Saturday News: Poor, Pitiful Pat


BUDD GOES AFTER MCCRORY WITH BENT VALENTINES AD: Budd-backing conservative group Club for Growth plans to run an ad linking former Republican Gov. Pat McCrory to President Joe Biden and other liberal leaders during “The Bachelor” on ABC on Monday evening. “Find someone who loves you as much as Pat McCrory loves liberals,” the ad’s narrator declares to a visual of McCrory backslapping former President Barack Obama. McCrory is also shown hugging Biden at the beginning of the ad. Budd, who is endorsed by former President Donald Trump, out-funded all of his Republican opponents last quarter, according to campaign finance reports released last month. He raised $968,360, compared to former Gov. Pat McCrory’s $748,072. Eastman out-raised Walker with $423,723, compared to Walker’s $146,053. Clowns smacking each other in the head with rubber chickens keeps playing in my mind, for some reason.

NC REPUBLICANS ARE (ONCE AGAIN) DRAWING SECRET MAPS: On Thursday, a handful of House Republican lawmakers and staff members meandered through the second floor of the Capitol building, filing in and out of one conference area where windows were blocked by drapes between rooms 2225 and 2226. "I think the curtains stay closed," House Speaker Tim Moore said in an interview with WRAL News. "I don't even think you can open them in that room. I know there's a computer there. There may be another computer terminal somewhere else. The Democrats are meeting in a room that's over in the Legislative Office Building that doesn't have windows or anything. But you wouldn't see anything interesting. It's just folks sitting in front of a computer and moving a mouse around and looking at the districts." Sen. Dan Blue, a Wake County Democrat and minority leader for Senate Democrats, said the public deserves more transparency from House Republicans about how maps are being redrawn. “There’s no reason anybody ought to hide what they’re looking at as they draw new districts for court review.” What Dan said. The frickin' NC Supreme Court is watching, you nimrods, stop acting like idiots.

ROBBERY CONVICTION OVERTURNED BECAUSE BLACK JURORS WERE DISMISSED: North Carolina's Supreme Court overturned the robbery conviction of a Black man on Friday, determining that prosecutors wrongly blocked a potential juror from his trial based on racial bias. The 4-3 ruling marks the first time in state history, according to legal authorities, that a criminal conviction was invalidated because of a prosecutor's unlawful exclusion of a Black juror through a process developed by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1986. “We are so relieved to see our state’s highest court finally acknowledge this important violation of civil rights," said Elizabeth Hambourger with the Center for Death Penalty Litigation, calling the discrimination against Black jurors “rampant ” in the state. She argued for defendant Christopher Anthony Clegg in a lower court and assisted with the appeal. Clegg's case hinged on the use of what's called a “Batson challenge” because Clegg's counsel believed during his trial that two potential female jurors — both Black — were dismissed by prosecutors due to their race. When a judge accepts such a challenge, the prosecutor then must present a “race-neutral” reason for dismissal. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Judges need to be more cognizant of racial discrimination in jury selection.

JOE AND VLAD WILL HAVE A CHIN-WAG OVER UKRAINE CRISIS: There is a “distinct possibility” that Russia will invade Ukraine in a “very swift time frame,” White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan warned Friday, as he urged all Americans in Ukraine to “leave as soon as possible … in any event, within the next 24 to 48 hours.” “There will be no opportunity to leave and no prospect of a U.S. military evacuation in the event of a rush invasion,” Sullivan said to reporters in the White House briefing room. An attack, he said, would “likely begin” with aerial bombing and missile strikes, and “no one would be able to count on rail or air or road departures.” As U.S. warnings sharply escalated, the White House said that President Biden would speak with Russian President Vladimir Putin late Saturday morning, Washington time. The Kremlin said Biden had requested the call. U.S. officials said the Russians proposed it occur on Monday but accepted Biden’s Saturday counterproposal. U.S. officials now believe that Putin is likely to launch an attack, potentially as early as next week, according to multiple officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss administration deliberations. That judgment is based in part on new intelligence that Russia is planning to conduct an operation to create a false pretext for invading Ukraine, the officials said. The precise date and nature of the Russian operation, known as a false flag, was unclear. U.S. officials had earlier called out Russia for planning to stage and film a fake attack by Ukrainian military forces on Russia as a pretext for invasion. I normally wouldn't be worried about such an operation, but I've seen a few reports of Russian mercenaries tricking into the Ukraine, and they would have no problem firing on their own people. But it's still unlikely.

PARALYSIS FROM SPINAL INJURIES COULD BE REVERSED RELATIVELY QUICKLY WITH NEW TREATMENT: Now a team of researchers has designed a new type of electrode system that successfully restored movement abilities in three patients with complete paralysis of muscles in the legs and trunk. What is more, improvement was seen within just one day of treatment—faster than most previously studied techniques—and it continued in the days and months to follow. The findings were published on February 7 in Nature Medicine. Many of the stimulation technologies developed over the years were originally designed for treating pain and later repurposed for restoring movement. The downside to this approach is that these technologies failed to stimulate the specific nerves in the spinal cord that control movement in the legs and trunk. Moreover, the new approach allows treatment to be personalized to each individual patient by zeroing in on particular dorsal roots. “This is the most precise stimulation of the spinal cord to date and associated recovery of movement in people with complete spinal cord injury,” says Grégoire Courtine, co-senior author of the new paper and a neuroscientist at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne. The new device actually targets “dorsal nerve roots,” a bundle of nerve fibers that deliver sensory information to the spine. But this sensory input triggers other nerves responsible for moving the trunk and limbs. As the paper’s other co-senior author Jocelyne Bloch puts it, “The pain electrode arrays are shorter and narrower, they were not designed to specifically target each individual nerve root to activate precisely and specifically the trunk and leg muscles.” Bloch is a neurosurgeon at Lausanne University Hospital in Switzerland. Nothing short of amazing.



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The only section of the NYT

The only section of the Times I read any more is the Tuesday science section. I figure the only way to keep up with science is yo keep up with science! Bring it.


What an embarrassing fool.