Odds and Ends — 18 January 2023

I’ve been playing around with DeepDreamGenerator’s newish “text prompt” artificial intelligence image creator. This image was generated from the prompt “Criminals planning the corruption of a city’s animal control administration.”

Cryptocurrency, Investing, Money, Economy, and Debt:

Bank of America Says CBDCs Are the Future of Money and Payments

Here’s to hoping that @taskmaster4450 is right about CBDCs!

Bank of England governor questions need for digital pound

Russia and Iran are working on a gold-backed cryptocurrency to take on the dominant dollar

Coronavirus News, Analysis, and Opinion:

The Harbinger review – lockdown horror makes neat use of Covid-19

New York Supreme Court judge strikes down vaccine mandate for health care workers


McCarthy Promised Vote on National Sales Tax

As part of his deal to become House speaker, Kevin McCarthy reportedly promised his party’s conservative hardliners a vote on legislation that would scrap the entire American tax code and replace it with a jumbo-sized national sales tax.
The assurance got relatively little attention at the time, drowned out by the many other concessions McCarthy made to win his gavel. But with Democrats already attacking the proposal, some conservatives see it as a political headache in the making.
Said Grover Norquist: “This is a political gift to Biden and the Democrats. I think that this is the first significant problem created for the Republican Party by the 20 people who thought that there was no downside to the approach they took.”

Russia’s weaponization of oil and gas exports to neuter Europe on Ukraine is backfiring badly

Kevin McCarthy Feels the Vern

Rep. Vern Buchanan (R-FL) “exploded after losing Ways & Means to a McCarthy ally, fueling anxiety that he could retire out of pique—and that McCarthy’s favor trading has eroded his narrow margin of support.
Just how angry was he? Well, a source on the House floor during the vote told me that while McCarthy was gaveling down the votes, Buchanan walked up to McCarthy and said, ‘You fucked me, I know it was you, you whipped against me.’ He then proceeded to chew out McCarthy’s deputy chief of staff for floor operations, John Leganski. It was shocking to see such fury from Buchanan, who’s known for being mild mannered. Indeed, I heard that the tirade was so heated that the Speaker’s security detail stepped in with a light touch.

GOP Complains That Biden Administration Won’t Negotiate With Terrorists On Debt Limit

No Bias Found in Google’s Email Filters

The Federal Election Commission has dismissed a complaint from Republicans that Google’s Gmail app aided Democratic candidates by sending GOP fundraising emails to spam at a far higher rate than Democratic solicitations.

The GOP’s Incredibly Weak ‘Whatabout’ Effort

White House Says It Won’t Negotiate on Debt Ceiling

It’s a posture rooted in hard-won lessons for Democrats. Brinkmanship during Barack Obama’s presidency upended the financial markets and only encouraged more hostage-taking, the thinking goes. But many Republicans took the opposite lesson — the brinkmanship, after all, resulted in significant curbs on federal spending, even though future Congress voted repeatedly to undermine them.
With the debt standoff likely to underpin most every interbranch interaction in the coming months, the question we’re pondering is: How do you hammer out a deal when the two sides can’t even agree on whether there will be any hammering?

China’s first population drop in six decades sounds alarm on demographic crisis

Judge: Jan. 6 rioter who broke into Capitol followed “Trump’s instructions”


Study suggests US freshwater fish highly contaminated with ‘forever chemicals’

Eating just one serving of freshwater fish each year could have the same effect as drinking water heavily polluted with “forever chemicals” for an entire month, a new study finds.

The scientist who discovered sperm was so grossed out he hoped his findings would be repressed


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Contamination of this food source particularly “threatens those who cannot afford to purchase commercial seafood,

From the Study suggests US freshwater fish highly contaminated with ‘forever chemicals article.

Interesting collection of material.