Findings, music, and occasional reflections by Paul Woodward

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Anita Hill deserves a real apology. Why couldn’t Joe Biden offer one?

Moira Donegan writes: Joe Biden’s long-awaited presidential announcement finally came on Thursday, in the form of a policy-free video in which the former vice-president castigated Donald Trump for his racism and offered peans to an imagined noble American past (presumably, the past of 2008-16, when Biden served under Barack Obama) instead of a vision for the future. “America’s coming back like we used to be,” Biden said of his run.

Bernie Sanders booed as Democratic hopefuls try to woo women of color

The Guardian reports: White House candidate Bernie Sanders got a rocky reception when he gave a halting performance at an event this week focusing on female voters of color, while Kamala Harris was given a standing ovation – but was vigorously challenged in the popularity stakes by rivals Elizabeth Warren and Beto O’Rourke. Women from 28 states descended on Houston, Texas, on Wednesday to hear from the eight leading Democratic

FBI warns of Russian interference in 2020 race and boosts counterintelligence operations

The New York Times reports: The F.B.I. director warned anew on Friday about Russia’s continued meddling in American elections, calling it a “significant counterintelligence threat.” The bureau has shifted additional agents and analysts to shore up defenses against foreign interference, according to a senior F.B.I. official. The Trump administration has come to see that Russia’s influence operations have morphed into a persistent threat. The F.B.I., the intelligence agencies and the

Mueller prosecutors: Trump did obstruct justice

Murray Waas writes: Prosecutors working for Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded last year that they had sufficient evidence to seek criminal charges against President Donald Trump for obstruction of justice over the president’s alleged pressuring of then FBI Director James Comey in February 2017 to shut down an FBI investigation of the president’s then national security adviser, Michael Flynn. Privately, the two prosecutors, who were then employed in the special

Rich guys are most likely to have no idea what they’re talking about, study suggests

Christopher Ingraham writes: Researchers embarked on a novel study intent on measuring what a Princeton philosophy professor contends is one of the most salient features of our culture — the ability to play the expert without being one. Or, as the social scientists put it, to BS. Research by John Jerram and Nikki Shure of the University College of London, and Phil Parker of Australian Catholic University attempted to measure

Music: Kamaal Williams — ‘New Heights (Visions of Aisha Malik)’

 

The reason so many Democrats are running is they think Biden won’t survive

Jim Newell writes: Joe Biden is finally, officially getting into the race. If you want to get a sense of how threatened other presidential aspirants feel about this, consider their own decisions. Massachusetts Rep. Seth Moulton joined the race this week, just a couple of weeks after his House colleagues Eric Swalwell (California) and Tim Ryan (Ohio) did the same. Beto O’Rourke, Jay Inslee, and former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper

Investors aren’t turned off by Saudi atrocities

In an editorial, the New York Times says: This month, Saudi Arabia’s oil company, Aramco, revealed that it generated $111.1 billion in net income last year, making it the world’s most profitable company by far. So it is not particularly surprising that a scant six months after the murder and dismemberment of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi by government goons stunned the world, businesses and banks are once again courting the

Facebook fact-checker has ties to climate doubt

E&E News reports: Facebook’s newest fact-checking partner is connected to an enterprise that was founded by a conservative Fox News host and that routinely promotes climate doubt. The social media giant is partnering with CheckYourFact.com to provide third-party oversight of news on its platform, Facebook announced last week. Check Your Fact is an affiliate of The Daily Caller, the right-leaning news outlet co-founded by Fox News host Tucker Carlson. Climate

How angry pilots got the Navy to stop dismissing UFO sightings

The Washington Post reports: A recent uptick in sightings of unidentified flying objects — or as the military calls them, “unexplained aerial phenomena” — prompted the Navy to draft formal procedures for pilots to document encounters, a corrective measure that former officials say is long overdue. As first reported by POLITICO, these intrusions have been happening on a regular basis since 2014. Recently, unidentified aircraft have entered military-designated airspace as

Anthropocene unburials are proliferating around the world

Robert Macfarlane writes: We live in an age of untimely surfacings. Across the Arctic, ancient methane deposits are leaking through “windows” in the Earth opened by thawing permafrost. In the forests of eastern Siberia a vast crater yawns in softening ground, swallowing thousands of trees; local Yakutian people refer to it as the “doorway to the underworld”. In the “cursed fields” of northern Russia, permafrost melt is exposing 19th-century animal

Music: Hablot Brown — ‘Keep It Low’

 

Made in China, exported to the world: The surveillance state

  The New York Times reports: The squat gray building in Ecuador’s capital commands a sweeping view of the city’s sparkling sprawl, from the high-rises at the base of the Andean valley to the pastel neighborhoods that spill up its mountainsides. The police who work inside are looking elsewhere. They spend their days poring over computer screens, watching footage that comes in from 4,300 cameras across the country. The high-powered

Xi Jinping wants to restore China’s former glory through expanding military power

An extended Reuters special report says: During his period as China’s paramount leader, President Jiang Zemin handpicked Xi [Jinping] for senior office because the younger man was perceived to lack ambition, according to sources with close ties to the Chinese leadership. Xi was also thought to be a pliable candidate because he lacked a power base, one source said, speaking on condition of anonymity. But as China’s top leader, he

Deregulation and climate change result in growing number of Americans breathing polluted air

CNN reports: More Americans are breathing air that will make them sick, according to the American Lung Association’s annual State of the Air report. The country had been making progress in cleaning up air pollution, but during the Trump administration, it has been backsliding, the report says. Deregulation and climate change are largely to blame. President Donald Trump made a pledge in his 2017 State of the Union address to

ISIS still has global reach despite the caliphate’s collapse

Robin Wright writes: Exactly a month after losing its final piece of territory, the Islamic State is giving notice that it can still surprise the world—this time in Sri Lanka. On Tuesday, it claimed responsibility for Easter bombings of three churches and three popular hotels which killed more than three hundred innocent civilians, including more than forty children, and injured another five hundred. “The perpetrators of the attack that targeted