Patterico's Pontifications


Weekend Open Thread

Filed under: General — Dana @ 8:58 am

[guest post by Dana]

Let’s go!

First news item

Elon Musk confirmed the story:

Elon Musk on Thursday acknowledged turning off internet access from his Starlink satellites during a Ukrainian raid last year on a Russian naval fleet, saying he did so to prevent SpaceX from being “complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation.”

Musk responded on his social media platform X to new details from an upcoming book that indicated he ordered his engineers to shut off communications network before the attack off the Crimean coast.

“There was an emergency request from government authorities to activate Starlink all the way to Sevastopol,” Musk wrote on X, the platform previously known as Twitter.

“The obvious intent being to sink most of the Russian fleet at anchor. If I had agreed to their request, then SpaceX would be explicitly complicit in a major act of war and conflict escalation,” Musk wrote.

An excerpt about the raid from American author and journalist Walter Isaacson’s upcoming biography on Musk, titled “Elon Musk,” was published by CNN.

What might have been:

What if the strike had ended the war, or what if the strikes had prevented missiles being launched at Ukrainian cites. There are children who might be alive.

A reminder why Ukraine continues to fight, among other things:

1. Often people are not allowed to leave their villages. Supplies (incl. food supplies) are often cut
2. Russia doesn’t bring Russian law, but brings lawlessness. People lose their rights – even those who sympathize with Russia. Your house can be taken by someone else; your car can be confiscated; you can be abducted, nobody would investigate.
3. Lots of people who are missing. We don’t know whether they are alive or not. Family members of these people are often forced to keep silent, violence will be applied to them as well.
4. If you live for months without food supplies (shops are closed, you cannot leave your village), you can only rely on your land, domestic animals and what you have in your personal food savings. Ukrainian peasants usually have a lot – at least they can survive
5. Some patterns – like not letting people leave their villages for months – remind of Holodomor, the Stalin’s artificial famine in 1932-1933. Clearly these practices “live” in the minds and practices of the Russian soldiers and commanders
6. Tortures are applied widely. Esp. tortures with electric current. The Russian torturers call it “a call to putin”. So they themselves acknowledge that the acts of cruelty should bear putin’s name

Second news item

Audition time! Gov. Kristi Noem will be sharing a stage with Trump and is expected to endorse him as well:

It’s billed as a fundraiser for the South Dakota GOP, but a Friday rally with former President Donald Trump and the deep red state’s conservative two-term Gov. Kristi Noem could signal much more.

Trump, the commanding front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, is headlining the sold-out political gathering in Rapid City, South Dakota.

No comment from Marge or Kari on this latest development…

Third news item


Two-thirds of Democrat-leaning voters say the party should not nominate President Biden for a second term, according to a new CNN poll released Thursday…Unfavorable opinions of Biden are rising among his own party, as its voters hesitate about the 80-year-old’s age and ability to handle another term in office.

Zoom in: When Democrats and Democratic-leaning independent voters were asked who the party should nominate as its 2024 presidential candidate, only 33% chose Biden, according to the poll conducted by SSRS.

67% said they wanted a different candidate as the party’s nominee. Yes, but: When those respondents were asked who the party’s 2024 nominee should be, no other person polled above 3%.

The overwhelming majority of Democrat-leaning voters who said they were against a 2nd term for Biden — 82% — said they want “just someone besides Joe Biden.”

The biggest concern is President Biden’s age and how it might impact his mental competency.

Fourth news item

What an awful price to pay for doing one’s civic duty:

Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis asked a judge…to take steps to protect jurors who indicted former President Trump and over a dozen of his allies for their alleged attempts to flip Georgia’s election results in 2020.

…Willis said at least 23 jurors in the case have had their personal information — including their names, ages, addresses and vehicle details —posted anonymously on “conspiracy theory websites” hosted by a Russian company as part of an effort to “harass and intimidate them.”

Willis asked the court to protect jurors by restricting their appearance throughout the case and access to their identities…the state fears that Trump and his allies’ right to a fair trial will be violated if their identities became widely known to the public, though she acknowledged that the case has received international attention and that the upcoming trial will likely be “highly-publicized.”

Fifth news item

Today’s NYC: We’re a sanctuary city…at least until migrants land on our doorstep:

As asylum seekers and their families continue to arrive at the Roosevelt Hotel in Manhattan, recent comments from New York City Mayor Eric Adams are drawing reactions.

During a community meeting on the Upper West Side this week, Mayor Adams said that the ongoing migrant crisis “will destroy NYC.”

“Never in my life have I had a problem that I didn’t see an ending to, I don’t see an ending to this,” Adams said. “This issue will destroy New York City.”

Sixth news item

Ah, well okay then:

U.S. Vice President Kamala Harris dismissed questions about President Joe Biden’s age on Friday, telling a television interviewer she is prepared to be commander in chief, but that it won’t be necessary.

“Joe Biden is going to be just fine,” Harris said, when asked about concerns that Biden is too old to run again.

Seventh news item

Well, why weren’t they charged?:

A Georgia grand jury recommended criminal charges against three Republican U.S. senators and other allies of Donald Trump as part of its investigation into efforts to overturn Trump’s 2020 presidential defeat, according to a report released on Friday.

None were ultimately charged when Georgia prosecutors filed a sweeping criminal case against Trump and 18 alleged co-conspirators.

The special grand jury recommended charging Georgia’s two senators at the time, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, as well as Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, the report showed.

Eighth news item

Landing in unfamiliar territory:

Flamingos have been spotted as far north in the US as Ohio and Pennsylvania in recent days, after they were blown off course by the powerful Hurricane Idalia that hit Florida late last month, experts say.

The distinctive birds have been reported in Florida, Georgia, North and South Carolina, also in Texas and further north from their typical habitats, in Kentucky and even Ohio…They were also seen in Franklin county in southern Pennsylvania on Thursday, NPR reported.

Interesting tidbit:

American flamingos are typically found in the Caribbean or the northern coast of south America, according to the Smithsonian National Zoo. Native to Florida, they were nearly hunted out of existence in the late 19th century because their feathers were prized for women’s hats, NPR reported in 2018.

Have a great weekend.


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