And they come with no warning,
nature loves her little surprises.
Continual crisis!

Monday, April 4, 2016

Linkee-poo is trading in his Chevy for a Cadillac, and if he can't drive with a broken back at least he can polish the fenders

So you're quitting writing. Okay. Yep, been there a few times. (Grokked from Ellen Kushner)

Video of Blue Origin landing their launch vehicle (from suborbital space) for the third time. I was reminded heavily of the old Lunar Lander game and the strategy of letting the lander fall almost to the ground and then use up all the fuel slowing it to a soft landing. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Irish American gangs played a central role in attempting to extend the bloodshed (in Chicago's 1919 race riots). Members of Ragen's Colts… disguised themselves in blackface in order to set fire to Polish and Lithuanian neighborhoods… Their hope was to draw the immigrant population into bloody reprisals against African Americans. Two years later, Ragen's Colts again mounted the barricades, hanging in effigy a Ku Klux Klansman… to isolate and drive from Chicago an organization known for violence against southern African Americans, but now focused on Roman Catholics and Jews as threats to American culture and society… Thus Ragen's Colts symbolized the bizarre extremes of racial intolerance and terror in early-twentieth-century Chicago." (Grokked from Chia Evers)

"Mossack Fonseca is not a household name, but the Panamanian law firm has long been well known to the global financial and political elite, and thanks to a massive 2.6 terabyte leak of its confidential papers to the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists it's about to become much better known." An overview of The PanamaPapers everyone is talking about. "Even as the world's wealthiest and most powerful nations have engaged in increasingly complex and intensive efforts at international cooperation to smooth the wheels of global commerce, they have willfully chosen to allow the wealthiest members of Western society to shield their financial assets from taxation (and in many cases divorce or bankruptcy settlement) by taking advantage of shell companies and tax havens." Gee, why would the wealthy and powerful get a break? (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

A Planet Money podcast on just how easy it is to set up an offshore company. There are even consultants that will help.

Think it's a harmless game for the rich or wondering why you should care? Every dollar they (the people in your country who use these offshoring firms to) hide is another dollar you need to pay in taxes, or a dollar being added to your national debt, or some service that is being cut to make your government more dysfunctional. If this wasn't allowed (and some of it isn't) there could be actual tax reform that would mean something other than sticking it to the middle class, again.

"Australia's national science organisation planned to stop 'doing science for science sake' and would no longer do 'public good' work unless it was linked to jobs and economic growth, according to internal emails between CSIRO senior managers." Sounds like a sensible plan, until you realize it's just an excuse to cut global climate change research. Also, "basic science" (what they're calling "science for science sake") is the bedrock of progress. Except for actual moon-shot programs, these are the advances that keep up progressing. Like your cellphone, microwave, modern medicine? Without the basic science being done, you'd never have these things (note, the microwave oven is actually from our space program). This is one way to hobble society and put blinders on. In other words, this is the exact rejection that brought about the Dark Ages in Europe. And if you think, "Oh, those silly Aussies" that phrase, "science for science sake" has already cropped up in our American political discourse (and will probably be a small part of the election cycle, as it was last time). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

The Tea Party congressional class of 2010 is getting out. "As it turns out, some people who never harbored ambitions to be career politicians don't love being politicians… Ribble and his retiring colleagues say they are, for the most part, proud of what a Republican-controlled House managed to get done these past six years." That's hilarious. This is like your friend, when hearing your iPod isn't synching properly says they can fix it, then smashes it with a hammer and hands it back to you saying they did all they could do. Say, isn't there something about serving more than 5 years? Why yes, yes there is. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

"The 'Mississippi Church Protection Act' would allow churches to empower designated members of their congregation as part of a security team with a 'shoot to kill' authority equivalent to a police officer but with less government oversight. The bill contains few restrictions regarding where one may act within this capacity, allowing a church’s volunteer security personnel to exercise this authority in public and private venues outside of the church." What could possibly go wrong? (Grokked from Chip Dawes)

The Trumpster Campaign wheels out Ivana Trump to help. "'As long as you come here legally and get a proper job… we need immigrants. Who’s going to vacuum our living rooms and clean up after us? Americans don’t like to do that,' Ivana Trump told the New York Post." And then the wheel her back behind the curtain.

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