Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
Thought that we'd be the last to go
It is so strange the way things turn

Monday, January 27, 2014

Linkee-poo gets it three days in a row

Cat Rambo is running for SFWA VP.

Hey, look what my friend, Mer Haskell, won. You go, Mer.

It might make you feel better about your writing, John Scalzi lets us know every award-winning book sucks for someone. So when you're in the middle of the book, that moment where you think you couldn't write an effective "What I did on my Summer Vacation" essay, note when you finally win that award for the wip, someone will agree with your mid-book blues sentiment. John also offers some mid-career advice. At some point, you will wear your ass as a hat. Oh, and he has three other points about writing.

“PV is becoming ever cheaper and simpler to install, and China’s government has been as surprised as European governments by how quickly it can be deployed in response to incentives.” Last year China installed more solar power than the US has in its history. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"DNA taken from the wisdom tooth of a European hunter-gatherer has given scientists an unprecedented glimpse of modern humans before the rise of farming. The Mesolithic man, who lived in Spain around 7,000 years ago, had an unusual mix of blue eyes, black or brown hair, and dark skin, according to analyses of his genetic make-up." There's other things in there that overthrow the most common, Europeancentric view of our ancestors. So, all those movies of blonde cavemen running around, yeah, just like the blonde, white Jesus. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The ancient ghost-city of Ani. Wow. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Some of the weird things the TSA found last year. "First off, the TSA found 1,813 firearms in carry-on bags at airport checkpoints last year. That's about five a day, and represents a 16.5 percent increase from the year before." Yes, they sometimes miss, but mostly they find these things. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Six reasons while female nudity can be powerful. Specifically, women using their bodies as a power statement in a non-tittilating way. Not much can intimidate a man more than a naked woman in a non-sexual context. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

This art sculpture is kewl. A sphere made of light sensitive mylar panels, and then a light source which is activated by the approach of peoples. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, the Pope and two kids released some "Peace Doves" and before they could make it out of St. Peter's Square the doves were attacked by a crow and seagull. And apparently a bunch of people considered this a sign of the Apocalypse. It's not, this is normal behavior for birds. As the old joke says about deranged people, something was going to set them off, a bad day, volcanoes, low-flying airplanes, something. Two, on the plus side, still time for the WIP. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"As the Republican National Committee opens its winter meetings here Wednesday, the party is counting on the political geography and expected lower turnout of the 2014 midterm elections to give them control of the Senate." But unfortunately for Republicans, their message really hasn't changed. Although, "The National Republican Senatorial Committee, for example, is prescribing training for candidates that includes suggestions on how to address touchy topics." I'd like to believe this isn't training on how to lie effectively, but I think we've seen this kind of training before and that's exactly what it is. Fortunately for the Republicans the off year election is more dominated by white, elderly voters. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Remember when I said that one of the ways to cure the idiocy of politics and counter the reality bubble surround conservatives was just to laugh at them? And how I probably wouldn't be able to keep a straight face if I interviewed them and they would come up with these severe forms of reality disabled thoughts? Well, I guess Bob Schieffer was the first to crack. Start up the, "Bob's a well known liberal activist" rant on Fox News in 3… 2… 1… Seriously, Ted Cruz saying he wasn't for a government shutdown and how he voted to keep the government open, if that isn't a planned laugh line, I'm not sure what it could be (other than rewriting history because he's no longer talked about as the front runner for the GOP candidacy in 2016). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo double dose - mostly Jay Lake edition

I'm late to it, but there's a new Jay Lake fundraiser to help offset the costs of his participation in the NIH trial.

You'll often hear me talk about how design is a unique profession. Here's one way. Four resume tips. Unfortunately these don't work in the modern job search (although they do note that these should be your "second" resume).

Massive hole found under Antarctica. Wait, wasn't that a plot point in both At the Mountains of Madness and A Colder War? Okay, well, actually it's a canyon that's been discovered under the ice. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Turns out those forced rectal exams and enema drug searches aren't isolated cases. I can't express how much this enrages me. Here's the thing, in this country, you have the right to refuse any medical treatment. We often talk about consent, most medical procedures can be performed with implied consent (such as an x-ray). That means I tell you what I'm going to do and you don't object. Procedures with higher risk involve informed consent (and usually a signature). And here's the thing most people don't know, it also requires the consent of the medical team. If a doctor orders a chest x-ray because you're having leg pain, I have the right to say no, I won't x-ray this patient (and it would actually be a form of malpractice for me to x-ray the patient). So all the people involved in these "searches" are culpable. Is it possible for a court order to override the patient's consent? Yes. But I don't think it overrides the medical staff's consent. This gross over reach won't end until these victims sue the police, the hospital, and the hospital staff. I'm normally not one to say, "sue!", but in this case I think it's justified. Until there is sufficient economic pain for those willing to participate in this, this kind of crap will continue. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The revolution of growing replacement organs (in this case, the trachea) continues to advance. Kewl. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Strange how so many people who are against Obamacare, suddenly find out they're actually for it when then learn what it really does for them. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The other night I realized I had reached that stage in life where not only am I requesting PSA and CEA tests but friends are being diagnosed with cancers. I've been down this road before. In case you haven't, here's a photographer that photographed his wife as she died of breast cancer. Warning, triggery if you've been through it before. Fuck, that's hard to watch. Fuck cancer. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Komen Foundation's political involvement to defund Planned Parenthood defunded Komen by 22%. Do I think they've learned a lesson? Probably the lesson they learned was to be more circumspect. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"At the time Saint Reagan took office, the total amount of debt the United States held was $900 billion. That’s for the entire 193 years since the Constitution was ratified. Again, that was 31% of the constantly increasing GDP at the time. By the time Saint Reagan and the elder Bush were done, in just 12 years, the total debt topped $6 trillion, and it represented 63% of GDP." Why we can't have nice things. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the 'rich.'" Bullshit. Okay, maybe I need a longer response. This is just an outbreak of the "oh, us poor rich people are getting picked on" meme. Now, that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be afraid. I'm one of those who believe a revolution is coming, but it's not the conservative revolution a lot of people expect. We're getting very close to the conditions that brought about the French Revolution and we're damn close to getting the "Let them eat cake" moment (note, the French didn't rebel because Marie A. quoted a famous play of the time, but it was the last straw). Also note that not all royals fought on the loyalist side. At the very least we're approaching a Second New Deal moment. I'm sure many of the 1% will feel like it's a Kristallnacht when it happens, but unless we're dragging the rich out of their mansions (or McMansions) and hanging them from the nearest light posts, it isn't the same. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

