I watch the ripples change their size
But never leave the stream
Of warm impermanence
And so the days float through my eyes
But still the days seem the same
And these children that you spit on
As they try to change their worlds
Are immune to your consultations
They're quite aware of what they're goin' through

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Scenes from a commute

Not today, but still like it. Amish haystacks.

Linkee-poo, the common clay of the new West. You know… morons

Missed posting about Gene Wilder's death yesterday. So far 2016 has been a pretty terrible year.

The Wallace Collection has an conference called "All Depends Upon the Brave: Recent Research into Museum Collections of Ottoman, Middle Eastern and Asian Arms and Armour." Okay, so they still call it them "Oriental Arms and Armour"… but OMG would I love to be there for that. (Grokked from Tania)

Well, this should make you feel better about butt dialing your ex.

The Invisibilia podcast on the secret emotional life of clothes. This is a part of the various folk lore about clothing; "the clothes make the man", "dress for the position you want", and the prevalence of uniforms in all forms of work. Also, at least for me there is a special feeling which comes from having just showered and putting on clean clothes, which is the same as sleeping on fresh sheets.

Two post on sail-power, one highlighting some sail-freight operations around the world and another post on making a sail-powered container ship. All very interesting (and part of my world building in the Bladesman universe), but what I don't see is something that attacks what makes huge cargo-container ships profitable (even given the losses they occur every year), being able to transit hundreds of containers with a minimal crew is very cost effective. It is possible to build huge sail ships (even sail-assisted ships would be nice), but you're not going to navigate your Panamax ship through the locks with sails. So you're going to need the big engines, and adding sails would be considered an extra capital expense (even if it would save fuel costs over the life of the ship). Until corporations can think beyond the next quarterly profit statement, these will mostly be niche vessels serving places that the newer, larger ships can't dock. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

And in other shipping news, "Ship designers, their operators and regulators are gearing up for a future in which cargo vessels sail the oceans with minimal or even no crew. Advances in automation and ample bandwidth even far offshore could herald the biggest change in shipping since diesel engines replaced steam." To be fair, most cargo ships these days are already highly automated and most sail with crews of less than 20. But, yeah, this is an industry that is in love with shaving costs to maximize profits, so even those people are way too many. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"A French medical study reported at the World Congress of Anaesthesiologists in Hong Kong found that using iPads to reduce anxiety levels in children prior to surgery was every bit as effective as the sedative midazolam." Well, there you go. Note they're not saying it affected them exactly like giving them midazolam, but that it was as effective in calming them and relieving stress. (Grokked from Dan)

"There’s this notion out there that unions are great for union members, and that’s pretty much it. But a new report from the Economic Policy Institute looks at how the decline in labor unions has affected non-union workers." And unions know this. When they're fighting for their contracts, they know they're fighting for everyone else as well (no matter how much the news spins them as "greedy" - which is how the companies prepare their press releases). And with the decline of unions since the 70s (gee, isn't that when wage stagnation started? Funny that) "'We’re talking about over $100 billion a year in lost wages.'"

"69% of Trump voters (in North Carolina) think that if Hillary Clinton wins the election it will be because it was rigged, to only 16% who think it would be because she got more vote than Trump. More specifically 40% of Trump voters think that ACORN (which hasn't existed in years) will steal the election for Clinton. That shows the long staying power of GOP conspiracy theories." According to this Public Policy Polling poll done in early August. (Grokked indirectly from Robert J Bennett)

The US Department of Agriculture closed offices in five states due to specific threats. To which, I'm sure, some people will cheer… right up until their crop subsidy payments stop being processed and their crop insurance doesn't pay out (and local communities are unable to get help processing grant applications and administer grants they already have).

Sen. Grassley basically states what we all know was going to happen (which was why my advice was to make Merrick Garland's nomination void on Nov. 7th). Yes, he'll be approved in a lame duck session because if Hillary wins they won't want her nominations, and frankly the Trumpster frightens the shit out of them (because who knows what lunatic he might actually propose once in office). Next up, why the TPP vote will come in early December…

"But the mogul's New York modeling agency, Trump Model Management, has profited from using foreign models who came to the United States on tourist visas that did not permit them to work here, according to three former Trump models, all noncitizens, who shared their stories with Mother Jones. Financial and immigration records included in a recent lawsuit filed by a fourth former Trump model show that she, too, worked for Trump's agency in the United States without a proper visa." Oopsie. (Grokked from TPM)

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Linkee-poo, every drunk must have his drink

Melissa Ann Singer tweet storm on why she rejects things. (Grokked from Catherine Asaro)

"Jane! Stop this crazy thing! A jet-powered merry-go-round. You know, for all that prep that's an awfully short ride. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

So SETI finally finds a signal. No word on if there is modulation (and if there is a pattern to that modulation) or any content embedded in the signal, but strong enough to be deliberate and not from any known source (although it could be lensing caused by the star they think it's coming from). Now we can expect to see hundreds of papers on natural phenomenon that could cause such a signal. (Grokked from Rae Carson)

You may remember earlier whinging about how medical science often isn't… and most likely does not study material on a wide range of subjects (mostly white, male, 18 to 25 year olds). Why is that a problem? "Scientists have discovered that a common cause of sudden heart death has been misunderstood because researchers didn't appropriately account for racial differences in their studies." Also pointed to in case you still might think medicine knows everything (or is even competent in the things we think we know). There are some things we can point to as fact, but much of it is highly subjective.

"When should police be able to deactivate your social media account?"

Why Skynet is a long way off. "Earlier this year, Facebook denied criticisms that its Trending feature was surfacing news stories that were biased against conservatives. But in an abrupt reversal, the company fired all the human editors for Trending on Friday afternoon, replacing them with an algorithm that promotes stories based entirely on what Facebook users are talking about. Within 72 hours, according to the Washington Post, the top story on Trending was about how Fox News icon Megyn Kelly was a pro-Clinton 'traitor' who had been fired… but she wasn't." So, how's that intelligent automation working out for you? (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

The EU finds that the sweetheart tax deal Apple made with Ireland wasn't kosher and orders them to pay $14.5 Billion in back taxes. And they ain't the only ones. So much for how attractive other places are. I'm sure they'll negotiate/appeal it downward.

Case example number one on why outsourcing government functions to private industry is always a bad choice. "The audits from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services show that all but two of the 37 health plans audited for 2007 were overpaid — typically several hundred thousand dollars too much — for the sample of 201 patients examined at each plan." And many of those plans are becoming too expensive for seniors on fixed budgets. Also, there's a lot in there about how these companies are getting away with it as Medicare/Medicaid is unable or unwilling to step up audits as required by Obamacare.

"Donald Trump is eschewing traditional methods of preparation for the upcoming presidential debates, favoring lunch meetings at golf clubs over mock debates or briefing books, according to a Washington Post report out Saturday." If I had to bet money on this, I'd go with classic attempt at disinformation. It really would be too good to be true. If this is actually the case, even if the campaign low-balls expectations Trumpster will have his ass served to him by Hillary. He's making two classic mistakes, believing his strategy can be the same as the primary campaign and thinking he can best Hillary with bombast.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Linkee-poo watches the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream

The storified version of Chuck Wendig's tweet storm on publishing peaks and valleys (wherein one of my response tweets is posted near the end). And Chuck's post about what spawned the tweet storm.

The Hand of Sabazius. In all my studies of the classics, never heard of this before. Which doesn't surprise because there's not much more than these bronze hands held in the benediction Latina position (a position of "blessing" which is oddly found through many Northern Hemisphere religions). Wonder if this is where the Hand of Glory got its start (although hand symbols have a long history going back to cave painters who used their hands as painting masks). (Grokked from Emma Audsley)

"More than 300 wild reindeer have been killed by lighting in central Norway." As in, in one storm. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

John Scalzi talks about that University of Chicago welcome letter all the cool kids were dissing last week.

