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

Friday, November 3, 2017

Linkee-poo greets another Friday

It seems my US audience is growing. Thanks, everyone. Although there seems to be strange blips in the timing, unless you all are a bunch of late-night owls. So to everyone new, welcome. For those long time readers you know I don't really care about my stats, and previous have gone months without looking at them. But since last Summer, I've been seeing some strange things in the blog traffic. I just find it amusing (although I wonder what my dossier/profile reads like).

"House Republicans unveiled a draft tax bill on Thursday, calling for deep cuts in both individual and corporate tax rates." I haven't seen the brackets yet, but I have a feeling my taxes are about to go up.

And "Do me a favor and remind us what the Republican tax myth is." An interview with Bruce Bartlett, "… economic policy adviser for presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush. And during the 1980s, he championed the idea that tax cuts would equal growth in the economy." Yeah, he doesn't believe that anymore. It's kinda hard to after seeing the actual effects of tax cuts, especially in Kansas.

"And while it's impossible to do a flat-out true-or-false fact check on an estimate, this figure is likely to be repeated as the White House pushes tax overhaul, and there is reason to doubt that your household will get $4,000 — or even anything close to it."

"The House Republican tax bill released Thursday would allow churches to endorse political candidates, rolling back a 1950s-era law that bars such activities." The Johnson Amendment. (Grokked from Chuck Wendig)

So they say most people will be able to use a postcard sized form to file their taxes. How well do you think that will go over with the HR Blocks and TurboTaxes of the country? And right now we're entering the stage of people waking up the next morning with champaign hang-overs and the sudden thought, "Hey, they're taking the tax break I enjoy/use/need. They were just supposed to take all those useless ones out." Suckers.

"Where and how the tradition is celebrated has changed over time, but that's part of culture, Fierro says. The theme and spirit of Día de los Muertos has remained throughout those transitions."

"To try to reverse this trend, a Washington state agency that advocates for medical aid-in-dying has created guidelines for dementia patients who don't want to be spoon-fed at the end of life." Because spoon-feeding is considered essential care, not heroic measures.

"Six weeks later (after either placing a stent on a heart artery or doing a placebo surgery), they all got on a treadmill and ran for a while to see if the chest pain they were used to experiencing during exercise had decreased. It turned out that there was no statistical difference between the exercise-related chest pain of those who got the stents and those who did not." Um, stents aren't a pain relief (although they can help). Stents increase blood flow in arteries that have been blocked (or, in the case of aortic stents, to reinforce vessel walls). The pain relief is secondary (and usually seen as proof of blood flow). But the reason to get a stent in a heart artery is to stop necrosis of heart tissue (the cause or result of most heart attacks).

Ah Texas, where lax regulations brings in the chemical plants. Because who needs regulations or the EPA? "A week later, Wheeler mowed his lawn for the first time since the fires. 'I wear a respirator, for grass allergies, so I didn't notice anything while I was mowing,' he says. After he was done, he picked up the grass clippings. 'I was wearing gloves, and back behind the gauntlet of the glove, up on my wrist and everything, it was starting to sting a little bit, like I was in ants,' he says." Wheeler live 3 mile from the Arkema plant. You may remember trailers exploding following the flooding from Hurricane Harvey.

"As white supremacists marched through Charlottesville, the high priest of a pagan religion looked on with horror from Reykjavik, Iceland. It wasn’t just their racist message that bothered him. It was that their banners bore the symbols of his religion: Ásatrú, also known as heathenry." Attempting to avoid the loss of identity and symbolism in the face of those appropriating them for racist ideology. I had that thought a few months ago that the pagans (or heathens as they call themselves in this article) might lose the icon of Thor's Hammer just like many religions lost the swastika after the Nazis.(Grokked form Matt Staggs)

"Dave Chapman and dozens of other longtime organic farmers packed a meeting of the National Organic Standards Board in Jacksonville, Fla., this week. It was their last-ditch effort to strip the organic label from a tide of fluid-fed, 'hydroponic' greenhouse-grown vegetables that they think represent a betrayal of true organic principles." When a marketing term gets regulated, and people are confused about what the term really means, and the rising industrialization of our food supply.

Because when it's about abortion, it's never over with these people. "The Trump administration on Friday accused lawyers for the American Civil Liberties Union of misleading the administration in the case of a pregnant immigrant teen who sought and obtained an abortion following a lawsuit."

"Energy Secretary Rick Perry suggested Thursday that expanding the use of fossil fuels could help prevent sexual assault." Because God and Jesus or something like that. Seriously, this administration seems hell bent on making satire impossible. (Grokked from Christopher Moore)

"If you buy insurance on your own and have been paying attention to the Affordable Care Act, you've probably heard that open enrollment for 2018 plans has just started and the government is spending a lot less money this year to get the word out."

"It is 'extremely likely' that human activities are the 'dominant cause' of global warming, according to the the most comprehensive study ever of climate science by U.S. government researchers." We're boned. Those two categorization phrases will, no doubt, be all the rage in conservative media as they spin it to mean, "they aren't completely sure" and "humans aren't the only cause." Again, I speak academian so allow me to translate these phrases, "extremely likely" means "you have to be brain dead to not see the connection, and "dominate cause" means "everything else is barely a blip on the radar." Of course, "(t)he report has been submitted to the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the White House. Trump has yet to choose anyone to run that office; it remains one of the last unfilled senior positions in the White House staff." As they said in Indiana Jones, "We have top men working on it right now."

"President Trump promised to 'hire the best people.'" So far a talk-show host, a member of Mar-A-Lago, a muffler-shop manager, a bartender, a cabin attendant, a scented candle "developer", wedding planner… "Many don’t appear to meet the educational qualifications for their positions. But they did stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night." (Grokked from John)

"Trump had picked Clovis for the (Department of Agriculture's chief scientist) despite him not having a background in science, and that lack of experience, alongside a history of racially charged and homophobic comments, made his nomination particularly controversial… But sources told CNN earlier Thursday that Clovis' nomination was imperiled over his connections to the ongoing Russia probe… Clovis' decision to step aside followed weeks of reports about incendiary comments he had previously made that had not disqualified him from the administration post." Sure he's a racist and a homophobe, but it was his potential connections to the Russia investigation that sank him. Don't worry, he's still employed as a USDA senior advisor.

A breakdown of some of the ads the Russians placed on Facebook. Again, note that they're still isolating social media platforms. Many people share across platforms (in fact there is a service that I use to post to twitter when I make a post here on the blog, I find articles for this post on my own newsfeeds, twitter, and facebook).

"President Trump pushed back Thursday on concerns about a lack of nominees for key positions at the State Department, arguing it wouldn't affect his agenda… "Let me tell you, the one that matters is me, I'm the only one that matters because when it comes to it that's what the policy is going to be,' Trump said on Fox News when pressed about vacancies by Laura Ingraham." There it is folk, Trump is responsible. Because he's the only one that matters. Way to not be narcissistic there, Mr. Presdient.

Remember the "one of the great memories of all time" quote from Trump? "President Donald Trump says he doesn’t 'remember much' about a March 2016 meeting with his campaign foreign policy adviser that is now front-and-center in special counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe." I believe this is called, "Pulling a Reagan."

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