And another criticism of the "Rich People now are just like Jews in Nazi Germany" editorial letter. (Grokked from Vince)

The rise in the presence of SOCCOM forces around the world. In the War on Terror, SOCCOM has expanded drastically, which, frankly, I agree with. SOCCOM is especially attended to fight a war against terrorism cells. But not all specfor are the same. Most of what they're doing is outreach, training, and support of other militaries (in fact, this is a large part of what the Green Berets were designed to do). I'm more worried about the expansion of the drone war and electronic intel. And I do agree with the comments that with switching operations to SOCCOM, we lose a large amount of transparency (even in an "eventually" concept), control, and oversight, and those things are worrisome. Also not stated in this article is that SOCCOM has different acquisition procedures. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Whose economic recovery is it anyway? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Researchers found that women were about 14 times more likely to die during or after giving birth to a live baby than to die from complications of an abortion." Not that it will change anyone on the right-to-life side. Instead in the past decade they've gone from "reasonable conversation" (remember, that was at the time that pro-choice groups reached out to pro-life groups to end the madness) to "balls to the walls, go for broke" strategy. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is just procrastinating

Words of advice for the mid career, a Season in the Show.

One-hundred and seven ironclad rules for writers. "30. Start with the acknowledgments page, so that you always know who you’re disappointing on your bad writing days." Also "101. Write to displease whatever god you believe in." (Grokked from Vince, I think)

Good writing vs talented writing. Note, Mr. Delany says nowhere that talent is inborn. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Twelve fundamentals of writing the other. (Grokked from Tor.com)

When graphic design goes wrong. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The problem of the golden handcuffs. Been in that position. What they don't talk about is that it's not only just wanting a change, but being stuck in a job that insults your being as a basic level.

Ancients. A video of the night sky. This, friends, is why our ancestors worshiped objects in the sky. This is also why modern people go sky watching. (Grokked from Mrs. Tad)

Radiolab update on famous tumors. Now with updated data from the study of tumors inflicting Tasmanian Devils.

An NPR story following up on that unfortunate slip of the truth from the Ford executive. Yes, Virginia, car companies are watching you.

The Getty release their backlist for free. (Grokked from Sarah Goslee)

And just in case you're belaboring under the delusion of the low-tech farm. Know why there was an rural electrification program.

A problem of their own making. All my libertarian friends, please take note. Look, roads should be a public works project (except during land development, but then the developer should build to zoning regulations and the majority of them have the intent of ceding the roads to the municipality). And now villages are facing the dire consequences and the inevitable crash that comes from modern political philosophy (ie. libertarianism and conservatism). Roads only last so long before they need maintenance, and for economic reasons roads in the US tend to need more work than roads in other first world nations (basically crappy zoning and planning). The residents of this Chicago community are going to pay for the roads one way or the other. They can either ban together and pay a little each year, or they can remain separate (and "FREE!") and pay a lot every ten years or so. Plus, the one resident who says they don't want to pay for roads they don't use… that's hilarious. Tell you what, make sure all the services you have (garbage, gas, electric, UPS, USPS, etc), and all your driving, only uses your private roads when then come to you. They can't go anywhere else, and must leave by your private roads. Have a fun time starving. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"The visual displayed on the screen, though, shows just why some think Fox News is only pandering to and ran by those suffering from low IQ scores." On a recent poll, 137% of Jerselites respond about Christie and the bridge closing. This fake poll might have a variance of ± bullshit. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

It's all fun and games until you rip the country asunder. Glenn Beck starts to come to grips with what he has done. It's a twelve-step program, apparently. Fuck you, Glenn. Your "uniting" language was still pretty divisive. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Jim Wright on Fox News, Christ Christie, and the impending 2016 Elections.

Be careful of what you wish for. In this case, Mike Huckabee wants us to have the discussion about how since Democrats want to give women access to birth control paid by their insurance we're really disrespecting them and calling them sluts. This isn't the first time I've heard this new Republican talking point about, "let's have that discussion because WE (conservatives) WIN on it." Uh, yeah, conservatives, let's talk about women's issues. I dare you. I triple-dog dare you. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Don't know much about History… (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The problem isn't so much that the Iowan Republican Party posted it, it's that much of the GOP believes it (for reference I'll point to the majority of hosts on Fox News who have blathered the exact same sentiment). (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"What’s wrong with thinking is that we have not, of course, been fighting any kind of serious war on poverty for five decades. We fought it with truly adequate funding for about one decade. Less, even. Then the backlash started, and by 1981, Ronald Reagan’s government was fighting a war on the war on poverty. The fate of many anti-poverty programs has ebbed and flowed ever since." The War on Poverty was mostly a success. I am a success story of it (free lunch program, assistance to poor families, college grants at a time when they meant something). There is still poverty, which means we still need to fight this war, instead of modern politics which wants to fully reverse course instead of starving the programs. But then, modern conservative politics have been pushing the temp worker revolution since the 70s and blocking minimum wage increases for about the same time. Although, they're getting more vociferous and mean-spirited. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @BadAstronomer Were you born > 1976? 2013 was the *37th* year in a row of above avg heat, so you’ve never experienced an avg year.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Random thought, life is a gambling addiction

Life is like a gambling addiction. When we start off it’s kind of a draw between the wins and loses. Some lose quickly, gambling their whole short stack and losing to the house. The rest of us start winning more often as we learn the games, and eventually we learn it’s better to bet against the other players and let the house take their cut. Some try for glory and go big when they should have held their cards and they’re cashed out. But some of those people then win big. But just as the addict needs one more hit, they come back to the table and waste their winning away. Most of use continue with small bets and hedge our stash as we accumulate chips. We may take out initial stake off the table and just continue with the winnings. But, eventually, we all succumb to the addition and slowly lose our winnings and then we dip into the reserves and finally we use up the return ticket money on a last gasp chance to reverse out fortune. The house always wins, even when it looks like they’re losing. Instead we should learn the lessons. Quit gambling when we’ve come up even. Walk away when we’re up. That’s never the game though. No matter how long we’re away from the table, it’ll bring us back for just one more roll, one more deal. We’ll bet conservatively, even bet on the house winning, and as every gambler has learned we’ll eventually lose it all. The game is rigged.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Linkee-poo all I need is a remedy