And approaching this Presidential Election, the Fox News Effect is still in full swing. That is, those who count Fox News as one of the news outlets they watch continue to perform poorly while testing for basic facts. (Grokked from Dan)

"But many of Trump's staunchest supporters seem unconcerned about his apparent policy shifts." Because they've already figured he is for what they're for, and actual policy doesn't matter to them. Yes, America, there is a core constituency that the Trumpster can count on who would vote for him even if he shot someone (well, only if he just wounded them).

Remember that article on how easy it would be to hack the election. It's no longer a think piece, it's reality. As least for the registration side of the process. "Voter registration bases in Arizona and Illinois were believed to have been breached in recent weeks by foreign hackers, prompting the FBI to issue a warning for all states to beef up their efforts to safeguard their voter registration systems, Yahoo News reported Monday." Oh, and one guess on who the main suspect is.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Linkee-poo wonders the roads of the weekend

Ageism in SF/F. (Grokked from Cat Rambo)

So, what would a Russian Avengers look like? Well, glad you asked. What is "please don't suck" in Russian? (Grokked from Dan)

Remember when people were worried about CERN creating blackholes? We'll here's a guy creating "sonic" blackholes in a lab (video link) And has been doing it since 2009. There's a blue laser, but no Red Matter to be seen.

What's wrong with social bullying in schools? St Louis schools add free clothes washers to their schools, see increase in attendance because kids/families can finally reliably wash their clothes. "The results support research demonstrating that chronic absenteeism isn’t because of kids’ lack of smarts or motivation, but is largely due to coming from a low-income household." (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

Interactive dynamic video. Okay then. (Grokked from Dan)

The rural villages of Japan are feeling Japan's population loss most acutely. In one village, a daughter who returned to help her parents pass is now making scarecrows as a way to honor her village. Did I ever link to the person who was making cutout people here in the US and doing the same thing (posing them like real people)?

http://www.politico.com/story/2016/08/hillary-clinton-presidency-gop-plan-227427 The conservatives are already gearing up to continue the gridlock of the last 6 years in the event that Hillary gets elected. So, same as it ever was. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

So why is the Trumpster running? "'He opens up the paper each morning and sees our nation’s leaders giving a hundred billion dollars to Iran, or he opens the paper and some new school district has just eliminated the ability for its students to say the pledge of allegiance, or some fire department in some town is ordered by the mayor to no longer fly the American flag on the back of a fire truck,' Eric Trump told The Stream's James Robinson. 'Or, he sees the tree on the White House lawn has been renamed 'Holiday tree' instead of 'Christmas tree.' I could go on and on for hours. Those are the very things that made my father run, and those are the very things he cares about.'" And none of it happened. We are not "giving" money to Iran, we are returning their money that we had frozen since 1979 (and in some cases we must pay interest, according to the law). Some school districts are allowing kids to "opt-out" of saying the pledge (and some never required kids to say the pledge). And it wasn't the mayor, it was the leadership of the fire department, the flags were added without permission, and the flags are a safety violation (also, it was only the large flag flapping on the back on the truck, not the flag stickers already on the truck). Oh, and do we really need to disprove the "Holiday Tree" thing one more time? Seriously, what fucking world do these people live in? Damn, his echo chamber is nearly hermetically sealed.

Friday, August 26, 2016

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

"Accidental drug overdoses killed 3,050 people in Ohio last year, an average of eight per day, as deaths blamed on the powerful painkiller fentanyl again rose sharply and pushed the total overdose fatalities to a record high, the state reported Thursday." Sounds about right. Ohio has been in the middle of this for a long time. And have we mentioned how much more expensive Narcan has become?

"A surprising ingredient — gas relief drops designed for infants — may be contributing to the contamination of medical scopes and putting more patients at risk of infection, according to a small but provocative study." Son of a…

The EpiPen thing, "Updated at 9:20 am ET to include Mylan's announcement that it will reimburse consumers for some of their out-of-pocket costs." Note they're not saying, "Oh, hey, maybe we did gouge a little too much, let's walk that back." They're saying, "If you really can't afford it, we'll increase our charitable tax contribution (or loss statement) by giving you a discount making the pen cost 200% you of what it was before." Gee, thanks. Why is our insurance premium going up so much?

Jim Wright's take on the Epipen. Jim damn smart guy, he makes things go. I have a few quibbles here and there, but I do agree with his assessment and where the blame lies.

"A new ad highlighting Sen. Richard Burr's (R-NC) work in helping disadvantaged children in his state appears to feature black children from a school in Africa, not North Carolina." Yeah, stock footage and photos can really mess you up when you don't have a clue as to what you're doing. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

"West Virginia Attorney General Patrick Morrisey's office fired a spokesperson Thursday after it was revealed she had played a prominent role in a white supremacist video that was first posted online in 2012." Well, that's gonna leave a mark.

When we talk about Planned Parenthood being (sometimes) the only health service is some places (for both male and female health needs, and especially reproductive health needs) some people wonder what we're talking about. "In Little Haiti, Liberty City, and a number of other neighborhoods in Miami, canvassers are now walking door to door to spread the word about the risks of Zika, one household at a time — hoping to reach 25, 000 people the next six weeks. In some neighborhoods, these workers aren't sponsored by federal or state health agencies, but by Planned Parenthood." As Congress dithers and Florida Gov. Scott tries to defund them, Planned Parenthood is doing the hard work on the ground to inform people about Zika. Note that in the story, some of the people they are reaching have not heard about Zika (because a lot of people don't pay attention to the news). "In South Florida, Planned Parenthood expects to knock on some 25-thousand doors in medically underserved areas through September. That's the most recent estimate of when Zika cases are likely to peak in Florida." That's what community service looks like.

Gee, why to liberals believe conservatives are angry and violent? I just have no idea where we came up with that idea. I mean, who could think that a Governor would call up a legislator and call him various names, then summon reporters to talk about the phone message (which he told the legislator he hoped he was recording - yeah. I also thought that's how voice messages worked, but apparently that's not how Gov. LePage thinks these things work) and then talk about how he wished it was 1825 and he could duel him with pistols and just kill him (note, dueling was illegal in 1825). He seems nice. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"Donald Trump's national spokeswoman, Katrina Pierson, said on Thursday that her boss hasn't changed his position on immigration—just 'the words he's saying.'" You're not supposed to say that out loud. People are supposed to project onto the candidate. People who may be on the fence can say, "Oh, I guess he's changing, I might support them" and the current supporters can say, "He's just lying to get into office and then he'll show the bastards what's what." Why the mincing of words? "Donald Trump’s recent waffling on his hardline immigration stances has put some of his most ardent and earliest supporters -- many of them self-proclaimed white nationalists… -- on the defensive, as they try to rationalize what the perceived shifts mean for their movements." That's why. And then there's this… "Alt-right activist Nathan Damigo pleaded for Trump to meet with prominent white nationalists now that the candidate has hosted a roundtable for Hispanic leaders." Oh please oh please oh please.

The speech from Clinton about Trumpster stirring up hatred. And then the Trumpster says "nobody knows what al-right means." Except for his new campaign CEO who "once said that Breitbart News is 'the platform for the alt-right.'" And then "Donald Trump has taken flack for painting a bleak picture of African-American life in recent speeches, but his campaign manager argued he is better at appealing to black voters than others in his party." That's what's called "clearing the low-bar."

On being asked to comment on Clinton's speech about how Trump is a racist when you're a Fox New commentator. "'I quote what people say, you know? She quoted Paul Ryan, the speaker of the house, saying that one of his statements was trademark, I guess, textbook racist. I'm not one to generally label people like that. So I would pass on that question.'"

Oh look, and actual cause of voter fraud in Florida. And yet again, not only is it a Republican, it's a very prominent one. "Donald Trump's new campaign chief is registered to vote at an empty house in apparent violation of election laws, The Guardian reported Friday morning." At least he has some property rights there as he rented the house for his ex-wife. But nobody is living there now as they're about to demolish the home and rebuild. And he never actually lived there. Oopsie. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

Oh, and the Trumpster's campaign CEO beat his wife. Nice people.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Scenes from a Commute

Tonight's commute home was fairly dramatic.

