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

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Linkee-poo rings out the old

Let's hope the New Year treats us better than the last year.

So, the Cleveland Grand Jury listened to the prosecutor's opening statement and declined to indict either police officer involved in the Tamir Rice shooting. Remember that the Justice Department also already found the Cleveland PD has used force unjustifiably, and is under a court order to retrain and have a monitor. This was all from incidents prior to Tamir (but the findings came after his shooting). There have been various findings of corruption within the department. One of the officers was nearly fired from an earlier position because the Independence PD felt he was unstable and unfit for duty. The other officer has been brought up on charges before. Once the video came out, it disproved the officers official reports. It pretty much shows the police acting as cowboys and inciting events that lead to no other option than the killing of Tamir Rice. This is heartbreaking, but being heartbroken changes nothing.

Spent some time the other night arguing with a racist on twitter. Spent way too much time at work arguing with them there as well. So far nothing hasn't changed.

Using this as an example of what I do post and what I don't.

Tobias Buckell on when to trunk a story. Well, actually he talks more about finding your own process which then will help you determine when to trunk a story.

More on the Wheaton College professor. "Indeed, much of what drives Western Christianity’s close mindedness—even in many seminaries—is fear. Fear that if we get it wrong God will condemn us to hell." Well, in my experience, it's mostly "what will the neighbors say" that they fear the most. "And good religion, like Jesus—who upset the politics of religious respectability of his day—is not doctrinaire. It’s humble. It’s always repenting, always learning and always growing. Too, good religion is an ongoing discussion that includes and welcomes different voices." Yes, that. (Grokked form the Slactivist)

"A bill being introduced in the (NY) City Council Monday would require all employers to put contracts in writing, impose civil and criminal penalties for taking longer than 30 days to deliver payments, and award double damages plus attorneys fees to contractors who’ve been stiffed — similar to the protections now enjoyed by regular employees." Oh hell yes. Part of the problem is the final paragraph, which ends on a codependent "explainer away" mood. "'It’s not like a fat cat with a cigar in his mouth,' Meyer says, of the companies she’s found have been slow to cut checks. 'A lot of it is part of institutional infrastructure that was built in a different era, and doesn’t have the kind of provisions for the kind of work that we do.'" Nope, those companies have updated their business infrastructure to integrate freelancer doing the work, but somehow forgot to update their payment systems to include vendors? Bullshit. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

And what should come as no real surprise, Americans believe religious liberties should be "for people like them" and not for other groups. Dear fellow Americans, rights and liberty don't work that way.

Moro Rubio intercedes with a state licensing board to help his brother-in-law. "'(Marco Rubio) believed Orlando should be judged on his own merits and felt it would be highly inappropriate, and could be perceived as exerting undue pressure, if his letter stated that Orlando was a relative,' (a spokesperson) continued." Uh, yea, about that. See, there's this thing called "conflict of interest" that is usually very important… both in making decisions and disclosing to those making those decisions.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Linkee-poo wants to know what to do with these four calling birds

On Xmas eve, an altercation in a Charlotte Mall leads to gunfire. Because having an armed populace is a good idea, or something.

How Rudolph became the last reindeer added to Santa's sleigh.

The monsters of Xmas. The Yule celebration got way back, and not all of the harbingers of the time were nice. (Grokked form Emma Audsley)

On a related note, Fred Clark talks about why firing copy-editors is a bad idea. Because it leads to stenography reporting and Ministry of Truth styles of copy.

Gustave Doré's etchings for Dante's Inferno. Doré is a frickin' genius and a master of etching. This is the work of one master, interpreting another master. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"'If it is continuous it would be the longest track (December) tornado on record here in the mid-South,' the Memphis office of the weather service said."

Remember the link that discussed is Christians and Muslims worship the same god? And how I said to deny that they do would mean that we deny the children of Abraham (and the first conscious and deliberate covenant with God)? Well, here's one that takes up that argument and finishes with the statement "Neither Judaism nor Islam embraces any of these (basically 1, that Jesus is the Son of God and divine in his own right), so there is good reason to say they are not the same." And another one which argues that Christians are commanded to know God through the Christ, and that without acknowledging the Christ one cannot know God, ipso facto with accepting Jesus as Christ, the other two Abrahamic religions are now in heresy. Again, I find it amazing that Christians can accept the Trinity (well, many of them really don't understand a Triune Divinity, but that's my own unscientific polling, also the Triune appearance of a God is a very old concept) but reject that God could be more or appear differently to different people. Also, the arguments they are putting forward are the same theological argumentation used to justify atrocities committed by (nominally) Christians. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Marco Rubio doesn't quite realize we already have laws against owning, building, selling, and setting off bombs in this country. I'm sure he'll turn it into and argument of "and you see how well those work." (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Digby on the problem in the Democratic Party. Yup. I think I've said this before, but being a local candidate I got squat in support from the party. Hell, it took me to my second election before I was even acknowledged by the local party leaders. It might have been something to do with not totting the party line, as I disagreed with some of the candidates they put forward (on the country level), but it has more to do with a large disregard for local elections. That is a way to kill a party. (Grokked from Will Wheaton)

The human race; strong, proud, vulnerable, horrible, heroic, and everything else in-between. From the better angels of our nature to the hidden faces of the demons that haunt us. (Grokked from Janiece)

"… the Americans who were held hostage at the U.S. Embassy in Iran and/or their families will receive financial compensation for their ordeal, because of a little-noticed part of a budget bill passed last week by Congress." Well that only took 36 years.

The environmental disaster you haven't heard about. "It’s worth noting that the type of gas involved in this leak is part of what makes it so sinister. Methane, the main component of natural gas, is 25 times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to climate change impact." And why haven't you heard about it? Because of our crumbling infrastructure, while this is a particularly large leak from a natural reservoir, it's not uncommon to have methane leaks. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Wishing you a Happy Xmas

It's been a while since I've posted my decorating. Here is this year's decorations. Wishing you a Happy Xmas, and may we all have a better year in the New Year.

Linkee-poo, a time for man and beast to stand and feel the seasons turn to watch the stars for secret signs and God's true lessons learn

Why for profit school meals are a bad idea. "A cafeteria worker in an Idaho middle school said she was fired for giving a free meal to a student who told her she was hungry and didn't have money to pay for it, The Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday." To be fair, she had been warned earlier for not charging a student for a cookie.

A town in Wales proposes to offshore to avoid UK taxes. Not so much because they want to avoid paying their taxes to the UK, but to force Parliament to act to prevent companies from offshoring to avoid paying their fair share. Wonder if that could work here.

Space-X sticks the landing. While Blue Horizons claimed victory, this is the first actual space shot to land it's first stage safely.

Hey, remember when we thought we had finally made the fashion industry face it's obsession with sickly-skinny models? Apparently the work is not over.

The scourge of balance billing. Tell me again why we shouldn't have a single-payor system?

Stephen Colbert says there is something to admire about the Trumpsters populism. Mostly because it shows that democracy works, and it's screwing up the republican party establishment.

In Texas, it's a battle of Nativity scenes. The Gov requests removal of a Founding Fathers nativity from the state capitol, and "Fearing a legal battle, the City of Orange removed its nativity scene after an atheist group requested a 'happy holidays' sign be hung next to it."

The GOP is starting to come to terms with the Stars and Bars. "'The problem with the Confederate flag isn't the Confederacy, the problem with the Confederate flag is what it began to represent later,' (Jeb!) Bush said while on a campaign stop. 'And that's what we have to avoid to heal those wounds.'" This is the "okay, global warming may be happening, but it's not human caused" stage, which the GOP arrived at about a decade after science proved it was caused by human activity. No, former Gov. Bush, we've already shown it was a racist symbol, intentionally designed that way, and it stood for the continuation of slavery. In another ten years we may get them to realize it was always about slavery, but they'll say, "what can we do about it now?"

