Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Music: Taha El Hmidi — ‘Ballad For The Unborn’

 

Kavanaugh’s supporters desperately try to sow confusion

Politico reports: It turns out that the Keystone Cops detective work by conservative legal activist Ed Whelan — which set Washington abuzz with the promise of exonerating Brett Kavanaugh, only to be met by mockery and then partially retracted — was not his handiwork alone. CRC Public Relations, the prominent Alexandria, Virginia-based P.R. firm, guided Whelan through his roller-coaster week of Twitter pronouncements that ended in embarrassment and a potential

Kavanaugh’s classmates at Georgetown Prep describe alcohol-soaked party culture

The Associated Press reports: To the uninitiated, Georgetown Preparatory School feels less like a high school than a well-heeled liberal arts college. The 93-acre campus in a Maryland suburb of the nation’s capital boasts a state-of-the-art athletic center, a nine-hole golf course, and its own gift shop. Gardeners crisscross the grounds on carts. This is where U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh spent most of his teen years. And exactly

Binge drinking and blackouts: Sobering truths about lost learning for college students

Young adults at a tailgate. Young adults are more likely than older adults to binge drink and are at greater risk when they do. Monkey Business ImagesShutterstock.com By Jamie Smolen, University of Florida Tens of thousands of college students nationwide will cheer for their football teams this weekend. Some of those who show up for the game after tailgate drinking may not remember the highlight touchdowns that they cheered so

Rosenstein joked about secretly recording Trump, Justice Department officials say

NBC News reports: Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein was joking when he discussed wearing a wire to secretly record President Donald Trump and does not believe Trump should be removed from office through the use of procedures outlined in the Constitution’s 25th Amendment, according to Justice Department officials who requested anonymity to discuss the conversation. The officials were responding to a New York Times report that Rosenstein, in the tumultuous

Unraveling the Russia story so far

The New York Times reports: On an October afternoon before the 2016 election, a huge banner was unfurled from the Manhattan Bridge in New York City: Vladimir V. Putin against a Russian-flag background, and the unlikely word “Peacemaker” below. It was a daredevil happy birthday to the Russian president, who was turning 64. In November, shortly after Donald J. Trump eked out a victory that Moscow had worked to assist,

Evangelical leaders are frustrated at GOP caution on Kavanaugh allegation

The New York Times reports: Worried their chance to cement a conservative majority on the Supreme Court could slip away, a growing number of evangelical and anti-abortion leaders are expressing frustration that Senate Republicans and the White House are not protecting Judge Brett M. Kavanaugh more forcefully from a sexual assault allegation and warning that conservative voters may stay home in November if his nomination falls apart. Several of these

Scientists fear that insects upon which humans depend are declining

The Associated Press reports: A staple of summer — swarms of bugs — seems to be a thing of the past. And that’s got scientists worried. Pesky mosquitoes, disease-carrying ticks, crop-munching aphids and cockroaches are doing just fine. But the more beneficial flying insects of summer — native bees, moths, butterflies, ladybugs, lovebugs, mayflies and fireflies — appear to be less abundant. Scientists think something is amiss, but they can’t

Octopuses on ecstasy reveal genetic link to evolution of social behaviors in humans

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine: By studying the genome of a kind of octopus not known for its friendliness toward its peers, then testing its behavioral reaction to a popular mood-altering drug called MDMA or “ecstasy,” scientists say they have found preliminary evidence of an evolutionary link between the social behaviors of the sea creature and humans, species separated by 500 million years on the evolutionary tree. A summary

Music: Taha El Hmidi — ‘Out Of Nowhere’

 

‘Killing a generation’ — one million more children at risk from famine in Yemen

AFP reports: More than five million children are at risk of famine in Yemen as the ongoing war causes food and fuel prices to soar across the country, charity Save the Children has warned. Disruption to supplies coming through the embattled Red Sea port of Hodeida could “cause starvation on an unprecedented scale”, the British-based NGO said in a new report. Save the Children said an extra one million children

Men are more afraid than ever

Lili Loofbourow writes: It is a remarkable fact of American life that hordes of men are now defending sexual assault. It’s not immediately clear why. It seems like the very definition of an unforced error. But a substantial group, many of them in politics, has taken to the internet to argue that a 17-year-old football player should get to do as he likes to a 15-year-old girl—say, for example, trap

North and South Korea take important steps to demilitarize the Korean peninsula

Richard Sokolsky writes: At yesterday’s summit meeting in Pyongyang between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, the defense ministers of the two countries signed an important agreement to reduce military tensions along the two sides’ heavily militarized border. As of November 1, no-fly zones will be established along the border and both sides will halt artillery and other military drills close to the demilitarized

Why do we love bees but hate wasps?

University College London: A lack of understanding of the important role of wasps in the ecosystem and economy is a fundamental reason why they are universally despised whereas bees are much loved, according to UCL-led research. Both bees and wasps are two of humanity’s most ecologically and economically important organisms. They both pollinate our flowers and crops, but wasps also regulate populations of crop pests and insects that carry human

Music: Taha El Hmidi — ‘Movin’ On’

 

Brett Kavanaugh’s habitual lying

Russ Feingold writes: Brett Kavanaugh has never appeared under oath before the U.S. Senate without lying. As a onetime member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, I considered the truthfulness of judicial nominees as a non-negotiable quality. Lying under oath cannot and must not be rewarded with a seat on the nation’s highest court, and lies cannot remain unchallenged. So as an illegitimate administration goes to work attacking the credibility of