Following an order of the New York Attorney General, the Donald J. Trump Foundation has started the process of dissolving:
In a statement, a spokesperson for the foundation confirmed that it is being shuttered. "The Foundation continues to cooperate with the New York Attorney General’s Charities Division, and as previously announced by the President, his advisers are working with the Charities Division to wind up the affairs of the Foundation. The Foundation looks forward to distributing its remaining assets at the earliest possible time to aid numerous worthy charitable organizations."
The attorney general's press secretary, Amy Spitalnick, said the foundation can't close just yet, however. "As the foundation is still under investigation by this office, it cannot legally dissolve until that investigation is complete," said Spitalnick.
This is a reminder that the State of New York is not subject to the President's pardon power, and has jurisdiction over just about all of Trump's affairs. Were Robert Mueller to be fired, it's likely Eric Schneiderman will pick up where Mueller left off, with no loss of forward momentum. It's also likely Trump's lawyers know this.
At least the Trump Foundation is on its way out. That's one fewer potential source of criminal activity we'll have to worry about.
Scientists have found a correlation (but, crucially, not a causation) between the earth's rotation slowing slightly and an increase in seismic activity:
Although such fluctuations in rotation are small – changing the length of the day by a millisecond – they could still be implicated in the release of vast amounts of underground energy, it is argued.
The link between Earth’s rotation and seismic activity was highlighted last month in a paper by Roger Bilham of the University of Colorado in Boulder and Rebecca Bendick of the University of Montana in Missoula presented at the annual meeting of the Geological Society of America.
“The correlation between Earth’s rotation and earthquake activity is strong and suggests there is going to be an increase in numbers of intense earthquakes next year,” Bilham told the Observer last week.
Exactly why decreases in day length should be linked to earthquakes is unclear although scientists suspect that slight changes in the behaviour of Earth’s core could be causing both effects.
Energy has to go somewhere. And systems as large as the earth move a lot of energy around. Could get rumbly this year.
On Wednesday, I did something for the first time:
That was the Rangers at the Blackhawks. And this happened:
Hearing "Chelsea Dagger" seven times (including three thanks to Artem Anisimov's first career hat trick) was a good introduction to the sport.
Right now, it looks like I'll see the Blackhawks/Maple Leafs game on January 24th, complete with "O Canada" (and I hope more of the Fratellis).
A new book by an English retiree compiles still classified Soviet maps of British and American cities:
On a business trip to Riga, Latvia’s capital, in the early 2000s, [John Davies] hit the mother lode. Davies happened upon a shop that held bundles of Cold War-era maps of British cities, created by the Soviet military. The maps were so detailed that they included such elements as the products factories made and bridges’ load-bearing capacity. “I was just amazed,” Davies said.
Each time Davies went to Riga, he would bring back another armload of the maps. And it turned out the Soviet military hadn’t just made maps of British cities: Davies discovered similarly intricate maps of U.S. cities, as well as areas across the globe. He and Alexander Kent, a professor of cartography at Canterbury Christ Church University, worked together to figure out how the maps were made. Their research can be found in a new book, The Red Atlas.
It's published in the US on my home-town imprint, the University of Chicago Press—and is at this writing out of stock on Amazon. (And of course I just ordered it.)
My current project involves military enrollment, so I am following the story of the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest (MAVNI) program, recently suspended by the Pentagon:
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said Friday that he supports reactivating a program designed to attract foreign military recruits who agree to serve in exchange for fast-tracked U.S. citizenship.
Speaking with reporters at the Pentagon, Mattis said the Military Accessions Vital to the National Interest program, or MAVNI, was suspended a year ago and additional security measures were put in place to guard against “espionage potential” among U.S. military recruits born in other countries. Those new regulations left the program paralyzed, ending a reliable stream of high-quality troops.
“We are taking the steps obviously to save the program, if it can be saved,” Mattis said. “And I believe it can.”
The MAVNI program has produced more than 10,400 troops since 2009 — personnel who possess language and medical skills deemed vital to military operations and in short supply among U.S.-born troops. The military continues to process those who enlisted before the program was suspended.
It may seem odd that people who enlisted over a year ago still require processing, but this is pretty normal. The Delayed Enlistment Program (DEP) affects nearly all applicants as military needs and space in Basic Military Training (BMT) and advanced schools are both limited. People who enlist can take up to 545 days to ship.
Also, an interesting bit I just learned, if an alien enlists in the DEP and then drops out before shipping to BMT, that person is forever ineligible for US citizenship (8 USC 1426). Also see 8 USC 1429 for how to become a naturalized citizen through military service.
Via CityLab's new newsletter "MapLab:"
“Vision Zero” supporters are tapping into big data in other ways. This month, Strava, the app that tracks users’ athletic activity, re-released a “Global Heatmap” tracing more than 1 billion jogs, hikes, and bike rides by millions of members around the world. (The running scene in London, in striking orange and black, is shown above.) Already, some public agencies are making use of the data to support and protect all that sweat. CityLab’s Benjamin Schneider recently wrote about how Utah’s DOT is changing road and intersection designs to be safer for cyclists, based on the map. “It’s replacing anecdote with data,” one local planner told him.
Here's the run map for Chicago's north lakefront:
This is total Daily Parker bait. But I actually have work to do today.
I have some free time coming up next Friday, but until then, there's a lot going on. So I have very little time to read, let alone write about, these stories from this week:
Back to project planning...
The unsurprising news that President Trump tweeted about something that his son found out only minutes before back in June shows just how foreign governments can use his impulsiveness and stupidity to play him:
Seeing Assange prompt a Trump tweet, via Don Jr, is I suspect only the first and clearest of many examples. Who told Trump what? In a lot of cases Trump’s tweets will likely tell us. Trump’s October 12th Wikileaks tweet was totally opaque until we found out about Don Jr’s DMs with Assange a few minutes before. Trump’s tweets are impulsive, immediate, unvarnished. They amount to realtime surveillance of what he was thinking and what he knew at key points of the campaign. They just require the fruits of the ongoing investigations to decipher what they mean.
Some day, we'll find out (perhaps through a Truth & Reconciliation Committee) just how badly this man has hurt the country.
Today, by the way, is the 12th anniversary of the modern incarnation of this blog. (I had a proto-blog on braverman.org from 13 May 1998 until this app took over.)
This is the 5,766th post on The Daily Parker. I hope you've enjoyed at least 577 of them.
I love what this driver did to her Mazda logo: