Links Sat, 19 Aug 2017 tagged Politics

Here’s a pocketful of links, stacked up for easy viewing.

Steve Bannon vows to ‘go to war’ for Trump agenda after sacking: Donald Trump’s former chief strategist has vowed to go to war against the president’s opponents, after being fired from his job at the White House. Steve Bannon, who has returned as head of ultra-conservative website Breitbart News, said he would fight for the agenda that won Mr Trump the election. – by Anthony Zurcher – Tags: politics –

Finland killings: Stabbings in Turku a ‘terror attack’: Police in Finland say they believe the killing of two people in the south-western city of Turku on Friday was a terrorist attack. They said the attacker, who was shot in the leg by police and taken into custody, was an 18-year-old Moroccan. – Tags: politics –

How the Republican party quietly does the bidding of white supremacists: Let us finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda. It isn’t It takes approximately 30 seconds to send a tweet. A half hour to draft and release a statement. And the shelf life of both is only marginally longer. – by Russ Feingold – Tags: politics –

What Trump’s Increasing Isolation Could Mean For His Presidency: There’s a telling photo that has gotten some attention in social media following Steve Bannon’s exit as President Trump’s chief strategist. (You can see it above.) – by Domenico Montanaro – Tags: politics –

The crazy summer of Trump controversies that you’ve already forgotten: The end of summer is around the corner, with students soon returning to school and people across the country planning their fantasy football rosters. But with the daily intrigue and drama from the White House, the summer also feels as if it stretched across years. – by Alex Horton – Tags: feedly, ifttt, politics –

Trump, first lady to skip Kennedy Center Honors over concerns of ‘political distraction’: President Trump and first lady Melania Trump have elected not to attend the annual Kennedy Center Honors in December amid a political backlash among those who will be feted at the event. – by David Nakamura – Tags: politics –

That’s it for this batch. Thanks for reading!

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White Supremacy and Orthodox Christianity: A Dangerous Connection

I had noticed several references to Othodox Christianity in some of the nationalist stories coming out of Charlottesville. There’s a connection, and mainstream American Orthodox church leaders have some warning signs to watch for.

There are those who would co-opt American Orthodoxy, make it the voice of white nationalism. Churches need to confront the problem head on.

Source: White Supremacy and Orthodox Christianity: A Dangerous Connection Rears Its Head in Charlottesville | Religion Dispatches

Fight against extremism for former neo-Nazi from Chicago ramps up after Trump (Of Course Trump Admin Defunded)

As a leader of the American white supremacist movement nearly 30 years ago, Christian Picciolini wrote propaganda, devised infiltration strategies and brokered mergers with similar organizations in the U.S.Now, the 43-year-old Chicago native spends his days with a different purpose, as co-founder of Life After Hate, a nonprofit group devoted to helping former neo-Nazis and other extremists shed their toxic ideology.He is busier than ever.Since Donald Trump was elected president, referrals to his group have gone from two a week to five a day, Picciolini said. And since a car plowed into a crowd protesting a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., last Saturday, killing a woman, those referrals have skyrocketed, he said.

Source: Fight against extremism for former neo-Nazi from Chicago ramps up after Trump, Charlottesville – Chicago Tribune

Not The One

So, it’s another summer riding season upon us, and my stable of bikes is now 3. 

Veda, the sturdy hybrid. Not light but has lights.

Geoffrey, the sedate faux-vintage tourer. Also not light, but has lights.

Sara Maude, the step-through starter. Really not light, now chiefly on the training stand. I may keep her as an occasional Burley hauler and loaner for a friend.

Sometime soon, I’d like to have a lightweight road bike, as I’ve tried a couple on recent trips (most recently the unclogged Arizona trip in February, and the unblogged Honolulu Tour de Cure from last November). I liked the road bikes once I got used to the forward-rotated position. But the rentals were really high-end bikes, not in my price range.

My criteria: Lightweight, but aluminum, with a carbon fork. At least 20-22 gears (this means Shimano Tiagra or 105 to a gearhead). Women’s specific design, for narrower handlebars and other differences in geometry. Price range: south of $2000.00. Preferably well south. Brands: something well enough known that it’s not a dark horse.

This one, although the price is attractive, is probably not the one. 

It looks good, the price is good, it’s got 105 components, but it’s an REI house brand – and an unproven, brand new house brand at that. It’s the Co-Op Cycles ARD 1.2 Womens bike. On a whim, I went over to REI to check it out, because they had one in my size in stock. This is an important point, because most bike shops don’t typically have a lot of women’s bikes in stock, built up; you have to test ride the men’s version and order the women’s version “on spec.”

I rode around the lot, and to be fair, the seat was probably a little low, but I didn’t care for it. Shifting was fine, but the saddle was not my cuppa tea; it was slick and glossy, so I’d have to buy another one of my preferred saddles to go on there. 

