Source: Washington Post
Judge dismisses Gohmert lawsuit seeking to stymie Biden electoral college count
By Devlin Barrett
1/1/2021, 11:18:00 p.m.
A federal judge in Texas has dismissed a long-shot lawsuit by Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tex.) that sought to overturn the presidential election, saying neither the congressman nor his allies have legal standing to pursue the case.
The judges Friday night ruling tosses out what many election law experts considered a far-fetched theory to challenge the formal mechanism by which President-elect Joe Biden will be affirmed as the winner of the race for president.
U.S. District Judge Jeremy D. Kernodle issued an order dismissing the case because, he found, neither Gohmert nor his fellow plaintiffs have a sufficient legal stake in the process to justify the lawsuit. Kernodle was nominated to the federal bench by President Trump.
The judges ruling comes less than 12 hours after lawyers for Gohmert filed court papers arguing that Vice President Pence has far more power than the government claims to alter the outcome of the presidential election. Gohmerts lawyers filed a notice of appeal later Friday night.
Kernodle wrote that previous court cases make clear that an individual member of Congress cannot sue for a harm supposedly done to the larger legislature. Additionally, the judge found, Gohmerts claim of harm is a series of hypothetical scenarios stacked on top of each other, further undercutting any authority for the court to intervene.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national-security/gohmert-court-filing-claims-pence-is-not-a-glorified-envelope-opener/2021/01/01/eeb6b222-4c51-11eb-839a-cf4ba7b7c48c_story.html
Source: Washington Post
The Columbus Dispatch photo of an anti-social-distancing protest in Ohio went viral this week. (Joshua A. Bickel/AP)
By Maura Judkis
April 17, 2020 at 11:18 a.m. EDT
The insatiable flesh-hunger of zombies wasnt exactly on photographer Joshua A. Bickels mind when he was covering an anti-social-distancing protest at the statehouse in Columbus, Ohio, on Monday. But it was all that was on the, well, braaaaaains of people who saw Bickels work on social media, where the photo went viral for its parallels to classic zombie films.
The Columbus Dispatch photographers image is frightening and compelling. Approximately 100 protesters who were urging Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine to end the states stay-at-home order and reopen businesses pressed up against the glass doors to the statehouse, chanting and banging windows.
One wears a Guy Fawkes mask. Two men wear Trump-branded baseball caps. Two women, the closest to the windows, shape their mouths into the same elongated howl as Edvard Munchs The Scream. American flags obscure some of the protesters in the back.
I thought this was a screencap from a zombie movie, tweeted one woman.
Some strong Shaun of the Dead energy in this photo from the protests in Ohio, tweeted another man.
It looked awfully familiar to Michael Satrazemis, the director of photography for The Walking Dead and director of Fear the Walking Dead, two shows that seem a little scarier these days, since theyre about a zombie apocalypse that begins with an uncontrollable pathogen.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/style/that-ohio-protest-photo-looked-like-a-zombie-movie-zombie-movie-directors-think-so-too/2020/04/17/b518fc48-801c-11ea-9040-68981f488eed_story.html
Source: The Guardian
Mike Pompeos claimed Mary Louise Kelly lied before interview
Opinion: Kellys Pompeo interview was like satire. If only
Mon 27 Jan 2020 13.57 GMT
Last modified on Mon 27 Jan 2020 13.59 GMT
Newly released emails between the office of Mike Pompeo and NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly cast further doubt on the secretary of states extraordinary claim that the journalist lied to him before a contentious interview.
Pompeo, who reportedly subjected Kelly to an expletive-ridden rant in his private living room after an interview during which he was asked about his role in the Ukraine scandal, issued a statement in which he accused the reporter of violating the basic rules of journalism and decency.
Kelly maintained that her meeting with Pompeo after the recorded interview was not agreed to be off the record.
NPR has stood by its reporter and emails quoted by the Washington Post show Kelly clearly expressing that Ukraine would be discussed.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/jan/27/mike-pompeo-npr-mary-louise-kelly-ukraine
Opinion: Kellys Pompeo interview was like satire. If only (The Guardian)
Emails support NPR host after Pompeo calls her a liar in setting up contentious interview (Washington Post)
Related: Potemkin Pages & Personas: Assessing GRU Online Operations, 2014-2019 (Stanford Internet Observatory)
Source: Washington Post
By Craig Timberg
11/12/2019, 10:19:00 p.m.
The Russian military hackers who stole tens of thousands of sensitive Democratic Party documents in 2016 struggled to disseminate their bounty online at least until anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks joined the effort, according to a report released Tuesday night.
