Odds and Ends — 25 January 2023

I’ve been playing around with DeepDreamGenerator’s newish “text prompt” artificial intelligence image creator. This image was generated from the prompt “Larger than it should be, but smaller than it needs to be.”

Cryptocurrency, Investing, Money, Economy, Business, and Debt:

U.S. Accuses Google of Abusing Monopoly in Digital Ads

The Justice Department and a group of states sued Google on Tuesday, accusing it of illegally abusing a monopoly over the technology that powers online advertising.

Uniswap holders propose ditching Ethereum for BNB Chain to deploy v3 protocol

Porsche's NFT Debut Is a Reminder to Let Web3 Natives Take the Wheel

The German carmaker’s NFT collection mint was met with backlash from the community and served as a lesson for big brands looking to meaningfully build their Web3 strategy.

Coronavirus News, Analysis, and Opinion:

“Died Suddenly” Is Anti-Vaxxers’ New Favorite Phrase

FDA proposes once-a-year COVID vaccine shots for most Americans

China Covid: Coffins sell out as losses mount


It was just a matter of time: Classified Documents Found at Mike Pence’s Home

A lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence discovered about a dozen documents marked as classified at Pence’s Indiana home last week, and he has turned those classified records over to the FBI.
The FBI and the Justice Department’s National Security Division have launched a review of the documents and how they ended up in Pence’s house in Indiana.
The discovery comes after Pence has repeatedly said he did not have any classified documents in his possession.

Many years ago when I was a civilian employee of the Army Corps of Engineers, I had a low-level security clearance. Pretty sure there’s nothing from that time in a box in my garage…

Jesse Watters casually suggests that Pence commit crimes: "Pence, seriously, we have this great thing going with Joe. C'mon man! And then he confessed to it. He couldn't just destroyed it, we never would've known." pic.twitter.com/RtFKwvo5YH

— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 24, 2023

Georgia DA investigating Trump for 2020 election interference says charging ‘decisions are imminent’ after grand jury report

GOP’s Balanced Budget Demands Are Not Serious

They say they want to reduce deficits — but meanwhile have ruled out virtually every path for doing so (cuts to defense, cuts to entitlements, wiping out nondefense discretionary spending, or raising taxes).
Sorting out the country’s fiscal challenges is a worthwhile goal – one that should be achieved through the usual process lawmakers use for spending and taxation decisions, i.e., the budget process. There is no universe, though, in which holding the debt limit hostage (i.e., threatening not to pay our bills) would promote greater fiscal health.

The Trillion-Dollar Coin Might Be the Least Bad Option

Why the legal scholar Rohan Grey thinks the U.S. Mint can defuse the debt-ceiling standoff

Turkey Won’t Accept Sweden’s NATO Membership

Sweden should not expect Turkey’s support for its NATO membership bid, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Monday following tensions over anti-Islam protests in Stockholm over the weekend.

Given my druthers, Turkey would be booted from NATO. What’s the point of having an authoritarian state that’s semi-aligned with Russia as a NATO member? It’s handy to have Incirlik Air Base, but is that worth the headaches of having Turkey as an undependable ally?

U.S. Leans Toward Providing Abrams Tanks to Ukraine

The Biden administration is leaning toward sending a significant number of Abrams M1 tanks to Ukraine and an announcement of the deliveries could come this week.
The announcement would be part of a broader diplomatic understanding with Germany in which Berlin would agree to send a smaller number of its own Leopard 2 tanks and would also approve the delivery of more of the German-made tanks by Poland and other nations. It would settle a trans-Atlantic disagreement over the tanks that had threatened to open fissures as the war drags into the end of its first year.

The Abrams doesn’t use gasoline, it burns an insane amount of jet fuel. Will Ukraine be able to maintain a supply chain able to keep these beasts operational?

Trump Tries to Intervene as Peter Navarro Faces Trials

Donald Trump is once again making a last-ditch bid to help a former aide avoid prosecution for defying the Jan. 6 select committee.
A lawyer for Trump issued a letter this week endorsing the decision by former White House adviser Peter Navarro to blow off a subpoena from the Jan. 6 select committee by making blanket claims of executive privilege.

Trump still hasn’t learned that former Presidents have no power to assert executive privilege?

Pentagon Boosts Artillery Production for Ukraine

The Pentagon is racing to boost its production of artillery shells by 500 percent within two years, pushing conventional ammunition production to levels not seen since the Korean War as it invests billions of dollars to make up for shortfalls caused by the war in Ukraine and to build up stockpiles for future conflicts.
The new investment in artillery production is in part a concession to reality: While the Pentagon has focused on fighting wars with small numbers of more expensive precision-guided weapons, Ukraine is largely relying on howitzers firing unguided shells.

SCOTUS’s First Decision of the Term Is a Unanimous Blow to Disabled Veterans

Why did the liberals co-sign Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s harsh opinion?


Doomsday Clock Ticks Closer to Midnight

8 of the world’s best forest homes


Badge thanks to @arcange

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