Linkee-poo, love can mend your life but love can break your heart

Proxima B doesn't sound as sexy as Ceta Alpha V, but I'll bet a heckofalotta SF will be written about it. (Grokked from John Scalzi)

The Pearl of Puerto, a 75 lb giant clam pearl kept for years as a good luck charm by the fisherman who found it, is now on display. I expect your heist short story by next Wednesday.

"In an opinion that went largely unnoticed, the Missouri Supreme Court issued a ruling Tuesday that had the effect of making most stealing offenses no longer felonies thanks to an apparently inadvertent change to state law way back in 2002." Oops. The good news is Missouri's legislature inadvertently fixed the problem for any crimes committed on or after January 1, 2017. (Grokked from Dan)

"A new report from NextGen Climate, an environmental advocacy organization, quantifies the economic impacts of a rapidly changing global ecosystem. For the millennial generation as a whole, the price tag is nearly $8.8 trillion." Which is more than current student debt and more than value lost to Great Recession. I think I need to read the report to see how they quantify that. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"The rate of Texas women who died from complications related to pregnancy doubled from 2010 to 2014, a new study has found, for an estimated maternal mortality rate that is unmatched in any other state and the rest of the developed world." Funny how after decades long fight against women's reproductive rights and health in the name of "stopping abortion" that Texas has a worse maternal mortality rate than most third world nations. It's like they're almost connected. This is what the pro-life movement wants to bring to all of the US. (Grokked from practically everybody)

"As the nation reels from a series of high-profile fatal shootings of black men by police officers, many have decried the lack of readily available data on how racial bias factors into American policing. But while it’s true that there is no adequate federal database of fatal police shootings… there exists a wealth of academic research, official and media investigations, and court rulings on the topic of race and law enforcement." For the next person who tells you "there's no proof." Yes. Yes there is. And it's damning. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

Dems in Congress ask for hearings on the price increase for EpiPens. Note, Mylan CEO Heather Bresch is the daughter of Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. Republican Senator Grassley is also questioning the price increase, which is odd since Sen. Grassley is from the "free market" and "less government interference in business" side of the aisle. You know, the side that would be perfectly fine with Mylan charging whatever they want (and would remove the FDA from oversight). Also note, the patent protecting the EpiPen has already expired.

"Donald Trump said this week that a 'top' Chicago police officer told him crime could be eradicated from the city with 'tough police tactics,' but the Chicago Police Department is denying any such conversation ever took place with senior officers… 'No one in the senior command at CPD has ever met with Donald Trump or a member of his campaign,' police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi told the Chicago Tribune on Tuesday." But, you know, "believe me" and he's the "law and order" candidate. Maybe he's having memory problems. He is 70 after all. Dementia can also come with hallucinations.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Linkee-poo, how long before your broken heart starts giving in

My Write Club an online writing tracker (for word count), where you can also create writer groups and watch each other's word counts in real time. Okay. I love writing with groups of people. In that setting I can lay down an egregious amount of wordage in a short timeframe and I love the communal space and energy. I'm not sure this supplants that "in the company of other writers", but it seems interesting. (Grokked from Mary Robinette Kowal)

A Howard Taylor tweestorm storified on panel moderation, I mean moderating panels. Good points all. I will also add that as a moderator it is your job to entertain the audience. It is a performance. Those people who come into your room have paid cash money (for the most part) to be there and to see the panelists you're moderating. Help the audience have a worthwhile experience (and that may mean being contrarian if need be to spark discussion, it may also mean shutting down a panelists who is monopolizing time, which I failed once and won't make that mistake again). Yes, I've also let my own opinions come out as a moderator, including a comment "apparently this horse isn't dead yet, so let's keep whipping, shall we?" and in another instance seeing a connection no one else was making (but were all dancing around) so stepped out of moderator, made the connection, and then handed it back to the panelists to discuss. There have been other sins, but those are the big two I remember. Oh, and if you're the moderator, do your homework. (Grokked from Elizabeth Bear)

The Ivy Lee method of using a to-do list. Yeah. That works if you're in charge of your schedule and workload. Like if you're a manager or executive. Doesn't work so much when you work someplace that the only difference in the fire drill is whom is being burned out and just how much in involved in the fire. When everything is last minute, scheduling this way doesn't work (except in rare circumstances). But maybe it'll work for you. (Grokked from Joe Hill)

"A spokesman (for HAV which developed the Airlander 10, the hybrid airplane airship) said: 'The flight went really well and the only issue was when it landed.'" Yea, but that's the part that hurts the most. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

How drug companies miss-use the patient laws to keep drugs covered for much longer than intended. This has the effect of keeping pharmaceutical prices higher than they should be. And another article on the continuing payola schemes pharma and medical device makers engage in. Tell me again how the medical industry doesn't need stricter regulations.

And why the EpiPen cost so damn much. (Grokked from Kameron Hurley)

The last commercial tea plantation in the US.

"In last week’s energy auction, Chile accepted a bid from Spanish developer Solarpack Corp. Tecnologica for 120 megawatts of solar at the stunning price of $29.10 per megawatt-hour (2.91 cents per kilowatt-hour or kwh). This beats the 2.99 cents/kwh bid Dubai received recently for 800 megawatts. For context, the average residential price for electricity in the United States is 12 cents per kilowatt-hour." Yet in the US solar energy is considered a bedraggled and failing business even when it's growing 100 fold over the last decade. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

"A new report… says that 20% of scientific papers on genes contain gene name conversion errors caused by Excel. In the scientific article… the scientists explain: 'The spreadsheet software Microsoft Excel, when used with default settings, is known to convert gene names to dates and floating-point numbers. A programmatic scan of leading genomics journals reveals that approximately one-fifth of papers with supplementary Excel gene lists contain erroneous gene name conversions.'" This is Skynet just fucking with us. Or "Clippy's Revenge." (Grokked from Dan)

A man raised on the premise that catcalling women was normal learns the truth about it. There probably won't be a transcript of this NPR story, but I highly recommend listening to it. First up, catcalling is not about "appreciating women", but is about proving to other men that you're "manly" and to make sure women know the street is not for them.

"The only problem is that the emails in question reveal nothing of the sort. What they actually reveal is that a few foundation donors wanted access, but didn’t actually get it." That has been my take as well. Oh look, international movers and shakers who have business with the US government also saw the Clinton Foundation as a worthwhile organization to donate to. And some of those people tried to use that connection to get special favors. But so far nobody has been able to say, "because of this donation this person got special consideration or personal favors from Secretary Clinton while in office." It's pretty much ho-hum business. What's really sad is that most people know this happens (it is, after all, part of the Trumpster's "rigged system"). But now we all act surprised that it happens. But so far there's been a lot of heat and friction, but no smoke or fire. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

A Fred Clark tweetstorm on the Clinton Foundation.

And the shoes keep dropping. "This week's lawsuit by Andrea Tantaros against Fox News depicts the network's public relations department as a dirty tricks operation, one that will stop at almost nothing to smear enemies, including Fox employees." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

As Aetna pulls out of some of the Obamacare exchanges, it only fuels the call for a "public option." On the odd political side, the Trumpster's candidacy makes that an actual possibility (right now the smart conservative money is fighting to keep from losing the Senate, and there is some talk about the GOP losing the House this fall, which seemed all but an impossibility until after redistricting in 2020). And while we're advocating, let Medicare Part D negotiate with pharma (right now it is intentionally and explicitly illegal for them to do so). (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Just a reminder that appeals courts also get it wrong with it comes to voting rights. You might remember that GW Bush stacked the courts as quick as possible and that the Senate has blocked as many Obama appointments as possible (not just Merrick Garland). In this case they overturned a lower court ruling re-establishing Ohio's "Golden Week" (where one could both register and vote within the same week). "While the court can't predict how African-Americans will turn out in future elections, he said, 'It is reasonable to conclude from this evidence that their right to vote will be modestly burdened' by the law… More than 60,000 people voted during golden week in 2008, while over 80,000 cast ballots during the period in 2012, Watson had noted in his decision." Oh, well, if it only "modestly" impairs the African-American vote than I guess that's okay. Not. Asshole.