Dr. Carson realizes that people don't think he's tough enough (or savvy enough) to be Commander-In-Chief. So he's going to fire some people. Because that's what stands in for "tough leadership" in the GOP. Also, he's going to talk about how to deal with ISIS in Libya. And then he changes his mind (re: "clarifies his statement") to say no he's not. And then he says he'll be changing things up. "Still, the retired neurosurgeon did not deny that some leadership changes may still be in the works, telling Politico that he may add new faces to his senior leadership team and shift staffers’ roles."

Rand Paul, without a sense of (ironic) entitlement, says he won't participate in a second-tier debate.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Linke-poo, fa la la la la

An advice letter on being a script writer. (Grokked form CC Findley)

"Television's yule log has been part of American Christmases for almost 50 years. A lot of kids have opened their presents in front of that image of a roaring fire accompanied by 1960s versions of classic carols." The history of broadcasting a fireplace on TVs. Also, why sometimes the things that lose money are necessary for profit to happen.

The powerful waves of Lake Erie. Yea, I also like the lake when it's throwing up a storm like that. (Grokked from Janiece)

Heart-shaped (lead) boxes and the practice of heart burial. (Grokked from Alex Renwwick)

NPR fact checks the claim that Barack Obama precipitous withdrawal from Iraq led to the formation of ISIS.

"Dallas cops put Armaan Singh Sarai in jail for three days because someone mistook the solar panel on his phone-charging backpack for a bomb." Texas, you've got a fucking problem. I guess this one is only going to be cured when these kids sue the ever-loving snot out of your tax dollars. (Grokked from many people)

So, I guess in the craziness we now need to discuss, do Muslims and Christians worship the same god? If you want to accept the notion that to know the Father you need to know the Son (in the Christian concept of the Trinity) and therefore deny that Muslims do not have the same God, then you must also say Jews do not worship the same God as Christians. Which is fundamentally an idiotic notion. If God can be the Trinity, why can't God express itself in more than one way? If the God of Abraham is not the God of Christians, than theologically there's a lot of explaining to do.

So, just who are the evangelicals and just how many of them are there?

And then there were thirteen. "Even in his home state of South Carolina, where he had briefly led earlier this year, Graham has fallen down into the low single digits." (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

See, Jeb! is just where he wants to be. Not like his campaign is in trouble or anything.

"'Donald Trump is going to ring in the new year with us and you're going to hear from a bunch more of the 2016 contenders,' (Fox News host Eric) Bolling said." Finally, a holiday special to rival the Star Wars' Life Day Special. I wonder if the DNC will file a "fair access" complaint? And in other Eric Bolling news, he apparently believes that Democrats are as conniving as Republications.Sure, he only thinks that Chelsea Clinton timed her second pregnancy to help her mother's chances of getting into the White House, but only the treacherous expect treachery. Seriously, 1) way to objectify women as only opportunistic wombs, 2) I'm surprised he didn't bring up the possibility that she only refused to get an abortion to help her mother. Waste of human flesh is Eric Bolling.

"'Wisconsin does not have a death penalty law, but with significant practice and careful aim, law-abiding citizens can help clean our society of these scumbags,' (Wisconsin state (R) Rep. Bob) Gannon reportedly said in the statement. 'Criminals no longer have any fear of our courts or our prisons, so it’s time that the citizens of this fine state stand up and fight back.'" Something in me wants to holler, "Hell, yea, they should all march on the State House and rid us of these scumbag officials who think vigilantism is an acceptable course of action." But I wouldn't do that. And in other Wisconsin news, local mayor hasn't gotten the memo that President Obama isn't a muslim. Oh, he's in his fifth term.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Linkee-poo, Christmas in paradise under the Cow Key Bridge

Tobias Buckell on how to find focus to write. Pointed to here so I can finish reading it over the weekend. Ironic, but true.

They have always fought. Photo of "Women from India, Japan, and Syria who completed their education as physicians in Philadelphia, 1885" (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

The world's largest billboard designed in MS Paint. O. M. G. That thing is hideous, and not the kind of hideous that turns it around to make it somewhat adorable. This is one of those times that the phrase, "My kid could do better than that" is actually apropos. (Grokked form Dan)

The Magdala Stone which may have been an early altar stone. Some interesting cultural information in there and some good world building material. Except for the recurring "Jesus may have been there" angle, which is mostly done to pique the interest of Western Culture (and really, in this context, is nothing more than a red herring which, IMHO, does not add anything to the story).

"While the autonomous vehicles aren't at fault in these crashes, their relative unpredictability on the road are nonetheless leading to more accidents than expected." Meaning that because the engineers programed the cars to follow the law, the rest of us are hitting them, because we don't expect drivers to follow the law. Hell, my guess is mostly these accidents are from merging into traffic because nobody knows how to do it properly (from from the continuous traffic and the person trying to merge). But what is really the question here is don't these engineers drive? Shouldn't they know this? (Grokked from Dan)

"A central Virginia school district has cancelled classes Friday after concerns over the 'tone and content' of calls and emails received about a lesson in Arabic calligraphy." Look, Arabic calligraphy is fucking amazing. No, really, there are things you can do with it that you can't do with most other written languages. It is beautiful, and the masters of the craft are jaw-dropping awe-inspiring. As a professional designer, it's just amazing what can be done with it. So it is a legitimate subject of study, especially for a class exploring the world's cultures. But people are just freaking the fuck out over anything that has to do with the Middle East (or really anything not Western Culture derived).

"After the Paris terrorist attacks, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R-NJ) wrote in a letter to President Obama that he would direct the state Department of Human Services to refuse to help with the resettlement of Syrian refugees… Christie never issued an order to the Department of Human services beyond his letter to the President." I would say that that is because he just said it to appear "tough" and he's smart enough to realize he has practically zero influence on where refugees are settled. But it's because that's not his style of hit. See, Christie is used to just saying, "It would be nice to get back at the asshole mayor" in a meeting and have his flunkies do the dirty work for him.

At least he's a leader. Let that be your final battlefield.

The Sanders campaign manager explains they only accessed and copied the data to prove that the DNC voter files were breached. Uh, yea, Bob. Hey, there's this thing called a "phone" which one would have thought to pick up and say, "OMFG, the voter data files have been breached, this needs to be fixed." Instead of "'want(ing) to document and understand the scope of the problem so that we could report it accurately'" so keeping quiet and letting the voter records remain open to hacking.

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Come Thou Fount Of Every Blessing

I haven't been doing much Xmas music posting this year, sorry. But here's one I haven't heard in years. Not exactly a standard in the pop-music cycles.



Seems strange that when I hear it, I think it should be sung loudly and with joyous voices. Seems strange for someone who left the church long ago, but I think it's because this song speaks to the part of Christianity I love. Not the "Onward Christian Soldiers" drumbeat, but the quiet grace and joy of the message.

Linkee-poo's name is Frances Tolliver, I come from Liverpool

Just a note here about future posting, since we're approaching the holidays there are plenty of times I will be very far away from a computer or internet connection, or note really in a place to read much, so things may be a little space here until the new year. Until then, I wish you a happy holiday, a merry solstice, and that we al have a better new year than the last. Seriously, while many great things happened last year, and there was much to celebrate, too many of my friends had seriously bad crap happen to them.

So let's be joyous as the old year dies, and light the welcoming fires of the new year.

