Midday open thread: U.S. presence in Yemen torture chambers? Frackers flare record amount of gas

Today’s comic by Ruben Bolling is 

Parkland parents write letter seeking Pulitzer for Sun-Sentinel newspaper: Two parents whose children were murdered in the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shootings in Parkland, Florida, wrote an open letter Wednesday asking that the Pulitzer Prize committee recognize the South Florida Sun-Sentinel for its coverage of the shootings and what came afterward. The letter from Andrew Pollack and Ryan Petty was published at the Real Clear Education website. In part they wrote:

“This was the most avoidable mass murder in American history, enabled by a sheriff’s office and a school district characterized by administrative incompetence so staggering and moral corruption so deep that it took the Sun-Sentinel the better part of the year to uncover it all. But long after the national media moved on to the next controversy, local reporters here kept at it.’’

The two linked to to several articles published by the newspaper. Brittany Wallman, one of the reporters who has covered the shootings, tweeted: “This means a lot to me personally — that Parkland parents felt we channeled the grief into something productive and used the power of the press the way it was intended.’’

-30 degrees in Chippewa Falls, WI. How cold is that? So cold they stopped beer deliveries. The cans were freezing in the trucks.

Spencer Ackerman at the Daily Beast writes: “Detainees Describe an American Presence in Their Torture Chambers”:

Inside Yemen’s prisons can be found torture, rape, disappearances, a snarling dog nicknamed Shakira—and, according to survivors, the American sponsors of a dirty war. […]

You don’t have to take these two former detainees’ word for it, however: The U.S. military now admits that American troops are in the facilities. But Salvatore and al-Hasani’s accounts also challenge the official U.S. position, which is that despite American service-members being present in Yemeni prisons, the U.S. doesn’t know anything about any torture that happens in detention centers run by U.S. allies.

MIDDAY TWEET

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Sarah Sanders: “I think that [God] wanted Donald Trump to become president.”You know what else that means?God wanted Obama to win 2 terms.God wanted almost everyone surrounding Trump to be arrested.andGod wanted the Democrats to win in a blowout during the mid-terms.

— Brian Krassenstein (@krassenstein) January 31, 2019

California parole board again recommends release for youngest member of Manson cult, now 69: The board agreed that Leslie Van Houten is suitable for release after more than 40 years in prison. But she’s not out yet. Her fate will rest with Gov. Gavin Newsom after a 150-day review. She’s been recommended for parole twice before, but Gov. Jerry Brown chose not to accept the board’s judgment. Van Houten was one of Manson’s followers who stabbed to death wealthy grocer Leno LaBianca and his wife, Rosemary 50 years ago. Van Houten was 19 at the time of those slayings, a day after others in the cult slew the pregnant actress Sharon Tate and four others in Los Angeles.

Frackers are flaring a lot more natural gas than they’ve been reporting: And that means even more greenhouse gas emissions:

In 2018, the oil and gas industry operating in North Dakota’s Bakken Shale burned off record amounts of natural gas, largely obtained via hydraulic fracturing (fracking). This process, known as flaring, costs the industry money — it literally burns one of the products being pumped out of the ground — but more importantly, the resulting release of globe-warming emissions of carbon dioxide and methane spells disaster for the climate. […]

According to the Bismarck Tribune, the amount of gas flared in North Dakota in October was enough to heat 4.25 million homes in America. And while the fracking industry in North Dakota is flaring the most gas in the nation, it’s not the only place this is a growing issue. Flaring reportedly also doubled in 2018 in the booming Permian Shale in Texas and New Mexico, with an estimated $1 million a day of gas burned off.

Over at the humor site McSweeney’s, Brian Bennett invokes the Howard Schultz behind the centrist disguise:

 I Love How Our Country Has Made Me Obscenely Wealthy, and That’s Why I Am Seriously Considering Running for President as a Centrist Independent. […]

This is our country. I own a lot of it — much, much more of it than you. However, I call it “our” country because my net worth is equal to 60,000 Americans’ yearly salaries, so I understand its turbulent state 60,000 times better than the median American. We are in this fight together.

Making progress on converting Wi-Fi signals to electricity with new 2D materials:

Imagine a world where smartphones, laptops, wearables, and other electronics are powered without batteries. Researchers have taken a step in that direction, with the first fully flexible device that can convert energy from Wi-Fi signals into electricity that could power electronics.

On today’s Kagro in the Morning show: Greg Dworkin says Schultz is still there. But “there” isn’t the “center.” Why Pelosi gets more credit than Schumer. Armando implores Dems to start flexing on investigations, already. Having trouble grasping “Russia’s” game? It’s not a country, it’s a mob family.

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