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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

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Story Bone

So, today we were going over pelvic pathologies and started down the road of dermoid cysts and started talking about vanishing twin syndrome. So that's when I started thinking, what if it were triplets, where one had absorbed another one, and then the mother gave birth to twins. But the one that had absorbed the vanishing triplet was still hungry for its remaining sibling. Yea, it's a cannibal story. Sometimes kids bite each other, what if there was something more to it. A hunger, a driving, desirous hunger for the other.

Creepy, eh?

But wait, there's more, what if it was all being driven by the original sibling, the one that had been absorbed. That one is the actual cannibal.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Linkee-poo, one day Bilbo was asked to go on a big adventure to the caves below

The updated suggested readings for the new edition of D&D namecheck a number of people I know personally. Wow. Plus some cool insights. But, wait, "Patrick Rothfuss 'showed that bards didn’t have to suck.'" Bards? Suck? WTF? I once created a bard from a level 1 fighter and he was the most kick-ass character I ever played (okay, well, besides the gnome that had to talk his way out of every danger but wielded a wicked pair of knives). He was probably the only true hero class character I played (and that includes stepping into some 25 level characters).

Some people have asked me exactly what it is I have against Microsoft Word. Well, here's a good primer. Die, Microsoft, die. (Grokked from John)

Calligrapher to Middle Earth. (Grokked from Tor.com)

When we die, what the various religions hold true. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The girl whom the crows give gifts. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Please allow me to introduce myself, I'm a man of wealth and taste. Fred Clark notes that the Devil has been in twice as many movies as Jesus has, and notes how these movies have changed our view of the Adversary, the Destroyer of Kings… Pointed to as part of the WIP. So I have this question, have you ever heard what a fiddle of solid gold sounds like? Nobody plays one to win.

You know when you were young and you wondered if everybody saw the same blue that you did? Well, in general they don't. But just like there are super-smellers out there, there are also tetrachromats. They have an additional color receptor in their eye and so see so many more colors than the rest of us muggles can. Also, there's a difference between seeing colors and being able to see the difference in colors when those colors are right next to each other. (Grokked from John)

What does the ultimate computer code geek want to teach his kids programming? An Apple IIc. I would disagree and say the IIe, but, hey, both are great ideas. Says John Carmack, “Teaching my kids programming on an Apple IIc is like kung fu training in the primitive wilderness.” Fuck yea. (Grokked from John)

The man who would be President "You blamed the seniority system for Sampson’s lay-off when, in good conscience, you should have done some serious soul searching and placed the blame squarely on your systematic defunding of public education to the tune of $2.6 billion that you cut from school districts, state aid to localities, the UW-System and technical colleges." Burn. Scott Walker has a problem with the truth. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

You might wonder at what I call the whackaloon quotient. Jim Wright pretty much shows exactly what I'm talking about in his post, The Boogeyman Is Gonna Get You. "America will fall. Because democracy… Everybody got that? There’ll be a test later. For extra credit, you may write a short essay on why God is okay with democracy and free will when it comes to elections in Israel but not in America – but you will be required to reference the relevant Bible passage and cite the verse where God only loves democracy if you elect conservatives." And that's why I read Jim.

Turns out, someone in the Tea Party gets it. The it here is how solar energy (and renewables) can make us the energy independent country they always talk about (when they shout, "Drill, Baby, Drill"). Now, don't worry, I'm sure the Koches will use their money to defund all those crazy tree-huggers who somehow got into the Tea Party. Also, I have a few qualms about their thought processes, like "You know, monopolies are the government's way of picking winners and losers…" says Debbie Dooley, whom the article is mostly about. No, monopolies are the natural result of "free markets" and "capitalism." It's the government's job to regulate them and try and keep them from forming in the first place.

"Out of 60 incidents of domestic terrorism planned or carried out in the US between 2009 and 2015, a lone wolf was behind 74% of them. 90% were the work of just one or two people." Just what motivates them? Hmm, there's a lot of echoes into the Sovereign Citizen ideology here. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Governor Walker equates being able to take on union protestors to taking on the threat of ISIS? Really? Okay, you heard him, Wisconsin Unions, he's expecting to be firebombed and beheaded. Not that I condone such behavior, but one should always be careful of what one wishes for. Words have power.

Fred Clark on the Good News that is Wal-Mart and now other retailers raising their minimum wage. Also how some people see this as Bad News, even when they stand to benefit.

If only get could have gotten affordable insurance… Instant karma is going to get you. "Former Arizona county sheriff Richard Mack, a fierce opponent of Obamacare and a leader in the "constitutional sheriff" movement, is struggling to pay his medical bills after he and his wife each faced serious illnesses. The former sheriff and his wife do not have health insurance and started a GoFundMe campaign to solicit donations from family and friends to cover the costs of their medical care." Hey, go him. Good luck with that fundraiser. I wonder if he'll insist any insurance company he goes to consider his pre-existing condition?

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

There's no shade in the shadow of the cross

I guess I should do this more often. As you know, Bobs and Gretchens, at the top of the page I often throw some poetry on there. Most often it's from a song that has touched me, or has lyrics that I think are pretty darn good.

Well, I guess sometimes I might be somewhat obscure in my references sometimes. So I should probably do a video post of the music I'm so gratuitously ripping off.

The lyrics currently up top are the last two stanzas of Sufjan Stevens' No Shade in the Shadow of the Cross. I heard this song last week and haven't been able to get it out of my head since then. So, now you can have it in your head.



Linkee-poo is not a monster, Tom, well, technically I am, I guess I am

Well, now that we're in full on 2016 electoral politics, can I mention that with the whackaloon totals this high already, it's going to be a bumpy road.

NPR on marketing to Millenials. They're so cute when they're that young. Note to Millenials; X-ers and the Inbetweeners have said exactly the same thing (minus the social media thing). Get real, dude. "Play it to us straight." Good luck with that.

An octopus leaps out of the water to drag a crab back to its lair. Good night, kiddies. Sleep tight. Try not to dream about LEAPING C'THULHU HEADS. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Email as performance art. From the tag at NPR, "Virginia Heffernan and Paul Ford have never met but they have crossed paths, and they've been sending fake work emails to see who most horrifies the other." Yea. I've done work like that.

The re-rise of the witch/wicca and the effect it has on feminism. A bit dated, and slightly rambling, but if you aren't aware of the resurgence of wicca, it's a nice opener. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Drill, Baby, Drill worked real well when oil was over $90 a barrel. Doesn't work so well when it's below $50. So which party wants you to pay higher gas prices? (Hint, it's not the Democrats)

Dear Bill O'Reilly, thanks for taking the heat off of Brian Williams. That might be your lasting legacy to the new business. This time, it's Bill's memories of his "sports career" that are up for scrutiny. Okay, I feel a little bad because he's caught in that famous downward spiral of the media pile on. Which is terrible for anybody having been put in that crosshair. But not that bad, mostly because Bill has his own share of culpability for setting wolves to the heels of others. (Grokked from Dan)

Fuckstockings, as Pocket might say. ISIS burns the rare book collection at the Mosul Library. 'Rhut 'rho, watch out now. After beheading a handful of Christians and thousands of Muslims, now they're going to have the twitter literati after them. Can an invasion be far behind? Although, seriously, notice what tyrants, terrorists, and those who have the glory of authoritarian rule wreathed about them all fear most… books, universities, education (especially for women), and music. Just something to keep in mind as the political debates get into full swing.

"The facility, a nondescript warehouse on Chicago’s west side known as Homan Square, has long been the scene of secretive work by special police units." Time for the pitchforks and torches, folks. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Is that the best they have?" On Willie Soon and the big business of climate change denialism. Science loves a debate, and the fastest way to stardom in science is to show how everyone else is wrong about something. But then, you have to have the science to back it up.

Won't get fooled again. A Congressional Report on how all this government regulation is leading to the higher cost of higher education. Only now, instead of just having industry write legislation, we now have industry writing the official reports that will lead to the legislation. In this case, the official report was authored mostly by the higher education industry. Fabulous. I wonder if they also think the government should increase the grant money flowing to universities? Maybe we should ask them.

Tweet of my heart: @BadAstronomer If you read Twitter backwards it's about a lot of really angry people who shut up when someone says something they disagree with.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Very Particular Tastes

So, every time I hear about the 50 Shades of Grey movie, this is the soundtrack in my head.


