Yet another email scam on the loose

Earlier today, I got this email.

Hello,
Where are you presently?. I need your help for something very urgent so please get back to me via email as soon as you get this message.
Thanks

The signature line was that of an old friend of mine from Sri Lanka and with her correct professional affiliations and degrees, and the return email address was the one I had for her in my address book.

But I am cynical enough to suspect scams and although I had not seen this one before, I looked it up and sure enough, it was one.

I quickly emailed my friend’s brother to tell him to inform his sister by phone that her email account had been hacked. He wrote back that that had indeed happened and unfortunately his own daughter had fallen for the scam and given the scammer some information though not much. My friend in Sri Lanka and her niece (and who knows how many others) have now got to go through the tedious business of trying to stem the damage.

I am just passing this on to alert others that one should never respond to such emails or give information without contacting the sender and confirming that this is genuine. If email is the only means you have to reach your friend, then you can reply and ask them to give you information that a scammer could not possibly know.

George Will goes after Trump and the Republicans

The conservative columnist has been souring on Donald Trump for some time but Trump’s abandonment of the Kurds seems to have sent him over the edge and he excoriates Republicans in Congress for enabling his behavior.

Donald Trump, an ongoing eruption of self-refuting statements (“I’m a very stable genius” with “a very good brain”), is adding self-impeachment to his repertoire. Spiraling downward in a tightening gyre, his increasingly unhinged public performances (including the one with Finland’s dumbfounded president looking on) are as alarming as they are embarrassing. His decision regarding Syria and the Kurds was made so flippantly that it has stirred faint flickers of thinking among Congress’s vegetative Republicans.
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Can tiny homes solve the affordable housing crisis?

Given the extremely high cost of housing in some of the major metropolitan areas in the US, there has been a spurt in the tiny house movement, where very small available parcels of land are being used to build tiny homes, some as small as 120 square feet. There are even TV shows that feature these homes. These houses are quite ingenious in how they maximize the use of space.

On the surface, this option looks appealing for people who like to live a minimalist lifestyle. But it does have its drawbacks, as this person recounts about her own experience in living in a 240 square foot one. She was forced into this option because of high rents rather than it being a lifestyle choice.
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Jonathan Pie on the Extinction Rebellion protests

The climate activist group Extinction Rebellion has organized protests that shut down central London and elsewhere to highlight the need for urgent action on climate change. Jonathan Pie takes aim at those (including newspapers like the Guardian) that snicker at the supposed hypocrisy of the people involved in the protests and moan about the disruptions caused, while ignoring the biggest issue, that those who have known about the climate change crisis for a long time and could have done something about the problem, refused to do anything. (Language advisory)

Trump revealed once again to be a paper tiger

When Donald Trump suddenly announced that the US was withdrawing from the region of northern Syria that the Kurds claim as their homeland, he was warned that this move would result in Turkey launching an assault on the Kurdish fighters who had been allied with the US, since Turkey views them as allied with the Kurds who live in Turkey and who oppose Turkey’s control of the region. In response to that criticism, Trump issued his infamous “I, in my great and unmatched wisdom” wisdom tweet where he, in his usual bombastic way, that “if Turkey does anything that I, in my great and unmatched wisdom, consider to be off limits, I will totally destroy and obliterate the Economy of Turkey (I’ve done before!)”
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Jared Kushner, super failure, given yet another chance to super fail

As Donald Trump flails about angrily in response to the impeachment inquiry currently underway, we learn that the person he has assigned to oversee the defense is his son-in-law Jared Kushner.

Kushner is yet another example of someone who has got where he is because of his immense privilege. He is the son of a wealthy father who got into Harvard university under highly dubious circumstances, as reported by Daniel Golden.
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Qualifications to be president

After the election of Donald Trump as president, the bar for this position has become so low that pretty much any sentient being that has shown any signs of intelligence (and I include apes, dolphins, and crows in that category) would be better. So it is irritating to see any Trump supporter asking questions of the Democratic candidates as to whether they are qualified for the job, whether they have the requisite experience, skills, etc.

I am not saying that the public should not value expertise and wisdom and experience. I am only saying that Trump supporters have forfeited the right to raise such questions. I think cartoonist Jen Sorensen agrees with me.

The 20 companies that are the main sources of carbon pollution

When it comes to climate change and carbon pollution, we have to always remember that while we as individuals can help in small ways by reducing our carbon footprint, the main sources of the problem are certain industries and we must never let up on shaming them so that they feel pressure to change. The Guardian has published a list of the 20 companies that most contribute to pollution, making up 35% of all energy-related carbon dioxide and methane worldwide

Update on the strange case of Jerry Falwell Jr.

You may recall my earlier post about the strange relationship between Jerry Falwell, Jr,, his wife, and two young men who seem to have benefited from his largesse. Donald Trump’s erstwhile fixer Michael Cohen was also involved as were some supposedly compromising photographs. Falwell is an evangelical and stalwart supporter of Donald Trump and is the current president of Liberty University that was founded by his famous preacher father. So, like Trump, he obtained his position due to his father.
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Surprise move by the Trump organization

A right wing, anti-Muslim group called Act for America decided to hold a fund-raising cocktail party and dinner at Donald Trump’s Florida resort Mar-a-Lago on November 7, charging people $1,500 or more to attend. Constantly frothing-at-the-mouth hatemonger Michelle Malkin was to be the keynote speaker.

This seemed like a win-win for both sides. The group got to curry favor with Trump by sending money to his family coffers, which by now is the well-known method of gaining his favor and attention and is known to all manner of foreign governments and lobbyists, and Trump and the bigots in his base would benefit, since nothing pleases them more than targeting non-white, non-Christian groups and riling up liberals.
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