Month: May 2018

I Am Not Sure Who Blinked Here

After panic in the bond markets, 5 Star and the League will be forming a government in Italy:

After 88 days of impasses and negotiations, two Italian populist parties with a history of antagonism toward the European Union received approval Thursday night to create a government that has unsettled the Continent’s political order and promises a sweeping crackdown on the illegal immigration that helped fuel their ascent.

Only days ago, President Sergio Mattarella of Italy rejected a populist government over concerns about a proposed finance minister who had helped write a guide for withdrawing Italy from the euro, Europe’s single currency. The political chaos and sudden uncertainty about the euro helped send global financial markets reeling.

On Thursday, the populists reshuffled, keeping the same prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, and other top players, but moving the objectionable finance minister to a less critical post.

I would note that the “Objectionable” former pick for FM, Paolo Savona, is a former member of the Bank of Italy who pioneered econometric models of the Italian economy, so he was clearly qualified.

The issue here was his philosophy, not competence.

That was apparently enough to satisfy the president, who preferred an elected government to a caretaker alternative he had in reserve. The populist parties constituting the new government won the most votes in a March 4 election.

I tend to think that the general freakout over snap elections, and talk of impeaching Mattarella, had more to do with this than any profession of devotion to the Euro by the now incoming government.

The cabinet still included the minister blocked by President Mattarella — Paolo Savona, the euro-skeptic economist. But Mr. Savona has now been moved from the powerful finance ministry to the less consequential European affairs ministry.

He will nevertheless be Italy’s representative in Brussels, a key spot for a coalition that wants to change the rules of the European Union.


In a retort to the European Commission president, Jean-Claude Juncker, who suggested that Italians must work harder and be less corrupt, Mr. Salvini made clear that the days of Italy going “hat in hand” to Brussels were over.

Fasten your seat belts, we are in for a bumpy ride.

Why I Get No Ad Revenue

Because they keep serving up ads like this:

Seriously Google™ Adsense™?

You looked at my blog, and you saw my regular use of the term, “Ammosexual,” to describe gun fondlers, and you thought that my reader(s) would be a good place for a f%$#ing ad from the f%$#ing US Concealed Carry Association?

What the f%$# were you thinking?

My standard disclaimer on any post about the aforementioned service applies:

Also, please note, this should be in no way construed as an inducement or a request for my reader(s) to click on any ad that they would not otherwise be inclined to investigate further. This would be a violation of the terms of service for Google™ Adsense™.

We ……… Are ……… F%$#ed

It took over 50 years after the crash of 1929 for the the next banking crisis, the Savings and Loan crisis, to occur.

It took 25 years after that for he next crash, in 2008.

Now, my money is on us not even making it to 15 years:

Big banks are getting a big reprieve from a postcrisis rule aimed at curbing risky behavior on Wall Street.

Federal bank regulators on Wednesday unveiled a sweeping proposal to soften the Volcker Rule, a cornerstone of the 2010 law that was enacted after the financial crisis to rein in risky trading. The change would give Wall Street banks more freedom to make their own complex bets — activities that can be highly profitable but also leave them more vulnerable to losses.

The rule, part of the broader Dodd-Frank law, was put in place to prevent banks from making unsafe bets with depositors’ money. It took five agencies three years to write it and has been criticized by Wall Street as too onerous and harmful to the proper functioning of financial markets. On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve proposed easing several parts of the rule, and four other regulators are expected to soon follow suit, kicking off a public comment period that is expected to last 60 days.

The loosening of the Volcker Rule is part of a coordinated effort underway in Washington to relax rules put into place in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis. Big banks, emboldened by President Trump’s deregulatory agenda and a more favorable political climate in Washington, have begun pressing for changes to several postcrisis rules, including the Volcker Rule.


“This proposal is no minor set of technical tweaks to the Volcker Rule, but an attempt to unravel fundamental elements of the response to the 2008 financial crisis, when banks financed their gambling with taxpayer-insured deposits,” Marcus Stanley, policy director at Americans for Financial Reform, said in a statement.

Senator Elizabeth Warren, the Massachusetts Democrat who has been among the most vocal critics of changes to Dodd-Frank, called the proposal the latest example of corruption in Mr. Trump’s Washington.

“Even as banks make record profits, their former banker buddies turned regulators are doing them favors by rolling back a rule that protects taxpayers from another bailout,” Ms. Warren said.

Honestly, I blame all those people who decided that it would be too “disruptive” to jail banksters.

There were lots of bankers jailed, including the head of the New York Stock Exchange in the 1930s.

In the 1980s, it was a smaller number of S&L executives.

Under Barack Obama and Eric “Place” Holder, no prosecutions at all.

The banksters are going to make more money, and the rest of us will eventually have to pay for their excesses.

Privacy Is Not for Peasants

It appears that mobile phone providers are telling potential advertisers when you go to the emergency room, so that ambulance chasers can now electronically chase emergency room patients:

With digital traps in hospitals, there’s no need for personal injury lawyers to chase ambulances these days.

Law firms are using geofencing in hospital emergency rooms to target advertisements to patients’ mobile devices as they seek medical care, according to Philadelphia public radio station WHYY. Geofencing can essentially create a digital perimeter around certain locations and target location-aware devices within the borders of those locations. Patients who unwittingly jump that digital fence may see targeted ads for more than a month, and on multiple devices, the outlet notes.


Last year, Healey’s office barred a digital firm from using geofencing in healthcare settings in the state after the firm was hired by a Christian pregnancy counseling and adoption agency to use digital perimeters to target ads to anyone who entered reproductive health facilities, including Planned Parenthood clinics. The goal was to make sure “abortion-minded women” saw certain ads on their mobile devices as they sat in waiting rooms. The ads had text such as “Pregnancy Help” or “You Have Choices,” which, if clicked, would direct them to information about abortion alternatives.

Healey equated the move to digital harassment and successfully claimed that it violated the state’s consumer protection act.

Still, the use of geofencing in hospitals for marketing is not necessarily illegal overall, and law firms and marketing agencies remain eager to put up their fences. Healthcare-related geo-targeting is occurring across the country, including in Tennessee and California. Bill Kakis, who runs the New York-based marketing firm Tell All Digital, told WHYY it was one of the fastest-growing parts of his business. He was recently hired by personal injury law firms in the Philadelphia area to target patients, for instance.

There are two obvious conclusions about this, and they are that the new European privacy regulations, the GPDR has two problems, it’s not strong enough, and that it is not here.

Tweet of the Day

People of all races, religions and nationalities work at Sanofi every day to improve the lives of people around the world. While all pharmaceutical treatments have side effects, racism is not a known side effect of any Sanofi medication.

— Sanofi US (@SanofiUS) May 30, 2018

This is, of course, in response to Rosanne Barr claiming that Ambien made her tweet racist bullsh%$.

In less than 24 hours, Rosanne has had me compliment the ethics of a TV executive, and express admiration for the public relations activities of a large pharmaceutical firm.

Reality has exceeded my capability for satire: It’s like a hideous inverse function of a miracle.

If Arkady Babchenko Walks Outside, and Sees His Shadow, It Means 6 More Weeks of Winter

Roll Tape

This just in, Arkady Babchenko is still alive:

The assassination bore all the hallmarks of yet another contract killing carried out in the murky shadows of the conflict pitting Russia against Ukraine.

A photo of the victim, a dissident Russian journalist, showed him lying face down Tuesday in a vermilion pool of his own blood. He was found by his wife, and died on the way to a hospital from multiple gunshot wounds to the back, said the police in Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.

Then on Wednesday, the journalist, Arkady Babchenko, to all appearances very much alive, walked into a news conference that Ukrainian security officials had called to discuss his “murder.”


The staged death, said Vasily S. Gritsak, the head of the Ukraine Security Service, was a sting operation aimed at stopping a real assassination plot against Mr. Babchenko. It was the latest twist — if an especially bizarre one — in the tortured relations between Ukraine and Russia, which annexed the Crimean Peninsula in 2014 and is fueling a separatist war in eastern Ukraine.

Ukraine and Russia constantly lob charges and countercharges accusing each other of various forms of skulduggery. And they often accuse each other of fabricating claims. The announcement by the Ukrainian authorities that they had, in fact, made up the Babchenko killing offered the Russians a rare chance to claim the high ground. Russia’s Foreign Ministry issued a blistering statement, saying Ukraine would be better off solving real crimes, like the killing of two journalists in Kiev in 2015 and 2016.

“Matters of life and death in Ukraine, as well as trust of the international community to its policy, are nothing more than a bargaining chip used to fuel the anti-Russian hysteria of the Kiev regime,” the Russian statement said.

Both the story of Mr. Babchenko’s death and that of his resurrection garnered enormous attention around the world.