Ah, those 80's music video production values and aesthetics.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Linkee-poo is a man of constant sorrow, I've seen trouble all my days

An NPR story on how we talk about our teachers. Which could also be titled, "How we talk about women in the workplace."

Something, something about people in glass houses and of the not throwing stones. Dear Bill O'Reilly, you know there's this thing called "video tape." While it's mostly been overtaken by direct to digital systems, the concept of replaying something from a long time ago is still pretty current. And look, it's not only the DailyShow that can show your hypocrisy. Next up, Rudy Giuliani, this is Your Life. 'Rut 'rho.

There certainly is a crisis in immigration enforcement. Unfortunately it's not one people are talking about. If you want to toss more people out, we're going to need more judges that can sign the orders. But wait, I've got an idea, all those home foreclosure robosigners are looking for work. I know where we can employ them. (No, not really)

"Though he has little formal training in climatology, Dr. Soon has for years published papers trying to show that variations in the sun's energy can explain most recent global warming. His thesis is that human activity has played a relatively small role in causing climate change." Some climate change deniers often claimed "we should follow the money", because (somehow) saying that the Earth was warming and changing the climate was a way to riches. Well, the deniers shouldn't be upset when people actually follow the money, most of which is going to the deniers. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"I had no idea it was a word or what it meant." Um, no. Sorry, not buying it. A local Cleveland TV reporter describes Lady Gaga music as "jigaboo" while facing Wayne Dawson (who is a prominent, local, African-American news anchor). This says so much about the brainlessness of the modern news room, and the intense gullibility with which they view the rest of us. "Capel's co-host, Wayne Dawson, quickly turned the conversation back to Lady Gaga's vocal talents." That's because Mr. Dawson is a class act.

Dear GOP, you're going to need to start rationing the crazy. I'm afraid you're going to hit peak crazy before November 8, 2016. And that should be your goal. I don't think you know how to control yourselves.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Linkee-poo has been afraid of changing 'cause I've built my life around you

February 19th was the anniversary of President Roosevelt's Executive Order 9066 which lead to the wholesale internment of American citizens of Japanese decent in 1942. "In 1981, the Commission on Wartime Relocation and Internment of Civilians concluded that EO 9066 was a 'grave injustice' that had resulted from 'race prejudice, war hysteria, and a failure of political leadership.' In 1988, President Reagan offered survivors an apology and $20,000 each." (Quoted from the Writers Almanac) Just something to keep in mind as a certain segment of our population is screaming for the President to say that ISIL is Islamic and not just a terrorist organization.

"A YouGov poll that has just been released rates being an author the most desirable job in Britain – with 60% of people saying they’d like to do it for a living. This is a 24% higher than those who want to be a TV presenter and a remarkable 29% higher than those who want to be a movie star." As you know, Bob, most people don't know a figs worth about what actually being a writer is all about. And then, in the article, as the author tries to disabuse you of the notion of the "rather serene, noble" pursuit of words, they rely on a hellalotta cliches and miss the point entirely. Also, I don't believe writing is a calling. Rather it's hearing the sirens signing as you're attempting to navigate between Scylla and Charybdis. It's too late for me, save yourselves. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Neil Gaiman on the Diane Rehm Show. Full disclosure, I think I always wanted to write and be a storyteller. I think it was during the years I could listen to the Diane Rehm show (I remember when she used to have call-in hours) that I realized I wanted to be a writer (note, telling stories and writing do not necessarily equal writer, if you know what I mean). And it's always been a secret fantasy to be on her show plugging my latest book. I can say that now because I don't think that's going to happen.

Just in case you've ever heard be pontificate on the use of Xmas and how those who rail against its use are a bunch of idiots, would you believe Grammar Girl? And yes, this is how far behind I am in my reading and podcast listening.

Caffeine is a drug. Saying that, would you like to see my house altar to Saint Caffeine? But, yes, caffeine will mess with your head. It mimics a few neurotransmitters. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Note they followed all the sterilization procedures and they still infected a lot of people with the scopes. As we stated in the hospital, time for the bleach wipes (yea, can't use those on these, though). This is what it means for something to be a "superbug." It's some pretty scary shit out there (and everybody else were losing their cool over Ebola).

