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Though I saw it all around
Never thought I could be affected
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Monday, February 27, 2017

Linkee-poo, well you're windy and wild, you got the blues, I'm your shoes and your stockings

"Sen. Marco Rubio won’t participate in town hall meetings because he says political activists will crash them to create a media spectacle of people who 'heckle and scream at me in front of cameras.'" Dear Sen. Rubio, those aren't "activists", those are "constituents." (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

"Ask residents of this coal-mining crossroads about President Trump’s decision to crack down on undocumented immigrants and most offer no protest. Mr. Trump, who easily won this mostly white southern Illinois county, is doing what he promised, they say. As Terry Chambers, a barber on Main Street, put it, the president simply wants 'to get rid of the bad eggs.'… But then they took Carlos." I guess it all depends on who gets to grade the eggs. It's easy to hate the person you don't know, it's hard to see blanket policies hit the people you do know. But then most people think the movie is all about them, they don't realize their just the expendable extras in everybody else's (those who don't know them) movie.

"President Trump said Monday that 'nobody knew that healthcare could be so complicated,' as Republicans have been slow to unite around a replacement plan for ObamaCare." Actually most of us who have had to use the system and our insurance knew. There's a lot of us. Maybe you should listen to us. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The Washington Post, The New York Times, and ProPublica have launched Web pages outlining all the ways you can leak to them. ProPublica highlights three high-tech options on its page (in addition to the Postal Service): the encrypted messaging app Signal, an encrypted email program called PGP (or GPG), and an anonymous file sharing system for desktop computers called SecureDrop. The Washington Post goes even further, highlighting six digital options." I remember having conversations (or polite arguments) in the 90s about personal encryption. Lots of people then (and even now) think it's not worth it. After all, what do we have to hide?

Tweet of my heart: ‏@SarcasticRover (in response to the news of Trump wanting an extra $54B for the Pentagon) That’s 3 NASAs… or 4 National School Lunch Programs… or 6 Environmental Protection Agencies. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Linkee-poo late weekend edition

Merrie Haskell on what is best in life. Well, on dissing things that you just don't like.

"Stage 7 is known as Lucky Seven, according to tour guide John Kourounis. That's because three Warner Bros. best picture winners — The Life of Emile Zola, My Fair Lady and Casablanca — and 10 best picture nominees were shot here." Susan Stamberg on the 75th anniversary of Casablanca.

Mary Robinette Kowal with her grandmother's recollection of a friend who went from being a girl to a boy, in 1913.

Apparently the whole Russian Flag incident at CPAC was a prank. Good thing nobody fell for it. Well, I know what the collectable from that show is going to be. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"The Catlettsburg Police department, which employs eight full-time and two part-time officers for a population of about 2,500, features the images on the hoods of its 2013 and 2017 Ford Interceptor sedans and sport-utility vehicles, assistant police chief Gerry Hatzel said." (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

And in "Cleveland is number one!" news… "According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention voluntary survey of students in 19 urban school districts, more than 20 percent of Cleveland students attempted suicide in 2015. Another 20 percent said they seriously considered taking their own life. Bill Denihan is CEO of the Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board of Cuyahoga County. He says the numbers are not surprising considering Cleveland’s poverty rate."

"Shortly after 1 p.m. Friday, the temperature in Buffalo, N.Y., hit 71 degrees, according to the National Weather Service, in the latest sign of the mild, even warm, winter that much of the eastern U.S. is experiencing." I'm sure it's fine. It's all fine. We're all fine here. How are you?

When I say, "fix Obamacare" you might wonder what I'm talking about. "Your doctor diagnoses cancer. She says there’s a good chance you can beat it, or keep it under control for a long time. But you can’t afford the thousands of dollars you’d have to pay for treatment that your health insurer won't cover… Cancer specialists have a name for it: financial toxicity." Yeah, fix this (and allow Medicare/Medicaid to negotiate pharmaceutical prices). Other countries get it, YTF can't we? (Grokked from Emily Buckell)

"Two CBP officials boarded a Delta flight from New York to SFO after it landed on Wednesday and demanded that passengers show government-issued 'documents' before they would be allowed to debark." Your rights are vanishing. This was a fishing expedition, a practice that has never been upheld in court before.

"A CBP spokesperson wrote to Rolling Stone on Friday to insist that the ID check on the jetbridge was 'consensual assistance from passengers aboard the flight' and that 'CBP did not compel' anyone to show ID." Uh, yeah, Bob. I'm sure people were Mirandized on that aspect by the CBP officers requesting the documentation. (Grokked from Patrick Nielsen Hayden)

So I'm sure you've seen those info graphics on "know your rights." Well, apparently you should pay attention to them even if you don't plan on protesting or engaging in any confrontational activism.

"A third of the border already has a barrier, thanks to the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which was signed by then-president George W. Bush. That initiative ran into issues with landowners near the Rio Grande. If the wall goes forward as Trump promises, more lawsuits may be coming." Say, don't conservative hate eminent domain powers? Well, I guess they hate them when it's their land, but screw everybody else.

So, back when GW was president and the GOP controlled Congress I talked about how they were attempting to make government so handicapped and dysfunctional (by slashing budgets and hiring incompetents to key positions) that it would either fall apart on its own, or the people would destroy it. Some people may have thought that was hyperbole. "Inside the White House, Mr. Bannon said, everything is going according to plan. The 'deconstruction of the administrative state' has just begun." Still think that? This isn't about disruption, this is about tearing it all down. This is still the party of "No."

"The head of the National Rifle Association on Friday claimed that anti-Donald Trump protesters were paid '$1,500 a week' and that they 'spit in the face of Gold Star families." Shit, where do I get one of those jobs? I mean, spitting in the face of Gold Star families is not how I want to make bank, but $1,500 a week? That sure as help beats flipping burgers. Well, someone in this story is getting paid a lot of money to be violent, but I think it was the guy up on the stage with his fear mongering.

Trump says he's keeping his campaign promises, how's that working out. Yeah, not so much. Share if you know someone who voted for Trump.

Friday, February 24, 2017

One Month of the New Car

"So," you may be asking, "how's the new car, Steve?"


Some things I'm still getting used to, and she idles a little rough (may need to take her back to the dealership for that), but I'm not displeased. Although, to be fair, with the overall MPG it's only a little better than my 12-year old previous car. So I expected it (but I do a dance with that 50+mpg… but you can see it doesn't last too long). But, my old car did 3-8 mpg better when it was warm compared to when it was cold. Fingers crossed this new car does the same.

Linkee-poo walked out this morning, don't believe what I saw, a hundred billion bottles washed up on the shore

When learning storytelling, it sometimes helps to study how it fails. In this case, when story goes missing in a video game. "And while reading Tolkien spinning a yarn about Gondor's mightiest accountant might've been amazing, being him (even with an amnesiac elf as a sidekick) is just not nearly as engaging as it should've been."

"How to treat a lady on the Internet." Yes, this. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

You might remember that when Amazon announced their whole "drone delivery" program I mentioned a major problem with it. Namely, energy density and how what would be more likely is to drive into a neighborhood and have drones go the "last mile" as it were. That's exactly what UPS is looking at but for rural delivery routes (waves hi).

"A Big Sur bridge on Highway 1 is the latest victim of this season's brutal rainy season… The Pfeiffer Canyon Bridge has multiple cracks in one of its support columns and and has been closed to traffic since Feb. 15. Caltrans announced after a bridge inspection on Tuesday that the structure is beyond repair, and it will take six months or more to build a new one… The problem began when heavy rains in the region caused landslides below the bridge; an entire hillside is slumping and sheared off where the support column on the north end of the bridge is anchored." I'm sure it has nothing to do with our nationwide problem of crumbling infrastructure and is only about damage caused by the rains. (Grokked from Michele)

They keep denying it, but I'll say it again, Syria is to Putin's Russia as Spain was to Hitler's Germany.

Kansas, how's that "guns everywhere" philosophy going? "A bartender at Austins Bar and Grill said Adam Purinton used 'racial slurs' before he opened fire as patrons watched the University of Kansas-TCU basketball game on television." But the FBI isn't sure it's a hate crime, yet.