So you can make it through until your ticket time, Force Block. Also, Kathleen Kennedy, the woman behind the new Star Wars. Cue insecure fanboys lamenting in 3… 2… 1…

Neil Gaiman reads from Dickens' performance copy of a Christmas Carol.

Mega-successful author James Patterson awards $1.75 million in literary grants.

Amazon released an updated vision for their drone delivery service. Note, still a Cyber Monday stunt, but looking more like a real system. Again, energy density will be the issue. I doubt I'll ever see drone delivery in Orwell since the nearest Amazon distribution center is Columbus. Also, I have a lot of trees in my yard. Finally, now we'll hear complaints about drones dropping packages in puddles in the middle of people's lawns.

In an survey from Cards Against Humanity, the numbers are in. (Grokked from Dan)

NASA is looking for astronauts. Note that they're pretty picky.

And idea to turn the Eiffel Tower into a wind turbine. The plan would use a vertical axis turbine setup, not windmill blades (the vertical setup is more efficient and can generate electricity at lower wind speeds). Mmmm'okay. I could see that. (Grokked from John)

PBS Newshour on building a better battery.

Adjunct faculty, the low pay and long commute job you've always dreamed of. Except not. Must students are surprised when they find out just how little their professors make (and there are more and more colleges staffing up with adjuncts).

"A conversation between a father and son." About women, the male gaze, and societal expectation bullshit. "A woman, or any human being, should not have to dress to get your attention. You should give them the full attention they deserve simply because they are a fellow human being. On the other side, a woman should not have to feel like she needs to protect you from you. You need to be in control of you." (Grokked from Dan)

The UN sends human rights inspectors to a backward country to determine the state of women's rights in that country. What they found appalled them. There were high levels of violence against women, economic disadvantages, lack of reproductive rights, and discrimination. OF course, most women in the US accept these conditions and believe they have it better than other women. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

The (Engineered) Food Industry. Driving your needs since 1970. There's this bit in Good Omens where Famine is a star in that world. Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett weren't far from the truth.

They still burn churches, don't they? (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Ms.Habibi was hunted down for taking a selfie while wearing a Burqa." Also she's received so many death threats (after her images was posted on Facebook and local residents got the police involved) she feels she needs to leave Lima. Hey ho, way to go Ohio. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

So, whatever happened to those Citadel students with the hoods? "While temporarily suspended, the cadets have been allowed to take final exams. They will resume classes with the rest of the South Carolina Corps of Cadets on Jan. 13 as the administrative process proceeds."

Remember Martin Skelli? The guy who raised the price of a drug form $13.50 to $750? Turns out the company he was formerly the CEO of is slightly pissed with him and their civil suit brought about a criminal fraud investigation and he was arrested this morning. He won't spend much time in jail until he posts bond, but I believe this is (not exactly) instant karma. (Grokked from Dan)

"A tenured Wheaton College professor who, as part of her Christian Advent devotion, donned a traditional headscarf to show solidarity with Muslims has been placed on administrative leave." Well, I'm sure… okay, I've got nothing. "(T)he college said in a statement… 'As they participate in various causes, it is essential that faculty and staff engage in and speak about public issues in ways that faithfully represent the college's evangelical Statement of Faith.'" Apparently Wheaton College admin haven't actually read the Bible or learned the lessons of the New Testament. "Gene Green, a professor of the New Testament at Wheaton, said…'Dr. Hawkins and others want to follow the example of Jesus, who went to those who were discriminated against… He ate with people whom others rejected. Jesus calls us to love our neighbors, and the Muslims are our neighbors.'" Well, at least someone in the college has.

You know that conservative talking about about how the San Bernardino shooters were talking up jihad on social media and the Obama administration, it a fit of political correctness, didn't see the threat for what it was? Turns out that's complete bullshit. What it does highlight is just how completely ineffective the Patriot Act's expanded surveillance powers actually are at keeping us safe (but don't expect anyone in power to actually say that).

Now that the sausage is made, you can look at the ingredients. That's a list of the ornaments hung on the Xmas Tree called the Omnibus Spending Bill.

Politifact's score card on Donald Trump. Wow, now that's a skill. You really need to work to have 75 statements fact checked and score a zero for telling the truth. And only 8 listed as mostly or half true (a little more than 10%).(Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

Dr. Ben Carson has a breakthrough, "'Republicans have this mental disorder that says, A person doesn’t agree with me 100 percent, I’m not with them, I’m going to go and sit down,' Carson said." And Dr. Carson is now out of the running (no he hasn't quit yet, but that kinda comment is going to kill his chances in the primary, "you're all deranged, now vote for me" doesn't work so well). Of course he then goes on to say “'You know, I believe that was a disease that was implanted by the Democrats,' he quipped." Dear Dr. Carson, this is a nosocomial infection. The left is not a vector for this kind of idiocy. In fact, that kind of thinking is a symptom of the disease. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Linke-poo, hello my old hometown

The Mork and Mindy Show. I remember that show, and loved it. Watching Robin Williams was an education. Both his style, his manic energy, the way his mind skipped along the zeitgeist making connections. "And Robin kept up a busy schedule as well. He would play two, three, four comedy clubs every night,after putting in a full day of rehearsals. So everyone was sort of operating on fumes." Of course the drugs helped a lot. And Pam Dauber was so amazing in the way she matched the unmatchable. Also pointed to as an example of just how hard comedy is. (Grokked from someone, sorry)

Phil Plat let's us know what is really going on in NC. Turns out the solar project was really rejected because there was no benefit to the community (no tax revenue). Also he points out that NC is doing a lot in regards to solar installation (although in industrial sized installations, not so much on the point-source installations). Although, reading the original local news article, I'm still disappointed in the "retired Northampton science teacher" who talked about the solar farms blocking photosynthesis, and yes one resident did say it would soak up all the solar energy. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"A Christian-run Kentucky homeless shelter, Emergency Christian Ministries, just wished homeless women and children a Merry Christmas by booting them back onto the streets, claiming that it decided to ban all women (and their children) in an attempt to stop the 'sex problem.'" I think they need to remove the "Christian-run" part from their description. (Grokked from John)

So, when Starbucks did their red cup and some people lost their minds over it, I saw other people say, "No way, we aren't that insane, this is all made up." Oh really? That's Congress passing a resolution to "'recognize the importance of the symbols and traditions of Christmas,' (and) 'strongly disapprove of attempts to ban references to Christmas.'" So, you're gonna have you Christmas if you want it or not, damnit, and you're gonna like it. I think they misheard John Lennon's "Happy Xmas" song. No no no, "War is over, if you want it." So, any of those Constitutionalists out there wanna standup and enumerate just how this violates the 1st Amendment in so many ways (and clauses there of). Note again the article on secularism I pointed to last time and just whom is being recriminated against (despite so much of the vapors on the opposite side).

NPR's Hidden Brain Podcast with the psychology of radicalization, how terrorist groups are attracting young followers.

The office holiday party and strategies to survive it. Basically, don't drink. As Admiral Ackbar says, "It's a trap!"

As another example of how the rhetoric of the right has consequences, a man is arrested for making threatening comments on a Fox Nation post about the Planned Parenthood sting video. In this case, he was threatening to kill employees of a biotech research film pointed out in the video as purchasing fetal tissue from PP. Now if only the FBI would start doing things about the constant threat level against women who comment on the internet. "Orton said it was intended to 'paint a mental picture with words. I’m a wordsmith. That’s what I do.'" Good job, Sparky. Also, never read the comments. (Grokked from TPM)

The AP fact checks last night's debate. They must have put in some serious overtime, because damn were there a lot of whoppers.