"Graveyard of Giant Lemurs Discovered Underwater in Madagascar." NatGeo isn't exactly BuzzFeed, but damn if that headline isn't click bait. Because 1) Giant Lemurs, w00t! 2) The Graveyard of the Giant Lemurs has been found (well, not exactly but said in the same vein as the hidden elephants' graveyard). And 3) it's underwater (all Cthulhu'ly and all). I mean, those are all the buttons my inner 12-year old needs to have pushed. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"As the Capital Weather Gang pointed out today, this year's vortex is pulling in air not just from the Arctic, but all the way back from Siberia." Damn Ruskies! That felt good, I haven't been able to say that with feeling since the Cold War. :: Goes off whistling "Blame Canada":: (Grokked from Lizz Winstead)

Enlisting citizen scientists to help with research science pursuits. (Grokked from Tania)

First, do no harm. Refusal to treat is a harm. This kind of thing, a pediatrician refusing to accept a newborn as a patient because she has two mommies, infuriates me to levels of apoplexy. The rules which allow doctors, nurses, pharmacists, refuse to perform their jobs because "of the religious exception" makes me shout, "Then you shouldn't have gone into this business!" Seriously. If you're business is NOT in a closed religious community or religion based, and if you're open to all comers, you can not refuse service (there are some exemptions such as "no shirt, no shoes, no service" but that's because of basic health laws, not really a personal preference). So, if you're services are exclusively reserved for a religious set, you have a case for refusal. If you don't do that, rigorously, then you're open for general business and must accept all comers. I know this because I was offered work from the local Right-to-Life organization. You know my feelings on this, but I had no business case to refuse their trade (typically, if you're less than ethical you can charge "hassle" rates - also known as "pay me this outrageous fee or GTFU - or say you're too busy to accept). Fortunately for me they lost some funding and couldn't use me. This doctor should come up on charges before the state licensure board.

I'm sure Wal-Mart raising their minimum wage has nothing to do with the better employment picture or trying to staved off an increase in the Federal Minimum Wage. That would be too cynical of me to think that.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Linkee-poo and I rise, like a bird, in the haze, when the first rays touch the sky

"Pretty girls and forest creatures: photography by Katerina Plotnikova". I'm pretty sure I've seen some of those compositions as book covers. Although whenever I see some photos like this, the scent of red fox comes to my nose unbidden. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

The RadioLab episode on the Trust Engineers.

Whenever people talk about "technology will save us" I often picture one of these impractical weapons. That's technology folks, likely as not to blow yourself up as advance your cause. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"These freedom- and security-enhancing consequences are a hugely underappreciated aspect of the ACA." Hey look, Obamacare is helping people live their lives instead of being job slaves to get their insurance. And now you know why there's continued resistance to its implementation. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

"Texas State Representative Matt Krause (R, Of course) has proposed a law that would require the state to assign a lawyer to represent the fetus in cases where the mother is clinically dead and being kept 'alive' via life-support." I can not state how much I see this as abomination. And Jim back up where he thinks this law might be going by pointing out actual examples of where it has gone in other places.

"The Fox & Friends segment did not mention that the DHS 'Second Sunday & Faith Weekend of Action Toolkit' proposed that churches put on a health insurance fair on December 14, 2013 — which was over two years ago." And they will know they were Christians by their lies and hatred. Wait, that's not how that goes. So, aren't Churches and their Shepherd leaders supposed to help their flocks? Isn't there a quote about rendering unto Caesar what is Caesar's? (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Well, of course allowing co-eds on campus to carry guns will stop rape. Just look how well concealed carry has stopped rape everywhere else off campus. I mean, rapists won't the able to carry guns, because of something. So this totally won't lead to raped women being killed at the end. And if we allow everyone to carry guns on campus, that'll help us stop rapists who may also carry guns, because then the police, as they're letting the potential rapist go because they can't stop people for carrying weapons, can give them a good talking to. That'll learn them.

Can't stop the crazy, Mal. So, Oklahoma, afraid of the new AP History test being all political and non-inclusive of all of America (read this as, not focused on "Amurkia, Fuck Yeah!") passes a bill through the legislature on what should be taught in schools. "But the bill also requires students to read the Ten Commandments, three speeches by Ronald Reagan, and one speech by George W. Bush. The bill does not include speeches from any of the last three Democratic presidents— Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, or Jimmy Carter." So, which one of these has the actual politicized and non-inclusive lesson plan?