"A Northern California raid ostensibly targeting violent gang members triggered a dispute Thursday, with Santa Cruz’s police chief angrily accusing the Homeland Security Department of turning it into a secret immigration sweep." Trump, bringing America together, again. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"With congressional Republicans discussing proposals to replace the Affordable Care Act, public support for the 2010 health care law has reached its highest level on record… The new survey finds that when those who disapprove of the law are asked about what should happen to it now, more want GOP congressional leaders to focus their efforts on modifying the law than on getting rid of it. One-in-four adults want Republican leaders to modify the law, while 17% want them to get rid of it entirely." A Pew Research Center report. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

One of the conservative plan for bringing healthcare insurance to more people is to make it not really healthcare insurance. "There are some big hurdles, however. The Affordable Care Act requires that insurers who sell policies for individuals and small businesses cover at a minimum 10 'essential health benefits,' including hospitalization, prescription drugs and emergency care, in addition to maternity services. The law also requires that the scope of the services offered be equal to those typically provided in the coverage that businesses offer their employees." And that's considered "generous." You might remember people being upset that they couldn't buy "catastrophic" insurance (which really only protected you, or paid, if you were admitted to a hospital or had some life changing medical problem, and then it didn't cover much). Well, that's what the GOP wants to offer you again.

"An embattled White House terrorism advisor whose academic credentials have come under widespread fire telephoned one of his main critics at home Tuesday night and threatened legal action against him, Newsweek has learned." Sebastian Gorka doesn't like bad press. So glad we have the most stable personalities in charge. And then, after demanding and cajoling Rep. Smith to come to the White House to discuss the issue… "Late Wednesday, Gorka withdrew his invitation." Apparently Sebastian Gorka has never been exposed to the internet or politics before. Listening to the call (or at least until the audio cut out for me), Sebastian Gorka acts the consulate bully by saying, "Come over here and say that to my face" (that's basically his total point in the call), but then can't back it up. My guess is he also vanity surfs (waves hi). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

But then Mr. Gorka works in this administration. "In recent decades we have as a society radically changed our collective attitude toward bullying and abuse of various kinds - the denigration, the demeaning and damaging of the weak by the strong. With respect to Trump, Mexico and his wall, our position as Americans is comparable to being bystanders to abuse. We're complicit if we don't at a minimum speak up because between nations, on a national level, this is assault. It is one party with greater power using that power over a weaker party with the specific aim of demeaning and denigrating, of theft." (Grokked from Teresa Nielsen Hayden)

Ah, it looks like dog-pile time. "When photographs recently emerged showing Sebastian Gorka, President Donald Trump’s high-profile deputy assistant, wearing a medal associated with the Nazi collaborationist regime that ruled Hungary during World War II, the controversial security strategist was unapologetic." Also pointed to for the echoes of American political rhetoric used in anti-Semitic circles in Hungry. It seems strange for Gorka, who by all accounts is a smart guy, very knowledgeable in politics and national security (coughs into hand), the he would associate unknowingly with these groups. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Rep. Martha Blackburn (R-TN) doubled down on her claim that only one-third of people in attendance at a town hall on Tuesday were from her district." Even though the Mayor of the town took a poll at the beginning of the meeting and the overwhelming majority were from her district.

Many representatives have opted for private events and phone town-halls, they aren't doing much better.

"A purported cyberhack of the daughter of political consultant Paul Manafort suggests that he was the victim of a blackmail attempt while he was serving as Donald Trump’s presidential campaign chairman last summer." Ahh, yep. (Grokked from Michele)

"Today, Politico reports the House’s response: It will divert the resolution to the House Judiciary Committee, which will (almost certainly) vote on Tuesday along party lines to kill the inquiry" into Trump's ties to Russia and violations of the emoluments clause. And that's how Democracy dies and is the real end to the Schoolhouse Rock, "I'm just a bill" song. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Video of twenty-one things the President Trump says make a "bing" sound. Just because. (Grokked from John)

"Crowd at CPAC waving these little pro-Trump flags that look exactly like the Russian flag. Staffers quickly come around to confiscate them." Sweet mother of God, people. I know competency is too much to ask at this point, but could they at least hire someone who has lived in the world and had experiences other that within the echo chamber? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@DrSprankle If you think sex workers "sell their bodies," but coal miners do not, your view of labor is clouded by your moralistic view of sexuality. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

(Ed. note: my eyes, posture, and wrists for graphic design; my back/feet and general health (infectious diseases/cancer from radiation exposure) for radiologic technology)

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Linkee-poo tells myself that you can be replaced, I try with someone else but its you that I taste

Again, another day of rushing like mad at the day thing.

How Pixar adjusts their movies for international markets. (Grokked from Dan)

For those of you writing Space Opra-ish works who may get criticism for systems with several inhabitable planets that help that society launch an interplanetary trade system… "NASA's Spitzer Space Telescope has revealed the first known system of seven Earth-size planets around a single star. Three of these planets are firmly located in the habitable zone, the area around the parent star where a rocky planet is most likely to have liquid water." (Grokked from Kelly Swails)

Sure, you've seen the NASA press release for Trappist-1, but have you seen the website. (Grokked from Dan)

A video of the landscape our Wall would have to traverse using satellite images. The video's title is "Best of Luck with the Wall" (yeah, these get a little "artistic" with the perspective and zoom). Oh, that black line, that's the fence we've already built. (Grokked from John)

"'Physically abused kids fail to adjust flexibly to new behavioral rules in contexts outside their families,' says coauthor Seth Pollak, a psychologist at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Youth who have endured hitting, choking and other bodily assaults by their parents view the world as a place where hugs and other gratifying responses to good behavior occur inconsistently, if at all. So these youngsters stick to what they learned early in life from volatile parents — rewards are rare and unpredictable, but punishment is always imminent." Of course the research is about how to help these kids learn behaviors that help them navigate the world around them and that's a very good goal. Buuuut, no mention of training to help people recognize and call out abusive parents and to both end the cycle of abuse and to move the kids out into a more supportive environment.

When attempts at document preservation go horribly wrong. Many states laminated historical documents to help preserve them, unfortunately they didn't understand how paper ages.

A helpful publication, How to Survive a Nuclear War (PDF). (Grokked from John)

Before you talk about how wonderfully fair compensation is in this country, a chart from Bernie Sanders with some CEO pay levels. I can tell you from experience that some of those salaries are in excess of many large companies (>200 employees) total payroll costs. (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

"When Heather Lindsay and Lexene Charles discovered the n-word painted across their garage door on the weekend of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, they decided to leave it up in plain view." You won't believe what happens next! (Sorry, couldn't help myself there) So now the couple are being fined for keeping the graffiti up until the police decide to find out who has been spraying the word on their garage (this isn't the first time). (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Claiming people are being paid to riot, Republican state senators voted Wednesday to give police new power to arrest anyone who is involved in a peaceful demonstration that may turn bad — even before anything actually happened… But the real heart of the legislation is what Democrats say is the guilt by association — and giving the government the right to criminally prosecute and seize the assets of everyone who planned a protest and everyone who participated." Your First Amendment rights are under assault. (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

"The key to keeping Trump’s Twitter habit under control, according to six former campaign officials, is to ensure that his personal media consumption includes a steady stream of praise. And when no such praise was to be found, staff would turn to friendly outlets to drum some up — and make sure it made its way to Trump’s desk." You know that kid in the stores, the one who suddenly finds their unfortunate parent's attention has turned to something other than them (like figuring out which laundry detergent gets shame out better) and then they start making a ruckus? Yeah, that's the guy we elected president. There's that movie, Wag the Dog, well the call is coming from inside the house (to mix my metaphors). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

Linkee-poo, in a churchyard by a river lazing in the haze of midday, laughing in the grasses and the graves

Video of SpaceX Falcon 9 first stage landing this past weekend. In case you have forgotten that we live in a SF future, this should remind you. My brain still has a hard time believing that's not CGI. (Grokked from Dan)

And, boy, it's getting to be a parking lot outside the International Space Station. Progress 66 is on it's way, and the Dragon capsule launched this weekend had a software error that automatically aborted the attempt to dock (they'll try again on Thursday). They might need a traffic cop up there soon. (Grokked from Dan)

"Britain's Society for Radiological Protection (SRP) also told Motherboard that the exclusive presence of Iodine-131 suggests the source is not a nuclear incident, but rather a medical facility such as a hospital or a supplier of radio-pharmaceuticals. 'The release was probably of recent origin. Further than this it is impossible to speculate,' the SRP's Brian Gornall told Motherboard in an email." Even a low-yield nuclear test would have been detected by seismographs before any radiation would have reached sensors. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

Rhut rho. "Another bird flu is on the rampage in China. Already this winter there have been 424 cases in humans, more than a third of all those identified since the virus emerged in 2013. And it is spreading. This week it was announced that it seems poised to acquire mutations that could make it a much worse problem." H7N9, you're going to be hearing about this soon.