"'The problem for folks like Sen. Paul, they don’t realize we are already in World War III,' (Gov. Chris) Christie said on CBS This Morning."

Jeb! asks for a dollar on twitter. The responses are hilarious. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

In other Jeb! news. "In exchange for $25, Jeb (also known as Jeb!) promised to stop sending email for two weeks." Hahahahahaha. As Trevor Noah said on the Daily Show, his campaign is increasingly sounding like a Nigerian 401 Scam. The best part of that article? "Bush is so proud of his emails that he's currently selling an entire book filled with boring missives. 'I loved being the governor of Florida,' he wrote in the book's first chapter. 'My staff estimated I spent 30 hours a week answering emails.'" Um, didn't you have, like, other shit to do as governor? I imagine his staff running into the office, "I need to see the governor right away, we have an emergency." And his outer door secretary says, "Sorry, he started checking his inbox 2 hours ago." "Shit. We're all gonna die before he gets to the end of that."

You know, when your gun instructor fucks up by not remembering he has his actual weapon on his hip instead of the rubber firearm, that's not really a class you should be taking (or instructing).

Hey, remember when the Trumpster and his "investigators" found "something big in Hawaii" about President Obama? Now, he says, "I don’t talk about that anymore." This is not inconsistent with his personality.

"In a rare senatorial act, full-time Republican presidential candidate Marco Rubio joined with a handful of fellow legislators on Friday in an attempt to block local municipalities from undercutting big telecom companies by providing cheap, fast internet service." Fuck you, Rubio. This is your conservatives in government. "Oh, you can't get a for-profit business to provide good service in your community, and you want your community to grow so you need a 21st century (well, really 1998 level for the rest of the world) electronic network infrastructure? Well screw you, you can't do it yourself. You need a 'market' solution." As someone who has fought this battle (and it took almost 8 years to be able to get crappy DSL service at my home), I thought Rubio was okay. Not anymore. Go home, Marco, you're drunk (on campaign contributions). (Grokked from John)

You know, when you're a conservative pundit and you can't get Charles Krauthammer to agree with your position that a candidate isn't as extreme as they appear you're in trouble. And memory to Bill O'Reilly, the Trumpster's supporters believe his rhetoric and accept he's going to do what he says he will do. That, at least to me, is the real problem (and why I think that Trump may actually win the nomination).

And in other Fox News, Sean Hannity gives up his humanity, rips off his outer skin to reveal the lizard face underneath. "'I'm not so sure if I agree with all the Geneva Conventions and whether or not other countries follow those rules…' Hannity said, suggesting that the U.S. should perhaps break the Geneva Conventions. 'But there's an executive order, I believe President Ford at the time that prohibits the assassination of foreign leaders. I think if we got an opportunity to take out an evil foreign leader, that we'd be wise to do so.'" The stupidity, it burns. And as pointed out elsewhere, the real problem is a lot of people agree with him.

Tweet of my heart: @cjwerleman You see how one terrorist shooting can radicalize Americans like Trump, but you can't see how 10,000+ US bombs might radicalize Muslims?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Linkee-poo, when winter calls with chilling breath for fireside and good cheer

Do men receive bigger book advances than women? While the data is derived from a generalized source (Publishers Weekly announcements), the numbers seems somewhat comparable, overall. Until you get into the weeds of the different genres. And then there are some big disparities (wow, the SF/F is kinda disheartening, as well as MG and YA). (Grokked from Mer Haskell)

For me, spoilers really don't spoil a movie for me, but I know for most people they are a problem. And while it can be a pain to accidentally spoil a movie, creating a campaign to actively spoil it for as many people as possible is a real dick maneuver. I'll eventually see the Star Wars movie, probably sometime around the holidays, and knowing things about the movie really won't stop me from seeing it (even if everybody says, "Wow, JJ and Disney have just fucking lost their minds and ability to tell a story", hell, I saw "Phantom Menace" in the theater). So they can't wreck it for me, but I know I'm weird. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"'I got into therapy and I got on a pill, and what I discovered was getting help didn’t make me less creative. What was making me less creative was being a depressed crazy person. Figuring out how to be happy and have fun with the kids again, how to have fun with my life and work, actually made me a better writer, not a worse writer.'" Joe Hill on dealing with the price of success. Also to note, yea, I've thought of going back to drafting longhand. And it seems to keep popping up all over the place. The problem is my hand hurts after so long. But, yes, writing long hand is much different than typing. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

And, synchronicity wise, 1 minute of writing tips from Stephen King. (Grokked from Mrs. Tadd)

The comedian to do list. (Grokked from Liz Winstead)

XKCD on why the 3 Laws of Robotics are in the order they are. (Grokked form Hannah Bowman)

"Anna Yocca was 24-weeks pregnant when police say she filled a bathtub with water, untwisted the wire of a coat hanger and plunged it into her womb in an attempt at 'self abortion.'" She's now being held in jail on attempted murder charges. Christ, do we really have to learn this lesson all over again? (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"That view of secularism as a religion has since become a key part of the conservative argument against a strict separation of church and state. It suggests that when government authorities ban prayers or Bible readings or Nativity scenes on public property or in official settings, it isn't avoiding the appearance of state support for religion, it's unfairly favoring one faith tradition over another." No, secularism is not a religion. Evangelicals love to position themselves in a context where "well, it's just another belief system" when it comes to things they disagree with. No, evolution and science are not a religion. Global climate change is not something that requires "faith." Also note in the article who is afraid of being recriminated against, and who actually is discriminated against.

Finding the next pain killer. In this case a combination of new and old. Could be interesting, but I have a feeling there are some unforeseen consequences here. But it might be a god-send for those who live with chronic pain. Here, though, I will note that chronic pain actually changes the functioning and structure of your brain, so it might not work as well as hoped. The kicker here, "Wood has filed a patent on the therapy in hopes that a pharmaceutical company will be interested in developing a treatment." Yea, that. (Grokked from John)

"An analysis published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences finds that the ability of fish populations to reproduce and replenish themselves is declining across the globe." We're boned.

Things are getting ugly at the Trumpster's rallies. (Grokked from Dan)

So, Ted Cruz, "Have you ever considered piracy?" Ted Cruz quotes the Princess Bride, but misses the point. Mandy Patinkin is more than willing to school him in the real meaning of the movie.

So, the good people of Dearborn held an anti-ISIS march, and within a week the conservative social media were reposting a photo of the parade saying it was a pro-ISIS march. Because the truth is important to them, or something. Who wants to lay money that most of the people who saw it was a pro-ISIS rally will never accept that it was actually an anti_ISIS rally? (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

A list of anti-muslim attacks after San Bernardino. The Trumpster continues to rise in the polls of GOP voters after making a call to bar all muslims from entering the country (also stoking fears of a registry for muslims living here, which he later denied). And the rest of the world wonders just WTF we're doing over here. Well, okay, some people at the UN are "sickened" by all the hate speech going on.

An excellent infographic on those states that have surrendered to ISIS. Yup. (Grokked form Elizabeth Bear)

"Oklahoma sheriff urges residents to arm themselves for war with radical Islam." Because reasons. (Grokked from Saldin Ahmed)

"In a statement Monday evening, (Marco Rubio) campaign spokesman Alex Conant repeated the claim that Rubio 'is the only candidate running for president with a signature win against Obamacare that stopped a $2.5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies.'… But it had consequences. As a result, the administration announced this fall the government could pay only $362 million of $2.87 billion in risk corridor claims from insurers for 2014. The industry says the government still owes $2.5 billion." So, you know, those high-premium increases, thank Sen. Marco Rubio. Also, there's plenty of people in the GOP side going, "Wait a minute, it wasn't his thing to take credit for." In fact, when Sen. Sessions was asked who was responsible for the budget rider, Rubio's name didn't come up.

