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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, May 23, 2017

Flower porn

Well, somebody likes this weather.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Linkee-poo meet you anytime you want at our Italian Restaurant

"Basically, how do we even know what reality IS any more?" The Note to Self podcast on the election, living in different realities, the power of substitute world views, and the reinforcing values of social media (and the dark side of disparate groups finding home and support through long distance connections). :: waives "hi" from our shared delusion ::

"As the debate over health care continues in Washington, one thing not in dispute is that health care industry employment has been going up steadily over the past decade. In Ohio, health care industry jobs now outnumber those in manufacturing. The jobs are good news to state and local economies, but some analysts also say it's a reflection of the high costs and complexity of health care." Okay, yes, it's true that healthcare has some baggage, but it's not at the bottom. It's at the top. The number of VPs at a hospital is in direct proportion to their cost and in inverse proportion to the quality of care. You want to cut people out of the system? Great. Two words. Single. Payer. So many of those jobs in "administration" are there to handle health insurance coding, payments, wrangling, and pre-certification. Get to 1 form, 1 unified coding system (ICD-10 for instance), and standardize the scope of care and you can eliminate about 25% of jobs and increase the quality of care. As for the people involved with directly caring for patients, yeah, we need to up those numbers. Look at every quality of care survey and you'll find the thing everyone gets dinged on is not having enough staff to handle all the jobs. That and "call button wait times", which, again, is a staffing issue. In x-ray, our base mark is 10 minutes or less per exam (note, this is general x-ray, not CT and definitely not MRI). Why? Because we have too many people to x-ray and if we take longer, we push back all the appointment times.

The 10 ways the GOP has been sabotaging Obamacare. Note, most of the horror stories are from states that didn't expand Medicaid and had leadership in government actively trying to sabotage Obamacare. In the rest of the country, things aren't all that bad. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

While it appears that since 2015 people who have switched parties is roughly even (percentage wise) between GOP and Democratic Parties, there's a trend among younger voters to switch from GOP to Democrat and remain there. Not really unexpected (hell, that's when I left the GOP). But there are more young people switching from the GOP to Democrat than there are old Democrats switching to the GOP. And as the data shows, the older one gets, the less likely they will switch parties.

"Many I spoke with said they had made a fundamental mistake of viewing Trump primarily as an ideologue with whom they disagreed rather than what he increasingly appears to be: an ill-prepared newcomer to the world stage, with uninformed views and a largely untested team that will now be sorely tried by a 9-day, 5-stop world tour that would be wildly ambitious even for a seasoned global leader." Our European allies are increasing viewing Trump as incompetent and a clown. Ever see a clown get angry? (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Sorry

Sorry for the lack of posting as it appears the center will no longer hold. It isn't for not seeing materials, but for having been caught in the firehose stream of it all and not being able to fight back to the edge. Plus lots and lots of personal stuff. I feel like I'm letting you all down. But really, it's hard to keep up with it all.

I'll just state for the record again, 1) this is what happens when you reward incompetence and can't distinguish between actual success and the ability to keep from crashing into the ground. And 2) Trump is a nightmare, but Pence was so far to the right that there was no way he would have won in the primaries. Pence is a deep "social" conservative. He's disciplined, and experienced. While it might stop this ongoing foot shooting, the results may be worse (you know, except for accidentally starting a nuclear war, or doing it because he's feeling pissy).

Hang on folks. This merry-go-round is losing the brakes.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Linkee-poo on a Sunday

"But after reaching a peak in 2014, sales of e-readers and ebooks have slowed and hardback sales have surged. The latest figures from the Publishing Association showed ebook sales falling 17% in 2016, with an 8% rise in their physical counterparts. At the same time, publishers’ production values have soared and bookshops have begun to fill up with books with covers of jewel-like beauty, often with gorgeously textured pages." Don't get cocky. Quality is the hallmark. It's possible for ebooks to gain quality, but it most certainly won't be in the current direction. That doesn't mean ebooks are dead. It's often easy to say one side or the other. From here on out, it'll be a mix.

So you want to be a writer.

So there was a lot of talk about illegal immigration, the bad hombres, and specifically linking them to the rise of MS-13 during Obama's tenure. Well, all of that was shit. MS-13 was founded in the US in the late 80s, by US citizens, and grew most during Clinton and GW Bush's tenures (it's actually been in decline for the last 6 years). But, hey, let's have ICE go after them. "Though the effort was led by ICE, the focus was not exclusively on immigrants. Of the arrests, 933 were US citizens and 445 were foreign nationals, with 384 in the country illegally." Now MS-13 is a dangerous gang, don't get me wrong here. But you can't defeat it by telling lies about them (to continue to knock the first African-American President) and pretending they are something they are not.