Twelve quotes from authors to remember when starting to write your first book. Obviously not for me since I'm on my second book (not second book started, but second book by hell or high-water I will finish). That's irony, BTW. I knew you were irony deficient today. (Grokked from Tor.com)

A reverse dictionary. Just in case you need one when you're looking for that right… that right… that right thingiemabob. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal and Seanan Mcguire)

Photographing Earth from the ISS Cupola. (Grokked from Tor.com)

It's a good thing we actually have a functioning Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. This time Ally Bank is paying $98 million to settle a suit that they were charging minority borrowers higher interest rates, including "$80 million in refunds to harmed African-American, Hispanic, and Asian and Pacific Islander borrowers whose auto loans were purchased by Ally between April 2011 and December 2013". (Grokked from the Slactivist)

It turns out your friends do have more friends than you do. And they're handsomer and better off as well. And they're probably from Lake Wobegon. What's that joke about how being paranoid doesn't mean that people aren't out to get you? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In fact, until the contraceptive requirement became an issue in the 2012 campaign, numerous Catholic organizations and universities offered health plans that covered contraception. Even in the states that required such coverage, the mandate could have been avoided by self-insuring or offering plans without prescription drug coverage." But then a black President has that mandate in his signature legislation and there's a big problem with it. And now you understand a little more about the Francis Revolution. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

It's an election year, freeze dried whackaloon quotient goes up.

Someone is going to be getting a visit from the Secret Service. Seriously, okay, any jerk can fill out a petition and get on a ballot, but I would be lying if I didn't say I believe him that "many (of his fellow) voter would agree with him" when it comes to calling to hang the President. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"According to the data, there were 495 oil industry-related chemical spills in Colorado last year and nearly a quarter of the spills impacted ground or surface water, the organization wrote in a release Wednesday." Drill, baby, drill. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Hey look, a good guy with a gun stops a bad guy with a gun. Wonder if we'll see that case held up as a prime example? Probably not as the strip club connection won't play well. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Confusion

So, I'm here at Confusion. It's Saturday night and the batteries have been exhausted to the point where I can't shut down. That sometimes can happen. Last night, it's widely accepted, we acted as if it were Saturday night. So tonight found a lot of us wondering what was going on. Or at least our bodies felt that way.

Which is why at 11 o'clock I came back to the room to crash. I'm feeling my age in a bad way. Also, apparently my brain has been working on things I didn't think were a problem, and I don't think they are. But with various issues at the day thing, the reboot, and here on the intranets I've been thinking about these challenges. So I have a feeling I brought some people down, for which I apologize. I obviously haven't had time to process these thoughts and I feel comfortable around you all, so it's leaking out in ways I didn't expect.

But I wanted to talk about cons in general. See, Confusion is the con I've gone to the longest and continuously (I've missed one year since I started coming). A lot of people I know here I consider friends. I've broken bread with them and drunk their mead as it were. The con has grown and changed, as these things do. I find I miss some of charm of the smaller con (I don't miss the drum circle disrupting our bar con at midnight, though), but I'm happy for my friends who put this con on that it has grown as successful as it has. I've seen their hard work, blood, sweat and tears and it's a tribute to them that Confusion is the celebration it has become.

Cons have their own lives and when you go to one you have a variety of experiences. I've found every year is a different relationship. Some years it's a joyous hecktishness, some years it's a struggle to go to everything you want, some times I haven't gone to any programming, sometimes I've partied, most years it's been bar-con. Some years the programming it hot and some years I'm indifferent to it. There are expensive years, years I eat most meals in the con suite, years I drink too much, years I hardly drink at all. There are years I'm outgoing all weekend and kind of drive home in a shocked silence. One year I hit extrovert overload Friday night and had to spend a lot of Saturday in my room. Some years I want to meet everybody new, and some years I just want to spend with the people I'm closest to.

I think it's probably the same with any con you might attend.

I don't have any real point here, I think. But for the last few years I've wanted to write a post like this. There are people who say that cons are the best things ever, and some say they're a waste of time. I guess what I'm saying is that if you go to a convention and you find it to not be to your taste it may just be that year for that convention.

My friends are here. I really love that I get to see and hang out with smart people here. I love the people I know here, and even the people I don't know, but have seen often enough we say hi to each other. I love catching up with everyone's lives. There have been years that I didn't know if I'd come back, but I'm glad I have. This year I'm grateful I've been able to come. I think part of me really needed this... whatever this feeling is; friendship, contentment, belonging, comfortableness.

It's also reminded how much I need to write, which is the part of me that has suffered from being ignored the most during this reboot. Today, while listening to programming I've put down about a thousand words of a short story I've been wanting to rewrite. And I think they're good words. Writing them was exercising a muscle I haven't used consistently in a long while.

There are plans afoot with the reboot that would take more time away from the writing. I now have to rethink them. I don't know that I want to go on for another year or three before I can get back to the words in a more consistent way. And maybe that is my take away this year.

I am a writer. While I may let those coals of that particular fire die down to embers, it won't completely burn out. And I can't afford to let them if only to protect my sanity. And being here has reminded me of this.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Linkee-poo is so not back in the swing of things

Geoff Landis wins the Robert Heinlein Award. Congrats, Geoff, well done.

The 26 tell-tale symptoms that show you're suffering from writer's block of the "Idon'twanna" variety. Hahahahaha… oh, wait. (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

This weekend is Confusion, in Detroit. I'll be there this year (although I won't be on any programming unless it's a last minute substitution, which I doubt will happen). John Scalzi will be attending barcon. Mer Haskell will also be there. So will Cherie Priest (GoH), Saladin Amhed, Sarah Zettel, JC Daniels, Sam Sykes, Kelley Armstrong, Myke Cole, Ian Tregillis, Jim Hines (forgot, Jim is GoH at MarsCon in Virginia), Tobias Buckell, Jacqueline Carey, Kameron Hurley and a whole slew of other guests and fans. Confusion is one of the best cons I've ever attended. It's why since I've cut back on other cons I still make it a priority to attend this one.

