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Friday, September 30, 2016

Linkee-poo is an ordinary guy burning down the house

A long the lines of "letters to a young creative", Chuck Wendig's very long tweet storm on self-doubt. Also some of us old creatives needed to hear that. Thanks, Chuck.

Rosetta joins Philae on 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko and ends its mission. Travel well, Rosetta.

"This is one of the arrows that have melted out of an old glacier on the mountain Kvitingskjølen in southern Norway’s Jotunheimen range. The archaeologists are looking for objects that —until now — have been buried under the ice pack. Some may be thousands of years old." A silver lining (or maybe iron lining) to glacial retreat. (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

"Part of the problem also lies with poor training of young scientists working in university research labs, Freedman says. GBSI surveyed scientists about their use of antibodies in preparation for the meeting and discovered that 31 percent of young scientists didn't even think it was necessary to validate the antibodies they rely on in their labs, even though bad antibodies could completely invalidate their findings." You're only as good as your weakest link. In this case, the quality issues surrounding commercial produced antibodies (for research). Sometimes they don't do what they're sold as doing.

"The desire for clear expectations is a shining example of a shared need across generations, from millennials to traditionalists. All workers, regardless of age or stage in their career, want to know what's expected of them in the workplace. And the lack of clear expectations can cause anxiety and confusion in workers." A composite of Gallup Polls of the workplace.

"A Cambridge University study of British and U.S. police shows a 93 percent decrease in the number of complaints made against officers when they are using body cameras – pivotal findings that suggest the simple devices could reduce conflicts between police and the public." Funny, that. Actually when it became common knowledge that we video taped our holding area and had dash cams, we experienced a similar drop in complaints, but only after the public figured it out (we didn't televise what we did). And the remaining charges of brutality (and in some cases rape and abuse) our defense because quite easy. This was after we purged our police department of troublemakers.

How's that Presidential Veto Override going? "Both House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that the measure could have unintended consequences -- including the fact that it could leave U.S. soldiers open to retaliation by foreign governments." Say, isn't that what the President explicitly said why he was vetoing the bill? Isn't that what every goddamn new story about the override brought up? "But Republicans said the White House didn’t make a forceful case, putting themselves in the awkward position of blaming the president for a bill they enacted into law over Obama’s veto." That's now "awkward", that's what they've been doing of the past 8 years, blame President Obama for everything. Now it just includes making they vote to override his veto. See the GOP leadership has such a boner to stick it to the President on anything before they went back to their constituents for the November elections, they completely forgot how to do their jobs (not that they knew much about doing them before, every year they seem to want to break the record for the Do Nothingness Congress of All Time). (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

The GOP finally wins one when it comes to Obamacare. The GAO said Health and Human Services (which helps administer Obamacare) failed to pay the Treasury $5B from $25B collected in the reinsurance stability part of the program. It might be a difficult sell for them if the Obama administration brings up the many times Congress told the President to transfer funds to cover parts of the program instead of fully funding Obamacare. "'The administration should end this illegal scheme immediately, and focus on providing relief from the burdens of this law,' Sen. John Barrasso, R-Wyo., said in a statement." Only, that's exactly what they were doing with that money, providing relief to insurers who underestimated the amount they would have to pay out in claims.

"'I love it,' said Duke, 66, tearing into a chicken garlic pizza at a nearby restaurant later. 'The fact that Donald Trump’s doing so well, it proves that I’m winning. I am winning.'… Trump’s surprise rise to become the GOP presidential nominee, built largely on a willingness to openly criticize minority groups and tap into long-simmering racial divisions, has reenergized white supremacist groups and drawn them into mainstream American politics like nothing seen in decades." Why do I call Trumpster a racists? Because avowed racists see him as their guy, fighting for their values. "Others predict a Trump loss, particularly a decisive one, will drive white nationalists back to the periphery." I'm not entirely sure about that one. These groups have been calling for Race War for over two decades now. They see this as their moment. If it doesn't happen I don't expect them to just sulk away. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Remember back in 2008 when liberals attacked conservatives for their aggressive ad campaigns using gun imagery that encouraged their followers to violence? And they said no, that's not what they were doing. And then in 2012 where they not only ran similar ads and campaign literature but added the whole "shooting Obamacare on the range" meme? And they said, no, they weren't encouraging violence. "A North Carolina gun rights group is raffling off an AR-15, ammunition and a photo of Hillary Clinton that they say is 'very popular at the range.'" Seriously, you all got a fucking problem. (Grokked from TPM)

"Press release of the day", apparently visitors to Porn.com prefer the Trumpster over Clinton by 70%. We'll refrain from the obvious double-entendre there. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

And how's our "post-racial society" doing? "The mayor of a small central Pennsylvania town remains unapologetic after coming under fire for posting racist memes on his Facebook page, one of which calls for the lynching of President Barack Obama." Yep. "Since the spring, U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement agencies have seen mounting evidence of an active Russian influence operation targeting the 2016 presidential election. It is very unlikely the Russians could sway the actual vote count, because our election infrastructure is decentralized and voting machines are not accessible from the Internet. But they can sow disruption and instability up to, and on, Election Day, more than a dozen senior U.S. officials tell TIME, undermining faith in the result and in democracy itself." We will sell them the broom they will use to sweep us from history. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin) How's that promise of making sure everybody can get an ID to vote in Wisconsin working out? Pretty much as planned. Which means the Voter ID law continues to discriminate and disenfranchise poor, elderly, and minority voters. Just like it was designed to do. " It appears that Wisconsin is violating multiple court orders by not promptly giving eligible citizens free IDs or certificates for voting." (Grokked from Kelly Link) More about the federal anti-discrimination lawsuit against the Trumpster that he likes to remind people that there was no admission of guilt. Including an interview with the Human Rights Commission worker who helped investigate and prosecute the suit. "Donald Trump says Hillary Clinton is making 'nasty' ads about him. Most of Clinton's commercials about Trump, though, merely include clips of him speaking." Yeah, but they're telling the Trumpster's own words to the wrong audience in the eyes of the Trumpster campaign. See, only certain people were supposed to get those messages, and the Clinton campaign is just telling everyone. "But, as of this week, the Trump Foundation had not obtained the state registration required to ask for donations, according to a spokesman for Schneiderman." Holy frack. It's not a jail time offense, but it may mean that they need to refund all the money they've solicited. (Grokked from Jim Wright) How the Democrats lost control of the issue of Supreme Court vacancies. "'Well, if everybody didn't vote, that would be a pretty powerful political statement, wouldn't it?' (Jeb!) Bush said, according to CNN." No it wouldn't. Please understand this, nobody who has won an election gives two shits about who didn't vote. They worry about their margin of victory. They worry about gaining more votes next time. Not voting is not sending a statement. I can tell you this from personal experience (having won elections, working with other politicians). Nobody wakes up on Wednesday morning after the victory party thinking, "But look at all those people who sat out and didn't vote." Also, in some places, refusing to mark a selection for one office/referendum on a ballot with several elections can invalidate your ballot. However, convincing/cajoling/disenfranchising people who would vote for your opposition to not vote is a valid election tactic. Tweet of my heart: @JuddLegum Trump Tuesday: "Lester Holt did a great job"; Trump Today: I had to "fight the anchor all the time on everything I said. What a rigged deal" (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Scenes from a Commute


Yesterday morning.

Linkee-poo, helter skelter in a summer swelter, the birds flew off with a fallout shelter, eight miles high and falling fast

PBS Newshour's Brief but Spectacular with Carl Reiner.

The Walters Art Museum's online manuscript library. (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

Finally, cosplaying without anyone knowing. Star Trek panties for adults (there are other clothing options, but this was the main link shared). (Grokked from Kelly Link)

Cup Noodles, instant raman, turns 45. Not sure how I could have made it through college without instant raman (although we didn't have many Cup Noodles, it was the plastic wrap kind). But now at over 45 that salt load from them is a bit too much for my stomach (and blood pressure) to take anymore.

A child with three genetic parents has been born. Okay, everybody settle down here. The couple has a mitochondrial genetic disorder, and the third parent donated her mitochondrial DNA. And this really isn't "splicing" as mitochondria are separate organelles that current thought believes was an entire separate organism that an early eukaryote incorporated whole. While mitochondria have evolved with their host organism, there isn't much difference (mostly) between humans and our DNA doesn't interact (on the whole) with mitochondrial DNA in a way that would cause problems (that we know of). Much of this, the consternation you see, is people actually having to admit that we don't know much about our own cells and how they behave (sure, we know a lot, but a lot more is inferred than observed). So could there be problems down the road? Sure. But my money would be on "not".

"The Food and Drug Administration has approved the first artificial pancreas — a cellphone-sized device that automatically takes care of checking a patient's blood sugar and delivers lifesaving insulin as needed." That's fantastic and I appreciate the hoopla and I think this will be great for Type I patients (who have insurance or can afford it on their own), I'm slightly bothered by the announcement because your pancreas does more than insulin production (and technically your hypothalamus checks your blood sugar).

The Note to Self podcast on Facebook's algorithms and what they know and what they think they know about you. This is how Facebook (and Instagram and Twitter and… make their money, their real product is you, and they will sell you). "And here's where you come in, dear N2S listener. We are collaborating with ProPublica on their Black Box Data Project, which has just launched. You can take part in this important digital experiment. So go download the Google Chrome extension for your web browser at propublica.org/blackbox. Tell us what you find out and how it makes you feel." That plugin will go through your Facebook profiles and dig out most of the information Facebook has about you.

"It's once again time for the annual ritual of fear and loathing, also known as the performance review — at least for the companies that still do them." I'm old enough to remember a time before annual performance reviews so I remember why we have them and why they capture what they do capture. Before the performance review, it was very common for those favored employees to rise to the top where as unfavored employees (even if they did most of the work or added the most quality and value added to the job) stayed where they were and weren't recognized. Larger companies realized they were losing their best (chance at profit) and so instituted a system of review where metrics would decide who advanced and who didn't. Unfortunately for most places favoritism still is the rule (which has lead to such things as 360 degree reviews and cross-company peer reviews, which still hasn't really solved the problem) and those metrics decided on were the ones most easily identifiable. At my own day thing they're trying to "normalize" the curve (70% of employees were getting 4s and 5s on a 5 point scale) and force the numbers into a standard bell curve. So what they did was take a high performing workforce and deincentivized them.

"Police officers across the country misuse confidential law enforcement databases to get information on romantic partners, business associates, neighbors, journalists and others for reasons that have nothing to do with daily police work, an Associated Press investigation has found." Sure you can trust the police. (Grokked from John)

Funny how when researchers look for inherent bias they often find it. In this case in an experiment with pre-K school teachers who were asked to watch 4 students for signs of trouble. As researchers watched their eye movements, they disproportionately spent more time watching the African-American male child. And then they did more studies on the "severity" of specific actions. "(A)ccording to recent data from the U.S. Department of Education, black children are 3.6 times more likely to be suspended from preschool than white children. Put another way, black children account for roughly 19 percent of all preschoolers, but nearly half of preschoolers who get suspended."

"California, the nation’s largest issuer of municipal bonds, is barring Wells Fargo & Co. from underwriting state debt and handling its banking transactions after the company admitted to opening potentially millions of bogus customer accounts." Right now it's only for a year, but still interesting. (Grokked from Dan)

"In a press conference just held concerning today's shooting at an elementary school in South Carolina, Anderson County Sheriff's Department spokesman Garland Major reassured the community that terrorism was not a factor because the victims and the shooter were all white." Head desk. I wonder is the people of Raqqa suddenly realize that ISIL mounting the heads of dissidents and those they feel aren't fully islamic (people who question their authority) on the park fence in the central city isn't terrorism, because they're all (mostly) middle-eastern? Thank gods Dylan Roof didn't shoot all those black people in South Carolina because then they wouldn't have called it terrorism… oh, wait. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The Nuisance Committee (Cards Against Humanity) and their billboard. Note to committee, remember good advertising, you have to visually make it clear that Trumpster is the bad guy. Not everyone will read a quip sentence, but they will see Trump's name. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

In Ohio, our Secretary of State Jon Husted says our elections can't be hacked. And then he goes on to reveal he has no idea what hacking means.

"Thirty-six members of 3% of Idaho, many in leadership positions, announced their resignations Tuesday evening after they said $2,901 in donations earmarked for four Idaho men accused in the 2014 Bundy Ranch standoff in Nevada were improperly spent… They claim Brandon Curtiss, the group’s president, spent the money on unauthorized car accessories, car washes, camping at an Idaho state park, iTunes music downloads, gasoline and food at restaurants, among other charges." Isn't that some kind of libertarian ideal?

"If you’re looking for an entry-level job in politics, and you don’t mind being a thorn in the opponent’s side, campaigns have a gig for you: tracker."

"A Fox News executive sent a memo to television producers and the politics team on Tuesday afternoon reminding employees that unscientific online polls 'do not meet our editorial standards.'" To which the crowd responds, "Since when?" The obvious answer is since more adults types started running Fox News. "At least three Fox News hosts cited unscientific online polls in the hours after Monday night's presidential debate to suggest Donald Trump emerged as the winner of the political showdown." Because that's what they do. "Since the memo was issued, however, some Fox hosts have continued to cite the online polls, often failing to even note such polls were unscientific and conducted over the internet." My guess is we're seeing the sunset of Sean Hannity here.

The Congress overrides President Obama's veto for the first time in 8 years. "The lawsuit legislation now becomes law despite elements that Obama and top Pentagon officials warn could put U.S. troops and interests at risk." I love the excuse that "our bill is narrowly tailored" because it's not actually a defense about how other countries could write laws violating sovereign immunity (because their laws may not be narrowly tailored).

"Their reasoning was that a spending bill that lasts only through the middle of December — which is the case in the agreed-upon bill — means lawmakers will have to pass another spending bill before President Obama leaves office." And won't that just toast some of their pants. So while it's not completely done, apparently faced with losing their jobs, the Congress can get things done. Lets we forget (because the CR has become the new normal) their job was to pass multiple spending authority (appropriations) bills before the beginning of the new fiscal year (Oct 1). When I was a kid, that was mostly completed by the August recess.

"'The entire administration of the state of Ohio could be eliminated through inaction alone. This legislation impacts the core functions of government. It has the potential to change the normal operating procedure of the state of Ohio.'" I'm sure it'll be fine. I mean, shouldn't the legislature review and approve all parts of an administration, the departments, the functions, all of it? What could possibly go wrong?

"A company controlled by Donald Trump, the Republican nominee for president, secretly conducted business in Communist Cuba during Fidel Castro’s presidency despite strict American trade bans that made such undertakings illegal, according to interviews with former Trump executives, internal company records and court filings." Laws and taxes are for rubes and stupid people. (Grokked from George Takei)

"'If a candidate is erratic and threatening, if a candidate traffics in prejudice, fears and lies on the campaign trail, if a candidate thinks that not paying taxes makes you smart, or that it's good business when people lose their homes. If a candidate regularly and flippantly makes cruel and insulting comments about women, about how we look and how we act, well, sadly, that's who that candidate really is.'" Thank you, First Lady. Thank you. (Grokked from Lara Kristin Herndon)

Now if the Democrats remember to remind the base that this election is also for the direction of the Supreme Court for the next generation (as the GOP and the Trumpster has been doing with his crowds), we might win.

"Donald Trump's campaign is instructing its supporters to use figures like Monica Lewinsky and Gennifer Flowers to beat back concerns about how Trump described a former winner of 'Miss Universe,' according to a copy of Wednesday campaign talking points obtained by CNN." This is what's known as throwing sand in the bull's eyes. For having a lot of "smart" and "political" people on his campaign, doesn't any of them see how this opens up their own candidate to his past infidelities (and the rumors of him raping and abusing his first wife, which fortunately for him the judge recently ruled the divorce proceedings would remain sealed - however that isn't a final judgement)? And it only generates sympathy and empathy for Hillary? These people really need to step out of the conservative spin-cycle they've insulated themselves in. And no, it wasn't restraint that kept him from bringing up Bill's infidelities, he was never given an opening. It would have looked childish just blurting it out.