Yes, Trumpster supporters in Pennsylvania, a state which hasn't voted for a republican president since 1988, think if Trump loses there, even through he's down my 8+ points in all the polls, that the election would be rigged. Can't fix stupid.

"It’s clear that Donald Trump’s 'black outreach' isn’t actual outreach to black communities. A Trump who wanted to reach black voters would speak to black churches, black colleges, and organizations like the NAACP or the Urban League… In Akron, Trump didn’t describe life for black Americans as much as he described a white supremacist fantasy in which blacks live miserable, brutish, and nearly subhuman lives in cities dominated by feckless Democrats. And he punctuated that fantasy with a call to vigilance for his audience, asking them to watch out for 'fraud' in those same neighborhoods." Racist is as racist does. (Grokked from Jason Sanford)

"'You would have a bunch of people who know nothing about taxes trying to look through and trying to come up with assumptions on things that they know nothing about,' Eric Trump said on CNBC, describing what would happen if Donald Trump released his tax returns." We all aren't working on your Dad's policy teams, Eric. There are plenty of people who know taxes, and those are the people we'd ask. And the government already has all your tax information, there is absolutely no reason to not release them (unless your betting that the IRS won't find anything that would result in a fine or adjustment, but someone else would).

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Letters to a young creative

Someone I know is just starting college and they're going into one of the arts.

An open letter for person starting their life in the arts

Let me say up front that I'm happy for you and proud of you for making that decision. It might not feel like a momentous one, chasing a life in the arts, but it is. And you will learn how much it is by the time you graduate.

I wanted to let you know a little bit about what is coming. It's going to be fabulous. It's wonderful. It's frustrating. It's difficult. You won't know how you'll make it through. At the end, though, you'll realize that you could do it all the time.

A lot of people are going to give you advice, including these letters. And that's really nice of them, for the most part and you should thank anyone who takes the time to offer advice. That's parts of their lives they are giving you. So even if the advice is complete bullshit (and most of it is), thank them for giving you parts of their lives.

About ten percent of advice is meant to detract you from your goals, at least in the beginning. Some of this is purposeful, but a lot of it is people telling you what they settled for. There are people who are either threatened or jealous of your creativity and they will attempt to sabotage you. Fortunately they are, or will be shortly, easy to spot. The rest of that 10% are people who want life to be easy for you, or don't think you should have something better than them. These are a little harder to suss out.

About another seventy percent is just complete and utter bullshit. There's something called Dunning-Krueger, it describes people who think they know something, but simply have no clue (they may know just enough to make it sound plausible, which is the real danger here). You'll find those people here. They'll try to sound authoritative or come off as know-it-alls when they actually don't know crap. At the beginning it'll be hard to figure this out, but the more you know and learn the easier it'll be to spot these. Another big portion of this group are people who heard something, or saw a documentary, or their distant relative does something similar, or they knew someone who did whatever. Imagine what your parents think you do when you're being creative and you'll get the idea. Until you're directly involved in a industry (and sometimes even those who are) it's hard to understand exactly what someone else does without making assumptions that are usually wrong.

The next fifteen percent of advice isn't for you. Sure, it would work if you were someone else, like the person giving you advice. But for you this is the wrong advice. The person giving you this advice is most likely telling you what they did, or how they succeeded, without taking into account who you are, what your strengths are, what you know, and what your career is like. They might be giving you advice that would work when they were your age and at that stage in your career, but the world changed in the mean time and they haven't seen how different things are. Your career, your path through this world is your own, even if it may look similar to someone else's path. Even on the road more travelled, not everybody walks the path the same way. Their lines crisscross beneath you. And the people who go on the road less travelled, the paths of those before you are even more chaotic. This is the most difficult portion of advice to work through to find out it's wrong. With some of this you may need to try it to see if it's the right advice because in reality it is the right advice for someone, just not you.

And here I will divulge the first secret. If the advice works for you, it's the right advice. If it doesn't work for you, toss it. You need to figure out that part quickly because the right advice that's wrong for you can derail you for a long time. You need to be able to figure out the advice that if you gave it enough hard work would turn out to be good advice and which, no matter how hard you try, will never work out for you. As you go forward you'll develop an instinct to figure out if something is "working" or if it's a waste of your time. That skill is one you have to learn the hard way. Sorry.

The last five percent is good advice for you, that will help you go farther, ease transitions to new levels (leveling up in gaming terms), make your life easier. And this advice should be treated as the gold it is. You should cultivate the people who give this 5% of advice (although some of their advice may also fall into that last 15% category). Be aware, however, that the advice they give may not be the right advice at the time, but will be useful later. In the first twenty years of my career I would find myself thinking back to advice I got from some instructor or job friend years and decades before that wasn't relevant then, but suddenly becomes the exact thing you need at that moment.

Listen to all the advice. If one person says to do something one way or that you should adjust your work in a certain way, it's just, like, their opinion man. However if you keep running into the same concept from different people, there might be something to that. So let's say you get advice from a hundred people, most of it will be bullshit, but if 75 of them agree on one thing, you might want to pay attention to that.

So that's the first one. Welcome to the gang. Pay attention. Some people drink from the fount of knowledge, some people gargle.

Linkee-poo followed the rules, and drank his vodka straight

Do you like your writer tip in the form of videos? Does an English accent scream "knowledgable" to you? Okay, how about Writerly Witterings. (Grokked from Astrid Julian)

The twitter bot that tweet a fantasy map every hour. (Grokked from Shiela)

In praise of the villain.

"'We came out here to protest against the NAACP and their failure in speaking out against the atrocities that organizations like Black Lives Matter and other pro-black organizations have caused the attack and killing of white police officers, the burning down of cities and things of that nature,' White Lives Matter member Ken Reed told the Houston Chronicle." Wait a sec, asshole. I seem to remember a couple of stores and gas stations. I don't remember "cities" burning this summer. Because I'm old I do remember cities burning. I remember those hot summers.

"As a new school year gets underway, the Common Core remains a partisan flashpoint, while Americans overall have serious concerns about the direction of our public education system." Here I will state that I am the opposite of these polls, I support public education and for the most part think it's doing well (that's a relative term, I'd give it a C in our grade inflated world), but most definitely think my local school is screwing its students over by giving them good memories (in a generalized and stereotypical manner), but woefully under-preparing them for success. However, for most American's it's basically just like Congress, they hate the concept in general, but love their local school (and keep re-electing their congresspeoples). Also, it appears people hate "Common Core", but actually like what it would do (and support national wide standards of education). Just like how they feel about Obamacare, as well as (insert your own Obama administration initiative here). Funny, it's almost like if a black president says, "we should do this" people's knee-jerk reaction is to vehemently oppose it. Like it's a strategy or something.

Here I will note, there is an entity that is hell bent on destroying America and splitting this country over race, and it's not the President.

Woman sues police after a 10-hour standoff with her dog where they destroyed her home thinking someone dangerous was inside. Part of the intense militarization of the police. At the beginning of the standoff the woman gave the police the keys to her house. The police then went on to break windows, crash through her ceiling and damage the building with multiple tear gas canisters. To be fair, our actually military destroyed a whole country only to find the WMDs weren't actually there either. (Grokked form Kelly Link)

What is meant by "rape culture"? "'He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender,' said (David Becker's) attorney, Thomas Rooke. 'The goal of this sentence (for sexually assaulting/raping two women) was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go onto the next step of his life, which is a college experience.'" Yeah, I think that should make it clear. (Grokked from Wil Wheaton)

"The Trump campaign does have minority outreach efforts, but those in charge of it say the campaign is blowing them off. Worse, Trump’s own top black strategist in Florida was thrown out of a Trump rally, essentially for being black." I can verify the name is correct, but I'm only seeing a few articles on this. If it's true, damn that's funny (not for him, though). (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

How the Trumpster campaign is spending its money.

