Inaugural Donors: Phony Numbers and Front Groups.

Pablo Delcan; Jonathan Ernst/Reuters.

President Donald Trump smashed records this month with a reported $107 million dollar worth of donations to the “58th Presidential Inaugural Committee”—doubling the amount received in 2009 by former President Barack Obama. But a deep dive into Trump’s Federal Election Committee filing, spearheaded by the Huffington Post’s Christina Wilkie, presents evidence that a large number of donors used “phony records” or are “front groups.”

“Wow: Scores of donors to Trump’s inauguration are phony records or front groups. Help us did, spreadsheet is open! https://t.co/e7IVvIx8gB

The look into all this fraud is being crowd-sourced, if you can help dig around a bit, do so!

Via Raw Story.

Paranoid and Delusional.

Jim Cooke/FMG.

Doctors are speaking out, once again, about the Tiny Tyrant’s mental state. I don’t think it has escaped anyone’s notice that Trump is not exactly the most stable of individuals; nor that his ego is a monstrosity truly out of control. I have no doubt that even the Trump Faithful have noticed this, they just find justifications and rationalizations for it. The big problem here is power. The amount of harm Trump could cause outside of the political arena was high, on an individual level, however, the possibility for harm now is past the stratosphere. This is not someone you want in charge of a monstrously over-powered military and weapons. This is not someone who should even be close to knowing the nuclear codes. This is not someone who can pull off a brinksmanship game with nukes, because no sane person would even consider doing such a thing, the potential for catastrophe is simply too high. The other terrifying aspect to all that is that Trump has no resources other than his standby of bullying. He’s not knowledgeable, he’s not in the least shamed by his willful ignorance; he’s a 70something year old white man who relies completely on Fox News for his information. This does not make him different from all those other 70something white men who do the same, but they aren’t sitting in the perch of power, and no one really cares about whatever nutty stuff they might believe, thanks to Fox feeding.

As usual, there’s much talk about violating the Goldwater Rule, but we aren’t talking about someone who is campaigning anymore, we are talking about someone who has secured a position of great power, and someone who is not mentally or emotionally capable of handling such power. We should not be so cowed, as individuals or as a society, to hush everything up based on politeness, a la you shouldn’t speak ill of the dead. There’s a time and place for such courtesies, but this is not one of them. There’s a maniacal, knowledge-deficient bully sitting in the white house, who is swayed by the last person to speak with him. This is not someone who is a thinker, let alone an independent thinker. This is a person who is utterly dependent on the thoughts and feelings of others, and does most things on a whim, much like turning into Mr. Tweet in order to parrot Fox and Friends on Twitter. There should be a discussion of Trump’s overall health, and that most certainly includes his mental health.

Donald Trump has a “dangerous mental illness” and is not fit to lead the US, a group of psychiatrists has warned during a conference at Yale University.

Mental health experts claimed the President was “paranoid and delusional”, and said it was their “ethical responsibility” to warn the American public about the “dangers” Mr Trump’s psychological state poses to the country.

Speaking at the conference at Yale’s School of Medicine on Thursday, one of the mental health professionals, Dr John Gartner, a practising psychotherapist who advised psychiatric residents at Johns Hopkins University Medical School, said: “We have an ethical responsibility to warn the public about Donald Trump’s dangerous mental illness.”

[…]

The doctors have said that even if it is in breach of tradition ethical standards of psychiatry, it was necessary to break their silence on the matter because they feared “too much is at stake”.

It is not the first time Mr Trump’s mental health has been called into question. In February, Duty to Warn, which consists of psychiatrists, psychologists and social workers, signed an open letter warning that his mental state “makes him incapable of serving safely as president”.

The letter warned that the  President’s tendency to “distort reality” to fit his “personal myth of greatness” and attack those who challenge him with facts was likely to increase in a position of power.

The Independent has the full story.

Climate Change, Now A Witch Hunt!

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has come to Exxon’s defense — again. AP Photo/Eric Gay, File.

Climate change, why it’s a witch hunt, it is, for real and true! What this is actually about is protecting Exxon, with republicans going full court testerical over the issue, claiming the usual excuse, freeze peach.

Citing Exxon Mobil’s right to “free speech,” 11 state attorneys general — all Republicans — filed in court this week to stop an investigation into the oil and gas giant’s decades-long history of climate denial.

The attorneys general — from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Michigan, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, and Wisconsin — filed a brief to support Exxon’s request to stop the so-called “Exxon Knew” investigation, arguing that there is a “public policy debate” over climate change and that the investigation is an “unconstitutional abuse” of power.