A chart of how many people would loose their health insurance and how many would loose their jobs if Obamacare is repealed, listed by state. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Illinois… play(s) host to hunting contests whose goal is to kill as many coyotes as possible in a given period — say, 24 hours. At one 'predator challenge' in southern Illinois in 2015, participants bagged 36 of their quarry… This year's competition, however, also drew a dozen protesters led by the Humane Society of the United States." About time. See, killing coyotes leads to the behaviors we are trying to control for (population increase and predation on livestock). (Grokked from Laura J. Mixon)

Let's go a hiring freeze, what could it hurt? "Trump hiring freeze forces suspension of military child care programs." The problem is we have a know-nothing president who is being advised by know-nothing advisors. (Grokked from Eric VanNewkirk)

"'I’m just not in the position to answer (questions about what Flynn told the FBI about his calls with the Russian ambassador),' (Reince) Priebus said, but then he added, 'Certainly we’ve talked about that issue with leadership at the FBI, but I’m not in a position to talk about that with you.'" Um, wait a sec… (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Linkee-poo rushing on a Monday

If anyone is wondering why I'm leaving the day thing, this morning is a case study on the majority of my frustrations with this job. So, sorry, late and no fresh links form this morning. (ED, so turned around from the Merry-Go-Round of the day thing I still think it's Monday).

"The researchers found that suicide attempts by high school students decreased by 7 percent in states after they passed laws to legalize same-sex marriage, before the Supreme Court legalized it nationwide in 2015. Among LGB high school students, the decrease was especially concentrated, with suicide attempts falling by 14 percent… But in states that did not legalize same-sex marriage, there was no change." Funny how something as simple as affirming people's right to exist can have such wide ranging effects. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"The hunters told police they suspected the shooters were undocumented immigrants they had seen on the ranch earlier in their trip. Their story soon jumped into online right-wing circles, thanks in part to Texas Commissioner of Agriculture and Donald Trump ally Sid Miller… But it was a lie, according to police and, now, a grand jury. Investigators determined that guides Walker Daughetry and Michael Bryant in fact shot at one another by accident, striking Daughetry and hunter Edwin Roberts in the process. Daughetry and Bryant were indicted for third-degree felonies last Wednesday." Well they apparently believed each other were illegal immigrants, and so shot each other to protect themselves. (Grokked from Justine Larbalestier)

"But Cohen changed his story from what he'd told the Times. He told the Times that he received the 'peace plan' from Sater and the Ukrainian parliamentarian in a sealed envelope and delivered it to the White House. Now he claims that he received the envelope with the 'peace plan' but accepted it only as a courtesy and never did anything with it. The meeting, he now claims, lasted a mere 15 minutes." Because one often accepts unopened envelopes from foreign diplomats that supposedly contain offers and plans to help solve a world trouble spot's problems and then just sit on them. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

Monday, February 20, 2017

Linkee-poo late on a Presidents Day

One of the benefits of the soon-to-be-old job is we have Presidents Day off. So I got to sleep in and feel almost rested. The first time since Thanksgiving. There are several panics just at the periphery, but so far I'm holding them off. So, sorry (not sorry) this is late getting out.

Ragnarok, it's the end of the world as we know it, and Neil Gaiman is telling us all about it.

For your world building writing efforts, and article on compartmentalization and how to run a rouge twitter account. "Basically, it’s impossible to be completely secure all the time, so we need to prioritize our limited resources into protecting what matters the most first. The most important piece of information you need to protect in this case is your real identity." There are many more tips that could be added here, but this is a good start. Personally I don't recommend using a personal computer that can be tied to you, but buying even a tablet with cash could seem suspicious. The main this is to realize that everything can be tracked. As they state in the article, even your language use patterns can be used to find you. One trick for that (but it's annoying as hell) us using online translation services and run what you want to say through a few languages (again using the tor browser). And the best piece of advice? It's buried in a bullet near the end, "Don’t brag." Don't get cocky, don't get mad, don't use it drunk or incapacitated. No matter how much you want to. Do not brag with your anonymous account, don't believe you can taunt others. Using your emotions against you is a well researched subject. More career criminals get caught when they brag and taunt the police because they feel invulnerable. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"But critics say even some of the most successful high-risk pools that operated before the advent of Obamacare were very expensive for patients enrolled in the plans, and for the people who subsidized them — which included state taxpayers and people with employer-based health insurance."

"CEO Bill Phelps (Wentzel’s Pretzels),… worried increasing wages for his employees would cut into profits and that if he raised prices to compensate, fewer people would come eat and sales would drop. But something else happened entirely. Sales at his California stores immediately shot up… The same exact pattern happened in 2016, Phelps said: A wage increase by the state led to a bump in business. Now Phelps is convinced that minimum wage increases aren’t bad for the fast food business. They’re great." Funny how reality doesn't conform to conservative principles.

"Yet despite all that — an email trail, a confession, and an admission from the (Gamergate) suspect that he knew he was breaking the law — the FBI let him go after the suspect said it was a 'joke'" Gee, why don't women report harassment when it happens? (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Trump says he inherited a mess. So let's look at the numbers, shall we?

"This much is clear: Protesters with a group called Indivisible Orange County turned up at Rohrabacher's Huntington Beach office to deliver Valentine’s Day cards urging him to hold a town hall. Finding the door locked, they shoved the cards underneath it. The 2-year-old daughter of one of the protesters was attempting to add one to the pile when a staffer abruptly opened the door, hitting the child in the head. The staffer, 71-year-old district director Kathleen Staunton, fell in the ensuing commotion as another demonstrator tried to keep the office door open… The accounts then diverge wildly." Rohrabacher claims a mob attacked, the police said it was all an accident. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

So how did the visit to Jefferson Middle School go after Sec. DeVos finally got in? "'I find it very interesting that the chancellor saw teachers that were pushing rigorous learning, students asking each other high-level questions and cultivating high-level responses, and teachers who take initiative and give their lives to the education of these children,' said Jefferson teacher Caroline Hunt. 'DeVos saw something so different. … Maybe if DeVos knew more about education she would realize just how amazing the students, teachers and staff are.'" (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

How's that businessman running the government idea turning out? "Newly leaked audio from a November party at President Trump's Bedminster, N.J., golf club reveals then president-elect Trump touting to guests his scheduled interviews on premises with potential cabinet members and White House staff." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Mr. Trump’s son Eric, in an interview on Friday, rejected suggestions that his family was offering access to his father and profiting from it. First, he said, only 20 to 40 new members are admitted per year, and second, the wealthy business executives who frequent the club, among others, have many ways to communicate with the federal government if they want to." The Mar-a-Lago connection.

"'You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden — Sweden, who would believe this?'"

Saturday, February 18, 2017

Linkee-poo, the rare weekend edition

The ice coverage on the Great Lakes is at an all time low. That's not good. The ice coverage helps spawning fish, it helps clear the waters, it tamps back on algal blooms, mitigates shore erosion, and a bunch of other things. Expect to hear about big algal blooms, diseased fish stocks, and crop losses to disease this coming Summer. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

The real diet you should be on is reducing highly processed foods. It's damn hard to do, though. Actually just starting with cutting processed sugar and high-fructose corn syrup is a good start.

Hey, Riff, what's for dinner? "Christie said that when he visited the White House on Tuesday, Trump made him order meatloaf, while everyone else was free to order what they wanted." Now, okay, apparently he and Trump had the meatloaf together, so, yeah, could have been a bonding thing. It depends on how you frame it.

"A Florida man was arrested Thursday for a plot to plant bombs in Target stores up and down the East Coast… This man isn’t a Muslim. He isn’t a refugee. He isn’t an immigrant. He isn’t tan or brown or black. He’s white. And by virtue of his white skin, he pretty much gets a pass from the Trump administration." He's also a sweetheart of a guy (he's a rapist among his other felonies). But gosh I hope we deport that mother of two who once knew a person who knew a "gang member." Because the rest of America wouldn't feel safe otherwise. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Fresh from introducing a bill to terminate the Environmental Protection Agency, Congressman Matt Gaetz is headed home to northern Florida during recess week. He plans to hold two town hall constituent events, as is tradition during recess week. The local Democratic Women’s Club is planning to attend… Gaetz says all are welcome, but he and his friends are clearly trying to intimidate the constituents who just want an open dialogue with their elected representative." His "friends" are Biker4Trump and the local militia leader who encouraged all his concealed carry members to show up and "not forget their ammo." Hint to any representative, never try to intimidate grandmothers. They will jack you up. (Grokked from Ann Leckie)

Friday, February 17, 2017

Linkee-poo, now's the time that we need to share, so find yourself, we're on our way back home

"Pixar is offering a free course through Khan Academy that can help you find the kind of stories you want to tell -- and help you tell them better. The 'Art of Storytelling' is the latest installment in a series of free courses from the studio called 'Pixar in a Box.'" I haven't checked this out, and man does Pixar have a lot of stuff on here (the Khan Academy app). Well, the story has a link to the Khan Academy page with the class, but bugger-all if I can find it on their app. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

"Merck & Co Inc said on Tuesday it will halt a late-stage trial of an Alzheimer's drug after it was determined that it had no chance of working, marking the latest in a long line of crushing disappointments in efforts to find an effective treatment for the disease."