Various voices, especially from the world of journalism, called the ploy a bad idea in an era when battling fake news has become a daily problem — and when real news is dismissed as fake news whenever politicians from Washington to the Kremlin find it in their interest to do so.

I am not entirely clear of how this all works, but it appears that reports of his death were greatly exaggerated.


This is my dad in 1969, talking about municipal mergers in an interview. He has since grown a beard and stopped wearing bow ties:

Handmaiden’s Tale in Arkansas

The Supreme Court has allowed Arkansas’ draconian abortion restrictions to stand:

The Supreme Court refused on Tuesday to hear a challenge to an Arkansas law that could force two of the state’s three abortion clinics to close.

As is their custom, the justices gave no reasons for turning away the appeal. The case will continue to be litigated in the lower courts.

The law concerns medication abortions, which use pills to induce abortions in the first nine weeks of pregnancy. The law, enacted in 2015, requires providers of the procedure to have contracts with doctors who have admitting privileges at a hospital in the state. Abortion clinics in Arkansas said they were unable to find any doctors willing to sign such contracts.

After the Supreme Court’s action, Planned Parenthood said it would for now stop providing medication abortions in the state.

We are going to see Roe v. Wade overturned in the next few years.

We Live in Strange Times

Two months ago, Roseanne Barr was a star again.

Her sitcom “Roseanne” returned in March after a two-decade absence to enormous ratings on ABC. Network executives were celebrating their strategy of appealing to wider swaths of the country after Donald J. Trump’s surprising election win and the president himself called Ms. Barr to congratulate her on the show’s large audience.

But on Tuesday, that all came crashing down. ABC abruptly canceled “Roseanne” hours after Ms. Barr, the show’s star and co-creator, posted a racist tweet about Valerie Jarrett, an African-American woman who was a senior adviser to Barack Obama throughout his presidency and considered one of his most influential aides. Ms. Barr wrote if the “muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj.”

Ms. Barr later apologized, but it was too late. In announcing the show’s cancellation, ABC’s entertainment president, Channing Dungey, said in a statement that “Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values.”

The show had ended its successful comeback season last week and was expected to return in September for a 13-episode run. Robert A. Iger, the chief executive of the Walt Disney Company, ABC’s corporate parent, shared Ms. Dungey’s statement on his own Twitter account, adding: “There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing.”

The sudden cancellation of a hit show — it had the highest ratings of a new TV series in years — because of offscreen controversy was almost without precedent.

Seriously, I would not expect this from someone with the title, “President of ABC Entertainment Group.”

Entertainment executives are not generally known for taking morally courageous stands.

Once Again, I Disavow an Ad on My Site

So, I just saw a advertisement from Ashley Madison, the site for people who want to cheat on her spouses.

I’ve posted the image, but not the link, because:

The ads on my blog are selected by Google with no input on my part.

Ashley Madison not a business I would recommend to my reader(s) .

It could be worse, and it has been, as was the case in 2008, when I was regularly getting John McCain’s “Death Star” banner ads every time I mocked him.

My standard disclaimer regarding advertisements on my site applies:

As always, note that this post should in no way be construed as an inducement or a request for my reader(s) to click on any ad that they would not otherwise be inclined to investigate further. This would be a violation of the terms of service for Google™ Adsense™.

*Note that this is different from mutually agreed open relationships.

I am Fine, I am Dry, and This Was Not A Natural Disaster

Area in yellow has been paved over, creating a flood making machine

Notwithstanding the flooding which got wide coverage in Ellicott City, it was not a big deal where I live, Owings Mills, about 20 miles away.

It was a fairly intense storm, but beyond a few flooded basements, it should not have been a disaster.

The flooding was caused by reckless and uninformed real estate development:


For 200+ years the flooding in Ellicott City came from the rising of the Patapsco River and was mostly limited to lower Main Street. During major rain storms the water was absorbed into the ground in the surrounding woods north and west of town and the Tiber River, which runs east along Fredrick Road, was wide enough to handle the overflow that ran through town. (rivers have the uncanny ability to be just as wide and deep as they need to be)

In the past 20+ years developers and Howard County zoning board have banded together to pave over all of those woods with medium and high density housing. The yellow area is mostly new construction built in the last two decades. When you pave over the natural terrain and add sewers and roads that lead directly to Main Street (red area) you get a high speed rollercoaster for the water to ride right through town. This “top down” flooding has nothing to do with Mother Nature. This is a man-made disaster caused by greedy and/or uninformed people who decided that building homes above this wonderful city was worth the risk of destroying it.