Kristen Lamb on learning how to quit to finally win. Mostly it's an article on dropping what is not working so you can find what is working (for your writing), and giving buy-in to your dreams.

I learned this lesson a long time ago, and it's still true, although these days it's stated in the axiom of "reading original source material" (which is a research axiom). If you want to write/think like someone, don't read what they wrote, read what they read.

Delilah Dawson writing on Chuck Wendig's site with 25 damn dirty lies about publishing.

Training your coworkers to understand design. Hahahahahaha. Yea, that'll work (for the record, I have way too many "move the logo to the left" conversations for any sane person to bear, everybody's a damn art director, only they really suck at it).

The five way font licensing gets designers in trouble. Oh, yes, this.

The worms of your nightmares. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

This year may see the start of commercial spaceflight. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Three kids die in fire from jerry-rigged heater after landlord turns of heat and water during the polar-vortex. Yet another example of someone who needs to go to jail, but given the weakening of tenants rights over the past decade, probably won't. (Grokked form Matt Staggs)

Random Michelle K on that chemical spill in West Virginia.

Electroplating the dead. Um. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

There's this argument going on out there over how people choose to approach cancer and their deaths. If you've read my blog long enough, you'll know my feelings on some of the "heroic" efforts that are made to keep people living and how I hope you'll look at the issues and make a decision for yourselves. And I think it may have gotten lost that I believe in that last part. How you or your loved ones die aren't my choice, they're yours and yours as it were. Some people choose to fight, and fight hard. Some choose to ignore the signs and hope those around them ignore those signs as well until it's really to late to do anything about them. And there is a whole spectrum of choices in-between there. I'm not going to link to the various troops fighting on either side, but I felt I needed to say something about it. And I felt I needed to say that nobody gets to decide how someone else dies, unless they have a durable power of health-care attorney and have discussed the options with them. And if you don't have the document, if you're not in the inner circle of family and friends, you don't get to judge the choices of others in this regard (with notable exceptions made).

Well, Congress decided to get dicky about bulbs again. But here's the thing, most bulb producers have already shut down those production lines. (Pointed to by John)

Pro-lifers in Ohio are fighting for the right to lie. Sigh. While one can hope to a decision that comes down to a reiteration of "the right to free speech doesn't give one the right to erroneously shout 'fire' in a crowded theater." But I have a feeling it won't. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Weekend Linkee-poo is preparing for class

Dr. Phil talks about Ralans dropping the "for the love" markets.

Here's ten fantasy writing tips from G.R.R. Martin. (Grokked from Tor.com)

Kids these days. Back in my day were were glad to just have the leaves… and we were happy. Seriously, distilling marijuana into oil, and they use butane? Um, isn't this what vodka is made for?

"At the end of the segment O'Reilly says, in passing, that Hart's number is correct, but doesn't says anything about how this destroys his argument that today's teens are smoking more pot than teens in earlier years." Unsurprising (both the whole getting it wrong, defending that your wrongness is in fact correct, and then acknowledging that your wrong later on without apology or re-examining their facts, just another day at Fox News). (Grokked from Vince)

They know when you're sleeping, they know when your awake, and if you drive a Ford, they know when you're speeding. BTW, you do know that buying and driving the car is implied consent, right? Mr. Farley left that part out as he tried to extract his foot from his mouth. (Pointed to by John)

Twenty-one upsetting vintage recipes. Actually, I think I've been served a few of these. (Pointed to by Dan)

Why penmanship matters.

"The same kind of people who would embark on such an action would not be able to do anything but run right down the hall to tell the governor how they had delivered pain to his political enemy. They would then wait on their attaboy. People of that ilk live for the attaboy." Yes, this. Also, these are people Gov. Christie personally brought along (both in his campaign, hiring into state government, mentoring, etc). This is a corporate culture story. Could these people have orchestrated it without his help. Yea, I'll agree with that. But that they thought of it in the first place, that's the culture of the Christie administration (again, these are his people, not some political legacy). Let the lawsuits begin. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Gender contamination. Hey, guys, get over yourselves. Although there is a good discussion of brand in there as well. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'At least in New Jersey there can be living people with dead brains,' Veatch tells Shots. A coroner can choose to hold off on declaring that a brain-dead person is dead if the family objects to that definition of death for religious reasons." Um. Okay, look, I've worked with people on vents. No disrespect intended, but it isn't a pleasant or non-violent thing. If the patient has no chance of recovery, even if it mean living with a vent (as some people do), all your doing is keeping the body alive, at great cost (financially, medically, emotionally, and damage to the person's body). And before we pull out the moral arguments, keep in mind your tax dollars, your medical payments, the high cost of medicine is all tied into your answer. If there is a chance of revival, and you don't have a DNR (or your instructions are to try everything), sure. But if they aren't recoverable, your just stealing resources needed by other people.

Okay, I linked to an article a while back about how to talk to people who are sick/dying. It was about the concept that energy and support goes inward, gripping goes outward in the concentric circle model of friendships/relationships. Here's a blog post about someone doing the opposite. Yea, don't do that. Dear Emma G. Keller, sometimes the movie ain't about you. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Because I'm approaching that age. Sometimes people explode during colonoscopies. Well, not really, but if conditions are right, there can be a bang. Fortunately they're rare. (Grokked from Vince)

The more I hear about this chemical spill in West Virginia the more I think someone needs to go to jail over this.

Tobias Buckell also has some thoughts on the spill. Yea, we don't need any regulations, or EPA, or alternative energy.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Linkee-poo knows that crap is king, give us dirty laundry

And first up this year in the "reporting writing income" is Jim Hines. Congrats, Jim. Now back to the word mines with you.

