the tunneling work going on below could be seen. Heavy machinery arrived at the site on Thursday night, but some of the families of the missing wondered why they could not see more action atop the mountain of rubble.

“We’re frustrated because we feel as if they are alive,” said Toby Fried, a family friend of Harry Rosenberg, a man missing from Unit 212. “We offered to bring more manpower — professional searchers. There’s nobody to talk to. We are waiting. We want to help out.”

Jack at Copperfield's, Sonoma County, CA

Jack at Copperfield’s, Sonoma County, CA

More stories on this topic:

The New York Times: Engineer Warned of ‘Major Structural Damage’ at Florida Condo Complex.

The Washington Post: Before condo collapse, rising seas long pressured Miami coastal properties.

Could the Trump Organization really be indicted soon? CNN: Trump Organization could face criminal charges in New York as soon as next week.

The Manhattan district attorney’s office has informed lawyers for the Trump Organization that it could face criminal charges in connection with benefits it has provided to company employees, a Trump attorney confirmed Friday.

The charges, which could come as soon as next week, would likely involve allegations of a company effort to avoid paying payroll taxes on compensation it provided to employees, including rent-free apartments, cars and other benefits, a person familiar with the matter said….

Prosecutors are also likely to announce charges against Allen Weisselberg, the Trump Organization chief financial officer, as soon as next week, people familiar with the matter said.

Weisselberg’s lawyers recently informed prosecutors that he would not cooperate in the investigation, the people said, although that could change in the future.

Weisselberg is under scrutiny for benefits he received, including a company-funded apartment and car. Prosecutors are also looking into similar benefits given to Matthew Calamari, the chief operating officer of the company. One source familiar with the matter said it’s possible he could also face charges.

Finally, the Delta variant of Covid-19 is spreading rapidly, and WHO recommends that fully vaccinated people should continue wearing masks to protect against it. CNBC: WHO urges fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks as delta Covid variant spreads.

The World Health Organization on Friday urged fully vaccinated people to continue to wear masks, social distance and practice other Covid-19 pandemic safety measures as the highly contagious delta variant spreads rapidly across the globe.

Isabel, Crescent City Books, New Orleans, LA“People cannot feel safe just because they had the two doses. They still need to protect themselves,” Dr. Mariangela Simao, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products, said during a news briefing from the agency’s Geneva headquarters.

“Vaccine alone won’t stop community transmission,” Simao added. “People need to continue to use masks consistently, be in ventilated spaces, hand hygiene … the physical distance, avoid crowding. This still continues to be extremely important, even if you’re vaccinated when you have a community transmission ongoing.”

The health organization’s comments come as some countries, including the United States, have largely done away with masks and pandemic-related restrictions as the Covid vaccines have helped drive down the number of new infections and deaths.