(Map) "Republicans always say 1000 counties with I insurer. They don't tell you that most r in a handful of R-led states where they sabotaged ACA" Not all, but yes, that.

Note to Self podcast on the rise of our Bot Overlords. "Bot armies are taking over Twitter. But they’re not necessarily trying to advance a point of view, according to Phil Howard, a bot researcher. They’re aiming to sow chaos and make dialogue impossible. At the extreme, the goal is to destabilize our very sense of reality." Sowing chaos and making dialog impossible is a good shorthand and distinguishing marker for the Russian propaganda campaigns.

The FBI Director, having outlived his usefulness, is now out. Who is really surprised? I am. I figured this would have been in February. March at the latest.

"In his recent testimony about his decision to send the notorious October 2016 letter to Clinton Congress, FBI Director James Comey painted a dramatic picture of the facts of the case and Huma Abedin’s actions. Altogether it was meant to demonstrate that Comey had little choice but to take action and ultimately send his public letter to Congress… But it turns out what Comey said wasn’t true and the FBI knows it."

"Federal prosecutors have issued grand jury subpoenas to associates of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn seeking business records, as part of the ongoing probe of Russian meddling in last year's election, according to people familiar with the matter. CNN learned of the subpoenas hours before President Donald Trump fired FBI director James Comey." I'm sure it's just a coinkydink. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

The Washington Post on why Trump won't be impeached any time soon. Wildly unpopular with the general public, he's still pretty popular within the GOP. A large survey result article with lots of data on the divide in America.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Linkee-poo on a Sunday

Lafayette, we are here.

Like reading? Hate fascists? Have at least $20 a month burning a hole in your pocket? Well, here's the Fireside Fiction Antifascist Fiction Club just for you. And they have cool pin. (Grokked from DongWon Song)

John Scalzi talks about the Brain Eater. You think he may be getting a little too whimsical here, but he isn't. I've met that Brain Eater, and it's a tempting offer. It's never your fault, it's everybody else's fault. That's a seductive place to get into. And I've seen my peers all get farther along (in the writing career). Well, friends, it's a harder road to suck it up and tell the Brain Eater to get lost. My friends are my friends, and I'm stoked they're doing well. They're a bunch of great people. And, yes, it's my own fault. I spend too much time here (what little time I have available these days) or trying to mentally recover. I've been working on this writer thing for far too long to not have many successes. But I'm still working at it when I can. Life doesn't get any easier. Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

A large online collection of public domain comics. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

Ah, those peaceful times of our dawn of man ancestors. "An ancient pit filled with severed human arms, hands and fingers has been unearthed in France." Nope, still pretty brutal and violent. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"Researchers at the University of Oxford may now have overcome this latter challenge (of the effectiveness of analgesic dosages in infants), however. They report May 3 in Science Translational Medicine having identified a pain-related brain wave signal that responds to analgesics, and could be used to measure the drugs’ efficacy." I did a paper for school using fMRI to find the same thing. If it can be done with a simple EEG, that would be amazing. No more, "on this scale, rate your pain" guessing and game playing.

Stands and salutes. You, sir, are the wind beneath my wings. (Grokked from Cheri Priest)

Stephen Blackmore's twitter rant on just what hospital ERs are required to do. Working in a hospital, yep. Look, you come in and we're going to do our best for you. Come in with shit that could be handled outpatient, and you're getting a low-priority slot. If you have insurance you're about to pay about 20x what you would have if you had gone to a GP… and we'll still say you have to go see your GP to get the actual treatment you need. Come in with stupid shit, and I'm sorry, but yes we are judging you. Because we had to come x-ray your sprained ankle which took time away from the person in STEMI two doors down. We are happy to x-ray your ankle in the department on an outpatient basis… which will also cost you a hellalot less. And we can prioritize you lower than the person with their heart attack. And I hate saying this because then there's the other people who are all, "Gee, I really don't want to bother you with this" who have an "OMFG, we got get this person to surgery NOW!" And yes, some of them don't realize it. And sometimes you could say, "Oh, I'm just having a bad day" when it's actually something Very Serious™. (Grokked from Kelly Swails‏)

"High-risk pools are not new -- they existed in 35 states prior to the ACA. History shows they represent an incredibly flawed approach to providing coverage for the most vulnerable because they are chronically underfunded, outrageously expensive, and they provide insufficient access to care." Including Ohio. To say it was a cluster-fuck it being generous. For some people it was cheaper to go private pay, and then declare bankruptcy.