Danger: Humans, A Terrifying Look at the Human Race from the Perspective of Aliens. "… avoid, if at all possible." It kinda makes you proud, doesn't it. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

We need new monsters. Actually, I know stories with all those suggestions, including the Zemu and Rusalka. (points to friends here)

A cartoon that helps explain white privilege. Just in case someone still doesn't understand this concept. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

And, going from that last panel, here's one that's new to me. I didn't grasp that "almond-shaped eyes" was a racist statement. As a writer who likes a lot of diversity in his character sets, I don't believe I've used that phrase, but I never knew it would be considered offensive. (Also grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

It's the cheesepocalypse. Or, "Is This the End of Big Cheese?" Or "The Velveeta Mines Have Hit the End of the Cheesy Vein." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

A story about micro-aggression towards women in male dominated careers. Full disclosure, my first degree program was programming. There were about 4 women in the class. I knew each of them, where as most of the guys were faceless masses. Also, I've seen this type of crap close up. (Grokked from Jer)

Jim Hines with a cartoon showing some examples of more over anger toward women. Warning, possibly triggery.

Remember that brain mapping initiative? They're off to the races. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Okay, so to those who think global warming is over because it's been chilly, how about 100,000 bats falling dead from the skies in the heatwave over Queensland. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Oh sure, I just mention exoplanet moons they other day, and then they announce that they may have spotted one. Coincidence? (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The environmental disaster you've never heard of. Sure, we don't need no regulations (although in this case its our government that caused the problem). Don't worry, it only affects your drinking water. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The 2013 Nat Geo photo contest. Cool stuff. For those who get their story inspirations from photos, there's tons of material there to go from. (Grokked from Janiece)

In another crime against humanity, Salafis put the torch to a Lebanon library which held 80,000 rare books and manuscripts. In this case because a pamphlet was found in one of the library books which insulted Islam and the Prophet. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Here I'll quote the Slactivist, "Two of the Cardinal Rules for the religious right in America are these: 1) Israel must never, ever be criticized; and 2) Legal abortion is mass-murder just like Hitler Nazi Nazi Nazi Holocaust!!" Ah, and they must be in a pickle and twisting themselves in pretzels over the fact that the national health insurance of Israel now provides abortions for those 20-33 for free. But then, here in the US even birth control and family planning are considered EVIL! things by those conservatives who like to mouth about how much they're saving by cutting off funds to programs like Planned Parenthood (pauses for the boos and hisses to die down). It's unfortunate that we're relearning the lesson that unintended pregnancies cost people, society, and your tax dollars much, much more. This is why Planned Parenthood started in the first place. It's a cost savings. But, hey, conservatives, continue to cut funding and promote abstinence only sex "education." I'm just tired of sending you my tax money to support your idiot ideals. And if you want to say, "but the Bible…" let me stop you right there. (Grokked from the Slactivist, naturally)

The interactive feminist bingo card. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Confronted with proof about how Obamacare is actually working to reduce costs, a conservative just says, "okay, maybe it is, but it's going to fail anyway." Because the conservative desire for Obamacare to fail has nothing to do with healthcare, but with their knowledge that if Obamacare even comes close to its goals, it's a huge plus for the progressive cause and disproves much of the conservative talking points.

It seems to be a meme today, the derailment bingo card. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

"In order to cover up for their historic obstruction to enabling the basic functions of government under President Obama, conservatives have decided to do one of the things they do best: lie about history. In their retelling, Republicans were pleased to work side by side with President Bill Clinton, which resulted in the economic boom of the 1990s and the peace dividend." To paraphrase the Gipper, "Oh, there you go, again." But then this is the party trying to change it's image by having to write a memo to remind members to not pick on the unemployed. Or in other words, they have to be reminded not to kick when somebody is down. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Thirteen clean energy breakthroughs in 2013. And, strangely enough, clean coal isn't one of them. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Linkee-poo will sell it back to you, and that's not what you want to hear, but that's what I'm going to do

A bibliography of reference books for writers.

"Perhaps one day it will, though, and our descendants will wonder why everyone used to be so angry." How and why the period has become a sign of anger. Ah, the internet, such a wonderful cesspool of grammar and diction. (Grokked from Dan)

Hey look, it's been 40 years since women were able to get credit cards in their own name here in the US. Let's see, that would have been 1974, within my lifetime. Just in case you're wondering about the sneer I wear when people talk about how backwards other cultures are when it comes to equal rights for women. Also part of the reason I am a feminist. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"GPI detects infrared (heat) radiation from young Jupiter-like planets in wide orbits around other stars, those equivalent to the giant planets in our own Solar System not long after their formation. Every planet GPI sees can be studied in detail." Ooookay. Sure, it's only a few pixels, but still, direct imaging of exoplanets. Then they other side of my brain says, "yawn, wake me when they make visible light images of moons orbiting exoplanets." Yea, I'm a smart ass some days. (Pointed to by Dan)

"From our observational study, chocolate survival in a hospital ward was relatively short, and was modelled well by an exponential decay model." He he he. Yea. For radiological studies of the salivary glands we used to have chocolates in the departments (long before I even thought of becoming a rad tech). Because of product loss (without enough studies to justify loss), they switched to lollypops. Because of loss, they then switched to lemon juice. So if you ever have to have sialography done and the tech asks you to suck on a lemon, now you know why (actually we use juice packets).

Space weather live. In case you didn't know, we got hit with an X-class flare yesterday (if you had problems with your radio, now you know). In northern latitudes be on the lookout for auroras. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

The Edison. Intel's new super small computer on a chip designed for wearables. "'Wearables are not everywhere today because they aren't yet solving real problems and they aren't yet integrated with our lifestyles,' (Intel CEO Brian Krzanich) told the CES crowd." And he followed up by saying that wherever you don't need a computer, Intel wants to be the computer chip of choice. Or something like that. (Pointed to by Dan)

"Voters in one Louisiana parish will decide Saturday whether to devote funding for their library to a new jail." See, the library did a bad thing by managing their money very well and serving their community well. Well, we can't have that, can we? (Grokked from the Slactivist)

So, if you have to give a presentation and are in need of a laser pointer the one thing you definitely don't want to do is draw your Glock with a laser site and use that. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

The Tea Party Anthem. Hahahahaha. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