"That (TX state senator) Schwertner broke a table while trying to silence a woman opposing (an abortion-restriction) bill that would solely impact women is all the more jarring considering the events that grabbed headlines last week… And if Schwertner was really table-breaking concerned about the time allotted for public testimony, he probably wouldn't have let the first speaker (and dozens after), a representative from the anti-abortion advocacy group Texas Right to Life, ramble on in support for twice as long as Hennessy was allowed to speak." Asshole. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Oh, hey, the GOP finally has a healthcare plan! "Rep. Bill Huizenga, R-Mich., called the 18-page outline 'guideposts and a road map.'" Sigh. So it's not so much a plan, "more like guidelines" (said in the voice of Geoffrey Rush as Capt. Barbossa). "Most of the plan is silent on how much money lawmakers want to put behind their proposals… The elements of the plan include replacing the subsidies that help people buy insurance through Obamacare exchanges with fixed tax credits to buy coverage on the open market… Obamacare subsidies increase as premiums rise so that consumers are responsible for the same premium amount, which is tied to their income. The tax credits proposed by Ryan are not tied to income but rise as a person ages and insurance rates increase."

"House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said Thursday that congressional Republicans weren’t interested in working with Democrats on a replacement for Obamacare because the opposition party 'want to go down the socialized medicine path.'" Wait, there's a path? Also, "hey, this boogeyman no longer works, let's try this older model out and see if it still has some juice." Just as a reminder, of the people who claim they're against Obamacare, approximately half (from the expanded polling sites that I've seen this sorted out) are against it because it didn't include the Public Option.

So, conservatives hate that Obamacare taxed the rich, the medical appliance makers, and those who had "cadillac plans." But, if they tax everyone who has employer based insurance, sure they're good with that. The word you're looking for is "retrograde".

A Pennsylvanian family working through the issues that divide us. And see, the Dad gets it. He doesn't know how to put it into practice, yet. But I think when he sees that conservative politics is not going to "bring the jobs back", he might change this time. Not so much from just disappointment in Trump, but that he has seen this movie 3 times now (Reagan, GW Bush, and now Trump). He remembers what life was like (and he doesn't want to go back to the dirty skies of the 70s). When he's given the full picture, he understands it. I recommend the audio of the story.

You want to know a surefire way to increase crime and decrease citizens reporting crime? "Federal immigration agents last week detained a woman in the U.S. illegally just after she received a protective order against an abusive boyfriend, in an El Paso County courthouse… El Paso County Attorney Joanne Bernal said the ICE arrest inside a courthouse was 'unprecedented and stunning.'" That's one way.

How is Trump's EO and the general demeanor of the White House and its supporters affecting our country? "Royal Canadian Mounted Police are reporting a flurry of illegal crossings into Canada in recent months. Officials say Quebec province has seen the highest influx of people seeking asylum, with many crossing in snowy, remote areas in northern New York." Yep. Canada is processing asylum seekers (aka refugees) fleeing the US for Canada. You know all those jobs about "I'm going to Canada if…"? Yeah. People are actually doing that now. Unfortunately for me there's a big, damn lake in the way.

Janet Yellen brings the smack down. "When it comes to the economy, it’s becoming uncomfortably apparent that in many cases, self-described “incredible” businessman Donald Trump either has no idea what he’s talking about or he’s lying." Well, it's becoming obvious to more people. See, Trump fit into the American Myth, that if you're a "successful businessman" you must understand all the hard stuff about economics (micro and macro), law, organization, etc. You must also be "brave" and "sharp" and "work harder." This is all the myth of why they have money and the rest of us don't. The most common explanation, however, is that they simply had more money than the rest of us to start with.

So how are all these convolutions around immigration helping to keep us safe? "FBI agents arrested Benjamin Thomas Samuel McDowell, 29, in Myrtle Beach, S.C., accusing him of buying a gun and ammunition as part of a plan to carry out a white supremacist attack. " Who could have seen that coming? I wonder which one of the seven countries covered by the EO Benny is from? And what madrassa was this young man radicalized in? "'Local police said McDowell developed white supremacist connections while previously incarcerated.'"

Is the Resist/Indivisible movement the mirror image of the Tea Party? I'm not entirely certain (at this point, are there any national conference call organizing going on), but the response has been similar. Although for the Tea Party, there was a money trail back to Koch own/run organizations who helped foot the bill for lots of things (not actual "money to protestors", but back door organizing efforts) and so far there's not comparable link for this movement. I'm just worried about the longevity of this movement.

"'I don't think (the president) knew what the CBC was. And then I think the young lady, Ms. Ryan (a reporter), cleared it up and made sure he knew of what it was. But I think a lot of people assume that all black people know all black people,' (Rep. Elijah) Cummings said." Those cringe-worthy moments.

"Trump administration considers mobilizing as many as 100,000 National Guard troops to round up unauthorized immigrants." The words you're looking for are Posse Comitatus Act. Although the National Guard is excluded from Posse Comitatus when acting under the authority of the governor, if the President activates them they become federal troops, which are covered (mostly by association and precedent). "The troops would not be nationalized, remaining under state control." Yeah, I think almost any lawyer could drive through that tissue wall without breaking a sweat. Although Sean Spicer now says that's not true and the reporters should have asked him (for the record the reporters state they asked 5 times for clarification). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

So, how's that "The Jobs President" thing going? "A Virginia winery owned by President Trump’s son Eric has requested permission to bring in nearly two dozen foreign workers, according to a new report." I'll bet that plays well in Coal Country. (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Linkee-poo, what hijacked my world that night to a place in the past we've been cast out of?

Jim Hines' 2016 Novelist Income Survey first report. "There were a total of 386 responses. Five of these were duplicates and were removed, leaving data from 381 individual novelists." Jim breaks it down and does a wonderful job highlighting meaningful categories and stats (note, pay attention more to the median than the average because there are a few authors in his dataset who are blowing out the top numbers - this btw is why I don't like the current SEC rule for determining the executive pay ratio which is better than nothing but slightly weighted in the CEO's favor). And here I'll just confess my admiration for Jim (because I know he reads these, hi, Jim). Not only is he a super hoopy frood of a guy, a fantastic (and funny) author, but also has been doing yeoman service for years on this issue. Thanks, Jim.

Apple has an Easter Egg of the LEGO Batman movie. (Grokked from Dan)

Soon you can tie the hitch at the Las Vegas Taco Bell. Might as well start off with heart burn. (Grokked from Dan)

"Two Republican members of Congress sent a formal letter Tuesday to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of the Inspector General, expressing concern that 'approximately a dozen career EPA officials' are using the encrypted messaging app Signal to covertly plan strategy and may be running afoul of the Freedom of Information Act." Which, yes, might be a problem. Especially for future transparency. And it's hilarious because… (Grokked from Dan)

"Specifically, multiple reports indicate that Republican operatives and White House staffers are using the end-to-end encrypted messaging app Confide, which touts disappearing messages and anti-screenshot features, to chat privately without a trace."

""Federal anti-poverty programs primarily help the GOP's base… Republicans want to shrink government. But their core voters benefit from assistance, like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the most. See the problem is that those people don't believe they're on government assistance. The GOP has spent decades telling their base that it's those other people, you know the ones, who are sucking off the system. And the GOP knows they're not takers, they just need a little help (when they're even self-conscious enough to know they're on government supplied benefits), so they obviously aren't the ones who will be affected. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Tweet of my heart: @DesiJed Call me crazy but I think possible treason should be investigated as thoroughly as a blow job. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Double dip: @electrolemon imagine if you got a job and you wouldn't stop tweeting about whoever didn't get the job and every day the news was "local man sucks at job" (Grokked from leon)

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Linkee-poo runs around with it's hair on fire

I know I say this often, but there are events happening that might affect the regular publication of the blog. I can't say what, yet. Sorry for the light post today, but most of my morning has been devoted to bringing about this change and making it a reality. More when I can talk.