You may have just though the conservative tendency to fleece the masses of their free cash was limited to just the gold hawking on Fox. You would be wrong. Turns out the various PACs are operating as mailing list generators and not spending the money they raise on politics (gee, I wonder where it goes?) and then sells your name to other scam businessmen that want you to buy all these other products. This is what's known as "shooting fish in a barrel." 'Cause if you've fallen for the conservative line, obviously you've got a lot of spending money you can lose on things like the vegetable seed vault to help you restart your gardens after the zombie/economic apocalypse that Pres. Obama so far has been thwarted in bringing about.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Linkee-poo spent the day off, but not a dollar richer

An NPR interview with Kelly Link about stories, writing, and the characters of her latest, Get In Trouble.

An NPR interview with Neil Gaiman (noted here because I want to listed to it).

Tobias Buckell's All Her Children Fought as a short movie. Noted here because I want to watch this once I have a few minutes to myself.

While I love technology, most of what people think is fantastic I think is utter garbage and a version of the pet rock that can connect to the internet. But here's an artificial sky light this is actually pretty neat. And damn expensive. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Trigger warning. "Symphysiotomy" What happens when you let a religion which has set itself opposite science dictate medicine. Good thing the Right-to-Life movement wants to take us back to the heyday when this medical procedure (splitting the pelvis and the public symphysis during childbirth, instead of performing a cesarian which was considered one step away from abortion) was considered humane. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

The other day I was scanning a woman who held dog tags in her fist. I asked if they were hers. Yes, she said. I asked her what branch. She was Army Airborne. I told here I was Air Force. And, she thanked me for my service. I said I didn't do anything that deserved thanks. I thanked her for hers. We shared a smile as the other tech prepared to set the line. We talked about how it's never easy to know what to say. She was Army Airborne. She was an electrician that worked on C-130s in Vietnam. I knew a lot of what that meant. I can't imagine what hell she went through there. The 60s, in theater, a woman, an electrician, and Airborne working on C-130s, what she must have gone through when she came home. I held her hand as the other tech set the IV, a little pinch, kept her focused on something thing other than her arm and the needle being threaded into her vein. And she had thanked me for my service, because that's what we do now.

"Developing wind power off the Atlantic Coast would create twice as many jobs and produce twice as much energy as opening the area to oil and gas drilling." But, hey, lets not do it. Because who wants to live in a better world where we aren't polluting and killing each other with that pollution. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"If Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn (R) gets his way, teachers will have the right to use deadly force against students in Texas classrooms…" What the total fuck? "Such a bill could have disastrous consequences for students of color. A coalition… found that black and Latino students face much higher rates of disciplinary action in schools, which exacerbates the so-called school-to-prison pipeline. By extension… they could also become the targets of deadly force used by educators." What cold possibly go wrong? It's time to call it, yes, these bills about increasing access to guns and use of gun are racially motivated (not by all the proponents, but by the major instigators, the rest are just along for the ride). This shouldn't come as a surprise considering the 2nd Amendment was written to legitimatize slaver gangs and patrols. (Grokked from Janiece)

I haven't seen American Sniper, and I probably won't, but I guess there's this really bad analogy about what types of people there are in the world. Eric has a few thoughts of that.

"Chris Kyle is America’s new hero. The launch of the movie somewhat based upon his killings in the Middle East has propelled him front and center… some Christians have dared to question Kyle, and others have outright critiqued him, and the response hasn’t been pretty. I referred to him as a 'killer' and was told that folks were burning my book in response… and overall have seen some really nasty stuff being said toward anyone who does anything other than grovel at the story of America’s deadliest sniper." The stories we tell ourselves. Kyle is the hero we all look for, the sheriff of the West who killed more people than he brought to justice, Charles Bronson in Death Wish, the steely eyed character able to do what is necessary. He's the person the conservatives wished for when they talked about how all these soldiers being awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor for saving others, and how they were wussies and we should honor those who did the killing. You know, what they thought of as Real Heros™. Except he wasn't all that. There's only one kind of person who loves killing. He's Tom Berenger in Platoon, a psychopath. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

"The large majority of mortgage dollars originated between 2002 and 2006 are obtained by middle- and high-income borrowers (not the poor)…" The study they're citing also show the upper middle-class and rich are responsible for most of the default rates that supposedly brought our economy crashing down in 2007. But that doesn't fit the stories we tell ourselves, about how the poor spoil everything because they aren't able to pull themselves up by their bootstraps. So it must be ignored by the media and politicians. (Grokked from the Slactivist)

Friday, February 13, 2015

World Radio Day

Today was World Radio Day. And while radios all over the world celebrated (did you notice), the radio shows played a lot of songs about radio, but I never heard the best one. So here it is.


