I’ve been up since about 4:00 AM, working on necessary tasks. I’m waiting for Safeway. They will be delivering my groceries sometime within the next four hours. I have to stay up, until they get here. Today is the last of the 70° days, but I can’t bask until I put my groceries away, either. Tomorrow’s appointment will take all morning, so figure on a Personal Update only.
Jig Zone Puzzle:
Today’s took me 3:50 (average 6:00). To do it, click here. How did you do?
From NY Times: Some Republicans in Congress are calling for cuts to the Census Bureau’s budget that would impair the agency’s already strained ability to gather basic data.
An accurate census is essential to determining the correct number of representatives from each state, the effectiveness of voting laws and the allotment of federal aid to states. In fact, information from the census and other surveys by the bureau is crucial to anyone — policy makers and businesspeople, researchers and citizens — who wants to understand the United States, assess where it is headed and influence its course on the basis of hard data.
The White House has requested a slim $1.5 billion for the bureau for fiscal year 2016. Much of that would be for the 2020 census, the planning of which is already behind schedule because of previous budget cuts. Next year is critical for the testing of data-gathering technology; Congress’s failure to provide timely financing to try out hand-held computers before the 2010 census forced a last-minute reversion to paper forms, which proved costlier than an orderly roll out of the computers would have been.
Congress looks set to make the same mistake again.
There’s no mistake about it! With the Census Bureau starved tor funding, the people who will fall through the cracks, because they are not counter are the poor. Those are the people Republicans want to be under-represented.
From Alternet: Google could launch an effort to keep trolls and bad information at bay, with a program that would rank websites according to veracity, and sort results according to those rankings. Currently, the search engine ranks pages according to popularity, which means that pages containing unsubstantiated celebrity gossip or conspiracy theories, for example, show up very high.
New Scientist’s Hal Hodson reports on the proposed Knowledge-Based Trust score:
The software works by tapping into the Knowledge Vault, the vast store of facts that Google has pulled off the internet. Facts the web unanimously agrees on are considered a reasonable proxy for truth. Web pages that contain contradictory information are bumped down the rankings.
Google has recently implemented a kind of Knowledge-Based Truth score lite with its medical search results. Now, doctors and real medical experts vet search results about health conditions, meaning anti-vaxx propaganda will not appear in the top results for a “measles” search, for instance.
Even though the former program is just in the research stage, some anti-science advocates are upset about the potential development, likely because their websites will become buried under content that is, well, true.
I fully hope Google does it. It would be catastrophic for the Republican Reichsministry of Propaganda, Faux Noise, and the entire Republican bubble machine.
From TPM: Even if Obamacare tax subsidies survive in the Supreme Court, a future president may have a lawful way of unilaterally blocking them, legal experts say.
The justices met privately on Friday, two days after contentious oral arguments, to cast their votes in King v. Burwell, a case about whether the text of the Affordable Care Act allows the Internal Revenue Service to provide tax subsidies to Americans in three-dozen states who buy insurance on the federally-run exchange.
There are three ways the justices could rule: 1) They could side with the plaintiffs and say the law unambiguously forbids the subsidies, in which case no president can provide them; 2) They could side with the government and say the law unambiguously authorizes the subsidies, in which case no president can deny them; 3) They could say the statute is ambiguous and therefore defer to the agency that implements it — in this case, the IRS — under the longstanding legal theory of "Chevron deference."
If Obamacare subsidies survive — still an "if" — it’ll likely be because the justices find the law ambiguous and defer to the agency. That’s the basis on which the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, from which the Supreme Court took the case, upheld the federal exchange subsidies.
If that does turn out to be the third option, that’s all the more reason why Republicans must be denies the White House until pork is kosher.