The report, prepared by analyzing data Facebook provided to the Senate Intelligence Committee, found that the Russian military hackers sought to publicize the documents as early as June 14 that year through a post on Facebook that said, Check restricted documents leaked from Hillary Clintons presidential campaign staff, and provided a link to an online trove. But despite the potentially explosive contents, the post on the DCLeaks page generated just 11 likes, 17 shares and zero comments.
Direct messages to American journalists, made through a fictitious Twitter persona called Guccifer 2.0, generated a spate of news coverage soon after. But that was modest compared to the deluge that came five weeks later, on July 22, when WikiLeaks published the documents and tweeted a link to its 3.2 million followers.
The revelations from the stolen documents, many of which were embarrassing emails showing party officials appearing to favor Clinton over her rival for the presidential nomination, Sen. Bernie Sanders, soon spread widely enough to prompt the Democratic chairwoman to resign on the eve of the partys national convention.
The hacking campaigns outreach efforts, executed by the Russian military intelligence agency known as the GRU, underscore how marrying stolen documents with sophisticated social media outreach can generate outsize results. It also underscored the unwitting role American journalists played in a Russian intelligence operation to interfere in a U.S. election.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/russian-hackers-who-stole-dnc-emails-failed-at-social-media-wikileaks-helped/2019/11/12/751690ae-0580-11ea-a5e2-fccc16fa3576_story.html
Source: Washington Post
Alex Jones threatened to name a Roger Stone juror. Experts say that might be jury tampering.
By Deanna Paul
11/7/2019, 5:33:46 p.m.
On the first day of political consultant Roger Stones trial in federal court in Washington, D.C., on charges of false statements and witness tampering, Judge Amy Berman Jackson cautioned people in the courtroom against releasing jurors names.
But Infowars conspiracy theorist Alex Jones was undeterred, the Daily Beast first reported. Ignoring her warning, Jones broadcast on his show the name and face of an individual who he believed had been seated on Stones jury, calling the person an anti-Trump minion and launching a flurry of witness tampering and obstruction of justice allegations.
Although Jones held up a photo of a person who had no connection to the Stone trial, legal experts maintained the effect was the same as if the person had been a juror.
Jury tampering is an intentional effort to sway a jurors opinion or decision in a case by communicating with him or her either directly or indirectly through an improper channel, outside of legal arguments and evidence presented in court.
It doesnt matter whether he revealed the right or wrong name or image, according to Mimi Rocah, a former federal prosecutor for the Southern District of New York. His actions were not about a particular juror, but rather they were aimed at intimidating the others on the jury, she said.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/11/07/alex-jones-threatened-name-roger-stone-juror-experts-say-that-might-be-jury-tampering/
Source: Australian National University
NOVEMBER 6, 2019
Antarctica likely to drive rapid sea-level rise under climate change
by Australian National University
Scientists from The Australian National University (ANU) have shown that ice melt from Antarctica drives rapid and high sea-level rise, offering a forewarning of what to expect under human-driven climate change.
The researchers examined historical and new data from the 'last interglacial', which took place 125,000 to 118,000 years ago and saw sea levels rise up to 10 metres above current levels.
Interglacials are periods of warmer global temperatures that can last thousands of years.
The study, published in Nature Communications, shows that sea levels rose up to three metres per century, largely driven by ice loss in the Antarctic ice sheet.
Lead author, Professor Eelco Rohling, said that the last interglacial sea-rise was due to natural climate instabilities.
"These were smaller and slower than the human-caused climate disturbance of today," he said.
Read more: https://phys.org/news/2019-11-antarctica-rapid-sea-level-climate.html
Related: Asynchronous Antarctic and Greenland ice-volume contributions to the last interglacial sea-level highstand (Nature Communications)
The headlines from other outlets are much more sensational:
Scientists looked at sea levels 125,000 years in the past. The results are terrifying (The Conversation)
Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago And It's a Terrifying Look at Our Future (Science Alert)
Climate change: Clear and unequivocal emergency, say scientists
By Matt McGrath
6 November 2019
A global group of around 11,000 scientists have endorsed research that says the world is facing a climate emergency.
The study, based on 40 years of data on a range of measures, says governments are failing to address the crisis.
Without deep and lasting changes, the world is facing "untold human suffering" the study says.
The researchers say they have a moral obligation to warn of the scale of the threat.
Released on the day that satellite data shows that last month was the warmest October on record, the new study says that that simply measuring global surface temperatures is an inadequate way of capturing the real dangers of an overheating world.
Where it differs is in showing that while things might be bad, they are not hopeless. The researchers show six areas in which immediate steps should be taken that could make a major difference.