Having sowed up the "hate all foreigners" market, the Trumpster goes on to be the "Good Guy With a Gun" in his own mind. Hey Donald, I know a way you could prove your toughness, refuse the Secret Service detail and just carry your own gun to your rallies. Yea, I'm not holding my breath either.

Hey, you know that "freedom of the press" thing? It makes it difficult to accept when even the reporters for The Review-Journal can't find out who is behind the group that bought their paper. Say, did I mention Nevada, where the paper is, is an early primary state? It's also where they're debating tonight.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Linkee-poo wants it's two front teeth

A great parody of the inspirational personal story trope. "What this really shows is the value of a community."

Fred Clark explores on the contrariness of the canonical Santa Clause. Santa as Tom Bombadil. Okay, I'm going to have to rethink that whole thing.

Changing the patriarchal culture in India one brother and one class at a time. Strange how the argument of "walking a mile in their shoes" continues to win converts.

"A new study released by a research institute has concluded that the charter school movement is very good at one thing: making profits for a few people." That's unpossible! Why, it sounds almost like the charter schools movement is a scam to move public funds, your tax dollars, into the private accounts of a few people all while providing substandard educations to students. I mean, it's a conservative push so you'd think they'd have the business side locked down on this. And wasn't competition supposed to make education better? Was it all a pack of lies? (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

"He says the question now is mainly a political one about the church and its relationship to power — both the imperial power of the tsars and the power of the current Russian government." The Russian Orthodox Church is going to exhume Tsar Alexander III to grab some DNA. All this in an attempt to verify the remains of Tsar Nicolas II and his family, of which only the Church doubts earlier tests. But the Church, which canonized Nicolas and his family, wants absolute proof before venerating the remains of Crown Prince Alexei and Grand Duchess Maria as holy relics.

The residents of Woodland, NC, don't want no stinkin' solar farms in their neighborhood. Because, you know, all the youngins would leave, the solar farms would soak up all the sunlight and leave none for the rest of the plants to do photosynthesis, and the existing solar farms have dropped property values. Oh, there are no solar farms there, BTW, but that isn't the dumbest idea in that bunch. (Grokked from Dan)

The trucking business. Chronically short of drivers, but constantly churning through the people out there.

If x is not wrong, nothing is wrong. Fred Clark explores the history of moral scolding in the evangelical community, all in an attempt to expunge our nation's original sin (which evangelicals, as a group, embraced).

The all politicians lie, but some lie more than others chart from Politifact. Also note the caveats that Cory Doctorow brings up.

"Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said in an interview aired Sunday that Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has killed 'hundreds of thousands of people with her stupidity.'" Wow, that's a lot of bodies to hide. The real problem, there are people who believe that. But then the Trumpster isn't in this to tell the truth, he's the "anti-establishment" candidate that's shaking things up.

"This may be the week when observers will finally see whether (Speaker) Ryan -- when pushed up against a real deadline -- can seamlessly do what Boehner always struggled with: secure the support or at the very least the respect of the House Freedom Caucus types who ultimately ended Boehner's speakership." So, how's that working out so far?

"The pro-Santorum Working Again PAC plans to air an ad throughout Iowa warning about an approaching third World War, Politico reported Monday." Fear fear, booga booga. Oh Ricky, don't lose that number.

"A teacher in a Gwinnett County, Georgia middle school asked a Muslim eighth-grader if she had a bomb in her backpack last week in front of her entire classroom." Gods I'm tired of this ignorant shit. I can't imagine what it's like for my friends who follow Islam.

Tweet of my heart: @robertjbennett there is the argument that money can't buy the White House, sure. but in statehouses and city councils, hell yeah, buy what you want man… so while we can laugh at the billionaires fruitlessly attempting to buy a president, let's not forget they're wildly successful elsewhere

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Linkee-poo green grow the rushes, oh

Remember that "pandering" article I linked to earlier? The discussion has expanded and is still continuing.

We have always fought. The women Kurdish fighters, 7,000 strong, who are fighting against ISIS. (Grokked from Josh Parker)

"If you go by their declarations and promises, meat producers are drastically cutting back on the use of antibiotics to treat their poultry, pigs and cattle… According to the Food and Drug Administration… sales of antibiotics for use on the farm increased in 2014, just as they had for most years before that." Wouldn't the Free Market solve this problem? I mean, they only promised to do it to avoid heavy regulation. It's like nobody really believes in Free Market Principles, especially those who like to wave them around at others. Why, it's almost like they lied to the public to keep from having to do what they know is best.

It all comes down to statistics. While I don't doubt that Obamacare's formula needs adjusting (not repealing), this is really a feature, not a bug.

"Both protests claimed to win the day with the farters saying they effectively neutralized the impact of the mock shooting, and the pro-gun activists saying the counter-protesters made fools of themselves." The Austin, TX open-carry/mass-shooting "protest" means a protest of students with dildos and fart-guns. (Grokked from Will Wheaton)

The President helps bring a climate change addressing agreement over the threshold. Start the GOP freakout in 3…2…1… (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The last post, when I said people were banging the Fear drum pretty steadily and loudly for a while, here's the reason for it. My own (GOP) Senator unconsciously speaking truth.

"Donald Trump went on a series of rhetorical rants on Tuesday morning, saying he does not mind comparisons to Adolf Hitler and tussling with morning show anchors about his proposal to temporarily ban all Muslims from entering the United States, calling his approach more akin to what Hitler's American contemporary (President Franklin D. Roosevelt) did during World War II." Here's the thing, most people have realized and come to grips with the fact that what FDR did by rounding up people and putting them into camps was a huge mistake and betrayed our American values. Trumpster then goes on to demonstrate that he's completely out of touch with what is actually going on in the country. The US muslim community has been very instrumental in investigations regarding radicalization. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Another reason to hate Ted Cruz, "Ted Cruz using firm that harvested data on millions of unwitting Facebook users."

Tweet of my heart: @TSElibot The years between 50 and 70 are the hardest. You are always being asked to do more, and you are not yet decrepit enough to turn them down.

Friday, December 11, 2015

Linkee-poo stole a Christmas tree from K-Mart last night

Miss the 70s? Miss K-Mart pre Sears? Like Christmas music? Then you're gonna love this. There's 2 hours of entertainment straight outa 1974 K-Marts. Yes, kiddies, this was once considered acceptable to play to your customers and was considered "enjoyable." Now, I believe the Geneva Convention covers this kinda thing. So when your hear your gramps talking about Musak and other Stygian horrors, this is what they're talking about. Also, in case you think this kind of overhead announcement theater ("Security, report to section 3, please") is no longer practiced, Sam's Club did this kind of thing as recent as 5 years ago (I know, because I would be in the same store at about the same time, and Security was always asked to look at exactly the same place at roughly the same time, I even checked it against my watch once). (Grokked from a whole heckalotta people)

They're closing libraries in the UK. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

"Persecuted and driven into hiding because of their beliefs, the nation’s oppressed Christians reportedly huddled in a secret underground bunker late Wednesday night to decorate and light a single withered Christmas shrub." Oh Onion, never leave us. (Grokked from Christopher Moore)

What this song needs is more cowbell. NPR profiles one of the master craftsman who makes cowbells for musicians. And at 70, Cali Rivera still is making them by hand for an international clientele.