This is not a drill, crazy-eyes Bachmann is advising the Trumpster on foreign policy. Yeah, that'll go over well.

There was a question on twitter about what would happen to the Trumpster's campaign funds after he lost the election. There was speculation he'd just pocket the money. For the record, that would be illegal (not that he would know that given his other illegal election behaviors), but my response was he was already paying himself (or his companies) and he had given his campaign "personal loans" which he could repay with the funds. But he doesn't even have to do that. He's syphoning his funds right now. "After bragging for a year about how cheaply he was running his campaign, Donald Trump is spending more freely now that other people are contributing ― particularly when the beneficiary is himself… Trump nearly quintupled the monthly rent his presidential campaign pays for its headquarters at Trump Tower to $169,758 in July, when he was raising funds from donors, compared with March, when he was self-funding his campaign… The rent jumped even though he was paying fewer staff in July than he did in March." (Grokked from Xopher Halftounge)

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Linkee-poo doesn't know why I came here at all

Apparently there is drama at Worldcon.

"The evidence for African migrants in Bronze Age–Medieval Britain — a storified twitter thread." Yep.

"The irony of the daughter of a billionaire presidential nominee declining to pay the female staff she uses to promote her lifestyle blog‚ which champions working women, was not lost on social media users." So the Trumps will bring jobs back to the US, but they'll be unpaid internships. And apparently the tweet announcing the article was accompanied by emojis of black women, because it wasn't worse enough already (or maybe this was the "Help, I'm being held in a Fortune Cookie Factory" moment).

"The impact of the flood is still ongoing; floodwaters are draining south and still rising in some areas." The floods in Louisiana continue to cause damage.

SO you may be wondering what the big deal it was with Cliven Bundy grazing his cattle and why the government may want to control access to those lands? Well, here's the real story about the land and the people it actually belongs to. See, much of the "give it back to the States" line is complete bullshit. It never was the "State's" land. And if you want to "revert to the original owners" there's a bunch of Tribes who would like you to do that as well (although, for the most part, they don't have the money to administer the land).

"A man who identified himself as half-Indian was escorted out of a Donald Trump rally on Thursday out of concern that he was a protester, but the man insisted he was a Trump supporter and said he feels that he was racially profiled." Yeah, I'm sure it's not because he's brown. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

I half-joked yesterday when the news came out about Paul Manafort's resignation from the Trump Campaign that I hope they were watching the airports. "The Justice Department and the FBI are conducting a wide-ranging investigation into allegations of corrupt dealings by the government of former Ukrainian president Victor Yanukovych, including the hiring of Washington lobbyists for the regime by former Donald Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, a senior law enforcement official confirmed to Yahoo News." I was only half-joking. And yes, I'm sure the FBI investigating him is just because of opposition research. Because, you know, the government likes to spend a lot of money pursuing political goals (yes, I know this is a favorite bugbear used by both sides, but they really don't). (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

And the new guy isn't much better. "Over the past few several years, however, Bannon has also chaired a shadowy nonprofit group in Tallahassee, Florida called the 'Government Accountability Institute.' Its president is Peter Schweizer, author of Clinton Cash, the 2015 HarperCollins bestseller that purported to reveal corruption and self-dealing at the Clinton Foundation. Found to contain many errors and distortions, the book was described in mainstream news outlets as 'widely discredited' by the time Trump cited it in a speech attacking the Clintons last spring… A close look at Bannon, Schweizer, and the GAI reveals that their complaints about the Clinton Foundation represent a textbook example of what psychologists call 'projection' — that is, attributing their own questionable behavior and motives to someone else, such as a political adversary." This has happened so often I'm beginning to think of this as "classic conservative." (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

"'Despite our differences, Americans from all walks of life must unite behind Trump and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence or suffer dire consequences,' (Jerry Falwell Jr.) wrote." Hey, let's not try to threaten people, okay. Oh, hated your dad and you look like you didn't drop far from his nether regions. Please feel free to go back into obscurity.

"What the hell do you have to lose." Great talking point there, Trumpie.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Linkee-poo, so you go to the village in your tie-dye jeans and you stare at the junkies and closet queens, it's like some pornographic magazine, and you smile

Chuck Wendig tweetstorm on publishing a storytelling and how as a newbie you should focus on the later. Yeah, that's a hard lesson to learn. I thought I was ready when I made the pivot of what I was paying attention to. The last 5 years have been a pivot back to focusing on the story side.

"Four skydivers performed an impressive synchronized dance routine inside a wind tunnel." Okay, I can't be the only one who though, "Capricorn 7, report to Carousel." (Grokked from Dan)

Mother Jones bears their soul about the new paradigm of journalism and the cost versus return of online journalism (note, they are asking for subscribers and supporters here, but they make the business case up front). And their take on John Oliver's piece on journalism. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin, I think, sorry, lost the link)

"The TSA has refused to state how much it had spent on the new machines, but it has finally admitted that the program cost $160 million, of which $120 million was spent on L-3's machines themselves. This is on top of the hundreds of millions spent on backscatter machines and puffer machines, all since decommissioned as ineffective boondoggles." Well, good thing we don't train TSA agents well or pay them well. Unfortunately these are radiation sources and, damn, someone should go to jail for this. Say, like the people who approved the project, the people who forced the TSA to buy these, we'll start with them. Oh, and the assholes who sold them. (Grokked from Vince O'Conner)

The Block Island Windfarm is almost online. (Grokked from Dan)

The Chicago PD moves to fire 8 to 10 officers involved in the shooting of Laquan McDonald. You may remember that was the one with the video of Laquan McDonald walking in the street, with a knife, walking away from the police when one officer shot him down. Shooting him several times. Sixteen times in fact. And what are they being fired for? For filing false reports. While it's not fully what is needed, it is the very least that should be happening. Note, many of the police reports in the killing of black men and women have been shown to be very different what happened when a video finally surfaces… and by a lot of don't mean "my view" but "what fiction is this?" (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

The cost of being poor and uninsured in Texas. Your money or your life. There was a sarcasm used during the Obamacare debate and the numerous attempts to repeal it that the Conservative answer to Obamacare was, "If you got sick, to die quickly." In this case it took him a little over two months. Texas is one of the states that refused to expand Medicaid, which would have saved this patient. So, ask yourself, how much money was spent trying to get coverage for this patient, trying to find a way to save this patient that didn't involve actual medical intervention but administrative wrangling? How much is "wasted" every single day in struggles like this. A person's life shouldn't have to come down to "getting the right people involved." (Grokked from Hannah Bowman)

"Ironically, the party that is claiming that Hillary Clinton broke the law by transmitting classified information over private email is breaking the law by knowingly leaking classified information to friendly media sources." Not sure if it's ironic, but more of a "the law doesn't pertain to us, only you nasty liberals." Right now it's just rumors of people contacting media sources to give information. But I can't say I'm surprised that it might happen (and yes, yes, both sides do it, but again it's a matter of degree). So that took, what, all of one day? (Grokked from Jim Wright)

The "Says who" story just hit another level. "Donald Trump lawyer Michael Cohen… told Yahoo News that he felt he 'controlled the interview.'… 'I think I unraveled her,' he added." Stop it, my sides are hurting.

NPR looks at the Trumpster's claim he can bring back jobs. Yeah, not so much. Sorry folks, even if the work returns (which it has been), they won't be hiring all that many people back because of how manufacturing has changed in the last 20 years.

Oh sweet Jesus Hopalong Cassidy. "A decade later, the aborted exercise is arousing new interest: American diplomatic cables and Ukrainian prosecutors say the anti-US, anti-NATO protests that threatened these Marines were largely partisan plants, organized by politicians who consulted with Paul Manafort, now the prominent campaign aide to presidential candidate Donald Trump." Opposition research done well. I'll say, if this proves out (as well as the charges he illegally forwarded money from foreign donors to US lobbying firms without disclosure or registering as a foreign operative), yeah, Manafort might as well get on the first flight out before his passport is revoked. As to oppo, first remove any help the candidate might receive before attacking directly. This is known as "taking them out at the knees." (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

And there he goes. Boy, I hope they're watching the airports.