The county executive may be right that this is a “once in a thousand year storm” but anyone who has ever been on Main Street in a rain storm knows that flooding is a common occurrence since the construction above town became so out of control. Now, in perfect irony, The state and county will spend more money than they earn on tax from new construction to fix the damage it created. This is a horrible disaster but nature had nothing to do with it.

This problem was foreseeable, and there have been plenty of indications of a problem even before the last flood 2 years ago.

I am not sure what can be done to fix this now, though requiring the replacement of driveways and parking lots with porous surfaces could not hurt.

The Fix is In

The 5-Star and the Lega parties won the last election, with a combined 50% of the vote, and they agreed to form a coalition government with Giuseppe Conte as prime minister.
Conte has now ended their attempt to form a government because the Italian President has refused to approve their economy minister:

A standoff over Italy’s future in the eurozone has forced the resignation of the populist prime minister-in waiting, Giuseppe Conte, after the country’s president refused to accept Conte’s controversial choice for finance minister.

Sergio Mattarella, the Italian president who was installed by a previous pro-EU government, refused to accept the nomination for finance minister of Paolo Savona, an 81-year-old former industry minister who has called Italy’s entry into the euro a “historic mistake”.

“I have given up my mandate to form the government of change,” Conte told reporters after leaving failed talks with Mattarella.

Italy has been without a government since elections on 4 March ended in a hung parliament.

The country is now expected to go to the polls again in the autumn.

The president’s move to quash Savona’s nomination was unprecedented in recent history and exposed a deep divide between Mattarella, who serves as the head of state and is suppose to be politically neutral, and the two populist parties – the Five Star Movement (M5S) and the far-right Lega (formerly the Northern League) – who have struggled desperately to form a government and support a more antagonistic relationship with Brussels.

Mattarella defended his decision by saying that naming Savona as finance minister – which he already said he opposed – posed a risk for Italian families and citizens, because it created uncertainty in the Italian economy.

“I asked for that ministry an authoritative political figure from the coalition parties who was not seen as the supporter of a line that could provoke Italy’s exit from the euro,” Mattarella said.

“The uncertainty over our position within the euro has alarmed Italian and foreign investors who have invested in securities and companies,” he said.


Mattarella said he would evaluate a call by the leaders of the M5S and the Lega for snap elections. He summoned a former official at the International Monetary Fund, Carlo Cottarelli, to the presidential palace on Monday, which was interpreted as a sign that Cottarelli would be asked to form a government of unelected technocrats.

Mattarella’s move could risk a constitutional crisis.

Matteo Salvini, the bombastic head of the far-right Lega, angrily denounced the decision to block Savona, his personal choice for finance minister, saying that Mattarella had overstepped his authority and was revealing bias against a qualified individual – who once worked at the Bank of Italy – simply because he is anti-euro.

“In a democracy, if we are still in a democracy, there’s only one thing to do, let the Italians have their say,” Salvini said.

Luigi Di Maio, who heads the M5S, also criticised the decision.

“In this country, you can be a condemned criminal, a tax fraud convict, under investigation for corruption and be a minister … but if you criticise Europe, you cannot be an economy minister,” he said.

Basically, the Italian President said that the fact that the Economy Minister was a Euroskeptic was bad for the bond market, and besides, he really likes the EU and the Euro, so f%$# you.

There are deep and profound problems with the EU and the Euro Zone, and the conventional thinking will not solve those problems, because it never solves those problems, and the fact that the responses of the Pro EU establishment are increasingly un and anti-democratic in response.

This will not end well.

Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi Will You Please Go Now

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s refusal to unequivocally condemn the National Football League’s new rules — designed to prevent players from protesting by kneeling during the national anthem — is one of the reasons many black voters, particularly black millennials, question whether the Democratic Party has their best interests in mind.

At a CNN town hall Wednesday, anchor Chris Cuomo asked Pelosi whether she was okay with the rule change.

“I would be more okay with it if they had consulted with the players,” Pelosi said, referring to the NFL Players Association’s claim that athletes had not been given a chance to weigh in on the new rules. “I don’t think the players agreed to this. This is the owners, and, by the way, it’s the owners who would be fined.”

“I love the national anthem,” she added. “I’m from Baltimore. That’s where it was written during the War of 1812. So I’m very possessive of it. Sometimes people say, ‘Maybe we should change the national anthem.’ No.”

“I love the national anthem. I love the flag,” Pelosi said. “And I love the First Amendment, and I’ll just leave it at that.”