Of relevance to the PRN thing, most HIPAA violations are individual. Note the award amounts and the damage it can do to people. HIPAA compliance is very, very big where I work. There are many things we get asked to do that we can't because of HIPAA. And sometimes it's damn easy to make a violation without even knowing it. You may have noticed that when I post things about the training and the hospital job, there is very little information to help anyone tie whatever I'm talking about to individual patients. Mostly I just wait some time between when something happens and when I talk about it. When I see people I know (outside of the hospital) in the hospital, I have a little speech about HIPAA. I basically say they are covered under HIPAA, I can't tell anyone that I even saw them there unless they say it's okay, or the patient brings it up first.

You knew it would come to this. In Tokyo "The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) is set to introduce "interceptor drones" aimed at spotting and catching suspicious private drones." Yep, it's drone warfare. Or drone on drone violence. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Hoverboards banned on flights because of fire hazards. Note, it's not actually "hoverboards", but the existing problems with Li-Ion batteries. Also, I wonder if there's an ICD-10 code for "burns to foot sustained when hoverboard burst into flames, first visit"?

A fossil-fuel company unlawfully padded their production costs to rob landowners of profits? Unpossible! Why, we all know such a company wouldn't be in business long, according the precepts of the "open market" campaigners. And now, the scurrilous Pennsylvania Attorney General is wading in with a lawsuit representing over 4,000 landowners to get what they were promised (and is their due). Why, it's almost like there needs to be some sort of regulatory mechanism to keep all the players honest. Note to Ohio, Chesapeake also holds many of the leases in the Eastern portion of our state. But I'm sure they wouldn't cheat Ohioans. Because we're Buckeyes, or something.

A preliminary study report indicates that mastectomy is no better than lumpectomy (and whole breast radiation) for recurrence of cancer, but causes more complications and increases costs. Note, there's a lot of statistics going on here, and there's a lot that isn't being accounted for, and this is all for very early detection. Also, note the doctors are basically saying women are getting mastectomies because of their emotions. Dear medical profession, please stop it.

More on the withering middle class, the Financial Times with an animated chart showing more of the distribution. Well, look at that, I was right about how the middle class income distribution had changed as well. Would have loved to see a more nuanced breakout of the "above middle class" income levels, like they did for the below middle income levels. They also point out the growth at the top and repeat the lie about how "well-educated Americans" are enjoying higher incomes. Let me state as one of those "well-educated Americans" married to another "well-educated American", bullshit. My nephew who got a trade license being an electrician is doing better that we are now (and he's almost half our age). (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Utah is pondering a law suit to have control of Federal Lands in their state returned to state control. Good luck with that. Hey, Utah voters, your government has already wasted a half million on this, they're about to waste $14 million dollars to pursue it. And even the lawyers who came up with the strategy say it's a crap shoot. Also, if you do win, guess who's taxes will go up as your state government takes on a lot of responsibility.

"Late on Thursday, a jury found a former Oklahoma City cop (Daniel Holtzclaw) accused of sexually assaulting and raping 13 women guilty of rape and sexual battery… The jury recommended a total of 263 years." It isn't that he committed these rapes and assaults while he was a cop, but a part of his patrolling while on duty. Just in case you still may be laboring under the burden of the thought that all cops are good. Unfortunately he was acquitted on some of the charges, but that is how the law works, the prosecution got him on enough to send him away to jail for a long time. (Grokked from just about everybody)

Ah, the myth of the good guy with a gun. How's that working out? "A Michigan woman complained after her sentencing that she was only trying to help when she opened fire at a pair of fleeing shoplifting suspects… she was sentenced Wednesday to 18 months of probation… Her concealed carry permit was also revoked until 2023." There's so much fail in that story it's impossible to tease it all out. Including the kicker, "'I tried to help, and I learned my lesson that I will never help anybody again,' she said after her sentencing." Human fail. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Sure, as Ted Cruz said, rubbers are still available almost everywhere, but our sex-education in the US makes them hard to find.

"The images show cadets dressed in white and wearing pointed white hoods with eye holes. Citadel President Lt. Gen. John Rosa said in a statement the students were apparently dressed for a 'Ghosts of Christmas Past' skit and singing Christmas carols, and that an investigation is ongoing." Well, yes, those would be the Ghosts of Xmas Past, but not the ones they may have been thinking of. Seriously, are there any fucking adults at the Citadel, or is it just a Lord of the Flies kegger? (It's not the first time students at the Citadel were caught out) I expect most of the kids wouldn't know what the hell they were doing, which really destroys the notion and marketing slogan that these "are the best", but no adult at the school said, "Hey, let's change those costumes so they aren't all so KKK-ish, K?"

"Everything Senator Ted Cruz said about climate change in this NPR interview was wrong." (Grokked from Chia Evers)

The Trumpster thinks it's disgusting that the White House Press Secretary dissed his hair while talking about what a Troll the Trumpster is (wait, Donald the Troll, nah, still like mine). This is said by the man who mocked a disabled reporter. Well, bullies never like it when they aren't in the power spot. Fuck you, Donald.

Schooled! Jeb Bush's Leadership PAC's lawyer takes it to the Trumpster's lawyer. Too bad Jeb!s brother consciously hobbled the FEC and the rest of the GOP has continued to deny fully staffing it so it could settle disputes like this. It's like a double petard hoisting special.

"'And that’s okay because the (Latinos) that don’t like Trump aren’t even here legally and they can’t vote, so it doesn’t really matter, right? And I understand their point of view. They’re—they do not want to be asked to leave right? And go back where? Go back to their homes? You know they don’t want to. So I understand.'" So says Michael Cohen, executive vice president and general counsel at the Trump Organization. Now are you glad he's going to be sued? And seriously, they just continue to thump the Nazi narrative. It's like they're taking Himler's writings as a handbook. See, they're not real Germans. It's the No True Irishman gambit, but with more deadly and consequential outcomes. (Grokked from Dan)

There are idiots on all sides of the political spectrum.

Of course Americans are more fearful about a terrorist strike than they were after 9/11. The Fear Industry (led by Bullshit Mountain) has finely honed their craft over the past 15 years, and they were already beating the drums before Paris and San Bernardino pretty hard. And all this talk is not harmless. "After ordering a slice of pizza at Salt & Pepper, Brooklyn resident Robert Murino quickly turned against the employees serving him, asking them if they were Muslims and if they supported the Islamic State. He reportedly told Salt & Pepper employee Lina Parvin that he planned to 'fuck you up' and punched her co-worker Tahir Mahood for trying to calm him down… The staff managed to escort Murino out of the restaurant but he soon returned and smashed two glass partitions at the food counter with a chair, according to the report." And "The state of Georgia won't process the application for food stamps and other state benefits filed by a newly arrived Syrian refugee family last week, the state Department of Human Services confirmed to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Thursday." Because, I don't know, something something good Christian ideals or whatever.

"If Republican party bosses continue meeting to discuss how to derail Donald Trump at the convention, Trump won't be the only one to turn his back on the GOP. Now, retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson says he'll leave too." I'd call that a Two-fer. On the other side, the Trumpster calls out Ted Cruz. Remember when Ted Cruz called out the President, see a pattern? Tangentially, France is on the verge of electing a new coalition into power which might be led by an ultra-right party (read: Nationalist or Nativist, this is the nice European way of saying "OMG Nazis!"). And even Marine lePen, the new leader of that party (she's the granddaughter of the founder) thinks Trumps Muslim Ban plan goes too far. You know, when neo-Hitlers say, "Whoa, dude, that's a bit radical" there's a problem with your plan.