"'Raise your hand if you’re not a Christian conservative,' Trump then said. 'I want to see this, right? Oh there’s a couple people, that’s all right… I think we’ll keep them, right?' Trump asked the crowd. 'Should we keep them in the room, yes? I think so.'"

Tweet of my heart: @ByRosenberg Worth repeating America in 2000: 65,900 reporters,128,600 PR people; America in 2015: 45,800 reporters, 218,000 PR people (per @BLS_gov) (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Linkee-poo, if the sky that we look upon should tumble and fall, or the mountains should crumble to the sea

Because it's almost that time of year, the NaNoWriMo website. Every year I think about doing this, but right now what I should be working on are a series of shorter pieces. However several novels keep knocking on my brain (including the WIP I should be working on).

"Aboriginal elders explained to her how they encode knowledge in song, dance, story and place. This led to a theory that may revolutionise archaeology." How oral cultures could memorize so much information. Personally I think it's because they didn't have TV. (Grokked from Warren Ellis)

Lipedema. Another disease that most doctors don't know how to diagnose or treat. It's also another disease that those of us in healthcare can look at someone and say, "this is what they have." It's a weird dichotomy, but once you know the body habitus profiles it's easy to see. I know I've seen this in at least two patients who came in for other complaints.

"Moore was just one of hundreds of pseudonyms employed in a sophisticated 'catfishing' scheme run by Valeriy Shershnyov, whose Vancouver-based business hoodwinked Amazon customers into buying low-quality ebooks, which were boosted on the online marketplace by an unscrupulous system of bots, scripts, and virtual servers." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Dear HP, please stop screwing over your customer base by requiring "genuine HP ink cartridges" and using software to reject non-HP ink cartridges. That would be a real nice thing. While the article talks about an old firmware patch that had a time bomb in it, I've dealt with this issue for the past 2 years between 2 HP printers. (Grokked from Dan)

"People who have reached their later years may think it's primarily a time to relax, not to increase their physical activity. Not so. Previous research has suggested that exercise can improve memory and reverse muscle loss in older adults, among other benefits. And a study out Monday finds that a regular program of physical activity reduces the time spent with mobility-limiting disability." And here is something people who work in healthcare know that we don't often say, once someone starts falling, that's getting close to the end, especially if they end up with a hip fracture. Remaining sedentary is one quick way to falling.

GQ magazine published a sexist piece on rock climbing (we'll it's GQ, it was about men's fashion, and that ever important - to GQ - fashion accessory, chicks). Outdoor Research made a pretty good response. (Grokked for nearly everyone, but Julie finally got me to look at it)

"…In fact, that future is gravely threatened, not by the budget cuts that NASA speaks speaks often and candidly about, but by climate change. If humans keep putting carbon in the atmosphere, eventually, Kennedy won’t be sending anybody into space. It’ll be underwater." I'm sure the GOP and the United States House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology can explain this all away. (Grokked from Julie)

"It’s a banner week for the end of the world, because we’ve officially pushed atmospheric carbon levels past their dreaded 400 parts per million. Permanently." We're boned. (Grokked from Deborah Beale)

Conservatives are all for the government getting out of running things and interfering with businesses, until it comes to cutting ICANN lose, and then they're all for government controlling the internet and the business that helps register addresses.

Now that's she's become a talking point in the election Alicia Machado is speaking out. "She told reporters that she has 'trying to forget all about that year, about the abuse, and the bad moments with him.' She described the election as a 'bad dream,' saying she never thought she would again see Trump making 'misogynous' and 'stupid' comments." For those who haven't been through a particular hell, this is a classic abuse response. She also said that she didn't complain or attempt to get better treatment because she was afraid of Trump. Just as extra salt, he treated her like he's treated a lot of his suppliers. "Machado also claimed that Trump did not pay her in full for her publicity tour after she won the Miss Universe pageant." And she is still afraid of him.

"A radical shake-up of Russia’s security agencies will see the mostly-domestic FSB merged with the country's foreign intelligence service (the SVR), forming a new centralised organisation called the Ministry of State Security (MGB) that resembles the size and scope of the original KGB…" Although all this Cold War restarts were giving me the warm fuzzies, I didn't miss the 80s this much. Yet another example of Putin centralizing and consolidating his power. My guess on what's next, renamed "political officers" to help purge the military and police of corruption. (Grokked from John)

I didn't post many of the many, many, many responses to Monday's debate. But here's the annotated/fact checked NPR transcript of the debate. Or you can read a quick rundown of the highlights. What is hilarious is the Trumpster's supporters attempting to spin this as anything close to a Trump victory. He came out of the gate calm and prepared, and within 5 minutes Clinton had got his goat. At about 45 minutes he started to get back on track, and she kept nudging him and derailing him. After the opening statement it was just a matter of degree on how unhinged the Trumpster was. Clinton stumbled a bit on some answers, but she kept landing the punches and dancing out of his reach. But then I'm not exactly unbiased at this point.

Tweet of my heart: ‏@MissDahlELama New authors: in case no one remembers to tell you, for like 98% of authors, the second book is the hardest book. Your struggle is SO NORMAL. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

I needed to hear that.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Linkee-poo, see I've already waited too long and all my hope is gone

Glossary of architectural terms. So you can tell your pillar from your pilaster and your mullions from your muntins. (Grokked from Alex C. Renwick)

This is the history of armed warfare; build a better shield and someone will build a better sword. "'Researchers have found a new strain of document-based macro malware that evades discovery by lying dormant when it detects a security researcher's test environment,' reports Threatpost, The Kaspersky Lab security news service." (Grokked from Dan)

"Dutch manufacturer Vanmoof started printing a photo of a TV set on the boxes it uses to ship bikes. Now the bikes arrive at their destination in perfect condition." It shouldn't make a difference, but there are a lot of people who for some reason don't like bikes or those who ride them. See notes in politics about how anything that challenges someone's world view and value system is often met with violence and vitriol. And oddly enough, bike riding challenges some people's world view about what is proper and right.

So, riding a roller coaster can help dislodge some kidney stones. Before you head off to the amusement park, I suggest going to your doctor (or the hospital depending on pain levels). So yes, I'm sure jumping up and down or strapping into one of those old belt vibration exercise devices would work as well, as long as you would have been able to naturally pass the stone anyway. Not all stones are passable. And some will do damage on the way out. (Grokked from Dan)

Please tell me this quote from Paul Hertz, Director of Astrophysics at NASA, is a hoax. Because we start off in a good place, and then the wheels come off the bus, and then the bus crashes and burns. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

About that "binder" Maine Gov. LePage said confirms his prejudice about drug dealers. When there's no actual data, it's easy to fill in that space with racism.

Online browser fingerprinting. Or how what I look at on my iPad or work computer generates targeted ads on my personal laptop. Because it's totally not creepy at all.

So why isn't the media coverage of the Houston shootings getting more coverage? I mean 9 people were shot. "Law enforcement sources said the shooter was wearing what appeared to be an antique German uniform with swastikas on it." I'm sure that can't be it. Right? (Grokked from Ferret Steinmetz)

"Former Wells Fargo employees who say they were fired for following the law have filed a class-action lawsuit seeking $2.6 billion in damages as the fallout continues over the creation of millions of secret, unauthorized bank accounts." I believe that's called the other shoe dropping. And there is a whole Footlocker of shoes waiting to drop. Say all those customers who saw their FICO scores damaged by Wells Fargo opening up new accounts without their permission, but they suddenly have overdraft and late penally fines reported to the credit bureaus.

