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

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

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/ '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.

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