The 15-year-old who shot up his high school in Oxford, Michigan, killing four students and wounding seven other people, has been charged as an adult on charges of first-degree murder and terrorism, among other things, and we'll just never do anything about guns in my lifetime, will we? [Reuters]

The USA now has its first reported case of the omicron variant, in a vaccinated person who visited South Africa and returned to California. [Associated Press]


You might enjoy these 1970s science fiction movie posters photoshopped to say "The Omicron Variant." (Clockwise, the posters are for The Andromeda Strain, Phase IV, and Colossus: The Forbin Project) The middle one was already circulated by some doofus on Twitter as if it were real. Now, there was a 1963 Italian sci-fi comedy called Omicron, about an alien what takes over an Earthling's brain, but nah, it's not an uncanny foreteilling of a pandemic.


But if you want an eerily accurate foretelling of life during a pandemic, check out Naomi Kritzer's outstanding 2015 short story "So Much Cooking," which imagined a bird flu pandemic and life during lockdown and food shortages. It's beautifully sad and good. Also too, if you have somehow missed the other four million times I have recommended it, read Kritzer's 2016 Hugo and Locus award winning story "Cat Pictures Please" which is hilarious and wonderful and explains why the Internet is made of cats. Kritzer took the central character of the story, an AI that just wants to help and not be evil, and built it into the terrific 2019 YA novel Catfishing on Catnet, which she followed up with a sequel this year, Chaos on Catnet. Heck, you should follow Kritzer on Twitter, too!

Say, speaking of that time a president of the United States went to a debate after he had tested positive for COVID-19, Rebecca reminds us that in March 2020, the US Justice Department advised law enforcement agencies that people who intentionally spread the virus could be charged with terrorism under US bioweapons law. Just a thought. [Politico]

Dozens of people are suing Hertz for allegedly calling police on them and falsely accusing them of stealing rental cars. Why yes, the whole thing is bizarre and Kafkaesque. No word on whether Avis will try harder and accuse its customers of murder. [Yahoo News]

IMPORTANT MEATBALL UPDATE: Remember when Matthew Whitaker was Trump's Attorney General for like five minutes? (Or three months, whatevs.) After he left the administration, Meatball appears to have accepted an assload of cash from a rightwing dark money spigot to lobby for pardons and commutations of various worthy federal convicts, but oops! He forgot to register as a lobbyist. We hate when we do that! [Daily Beast]

Muckraking bidniss writer Christine Alemany has been taking a deep dive into the con game that was Wisconsin's deal with Foxconn, and how it scammed taxpayers but paid off handsomely for all sorts of awful people. Thanks a hell of a lot, Donald Trump and Scott Walker! [Substack]

Here's an idea we can get behind: Bill Maher should stop his fake outrage over "wokeness" or cancel-culture himself. How about both? [Washington Monthly]


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As the world finally starts electrifying transportation on a large scale, startups in the US and the EU are looking to cash in on converting beloved classic cars to EVs. Mostly high-end conversions at first, but there's also a market for kits to convert more affordable cars, too. GM has already converted a 1977 K5 Blazer to use a kit motor designed to fit where a small-block Chevy engine would be. The EV crate motor isn't yet on the market, but one of these days, my '73 Chevy, Vlad the Impala, will hum along on battery power. [Reuters / Wards Auto]

That's all! No cat pictures today! Oh, OK, you may have an old one of Thornton sleeping at my old place.


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Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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