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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

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Linkee-poo, the righteous rise with burning eyes of hatred and ill-will

The Open Letter to American People signed by many authors as an attempt to say, "we see what you're doing there, Donald, and we've seen your kind before." And the Open Letter to the Writers pointing out that their own letter is full of the problems they are railing against (while also saying they're against Trump). Truth is always the casualty of populism and politics. That "shining city on a hill" (American Exceptionalism) which Reagan reinvoked sounds so wonderful, few people realize that it was built on the bones of those sacrificed to avarice, constructed by slaves and its populace marched forth to shibboleth while treading on the dispossessed and the underprivileged from the time it was first cribbed from Jesus by John Winthrop as he sat off the shores of Plymouth. When I hear that phrase (which in my youthful ignorance once used as well) I cringe. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"'I have made it a hobby to investigate the stories of such prodigies,' Ericsson writes, 'and I can report with confidence that I have never found a convincing case for anyone developing extraordinary abilities without intense, extended practice.'" On the myth of "talent" and benefit of deliberate practice.

NPR's Hidden Brain podcast on the behavior science behind losing weight. Big news; stress and lack of planning lead to increased weight gain, eating a bigger breakfast (and smaller other meals) actually leads to losing weight (for consuming the same number of calories). Also, consciously having "cheat days" in a diet doesn't really change how much weight you lose on the diet (because people cheat anyway, but allowing yourself to do it helps reduce stress).

"A germ that can't be treated with an antibiotic that is often used as the last resort has shown up for the first time in the United States." Want to really know why drug companies aren't developing antibacterials? You know how they say, "It costs too much and they don't feel they could charge a 'realistic' price"? Yeah, last year Pfizer paid out $1.20 in dividends to their shareholders, on all 6B shares outstanding. That's nearly US$9B in one year. Cash out the door. Tell me again how much it cost to develop drugs. Oh yeah, it's US$2.6B. That means for the money Pfizer (and Pfizer alone) sent out as payments to their shareholders, they could have developed 3.5 new antibiotics. From just their profits of the last year (note, drug development is typically a decade long process). And smart people are saying we need to offer big pharma a prize to develop new antibiotics (note in article he says 37 are in development, I would do the research to knock that number down, but it's a long day and I have other things to do). They don't need a prize. They just need to have their priorities readjusted (and maybe we need a little price controls like other countries have, or maybe just allow Medicare to negotiate drug costs). Fuck big pharma. (We won't discuss how most antibiotics we have are refinements of penicillin and not anything really "new", which is part of the reason we're seeing such strong resistance develop so quickly, overuse in both humans and mostly in animals is another reason.)

Sure, you can trust police officers. Dear good cops who will say we're painting all cops with the same brush, you need to cull these people from your midst. It's possible. I did it for our local force. It sucks, it hurts, and it causes bad feelings, but you and your profession will be better for it.

North Carolina Gov. McCrory gets a little temper-tantrumish as the 4th Circuit Court (which also hold jurisdiction over NC) confirms the right of a transgender child to use the bathroom of their gender identity. The best part comes from the good governor who is famous for saying that the states should have the right to determine these issues, especially in the face of an overreaching Obama administration, "Alternatively, the U.S. Congress could take action to clarify the scope of federal anti-discrimination laws so there is consistent application across our country." Bless his little (shriveled and cowardly) heart. (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"'A lot of this (attempts to reinstate provisions of the Voting Rights Act that were struck down by SCOTUS) in my view doesn’t have anything to do with anything other than their estimation of what would give them an electoral advantage,' (Sen. Majority Leader Mitch) McConnell told USA Today, suggesting the efforts were motivated by Democratic partisanship. 'It’s not really about knocking down barriers. There are no serious barriers to voting anymore anywhere in America.'" And there in a few sentences he goes from projections to dismissal. Good job, Mitch. We've pretty much established that the vast majority of newly enacted voting laws are an attempt to suppress the votes of likely Democratic supporting voters given the GOP representatives statements to exactly that fact. And then he says there are no barriers. Seriously, this guy is considered the "thoughtful moderate"? He's a partisan hack interested in holding power for no other benefit than to be in charge.

"The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau on Thursday is proposing new regulations to protect consumers from predatory lending practices that the CFPB's top regulator calls 'debt traps.'" About damn time. Of course, the pay-day lending industry has a hellalotta money to throw into lobbying, which is why Congress has already offered their version of the rules which are significantly weaker. Also, keeping the CFPB strong is one of the (many, many) reasons I wouldn't vote for the Trumpster or any GOP candidate.

Ferrett Steinmetz with a communications strategy to go after the Trumpster. That's good as far as it goes. What the Democrats really need to accept is you're not going to sway the 35% who will vote for the Trumpster no matter what (and the extra 10-15% who will vote against Hillary Clinton), but there are some you can sway while keeping the base engaged and reminded that letting Trump into the White House can only happen if they don't turn out to vote. This is especially true if you just continue the line of "the Trumpster is lying to you." His support base doesn't give a fig. To attempt to sway that base you need to show them how Trump is playing them for chumps, how he is a just another politician (albeit of a different stripe) who will abandon them once in office. You need to show them that Trump isn't selling them a sand castle, he's selling them the idea of a sand castle that he will attempt to build later. Maybe. And to do that you're going to have to nail him on being specific. Not just "how will he get Mexico to pay for the wall" but get him to define "winning." What does it mean when he says his supporters will be "winners again." Winners in life, badminton, the lottery… what exactly will they be winning. Force him to give a concrete answer. And when he dodges (which he will, because he doesn't have an answer) explain how his supporters are being suckered and that Donald winning means they'll lose again.

Instead I expect the Democrats to seize on the Trumpsters history of bad business deals and attack his personal story (just like they've always done). His supporters don't care about that. What they care about is the GOP has been using them to win elections and then not giving them what they want. You have to show them that Donnie will do exactly the same, because he doesn't want what they really want. We don't need policy papers. Just nail down what "winning" means and how he'll do it.

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