So don't become some background noise
A backdrop for the girls and boys
Who just don't know or just don't care
And just complain when you're not there
You had your time, you had the power
You've yet to have your finest hour
Radio.

Linkee-poo wonders, wonders who, who wrote the book of love

A little inside baseball, but a comparitave review of some vector based illustrative software. (Grokked from Dan)

Wait, there was a "milky rain" in the Pacific NW? How come this wasn't in the news. Plus, love the "we don't know what it is, but it isn't harmful" because people didn't drop over dead when they touched it. You can put that statement in the same category as, "sure it smelled bad and people were choking on the air after 9/11, but it wasn't harmful." (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

John Oliver on Big Pharma and the rise of the corporate rep. Also, if you have surgery to implant anything, chances are a corporate rep is in the OR with your doctor. And yes, sometimes the doctor asks for their advice. They are, after all, supposed to be experts in their product. Especially if this is their first experience with a new product, and the rep often read directly from the instruction booklet. (Grokked from TPM)

Treasure hunters are damaging Hadrian's Wall. I'm sure all those stories about people hitting it big by finding Viking hordes has nothing to do with it. Not at all. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

I know I diss conservatives for making shit up to support their world view. But they really gotta stop doing it. There's enough idiocy in the world, we don't have to make shit up. In this case, Sarah Palin gives new zombie life to a debunked claim about a student being forced to put away their Bible in school. Which means this will rise again, and the truth is getting tired of batting it back down. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Also, it seems conservative will never learn there is actual video of these events. We can truth check your statements quite easily. And when we do, like in this case of thinking President Obama gave a full-throated defense of ISIS, when in fact "(d)uring the speech, Obama condemned ISIS as 'a brutal, vicious death cult' that carries out 'unspeakable acts of barbarism,'" we find you're full of shit. I mean, we expect Rep. King to be a wing nut liar, but his disease is spreading.

"The oil and gas industry gave nearly $250,000 to each of the 62 senators who voted in favor of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline project late last month, according to MapLight, a nonpartisan research organization that tracks the influence of money in politics." Money in politics, what could possibly go wrong. And even the ones who voted against it got a little money (although significantly less). Optics. (Grokked from Morgan J Locke)

Jon Stewart on how conservatives rail against "King Obama" and scream about their "freedoms" being taken away, but then in their haste to criticize President Obama, the long for a King and for leaders who are stealing freedom from their citizens. Yes, so very yes, this.

"'It is just like going to war,' (Missouri State Rep. Mike) Moon (R) said. 'You want a soldier to fight like a man. If a woman is in the trenches, you want them to fight like a man, too.'" Wow. Much stupidity. Such privilege. And people rip on Brian Williams for his want-to-be-in-the-war revisioning. This is a response to Sen. McCaskill hauling him over the carpet on his resolution for Congress to reject Obamacare with "manly firmness." I don't often recommend this course of action, but time for the Clue Bat™ to be applied here. (Grokked from Dan)

It's all fun and games until the Satanists start distributing coloring books. "A Florida school district on Tuesday banned the distribution of religious materials from outside organizations after a Satanic group tried to hand out coloring books to students, according to the Orlando Sentinel." Reminds me of the various conversations I've had about bringing religion back into schools and I say, "Hey, we could do it like we handled religion on Indian Reservations and assign each to a religious branch." Most people say they're okay with that. Until the rubber hits the road and then "'…I think… that it was a mistake that we ever let World Changers distribute Bibles in our schools,' school board chair Bob Sublette… said at the board meeting Tuesday." Gee, ya think? You might have gotten the message after the Atheists sued your asses to hand out their literature.

We didn't always revere the Founding Fathers (see what I did there?). The stories we tell ourselves. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Monday, February 9, 2015

Linkee-poo is careful with the things you say, children will listen

Sorry, things got a bit hectic last week and over the weekend.