Remember when I said that I was afraid that the Trumpster could actually learn and turn his campaign around? Well, yesterday's speech demonstrates that capability. Do I think he's really sorry? No. Neither do I expect his core followers to believe he's had a change of heart. They'll know this for what it is, he's playing nice to win the election. And they'll justify this in their heads, even though the one thing they liked about the Trumpster was he wasn't politically correct and said what was on his mind.

"Donald Trump's new campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, said on Friday morning that Trump made the decision himself to express regret on Thursday evening over some of his comments that have caused 'personal pain.'" See, this is how you run a campaign. You lie effectively by giving the candidate all the credit when it's obvious they don't deserve it.

"Former Baylor President Ken Starr is resigning his post as a law school professor, severing ties with the faith-based campus still reeling from a sexual assault scandal." Here, let me correct that for you. Ken Starr, seeing the possibility of another Clinton in the White House and piles of cash to be made, clears his schedule to begin as Special Prosecutor of the Crown.

Tweet of my heart: @joshtpm News of day:Domestic white nationalist faction solidifies hold on Trumpstadt after fully ousting foreign pro-Russian faction. #Kremlinology (Grokked from John Scalzi)

Scalp Scab 2.0

Today I debut Scalp Scab 2.0. Three weeks ago I had a little bit of skin taken off the top of my head and then my new dermatologist recommended cauterizing the tissue around it, whereas before we just froze it off. A week later I started writing what is below.

In case you didn't know, I do write a lot that I don't actually post. There's a lot reasons for that. In this case it was fear. Fear of the future, fear of sharing, fear of just who was reading, fear of this coming out at the job. There was also a lot of "WTF are you whining about, Buchheit" going on in my head.

But today is Scalp Scab 2.0. See, last weekend while replacing a bathroom sink I scraped Scalp Scab 1.0 off. Today is the first day without a bandage again. What I find strange is that between lots of other events, braces, etc, I have received the most comments on having a bandage on my head. And it hasn't all been positive.

Anyway, time to post this.

So, I think I've mentioned before about how with my family's medical history that cancer is the gun pointed at my head. In the past six years that gun has clicked on (mostly) empty chambers, but this past week it finally fired.

I have basal cell carcinoma. It's a non life-threatening cancer that's highly treatable and only metastasizes after the cancer has aged a long time. It's highly curable and the most common treatment is what is called a Mohs Procedure. They cut out as much as they can see and then take a slice of skin to process in the office to see if there is any cancer. If there is, back onto the chair and they cut out more and then take another slice. This goes until either the area cut becomes too large or a slice shows no sign of cancer. Typically only one surgery is needed. There's no need for chemo. Just a large bandage for a while.

There is, however, a lot of followup. For the next few years I'll go to the dermatologists office twice a year to get checked out. With one instance the chances for another skin cancer (well, any cancer) increases so that means heightened vigilance.

The cancer is at the top of my head in the center of my monk's cap (male pattern baldness). About two years ago I saw a different dermatologist and had the dry, red patch frozen off. She didn't think it was anything and all roads (for her) led to freezing the area so I just went with that. Well, it returned so this time I found a specialist in skin cancers and demanded a biopsy (this doctor was also fairly confident that it was pre-cancerous and we went with that treatment plan, which for her meant cauterizing the edges). It's the biopsy that came back positive.

As a kid we didn't have sunscreen and we were constantly out of doors. In the Summer that meant a good deal of sun burn. Even as an adult I find it weird to put on sunscreen (and I often forget to, even when I have it). During this last vacation I didn't wear it while we were in Glacier Bay, and I got burnt again. I have been wearing hats, however. Ever since I had a piece of my ear frozen about four years ago (by the previous doctor). And now I guess I'll need to develop a habit of wearing hats.

Now you all know. I have cancer. Baby's first cancer is basal cell, which is a lot better than it could have been.

Fuck cancer.

I wrote that two weeks ago, the night I found out. And then never posted it. I don't know. Maybe I remember my Grandfather's cancer, how we talked about it in whispers. I think about, "what if people I work with find out?" And "what if people I know find out?" And mostly, "why the fuck am I so depressed and focused on this? It's not life threatening, it's highly curable."

And then the little voice says, "You have cancer."

I'm too young (not really, not anymore). I'm not published, yet. I should write more. The night thing is going back to normal. Focus on story. Get it done.

"You have cancer. Right now, you have cancer."

Jesus, Buchheit, get it together. People around you have real medical issues (you're going to have to deal with). You need to write these stories and publish them (both outwardly announced projects and secret squirrel projects). You have reviews coming up. You need to stop something happening at the night thing (or at least make management aware).

"You have cancer. Right now, you have cancer growing on your head."

Fight, fight, fight, you bastard. You've expected this all your adult life. Considering just what you're really facing, this is nothing. It's early. They'll get it all. And when it comes back, you'll get it all again. It's not like you'll need a colostomy or a drain, month of radiation or lose what's left off your hair to chemo.

What's this Sargasso of the soul? Come on. You can't self-destruct and it's not worth it. You've got at least twenty more years, stop wasting time.

"You have cancer. Right now, you have cancer growing on your head. You're body is trying to kill you."

So, yeah, wind out of the sails right at the moment. I'm sure it'll get better. At some point my inner asshole will take over and then "Damn the torpedoes!" But the vats of piss and vinegar and dry. All I have left is snark. It'll take some wall or some one to try and stop me, then my back will get up. But right now I'm just paddling in circles.

I keep telling myself, "It'll get better." I know it'll get better. But that other voice is pretty insistent.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Linkee-poo took my chances on a big jet plane, never let them tell you that they're all the same

"The fact that it took me so long to hear what she was saying also made me realise that there is no way to talk about white privilege or racism that doesn't get heard by many white people as an attack. Even if she had written her critique in a nice way I'd still have felt gut-­punched." Justine Justine Larbalestier on the white savior trope in writing and real life, writing the other, good intentions falling short, and how to grow and learn. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

If only Walmarts just had "the people you see in Walmart." Instead of the criminal aspect. So besides offloading livable-salaries and healthcare for their employees onto the public dime, they're also offloading their security costs onto the local law enforcement. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"Ride-hailing service Uber says it will start hauling passengers with self-driving cars on the streets of Pittsburgh in next several weeks." Wait, weeks? I get the feeling they aren't talking about what I think they're talking about. (Grokked from Dan)

"Amid the horror of floods that have covered southern Louisiana in recent days, a grim note of irony: Tony Perkins, the head of the anti-queer Family Research Council, is among those whose homes are underwater. Perkins believes natural disasters are sent to punish gays." You know, except for this one of "Biblical proportions", because it's him.

As I recently said to a coworker, "In climate change, there is some debate. But it's not about if it's happening. We know it's happening. It's not about if it's human caused. We know it's human caused. It's not about if it's accelerating. It is accelerating. It's not about if we're fucked, it's about how badly we're already fucked." We're boned. (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Palo Alto, "When the Boomers were in their 20s and 30s, the government made it a priority for the middle class to be able to own a home. We created all these incentives to help make the American Dream come true. It’s such a core part of the Boomer generation. Now, these same people say, even though you’re highly educated professionals, you should be OK with renting for the rest of your lives." Funny how that's a cycle that keeps coming up everywhere, the Boomers forgot just how much privilege they had and refused to do the same for the next generations. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"(Khalid) Jabara's family, who immigrated to the United States from Lebanon, felt that their neighbor, Stanley Vernon Majors, had targeted them for years with ethnic slurs and frivolous calls to the police. The tension peaked last September in a violent hit-and-run attack on matriarch Haifa Jabara outside the family’s Tulsa, Oklahoma home, for which Majors was charged with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon, among other charges." And then you'd think that justice would be done and the family would be safe. But there you would be wrong. "So when Khalid Jabara learned on Friday evening that Majors had come into possession of a gun, he called the police to report his concerns… Officers came to Jabara’s East Avenue residence (and hour and a half after the 911 call), surveyed the scene, and left, unable to make contact with Majors. Eight minutes later, police said Majors repeatedly shot Jabara on his front porch while he collected the mail."