So, one of the reasons the conservative ran so fast to pass the updated TrumpCare was they were afraid to go back to their districts and face the ire of their constituents who expected them to do something. So how'd that work out? "Reed, whose district in upstate New York includes the cities of Ithaca and Corning, held three town hall meetings where the overwhelming majority of attendees had questions about health care. The congressman was met with boos and jeers throughout the forums, with people repeatedly chanting 'Shame!' and 'Vote him out!'" Hell of a job, Brownies. But here is the less we're all about to relearn, as long as their financial supporters are with them, representatives don't really care about your objections. As long as their fundraising is still coming in, that's their measure of "popularity."

"The email from '[White Oak] Digital Display' sent on Wednesday, May 3, was sent to inform the researchers of the 'reason for the change from CNN to Fox.' White Oak is the name of the FDA's campus… The email goes on to inform employees that the decision came from the Trump administration… 'The reason for the change is that a decision from the current administration administrative officials has requested that all monitors, under our control, on the White Oak Campus, display FOX news,' the email reads." And then there's the inevitable denial. The first victims of propaganda are the government employees. If this is actually the case, I recommend any of the "universal 'off' remotes" available. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

Friday, May 5, 2017

Linkee-poo pushes it out late Friday night

Heinous fuckery most foul.

McMansion Hell. (Grokked from Joshua Parker‏)

"A conservative group that wants to see the US government address climate change is trying to reach the president through his favorite medium: TV." Well, it ain't perfect, but it's a start. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Why Some People Are Born to Worry… How do early-life traumas get under our skin? A researcher details his quest for the stress-causing mechanism." As I've said before, I come from small, worried-people stock.

"Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin told an audience of Wall Street managers that they could thank him for financial deregulation." Tell me again about Clinton's speeches. Jesus, all these people need are top-hats and monocles. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Hey, remember the UK Embassy that posted a blog entry on Trump's Mar-a-Lago resort? Yeah, wasn't a mistake. "Government-funded news agency Voice Of America has posted a story about first daughter Ivanka Trump's new book… The agency also tweeted a link to the story, written by The Associated Press, from its official Twitter account." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

So when they tell you that Obamacare is broken and driving people into debt, know they are lying. "As legislators and the executive branch renew their efforts to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act this week, they might want to keep in mind a little-known financial consequence of the ACA: Since its adoption, far fewer Americans have taken the extreme step of filing for personal bankruptcy… Filings have dropped about 50 percent…" For honesty's sake, "The many experts we interviewed also pointed to two other contributing factors: an improving economy and changes to bankruptcy laws in 2005 that made it more difficult and costly to file. However, they almost all agreed that expanded health coverage played a major role in the marked, recent decline." (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"A Code Pink activist who was arrested during Jeff Sessions’ confirmation hearing after laughing during introductory comments is now being prosecuted by a Justice Department run by Jeff Sessions." Conservatives, they put the special in the snowflake. Also, you may have noticed my frequent references to deploying the most devastating of political retorts… laughing. They're deathly afraid of being laughed at. (Grokked from Katheryn Cramer)

And speaking of prosecutions for laughing, "Late night talk show host Stephen Colbert’s controversial joke about President Trump drew the attention of the Federal Communications Commission. The agency received 'a number' of complaints about Colbert’s commentary earlier in the week, according to the FCC’s chief." (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"How to: avenge yourself on the Republicans who voted to nuke your healthcare." The bastards. And why did it pass? Because they new it would never survive the Senate, but they needed something to go home with. Now, I wouldn't get complacent about the Senate either sinking or majorly altering the bill, but that's where I'd put my money (mostly on the "sinking" part). It goes to the earlier psychology of "let's pass a repeal… of which we're safe of the consequences because Obama will veto it." But then Mitch McConnell is a grade A asshole, so I wouldn't put down the pitchforks just yet. Now, as to conservatives loosing the House in 2018, let me show you a map of the gerrymandered districts the GOP Majority control. Sure, they're going to lose a handful. Maybe 20 seats. Currently the House is divided 238 to 193. The Democrats would need to pick up all of those, plus 3 more, and not lose any.