Product Review of The Invisible Backpack of White Privilege from LL Bean. (Grokked from Janiece)

"For the first time, a new study borrows a medical research tool to pinpoint fluorochemicals in the blood of firefighters, identifying novel compounds that have never before been publicly reported." Ah, the joys of proprietary information. What could possibly go wrong? (Grokked from Dan)

"The condition, called fetus in fetu, is thought to occur in 1 in 500,000 births worldwide." Girls can be born pregnant. It's rare, but does happen. Just some more grist for the mill about how the stories we tell ourselves are very wrong. (Grokked from John)

The rich are just like you and me, hiding their money in Swiss accounts with the help and collusion of their bankers all to avoid paying any taxes or follow reporting laws. Cause we all do that, right? (Grokked from Dan)

"How do you get from a place where Barry Goldwater is considered a right-wing extremist to a place where Goldwater is bitterly describing himself as a liberal on some issues because his party and the country in general have moved that far rightward? How do you explain the fact that by any rational post-WWII standard Barack Obama is a moderate conservative – throw an Amy uniform on the man and there is precious little daylight between him and Eisenhower – yet there are legions of Americans who will look you in the eye and tell you with an absolutely straight face that he is some kind of howling Socialist?" A look from an actual historian. And if you think the reason is playing out right in front of us, with all the vindictiveness and politics of division and dog whistling, you haven't been paying attention. The dog whistling is starting again. (Grokked from Janiece)

"'It would be nice for Hollywood to have more male figures in those kinds of movies,' Doocy added.'" Wow, that's some industrial strength unexamined privilege there, Doocy. Not that they were far from it, but I think that official labels Fox & Friends as trolls. (Grokked from Dan)

It's the "we are awesome" thing all over again. Seriously, conservatives, it's called therapy. The President used the Prayer Breakfast, ad religious gathering (that, hey, at least Fox News is acknowledging that he was in attendance, which will come to the surprise of many conservatives) to "first remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will see clearly enough to remove the speck from your brother's eye." But then, that's not conservatives most favorite part of the Bible.

It always amazes me that conservatives just go there. I mean, it's like they're always thinking about engaging in activities, like child porn, rape, all the various degredations they claim the "slippery slope" will lead us to. Because they just so naturally go to those places. It had to be on their minds all the time. Hint to conservatives, progressives don't actually think about committing crimes. You all might want to get a little therapy. Also, you may want to buy a clue. Please, before it's too late.

So, you know how the government, with the powers granted to it by the Patriot Act (I still cringe at that name), can issue "Security letters" or, you know, actually do its job and get a FISA warrant, to look at your various records and that by that law, and the people being served are not allowed to tell you they've been asked for your records, or even admit they have received such a request? Well those crafty people on the internet have figured a way around that. They use what's called a "warrant canary". And now there's a clearing house for all those canaries. (Grokked from Dan)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Forgiveness

Forgiveness is a tough row to hoe. It's a bitch of a thing, finding in your heart a way to let go. But that is because of all the baggage that comes with forgiveness. The forgetting and the laying aside the pain. It's a societal construct invented by those who needed a great deal of forgiveness.

I can forgive, but I'll never forget. Forgiveness is an unburdening, an absolution for the soul of the person being forgiven.

In my religious tradition, we pray to forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Letting go of the debt erases the tally on the person who had the debt, but the person who held the debt is still out. Their books still don't tally, and probably never will.

If funerals are for the living, forgiveness is for the debtor. Sin against others creates debt, given by those who are sinned against and carried by those doing the sinning. Sin is a taking, a borrowing against the fabric of our beings.

So, when we forgive, we wipe out the mark against the hearts of those who have sinned against us. But it doesn't remove the cost we've borne, we just say we won't collect on that debt. That cost is only erased if the sinner reciprocates.

Sometimes they can't, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't take the weight of that marker from their heart. There's a reason the ancients held death superstitions regarding the weight of hearts, why Marley was encumbered by chains and money boxes. The markers of our debts have weight.

I take those markers back, Dad. For the debts against me, I forgive you. I do not forget, and can't take the markers you received from others. But you owe me nothing, now. Let your heart be not weighted by those debts against me.