It’s really a good deal, but it’s an unknown quantity; my husband David thinks I should pass on it because of this.

I’m also looking at the following, but have yet to test ride:

Fuji Finest 1.0 Women’s LE – Meh, the flat blue-grey color is ugh, but the price is good and it has other features. However, David thinks Fuji isn’t a well-known brand (although a friend rides a bike much like this one and loves it.

Specialized Dolce – one of various ones like this EVO, but they all have Tiagra gearing (meaning 20 gears), a bit less to work with on a hill but similar to Veda’s setup.  To get 105 22-speed gearing, I’d have to go up to the carbon-framed Ruby, which is a pretty big price increase, and I have to think whether I want to invest in carbon. I did enjoy the lightness of the carbon bikes I rode, especially the one in Phoenix, but really only rode that one a couple of times. HOWEVER, I’m interested in Specialized’s FutureShock stem technology, which MAY be added to next year’s Dolce Comp EVO. It’s on the Ruby (I think, possibly only selected models).

Trek Lexa 4 seems to be the best of their aluminum line for endurance/all around. Tiagra again. Readily available in several nearby shops.

There are other brands – Felt is locally available, and Liv by Giant is well regarded and carried by a local Giant “superstore.” Of the Liv line, it would be one of the Avail Discs endurance bikes (meaning set up for long rides, not racing).  The 2017 Avail SL 1 Disc has 105 gearing. But I don’t like the colors. The 2018 Avail SL Disc has great colors, but only Tiagra gearing.  It’s maddening.

This brings up a frustrating fact: bike shops generally carry just one or two brands, though there are exceptions, like Spokes Bikes and Kozy’s. Naturally, these Omni-bike dealers aren’t close by. When you’re bike shopping, you have to put some miles in, and a lot of shops don’t have searchable inventory on their websites. So not only do I have to “make do” with test riding men’s bikes before ordering a women’s frame bike, but I have to look around in about a 20-mile or more radius. David bought one of his bikes in Glenview; and he bought the latest one in Wheaton. I bought mine here in Hoffman, and one is from Elk Grove Village; I stuck pretty close to home.

Don’t get me started on the big, fancy bike shops in downtown Chicago. Even though one of them carries this gorgeous Bianchi Volpe, which is not all what I’m shopping for, but pleases my sense of bike aesthetics. Aside from that, BFF Bikes has a nice idea in offering bikes for a female clientele, but their road bikes are Liv. I don’t need to schlep downtown just to see what I can see right here.  

So from a price point-and-features standpoint, I’m stuck. I want what I want, but can’t test ride it and have to make do with trying the men’s version before ordering. Or, I can get something close to what I want, but the colors are garish.

Shaka, When The Walls Fell

G+: Shaka, When The Walls Fell

Sometimes the metaphor or the allegory just writes itself:

Spicer, gaslight flickering on his face
Trump, when the ill wind blew
Bannon, weaving his webs
Conway and the Bear Buttons at Washington

A “Star Trek” Episode Shows the Next Phase of Human Communication
In one fascinating episode, Star Trek: The Next Generation traced the limits of human communication as we know it—and suggested a new, truer way of talking about the universe.

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Call Your Senator, Ask Them To Cancel Session Vote

G+: Call Your Senator, Ask Them To Cancel Session Vote

After the incredible events of Friday/Saturday, when the #MuslimBan went into effect and caused some travelers to be detained at major US airports, the people said NO to that bullshit and showed up.

Then the lawyers showed up, and the @ACLU showed up, and at least two legal stays were successfully argued in court (Brooklyn, and Washington).

Meanwhile, it seemed Attorney General-nominee Jeff Sessions was "assisting" with the Executive Order in some capacity. We can't have this in an ordered society. Trump chose to put forward an entire slate of unvetted, undistinguished Cabinet nominees, and with Senate GOP collusion, in Sessions' case the hearing was rigged to give only 5 minutes question time per committee member.

Unacceptable. The final vote is coming up next week and the senators have more unanswered questions, and now this report of improper involvement with the drafting or design of the "Muslim Ban" executive order. Sessions has no business consulting in any way until confirmed.

If you care, call your Senator and urge them to request the Sessons vote be cancelled, and a second hearing be scheduled with sufficient time for questioning allotted per committee member. There are TOO MANY problems with the Sessions nomination, and now there are more.

In the meantime, watch how Bannon is maneuvering to gain power in the White House. He will have a seat on the NSC, bumping at least two military and Intelligence Committee people down to "invited if in their wheelhouse" status. It's being talked about as a "soft coup."

It's only been a week. The American people have to keep showing up if we want to keep our country from becoming a failed democracy (if it hasn't already).

ACLU Letter to SJC – Second Hearing for Jeff Sessions

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