The Myth of "Irish/White Slavery" in the Americas. Sorry, no. "Likewise these 'Irish slaves' and 'white slaves' memes project a pseudo-mythological narrative to provide (a)historical justification for racial prejudice. This explains why the memefication of “white slavery” is catnip for racists." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Katy Perry votes naked… Um, yeah, might want to put on pants first. But that makes for an interesting PSA. (Grokked from Dan)

Debating while female in one graphic. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Apparently the Trumpster's real problem last night was a defective microphone. This is like blaming the garbage bag for the smell of the garbage inside. So now besides defective earpieces, we now have defective microphones, pretty soon we'll have defective cameras. (Grokked form Chuck Wendig)

So why do progressives say the Trumpster is a Nazi? Because Nazis say he's one of them. (Grokked from Dan)

Law enforcement going into minority communities and harassing residents, handcuffing them, threatening them at the point of assault rifles, all in an attempt to suppress the vote. Sound like a third-world? Nope, Siskiyou County, California. Sheriff Lopey, another in the "Constitutional Sheriffs" mob, has taken it upon himself to make sure the Hmong community (you might remember them as some Vietnamese who helped the US in our war). Sure you can trust law enforcement. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Carter Page said in an interview with Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin that the claims were 'just complete garbage,' but nonetheless he had chosen to take a leave of absence from campaign become the accusations were causing a 'distraction.'" That makes two Trumpster advisors who have had to step down because of their close ties to Putin and the Russian oligarchs. In case you were keeping score.

The friends you keep. "The man tasked with chairing Donald Trump’s law enforcement coalition in Florida and flying his running mate Mike Pence to rallies was dismissed from his pilot job after The Guardian revealed last week he was allegedly involved in two violent crimes."

John Oliver on a comparison of scandals between Clinton and Trump. Or, to misappropriate Dar Williams, "But she's a summer storm and I'm a hurricane, one just blows through town, one blows the town away."

Tinfoil hat warning, "For months, a theory has been floating around the conservative fringes of the Internet claiming that President Obama's administration is working feverishly to grant citizenship to immigrants in order to sway the 2016 elections. The allegation got a push into the mainstream last week, with two Republican senators writing the Department of Homeland a letter that accused the agency of sloppily rushing through citizenship applications ahead of the election." That the conspiracists have drawn elected Senators and Representatives into their web isn't surprising.

The more this election goes on, the more I come to believe that this tweet from asshole of the decade, Rep. Steve King is what is really going on in politics; "@FraukePetry Wishing you successful vote. Cultural suicide by demographic transformation must end. @geertwilderspvv" There are people who can't handle that the world is changing and they are no longer able to control the conversation, or ignore people who aren't like them. That's a silly way of saying that, maybe a more accurate way is that some people who are racists are seeing their cultural hegemony being eroded and are fearful that the minorities who are rising in power will treat them they way their have (and worse, really wished they could) treat the minorities. And because of this they know at an instinctual level that only an autocrat strongman can help install Apartheid policies to keep them from losing power or having to change. And this is what "taking our country back" means. It means they feel that they're losing because POC and other religions are gaining both political power and presence in their world. And they can't handle that because it challenges their very identity and feelings of superiority. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Really, it's making me want to shout, "Death to the Patriarchy" and "Eat the Rich." There is a revolution coming, and if it's a hot war it'll be because idiots like Rep. King won't be able to accept reality of a diverse world and will need to either be subjugated (and realize their worst fears) or shoved into the dustbin of history. Because reason, diplomacy, and talk isn't working. And, yes, this is the intolerance of intolerance. It's a defensive, reactionary posture in the face of impending unmovable rock that we will create the irresistible force that shatters it.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Just don't


In the parking lot when I had my surgery followup appointment.

Linkee-poo, all the waiters in your grand cafe leave their tables when you blink

Twenty-three emotions you can feel, but probably didn't know had a name. Liberosis and altschmerz, that's me. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

"Five lionesses in Botswana have grown a mane and are showing male-like behaviours. One is even roaring and mounting other females." I wonder if the NC GOP is interested in which bathroom they use?

The King is dead. So passes Arnold Palmer. There's this joke about who watches golf on TV, but when the King and the Golden Bear played, I did watch golf on TV with my grandfather. I might have to buy some iced tea and lemonade tonight. So it goes.

Memorial to the Staten Island Ferry lost to a giant octopus. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

"For those of us who grew up in Santa Fe, N.M., there are few figures that loom larger than Zozobra. I mean that literally, as much as figuratively: The 50-foot-tall marionette is as familiar as Santa Claus — only, instead of stealing away with cookies and milk, Zozobra ends its holiday each year by being ritualistically burned to death before a crowd of tens of thousands of screaming people." Sometimes the old ways are the best ways. Burning one's fears, resentments, embarrassments, and "woes" is a very old magic.

"The short version is that they said a book was for ‘mature readers’ because it had a bisexual character and foul language (the section on the maturity rating neglected to mention the actual heterosexual sex in the book. Just the existence of a bi character). When criticized, they issued a series of increasingly bizarre and hostile statements, then eventually deleted everything and locked down their social media accounts."

"The traditional role of the media in a free society is to inform the public. Generally, this is thought to include making the public aware of what is true and what is a lie. The Trump campaign appears to feel differently." To be fair, the Clinton campaign also agrees, but unfortunately so does the head of the Commission on Presidential Debates. And you may be surprised, but I agree like the Clinton campaign, I agree to a point. If the "truth" would require parsing statements and determining, as they say, "what the meaning of 'is' is", then there really isn't time for that kind of lawyering. However, if it's a "truth" that could be overturned by a quick Snopes.com search, yeah, I think the moderator has a duty to call it out. After all, if a "moderator" can't do that, than they're merely the person who asks questions, not an actual moderator of the discussion. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

So, after a bitter primary campaign that saw Cruz calling the Trumpster out for attacking his wife and father, and being booed off the stage at the RNC for saying people should "vote their conscience," why did the Tedster back the Trumpster? "Cruz rented his huge donor email file to Trump about six weeks after dropping out of the Republican primary race, Politico reported late Sunday, giving him a source of campaign cash for yet another potential run for office." Yep, that's a reason. Not a good one, but one that make sense.

Tweet of my heart: @donmoyn This election in a nutshell: @politico dings Clinton for lying b/c she took seriously Trump's claims about his net worth (Grokked from Annalee Flower Horne)

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Linkee-poo, when I'm a good dog, they sometimes throw me a bone

Not pointed out for that "oh, look at these backward ways," but pointed to as world-building material and as a check on your ability to make it real. The effort to eradicate open defecation.

Whither Twitter? Please don't be Microsoft, please don't be microsoft… Well, good thing I kept this blog, then, eh? (Grokked from Dan)

Glowing blobs in SPPPAAAAACCCCEEEE!

Who are these Bozos? You know, it's rare that you get to say that in a literal fashion. Kentucky police finally apprehend one of the few people dressing as clowns and "lurking" (obviously not Olympic grade lurkers here). I shouldn't be so glib, because it's thought these clowns (again, literal clowns) are luring children to follow them, and not in a "let's go to the candy house to the tune of the elephant walk" manner either. "Dressing as a clown and driving, walking or standing in public can create a dangerous situation for you and others," police in nearby Barbourville, Kentucky, said in a statement online… 'While dressing up is not, in and of itself against the law, doing so in public and thereby creating an unnecessary sense of alarm is illegal.'" I guess cosplay is right out. And here I should make a statement that the various clown organizations have actually disavowed these creepers.(Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

What do you do when practically every job is automated?

As the retweet says, this guy is going to vote. Make sure you do too. For those of you who don't want to click, it's a "man on the street" interview with a guy in a Trump hat, speculating that Obama was behind 9/11, taking vacations and not being in the Oval office. Jordan Klepper asks him why he thinks Barack Obama wasn't in the Oval Office on 9/11, and the man responds that he doesn't know, but would like to get to the bottom of (mirroring the language of the candidate he supports). (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"A federal appeals court says Ohio's elections chief has been wrongfully removing eligible voters from the swing state's registration list."

Congress, you had one job… (NPR report on how Congress may miss the opportunity to pass a CR to continue funding the government until Dec 9th, which the real job, the real deadline, would have been to pass actual appropriations bills for the FY2017, so the CR is the "Plan C" option, actually "Plan D" because they originally wanted a CR until February, but Dec 9 was the next best date).

"Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) is betting on a hard-driving strategy to get the government funding bill over the finish line before the Oct. 1 deadline, but defections from his own party and objections from Democrats could mean the Senate may run out the clock before a must-pass spending bill is finished next week." BTW, I love the rationalizations for including funding for Louisiana but intentionally not including funding for Flint. How much more racist can these people get (yes, I know, but seriously)?

"Trumps regularly peddles “facts” that aren’t true, describes events that never happened or denies engaging in actions that everyone saw him do. He utters his falsehoods so fast that before reporters have the chance to correct one, he has tossed out five or six more." Although this time, there's both video of the debate and an official transcript of his testimony which are in contradiction. Did Trumpster want casino gambling in Florida? Why the actual question is superfluous, the obvious lie (either in the debate, or to the court as sworn testimony) is the main issue here. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"This is what (Tump) wants to do with America, he said. Acquire it, gut it to the steel and remake it in his own image… It didn’t matter that the story Trump told was exaggerated. That Ivanka was said to have worked out most of the deal by herself. That people on the other side of the deal believed Trump had overpaid for the property by as much as $60 million… That contractors Trump hired to make the resort great again were filing liens against him because he hadn’t paid them for their work. That rooms in the redone hotel could be booked, same-day, on Priceline.com for $160, which was $9 cheaper than rooms at the nearby Courtyard Miami and $109 cheaper than the Marriott Vacation Club just a few blocks away." That's pretty much what a Trumpster Presidency would bring to America, overpay for substandard items, lots of people screwed over, and a then having to put things on sale to get usage numbers up. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"U.S. intelligence officials are seeking to determine whether an American businessman identified by Donald Trump as one of his foreign policy advisers has opened up private communications with senior Russian officials — including talks about the possible lifting of economic sanctions if the Republican nominee becomes president, according to multiple sources who have been briefed on the issue." And no, it's not the one you're thinking of. Holy shit, how compromised is the Trump Campaign? "Speaking at a commencement address for the New Economic School, an institution funded in part by major Russian oligarchs close to Putin, (Carter) Page asserted that 'Washington and other West capitals' had impeded progress in Russia 'through their often hypocritical focus on ideas such as democratization, inequality, corruption and regime change.'" Thems fightin' words. Jesus Hopalong Christ, it's almost as if I expect them to burst into flames if they mention (the sainted) Reagan. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

Friday, September 23, 2016

Linkee-poo just can’t go without, I could never drown in

Monty Python's Terry Jones has come out as diagnosed with primary progressive aphasia. You know 2016 just just fuck right off now. (Grokked from John)

Apparently some asshat author wrote what seems to be a fairly racists book about the near future (and by racist I mean stereotypical xenophobic pearl clutching as exemplified by the hysteria fears of the alt-right about brown people coming over the southern border). And in a stunning example of the censoring of dissenting views, had an editorial published in the NYT whinging about how they were being put out by the criticism and how they were being silenced. No, I'm not going to link to any of it. When did this shit become mainstream and not just published by the fringes like Paladin Press?

"Sales of adult books fell by 10.3 percent in the first three months of 2016, and children’s books dropped by 2.1 percent. E-book sales fell by 21.8 percent, and hardcover sales were down 8.5 percent. The strongest categories were digital audiobooks, which rose by 35.3 percent, and paperback sales, which were up by 6.1 percent." I wonder where all those "traditional publishing is DEAD" people are now?

With any home improvement project, there's always that one part that doesn't go well. In this case, while trying to preserve the Great Wall of China, one section appears to have been paved over.

NPR's complete guide to early and absentee voting.

"The South Dakota surgeon had been called to vouch for the expertise of one of his partners whose patient had suffered a stroke and permanent disability after an operation. The problem was that (this doctor) had, in his own mind, questioned his colleague's skill. His partner's patients had suffered injuries related to his procedures. But (this doctor) understood why his partner's attorney had called him as a witness: Doctors don't squeal on doctors." The white-coat line (just like the thin blue line). What I found myself thinking as I read this was not about his contrition about having lied on the stand and about this individual patient's case, but about all the other patients he inflicted this doctor on.

So, Instapundit: "The conservative USA Today columnist and University of Tennessee law professor known as Instapundit faces new retribution from his employers for a tweet urging drivers to run over protesters blocking highways in Charlotte, North Carolina." So he apologized to USAToday, and to his Twitter followers, but not to the protestors he recommended running over. "He defended it in a post on his blog, saying that the protesters were themselves behaving violently and that he did not mean to suggest that drivers physically injure protesters." Let me call bullshit on that, and if he doesn't know what he suggested, how the hell did he make it out of high-school let alone law school? So, more like InstaAsshole, amIright?

Apparently yesterday and today are banner days for racism. A GOP representative whose district has parts of Charlotte says that the rioting is because black people hate white people. And then offers a non-apology. Our would-be VP, Mike Pence, thinks the president should shut up about institutionalized racism whenever institutionalized racism rears it's head, I mean when cops kill black people for no reason. "'Donald Trump and I both believe that there's been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement,' Pence said, according to the AP." And then there's my home state, "An Ohio county chair for Donald Trump's campaign resigned Thursday after saying in an interview with the Guardian that there was 'no racism' before President Barack Obama was elected… Miller also said black Americans have only themselves to blame if they haven't been successful since the 1960s." and then the Trumpster himself "claimed that 'drugs are a very, very big factor' in ongoing violent protests over the fatal police shooting of a black man in Charlotte, North Carolina." And then, one of the biggest out and out racist also had to have his say, I guess he was feeling left out. "Rep. Steve King (R-IA), who infamously said that white people have contributed more to civilization than any other 'subgroup,' slammed the Congressional Black Caucus as 'self-segregating' in a radio interview Thursday."

Oh, and that Ohio county chair? "As reporters from the Columbus Dispatch and the Cleveland Plain Dealer observed, Ohio GOP Treasurer Tracey Winbush deleted some 17,000 tweets on the same afternoon that she was named as Trump’s new campaign chair for Mahoning County."

"Incorporating rough and preliminary estimates of these new policies, we find that Clinton’s plans would increase the debt by $200 billion over a decade above current law levels (compared to our prior estimate of $250 billion), and Trump’s plans would increase the debt by $5.3 trillion (compared to our prior estimate of $11.5 trillion). As a result, debt would rise to above 86 percent of GDP under Clinton and 105 percent under Trump." (Grokked from TPM)

"'Every critic, every detractor, will have to bow down to president Trump,' (Omarosa) Manigault said. 'It’s everyone who’s ever doubted Donald, who ever disagreed, who ever challenged him. It is the ultimate revenge to become the most powerful man in the universe.'" That's not how this works. That's not how any of this works. And could Trumpsters whole desire to be president just be a revenge plot? And obviously he's a thin-skinned narcissist who can't take what he dishes out. See, Trumpster didn't go the Correspondents' Dinner desiring the rubber-chicken plate, he went to needle the President, "I can say this about you and you can't do anything." It was a power play. Unfortunately he didn't understand the actual point of the dinner's entertainment (which includes a speech by the President), which is to roast everyone and everything.

Really, CNN, just let the Lewandowski go already. Or, as they say, acknowledge that you pay sources and move on. But you can't have it both ways. (Grokked from John)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Linkee-poo and if we poison our children with hatred then the hard life is all that they will know

Good news, people, "The BBC shall be commissioning 8 writers to write an original series or serial script for BBC One, BBC Two or BBC Three Online." Bad news, people, "To apply you must have at least one production credit (a drama, at least 30 mins in duration) to your name." (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

How to properly punctuate in and around parenthesis. I got to the Future Semiconditionally Modified Subinverted Plagal Past Subjunctive Intentional before giving up. (Grokked from Dan)

The Monterey Bay Aquarium sea nettle tank, live and in HD. Don't say I never got you anything. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"The drug company that makes the EpiPen says it isn't nearly as profitable as many people assume it is… At least that's the message Mylan NV CEO Heather Bresch will try to deliver to members of Congress today." Especially when you increase the CEO's pay like Mylan did. That really sucks up the cash flow. "A new government report says climate change will likely pose a significant national security challenge for the U.S. over the next two decades." We're boned.