As one Twitter commenter noted, “Pelosi is unwilling to take a stance on an issue that’s literally killing Black people.”

This sort of prevarication is endemic to the Democratic Party establishment, and it loses elections.

Cowardice never gives good policy, and almost never gives good politics.

It’s this sort of sh%$ that makes potential voters wonder whether you will ever stand up on THEIR behalf.

Poem, apologies to Theodore Geisel, after the break:

Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi will you please go now!
The time has come.
The time has come.
The time is now.
Just go.
I don’t care how.
You can go by foot.
You can go by cow.
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi will you please go now!
You can go on skates.
You can go on skis.
You can go in a hat.
Please go.
I don’t care.
You can go
By bike.
You can go
On a Zike-Bike
If you like.
If you like
You can go
In an old blue shoe.
Just go, go, GO!
Please do, do, do, DO!
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi
I don’t care how.
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi
Will you please
You can go on stilts.
You can go by fish.
You can go in a Crunk-Car
If you wish.
If you wish
You may go
By lion’s tale.
Or stamp yourself
And go by mail.
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi
Don’t you know
The time has come
To go, go, GO!
Get on your way!
Please Nancy P.!
You might like going in a Zumble-Zay.
You can go by balloon . . .
Or broomstick.
You can go by camel
In a bureau drawer.
You can go by bumble-boat
. . . or jet.
I don’t care how you go.
Just get!
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi!
I don’t care how.
Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi
Will you please
I said
I meant . . .
The time had come
So . . .
Nancy WENT.

The Free Women of Ireland: 1 — Catholic Church: 0

Irish voters have just voted overwhelmingly to legalize abortion:

Ireland has voted by a landslide to legalise abortion in a stunning outcome that marks a dramatic defeat for the Catholic church’s one-time domination of the Republic.

The Irish electorate voted by 1,429,981 votes to 723,632 in favour of abolishing a controversial constitutional amendment that gave equal legal status to the lives of a foetus and the woman carrying it. The result was a two-thirds majority: 66.4% yes to 33.6% no.

By voting yes in unexpectedly large numbers to abolish the eighth amendment to the Irish constitution, the country has enabled the government in Dublin to introduce abortion in Ireland’s health service up to 12 weeks into pregnancy.

 Saturday’s triumph for abortion reformers occurred only months before a papal visit to the country – the first since John Paul II’s tour of Ireland in 1979. After Pope Francis leaves Ireland in August, the Irish minority government, with the backing of opposition parties, will within weeks start the process of drawing up legislation to allow for abortion, which was once an unthinkable political project in Ireland.

And Pope Frank will be visiting in a August.

I welcome Ireland to the ranks for first world nations.

Live in Obedient Fear, Customer

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is one Persian cat away from being a Bond villain, and people are paying him money to put listening devices in their houses:

It’s time to break out your “Alexa, I Told You So” banners – because a Portland, Oregon, couple received a phone call from one of the husband’s employees earlier this month, telling them she had just received a recording of them talking privately in their home.

“Unplug your Alexa devices right now,” the staffer told the couple, who did not wish to be fully identified, “you’re being hacked.”

At first the couple thought it might be a hoax call. However, the employee – over a hundred miles away in Seattle – confirmed the leak by revealing the pair had just been talking about their hardwood floors.

The recording had been sent from the couple’s Alexa-powered Amazon Echo to the employee’s phone, who is in the husband’s contacts list, and she forwarded the audio to the wife, Danielle, who was amazed to hear herself talking about their floors. Suffice to say, this episode was unexpected. The couple had not instructed Alexa to spill a copy of their conversation to someone else.

“I felt invaded,” Danielle told KIRO-TV. “A total privacy invasion. Immediately I said, ‘I’m never plugging that device in again, because I can’t trust it.'”


According to Danielle, Amazon confirmed that it was the voice-activated digital assistant that had recorded and sent the file to a virtual stranger, and apologized profusely, but gave no explanation for how it may have happened.


But the truth is that if Alexa devices can easily be turned into bugs if there is a hardware or software mistake and we are willing to bet that in its haste to constantly update its devices Amazon let a big mistake through.

Amazon insists that its box mistakenly heard them say Alexa, and then it mistakenly heard them say to send the recording to their workplace.

I don’t find this particularly reassuring, and neither should you.

So Much for the Free Market

Banks have decided to clamp down on financing gun purchases, and Republicans in Congress are trying to stop them:

When Congress decided not to take significant action after a spate of mass shootings this year and last, some big banks opted to take matters into their own hands by restricting financing for gun sellers.

