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

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Linkee-poo, bring a torch, Jeanette, Isabella

"For young Saudis, life is conducted online… In this deeply conservative society, with its strict moral codes of behavior and gender segregation, many young Saudis turn to social media and technology to entertain and express themselves… For women, especially, it's a social revolution… In a Riyadh hotel ballroom, virtual reality meets real life at GCON, an annual convention for young women who love video games and grew up playing them with their siblings." And you know what, they may have to deal with the Morality Police, but I bet they don't have GamerGaters over there.

Marriott Hotels is trying an experiment on removing desks from rooms. "… (T)he whole chain was gradually removing its desks, because some consultants told them that Millennials like to chill on couches with their phones, not sit at desks…" Some blame Millennials (shakes fist, shouts at cloud, "Wernstrom!"), some blame silly businesses. Me, I blame the fucking consultant culture. Seriously. "(S)ome consultants", wtf? Note, the same applies for the vast majority of businesses and their reliance on "consultants" for a variety of Very Bad, No Good Business Practices and Moves.

A fossil-fuel company unlawfully padded their production costs to rob landowners of profits? Unpossible! Why, we all know such a company wouldn't be in business long, according the precepts of the "open market" campaigners. And now, the scurrilous Pennsylvania Attorney General is wading in with a lawsuit representing over 4,000 landowners to get what they were promised (and is their due). Why, it's almost like there needs to be some sort of regulatory mechanism to keep all the players honest. Note to Ohio, Chesapeake also holds many of the leases in the Eastern portion of our state. But I'm sure they wouldn't cheat Ohioans. Because we're Buckeyes, or something.

So, what exactly are the bright spots on Ceres? Ah, subsurface briny oceans for everybody! (Grokked from Miranda Suri)

The declining middle-class ("defined as a household making between $42,000 and $126,000 annually") is now half of all adults (from 61% in 1971) The good news is "the upper income bracket has grown from 14 to 21 percent of Americans. " The bottom also grew, but not as much. If that's true, we should all be feeling good, instead the vast majority of people I talk to are doing worse. Probably because for those of us still in the middle, "The great recession hit… especially hard. Their median wealth fell by 28 percent between 2001 and 2013." Which means for that 50%, while there's no statistic given, the numbers skew more toward $42,000 than $126,000. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

I think we can chalk up the Open Carry Texas' mock shooting protest at the U of Texas, Austin campus as a Really Bad Idea™. In case you need to know why this type of protest, at this specific campus, is such a bad idea, maybe you need to learn about Charles Whitman, the actual "man in a high place with a gun" mass shooter. This is really a fucking stupid idea.

Then we have the Trumpster and Dr. Ben Carson who are all for eliminating the "gun-free zones." Just a note, both of them now have Secret Service protection, which mandates that all of their events are gun-free zones. Let that one sink in a little, a little more of the "rules and danger for thee, not for me" mindset. "Jon Adler, a law enforcement officer, gun-rights advocate and president of the Federal Law Enforcement Officers Association Foundation, said he'd favor letting people bring guns to (the political rallies of presidential candidates) if the Secret Service were not there — but not when the agency is assigned to the candidate. That, he said, would mean 'a Wild, Wild West set of circumstances.'" Because it wouldn't be that way if people brought guns to a rally where the Secret Service were not present, apparently.

"Sign outside Oakwood Village Hall says 'Jesus is making a list' and asks if you’re on it." Full disclosure, I drive past here several times a month. First off, I didn't know Jesus was Santa (or maybe he's just Santa's Recording Secretary). And wow, that goes a little farther than decorating the poles and putting up an Xmas tree. My guess is someone is going to hear from a lawyer. "Unless, of course, anyone can request a message on that sign. In which case I have a few friends at The Satanic Temple who will surely want to know about this wonderful opportunity." (Grokked from Dan)

"A southern Utah county commissioner convicted of federal misdemeanors for organizing an ATV protest ride through a closed canyon made a mistake and wouldn't do it again, his lawyers said in new court documents." His lawyers are asking for probation. I say, "nope, man-up and serve the time, asshole." As they used to say, "If you can't do the time, don't do the crime."

No Child Left Behind is dead. Long live the Every Student Succeeds Act, which doesn't about the same thing, but leaves it up to the states and local communities to decide how to get kids a better education. While the article talks about what NCLB got wrong, remember we got NCLB because the states and local communities created an education system where "Why Can't Johnny Read" (also, note the low-information voter turnout has been getting larger and larger each year).

Of course Judge Antonin Scalia is a racist, haven't you all been paying attention. Hell, he even got on the Supreme Court because he's Italian-American. Racial politics has played well for him in the past, why would he give it up now. (Saladin Ahmed)

"As the president acknowledged, he leads one of the few advanced democracies in the world where climate change is still the subject of political debate." America, leading from behind, again (note which party is responsible for us lagging behind the rest of the world, again).

"Donald, it's was a movie." Harrison Ford responds to the Trumpster commending him for standing up for the US, in Air Force One. (Grokked from Steven Gould)

So, with all of the talking heads of the GOP crying into their beer over the Trumpster's popularity, loudly and vociferously saying "He doesn't represent the Party" into any open mic they can find, how is he doing? "Trump polled at 35 percent among Republican primary voters (in a CBS/NYT poll released Thursday morning), which is a 13-point jump from his standing in the poll in mid-October." And, so what about his most controversial "shutting down the Muslims coming to this country" working against him? "In a new Bloomberg Politics/Purple Strategies poll… 65 percent of likely Republican primary voters said they back the ban" (although it's only 37% of "all likely general election voters"). That 37%, you're going to hear a lot about them over the next year (those are the actual "silent majority"). Also, another trait of the demagogue, it's called "distract the detractors until you can overwhelm them and ignore their calls for moderation". To wit, "Trump insisted Wednesday morning on 'Live With Kelly and Michael' that his ban wasn't related to religion and that the nation needs to 'get its act together.'" Even though "Trump called Monday for a 'a total and complete shutdown' on Muslims entering the country…" And then there's this, "'I'm doing good for the Muslims,' Trump reportedly told CNN. 'Many Muslim friends of mine are in agreement with me.'" Although there is much evidence his former Muslim friends are dropping him like a hot potato. And then "Donald Trump announced on Thursday morning that he would postpone his December trip to visit Israel and meet with Benjamin Netanyahu, one day after the Israeli prime minister denounced Trump's proposal to ban Muslims from visiting the United States." Look, when Benny Netanyahu says, "Hey, tone it down on the beating up on Muslims thing" you know you've gone over the falls on this issue. And this kind of talk has consequences and gives power and cover to people to express their full hatred, like phoning in death threats to Muslim congressman. Note to caller, you're sooo going to jail. Hell, even representative Steven King can't go as far as Trump. And THAT is saying something when the most blatantly ignorant racist in Congress can support your plan. Of course Stevie wraps it around the Sharia Law boogeyman and says the two Muslims in Congress won't renounce it. Hey, Stevie, renounce Catholicism Law and stop saying out US Laws are based on the Bible and you might start to have a point, but basically you're just saying your God is better.

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