Read more: https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-50302392
Related: World Scientists Warning of a Climate Emergency (BioScience)
Source: New York Times
The Mess at D.H.S.
The Department of Homeland Security, about to lose its fourth leader in three years, is a laboratory of Trumpian chaos.
By The Editorial Board
The editorial board is a group of opinion journalists whose views are informed by expertise, research, debate and certain longstanding values. It is separate from the newsroom.
Oct. 31, 2019, 6:57 p.m. ET
Thursday was supposed to be the last day on the job for Kevin McAleenan, the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security. The fourth person to head the department under President Trump, Mr. McAleenan tendered his resignation three weeks ago, after a brief, turbulent stint in which he not infrequently found himself at odds with the presidents more radical immigration policies, statements and advisers.
In announcing Mr. McAleenans impending departure via Twitter, the president congratulated him on a job well done and said he would name a new acting secretary the following week. That didnt happen, threatening to leave rudderless the governments third-largest department, with a portfolio ranging from border protection to disaster management to transportation safety to counterterrorism to election security. In an appearance before a House committee on Wednesday, Mr. McAleenan said that, if asked, he would stay on until a successor was found. If necessary, he said, Ill absolutely ensure a smooth transition.
While noble, this seems overly ambitious. In the Trump administration, little at Homeland Security has gone smoothly, with high turnover, vacancies in key posts and a growing number of acting officials running major divisions. At D.H.S., the top jobs being filled in a temporary, unconfirmed capacity include the deputy secretary, the under secretary for management, the head of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the head of Customs and Border Protection and the head of United States Citizenship and Immigration Services. There has been feuding among senior officials, and lines of authority have become hopelessly tangled.
Mr. Trump has made clear he likes things this way; he can exert greater control over what amounts to glorified temp workers, and he doesnt have to bother with obtaining the Senates approval of his appointees. But it is a lousy way to run a department especially one so sprawling fueling instability, eroding morale and draining vital agencies of experienced, competent leaders.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/31/opinion/department-homeland-security.html
Source: The Guardian
Rising sea levels pose threat to homes of 300m people study
Figure based on new analysis of coastlines is more than three times previous estimate
Tue 29 Oct 2019 16.00 GMT
Last modified on Tue 29 Oct 2019 16.38 GMT
More than three times more people are at risk from rising sea levels than previously believed, research suggests.
Land that is currently home to 300 million people will flood at least once a year by 2050 unless carbon emissions are cut significantly and coastal defences strengthened, says the study, published in Nature Communications. This is far above the previous estimate of 80 million.
The upward revision is based on a more sophisticated assessment of the topography of coastlines around the world. Previous models used satellite data that overestimated the altitude of land due to tall buildings and trees. The new study used artificial intelligence to compensate for such misreadings.
Researchers said the magnitude of difference from the previous Nasa study came as a shock. These assessments show the potential of climate change to reshape cities, economies, coastlines and entire global regions within our lifetimes, said Scott Kulp, the lead author of the study and a senior scientist at Climate Central.
As the tideline rises higher than the ground people call home, nations will increasingly confront questions about whether, how much and how long coastal defences can protect them.
Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/oct/29/rising-sea-levels-pose-threat-to-homes-of-300m-people-study
Related: New elevation data triple estimates of global vulnerability to sea-level rise and coastal flooding (Nature Communications)
Source: Associated Press
Tally of children split at border tops 5,400 in new count
By ELLIOT SPAGAT
October 25, 2019
SAN DIEGO (AP) U.S. immigration authorities separated more than 1,500 children from their parents at the Mexico border early in the Trump administration, the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday, bringing the total number of children separated since July 2017 to more than 5,400.
The ACLU said the administration told its attorneys that 1,556 children were separated from July 1, 2017, to June 26, 2018, when a federal judge in San Diego ordered that children in government custody be reunited with their parents.
Children from that period can be difficult to find because the government had inadequate tracking systems. Volunteers working with the ACLU are searching for some of them and their parents by going door-to-door in Guatemala and Honduras.
Of those separated during the 12-month period, 207 were under 5, said attorney Lee Gelernt of the ACLU, which sued to stop family separation. Five were under a year old, 26 were a year old, 40 were 2 years old, 76 were 3, and 60 were 4.
It is shocking that 1,556 more families, including babies and toddlers, join the thousands of others already torn apart by this inhumane and illegal policy, said Gelernt. Families have suffered tremendously, and some may never recover.
Read more: https://apnews.com/c654e652a4674cf19304a4a4ff599feb