Is this harsh treatment really necessary?

The treatment of people caught up in the US penal system is often brutal. One of the results of celebrities going to jail is that we get to hear of harsh treatment that is meted out to detainees that are ignored when poor and unknown people are subjected to it. One such case is Ghislaine Maxwell, Jeffrey Epstein’s close associate, who has complained to an appeals court during a bail hearing that she is not allowed to sleep at all. Recall that Epstein died by suicide in jail though no evidence has been presented that Maxwell is suicidal.

Two of three judges on a second US circuit court of appeals panel in Manhattan expressed concern about light shone in her cell every 15 minutes at night as Federal Bureau of Prisons (BoP) guards make sure she is breathing.
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California slated to have governor recall election

The state of California is famous for having all manner of issues decided by placing propositions on the ballot. Its state constitution also has a provision in which any statewide office holder can be removed from office and replaced. All that is required to trigger such an election is for just 12% of the number who voted in the previous election to vote in favor of a recall. That has just happened with governor Gavin Newsom, who won election to the position in 2018 with more than 60% of the vote. The vote will be held later this year.

The recall effort is led by Republicans who opposed Democrat Newsom’s pandemic shutdowns and mask mandate, as well as his immigration and tax policies. The campaign has tried to distance itself from its ties to far-right groups, including QAnon, following the deadly 6 January attack on the US capitol.

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ESL not yet dead?

It appears that reports of the death of the new European Super League following the announced intention of withdrawing by the six UK clubs from the project may have been premature.

The Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, said the 12 clubs announced last week as founders of the European Super League cannot abandon it due to binding contracts and promised the project would return soon.

Pérez, whose club is one of three along with Barcelona and Juventus yet to withdraw, said it was not so simple for clubs to leave. “I don’t need to explain what a binding contract is but effectively, the clubs cannot leave,” Pérez told Spanish newspaper AS. “Some of them, due to pressure, have said they’re leaving. But this project, or one very similar, will move forward and I hope very soon.”

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Perceptions of time

I have long been interested in how we perceive time. There are many markers of time’s passage, daily and seasonal changes and biological changes being just some of them. Albert Einstein revolutionized our understanding of time by saying that physical time of an event is what is given by clocks placed at the location of the event, and then showed that the interval in clock readings between any two events depended on the state of motion of the clocks.

But there is also the psychological perception of time, the sense of how much time has elapsed when one has no external means such as a clock or diurnal rhythms to keep track of it. In an experiment, 15 volunteers were kept in a deep cave for 40 days without any means of knowing the passage of time other than their sense of it.
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Keeping track of right wing extremist groups

It can be difficult to keep track of the various extremist groups on the right since even though they share certain broad goals, they each have their own agendas and membership. In an article After The Storm in the April/May 2021 issue of The Progressive magazine, Matthew N. Lyons provides a handy list to enable us to keep track of whoo’s who and doing what.

Boogaloo bois: Started around 2018, this loose collection of people advocate overthrowing the state and view law enforcement as the enemy. While largely made up of white nationalists, they claim to have factions that support Black Lives Matter and LGBTQ+ movements. They often wear Hawaiian shirts as identifiers.
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Film review: I Care A Lot (2021) and guardianship abuse

There are many elderly people in the US who live alone but are not poor. This Netflix film is a dark comedy of the way that some people abuse the guardianship laws in the US to exploit such elderly people out of their life savings. The way it works is that if a doctor certifies that someone is incapable of looking after themselves, a court can declare them to be ‘wards of the court’ and appoint a guardian to look after them and the guardian immediately gains total power over that person’s life, including their finances. The judge gets to decide whether you need a guardian and who gets to be your guardian and everything hinges on that decision. Usually it is a member of the family who petitions the court but it is not necessary and it is not always the case that they are acting in the best interests of the person. Unscrupulous guardians can sell off the ward’s assets to pay for their care and pay themselves a hefty fee and there is little that can be done about it once the process is set in motion.
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White Lives Matter rallies flop bigly

Rallies organized in many parts of the country for Sunday, April 11 by right wing groups around the theme of ‘White Lives Matter’ turned out to be flops.

In semi-private, encrypted chats, neo-Nazis and other far-right extremists planned rallies in dozens of cities Sunday to promote their racist movements and spread their ideologies to larger audiences. 

Hyped by organizers as events that would make “the whole world tremble,” the rallies ran into a major problem: Hardly anyone showed up. 

The “White Lives Matter” rallies, the first major real-world organizing efforts by white supremacists since 2018, were planned on the encrypted app Telegram after many aligned groups were alleged to have taken part in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S Capitol.
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The problem with cryptocurrencies

I know almost nothing about cryptocurrencies or the blockchain technology that undergirds it. I was aware that all transactions by currency holders are recorded on a distributed public ledger, which apparently is what is meant by a ‘blockchain’. I had been aware that these currencies, of which there are many in addition to the best known one of bitcoin, are not backed by any government like ‘real’ currencies are. Their value is maintained by having their production limited by having it ‘mined’, which is a metaphor for actions that are done by computers.

Elizabeth Kolbert writes about how this ‘mining’ works.
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