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Sunshine and Rain

Pick up the Pace 

“The Biden administration’s Interagency Task Force on the Reunification of Families released an initial progress report, announcing that 29 families have been cleared for reunification in the coming weeks, in addition to seven families reunited earlier. That’s a tiny fraction of the thousands of families who remain apart, and immigrant advocates who have been pushing for their reunification for years say not enough is being done to right a massive injustice. More than 5,600 children were separated from their families at the U.S-Mexico border during the Trump administration, according to the report. While many of the families already have been reunited under a court order, up to 2,127 children could still be separated from their parents, according to the task force report. Task force officials say they’re working to build a reunification process that can be scaled up successfully for hundreds of families that remain apart.” NPR: Biden’s Task Force Has Reunited 36 Migrant Families — With Hundreds To Go Looking at these numbers, it is not very impressive. The task force says it should be able to ramp up now. Let’s hope so, because 30 families, every four months is not very efficient. And it means that this would take, plainly speaking, too long. Since it’s already been too long, no fault of this administration, but I don’t think those families care. I know I would not. 

Buckhead Exodus, Beware of plagues!

“The city of Atlanta is facing what Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms has called a “COVID crime wave.” Homicides are up by about 63% compared to the same time last year and up 43% compared to the same period in 2019, according to late May data released by the Atlanta Police Department.” Buckhead’s solution: White Flight.

“We filed for divorce and our divorce is final,” said Bill White, chairman and CEO of the Buckhead City Committee, which is spearheading the efforts for the formation of the city. “We’re forming our own city, we’re establishing our own police force and we will eradicate crime. State lawmakers introduced legislation earlier this year that could pave the way for a “Buckhead City” vote on the November 2022 ballot.” 

“Mayor Lance Bottoms called out the fact that simply making Buckhead a city wouldn’t stop people from being able to cross geographic lines. “As we know, people can travel across geographic line—they do each day, every day,” Bottoms said in a virtual news conference. “Establishing a city is not going to address that issue but it is going to be addressed through partnership and productive dialogue on how we can address crime not just in Buckhead but throughout the city of Atlanta.” CNN: A ‘Covid crime wave’ is one reason these residents want to break away from Atlanta — but critics say a split would be devastating for the city  The Roots: Buckhead Community Begins Production on White Flight 2: Electric Boogaloo, Moves to Become Independent from Atlanta Mayor Lance Bottoms has it right, what is making yourself a city going to do about crime literally down the street. They (Buckhead residents) complain a lot about their tax dollars not being well spent. As the Root article points out, then fight for them to go to the underlying causes of crime, such as poverty and mental health issues. Maybe we could even enact some kind of gun legislation. But the bigger issue is that Buckhead being a city means being a White city. “Atlanta is now roughly 51% Black and 38% White, according to the US Census Bureau. Without Buckhead, Atlanta would become roughly 59% Black and 31% White, according to the AJC analysis. Buckhead City, if it became a reality, would be roughly 74% White and 11% Black, the analysis found.” That just increases the danger for every black person in or passing through Buckhead. What do you think the likely all white, small city police force will do to “eradicate crime” in Buckhead? I’ve read this book before and I know how it ends.

Hacking the Hackers

No this is not a movie. “The Department of Justice on Monday recovered $2.3 million —about half — of the ransom that was collected by hackers in the Colonial Pipeline attack last month. Experts say it was a surprising outcome to an increasingly frequent and severe crime. The money was recovered by a recently launched Ransomware and Digital Extortion Task Force, which had been created as part of the government’s response to a surge of cyberattacks.  To resolve the attack on Colonial Pipeline, the company paid about $4.4 million May 8 to regain access to its computer systems after its oil and gas pipelines across the eastern U.S were crippled by ransomware. Victims of these attacks are given very specific instructions about when and where to send the money, so it’s not uncommon for investigators to trace payment sums to cryptocurrency accounts, typically Bitcoin, set up by the criminal organizations behind the extortion. What is unusual is to be able to unlock those accounts to recoup the funds. Court documents released in the Colonial Pipeline case say the FBI got in by using the encryption key linked to the Bitcoin account to which the ransom money was delivered. However, officials have not disclosed how they got that key.” NPR: How A New Team Of Feds Hacked The Hackers And Got Colonial Pipeline’s Ransom Back  So how did they do it? NPR suggest 3 ways: 

1.The FBI was tipped off by a person associated with the attack. Either the person or group behind the scheme or someone associated with DarkSide, a Russia-based ransomware developer that leases its malware to other criminals for a fee or a share of the proceeds.

2.The FBI uncovered the key thanks to a careless criminal. 

3.The FBI tracked down the key by leveraging information it got from Bitcoin or from the cryptocurrency exchange where the money had been bouncing from one account to another since it was first paid.

Either way ( I vote 3.) the FBI was able to get the necessary warrants to get the information. They are not telling how, in hopes of doing it again when we are inevitably hacked again. You know, if this was a movie, the hackers would have let the key be discovered on purpose to get to a bigger target. Dun dun duuuuun.

Clear Ideas

“Last month, the 67-year-old artist Salvatore Garau sold an “immaterial sculpture”—meaning it doesn’t exist.  The artists however, disagrees on conceptual grounds. For Garau, the artwork, titled lo sono (which translates to “I am”), finds form in its own nothingness. “The vacuum is nothing more than a space full of energy, and even if we empty it and there is nothing left, according to the Heisenberg uncertainty principle, that nothing has a weight,” he told the Spanish news outlet Diario AS. “Therefore, it has energy that is condensed and transformed into particles, that is, into us.” The lucky buyer went home with a certificate of authenticity and a set of instructions: the work, per Garau, must be exhibited in a private house in a roughly five-by-five-foot space free of obstruction. Lo Sono isn’t the only artwork of its kind in Garau’s oeuvre. In February of this year, at the Piazza Della Scala in Milan, the artist exhibited BUDDHA IN CONTEMPLATION, a similarly invisible sculpture demarcated by a square of tape on a cobble-stoned walkway. Meanwhile, this week, he installed AFRODITE CRIES in front of the New York City stock exchange. The effort, evidenced by an empty white circle, was supported by the Italian Cultural Institute.” Artnet: An Italian Artist Auctioned Off an ‘Invisible Sculpture’ for $18,300. It’s Made Literally of Nothing So, I also have an immaterial painting for you. I call it, SHE HIDES HER FACE, *pulls out empty frame* I am now entertaining offers.

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