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This Friday News Dump Is Radioactive

  • August 08, 2020

(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)

There’s some gold in this week’s Friday night news dump. Unfortunately, via USA Today, it may be radioactive.

Russia is actively working to “denigrate” presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden, while China views President Donald Trump as “unpredictable” and prefers that he not win re-election, according to a new U.S. intelligence assessment. The analysis, published Friday by the chief of the National Counter-Intelligence and Security Center, also concluded that Iran is working to foment division and undermine Trump in advance of the 2020 election…

In accounting for Russia’s efforts, the report not only identified its goal but put a name to the campaign. “Pro-Russia Ukrainian parliamentarian Andriy Derkach is spreading claims about corruption – including through publicizing leaked phone calls – to undermine former Vice President Biden’s candidacy and the Democratic Party,” the report said. “Some Kremlin-linked actors are also seeking to boost President Trump’s candidacy on social media and Russian television.”

You’d have to be awfully cynical to connect this news to the story earlier on Friday in which Mike Pompeo was cast as getting tough with the Russians for paying bounties for hits on US servicemen. Very, very cynical. Horribly so. I hate myself for feeling this way.

No, actually, I don’t.


united states   december 20  daily news columnist and best selling author pete hamill publishes his latest novel, forever  photo by susan wattsny daily news archive via getty images

One of the best nights of my sportswriting life came shortly before Mike Tyson walked over Carl (The Truth) Williams in Atlantic City in 1989. (One of the undercard bouts featured a listless overweight fighter who clearly had no future. His name was Buster Douglas.) Bob Dylan was appearing that night at Bally’s Grand. (Steve Earle was on that undercard.) A group of us got tickets. Pete Hamill asked if he could come along. It was a great show and Pete was quite taken with Steve Earle, whom he had not heard before.

But the real stuff happened afterwards when we all adjourned to some beer parlor, where Pete—who famously had quit drinking and written a glorious memoir about it—held court for a couple of hours, telling stories about Greenwich Village in the old days and a hundred other things, and you never will hear a group of sportswriters that silent ever again. We kept in touch, off and on, over the years. (Back in the day, I ran with his brother, Denis, when Denis was a columnist at the Boston Herald and I was working at the Boston Phoenix with the late George Kimball, who’d known all the Hamills from Kimball’s days tending bar at the Lion’s Head.) Any time I got a chance to hear Pete tell stories, in print or in person, I grabbed it like the last train to glory. This included his late in life turn toward magical realism in his novels about New York.

When Pete Hamill passed this week, nothing jumped to mind faster than the old Irish ballad, “The Parting Glass”:

Of all the comrades that e’er I had

They’re sorry for my going away

And all the sweethearts that e’er I had

They’d wish me one more day to stay

But since it fell into my lot

That I should rise and you should not

I’ll gently rise and softly call

“Good night and joy be to you all.”

And the tabloid muse—the good one, the muse of the working class, the muse who blessed newspapers that you could fold in the back pocket of your jeans on the subway, and not the false muse of the Murdoch clan—leaves a candle in the window.


Weekly WWOZ Pick To Click: “Tuskegee Blues” (Mighty Moe Rodgers): Yeah, I pretty much still love New Orleans.

Weekly Visit To The Pathe Archives: Here, from 1923, is a helicopter with some rather obvious design flaws. I’m not sure what happens to that one guy who goes crawling off after his hat. History is so cool.

Is it a good day for dinosaur news, Business Insider? It’s always a good day for dinosaur news!

Even if it’s bad news.

The pair searched the massive collection of bones held by the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology in Alberta, Canada. They saw various dinosaur bones with arthritis, fractures, and even tennis elbow. But only one bone had the characteristics they sought: Its top half had an apple-sized lump, with odd growth extending from the knee to the ankle. Their findings about that bone, published this week in the journal Lancet Oncology, offer the first confirmed case of malignant cancer in a dinosaur. The results underscore biological links between ancient and modern animals that could help scientists learn more how diseases like cancer have evolved…

At the end of that two-year process, the results showed that the bone was indeed cancerous: The dinosaur was suffering from an aggressive form of osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer usually diagnosed in young people. The dinosaur’s tumor was so large and aggressive that it probably broke the creature’s leg, Evans said — the bone they diagnosed was missing part of its top.

OK, you say. How does that prove they lived then to make us happy now? Glad you asked.

But in this dinosaur’s case, they don’t think cancer was its cause of death. The bone was found among thousands of others in a “bone bed” in Canada, part of a herd of Centrosaurus apertus that likely died in a flood. Given that it would have been easy for the sick dinosaur to fall prey to another dinosaur or get left behind, unable to keep up with its herd, Evans think it’s possible that other dinosaurs were taking care of it. “It gives us unique insight into the lives of other dinosaurs,” he said, adding, “it’s sad to think this dinosaur had cancer, but at least it didn’t kill him — at least he died surrounded by his friends.”

Dino hospice. It’s a Hallmark Holiday classic!

I’ll be back on Monday for whatever lies they come up with to justify the latest Russian meddling. Be well and play nice, ya bastids. Stay above the snake-line, and wear the damn mask.

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