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

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Linkee-poo how do spend our lives knowing no-one gives us a damn

Neil Gaiman. "My friend told me a story he hadn’t told anyone for years." So, uh, is Neil still wearing that mask I wonder? For such a short story, there's some many complexities to it once you start to think about it. And that's why I (and a few legions of people) love his stories. (Grokked from John)

"Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout." Thanks, Scouts. While it's been a hard evolution (and it's not over yet), I think you'll find it's worth it. (Grokked from Dan)

"Sixty-five percent of respondents surveyed this year by LIMRA, an association of financial services and insurance companies, say that most people need disability insurance. But the figure shrank to 48 percent when people were asked whether they believe they personally need it. The proportion shriveled to 20 percent when people were asked whether they actually have disability insurance." The other "I don't really need it" insurance option besides healthcare. I've been fortunate to have short and long-term disability at my past few jobs. It doesn't pay a lot (and there's lots of rules), but it's been a nice perk. "According to the Social Security Administration, 1 in 4 people who are 20 years old now will be disabled before they reach age 67." And let me tell you, government disability is even more of a bear.

There's a hole at the bottom of the world. "Vice published a story about a massive hole in Antarctica and the gaping void is reportedly as large as the state of Maine or, if you're into more analogies, the size of Lake Superior…" Okay, two ways to go here; At the Mountains of Madness (or later Stross' "A Colder War") or Iron Sky. (Grokked from John)

"The Salt Lake City Police Department has fired the police detective who was video recorded aggressively handcuffing a hospital nurse who refused to allow him to draw blood from an unconscious patient in July." Note, fired police officers are rarely rehired by reputable departments (and for some security firms it's also a non-starter). I expect if they're covered by a police union that the union will fight their dismissal (although they really shouldn't).

"An old-school pharmacy hand-delivers drugs to Congress, a little-known perk for the powerful." The perks of Congress, with a little on the Office of Attending Physician. (Grokked from John)

"Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy on Wednesday gave the Catalan government eight days to drop an independence bid, failing which he would suspend Catalonia’s political autonomy and rule the region directly." There's a rule for that. Shorter story, "I'll give you (8) days to change your ways or Poof, I'll turn you into a goon."

"More than a week after a shooter took the lives of 58 people in Las Vegas, investigators are still without a motive. Experts say it's important to find one to give those affected closure and to prevent similar attacks in the future." It's also important so the NRA can say, "See, fix this thing (which has nothing to do with guns) and then we won't have these attacks." If it does directly affect gun access they'll say, "enforce the existing laws." But here's the thing, the motive won't make any sense anyway. It never does. He shot because he wanted to. He chose the music festival because there was a crowd. It's the flip side of the "better angels of our nature."

"Last Friday, a white dude tried to blow up a plane to 'fight a war' in America and no one cared"

"Brexit talks have made little progress, the European Union’s negotiator said Thursday, meaning he cannot yet recommend broadening the negotiations beyond the focus on the terms of Britain’s exit to include key issues such as future trade relations." Who could have foreseen that? Basically Britain wants to retain their leverage by using EU citizens in the UK and whom owes whom how much (for dues, existing payments, etc) as bargaining chips to get favorable trade terms. But the bigger issue is that there was no actual plan for Brexit. Even the proponents of Brexit were using the vote last year to give the big finger to politicians whom they feel weren't protecting them from dirty foreigners.

"Conservatives have also clamored for months for Republicans to take action, arguing Democrats were being allowed to use the Senate’s rulebook to obstruct Trump’s nominees." You know, just like the conservatives did for President Obama's judicial nominees.

"Advocates for a pregnant 17-year-old girl held in a Texas facility for immigrant children who have crossed the border alone are asking a federal judge to allow her to get an abortion, over the opposition of U.S. and state officials." Instead ICE sent the girl to a crisis pregnancy center (aka, Right-to-Life front organization). So I wonder when conservatives will realize that if she give birth to the child before being deported, that child is an American Citizen (IIRC, IANAL), which then would give her claims to stay in the US (although ICE has been deporting parents of dependent children and breaking up families since Trump came into office). Oh, and look, Ohio's AG also joined the fight to prevent the girl from having an abortion.

"Twitter reversed its decision to block Rep. Marsha Blackburn’s (R-TN) campaign video from being promoted on the social media outlet Tuesday, saying there is 'room to refine our policies' around this issue, according to Politico." Okay, Twitter, how about this refinement; all ads must be truthful and not contain verifiable misstatements or unproven claims. You know, like we used to have for the news media before Reagan signed a repeal of that law. There is a demonstrably false statement in the video, that Planned Parenthood profited from the sale of fetal tissue.

"Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is vowing to speed the cleanup of toxic Superfund sites, part of a shift away from climate change and toward what he calls the 'basics' of clean air and water… But President Trump's budget would slash funding for the Superfund program by nearly a third. In his House testimony, Pruitt was asked how the agency could clean up sites faster with less money… 'It's more about decision-making, leadership and management than money,' he said." Magical thinking. The power of positive thought applied to government. So, uh, just where are they trucking all that contaminated "chat"? I'm sure it's an environmentally stable, lined, landfill which will never give us problems. Maybe.

"President Trump intends to sign an executive order this morning expanding association health plans. But 25 years ago, federal watchdogs concluded that such plans ripped off hundreds of thousands of Americans by refusing to pay their medical claims while violating state insurance laws and even criminal statutes." Yep. As with most conservatives' plans, they've been tried somewhere before to disastrous results (Kansas anyone?). But they've been very good for the people Republican's actually work for, the 1%.

"The U.S. military has been in Afghanistan for 16 years. Two months ago, Trump approved a plan to keep it there indefinitely. But after less than a month in Puerto Rico — with hundreds of thousands of American citizens living in preindustrial, often life-threatening conditions — it’s time… we started talking about bringing the troops home… The grotesque callousness of Trump’s tweets will be obvious to anyone who sees Puerto Ricans as human beings."

"This bit is harder to interpret, but it sounds like (the president) is comparing the US debt with the value of the shares on the US stock exchange… Market capitalisation is not the government's money - it is shareholders' money." Fucking moron, or he thinks we are.

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