Putin is such a nice guy. Why would Russia ever want to help install their choice of President? "Russia has secretly deployed a new cruise missile despite complaints from American officials that it violates a landmark arms control treaty that helped seal the end of the Cold War, administration officials say." Oh fuckstockings.

Repeat after me, "There is no such thing as a winnable nuclear war. There is no such thing as a 'limited' exchange." Any nuclear attack by state actors would trigger an "Archduke Franz Ferdinand Is Dead" moment and bring us all into direct conflict because of treaty obligations. For those of you who know their history, you know this is exactly what lead to The Great War (aka WWI). Even a terrorist strike using a stolen weapon could lead to an all out exchange. Nuclear material can be sourced post explosion (like other munitions).

"As Governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was significantly to the right of the mainstream, even for his own party -- so it's no surprise that in the days after his resignation… his successor and state Republican lawmakers: pardoned an innocent man who'd been locked up for 20 years… allowed a town to declare a state of emergency; greenlit a needle-exchange; and overrode his vetoes, which would have allowed university cops to keep their records secret and which prevented strict environmental rules." Not everything, but a start. Also, just a reminder, this is the idiot who would gain the presidency if Trump is impeached or resigns.

Scenes from a Commute

Finally got them. I believe those are cranes standing in the field. I first saw them last year. Never had seen one before. I didn't quite believe it then and I only saw them one afternoon. But they're back again this year (a little early, along with the raptors). First saw them Monday night driving home. This year they're sticking around a little (I think the cold surprised them).


And here's a "zoomed" image (not sure how this one turned out.

The other news from the commute is the buckets are up on trees. It's maple syrup season. Not sure what the product will be like this year. One of the collections options they have are plastic bags hung from the tap. One farm I passed must have put them up over the weekend and there were a few bags which were nearly full on Monday. That shouldn't happen this early in the season (although the sap may have been running earlier than they expected). The first few days should be slow as they collect sap that's mostly water. Then the sap taps into the sugar reserves the tree stored (this is what makes the syrup) and then finally it'll grab other nutrients. The sugar is what makes the syrup profitable, but it's those other nutrients that really give it the maplely taste. The largest volume is in the middle, when there is a high sugar content in the sap. Later the other nutrients become a major factor and the sap which becomes thicker and less sugary.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

There's a place where we belong

It's easy to talk about how the "middle-America" problem is new and caused by NAFTA and those "illegal" immigrants taking "our" jobs. And it's just as much bullshit as the other times I've heard similar shit said during my life. "Things are so hard, we have to exit the EU to save our jobs and national identity" and "We need to renegotiate NAFTA because of all the jobs we lost." Bullshit. Want to know how I know this?

Don't Give Up – Peter Garbiel


This was released in 1986, before the EU (1993), before NAFTA (also 1993). I'm old, but I remember. This isn't the first time we've seen the problems that "the poor, rural white" is supposedly going through (and again, the average Trump voter makes above the average income). This isn't the first time Britain had economic problems. And if we keep blaming the wrong people and the wrong things, we'll continue to have the same problems.

(H/T to Dan for pointing to the song)

Linkee-poo, is it only a dream that there'll be no more turning away?

The Modulin. Building new instruments by hacking and moving your own. Sure, it's a little Forbidden Planet sounding (theremin), but I'm okay with that. (Grokked from Dan)

"'For every dollar people are contributing to the retirement savings system, about 40 cents of that money is coming out before people reach their late 50s,' said Brigitte Madrian, professor of public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School."

"The animals had been genetically engineered to produce high levels of proteins called cadherins in the brain's 'reward circuit,' which plays an important role in addiction. And genetic studies have suggested that people with high levels of cadherins are more susceptible to drug addiction." Creating mice that show a resistance to drug addiction.

"Moda Health, a small Oregon health insurer, just won a $214-million judgment against the federal government. Normally that wouldn’t be worth reporting, except that in awarding Moda the money, the federal judge in the case dismantled the most cynical attack on the Affordable Care Act that congressional Republicans had devised." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"Our Intelligence Community is so worried by the unprecedented problems of the Trump administration—not only do senior officials possess troubling ties to the Kremlin, there are nagging questions about basic competence regarding Team Trump—that it is beginning to withhold intelligence from a White House which our spies do not trust." And there there is this part, "Now SIGINT confirms that some of the non-salacious parts of what Steele reported, in particular how senior Russian officials conspired to assist Trump in last year’s election, are substantially based in fact." (Grokked from John)

"Mexico is one of the top buyers of American corn in the world today. And Mexican senator Armando Rios Piter, who leads a congressional committee on foreign relations, says he will introduce a bill this week where Mexico will buy corn from Brazil and Argentina instead of the United States." That's gonna leave a mark. And considering cheap American corn (thanks to NAFTA) pretty much tanked the local growers (who were mightily pissed at what they considered the US "dumping subsidized corn" on their markets), there's a history of Mexico being against US corn producers. (Grokked from Wes Chu)

Ah, the jobs-President. "President-elect Donald Trump is driving a hard bargain for the foreign workers who will staff The Mar-a-Lago Club this winter… He’s paying some of them less than they made this past year, and most get just a 1 percent raise… As the presidential campaign heated up, Trump won approval to hire 64 foreign workers through the federal government’s H-2B visa program, according to newly released data from the U.S. Labor Department. This past year, Trump was allowed to hire 69 foreign workers at Mar-a-Lago." You'd think he could hire local employees, except that they all know him. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

(Ed. Gen. Flynn has stepped down since I wrote this) You know, Gen. Flynn not only was let go for violations of security while working at the Pentagon, he may have discussed policy with the Russians before the inauguration and then lied about it and got the VP-elect to lie about it. It can't get much worse. "In addition, the Army has been investigating whether Mr. Flynn received money from the Russian government during a trip he took to Moscow in 2015, according to two defense officials." Oh dear God. (Grokked from George Takei)

Tweet of my (breaking) heart: @wes_chu Travel ban's influence is pervasive. Friends are cancelling trips. 70yr old inlaws who are citizens are considering cancelling trip to Korea

Monday, February 13, 2017

Linkee-poo doesn't want you tonight, you weren't there, I'm gonna show you tonight I'm alright, I'm just fine, and you're a tool

Using starlight as a random inducer for double checking quantum entanglement. Okay, but what if everything is entangled from the Big Bang?

"In an interview with NPR, (John) Oliver reluctantly concedes that President Trump will define the shows this season. Oliver carries a distinctly liberal sense of humor and a distinctly serious sense of purpose about his satire in an age when politics, journalism and entertainment have often not just blurred definitions but have swapped numbers, apartment keys and Netflix passwords."

I'ma just gonna leave this here. "But to Chowning and other members of the coalition, it was the second bill, HB 1441, that was even more disturbing, devoid of any nuance and completely unconstitutional. Written by another of the chamber’s freshmen, Rep. Justin Humphrey, the legislation would require a woman seeking an abortion first to obtain written permission from her sexual partner. It would also require her to provide his name to her doctor and would forestall the procedure if the man wanted the opportunity to challenge paternity." You may think that's the worst part of it all, but it's not when you get to the reasoning. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

"Chief Owens died in our name, so it is for us to demand a thorough and dispassionate accounting from our leaders." Jim Wright on claiming victory in Yemen. Stands and salutes.

I don't often do this, but can you imagine the shit-storm conservatives would have made had President Obama's raid that killed bin Laden had gone this wrong (things did go wrong, we lost a very expensive helicopter, and needed to activate the backup extraction plan)?