"Corey Lewandowski is not out at CNN, the network said Wednesday, despite a report that he'd been suspended over campaign finance filings that show he remained on Donald Trump's campaign payroll beyond his severance package." Cripes, CNN, what does he have to do for you to say he's off the team, give the Donald felacio on camera? You have a paid surrogate on your payroll as an analyst. Those two things are in direct conflict.

Joss Whedon weighs in on the election. And here we'll start our annual, get registered to vote and then go out and vote (or get an absentee ballot and stay in and vote, just follow all the instructions). And I recommend the video on the Save-the-Day website (although wear headphones, language NSFW or sensitive grandmothers). (Grokked from John)

I'm sure it's just because Lester Holt is a journalist, not because he's black that the Trumpster thinks, "they're all Democrats" (even though Lester Holt has been a registered Republican in NY since 2003). I'm sure this isn't about seeing boogymen wherever you look. I'm sure this isn't about his persecution complex, or a part of the attempt to lower the bar so far that as long as he doesn't fall on his face tripping over his shoelaces or noticeably droll on TV that he can declare it a win.

Tweet of my heart: @TheRachelFisher Sorry your feelings got hurt when I called you out on your protest vote, I was thinking about the people who might get put into camps (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Trump Gives Major Foreign Policy Speech

Linkee-poo, someday we'll all be gone, but lullabies go on and on

It's interesting to me that much of the right-wing election ads this year (not for the campaigns) are not based on "Vote for Trump" but "Vote for Gun Rights", "I'm an Energy Voter" and other silliness. It's like they know they have a loser as a frontman.

On Hermione Granger, more than a sidekick. Also pretty good for a discussion of characters who aren't the POV, have their own arc and agency, versus this that exist just to support the main POV character. (Grokked from Fran Wilde)

"As one of the three major battles of the year 1066, the Battle of Fulford is often ignored in favour of the English victory over the Vikings at Stamford Bridge and the English loss against the Normans at Hastings… a 13th-century, Icelandic source connects this event to several interesting Anglo-Saxon anecdotes… written by the great Icelandic poet-scholar Snorri Sturluson around the year 1230." That ol' Snorri sure got around. "Snorri’s Heimskringla, naturally, is not the most trustworthy of sources when it comes to the events of the year 1066; nevertheless, I hope that some of the re-enactments in celebration of this year’s 950-year-memorial will feature flying, fiery pitchforks, Vikings crossings swamps over bridges made of people and, who knows, fork-bearing witch-wives riding wolves!" In re-enactment, it's all about the authenticity. (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

XKCD's simple writer. Are your word choices too obscure for the audience? (Grokked from Dan)

"North Korea has only 28 registered domains, according to the leaked data." So, in North Korea, you could actually read the entire internet. (Grokked from Dan)

"An anti-vaccine mother explained how she changed her mind on inoculation after her own children became seriously ill from an easily prevented virus." Funny how when the shit hits the fan, it's easy to change one's opinion. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

There's a study out now that wearing a pedometer/fitness tracker compared to just tracking (and reporting) what you ate and exercised actually means you may lose less weight. Although the article is written from the viewpoint of "what, you mean just because I wear a fitbit that I won't automagically lose weight?" viewpoint, but still pretty good. Also matches to what I've experienced. The biggest benefit I get from my fitbit is noticing what days I do good and what days I don't move around enough, also for somewhat tracking sleep patterns.

"NASA will host a teleconference at 2 p.m. EDT Monday, Sept. 26, to present new findings from images captured by the agency’s Hubble Space Telescope of Jupiter’s icy moon, Europa… Astronomers will present results from a unique Europa observing campaign that resulted in surprising evidence of activity that may be related to the presence of a subsurface ocean on Europa." This just in, "All these worlds are yours – except Europa. Attempt no landing there." (Grokked from Dan)

"Amazon often says it seeks to be 'Earth’s most customer-centric company.'… But in fact, the company appears to be using its market power and proprietary algorithm to advantage itself at the expense of sellers and many customers." As someone who still uses Amazon, yes, verily. Hell, I've found the exact same product listed in different manners, all sold and shipped from Amazon (so it's not like Amazon is just the fulfillment servicer) for different price points. Again, Amazon is not your friend. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

And now for something completely different, "(o)ld school speech synthesizers perform Monty Python's Argument sketch." (Grokked from Dan)

So, just how safe and reliable are those pipelines? "After a 330,000-gallon spill shut down a gasoline pipeline in Alabama Sept. 9, fuel shortages and high gas prices are occurring across the southern United States this week, NPR member stations report." Some governors have enacted emergency rules which will help them stop price gouging as some stations run dry. The pipeline supplies about 40% of all fuel for the southeastern coastal area.

And the "D'uh Award" goes to… "Black men who try to avoid an encounter with Boston police by fleeing may have a legitimate reason to do so — and should not be deemed suspicious — according to a ruling by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court." I kept trying to make this argument with people for the past 3 years. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"A Sikh bar owner in the US is being hailed as a hero for helping capture the 28-year-old Afghan-American wanted for the weekend bombings in New York and New Jersey." Funny how I don't remember the media mentioning that. (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

Senator Warren finally says it out loud to someone who is responsible. In this case, to CEO Stumpf during his testimony about how 5,300+ employees cheated Wells Fargo customers by opening fake accounts. Short version, "So, why do you still have a job and aren't in jail because of this?"

Well Fargo CEO John Stumpf is shocked, shocked that Senators would question him and judge him so harshly. Um, yeah. Well Fargo employees, under pressure to meet sales goals and either get a bonus, or be fired, violated fiduciary responsibility by opening new accounts for their customers and transferring balances without those customers' approval. Those customers not only then incurred fees from these unwanted and unasked for accounts, but then also had their FICO scores affected because of these fees (and late payments into accounts they didn't know about). This went on for over five years with the firing of over 5,300 employees. That's not a "we didn't know" situation. That's not a "we couldn't have seen how our sales goals were driving bad behavior" situation. This is a failure of management at best and intentional policy at worst. Yes, CEO Stumpf, you and your fellow executives should be asked to pony up the fines out of your own compensation (without readjustment or recompenses) because you directly benefitted from the results of your employee's criminal behavior and you can't say you didn't know. You should consider yourself lucky that the law would actually protect you from being tarred and feathered. Also, Dear other CEOs, the climate has changed, precipitated by the behavior of the whole. Might want to take that new calculus into consideration.

"Web's inventor and MIT prof explain ICANN to Ted Cruz, using small words." Cue up the bedroom-dual scene from The Princess Bride, "I'll explain and I'll use small words so that you'll be sure to understand, you warthog faced buffoon."

"Trump used $258,000 from his 'charitable' non-profit organization to settle legal problems involving his for-profit businesses." Why isn't this guy in jail? Oh, and it seems clear to me the real reason Trumpster isn't going to release his taxes is because he isn't worth very much (definitely not his own bloviating number, but also probably not the independent estimates). He is probably running close to broke and is only staying afloat on the dynamics of cash flow. And for someone running on the platform of "Hey, I'm a successful business guy" that revelation would torpedo his campaign.

So, it turns out that not only was the use of the Skittles photo a violation of intellectual property, the photographer was a refugee himself. Seriously, my irony is going to get broken for all the times it's been this abused during the election. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

That $20,000 portrait of the Trumpster has been found, it's hanging in his private resort. While ownership could still be interesting (little note here, some of the items in museums don't actually "belong" to the museum, they're just on "indefinite loan"), it's looking a lot more like self-dealing which is a no-no.