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Linkee-poo, bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella

"For young Saudis, life is conducted online… In this deeply conservative society, with its strict moral codes of behavior and gender segregation, many young Saudis turn to social media and technology to entertain and express themselves… For women, especially, it's a social revolution… In a Riyadh hotel ballroom, virtual reality meets real life at GCON, an annual convention for young women who love video games and grew up playing them with their siblings." And you know what, they may have to deal with the Morality Police, but I bet they don't have GamerGaters over there.

Marriott Hotels is trying an experiment on removing desks from rooms. "… (T)he whole chain was gradually removing its desks, because some consultants told them that Millennials like to chill on couches with their phones, not sit at desks…" Some blame Millennials (shakes fist, shouts at cloud, "Wernstrom!"), some blame silly businesses. Me, I blame the fucking consultant culture. Seriously. "(S)ome consultants", wtf? Note, the same applies for the vast majority of businesses and their reliance on "consultants" for a variety of Very Bad, No Good Business Practices and Moves.

A fossil-fuel company unlawfully padded their production costs to rob landowners of profits? Unpossible! Why, we all know such a company wouldn't be in business long, according the precepts of the "open market" campaigners. And now, the scurrilous Pennsylvania Attorney General is wading in with a lawsuit representing over 4,000 landowners to get what they were promised (and is their due). Why, it's almost like there needs to be some sort of regulatory mechanism to keep all the players honest. Note to Ohio, Chesapeake also holds many of the leases in the Eastern portion of our state. But I'm sure they wouldn't cheat Ohioans. Because we're Buckeyes, or something.

So, what exactly are the bright spots on Ceres? Ah, subsurface briny oceans for everybody! (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

The declining middle-class ("defined as a household making between $42,000 and $126,000 annually") is now half of all adults (from 61% in 1971) The good news is "the upper income bracket has grown from 14 to 21 percent of Americans. " The bottom also grew, but not as much. If that's true, we should all be feeling good, instead the vast majority of people I talk to are doing worse. Probably because for those of us still in the middle, "The great recession hit… especially hard. Their median wealth fell by 28 percent between 2001 and 2013." Which means for that 50%, while there's no statistic given, the numbers skew more toward $42,000 than $126,000. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I think we can chalk up the Open Carry Texas' mock shooting protest at the U of Texas, Austin campus as a Really Bad Idea™. In case you need to know why this type of protest, at this specific campus, is such a bad idea, maybe you need to learn about Charles Whitman, the actual "man in a high place with a gun" mass shooter. This is really a fucking stupid idea.

Then we have the Trumpster and Dr. Ben Carson who are all for eliminating the "gun-free zones." Just a note, both of them now have Secret Service protection, which mandates that all of their events are gun-free zones. Let that one sink in a little, a little more of the "rules and danger for thee, not for me" mindset. "Jon Adler, a law enforcement officer, gun-rights advocate and president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, said he'd favor letting people bring guns to (the political rallies of presidential candidates) if the Secret Service were not there — but not when the agency is assigned to the candidate. That, he said, would mean 'a Wild, Wild West set of circumstances.'" Because it wouldn't be that way if people brought guns to a rally where the Secret Service were not present, apparently.

"Sign outside Oakwood Village Hall says 'Jesus is making a list' and asks if you’re on it." Full disclosure, I drive past here several times a month. First off, I didn't know Jesus was Santa (or maybe he's just Santa's Recording Secretary). And wow, that goes a little farther than decorating the poles and putting up an Xmas tree. My guess is someone is going to hear from a lawyer. "Unless, of course, anyone can request a message on that sign. In which case I have a few friends at The Satanic Temple who will surely want to know about this wonderful opportunity." (Grokked from Dan)

"A southern Utah county commissioner convicted of federal misdemeanors for organizing an ATV protest ride through a closed canyon made a mistake and wouldn't do it again, his lawyers said in new court documents." His lawyers are asking for probation. I say, "nope, man-up and serve the time, asshole." As they used to say, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

No Child Left Behind is dead. Long live the Every Student Succeeds Act, which doesn't about the same thing, but leaves it up to the states and local communities to decide how to get kids a better education. While the article talks about what NCLB got wrong, remember we got NCLB because the states and local communities created an education system where "Why Can't Johnny Read" (also, note the low-information voter turnout has been getting larger and larger each year).

Of course Judge Antonin Scalia is a racist, haven't you all been paying attention. Hell, he even got on the Supreme Court because he's Italian-American. Racial politics has played well for him in the past, why would he give it up now. (Saladin Ahmed)

"As the president acknowledged, he leads one of the few advanced democracies in the world where climate change is still the subject of political debate." America, leading from behind, again (note which party is responsible for us lagging behind the rest of the world, again).

"Donald, it's was a movie." Harrison Ford responds to the Trumpster commending him for standing up for the US, in Air Force One. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

So, with all of the talking heads of the GOP crying into their beer over the Trumpster's popularity, loudly and vociferously saying "He doesn't represent the Party" into any open mic they can find, how is he doing? "Trump polled at 35 percent among Republican primary voters (in a CBS/NYT poll released Thursday morning), which is a 13-point jump from his standing in the poll in mid-October." And, so what about his most controversial "shutting down the Muslims coming to this country" working against him? "In a new Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies poll… 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they back the ban" (although it's only 37% of "all likely general election voters"). That 37%, you're going to hear a lot about them over the next year (those are the actual "silent majority"). Also, another trait of the demagogue, it's called "distract the detractors until you can overwhelm them and ignore their calls for moderation". To wit, "Trump insisted Wednesday morning on 'Live With Kelly and Michael' that his ban wasn't related to religion and that the nation needs to 'get its act together.'" Even though "Trump called Monday for a 'a total and complete shutdown' on Muslims entering the country…" And then there's this, "'I'm doing good for the Muslims,' Trump reportedly told CNN. 'Many Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me.'" Although there is much evidence his former Muslim friends are dropping him like a hot potato. And then "Donald Trump announced on Thursday morning that he would postpone his December trip to visit Israel and meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, one day after the Israeli prime minister denounced Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from visiting the United States." Look, when Benny Netanyahu says, "Hey, tone it down on the beating up on Muslims thing" you know you've gone over the falls on this issue. And this kind of talk has consequences and gives power and cover to people to express their full hatred, like phoning in death threats to Muslim congressman. Note to caller, you're sooo going to jail. Hell, even representative Steven King can't go as far as Trump. And THAT is saying something when the most blatantly ignorant racist in Congress can support your plan. Of course Stevie wraps it around the Sharia Law boogeyman and says the two Muslims in Congress won't renounce it. Hey, Stevie, renounce Catholicism Law and stop saying out US Laws are based on the Bible and you might start to have a point, but basically you're just saying your God is better.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Linkee-poo, me and my drum

The NPR book concierge's picks for best books of 2015. Hey, I know a few of those authors!

The big reason why agents and editors stop reading a submission. (Grokked from Elizabeth Shack)

Notable book covers. I just stared at the Fox and the Star cover for most of the day. (Grokked from Dan)

Moley, the robotic kitchen. Jane, stop this crazy thing! (Grokked from John)

"'Such security concerns could give parents second thoughts about buying the Internet-connected toys on their children's holiday wish lists,' observes CNET." Now, not only do you need to watch out for toys with "some assembly required", you need to vet the little buggers for strong encryption. (Grokked from Rodney)

"… Greenpeace today disclosed that it led an undercover investigation to expose how easy it is for big oil, gas, or coal companies to pay academics at leading U.S. universities to write research that sheds doubt on climate science, and promotes the commercial interests of the fossil fuel industry… The scientist involved is speaking at Sen. Ted Cruz's Senate hearing on promoting climate denial this afternoon, on Capitol Hill."