"…(T)he 72 cancer therapies approved between 2002 and 2014 only bought patients an extra 2.1 months of life compared with older drugs, researchers have found. And there’s no evidence that two-thirds of the drugs approved in the last two years improve survival at all… Yet, that doesn’t keep some of those drugs from coming with heavy price tags and concerning side-effects. Among cancer drugs approved in 2016, the average cost for a year’s worth of treatment was $171,000." But let's roll-out drugs with even less testing and verification. To be fair, some patients do wonderfully better using the new drugs. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

"Thus, although the 100-mile border zone is not literally 'Constitution free,' the U.S. government frequently acts like it is." CPB, the 100 mile wide zone, and you. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"Walker was marching and picketing with a group of about 20 people on Saturday. Their rally was met with a huge counter protest – at least 165 people marched in support of Planned Parenthood." Protests and counter protests in the middle of winter. The gods I hope we can keep this up for the next decade. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"On Friday night, after four years of CYO basketball together, the nine boys and two girls on the St. John's 5th grade team had to make a decision: Play without the girls or give up the rest of the season… Two weeks prior, the team was told by the league's director that they should never have played as a coed team… Parents said the team's record was wiped, too, since the girls had played in those games 'illegally.'" The team decided to give up the rest of the season. Noted to reinforce the idea that sometimes people make the right decisions for the right reasons. (Grokked from Cherie Priest)

The kids are alright. "First they marched, mow more than 13,000 women are planning to run for office." This is a good thing. Not all will eventual run (or win), but if they're taking seminars on how to run (and serve) chances are they aren't going back to their old lives any time soon. "When these women do run, it’ll likely be at a local level…" Positive benefit to the hell we're all walking through. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

ZOMG, voter fraud! "Iowa's top elections official, who is pushing for a voter identification requirement that could make it harder for some to vote, has only been informed of 10 votes that were potentially improper out of nearly 1.6 million counted statewide in the November election.… Further review by the AP showed that most of the instances were mistakes rather than fraud, and may not have been stopped by an identification requirement. They included a non-English speaking citizen who mistakenly voted when he registered and again on Election Day, a felon whose voting rights had been restored in Wisconsin but not Iowa, and a non-citizen who turned herself in after learning later she shouldn't have been eligible to vote." Oh noes, all those votes for Hillary… oh, wait. "The only person charged with election misconduct in Iowa is Terri Rote of Des Moines, a Trump supporter who told police she voted twice because she believed the candidate's claims that the election was rigged and that her first ballot wouldn't be counted" (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Tweet of my heart: ‏@meyerweb Jesus H. Bombastus Christ on a unicycle. They used CELL PHONES for light. Camera-bearing, microphone-bearing CELL. PHONES. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz) (for context if you need it)

Friday, February 10, 2017

Linkee-poo is tired of screwin' up, tired of going down, tired of myself, tired of this town

The Google Docs document for town halls. Maybe your rep is listed. (Grokked from George Takei)

"A Flickr group devoted to the most beautiful old control panels you've ever seen."

Ten advances in weaponry that changed history. Oddly no mention of the stirrup. (Grokked from Matt Staggs)

So, how are things going in those states that opted to not expand Medicaid? In Idaho people are still dealing with (and dying from) easily treatable diseases. Idaho state Sen. Marv "Hagedorn’s perspective started to shift. Maybe the state should have taken the federal money. 'I think everyone presumed everyone was getting the care they needed, and that was just not true,' he said." Just in case you've forgotten what a fuckup the "free-market" healthcare industry was before Obamacare. (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"In reality, of course, none of the controversy over asset forfeiture centers around what authorities do when they find a 'huge stash of drugs'… So what’s striking here is the manner in which, over the course of an exchange… Trump progresses from learning of the existence of a new… concept, to misunderstanding completely what it is and why it’s controversial, to developing a strong opinion about it painted in a childlike understanding of the world and morality… to expressing outrage that anyone could have an opinion on it that diverges from his own." So how's that "we want a business man to run it" going for you? (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Newly sworn-in Attorney General Jeff Sessions said Thursday that he thinks a rise in crime is a 'dangerous permanent trend,' contradicting FBI data that indicates an overall downward trend." What did you dream, we told you what to dream. Welcome to the machine.

"National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country’s ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said." Oops. And so begins the walk back. "The talks were part of a series of contacts between Flynn and Kislyak that began before the Nov. 8 election and continued during the transition, officials said." (Grokked from Mur Lafferty)

"Sean Spicer has said that he was 'clearly' referring to the terrorist attack in Orlando last year when he mysteriously referred to an attack in Atlanta several times over the past two weeks." Well obviously. I mean one was a white supremacists and the other was nominally tied to ISIS. Of course he only meant to mention the ISIS one.

Surprise! "Trump vexed by challenges, scale of government… The new president’s allies say he has been surprised that government can’t be run like his business." Every new administration has their troubles, but this is about the worst I can remember it ever being. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Linkee-poo don't need you to worry for me 'cause I'm all right

Did you ever wonder what a 70-year old can of war rations tastes like? We'll there's a guy who will do that for you. (Grokked from John)

How our civilization helped our diseases develop.

A kickstarter to publish "(r)are macabre posters from 1862 Victoriana to 1971 Psychedelia!" Damnit, why do these things always come around when I'm being tight with cash. The only thing saving me right now is it's a half page book (5.5" x 8.5"). (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

Today in Fake News news, "Wikipedia editors have voted to ban the Daily Mail as a source for the website in all but exceptional circumstances after deeming the news group 'generally unreliable.' The move is highly unusual for the online encyclopaedia, which rarely puts in place a blanket ban on publications and which still allows links to sources such as Kremlin backed news organization Russia Today, and Fox News, both of which have raised concern among editors." You know, of you can't come up the low bar set by RT or Fox, that's saying something. (Grokked from Dan)

The rise of the Resistance. It’s too soon to tell if the current resistance movement will follow the tea party’s pattern. But there are already many parallels. It has arisen spontaneously and en masse. Many Republicans believe it’s not real…" (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump's meeting with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich turned into a product announcement with a presidential touch on Wednesday when Krzanich promoted the corporation's new investments while standing in the Oval Office." That's great. The Oval Office as product announcement speech platform. "Former Intel President and CEO Paul Otellini announced in 2011 that the corporation would invest over $5 billion in Fab 42 (Which now CEO Brian Krzanich is announcing here), which was originally set to be completed in 2013… Otellini made the announcement during a visit by President Barack Obama… Intel indefinitely postponed the factory's opening in 2014 amid decreased demand, according to a report by the Oregonian." Yeah, that's great. (Grokked from Dan)

"White House press secretary Sean Spicer said Wednesday that Nordstrom's decision to stop carrying Ivanka Trump's clothing and accessories line is an attack on the president's policies and his daughter." This will turn out well. (Grokked form Kathryn Cramer)

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Linkee-poo, no more turning away from the coldness inside

Note to Self podcast Privacy Paradox project. The EFF Panopticlick tool and Privacy Badger browser plug in, find out who is tracking you, and gain the power to disappear from them (unfortunately doesn't work in my version of Safari).

"Starting in 2014, Vizio made TVs that automatically tracked what consumers were watching and transmitted that data back to its servers. Vizio even retrofitted older models by installing its tracking software remotely. All of this, the FTC and AG allege, was done without clearly telling consumers or getting their consent." Oopsie. (Grokked from Dan)

"Imagine the horror of being trapped in a hostile landscape surrounded by snowflakes that were once objects of amusement but now form a blizzard of menacing proportions. Then smile because you're not a fascist, and are merely stuck on a polar icebreaking vessel for 10 hours." It's a remix.

"Balls in SPAAAAAACCCCEEE!" "When Ellison Onizuka made his second flight as a mission specialist aboard space shuttle Challenger in 1986, one of the personal effects he carried with him was a soccer ball signed by members of the Clear Lake High School girls and boys soccer team, where his daughter attended school… Now that soccer ball has gone back into space." (Grokked form Dan)

"Despite more than a week of headlines about President Donald Trump's immigration executive order and the administration's focus on national security, a plurality of Americans say health care costs are their primary concern, rather than terrorism, according to a poll released Tuesday by Monmouth University." It's almost like those two things are linked somehow. Healthcare costs are at 25%, terrorism is at 2%. That's just one point up from "Trump as president" (1%).

"People who want to visit the United States could be asked to hand over their social-media passwords to officials as part of enhanced security checks, the country's top domestic security chief said." One, already has happened as reported by people coming into the US after Trump's EO on immigration. Two, this shit again? Three, there's a huge difference between asking for someone's social media handles and asking for their login information. Fourth, there have been reports of CBP demanding people coming into the US to unlock their phones so they could copy all the data on the phone. (Grokked from Dan)

"Sebastian Gorka (you may remember him as the Breitbart editor and being guilty of taking a firearm into a TSA controlled ares), deputy assistant to President Donald Trump, said Monday that the administration will continue using the term 'fake news' until the media understands that their 'monumental desire' to attack the President is wrong." I feel like I'm in a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening and I'm supposed to shout, "That's not what fake news is, asshole." That's some serious Ministry of Truth shit right there. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

How's those "alternative facts" working out? "Despite what the White House has claimed, top Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway acknowledged on Tuesday that some terror attacks on a list released by the administration did in fact receive 'international coverage and wall-to-wall coverage.'" So, say the outrageous lie and initially defend it, then roll it back later when your base isn't watching. Where have I seen that before?