"Two contractors… manufactured defective combat helmets ordered by the Pentagon, costing the government millions, a watchdog said on Wednesday." They only produced ballistic helmets for the Army and Marines. No biggie. (Grokked from Jim Wright)

"The Department of Justice will stop contracting with private prisons, the department announced Thursday morning. The decision comes a week after the DOJ inspector general released a damning report on the safety, security, and oversight of private prisons, which incarcerate 12 percent of federal inmates." Hopefully this is the second shot to end the "let's privatize government" movement. Probably not. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

"Without any extra funding, the city of Flint, Michigan will run out of the money it needs to keep buying bottled water and water filters for residents in 51 days." Who is to blame for this oversize? "Residents and local officials had called for extra funding from Congress, and a bipartisan group of lawmakers put together an aid package of $100 million, money that could go a long way toward keeping bottled water and filters flowing. But Republican Senators, first Ted Cruz (TX) and then Mike Lee (UT), kept holding it up and it never got passed." The usual suspects. (Grokked from Julie)

"At NPR, our success depends on our ability to connect with our listeners and readers. It is the cornerstone of our public media mission. We want to hear your voice, and we want you to actively inform our ideas about the stories we tell and how we tell them." But not your comments, because "ew". NPR is disabling the commenting feature on their website. While I think their statistical analysis is a little misleading, I'm not disagreeing with their basic premise. For an organization their comment sections just aren't worth the hassle. Note, I've read some of the comments under stories I've liked (and sometimes link to). The NPR comment boards are only slightly more refined that some of the other cess-pool comment sections out there (no mention of the real work it takes to keep link farmers out). And they are also typically monopolized by people with an axe to grind, who will comment on a story about cumquats about how the liberals want to control all our food consumption and it's another failed Obama policy. So, yeah, as more and more sites turn of comments, we're seeing an end to the "great democratization of information afforded by the internet" and the "many-to-one" side of the conversation. Note, they also state as well that the rise of social media kind of makes comment sections archaic and redundant. Also note, I haven't closed my comment section. (Grokked indirectly from Dan and a wholelotta other people)

"Hours before he is set to receive his first classified intelligence briefing, Donald Trump said he does not trust information coming out of U.S. intelligence agencies and indicated he would cease relying on the bulk of the intelligence community’s massive workforce." I don't see how this can go wrong. Seriously, this is the problem with living in the echo chamber. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

"'[W]e believe the civil and political disruptions that have negatively impacted restaurant dining may be helping pizza operators that deliver to consumers,' (Chris O’Cull at KeyBanc) wrote in a July 19 research note, in which he upgraded his rating on Papa John’s shares from 'sector weight' to 'overweight.'"

More on that NC Board of Elections memo.

"UC Irvine economist Peter Navarro, a hand-picked Trump economic advisor… 'has never met Trump in person. And as for speaking with him by phone, he acknowledges, I have never had the pleasure.'" Sweet Mary Joseph, just how bad can this campaign be run?

I mean, when you hire this genius to be "CEO" of your campaign, WTF do you expect? "Stephen Bannon, the executive chairman of Breitbart News whom Donald Trump has appointed as his new campaign CEO, hasn't been shy about trading in on the deepest fringes of conspiracy theories against Hillary Clinton and her campaign staff. Just a month before taking the helm of Trump's campaign, Bannon used his Sirius XM radio show to question whether one of Clinton's closest aides is tied to Muslim terrorists." Echo… echo… echo… echo… (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

The Trumpster's first attempt to reach out to black voters in a speech to an all white crowd, falls flat. No, it wasn't a real gesture. It wasn't a real gesture. But now he can say "I tried." Which was the point of the entire exercise. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

Tweet of my heart: @RyanLizza If Trump's goal is to elect Clinton & start a profitable right-wing media org to lead charge against her presidency this all makes sense. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Double dip: @sarahkendzior Goal of network for Trump will be $$$, power, brand. Impact will be mainstreaming extremist ideas until not recognized as extremist anymore. (Grokked from Xeni Jardin)

Who are we robbing?

I've had a weird career path. One of the effects of that is what I like to call "institutionalized paranoia." I'm constantly re-examining my own performance and my perception of the world. It's very easy to fall into False Attribution. That is where you see part of the story and then you make up your own reasons and plots for the rest of the story which typically turns out to be false.

Say you ask a friend to go see a movie and they say, "No." And then you think that your friend doesn't like you, doesn't like what you like, or something along those lines when in reality they really would like to go, but have already committed to something else (like mowing their grandparent's lawn). Take the movie "Oceans 12" for example. Almost the entire movie is a red herring and you only find out what was really going on, and how the game was over before it began, at the end.

So sometimes you look at evidence that doesn't make any sense, and you try to work it into a cohesive narrative. It is, after all, what our brains are designed to do.

For instance, the Trump campaign. Many of the moves, positions, staffing decisions, etc make absolutely no sense in a traditional narrative. People then come to the conclusion that he 1) has no real clue as to how to win an election (politically inept), 2) doesn't know how to function when people don't really need him or his money (narcissistic) or 3) is intentionally throwing the election (a ringer for Clinton).

But what if it's something else entirely? What if it's all going according to a plan. It's just that his plan is not the standard story we all know about how someone becomes President. What if we think he's playing checkers when he's actually playing Parcheesi or Go?

And I'm sure this is all tin-foil hat kinda stuff.

But what if he is setting up a power grab? What if he's intentionally courting the white supremacists who have been waiting and planning for their race war since the late 70s? What if he's giving voice, cover, and recruitment for organizations that have grown more numerous and who's ranks have swelled since President Obama took office? What if he is using the GOP to run cover for his real operation? What if the anger and violence at his rallies isn't accidental or unintended? What if he's signaling in the open, but we're misreading those signals as ineptitude? What if the worse case scenarios were real and after the election, where he will lose badly, he gives the go words, "The election was stolen from the American People"? What then? What if Maher was just one group jumping the gun because they didn't see the whole board and got ahead of themselves?

Could that explain his staffing choices of thugs and mercenaries? Could that explain his often erratic and troubling stances on non-inclusion of races and religions? Could that explain the number of spokespeople and campaigners (and staffers) that have ties to white nationalism? Could that explain how he quickly disavows somethings but took over a week to disavow Duke? Could that explain his staffers comments and positions ("says who?")? Could that explain the numerous retweets of known racists and even including their visuals at his rallies? Could that explain the rumblings of support from the racists? Could Duke running for office be another smoke screen to cover organizing (and that he's running his own game to gain power)?

Are we seeing signs that in December we'll all be saying, "Why, it's all so clear in retrospect?"

I'm sure it's just my institutionalized paranoia. But it makes me wonder exactly what the Southern Poverty Law Center is seeing in the field and if anyone there is as worried as I am at this point.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Bible As I Understand It

Because it sorta came up today. Consider this a subtweet. Note, emphasis given to how I was taught, not to actual word or page count.


Lights, camera, action! Okay, some set decoration would be nice. It's sorta boring, maybe someone to talk with? Okay, yeah, I understand, maybe some more. Isn't it beautiful? Just one thing…

I had one rule. Get. Out.

I might have been hasty. Yes, that smells nice. Say, where's whatshisface?

I'm not upset that you did it. I'm disappointed that you lied.

Things are kinda going downhill lately. I think I'll start over. That guy, he looks descent and the animals never did anything they shouldn't.

Okay, I guess I over reacted. I won't ever do that again.

Wait, you're practically just off the boat and you go and do this? I'm outa here.

Yes, yes, I hear you and you seem a descent fellow, but I've been burned before. I'm going to need some proof. Okay, okay, I believe you.

Let's try a little smiting, some curses. You're all just disappointing me.

