Will the ‘two sleep’ mode catch on again?

It is generally recommended that people get 7-9 hours of sleep per day but it is not clear that the benefits that accrue from sleep are lost if those hours are not in one block. Like many people, I often wake up very early morning before it is light outside and try to go back to sleep immediately, usually with some success unless something is on my mind that prevents me from falling asleep for some time. I used to think that this pattern of two blocks of sleep per night with a brief break was an aberration and that ‘normal’ sleep should consist of roughly eight hours of uninterrupted sleep.
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The strange, strange life and family of Ghislaine Maxwell

Now that Jeffrey Epstein has died, attention has shifted to his close associate and paramour-turned-pimp Ghislaine Maxwell as the best source of information on all the seedy activities that he was involved in. But what do we know about Maxwell, other than she was the daughter of Robert Maxwell, the once successful and later disgraced newspaper magnate who died mysteriously at sea?

Dana Kennedy has done a deep dive into Maxwell’s life and it turns out that her entire family and in-laws are at one and the same time talented, highly educated, liked to interact with famous scientists, entrepreneurial, corrupt, and prone to making plenty of money and declaring bankruptcy, getting involved with sex cults and intrigue and espionage, and dying mysterious deaths. If her family story was made into a TV mini-series, it would strike many people as utterly preposterous.

In Kennedy’s words, her family’s closet has more skeletons than a house of horrors. I cannot do justice to all the twists and turns of Maxwell’s story with a few excerpts. Kennedy’s article really has to be read. One noteworthy item is the speculation that she is already collaborating with federal prosecutors.

Preventing another war based on lies

We know that before the US goes to war, it prepares the ground in the media and the public by spreading lies about why war is necessary because otherwise the country may be attacked on its shores by the Greatest Threat to World Peace Since Hitler’s Germany. That has happened over and over again (remember the slogans before the great Iraq adventure such that if we did not fight them in Basra, we would have to fight them in Buffalo?) and despite the lies being subsequently exposed, the public seems to only too willing to buy them.
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Live by the rally, die by the rally

Donald Trump loves his rallies. It seems like the only part of his limited schedule that he really enjoys, probably because he is the center of attention in a crowd of adoring fans, something that a narcissist like him craves. These occasions enable him to recycle well-worn material that he knows will draw a positive response from the crowd. His audience seems to be like Grateful Dead fans who are quite happy to hear the greatest hits over and over again. It enables him to forget for a while any bad news about his lack of accomplishments.
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Gay Republicans think Trump has been wonderful for the LGBTQ community

The Log Cabin Republicans, described as “the nation’s largest collective of LGBTQ conservatives”, has endorsed Donald Trump for 2020. The reasons it gives are risible.

The Log Cabin Republicans, the nation’s largest collective of LGBTQ conservatives, has officially endorsed the re-election of President Donald Trump — after its board of directors voted against endorsing him in 2016 — stating that Trump has advanced LGBTQ rights and helped the GOP move past “culture wars” during his tenure.

In a Washington Post Op-Ed published on Thursday evening, Robert Kabel, chairman of the group, and Jill Homan, its vice president, wrote that “for LGBTQ Republicans, watching the 2016 GOP convention before Donald Trump was like a dream fulfilled” and marked the beginning of Trump removing gay rights “as a wedge issue from the old Republican handbook” and “taking bold actions that benefit the LGBTQ community.”

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Neo-Nazis in the news again

Portland, Oregon is bracing for a rally on Saturday organized by far-right groups targeting Portland’s antifascist groups.

The protest has been promoted primarily by Floridian Joe Biggs, a member of the rightwing Proud Boys organization. Biggs is a combat veteran and a former employee of the conspiracy broadcaster Alex Jones’s Infowars network. He claims that up to 1,000 people from around the country will attend Saturday’s unpermitted event on the city’s waterfront.

In promoting the rally on social media, Biggs has brandished a Trump-themed baseball bat, appeared in videos wearing a T-shirt bearing the slogan “Training to Throw Communists Out of Helicopters” – a reference to the Chilean Pinochet regime’s methods for executing dissidents – and has taunted antifascists, saying “You’re not gonna feel safe when you go out in public” and “I’m gonna stomp your ass into the ground, Antifa”.

The rally has also been heavily promoted in conservative media outlets along with its underlying message – the claim that anti-fascist groups, known as “antifa”, are domestic terrorists.

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Federal appeals court sides with common sense and decency and against Trump

You may recall my earlier post with a video of a Department of Justice lawyer Sarah Fabian trying to defend the awful conditions that detained migrant children were being kept in (such as being denied soap, toothpaste, toothbrushes, showers, beds, and cloth blankets tin very cold rooms with the lights permanently on) to an openly incredulous panel of three justices in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
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Brexit shenanigans get weirder and weirder

As the October 31 deadline for crashing out of the EU looms, Boris Johnson tries to create a situation where he has total control over whether a no-deal Brexit occurs or not. He seems to think (or at least is saying so publicly even if he does not believe it) that the threat of a no-deal Brexit would be sufficient to force the EU to come back to the negotiating table with a deal that is more favorable to the UK. He argues that those in the UK who are opposed to a no-deal Brexit and trying to find ways to stop it are actually aiding the EU by enabling them to avoid having to negotiate with him. He has said that he is willing to prorogue (parliament-speak for suspend) parliament to pre-empt any moves to stop him.
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Really good deep fake of Tom Cruise

Actor Bill Hader is known for his impressions of famous people, a skill he used to good effect when he used to be a cast member of Saturday Night Live. In a recent TV interview he recounted meetings with Tom Cruise and Seth Rogan and did impressions of them. Someone took that video and whenever Hader did an impression, did a deep fake to make him actually look like the person he was impersonating.

The transitions are so smooth as to be uncanny. It is really well done and also deeply disturbing at the potential to dupe people.