Diane Rehm to retire after the next election. (Grokked from Dan)

"America's largest and most futuristic destroyer has headed out to sea for the first time ever. The USS Zumwalt departed from the Bath Iron Works shipyard earlier this week for its first open ocean trials… the Zumwalt — the first of three ships in its class — is thought by some to represent the future of the Navy. It's fitting, then, that it's helmed by one Captain James Kirk." Who says the Navy doesn't have a sense of humor. (Grokked from John)

Those druids, they sure knew how to barbecue. I wonder if they were a sweet or spicy sauce kind of people? Or were they dry rub?

A drones, they're so cute, and they have cameras that might invade your privacy. Or a local teen could add a flamethrower. Because, you know, this is Amurica! (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Not sure I liked to this before (it's from September), but… "Houston police say that an armed man’s attempt to stop a carjacking went terribly wrong on Saturday night when he shot the vehicle’s owner in the head, then fled the scene." Yea, that. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

You never really want to know how they make sausage or legislation. That's an article on the things being rolled into the Omnibus Spending Bill that the Legislature and Senate don't want you to know about.

""Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky doesn't give a shit about anything but politics. The first responders were told the Zadroga Act would be included — they were told this last week — would be included in the transportation bill passed last week," (Jon) Stewart said. "Mitch McConnell of Kentucky pulled it out of the transportation bill last week when he didn't get concessions about loosening oil export regulations." Video: Jon goes to Washington and interview with first responder. (Grokked from TPM)

John Scalzi with eight things about Donald Trump. "…Reince Priebus said Tuesday he doesn't 'agree' with frontrunner Donald Trump's proposed plan to bar Muslims from entering the U.S., but stopped short of a full condemnation of the real estate mogul's remarks… The RNC chair has called Trump's candidacy a 'net positive' for the national party, saying Trump has 'done a good job of getting [the] message out'" "Republican presidential candidate Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) said Tuesday that rival Donald Trump's call to ban Muslims from entering the country was a 'mistake,' even though it was similar to a plan Paul already proposed to halt immigration from the Middle East."

"Donald Trump has three words for critics of his newly announced plan to bar Muslims from entering the United States: 'I don't care.'" He's not speaking to you or me, he's only speaking to his crowds of supporters. And yes, that is a dangerous turn. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Real estate magnate Donald Trump soared to the top of a Suffolk University/USA Today poll released Tuesday with 27 percent support… Trump supporters are also proving to be a loyal bunch. Sixty-eight percent of supporters said they would still vote for Trump if the former reality television star left the GOP and ran as an independent." That'a after his comments on banning muslims.

And Trump's hate speech isn't innocent (and granted, anti-Islam sentiment didn't start with his candidacy, but he's giving people cover and legitimacy). "Anti-Muslim hate crimes are happening with frightening regularity." And they've been increasing in tempo. "Someone threw a pig’s head at a Philadelphia mosque" (which also gives more data on other attacks). A Somali restaurant in North Dakota is vandalized "Vandals late last week spray-painted an offensive symbol on the business and the words 'go home', but authorities say it's too early to know if the two incidents are connected." (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

Tweet of my heart: @Thom_astro Manual controls for Soyuz atmospheric re-entry. Like a video game, except you only have one life ;) (picture)

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Every Song We Played Was for the Late Great Johnny Ace

Because I still miss him. Thirty-five years ago, the day the music died.

I didn't always agree with his politics. But he lived his life in the public eye, and he dedicated himself to making the rest of our lives better, if he could.

Everybody else will play Imagine or Happy Xmas (War Is Over) today, so I doubt you need me to pile on. Instead, here's a song from Paul Simon that encapsulates that day 35 years ago.

Thoughts on the Campaign on Donald Trump

And here I will pause for a moment. In my twitter feed there has been a lot of people talking about being at that moment in Weimar Republic and there being a funny looking little guy with dangerous ideas rousing up the folk, and just what were we going to do about it, President Hindenburg? And I'm not entirely sure they're wrong anymore. Donald Trump is just as ignorant as the people he's whipping into a frothy mixture with stiff peaks. But he's smart enough to play that ignorance, the be the populist to that demographic. Hindenburg and his intelligentsia laughed at the funny little man. And then, three years later, he appointed him Chancellor with emergency powers. Because laughing up our sleeves doesn't counter his message.

And, yes, I've just Godwin'ed my own post. It's intentional.

I am as guilty as the next person for making the Trumpster the butt of the joke (see all the Linkee-poos since, I don't know, July?). I'm not going to stop at that, but I've never discounted him or the rage he's tapping into. It's a dangerous path he's trending, and to mix my metaphor, that high-voltage live wire he has grasped may just turn on him. He has shown he knows how to wield it. Not everything has gone his way, but that power is intoxicating and the people around him are getting a contact high from it.

His rise needs to be checked, and that may mean some of us will need to grab that hot end of that live wire. My tool of choice is ridicule, to play the fool, but my voice is small. Together our voice is louder. It may be that New Hampshire breaks the campaign (I'm laying odds he wins Iowa), it has done so in the past. However, the Trumpster has broken the patterns of the past ("he'll fade by Fall", "He won't make it past the tides of October", "We'll see his numbers fall by Thanksgiving when people really start to make up their minds and get serious"). The Trumpster is doing quite well with the theory, "There go my people, I must leave to go lead them." The undercurrent of hate and pent up anger (yes, to these people, it's still pent up) is a strong tide he can ride right into office. I can't let that happen. The rest of the GOP field appears better only because of the comparison to the lunacy of the Trumpster. He's a dangerous lunatic, fueled by narcissism and his internal stories. He's taken on the mantle of the Voice of the People. That's a major step.

His rallies are not safe places to contradict him (I give props to the Black Lives Matter Movement and Jorge Ramos for trying, those people have put their health and safety on the line). A head-to-head confrontation will lead to violence. Not from the Trumpster himself, but from his followers who have reached a point where they will tolerate no dissent. In these types of movements, the front men never get their hands dirty, and there are toadies a plenty who will volunteer to do the work. The Trumpster needs to be countered before we reach a state of not being able to stand up to him.

Many people who remind us to think of the Nazis and not wanting to repeat history have an incomplete knowledge of that history. Before the Holocaust, before the Nazis rounded up the crippled, mentally ill, handicapped, and then gay people for extermination there was the Night of the Long Knives when Hitler and his cronies assassinated anyone that might challenge him for power (including many leading Nazis and Brownshirts).

Right now everyone is discounting the Trumpster's chances. And none more loudly than those on the right. The establishment of the GOP is already conceding they may be losing control, and the Trumpster has made even Chairman Reince Priebus apologize and make nice (so there's not going to be any King Richard moment coming). He's formed a co-dependent relationship with Roger Ailes. He is coopting the power structure of the party.

They all say he won't last past Iowa. And even if he makes it to the nomination, Hillary will stomp all over that parade. I am not as certain. A small victory in Iowa could be enough to propel him to the nomination (it hasn't happen for the past 20+ years, but again he is breaking all known patterns). Even a strong showing (but an over all loss) in Iowa might be enough. And then as we on the left laugh, scoff, and point at the ignorance and fear mongering suddenly we wake up November 9th to President-Elect The Donald. And that's a hang-over I don't want to experience. Again, this is the actual lesson of history.

So understand when I make fun of him, I'm dancing in front of the King with my jester stick firmly in hand, looking for an opening to twist the (metaphorical and/or political) knife in.

If I'm successful we can tie all the bastards together so we only have to find one weight to sink them to the bottom (I grew up in southern NJ, it's a thing there).