100-year old amber preserves flower sex. Who needs mosquitoes, anyway. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"An Arizona state police detective resigned after discovering she’s been living in the U.S. illegally for decades." And that's why immigration reform is necessary. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The battle for the fairytale, 13th century Castle Itter was the only time in WWII that American and German troops joined forces in combat, and it was also the only time in American history that U.S. troops defended a medieval castle against sustained attack by enemy forces." (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"And while the (Confederation of British Industry) issues reports about creating a system that helps people avoid the 'benefits trap' by making work more attractive, the U.S. chamber advises its members to chaperone their low-wage employees onto public assistance programs like housing vouchers and food stamps, as a cost-free way of addressing the business problem of high turnover." You know, the Chamber which likes to talk about all those "takers", the ones they're creating. Don't let them fool you. They're all for Social Security if it means that taking it away might mean they'll have to start pensions again. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Oh look, Dr. Frankenstein is having problems with his monster. In this case, Frank Luntz is depressed and at lose ends. Dear Frank, it's called depression, denial, and your worldview shattering. Try psychoanalysis. It kinda sucks having to live in the world you created, Frank. I'm not terribly sorry you're having the problems you've inflicted on the rest of us. Uneasy sits the crown, eh? But I think it's all passive-agressive bullshit anyway. He's a manipulator, and this is more of the same. Poor Frank. We all want too much and that's causing him problems. Crawl back in the hole, Frank, I ain't buying it. The play acting isn't going to help when the revolution you started actually comes. Oh, and really, talk to a shrink, they can help. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

You know how so many of us have commented on how Xmas keeps getting pushed forward with decorations in stores (and I'm not talking about the sale of decorations) and Xmas music everywhere? Apparently, that's also a part of the War on Christmas. "Notice that not wanting to hear Christmas in early November is conflated with not celebrating Christmas and that is conflated with a whole host of identities: not being a 'real' Canadian and being non-Christian, non-white, an immigrant, and of a different 'culture.'" Oh, Canada. You were so cool before Harper. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"PSYCH! Instead, he is super-pissed the sheriff would dare enforce the law like some kind of law-enforcement guy. Plus, he is super-pissed about what this will do to his family." I just… I dunno… I got nothing. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Tweet of my heart: @sxipshirey Retirement Theft "Nearly $2 of every $5 in potential 401(k) earnings is lost because of bank fees" http://www.truth-out.org/buzzflash/commentary/item/18399-retirement-theft-in-four-despicable-steps-by-the-1 (ed note: the author is a very, very distant relative, we've never met or exchanged messages, but all of us who spell the last name this way have some relations)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Linkee-poo get up, get coffee, Linkee-poo go to job

To italicize internal dialog or not.

Jim Hines' thoughts on fanfic.

Stuck? How about the Cool Bits Story Generator. "This story begins as it ends, with a mentor who sacrifices all for their pupil. In a dark alley, a big lunk who is surprisingly perceptive and a psychic struggle against the odds and encounter inept crooks, selfish or manipulative deities, and a changeling who has an addiction to jellybeans. The text contains themes and imagery of blood." Huhn. That's not half bad. (Grokked from Dr. Doyle)

Continuing on the idea of the link I posted before, sometimes you look at successful writers and think they don't have the same fears you do. That they've somehow conquered the goblins that gibber at the edges. That after success the writing becomes easy. Knowing writers as I do, I can also tell you that's bullshit. For example, Tobias Buckell talks about the blank page.

A list of Mac OS X shortcuts. (Grokked from Dan)

It's interesting to note that just because it's been bitter cold here, global climate change is still happening. In this case, mangroves are moving north and becoming thicker along the coasts of Florida. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

Oh sure, you've probably heard about dogs pooping oriented along the Earth's magnetic field. But did you know foxes hunting in the snow are more successful if they lunge at about 20 degrees off North. (Grokked from someone, sorry, lost the link)

"If I work at a store and my boss tells me I need to sell $500 worth of widgets each day or I’m fired, it makes no difference to me whether I earn commission on those widgets. By telling an employee that his or her job is on the line, a boss is letting it be known that 100% of that employee’s wages are on the line, not just the small percentage tied to sales goals." Employment uncertainty isn't just for minimum wage. And when goals are made unreasonably, employees will resound unreasonably. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"Unsurprisingly, given the Canadian Conservatives’ war on the environment, the worst-faring archives were those that related to climate research." Let us just take all that research and dump it in the pit so it won't bother anyone. Great way to cut a budget, guys.

This is one of those arguments I've had several times on the "we've gotta get religion back in schools." Mostly I say we could do it like the government "Christianized" the American Indians, divide up the tribes among the largest denominations and religions. Most people are okay until I point out that means Muslims, Hindus, Jews, Mormons, etc would all have potential access to their school and they wouldn't have a say in it. Sometime people tell me, "that would be okay, as long as religion was back in schools." Well I say bullshit to that. Notice, nobody had a problem with the preacher visiting the class, only the Wiccan. Now, for this class I'm actually supportive of it's purpose (although I generally disapprove of religion outside of history classes in schools). Because it's a comparison class, that's showing an actual diversity of opinion and experience (this is different from teaching Creationism in science class, since it isn't, but I wouldn't have too much of an issue if there was a specific class to discuss "current popular topics" and the "controversy" was taught there, say like in the class we're talking about). So good on the parents and people of Illini West School District and figuring out what was best for their kids. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

One of the things I hate about the reboot. Fortunately not too many people outside of it have asked me that question, the "what's the weirdest shit you've seen?" (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

