What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Linkee-poo says you look so fine that I really wanna make you mine

US Call to Action. Find the number for your representative and call. (Grokked from Small Beer Press)

Mary Robinette Kowal, seeing that Cat Rambo is also running drops her bid for SFWA President.

"John Berger and Susan Sontag take us inside the art of storytelling" (video from 1983). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"A curated list of creative writing competitions, contests and awards" for 2017. Many have entry fees, see general disclaimer on contests that charge writers for entry. I suggest vetting them through other sources (I actually suggest vetting them all through other sources). (Grokked from Stewart Sternberg)

Tobias Buckell on bullet journaling. Having a system for keeping track of ideas is excellent. I'm not sure I could do this without sever modification (also pointing to this as Tobias explains his own modification). However I'm also point to because of the focus on both quality materials and finding a physical format that works. I also echo Tobias' statement on how crappy standard US notepaper is. For those of you here long enough you know I had special notecards printed up for my classes because what I could buy was both wrong size and shit for paper (constantly poking through the paper or snapping the point of my pencil). I'm left handed and let me tell you that form is very important. Lately I've taken to making my own notebooks (I have access to a comb binding setup) with premium paper, a grid pattern for the page (printed much lighter than commercially available), and half page size (5.5" x 8.5", which is close to the A5 size). So far I've used these notebooks on a much more consistent basis than any previous attempts. Again, with any advice, find what works for you, chuck everything that doesn't work for you. Spend money on your tools (before this I used a lot of school composition books, which I still like) to get quality (more expensive does not always equate to quality).

Lascaux IV is open. What I wouldn't give to go inside the original cave, but I'll take a replica this fine any day (hint, in many museums that might just be what you're looking at anyway). The only problem with this is that most of megaliths are in the North of France (from what I can tell, anyone have other information). So for any visit we'd had to travers the whole of France to see everything I'd like to see. Yes, I know, this is what multiple visits are for, but do I look like I'm made out of time?

Dear CNN, this is not like Transformers, this is like BattleMech. Please hire a geek to keep you from making such terrible mistakes in the future.

"Louisiana is losing its coast at a rapid rate — because of rising sea levels, development and sinking marshland. Officials are trying to rebuild those marshes and the wetlands, but much of the coast can't be saved. This makes Louisiana's history an unwitting victim. As land disappears and the water creeps inland, ancient archaeology sites are washing away, too." They're trying to wash us away, they're trying to wash us away.

"Today, 41 percent of U.S. counties suffer from high levels of combined poverty and income inequality, up from just 29 percent back in 1989. Worse, as the table below shows, just 28 percent of counties have low levels of poverty and low levels of inequality. In other words, more than 70 percent of counties have either high levels of inequality, high levels of poverty, or both." Funny, those maps remind me of other maps… (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Claudio Sanchez makes predictions for what will be hot when it comes to education issues. At this time I think those are good bets. I'll also add that Trump will rebrand Common Core as "Trump's Art of the Deal for Education" and will instantly be adopted by all those assholes conservative governors who opposed Common Core only to offer up their own education reform, which all looked suspiciously like Common Core with the serial numbers filed off.

Chuck Wendig tweet storm on Obamacare. As someone who works in the health care industry, and has used his health insurance for more than doctor visits and z-packs, let me share my experience. Much of what is blamed on Obamacare was actually much worse before the ACA. Some of what is blamed on Obamacare is just excuse making. Obamacare isn't perfect, but you really have no idea how much the health care industry has changed for the better because of it. We now have programs that their intent is to make your stay in the hospital somewhat tolerable. For those of us focused on patient care (as in, we care about the patient), Obamacare has reorientated the industry to our thinking. One of the little touted parts of Obamacare was to change how Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements were made. Hospitals are now graded on "patient experience" and rate of re-hospitalization (return to the hospital within 30 days). Where I work we have 3 ongoing programs (at least, these are the programs that touch me) to improve the patient experience. You may think that's a given in health care, and you would be wrong. Doctors, while they can still be assholes, are slightly less assholy these days. It is no longer tolerated for a doctor to cuss out the nursing and support staff (yes, that's actually a part of Obamacare, because it affects patient care and patient experience). Response times to call lights and alarms are way down (yes, it's still not fast enough). We as employees are rewarded for focusing on you as the patient (although we still need to meet our production time quotas). These are all bonuses on top of the fact that people who need health care are getting it (for the most part). We still see people in the ER who need primary care services, but we now can refer them and expect that some of them will start getting their care elsewhere (as well as see payment for that care we have to render). We still need to fix the healthcare employee shortages, but the ACA doesn't address that (and that would take as large of legislation as Obamacare, right now the industry is focused on Physician Assistants and Nurse Practitioners).

"President-elect Donald Trump has promised to bring back manufacturing jobs, but many of those who’ve been laid off in recent years find themselves lacking the qualifications for jobs that are already coming back." Also, there are fewer jobs to be had, and almost none of them are low-skill work. The jobs that Trump (and Republicans in general) intimated will come back are not the jobs that left. Those are gone. Permanently. Because industry has changed. Again, for those in the back, we produce as much as we ever did in this country. We just produce different things and we use one-tenth of the employees to do it.

So what do Republicans really care about? Smaller government? Lower taxes? Free-market economy? Nope. "Texas could soon follow in the footsteps of Indiana and North Carolina and pass its own "bathroom bill" in the upcoming legislative session. Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick has made passage of such a bill, which could require transgender Texans to use the restroom which corresponds to the gender on their birth certificate, a priority." Well, that and abortion.

"President-elect Donald Trump rang in the new year together with Joseph 'Joey No Socks' Cinque — a convicted felon with ties to notorious Gambino crime family boss John Gotti, a recently released video has revealed." You know, after Trump said he didn't know him or his past. The friends you keep. (Grokked from Fred Clark)

About that Ford moving to Mexico thing. Yeah, turns out production is still moving to Mexico, Ford just isn't going to build a new plant for them. Also, they already had committed to starting to build electric trucks here in the US (which is where those 700 jobs will be). So, for all the hoopla and chest thumping: 1) Ford's doing what they were going to do anyway, 2) Ford saves their money instead of building a new plant in Mexico, 3) jobs added in the US would have been added anyway. Not so much a win, not even a draw.

"Republicans are promising moves that would be a boon to Trump’s finances, including one tax change that could save his family $4 billion or more." I'm sure it's just a coincidence that the most Republican of ideologies would benefit billionaires to the tune of putting more billions in their accounts. And it's not a "conflict of interests", it's a direct money grab, a form of self-dealing. Given his actions with his "charitable" foundation this shouldn't come as a surprise. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Tweet of my heart: @EricBoehlert ha. On Russia, I can no longer distinguish my Breitbart trolls from the Intercept trolls--who says Trump isn't a uniter?? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Double dip: @sam_kriss imo that "oh so anyone who disagrees with you is a nazi?" stuff carries less weight when it comes from someone called DeplorableAdolf1488 (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

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