Now, Republican lawmakers are pressing regulators to stop banks from doing so, over concerns they are veering too far into social activism.


“If you’re going to turn us into a nation of red banks and blue banks, you’re making a mistake,” Senator John Kennedy, a Louisiana Republican and member of the banking committee, said in a recent interview before the latest shooting. “Don’t come crying to us when you screw up and you want the American taxpayer to bail you out.”

Mr. Kennedy said he planned to file complaints with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau against banks that are effectively restricting gun sales by setting their own rules on legal products and refusing to do business with gun makers and retailers that do not comply. He is also working to get Republican colleagues to join him in writing legislation to stop banks from discriminating against gun buyers.

Major banks have taken a series of steps this year to prevent guns from falling into the wrong hands. They are restricting their credit card and banking services to gun retailers and halting lending to gun makers that do not comply with age limits and background check rules determined by the banks. They are also freezing out businesses that sell high-capacity magazines and “bump stocks,” attachments that enable semiautomatic rifles to fire faster, even though such products are legal under federal law.


Gun advocates have viewed the moves as a direct assault on the industry.

Gun lobbyists that usually direct their resources at attacking Democrats have now jumped into the fray to take on banks, pressing Republican lawmakers to use their influence to make the banks back down.

Hypocrisy much?

Crap Websites

Because of #GDPR, USA Today decided to run a separate version of their website for EU users, which has all the tracking scripts and ads removed. The site seemed very fast, so I did a performance audit. How fast the internet could be without all the junk! 🙄
5.2MB → 500KB

— Marcel Freinbichler (@fr3ino) May 26, 2018

It really is remarkable just how crapified and bloated websites have become.

It’s ads and trackers that crapify websites, and I’m sure that in the next few days, USA Today will succeed in coming up with a website just as bloated and slow as the US one.

It’s Completely Nuts

We’re going to include some fun games as hidden Easter eggs in Tesla S, X & 3. What do you think would be most fun in a car using the center touch screen?

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) May 22, 2018

Seriously, Easter Eggs?

Elon Musk is giving Donald Trump a seriously run for his money in the insane tweet division.

Who in their right mind thinks that it wouldn’t be completely insane to put “Easter Eggs” in the critical systems of a 2 ton death machine?

No one, that’s who.

Elon Musk just tweeted thinks that it’s just ducky to put a f%$#ing Rick Roll in the display for his cars.

This is profoundly unhinged.

And Now We Have Dope Fiend Mollusks

Mussels in Puget Sound have tested positive for opioids, which raises the obvious question, how the hell do you get them to pee into a cup?

Scientists at the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife have found that mussels in Seattle’s waters are testing positive for opioids.

The finding suggests “a lot of people” are taking oxycodone in the Puget Sound, researchers say.

Scientists used mussels as a way to test pollution in Seattle’s waters and discovered high enough oxycodone levels for the shellfish to test positive.

Mussels do not metabolise opioids, but some fish can become addicted.

Mussels are filter-feeders, which means they filter water for nutrients to nourish themselves. In the process, they end up storing pollutants in their tissues, which makes them a prime indicator species.

State researchers distributed clean mussels around the Puget Sound and extracted them months later to test the waters.

Of the 18 locations scientists used, three showed traces of oxycodone. The drug traces were not enough to get any humans high from consumption, but enough to indicate a problem, officials said.

There is a stand-up comedy routine in this story.

And Sesame Street is Suing Who?

I Gotta See This

Ben Henson, Jim Henson’s kids, and director of many Muppet movies, is being sued by Sesame Street over the marketing of his latest film, an R-rated cop movie with puppets:

Not everything is A-OK on Sesame Street today. The creators behind the beloved children’s show are suing STX Entertainment for the use of their brand name in the trailer and other marketing of the R-rated Muppets-inspired movie The Happytime Murders, according to Variety.

Both the trailer and the poster for the risqué project, directed by Jim Henson’s son Ben Henson, carries the tagline “No Sesame. All Street.” As such, the Sesame Street makers claim that this tarnishes their child-friendly brand, and they want all references to it completely Gonzo or else.

The film imagines a world where Muppet-like puppets get up to all manner of no good (the trailer contains drug use, foul language, and a pretty graphic puppet sex scene, watch below) with Melissa McCarthy playing a detective on the hunt for a serial killer who is intent on blowing the loveable creatures to pieces of fluff.

I am so going to see this movie.