"A House committee voted on Tuesday to eliminate an independent election commission charged with helping states improve their voting systems as President Donald Trump erroneously claims widespread voter fraud cost him the popular vote." First rule of corruption, turn off the alarms and clear out the watchdogs. (Grokked from George Takei)

Rep Sean Duffy stays on point no matter what the facts. I love when he states "that's one example" and then the reporter starts listing more examples. Also, there was that DoHS report on white supremacists that the GOP helped scuttle. (Grokked from Maureen Johnson)

"But there are plenty of people worried about it." I think that's the understatement of the decade. Trump's calls with foreign leaders continue to go off the rails. Although they say some have gone very well. I'm sure our alliance with the Czechs will prove fruitful. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"'I think what’s most important are the actions,' (Speaker Ryan) continued. 'This administration is honoring the ruling, and this administration is going through the proper procedures to deal with the ruling to try and get the ruling overturned. They’re going through the appeals process, they’re respecting the separation of powers in the process. Look, I know he’s an unconventional President. He gets frustrated with judges, we get frustrated with judges. But he’s respecting the process, and that’s what counts at the end of the day.'" You know, except for that first week where there were other rulings against Trump's EO, but CBP keep detaining people and forcing them to give up their green cards. Also there are the comments made against the judge (attacking him personally, not just the judgement).

Tweet of my heart: @MaryRobinette Remember, you want the plot to thicken, not curdle. Steady application of heat, not a sudden boil. Unless writing a potboiler

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Current Mood

Not related to blogging here, but for other parts of life.


Because, damn, that's another great rock anthem.

Man, if this were karaoke, right now I'd hit that "I" so fucking hard you'd get the choruser echo just from my unmic'ed voice hitting the back wall.

Linkee-poo is walking the beat, at night he becomes a bartender

Trigger warnings: Delilah S. Dawson on why she writes what she does, and why she won't make the uncomfortable more palatable. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"According to both Fidelity and research done by Aon Hewitt and the University of Georgia, in order to maintain our standard of living post-retirement, we need to have saved at least 11 times our income by age 65. That means saving 15 percent to 17 percent of income across your working life." The coming retirement crisis. This is why Social Security reform is necessary (although all the proposals from the right would effectively kill it). Or we need to have a basic income proposal. Also note that 401(k)s (which were never intended for the populace) aren't prepared for this, and you can't save more than 10% of your income (except for "catch up" rules which don't apply until you're older). Here comes the hard place, now it's time to see how solid that rock is.

An aircraft carrier is an exceeding complex piece of machinery with lots of moving parts. One of those parts helps launch aircraft into the air. So, how does one test such a system? Using a $70M F18? Hell no. How about a few old trucks. Sure, there were lots of serious faces and data gathering going on, but I can bet that there were a number of raucous cheers as well. (Grokked from Dan)

Why does the military still pursue the F-35 even though it's the most expensive and complicate aircraft purchase program? Because the F-35s (flying with F-22s) just scored a 15-1 kill ratio during Red Flag. And our current president thinks we should trash it and order more F-18 Super Hornets. Yeah. What's not stated in that article is that Red Team (the opposition) are not fresh candidates out for a spin in their F-16s. Red Team are drawn from from the top pilots and operators. They typically crush Blue Team at the beginning until the kids can catch up. What that means is the F-35 system is a disruptive entry into air superiority. (Grokked from Ken McConnell)

Why don't we work with Assad in Syria? "A newly released report by Amnesty International alleges a widespread and systematic attack by Syria's government against its civilian population, including murder, torture, enforced disappearances and extermination carried out at a military prison called Saydnaya." Because he's a murderer.

"At the beginning of March, the FBI will no longer accept FOIA requests via email. Instead, requesters will have to rely on fax machines and standard mail ('snail mail') in order to communicate with the agency’s records management division." Well, that (and the attendant costs charged to the requestors) should slow things down sufficiently. Or as friends once said, "It's 2010, who lists fax numbers on their business cards anymore." Actually a lot of government and health care institutions rely on faxes (especially when networks go down). (Grokked from Dan)

"During Monday’s morning meeting, Conway, multiple sources said, shrugged off the concerns from thousands of people jamming phone lines critical of Trump's Cabinet nominees, explaining that she's more worried about her own 'RPI' or 'Real Person Impact' meter." Apparently we all aren't real people to this administration. Could this finally be the "let them eat cake" moment (they're starting to pile up). Also noted because they're figuring it (how to get work done) out. That could mean more problems ahead. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"President Donald Trump accused 'Obama people' of leaking less-than-favorable details about his tense phone calls with Australian and Mexican leaders, calling the leakers 'disgraceful' in an interview with Fox News published Monday." Not that he's disputing what they've said, but just that they aren't "his people" as it were.

The Trump administration released a list of terrorist attacks that the media hasn't focused on. So they don't think the media focused on the San Bernardino attack, the Paris attack, but a lot of attacks throughout the world. You know, they things we focused on for weeks at a time. Also, apparently, the document is riddled with misspellings. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

Monday, February 6, 2017

Linkee-poo, now Lucy looks sweet 'cause he dresses like a queen

The rise of the Day One Patch scheme of software development. (Grokked from Dan)

"Stories like Helen's occur in ICUs all over the country every day, unfortunately."

"But now Scientific American reports that 'Chronic use of popular heartburn medicines may be riskier than was thought,' citing two papers linking the drugs to an increase risk of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, and a greater risk of kidney problems." (Grokked from Dan)

"On Thursday the GOP-controlled House voted to overturn an Obama administration rule designed to keep firearms out of the hands of some people deemed mentally ill." I'm sure that'll work out well. Oh, BTW, those of you in coal country the Congress also overturned the rule to keep your cricks and rivers clean. Because, as you know, you can trust the mine company to be concerned about your health.

"Florida lawmakers are again proposing a contentious plan that would put coding and foreign language on equal footing in a public high school student's education… Disclosure records show that Walt Disney Parks and Resorts has three lobbyists registered to fight in support of the bill." Disney. Education. Coding. 2017 is turing out really weird. (Grokked from Dan)

"The American military has failed to publicly disclose potentially thousands of lethal airstrikes conducted over several years in Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan, a Military Times investigation has revealed. The enormous data gap raises serious doubts about transparency in reported progress against the Islamic State, al-Qaida and the Taliban, and calls into question the accuracy of other Defense Department disclosures documenting everything from costs to casualty counts." Paging General Westmoreland, General Westmoreland please pick up the courtesy phone. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"President Donald Trump was blunt Friday morning when he told a roundtable of business leaders why his administration was committed to hollowing out some financial regulations in Dodd-Frank: His friends can’t get loans." The Wall Street Gravy Train is just leaving the station.

"President Trump is expected to sign two directives on (last) Friday, ordering a review of financial industry regulations known as Dodd-Frank and halting implementation of a rule that requires financial advisers to act in the best interests of their clients, according to a senior administration official who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity." Because that's what all those "rural, white Trump supporters" were really interested in. "The banks are going to be able to price product more efficiently and more effectively to consumers." Yeah. They were so much better priced before 2008. Uh huh. Next up, I'm sure the CFPB will be on the chopping block or turned over to be run by the very bankers it was created to police.

So 100,000+ people had their visa revoked because of the Executive Order last week. The administration said 109 people were affected. A hundred-thousand verses on-hundred and nine. No big difference there. It's a rounding number for anything under one-billion. But the number is closer to 60,000. As if that makes it any better.

"Aides confer in the dark because they cannot figure out how to operate the light switches in the cabinet room. Visitors conclude their meetings and then wander around, testing doorknobs until finding one that leads to an exit. In a darkened, mostly empty West Wing, Mr. Trump’s provocative chief strategist, Stephen K. Bannon, finishes another 16-hour day planning new lines of attack." The first few weeks are always the worst, and it appears that they're figuring it out. But I see the trappings of "run the government like a business", which really won't work out in the long run. I expect the firings to start soon (which they still haven't filled many key positions).

