Kameron Hurley on kindness and opening the circle. I love going to ConFusion because that is my experience, people open up the circles and invite others in. It's been so welcoming it's now almost impossible to spend as much time with everyone as I would like. As ConFusion gets larger, the dynamic is changing slightly. Thursday nite was the best (it was a small enough crowd that it felt very much like those first years I went). And I'm happy for the folks that throw ConFusion that it's getting bigger (there were a number of overheard conversations that described the con as "the winter WFC"). I used to tell people ConFusion made a great first con to go to. I still tell them it's a great con to go to, and I know the concom has been working hard to accommodate the expanded guest lists, but this year (which I had a fabulous time, BTW, a few social foibles on my end, and I think my own paranoia about social interactions flared up hard during barcon) it feels different. Not worse, just different. ConFusion is now a big con. People come with their groups already established (that is, the whole group comes as a group and experiences the con as a group). This year might have had a spike in pro attendance (which did give it a very WFC feel, and may not be repeated next year, these things tend to be cyclical), but I don't think it'll ever be that small con again.
"This week, NASA is set to reach a milestone on one of its most ambitious projects. If all goes to plan, workers will finish assembling the huge mirror of the James Webb Space Telescope — an $8 billion successor to the famous Hubble telescope." I'll be in my bunk.
"The water treatment operator in Sebring, Ohio, is facing a criminal investigation from the Ohio Environmental Protection agency after elevated levels of lead and copper were found in tap water, reports CBS affiliate WKBN in Youngstown." Hey, ho, way to go Ohio. For Sebring, the problem doesn't seem to be the source, but old infrastructure (they way they describe it I'm guessing it's a flow rate issue and lack of back flow regulators in consumer lines). Although it is actually the same issue as Flint, the source of the water. While the water itself doesn't have lead, it's chemically/mechanically reacting with older pipes, leaching lead into the system. Note this is not how the article frames the story, though.
Sure, when you have a gun culture mentality, an armed society is a polite society. Because they'll shoot you over a $25 service fee. Or, say, you're going to the Benghazi movie and are paranoid about being involved in a mass shooting and someone grabs for your crotch (one of the stories this mastermind told police).
What have we found? The same old fears. Wish you were here. Teens volunteer (or were volunteered) to be pallbearers for an unclaimed body. This happens (burying unclaimed bodies) often. In fact, most of the "social organizations" have a specific function of attending other members funerals and have their own funerary language (including specific iconography for gravestones). And scratching the surface of society and you'll find one of humans biggest fears is dying alone. When I was a councilman, we had to handle a number of these. In some cases there was family, but they were unwilling or unable to arrange funerals for their dead. One even had the chutzpah to be upset at our solution (paid for partially with your tax dollars, partial donation of the funeral home, partial grant from local service organization), even if they were unable to even attend the internment.
A followup to Sen. Cruz's statements about his own family's health care insurance woes. Like most other GOP "Obamacare horror stories" it's also self-inflicted problems. Also, he lied about not having coverage.
Why so angry? "'For the Republicans, the anti-elite focus is on government and professional experts of all kinds,' Galston said. 'And for the Democrats… the focus is on economic and financial elites.'" There's more about it, but that sums it up pretty well. Also, for most people, life is not "getting better." One side is upset at the actual causes, the other is upset at the people their leaders tell you to be upset at. Where you're at on the political spectrum determines which is which.
"'I admire Rick Snyder for stepping up right now,' Bush said on CNN's State of the Union. 'He's going through the challenge. And he's fired people and accepted responsibility to fix this.'" Sometimes the cluelessness just kinda gobsmacks you, doesn't it? And it's true he's accepted responsibility to fix it. As long as the federal government bails him out, you know (of which he is pissed that President Obama hasn't declared Flint a "disaster" area, noting that it's not a natural disaster). Also, he still hasn't taken responsibility for creating the problem in the first place. But then, to do so, means repudiating some fundamental conservative governance ideals.