This one. I dunno, I could fill have a book with my thoughts on this. As a former councilman, I know the routine all too well. Many people complain about their lot, quite often one they brought on themselves (by cutting corners, thinking they'll skate fast enough and the cracking ice won't catch up to them). We had a road like this, but it had already been accepted into the village (where that was the problem in the story linked to). In that case, part of our delay was getting the developer to admit wrong doing (they never actually did, but we did get their bond money) and then finding the other money to get it fixed. Before then we had to fix the road twice (in four years). It's now been about eight years since we finally had all our ducks in a row and we got the road fixed. Part of this story ignores that slight problem. Since the road wasn't accepted into the municipality, legally, the municipality couldn't fix the problem (if that was just an oversight in paperwork or the road was a private road they don't say). I've had that fight several times as well. And here I admit my guilt, I helped pass stricter requirements for what road we would accept (I also denied 2 proposals for private roads because they would have caused similar problems as this story). But, yea, a councilperson fixed the problem, which was the road was never accepted. Once that happened, the other problem, the one that started the 26 years of nagging, was easy peasy. Sometimes the solution is right there, but the way the question is asked, the solution hides very well. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"My suspicion is that in and amongst all those now destroyed records, was a paper trail associated with one or more now-prominent, politically connected NC families that found its wealth and success through theft, intimidation, and outrageous corruption… Prove me wrong. You can’t. They destroyed the records." Dear North Carolina Department of Archives, if this is true, you're doing it wrong. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Jim Hines has a great post on racism and sexism. This is hard work. This is also what Affirmative Action was all about, instead of the soft racism/sexism dominating society and continuing repression, Affirmative Action forced those in charge to actually look at the decision process and adjust their thought processes to level the playing field. The numbers stuff was just a metric. The secondary hope was having people of color and women (and women of color) in positions they were normally kept out of would slowly erode our preconceptions. The sad thing is, I don't think it's even begun to achieve its first goal.

Tweet of my heart: @djolder "Stories are like sharks; if they don't move forward, they die." ~Matt Witten

Sunday, January 5, 2014

So, that was… something

So ends my two weeks away from work and school. Just for the record, I spent 12 hours working for the day thing and 16 hours in clinicals. So, not so much a real vacation (also add in family obligations, etc).

But I hate having all these plans for my time off. I barely got any writing done (less than 200 words or so). Didn't get t-shirts designed (well, I did get one design and then got turned off by setting up the store). Didn't get my study materials ready for the registry.

I do have my books ready for next semester. I found a few freelance accounts that hadn't settled and sent out second notices. Started bringing in the holiday decorations (since it's going to be below 0 for the next few nights I didn't want to fill up the garage to dry the decorations out and have my car freeze up outside).

With the day thing it's stressed me out so much that I've been overeating. I started having the Sunday night blahs on Friday.

I just realized I never let you all know how last semester sorted out. On all my classes I got As (for that 8 hours at 4.0). Two of those were by the skin of my teeth. Clinicals was a B (3 hours at 3.0). I missed an A there by 2 points. Anyway, so for the semester it was a 3.7, and that brings my over all GPA to 3.9. Somewhat disappointing, but I'll take it. This fall was the toughest semester (3 classes, 23 comps). Next semester has 24 comps, but only 2 classes, but there are complications with clinicals (6 weeks in an outpatient facility, and 2 weeks in CT… so that lowers opportunity to get comps). Did I mention I also helped my class make $800 for our graduation (because of our last Summer classes, we don't graduate with the rest of the students so have to float our own ceremony)?

So, that was something. For the next 7 to 8 months it's going to be crazy schedule. Hope we all survive.

Friday, January 3, 2014

Linkee-poo is wondering where all the temperatures have gone

Lightspeed is looking for slush readers.

How to write a picture book. (Grokked from Jason Erik Lundberg)

The book you didn't know about. When people talk about buying everything online (or put all communications only online) I often think about this problem. Once someone is able to solve this issue for the internet, it'll be that brave new world everybody talks about. Until then, the internet is great for finding things you know about. It's very bad at discovering things serendipitously. Although twitter and Facebook (pinterest, etc) help with that, it's not really the same thing.

There's this thing in almost all professions where people from the outside looking in see writers/performers who have made it big think that success becomes blasé for the successful. I've been fortunate with my friends that I've seen them when they have new success (another book deal, movie option, getting in a "best of…" list, etc) and let me tell you, success doesn't dull the happiness of new successes. On point, Mary Robinette Kowal gets accepted to the Sesame Street Puppetry Workshop.

Passing the Bechdel Test is good for the bottom line. Might not be more than a post hoc thing, but still interesting.

Not everyone is a writer, and the vast major it of writers are readers, so what can readers do to support the writers the love? It's fairly simple advice, but I'd like to add one more point, because (and I know this personally) not everyone can afford to buy books (or at least all the books they'd like to read). Request that your library buys the book and then put it on hold and check it out when it comes in. (Grokked from Joshua Palmatier)

Bill Nye (the Science Guy - I'm contractually obligated to say that phrase) debates Ken Ham at Ken Ham's Creation Museum. Two phrase come into my head. 1) Walking into the lion's den takes great courage and 2) wresting with a pig only gets you dirty and the pig enjoys it too much. While the video is bad (handheld video of a TV screen) I imagine it'll be pretty close to this. (Grokked from Dan)

Some people are finally waking up to the fact that we aren't in the lead when it comes to arctic exploration. As Tobias Buckell says, to bad there's no discussion of why this is happening (both the opening of the Arctic Ocean and the politics and economics behind our lagging exploration and exploitation).

"If I would tell you that there is a skilled – highly skilled – workforce being exploited more than fast food workers in the US, would you believe me? Would your reply be that a worker cannot be highly skilled and still get below a living wage?" The plight of the adjunct professor. Most people don't believe me when I tell them about this. How do I know about this? My wife is an adjunct. Dr. Phil is an adjunct (IIRC). One thing not pointed out in this article is that in Ohio, the STRS program (state teachers retirement system) has very stringent rules on what is full-time work and counts for a full year of time in. My wife has been teaching for over 25 years and I believe STRS only counts her as having worked 9 years (you need 15 before being vested in the program). (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

A VP at "… In-N-Out told KCET…that because of their payment policy (one of the highest in industry), they have a relatively low turnover 'and that, of course, leads to a more experienced team working in our restaurants. The raises that our associates earn for mastering different positions makes it possible for them to earn more as they gain that experience.'" Look, someone gets it. Also note, the owner is still a billionaire. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

"The leader of the neighborhood association, Junior Pataud, offered a conflicting defense. 'In Haitian culture, it’s normal to beat a child,' he said. 'But that’s not the same as mistreatment.'" This is from an article on human trafficking in Haiti (of mostly tween girls). Although I've heard the same sentiment here in the US as well. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Theanti-vacinator's body count. Not entirely accurate (because even with vaccines, some people still got sick and died, but the numbers were much, much lower), but good enough for statistics. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

What's that in the road, a head. Not a typo. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Noted here because I'll want it later, a funeral director's wedding dress is totally badass.