“The Constitution was written to protect citizens from government witch-hunts such as this one, where officials use their authority and the threat of criminal prosecution to try and suppress speech on a viewpoint they disagree with,” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement.

This isn’t the first time Texas has intervened in the investigation on behalf of the state’s largest company. Paxton and his counterpart from Arkansas filed on behalf of Exxon in May of last year when it challenged a Virgin Islands subpoena. Paxton has said the investigations are “ridiculous.”

Think Progress has the full story.

Also see:

The Earth just passed another carbon threshold.

Climate change will fuel terrorism, report warns.

Dow Chemical gave $1 million to Trump’s inauguration, now wants pesticide risk study buried.

The Manly Whine Over Kid’s Lego Playground.

Promotional photo released by Lego showing a Legoland employee helping a child who’s accompanied by an adult (Lego).

A Legoland Discovery Center has opened in Melbourne, Australia, much to delight of children and adults. The playground area, marketed to the 3 to 10 year olds, is not accessible to adults unaccompanied by a child under the age of 16. Some supposedly adult men are appalled by this, yelling discrimination, and violation of human rights. It would be nice to think that acting this childishly is a strategy, but unfortunately, it seems to be a mindset which screams out “I am a spoiled rotten adult male, I have privilege! How dare you keep me out!?”

A handful of adult men are pissed that the Playground area is restricted to children. And one is even threatening to file a human rights complaint.

The Discovery Center opened on Tuesday and adults who aren’t accompanying children (16 or under) have been turned away from the Playground area, which is marketed to kids from 3-10 years of age. Adults without children are still allowed in the shopping area of the attraction.

The Melbourne Legoland location plans to have an “adult night” one night a month, but that’s apparently not enough for some grown-ass men who think they’re being discriminated against. As The Guardian points out, the age restrictions are in place at 17 other Lego Discovery Centers around the world.

“Absolutely appalled by the fact I was unable to enter without somebody under the age of 16,” one man wrote on Facebook. “Lego is not just for children and I’m sure the majority of people would agree with me. I understand it’s a play center but I have no intention on climbing around, simply just to look and admire. Incredibly disappointed, sort yourself out Legoland!!!”

One man even said on Facebook that he was filing a complaint with the local state Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission on the basis that the age restriction discriminates against people without kids. It’s unclear if a formal complaint has yet been filed.

Okay, look, I’m a childfree person, but this complaint is utterly idiotic. It’s one small part of the center, which is distinctly for small children. It’s not discrimination against childfree people to keep lone adults out of a playground for small children. I expect it’s a matter of safety concerns, and Lego wanting a place where parents can relax and not worry about their sproglets. You won’t die if you can’t stomp all over a playground for the little ones. Go on one of the adult nights, you can play to heart’s content. Go to every adult night.

“It’s a bit of a bad joke on your shop having age limits,” another man wrote before the Legoland opening. “When you look on a box of Lego it says ages from 4 too 99 or dose [sic] the shop have different rules. What a joke as I’ve loved Lego for 40 something years and my some [sic] loves doing his moc stuff. Think about it as I believe you need to rethink your rules..”

[…]

“Absolutely disgusted to hear that you will discriminate on grounds of age,” another man wrote a couple of weeks ago, as the controversy began before Legoland even opened its doors. “Lego is something that is enjoyed across all the ages – I personally have thousands of dollars worth of the creator and architecture series and it’s clear that many adults without children will want to experience the attractions.”

Oh FFS, grow up already. Kids should have their own space at something like Legoland, and they do. You aren’t being shut out, you can wander all over the place, with one small exception, unless you have sprogs. Is it really that vital to you, to squeeze out small children, so you can squish yourself into a kid sized chair, and sit at a kid sized table?

Jesus Christ, way to be whiny annoyances having a tantrum, men. Perhaps if you manage to act like an adult, you could be allowed to accompany someone who does have children.

Gizmodo has the full story.

Naked Mole Rats: Surviving Oxygen Deprivation.

Rats, ever extraordinary!

Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do, researchers report this week in the journal Science.

Understanding how the animals do this could lead to treatments for patients suffering crises of oxygen deprivation, as in heart attacks and strokes.

“This is just the latest remarkable discovery about the naked mole-rat — a cold-blooded mammal that lives decades longer than other rodents, rarely gets cancer, and doesn’t feel many types of pain,” says Thomas Park, professor of biological sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago, who led an international team of researchers from UIC, the Max Delbrück Institute in Berlin and the University of Pretoria in South Africa on the study.

In humans, laboratory mice, and all other known mammals, when brain cells are starved of oxygen they run out of energy and begin to die.