About that bowl of Skittles, this should pretty much be our response. If each of those Skittles were a life, and by eating the Skittle that would mean that people facing war instead would be brought to this country to live a life of (relative) peace and safety, yes. Yes we would eat the Skittles. And we would eat until we found that poison Skittle, because we would save so many other people. That's part of the whole "giving your life for others." (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

Tweet of my heart: @chrislhayes Again, swap in "Jews" for everything Trump and Co says about refugees, Muslims and immigrants it's immediately clear what they're doing. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Linkee-poo, on a trip to Cirrus Minor, saw a crater in the Sun, a thousand miles of moonlight later

The Publishers Weekly industry salary survey for 2016. Lot's of chunky information in there, especially the ramifications of the "Median Compensation" chart. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"Building-size chunks of rock were photographed by the Hubble Space Telescope in January as they broke free from a disintegrating comet zooming around the sun. The relatively rare images are providing insight into how these icy space rocks die."

"Stacy Kotiska says she quit last week after she had to take a hot lunch away from an elementary school student because the child's parent had fallen more than $25 behind in paying for his school lunches."

Sure you can trust the police. "The ACLU of Connecticut is suing state police for fabricating retaliatory criminal charges against a protester after troopers were recorded discussing how to trump up charges against him. In what seems like an unlikely stroke of cosmic karma, the recording came about after a camera belonging to the protester, Michael Picard, was illegally seized by a trooper who didn’t know that it was recording and carried it back to his patrol car, where it then captured the troopers’ plotting." Oopsie. (Grokked from Levin Armload)

And, yes, it's happened again. Another black man was killed for no reason by a police officer. Besides the usual "why the hell did the officers taser and then kill someone who was offering no resistance and had all the appearances of complying with directions" what is not being discussed is why the fuck do the Tulsa police respond to the report of a broken down car with that many officers, a helicopter, while running hot? And the story from NPR which includes the video from the helicopter. And no, their stories aren't adding up. Especially for not rendering assistance after Terence Crutcher was shot and lying on the ground. And especially not for the comments about him being a "big, bad dude."

Whatever you do in politics, don't ever fake a news presser. "North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory headlined a luncheon of a group of business and civic leaders last week and was only too happy to take questions from the audience. Except the questions weren't from the audience, they were pre-written by the governor's staff." It's like these people don't realize that in this world of hyper-connectivity that at least at the state level, you can no longer hide in local politics. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"A new world record for quantum teleportation has been set, bringing quantum communication networks that can stretch between cities a step closer. Two independent teams have transferred quantum information over several kilometres of fibre optic networks." Ansible here we come. Although not sure it's actual teleportation when you require a fiber-optic network between the two ends.

Oh those Japanese commercials. A Trumpster campaign ad as seen through the filter of the Japanese advertising industry (or at least one prankster who mocks it very well). (Grokked from John)

Trumpster Jr has a Skittles problem.

"The plan would also make the tax code less progressive. While it would increase incomes across the income spectrum, it would increase them by much more for the richest Americans. The bottom four quintiles of income groups would see their incomes go up by 0.8 to 1.9 percent." And that's from a "(t)he right-leaning Tax Foundation." I remember how much the Bush tax cuts were supposed to help, I end up paying more in taxes (most of his middle-class tax "cut" was done by increasing the child dependent deductible). Oh "(a)ltogether, over 10 years, it would reduce federal revenue by around $4.4 to $5.9 trillion." Sound familiar, like how the GW Bush tax cuts erased any "surplus" and took us until unchartered nation deficit/debt areas.

Tweet of my heart: @MileHighBrendan "The Stewards of Gondor have lost touch with the common man. At least Sauron would shake things up a bit." (Grokked from Merrie Haskell)

Monday, September 19, 2016

Linkee-poo has got a little black book with my poems in

There's the story circulating about a writer who ran back into their house, which was a 3 alarm fire, to rescue their laptop and their unpublished novels. As many people have pointed out, hasn't this person heard about gmail, dropbox, or any of the many free backup storage solutions? Just your random reminder to backup your data in a secure manner, preferably in a remote location. Also this note, it's easy for people who have internet access to make comments about how easy it is to have a backup, but not everyone with a computer has internet connections (at least in their homes).

Tim Waggoner with some tough-love advice on writing. I've struggled with this question over the past few years, do I want to be a writer, or do I want to want to be a writer? Clawing time away from my schedule is difficult, and when I do have actual free time, the last thing I want to do is sit in front of a computer. Part of this is my day job (if you've known me long enough, you know I chose my last day job because I knew it wouldn't drain my creativity, I didn't get that choice this time), and that has been a major reason why I've thought hard about jumping to the next career (the major reason for not jumping is the pay differential and the benefits package). It's possible that decision will be soon made for me. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Using macaroni to make perfect fantasy world maps. As Captain America said, "Language." (Grokked from Lara Kristin Herndon)

iMessage in iOS10 sometimes return hardcore porn when searching for gifs to send. The gif search is handled by Bing, but Apple is blocking certain terms from search.

"The largest prison strike in U.S. history has been going on for nearly a week, but there’s a good chance you haven’t heard about it. For months, inmates at dozens of prisons across the country have been organizing through a network of smuggled cellphones, social media pages, and the support of allies on the outside. The effort culminated in a mass refusal to report to prison jobs on September 9, the anniversary of the 1971 Attica prison uprising." (Grokked indirectly by Saladin Ahmed)

"The board moved quickly to change the rules under which Flint is governed so that the city cannot file a lawsuit without first getting approval from that state-appointed board." Well ain't that ducky. (Grokked from Chia Evers)

"As America’s opioid epidemic rapidly increased to crisis levels over the course of the last decade, pharmaceutical companies like Purdue, which makes Oxycontin, and Pfizer, the second-largest drug company in the world, employed over 1,300 lobbyists around the country and collectively spent over $880 million between 2006 and 2015 in an effort to stop states from enacting laws that would limit access to painkillers, a report published on Sunday by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity found." One thing lost in a lot of this is that in the 90s the FDA kept tight control over these drugs, but then the crisis was people who actually needed these painkillers because they have been living with chronic, disabling pain, were unable to receive them. What we're seeing is the opposite swing of the pendulum here. I hope it doesn't swing too far in the opposite direction. It's not that pharma is acting in patient's best interests, they're acting in their own interests to sell as much as possible. It's just that I don't want us to lose site of the patients in this argument. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"After twenty-five months of labor, the committee’s 'comprehensive review' of an immensely complex subject weighs in at thirty-six pages… I have graded college term papers that long. It is one more dispiriting commentary on the state of legislative oversight that the committee’s twenty-two members, Republican and Democratic, were unanimous in signing their names." I'm not a big fan of Snowden, but on the reporting of the "report" it was pretty clear to me that the report was nothing more than a Congressional whitewash and an attempt to smear his name while trying to regain some legitimacy for our domestic surveillance programs. It was a way of saying in a sea of dark gray inks, "We're right and he is wrong." And no, no matter how well the movie does or does not do is not an indication of the veracity of anyone's story. To me, it's probably as much a fantasy as "Sully". (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Ravel’s recent vote to sanction conservative filmmaker Joel Gilbert for alleged violations of federal election laws — the FEC deadlocked on the matter — have prompted a new round of hate mailers to, in recent weeks, call her a 'communist c---sucking b----' and wish her 'the worst for you and yours.'" I'm sure it has nothing to do with the alt-right movement. Not at all. Oh, just a hint, guys, death threats against a public official, even one as obscure as a FEC commissioner, are handled differently than death threats against random people (read "mostly women") on the internet. Also, funny/not-funny how these kinds of things always involve the same political stripe of actors.

"The results from several ballot stations (in Russia) may be thrown out, CEC leader Ella Pamfilova said Monday, after surveillance video showed voting irregularities — including at least one case in which an election worker is seen taking a small stack of ballots and jamming them into the box." Now that's how you rig elections.

"U.S. military officials on Saturday denied reports that Syrian jihadists expelled American and Turkish troops from a border town about 30 miles west of the Euphrates River." So some guys shoot a video of them shouting at special forces as they left a town in Syria after a meeting and supposedly this is them kicking the US out. Um, see those squad weapons on the tacticals? Yeah, if they thought these yahoos were an actual threat, they would have been leveled. This is such a piss-poor attempt at propaganda it's laughable. Of course the real reason for this is to provoke a reaction (and to rally the troops as ISIL loses territory). Also, when you "kick" someone out, you don't let them leave with their weapons, #protip.