Tweet of my heart: @Stonekettle Sitting in a coffee shop watching Joe Gland try to pick up two girls by lecturing them on Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs. Massive Fail

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

A Small Survey on T-Shirts

I've been thinking a lot about my dream of starting a t-shirt business. So I thought maybe a little survey might be in order.
Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey , the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thanks for your participation and any linking.

Linkee-poo wonders just what is new about the year

Isaac Asimov predicts 2014 from 1964. Some right, some wrong, some close and some "yea, we can do that, but nobody does". (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

A little late for the season, but still a favorite, Nicholas Was animated poem by Neil Gaiman.

The writer's clothespin sign. It's a nice idea, but a locked door (if you can get it) works better (see step #5). I suggest the desktop trifold.

Cat Rambo talks up the benefits (And some of the drawbacks) of using Goodreads as an author.

Thirty-eight spectacular abandoned places. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"But Covey, now 84, admits the technique he pioneered has made a mockery of the tax code." On how the rich avoid most taxes and have the money to hire the legal mind power to find it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

I don't want to live on this planet anymore. That's a Futurama reference, in case you were wondering. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"In the end, taxpayers lost $10.5 billion on the GM rescue — about 0.3 percent of the federal budget and about one thirtieth of what the country loses to tax evasion each year. But the GM portion of the deal actually saved the government money even though the stock sales didn’t recoup the full initial investment. Given what GM’s failure would have cost in terms of higher public assistance enrollment and lost tax revenue, 'the U.S. government avoided the loss of $39.4 billion in increased transfer payments and lost taxes in just two years: 2009-2010,' CAR note. That’s over three-and-a-half times the on-paper cost of the deal after Monday’s stock sales." But since those savings aren't realized in the same budget line, it's likely most people won't be able to see it. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

In case you were wondering why the FDA was a little upset with 23andMe, here's an example of someone using a few DNA test sites and sharing the conflicting results. Why so much variation? Because we really don't know that much, yet. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"A plan to put shelters in schools after seven children died in 2013 from a series of devastating tornadoes has been scrapped because Republican leaders are pushing for corporate tax cuts instead." Not much more to comment here. Except that money where your mouth is time.

"Thou Shall Not Move is erecting the monument on church property. No atheist I know has a problem with that. We only object to endorsements of religion in public schools, public squares, courthouses, and the like. Want to put a massive monument in your church yard? No problem. Please enjoy." While I agree with this article's viewpoint, I'm not sure the author gets what is happening. See, Thou Shall Not Movie will be able to declare victory over the atheists because their monuments aren't being challenged. And in that way they can raise more money because "they're winning." What are they winning? More money. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

When it comes to brains, size isn't everything. Back in the heyday of ignorance, some scientists liked to say what separated humans from animals was the size of our brains. That lasted right up to when we discovered other species had larger brains than we did. Then it was all about the ratio. What it really is about is the layout of the brain, the organization of the neurons. As the article points out we have very specific areas of the brain responsible for specific functions. What they don't talk about is even the organization of these areas (how the neurons are stacked) is important. (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"'They don't have any money while they're working, so why would they have any money in retirement?'… Individual retirement accounts and 401(k)s work just fine for people with money, not so much for everyone else." That's because they were never meant for people without money, and here I'm talking about those who make less than $400,000 a year. "Social Security was never designed to provide real retirement security. It was conceived as one leg of a three-legged stool, supplementing pensions and personal savings. But traditional pensions are becoming a thing of the past, replaced by 401(K) plans… And while Americans socked away almost ten percent of their incomes back in 1970, decades of stagnant middle-class wages has made saving up for retirement much harder – by 2010, we were only saving around four percent of what we made." "This sorry state of affairs isn’t only hurting America’s seniors. It’s forcing many of them to remain in the workforce longer than they would otherwise, which is, in turn, hurting the job prospects of younger workers, who face a sky-high unemployment rate." All points I think I've made before. There's the main problem. Social Security was meant to solve the issues of the retired living in abject poverty, and to open more jobs for the younger generation. All sides benefit. And this is why there's a movement to not cut benefits, but increase them. "(A)n offensive strategy has one thing going for it: public opinion. A poll conducted for NASI earlier this year found that 70 percent of Americans support a reform package that raises benefits, eliminates the cap on payroll taxes and gradually boosts payroll tax rates. Support was strong among Democrats, Republicans and independents." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The real cost of your cheap(er) gas. Also part of the "we need to build a pipeline" argument (because, you know, pipelines never have problems). (Grokked from Jay Lake)

"Everything about the actions of the core Tea Party faction in the House suggests people who think they're living in heroic times, zero compromises, whole histories at stake - a right wing version of the world many New Left protestors were living in in the late 60s and early 70s, a mix of high histrionics, deep commitment and performance art." Yes, that. Although I'll go a little farther. GW Bush longed for the glory of his father's generation and was handed his chance in 9-11. The War on Terror took on the flavor and language of what thewar against fascism eventually became a decade after it was over. The Tea Party fetishism of the American Revolution is more than metaphor, IMHO these people believe they are in just as great a struggle. There are things in this world that are just as great of a struggle as those efforts, Al Qaeda and politics aren't in that list. Conservatives may wish to wash themselves in glory, but they're just getting themselves wet. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

"To see these same Beltway Svengalis trapped now in this crazy role reversal, denounced by the far right for being the same kind of condescending establishment snot-bags they themselves spent decades trying to find and campaign against – well, that’s just seriously funny." It appears Speaker Boehner's epiphany that some of his members "just ain't right" (as the saying goes) was the initial shot at establishment conservatives realizing their deal with the devil wasn't such a good idea after all. Now the big movers are throwing money at the problem hoping it will go away. This is very interesting considering the very well thought-out and planned conservative blossoming of the 80s (Heritage Foundation, various think-tanks and education programs which started delivering model conservatives, stepped in the true religion, in the late 90s). The things they didn't realize it those incubators they created, married with the rise of Rupert Murdock and Roger Ailes, formed an intense echo chamber where people could only gain tracking by going farther and farther to the right. (Grokked from Jay Lake)