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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

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Linkee-poo, all I want for Christmas is you

"But a new industry-funded study published in a prominent medical journal questions the evidence used to generate the specific recommendations to limit sugar in our diets." (Emphasis mine) Yeah, I sure we can trust it. Just like we trusted the industry-funded studies that said smoking wasn't bad for us, and that there wasn't any effect from secondary smoke exposure, and how particulates from industrial problems quickly disperse and don't cause any health issues, and…

Yes, I'm sure the Pentagon is shelving its study using pressure gauges on soldiers to try and reliably determine when soldiers have concussions because what can cause a concussion for one person doesn't cause it for another. I'm sure it's totally not because of the discovery of constant over-pressure events happening simply because soldiers were doing their jobs (in the vicinity of high-powered weapons). Anyone who has stood near a tank as it fires could have told you this. Personal note, when a nephew gave some really bad answers as to why he was thinking of joining the Army (thank you laws allowing military recruiters access to high school students) I seriously looked for someplace that had live-fire tank exercises that the public could attend to take him. Fortunately 1) I couldn't find any and 2) he quickly lost interest.

"North Carolina's Legislature is poised to repeal the controversial 'bathroom bill,' after the Charlotte City Council unanimously voted to repeal its local anti-discrimination measure." Okay 1) I agree that the "bathroom bill" should be repealed in full (because it does a lot of other heinous things besides the "bathroom" part) but 2) that means that in NC you can still discriminate because Charlotte repealed their anti-discrimination law. So nothing has changed. Except that the right is trying to blame this all on the left, to which I call bullshit. "Then, on Monday morning, (the Charlotte City Council) had a surprise session — not announced to the media — and changed course." Um, that might not be legal, then (depending on "sunshine" and/or meeting notification laws). But, again, to be clear, with Charlotte backing down, repealing HB2 does absolutely nothing. Status quo. Plus it's an attempt for people to say, "well, maybe they aren't all bad" after they spent last week striping the incoming governor of a lot of power and autonomy. Not buying it.

"'Didn’t feel like I was bothering anybody,' Kyle said. 'I am a hunter, I do like to hunt and I just wanted to sit on my front porch with my gun, I didn’t think that was a big deal.'… Kyle said he’s just exercising his second amendment rights and is always responsible with guns. But parents said it still makes them uneasy with it being so close to a school." Right across the street from a school in Kansas. Yeah, I mean, who doesn't just want to hand out on their porch, holding their gun. Across from a school. Where you had an argument with a woman blocking your driveway. I'm sure it's all innocent. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"This mostly white city wants to leave its mostly black school district." I'm sure it's just about doing the best for all the kids, you know like not helping the entire school system.

"Sentance revealed earlier this month that high schools there have 'misstated student records… resulting in diplomas that were not honestly earned.' At a recent meeting of the state school board, he also admitted that Alabama's education department had not provided enough oversight." Getting them "out the door." I thought when I heard a local school official say, "What if high school is the best these kids will ever achieve," that I had heard the worst description of education possible. I was wrong.

From May of last year, somewhat still relevant. "It’s been extremely common for news accounts to portray Donald Trump’s candidacy as a 'working-class' rebellion against Republican elites. There are elements of truth in this perspective: Republican voters, especially Trump supporters, are unhappy about the direction of the economy… But the definition of 'working class' and similar terms is fuzzy, and narratives like these risk obscuring an important and perhaps counterintuitive fact about Trump’s voters: As compared with most Americans, Trump’s voters are better off. The median household income of a Trump voter so far in the primaries is about $72,000, based on estimates derived from exit polls and Census Bureau data… it’s well above the national median household income of about $56,000. It’s also higher than the median income for Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders supporters, which is around $61,000 for both." (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

"The mayor's chief of staff in Mobile, Alabama, is apologizing for his role in having a large tree cut down at a city park so it could be used as a prop during President-elect Donald Trump's recent 'thank you' rally." They didn't realize people would 1) notice and 2) be upset with them cutting down a tree to use as a prop. As a former local councilman, cutting down a tree in a park is a very big deal. Even when said tree obscures the marker it was placed next to when the marker was the reason for the park in the first place. So, no, this most likely isn't just a "they used it for Trump" thing. However, I hate to say, this appears to be a modus operandi for the next four years.

"Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich suggested that Donald Trump could pardon members of his administration who break the law… Referring to a law that could prevent Trump from hiring his daughter and son-in-law to serve in his administration, Gingrich said on The Diane Rehm Show Monday morning: 'In the case of the president, he has a broad ability to organize the White House the way he wants to. He also has, frankly, the power of the pardon.'" See, as Gingrich goes on to explain, Trump is really rich and "We’ve never seen this kind of wealth in the White House, and so traditional rules don’t work." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"A prominent businessman with close ties to Donald Trump has been arrested in Turkey so the country can use him as leverage in their dealings with the US President-elect, it has been claimed… During a phone call with Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdogan on the day after his election win, Mr Trump mentioned Mr Muratoglu by name only for him to be arrested shortly afterwards… It goes on to claim that they plan to use his detention as leverage in a deal that would see the US extradite the Imam, Fethullah Gulen, who Mr Erdogan has blamed for masterminding an attempted coup in the country earlier this year…" I'm sure it's fine. We're all fine here. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"A Republican congressman outlined the way he would like to see the health care system operate if Obamacare is repealed, as GOP lawmakers are promising. It is a brave new world in which parents would wait and think about it before bringing in their sick or injured kids for costly treatments." What an asshole. Dear Rep. Bill Huizenga (R-MI), for most of us, insurance doesn't work that way. To go to the ER I have a $200 co-pay. Most people with HSAs will pay the full cost (until they meet their $6,000 - $10,000 deductible). For most people's insurance, they are paying much more for the costly bits. Also, some people can't miss work to take their kid to their GP, so getting medical treatment after 5pm is their only option. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"Much has been written about Trump’s demagoguery and its similarity to totalitarian leaders of the past, but what about Trump’s opponents? Are many of us borrowing a page from totalitarianism without realizing it? Are we empowering him? Are we coordinating?" In a lot of ways, yes. This is why there is the common phrase in my twitter TL, "this is not normal". It's also why here and in person I've been pushing back against the common narrative of Trump's victory. Stories matter. Trump is not "of the little people," he's an oligarch conman who duped a lot of people into voting for him because he channeled their anger and told them the scapegoats they had picked (the ones the conservatives have been using for decades) were the right ones. That the deck was stacked against them (even though they are the privileged few, but that doesn't mean life is easy). And it was all those other people's fault, not the uber-rich (like Trump). "The symbolism and the propaganda form a kind of feedback loop, each reinforcing the other, regardless of the underlying truths ― or lack thereof." This is a basic premise of marketing and advertising. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

"I’ve heard non-Trump voters wonder, 'Are Trump’s female supporters aware of wage inequity? Are they aware of workplace discrimination?' And yes, the women Trump supporters I got to know in southwest Louisiana are well aware of gender inequality. They all work, too. But inequality was not the main thing on their minds." An interview with Arlie Russel Hochschild who wrote, "Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right." I have to say, I'm tired of this "we have to reach out to Trump Conservatives…" line. Really? You all feel "ignored" by the Democratic Party, get in line. This is akin to the idiotic "War on Christmas", which really is "the world is no longer constantly enforcing and validating my point of view." In the past, American culture was heavy handed in it's promotion of white, Christianity (I don't say "values" because, well, that's a doctoral dissertation on how far from actual Christianity the "Christian right" has gone). Everywhere you went, being white and being Christian was the default. And now it isn't, and people no longer feel validated. Too fucking bad for you. Janice Areno, you're tired of hearing about LGBTQ issues? Well, Missy, the movie isn't always about you. And by supporting LGBTQ issues we're supporting your freedom. There is one party that is telling you that isn't the case. They're the party that also have been screwing your own life over. Mike Schaff you wonder why having uncontaminated fish and air to breathe is a "left-wing cause"? It isn't. But the riga-wing has rejected those values and then points at the left and says, "see, they're causing problems." So then you go and vote for those right-wing assholes who are the very ones who promoted unregulated business activity which lead to you loosing your neighborhood to a sink-hole. The left, by supporting minority rights are enforcing your rights. We just want to make sure everyone has them. Because when they don't, nobody has those rights (as the conservatives are proving to you every single election). You want empathy? Fuck you. Grow up and join us, we're fighting to save you and the world. We're out here fighting for you and you're upset we're just not saying your name? No. Sorry. You want to support conservative values? Fine. Pull yourselves up by your boot-straps. You say you don't have boot-straps? Who took them away? It was probably the party that says that the government shouldn't give people anything, ever. I do have empathy. I do want you all to success. I do care about you. You just aren't all I care about, and because of that you've decided to give power to the people we've been fighting to get them to stop pissing all over your neighborhood and telling you "it's just raining." Asking for "empathy" is a delaying and diffusing tactic designed to go to progressive values (we do value empathy). It's a distraction to keep progressives busy while conservatives dismantle our republic. (Grokked from Lara Kristin Herndon)

You want to know where I learned that reaction? I learned that when I was a conservative.

"A source tells ThinkProgress that the Kuwaiti embassy, which has regularly held the event at the Four Seasons in Georgetown, abruptly canceled its reservation after members of the Trump Organization pressured the ambassador to hold the event at the hotel owned by the president-elect. The source, who has direct knowledge of the arrangements between the hotels and the embassy, spoke to ThinkProgress on the condition of anonymity because the individual was not authorized to speak publicly. ThinkProgress was also able to review documentary evidence confirming the source’s account." Emoluments clause. There are some pretty strict rules against bribery and accepting of gifts if you are a government contractor. This kind of thing, totally verboten. If Trump was a minor government official, this is a jail-time offense. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

Hey, remember when the incoming Trump administration asked the Energy Department to provide a list of all employees who worked on climate change and the social cost of carbon? Remember how they said that they just wanted to figure out who was working on what, standard incoming administration thing to do. Yeah, well, "Donald Trump’s presidential transition team has asked State Department officials to disclose how much money it provides each year to international environmental groups. It’s the latest example of how the incoming administration is reassessing the U.S. government’s approach to tackling climate change and other environmental priorities." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"President-elect Donald Trump is adding another billionaire to the top ranks of his administration." Another. Billionaire. That's the lead.

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