So, which party is better at creating more jobs? Ah, yep. Pretty much knew that one (you might remember my report on which presidents were responsible for greater economic growth as reflected by stock market prices). So again, one party claims they're better, but the numbers just don't bear it out. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"'Imagine what our country could accomplish if we started working together as one people, under one God, saluting one flag,' Trump said, drawing enthusiastic applause from the crowd at the Values Voter Summit." Yeah, about that… Also note this is coming from the same political side that embraces people taking up arms against that same country.

And putting his ignorance and racism on display, the Trumpster "called for profiling of refugees and immigrants 'from that part of the world'". What no one thinks to ask (specifically because he's only talking with Fox News on a regular basis) is to ask exactly what part of the world that would be (because I don't think he knows)? But, you know, those people. Hint, that phrase, when not accompanied by physically pointing to a crowd of people close at hand, is almost never used in a non-racist way.

Just a reminder, right wing extremists (aka white supremacists and sovereign citizens) are a bigger threat to the citizens of the US than any jihadists.

Tweet of my heart: Kevin Nguyen ‏@knguyen There is a weird thing white people do where they think they can only be racist if they are trying to be racist. (Grokked from Joshua Parker)

Saturday, September 17, 2016

Linkee-poo on a working weekend

Photos of the 2016 World Nomad Games. (Grokked from Jim Hines)

"Some employees are suing their employers to get better deals on their 401(k) options… But when employees at an investment firm that creates funds got on the trend, it became a chance to understand what makes a raw deal on a 401(k) fee." I was late to the mantra of investing in the lowest-fee/indexed fun available, but I can tell you that this past year I made more from the funds growth than I added to the value or paid fees.

Immunotherapy to fight cancer, getting more targeted to specific subtypes of cancers. We're learning where it works, and where it doesn't work.

So, the Trumpster finally admits that he was lying about the President not being born in the US. Now, David Fahrenthold wants to know when he'll give the $5 million the Trumpster promised when someone proved to him that Obama was an American. Also, the Trumpster promised to release his tax returns when Obama releases his birth certificate. One is already on file, we're still waiting for the other one. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"Major TV networks banded together to erase video of Donald Trump conducting a tour of his new Washington, D.C. hotel after they say the Republican nominee’s campaign broke with rules determining press pool coverage of his events and physically restrained an ABC News producer… As Politico reported, pool rules require that a pool producer accompany any campaign event that will be documented visually." Finally some courage. Although they had to confab before pulling the plug (read, we all had to agree so no one would "scoop" the others, note, a tour of his hotel is not "newsworthy" unless you're selling rooms in the hotel).

And then right after, the whole staged background collapsed. If that isn't a visual metaphor for Trumpster's campaign, I don't know what would be.

A breakdown of the myth that Hillary Clinton started the "birther" movement. Uh, no.

Friday, September 16, 2016

Linkee-poo sees a red door and I want it painted black, no colors any more, I want them to turn black

Oh look, the Trumpster is up in the polls on 538. "Relaxing tea better fucking work." I've had days like that. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Archaeologists at Turkey's neolithic site of Çatalhöyük in central Anatolia have unearthed a 'unique' complete female figurine, The Ministry of Culture and Tourism said on Tuesday." Noted similarities to the body type of the Venus of Willendorf (which is much older and is more abstract, which might be attributable to skill of artist, tools and material available, or cultural norms). (Grokked from Dr Caitlin Green)

"The sixth mass extinction will be an event triggered by people and will hit the biggest animals the hardest." Say, we're kinda big… (Grokked from Dan)

"Bare trunks of dead coastal forests are being discovered up and down the mid-Atlantic coastline, killed by the advance of rising seas. The 'ghost forests,' as scientists call them, offer eerie evidence of some of the world's fastest rates of sea level rise." We're fine. Everything is fine. I'm sure they're just getting ready for Halloween. (Grokked from Jeff Beeler)

"Privately insured people with cancer (glioblastoma multiforme and testicular cancer, because surprise, the study patients are mostly male, again) were diagnosed earlier and lived longer than those who were uninsured or were covered by Medicaid, according to two recent studies." The study found partially it was how the different patients use the health care system (patients without insurance typically don't have regular checkups, and so are often diagnosed after the cancer has reached an advanced stage), but some of it is the treatment process between those with private insurance and either no insurance or Medicaid. Part of that is the structure of Medicaid and what it will and won't pay for, part of it could be that patients on Medicaid also don't seek treatment until later (same behavior pattern as those without insurance). In either case, it's not an acceptable situation. I've been in the room when a patient has received their first diagnosis of glioblastoma (highly advanced state, the cancer is also highly aggressive), you do not want any part of that. While it was an easy x-ray to take (checking for mets, cancer had been diagnosed from a previous exam), the emotional situation was exceptionally difficult. Fortunately we have excellent nurses in our ED and they handled the majority of that. Fuck cancer.

Some people say, "We don't fetishize guns in the US." I say "bullshit." And no, it's not any better when a Democrat does it.

"An admitted former assassin has accused Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte of personally ordering extrajudicial killings — and, in one case, pulling the trigger." It's one thing to give a nod and a wink (although it shouldn't be condoned from people in elected office), it's entirely different to personally order or carry out extrajudicial killings. "And as Michael reported in July, the killings aren't unwelcome to all Filipinos." They never are.

"The two Republican members of the Federal Communications Commission have refused to give Congress documents needed to complete an investigation into the FCC's net neutrality rulemaking process, according to a lawmaker." Well, that kinda sucks when the investigation you tried to slam the Obama Administration with improper influence, only to find the members of your own party are the obstinate ones (who may have improperly coordinated with people in the industry that would be affected by the regulation being investigated). (Grokked from John)

"Earlier this week, the Clinton campaign posted an explainer of Pepe, an anthropomorphic frog who has become an unofficial mascot for Trump and the alt-right. It’s responding to a photoshopped riff on The Expendables posted by Donald Trump, Jr. and former Trump advisor Roger Stone…" There's a lot of truth in that article about how, for anyone paying attention since December, this is not something new and how sunshine isn't always the disinfectant we hope it would be. (Grokked from John)

Just a casual observation. So far the only lawn signs I've seen have been for Trump (and other conservative candidates in Ohio). And there usually isn't just one, but several. One lawn has eight Trumpster signs, and a Trump flag (flying on the opposite side of the front stairs from their Confederate Battle Flag, naturally, one of 3 at the house; front, side, and garage).

"'No, I don't know anything about that,' Trump Jr. replied." That was when he was asked about his father's use of the Trump Foundation's money to purchase a $20,000 (speed painted) portrait of him (it's a charity thing the artist does). Trumpster Jr. is a director of the foundation. Then his handler ended the interview and hustled Jr. off.

"Donald Trump intends to roll back food safety regulations if he wins the White House in November." Yeah, I'm sure it'll be fine. Say, how many people get food poisoning every year, how many companies have had to issue recalls and shut down their contaminated plants, how many people die from it? How many amputations still occur in our meat packing plants? Just how much rat shit do you want in your breakfast cereal? (Grokked from Fred Clark)

"Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said in an interview (in Canton, Ohio) that he remains unwilling to say that President Obama is born in the United States, that he is more bullish than ever on his chances to win and that he is not exploring the launch of a new media company in case he loses the race." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"On Thursday night Donald Trump spokesman Jason Miller sent out a statement declaring that the Republican presidential nominee believes that President Barack Obama was born in the United States. Miller's statement credited Trump with heroically pushing Obama to release his long-form birth certificate in 2011, putting an end to a 'vicious and conniving' smear first crafted by Hillary Clinton in 2008." Okay, so according to Trump Jr. the media must be "warming up the gas chamber" because that's a complete load of bullshit (except for the "spokesman said this" part). (Grokked from Fred Clark)

So, basically the Trumpster got the media to give him an infomercial for his new hotel. Fabulous.