Requiem



There's still a lot we don't know about my Dad's death. One thing I have learned is in his later years he converted to Catholicism. I hope he was able to find the peace, forgiveness, and community he probably was looking for. There will be no funeral or memorial service. He was or will be cremated and returned to the Earth in the garden at the church he attended. I doubt we will learn the actual date that happens.

So this one is for Dad. No matter what he might have thought in his mind, I'm still his son.

"And I am not frightened of dying, any day will do, I don't mind. Why should I be frightened of dying? There's no reason for it, you've gotta go sometime."

"If you can hear this whispering you are dying."

"I never said I was frightened of dying."

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Linkee-poo wants to know who substituted the "That's Easy" button for a "That's Stupid" button

Say, did you know the movie Gravity was based on a book? You didn't? Turns out that isn't by mistake. There's a court who agreed with Warner Brothers that because the author of that book (and who rewrote some scenes to include the plot device of a satellite breakup beginning the cascade of events for the movie studio) sold the rights to New Line, which then WB acquired that WB wasn't obligated to follow the contract that New Line had signed. So they screwed the author out of credit and compensation. As an author, that should send you into screaming fits (and if it doesn't you might want to reread that). This is serious bad. This is Authors Guild agreeing to Google Books bad. This is the ever marching forward progress of corporations shitting all over America. And it's bad for corporations, too. Why, because this will cause every content creator worth their salt to have their contracts written as non-transferable (that is, if the company you sell your rights to is bought by someone else, that sale doesn't include your property, and the rights revert back to you). Which then makes buying that original company much less appealing. (Grokked from CC Findley)

The good news? This is a major change to contract law. A company that buys another company is saying it doesn't have to abide by the contracts and obligations the acquired company had. If you're in business and that didn't make you have shivers, you haven't thought out all of the implications. It is normal for the buying company to renegotiate contracts (if they feel they can't honor them), but to just walk away from them and the court agrees they can? This is total bullshit.

The difference between advertising and branding. There's a lot more to it, but yea, this is a good way to think of it. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"'I know my kids best. I know what morals and values are right for my children. I think we should not have an oppressive state telling us what to do.'" That's Rep. Sean Duffy (do I need to say he's a conservative at this point?) on the debate about making vaccinations mandatory. WTF do morals and values have to do with this discussion? You want morals and values, asshole (and all those others agreeing with you like many of the conservative Presidential potentials)? How about this, you live in a society. You have obligations to the people around you, and if you don't think so you're a sociopath. We are all in this together. If your kids can be vaccinated (and there are kids who can't be), get them vaccinated. That's your duty to your fellow citizens. It's moral to not be a voluntary disease vector. It is the right value to think highly of the people around you and not want to injure them or expose them to risks. Either that or buy and wear masks and gloves.

What the total fuck, are we making vaccines a choice between "FREEDOM!" and "ZOMG, THAT'S WHAT THE NAZIS WOULD DO!"?#weeping

The real effects of the "Political Correctness" culture. In this case, a study regarding a group of mixed genders. "By imposing a PC environment, they had made it easier for men and women to speak their minds in mixed company. They had 'reduced the uncertainty' that can come with interacting with someone from the opposite sex." Well, fancy that. Being PC actually helps marginalized groups speak out and have a voice.

You know how conservatives have been talking about how they'll replace Obamacare and they have a plan of their own? Turns out they're at the starting point (again) of crafting their own plan. Six. Years. Later. Because here is the real problem, Obamacare was their plan.

And, another study regarding the use of multivitamins. Note the study is still just about heart disease and cancer incidences, not in the prevention of other diseases (which can be a little wishy-washy to get data on) or quality of life.

"Woods also said the state would 'conduct a full review of our Social Studies standards to ensure that they have proper focus on the Founding Fathers, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and all aspects of American History.'" Well, except for all that icky stuff where we don't come off looking like the good guys. You could also say they'll omit all those pieces that expose the rampant white, Christian supremacy trampling over everyone else's rights and liberties. Because that doesn't make us feel good about ourselves.

Note to self, never shake Tom Tillis' hand. Now, I get the point he's trying to make, but even the posting the sign about employees not forced to wash hands would be a regulation. See how that works. Also note the diseases that have hit the US from our food supply over the past decade. If the market worked, all of those companies would be out of business by now. (Looks at stock market) Nope, they're still all running. (Grokked from Dan)