"There is an enormous amount of crazy-sounding news right now (ed: Oh my yes)… If progressives are looking to be shocked, terrified, or incensed, they have plenty of options (ed: exactly why fake news spread among the right during the election). Yet in the past two weeks, many have turned to a different avenue: They have shared 'fake news,' online stories that look like real journalism but are full of fables and falsehoods." A good article, although most of it is still on the conservative side of the spectrum, there is a growing cadre of fake news peddlers on the progressive side. Also the article interviews Brooke Binkowski, managing editor of Snopes. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

SO there's this argument about if journalists have forsaken their role in society of holding those in power accountable for their statements an trying to inform the public of what's really going on versus being stenographers writing down what people say without analysis. "USA Today columnist calls CNN’s Stelter ‘ridiculous’ for fact-checking Trump: ‘It’s not a good look’." Yeah, it's a thing. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

Friday, February 3, 2017

Linkee-poo still doesn't know what I was waiting for and my time was running wild

Fantasy is about power, an interview with Lev Grossman. (Grokked from Terri Windling)

When you edit your story, it's not just a line edit. That was a lesson it took me too long to learn. It's something I still struggle with. (Grokked from Ferrett Steinmetz)

"I occasionally search for oddments related to bees and witchcraft, and a bit of my web-trawling over the weekend yielded an interesting spot from the Witchcraft Museum in Boscastle, Cornwall. One of the items they have on display is a charm taken from a house in Dawlish in Devon, England. In physical form, it is a faded blue drawstring bag that contains the bodies of three dead bumblebees. The Witchcraft Museum calls it a charm for prosperity as the Dawlish bag was hung in the best room of the house, and they market a similar version in their gift shop, though this one uses ceramic coins shaped with a relief of a bee, and promise it will 'bring health, happiness, and sweet good fortune.'" Adds another pin to the map of places I want to visit if I ever get to England. Recently a coworker was talking about their remodeling of a very old house. They complained about their spouse dropping cigaret butts behind the drywall. I made a comment about them "leaving something behind for archeological discovery." And that's when they said, "We've found a lot of those… and one old, worn out shoe. Why would they leave a shoe behind a wall?" I had to lie and say I have no idea (I try not to alarm my coworkers with my store of arcane trivia, and it would have caused problems including the "How did you know that" one). (Grokked from Mrs Tadd)

Five secret criminal uses for the stuff they sell in gas stations. (Grokked from John)

"Oklahoma lawmakers are staring into a budget hole that's nearly $900 million deep — and they might not be able to cut their way out of it. Legislators are considering tax increases to help fund state government, and one idea is gaining traction: hiking taxes on gasoline and diesel." When shit gets real, conservatives will raise your taxes. It's just they'll do it in the most regressive way possible. Take Ohio (please) as an example. To pay for another income tax break (which goes mostly to the wealthy) they're talking about rising the sales tax (which hits the poor more severely). And gods forbid that we raise the oil and gas separation tax (what we charge companies for extracting oil and gas). I mean, that would hurt.

"Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto says tests indicate the city's water is safe, even though about 100,000 customers are still being advised to boil tap water before using it." Okay, I understand the surge to say things like that when you're an elected official, but just don't. The water is not "safe" until it clears the 3rd round of testing. You say, "We're concerned about what is going on, we're being over cautious, and want to be sure we aren't inadvertently endangering our water customers."

"After a weekend of chaos and demonstrations at US airports stirred by President Donald Trump’s executive order mandating tighter immigration rules, the greenback was crushed in early Monday trade." Huh, don't remember that on the news. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"It takes 3.5% of a population engaged in sustained nonviolent resistance to topple brutal dictatorships." That means about 1.1 million of us are needed. What were the attendance numbers of the Woman's March? (2.6 million in case you were wondering)

"Businesses dislike many parts of the ACA… But large companies in particular… say a poorly thought-out replacement might turn out to be worse for them and their workers." Get ready for high-premium increases for lower coverage. It's all fun and games until a repeal becomes an actual possibility, and then people get concerned. "Edward Lenz, senior counsel for the ASA, said that before Donald Trump's election, 'we ignored lots of the talk of the Republicans about repeal. First of all there was no chance of that happening with the president [Obama] in the White House. And frankly no one here counted on President Trump's victory.'"

"Employer-sponsored health insurance premiums grew more slowly in 31 states and the District of Columbia between 2010 and 2013 -- after the passage of Obamacare -- compared with 2003 to 2010, according to the nonpartisan foundation the Commonwealth Fund… The slowdown in the growth in premiums is tied to the recent historic slowdown in health care costs… and could be attributed to a variety of factors. Those include the continuing effects of the recession and new Obamacare policies… However, wages have grown even more slowly since 2003, meaning workers and their families have yet to see the benefits of the changes in the health care market. Health insurance costs -- including employee premium costs and deductibles -- grew faster than income in every state, the report found." The deck is stacked against you girl, get back in bed. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"U.S. military officials told Reuters that Trump approved his first covert counterterrorism operation without sufficient intelligence, ground support or adequate backup preparations… As a result, three officials said, the attacking SEAL team found itself dropping onto a reinforced al Qaeda base defended by landmines, snipers, and a larger than expected contingent of heavily armed Islamist extremists." (Grokked form Ellen Kushner)

"Federal employees worried that President Donald Trump will gut their agencies are creating new email addresses, signing up for encrypted messaging apps and looking for other, protected ways to push back against the new administration’s agenda." Nonpartisan doesn't mean "we'll do whatever you want." The civil service is highly dedicated to making government work for the people. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

NPR talking about how the Trump administration is leaking like a sieve. Mostly it's because there is no discipline, and everyone in power positions are attempting to backstab everyone else. Those in the civil service are attempting to send up flares to get help. And only a little bit are floating trial balloons. While they don't discuss it, my guess is some of it is also creating channels to feed disinformation to the press.

"'I would, yeah, absolutely, (include Hobby Lobby)' Spicer said. 'I think there is several businesses and several institutions, Catholic institutions and others, that have been mandated or apparently attempted to mandate certain things that they may or may not do or how they have to treat their employees.'" It also says in the Bible that slavery is not a bad thing, and that you can't hold debts past 7 years but you don't hear Christian groups talking about those articles of faith. Here's the thing, nobody is telling you how to live your life or conduct you personal business. If you pay for birth-control, that doesn't mean you need to use it. If you bake a cake, or sell flowers, or take photos for a wedding you are not being asked to bless the wedding. But the argument against providing those services are all based on that principle. I still think that in one of these cases regarding withholding services the lawyer for the plaintiffs should grill the defendants on their religious beliefs and see if they refuse services for other breaches (such as, do they ask if the couple had pre-marital sex, is there going to be drinking or dancing at the reception, both of which have prohibitions that are "deeply held convictions" of several main stream religions).

"Steve Inskeep talks with Sebastian Gorka, deputy assistant to President Trump, about the administration's recent statement about Israeli settlements and a raid in Yemen." Wherein Mr. Gorka says Iraqis have told him they 100% support Trump's travel ban. You know, the country that just curtailed American travel to their country (which may affect the war against ISIS) in a tit for tat response. Yeah. Apparently they love the ban… in emails they're highly supportive. So besides being an inveterate liar and former editor of Breitbart (I repeat myself), he is also charged with a Class 1 misdemeanor for carrying a firearm into a TSA checkpoint. Character, it matters. (that last link grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"Ilan Berman, vice president of the conservative American Foreign Policy Council think tank, reported that the White House turned off its recording equipment during President Donald Trump’s call with Russian President Vladimir Putin." If true, that's a bad sign. Note that I couldn't find other information for this, but in this NPR story they say the content of the call wasn't made available (that's the readout). (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

And then Trump lifts the sanctions against the FSB (modern incarnation of the KGB and GRU). Only, reports say the Duma was praising the move at least an hour before the administration notified Congress. Nothing to see here citizen, move along. (Grokked from Lisa N. Morton)

Remember how Trump excoriated President Obama for daring to speak out again Israeli Settlements because he is such a good friend of Israel? "President Trump is encouraging Israel to hold off on new settlement construction. The surprising statement came after the Israeli prime minister vowed to build the first new settlement in the West Bank in many years." How do you like him now?

The Hidden Brain podcast discussing "In her new book, Strangers in Their Own Land, sociologist Arlie Hochschild tackles… (why) people might vote against their economic needs, they're actually voting to serve their emotional needs." The "deep story" ("They're the stories we tell ourselves to capture our hopes, pride, disappointments, fears, and anxieties")people hold about their place in the world and how it shapes our politics (in this case).

So how are people doing in the first two weeks of the four-year slog of a Trump presidency? Let's go to the polls. "52% say they'd rather Obama was President, to only 43% who are glad Trump is." (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

You know that idea that the military would stand up to a despot if Trump went that way? Hold that thought. "A convoy of military vehicles flying a Trump flag last weekend in Kentucky belonged to a Naval Special Warfare (read: SEALs) unit, according to multiple reports." (Grokked from Dan)