Saturday midday open thread. 3-year climate disaster costs: $650 billion; one blue wave not enough

What’s coming up on Sunday Kos:

Are we a democracy or are we a monarchy, by Ian Reifowitz
We must take back our wealth from the super-rich methodically before it is too late, by Egberto Willies
I used to be a “centrist” Democrat, by Frank Vyan Walton
Rich guy says taxing rich guys is wrong, by Mark E Andersen
The 2020 Trump strategy, and why scandal is our own worst enemy, by David Akadjian
I’m a billionaire and I’m running for president, by Jon Perr
Here’s our ultimate Democratic wishlist for Senate in 2020. Who’s on yours? by Steve Singiser
The 2020 electorate will be more diverse than ever, by Sher Watts Spooner 
I refuse to honor George Washington, and other ‘founders’ who enslaved, and sold human beings, by Denise Oliver Velez

Yes, this coloring job on a box of Camels was one driver’s real attempt to avoid getting a vehicle inspection sticker in New Hampshire.

N.H. police say driver tried to pass off a Camel cigarette box as an inspection sticker. Creative not illegal, they say. 

The Guardian reports on two migrant Honduran teens abducted, tortured, and killed in Tijuana in December: The deaths show the vulnerability of migrants forced to ‘remain in Mexico’ under new U.S. policy for asylum seekers.

Report: North America absorbed two-thirds of the world’s $650 billion in costs from three years of climate disasters:

At $650 billion, the three-year price of climate disasters totals just over a quarter of a percent of global gross domestic product, the analysts say. The investment bank warns that the situation may only get worse, noting that damages associated with global warming could total $54 trillion by 2040, according to a UN panel composed of the world’s top climate scientists.

MIDDAY TWEET

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Trump and his friends believe in voter suppression and billionaires buying elections. We want:✅ Automatic voter registration✅ The overturn of Citizens United✅ Election day as a national holiday History is on our side. We will win this struggle.

— Bernie Sanders (@SenSanders) February 16, 2019

In Pompeii, archaeologists find fresco of Narcissus in “extraordinary” condition: I’ve long devoured any book or article about Pompeii, which, along with Herculaneum, was buried mostly intact for 17 centuries by the ash and pumice from the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 A.D. Among one of treasures from the ancient city were a trove of bronze medical tools that I saw in a museum exhibit a couple of decades ago. Many of those tools, with the exception of the metal used to make them, were dead ringers for those we still have today, including specula. But the most fascinating discoveries were the stunning frescoes on the walls of the affluent residents of the city. Many of these are boldly erotic. Despite more than two centuries of excavations that began seriously in the mid 1700s, much remains to be uncovered. Last November, in what had been an opulent home in the final years of the city, archaeologists came upon a fresco of the famous hunter of Greek mythology, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool. The news was just released this week. The New York Times reports: “In the fresco, Narcissus reclines by a pool, his face damaged but looking downward toward the water, where his greenish reflection stares back. A winged figure who may be Eros, the Greek god of love, stands nearby, as does a dog — tugging in vain at Narcissus’ garment, unable to pull him away.”

One blue wave isn’t enough. Democrats build for a second in 2020:

Altogether, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is initially targeting 33 GOP-held seats, for 2020. Chairwoman Cheri Bustos, D-Ill., has declared that “2018 was just the tip of the iceberg for Democrats,” adding, “We have a clear path to expanding our Democratic majority, and by putting our plans in motion earlier in the cycle than ever before, we are demonstrating to Democrats across the country that the political arm of House Democrats is operating in high gear from the start.”

What’s more, the DCCC pointed out, 20 of the 33 seats it’s targeting “are held by an incumbent Republican who has never served in the minority before,” making them especially likely to retire and create a more winnable open-seat race.

Vice’s Motherboard reporters find that a company’s predictive policing software ain’t all that predictive: The investigators found that PredPol software is being used by local police in Kansas, Washington, South Carolina, California, Georgia, Utah, and Michigan. In a 2014 presentation to police departments the reporters obtained, the company says its software is “based on nearly seven years of detailed academic research into the causes of crime pattern formation … the mathematics looks complicated—and it is complicated for normal mortal humans—but the behaviors upon which the math is based are very understandable.” But experts in the field that the investigative team spoke to say that the mathematical theory powering PredPol is flawed, and that its algorithm—at least as pitched to police—is far too simplistic to actually predict crime.

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