I'm sorry, I want you back. Go tell them I want them back. Look, don't make me get medieval on your ass. Remember this whole thing started with parting the waters… still got it.

But, if we're going to make this work, we need some ground rules.

What? Okay, maybe we need some more rules. And some more. You want special dispensation? Okay, I don't play favorites, but here's some more rules and I'll think about it.

Shit. Maybe if I just destroy a city they'll get it. No? Go here, tell them this. No? Okay, how about a neighborhood? No? You, go there, tell them that. No? This person right here!


Okay, maybe we got off on the wrong foot. Here's the thing, I created all of you and all of this. I love you. Can't we all just get along? Go down there and tell them that. Yeah, I know. They're dense. Try some stories. Okay, we're going to need a demonstration. And it's going to hurt to make the point. Well, I didn't say it would hurt them. Trust me it's worth it.

Go here and tell them this. Go there, tell them that.

Okay, one more time. I created all of this and all of you. I love you all. What makes you think any of this is bad?

Fine. Game over.

Linkee-poo, it's not enough just to stand and stare

Ferrett Steinmetz with some good advice on approaching workshopping or getting a critique of your writing. "And what you’ll often get at the early stages when your talent does not match execution is to pull back. No. Try pushing forward." Or, as a critique I got in a rejection, "put the weird up front."

"National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to classify disaster as the eighth flood considered to be a once-in-every-500-years event in the US in a year." Funny that. Almost like it's trying to tell us something. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

"For 9-year-old Ilyukhina, the title of “tastiest girl” (at the Russian Mosquito Festival) is worth the itch." She scored 43 bites while picking berries. Yes, mosquitoes do like some people more than others. (Grokked from Dan)

"Officials in a West Virginia city are warning people about an especially dangerous batch of heroin after authorities responded to 26 overdoses in within a four-hour span." As we say in the ER, "a new batch must have been arrived." Also, here's part of the twistedness of this epidemic, this is excellent advertising for the seller as "OD deaths" = "strong product."

The big health care news this week came from Aetna, which announced on Monday it was dramatically scaling back participation in the Affordable Care Ac… Aetna officials said the pullout was necessary because of Obamacare’s problems… But the move also was directly related to a Department of Justice decision to block the insurer’s potentially lucrative merger with Humana, according to a letter from Aetna’s CEO obtained by The Huffington Post… (J)ust last month, in a letter to the Department of Justice, Aetna CEO Mark Bertolini said the two issues were closely linked. In fact, he made a clear threat: If President Barack Obama’s administration refused to allow the merger to proceed, he wrote, Aetna would be in worse financial position and would have to withdraw from most of its Obamacare markets, and quite likely all of them." Note that Aetna isn't exiting from all of the Obamacare markets, just from the more rural and poorer sections parts of America. Also note, the ACA does provide funds to insurers who lose money. IIRC, those subsidies are still in place for the next 2 years. (Grokked from Wesley Chu)

After being spotted in line at the German Embassy, "Nigel Farage has refused to deny a suggestion that he is attempting to apply for joint German citizenship." You might remember Mr. Farage as the leader of UKIP which was instrumental in winning the Brexit vote. What the total fuck?! (Grokked from Joe Hill)

"Republicans in North Carolina are pulling out all the stops to suppress the state’s reliably Democratic black vote. After the Fourth Circuit court reinstated a week of early voting, GOP-controlled county elections boards are now trying to cut early-voting hours across the state." And here you see the real voter rigging. It's being done to intentionally swing the vote toward Republican candidates. Even their own GOP state executive director admits as much in his email to party operatives and county board of election leaders. (Grokked from Robert J Bennett)

How should you respond to ultra-right-wing neo-Nazis? "A video posted online late Tuesday shows Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel flipping the bird at a group of neo-Nazis in the central German town of Salzgitter on Friday." Yep, that'll do it. Although I'll note that the powers-that-where in Germany also laughed at the rise of the actual Nazis.

Hey, remember that 2009 report from the DoJ about right-wing extremists being more of a threat than the "radical Islamic terrorists"? Remember how pilloried that report became, to the point that it was never officially released? "They… are the extremists who hide among us, the right-wing militants who, since 2002, have killed more people in the United States than jihadis have. In that time, according to New America, a Washington think tank, Islamists launched nine attacks that murdered 45, while the right-wing extremists struck 18 times, leaving 48 dead." Terrorism by another name. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

So, after decades of disgraced and defeated conservative whackaloons finding gainful employment as commentators on Fox News when they found themselves without a job, Roger Ailes is cashing in by getting a job on the Trumpster's campaign.

"'There is irrefutable evidence that Scott Walker and the Reince Priebus machine rigged as many as five elections including the defeat of a Walker recall election,' (Donald Trump supporter Roger) Stone wrote, adding that a pattern that occurred in the Walker election also happened in the Trump/Cruz primary." With friends like these… (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

"Donald Trump tests positive for every medical ailment. All of them. Supposedly, that’s what his doctor says—or at least, that’s what the Trump campaign portrays him as saying." On playing the disease game with armchair medical diagnosis, and the letter from "Trump's doctor" about how "If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest person ever elected to the presidency." (Grokked from Paolo Bacigalupi)

Everything is fine. "Trump has tapped Stephen Bannon of Breitbart News to serve as chief executive of the campaign. Pollster Kellyanne Conway was promoted to campaign manager. Paul Manafort will stay on as Trump's campaign chairman. The Wall Street Journal first reported the news." We're all fine here. No fires. All fine. Remember when I said he is smart and can learn, you're starting to see the start of that. The questions now are was this transition too late and how long can he hold it together? I mean, this report from Wisconsin about his speech last night makes him appear almost rational. To bad he didn't know that while appealing to the black vote that "law and order" is a dog-whistle for "put more POC in jail."

"Trump will be listed as both the Republican Party nominee and the nominee of the far right American Independent Party." The company you keep. For the record, a California GOP spokesperson said that the Trumpster does not accept or endorse this nomination. It'll be another week before we hear it from the Trumpster himself, if history is any guide. You know, after he says he's honored for that week.

And the winner in the category of Not Helping… "'The liberal media took what I said and went against the law and the Constitution and ran with it, and they said that I wanted her assassinated, which I never did,' (Trump adviser Al) Baldasaro told The Republican/MassLive.com. 'I said I spoke as a veteran, and she should be shot in a firing squad for treason.'" Ah, well, that's better. Thanks for the clarification, nutbag.

Oh, that "rigged system" everybody is talking about. "Trump’s casinos had rolled up $30 million in debt by the time (NJ Gov. Chris) Christie took office in January 2010, and attorneys for the state had accused his company of misrepresenting its payments to state officials. According to the Times, the casinos paid no taxes at all between 2002 and 2006… But in November 2011, the state agreed to a $5 million settlement, cutting Trump’s debt by 83 percent." Who is it benefiting? While the IRS will work with you to set up a payment plan, do you think you, as a citizen, would get even a 50% discount? Do you expect the guy who worked the system in this once instance to gain $25 million has any real interest in "fixing" it? (Grokked from Vince O'Connor)

Like attracts like. "Vice President Joe Biden was greeted by hundreds of ultra-nationalist protesters chanting 'Vote for Trump!' and wearing T-shirts with the GOP nominee's likeness as he arrived for a visit in Belgrade on Tuesday, Reuters reported."

"'Donald Trump is running for president because he really, truly believes he can turn the country around,' (Omarosa Manigault, Donald Trump protégé and Trump campaign's director of African-American outreach) said. 'More importantly, every critic, every detractor will have to bow down to President Trump.'" I'm sure she means "show deference" and not the "swear fealty" vibe that quote is giving, right. Right?

You know that whole "Clinton Foundation gifts influencing State Department policy and vice versa" thing? How about this one. "Donald Trump's campaign chairman helped a pro-Russian governing party in Ukraine secretly route at least $2.2 million in payments to two prominent Washington lobbying firms in 2012, and did so in a way that effectively obscured the foreign political party's efforts to influence U.S. policy." That's not kosher.