But naked mole-rats have a backup: their brain cells start burning fructose, which produces energy anaerobically through a metabolic pathway that is only used by plants – or so scientists thought.

The full story is here.

The Weekly White House Bible Study.

Photo via AP.

Evangelism everywhere, promoting a theocracy, with a firm footing in the white house.

…The schedule does not list who attended that session, but Ralph Drollinger, a right-wing pastor with a long history of ties to Perry and other Trump Administration officials, claims on his web site to be running weekly Bible sessions specially for the Trump Cabinet. He has praised the new administration for its power to “change the course of America in ways that are biblical.”

[…]

In a January radio interview, Drollinger praised then-senator Jeff Sessions, who “hungers and thirsts for the Scripture,” for his performance during his confirmation hearing, when he provided a Biblical justification for his draconian views on immigration. “I’ve had the distinct honor of teaching him on this subject, and many others,” Drollinger said. “There’s nothing more exciting, when you’re a Bible teacher, to see one of the guys you’re working with—to see him or her articulate something you’ve taught them when they’re under the gun.”

Vice President Mike Pence, HUD Secretary Ben Carson, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, CIA Director Mike Pompeo, nominee for Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, HHS Secretary Tom Price, and Scott Pruitt, head of the Environmental Protection Agency, have all sponsored the Capitol Ministries Cabinet Bible study, according to literature put out by Capitol Ministries.

The Cabinet Bible study is the just newest piece of what Drollinger has described as a “para-church ministry” with a “target audience” of political members. In a September 2015 interview, Drollinger described his mission as creating a “factory” to mass-produce politicians like Michele Bachmann, who is on the Capitol Ministries board. “She thinks Biblically,” Drollinger said. “She doesn’t need a whole lot of time to figure out how to vote because she sees the world through a scriptural lens. We need more men and women like her in office.”

[…]

For an outside group to hold an event in a Congressional building, they must be sponsored by a senator or representative; dozens of Members of Congress sponsored Drollinger’s group, including Mike Pence, Mike Pompeo, Tom Price, and Sessions while they were all still on Capitol Hill. Rep. Mike Conaway, who recently took over the House Intelligence Committee’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election from Devin Nunes, is also a Capitol Ministries sponsor.

Now, Capitol Ministries holds three separate Bible Studies each week which it describes in its literature: one for Cabinet members (“7:00 am Wednesdays Mornings. Location Undisclosed. Light Refreshments Served.”); one for the Senate (“8:00 am Tuesdays, Rotating Offices of Senators. Hot Breakfast Served.”); and one for members of the House (“Capitol H324: Monday or Tuesday Evenings after First Votes Back. Dinner Served.”) In an interview in January, Drollinger described the House study as feeling like a truck stop and the Senate study feeling like a country club.

Everything in the article is highly disturbing and frightening. Recommended Reading. Fusion has the full story.

Cool Stuff Friday: Octobot!

Harvard University Octobot.

Researchers at Harvard University have designed a soft 3D-printed robot that can move on its own, powered by a chemical reaction, instead of electricity or batteries.

Shaped like a cartoon octopus, the Octobot contains no electronics or other hard parts, relying instead on a silicone body that houses a fluid-filled circuit.

Previously, soft-bodied robots had needed to rely on rigid components for power. But the Octobot uses hydrogen peroxide as fuel.

The liquid flows around a network of pre-printed hollows in the robot’s body, and creates a reaction as it passes over platinum embedded inside. This produces gas that inflates and moves the arms, to propel the robot through water.

You can read and watch more here. Do I need to say I want one? I want one.

No-To-Scale Studio.

Malaysian design office No-To-Scale Studio has issued a satirical proposal to President Trump, suggesting a radical means of representing the US-Mexico border: a 1,954 mile-long dining table.

Citing “logistical, financial and nationality” limitations, the studio’s design claims to be cost-effective in taking a domestic item and scaling it to massive proportions.

While the proposed slab of “continuous polished marble” may prove costly, diners will bring their own chairs in order to participate.

You can see and read more here.

Neri Oxman, Lazarus Mask.

Neri Oxman and the MIT Mediated Matter group have unveiled their latest collection of 3D-printed death masks, designed to contain the wearer’s last breath.

The Lazarus masks, described by Oxman as “air urns”, are modelled on the facial features of the deceased individual.

Each 3D-printed structure encompasses colourful swirling patterns that have been informed by the physical flow of air emitted from their last breath.

“Traditionally made of a single material, such as wax or plaster, the death mask originated as a means of capturing a person’s visage, keeping the deceased alive through memory,” said the team.

You can read and see more here.