What a field day for the heat
A thousand people in the street
Singing songs and carrying signs
Mostly saying, "hooray for our side"

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Linkee-poo will make a reckless prediction, I'll still be in the kitchen when the lights come on

Terri Windling with a short history of adult fairy-tales.

An evening with Neil Gaiman and Daniel Handler. An interview of writers talking about writers. (Grokked from Neil Gaiman)

"No one will deny that marriage is hard. In fact, there's evidence it's getting even harder." The Hidden Brain podcast on the evolution of marriage and how our expectations have changed.

"The Sarnos say they eventually had to disband the Fire Station 55 SC and that Disneyland refused to let them hold another charity walk. They've been ostracized, they say, living in fear of physical assault. They have not felt it safe to return to Disneyland." It's a rumble in Disneyland between different Disney Social Clubs. (Sings the Micky Mouse Club song here)

Who needs decent insurance (say like a single payor program)? (note, Fox News link) "A Texas mother of two died Sunday from flu complications after reportedly deciding that the $116 medication to treat the virus was too costly." Yeah, might have been helpful if she didn't have to worry about the costs. But then they also said this, "This season’s deadly flu season has reportedly taken the lives of hundreds of Americans across the country." Yeah, about that. "There were 40,414 deaths in the U.S. during the third week of 2018, the most recent data available, and 4,064 were from pneumonia or influenza, according to the CDC data."

"An Indiana family that decided against vaccinating a 3-year-old is now haunted by that decision, wondering if a flu shot could have saved the girl's life." It may or it may have not. "Stettler said Alivia’s parents declined to give her the flu shot after hearing that the vaccination could be ineffective." This is false. This year's flu shot is 30% effective against contracting the flu (at least for Influenza A, which IIRC is (H2N3) this year). However if you do contract the flu, this year's shot is believed to lessen the severity and duration of the illness. If you can tolerate the vaccine, get the goddamn flu shot.

And then we have "California's insurance commissioner has launched an investigation into Aetna after learning a former medical director for the insurer admitted under oath he never looked at patients' records when deciding whether to approve or deny care."

"The church that stiffed an Outback server on a $735 order compensated the woman who ended up losing her job at the restaurant after complaining on social media about not getting a tip."

So how's the Amazon 2 search going? "Amazon is laying off hundreds of employees and "managing out" others as the company consolidates its retail operations and expands tech gadgets like Alexa, according to a Monday report in the Seattle Times."

"Even if the president were to get the spending cuts and economic growth he wants, deficits would explode to $7.1 trillion over the next decade." Dear Democrats, when you take back the reins of our broken government and realize the amount of spending needed to fix this country, the Republicans are going to scream about deficit spending and the national debt. Point to this historical period and laugh in their faces. Laugh loudly and laugh in public where the media can see it. Also, raise taxes on the rich and corporations. "After Ronald Reagan’s tax cuts In the 1980’s, deficits exploded in the same range as Trump’s now, when calculated as a percentage of the economy, or Gross Domestic Product." (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The January document calls for 'dedicating resources to continuously evaluate' Sunni Muslim immigrants from South Asia, Africa and the Middle East on a 'long-term basis.'" Look, 1984 was a warning about the use of the panopticon, not a government manual. This would be laughable if it weren't for the fact that you are several times over more likely to be killed by a white, Christian, native-born American acting out some white supremacy vision than you are of being killed in a terrorist attack committed by an immigrant muslim. It would also be funny if this administration didn't have a hard-on for authoritarian regimes and the social programs of the Nazis. (Grokked from Saladin Ahmed)

"'What we do is propose that for folks who are on food stamps, part — not all, part — of their benefits come in the actual sort of… Blue Apron-type program where you actually receive the food instead of receive the cash,' Mulvaney said. 'It lowers the cost to us because we can buy [at wholesale prices] whereas they have to buy it at retail. It also makes sure they're getting nutritious food.'… Mulvaney's remarks drew raised eyebrows from some critics, who accuse the Trump administration official of drawing an unfair comparison between the food stamp program, which delivers an average of $1.37 per meal to America's poorest, and a high-end meal kit that runs $10 per serving." Remember government cheese blocks and peanut butter? I do. For a party that derides the so-called "Nanny-state" the Republicans sure do a lot of it. Besides being more expensive (even if the government is able to buy at wholesale, or even negotiate prices) it is, "(e)qually unclear is whether USDA would allot the same foods to, say, an elderly diabetic and a family with young children."

Sure you can trust the police. "Two Baltimore plainclothes police detectives were convicted Monday of racketeering, robbery and fraud in a trial involving a wide range of criminal activities by an elite police unit charged with reducing the number of illegal guns on that city's streets." This happens when people take their eye off the ball and instead believe the hagiography of our first responders. This is the hero trap and it's why I bristle when people just start assigning that label to a profession instead of an individual.

"A terrorist who set off small bombs in two states, including a pressure cooker device that blasted shrapnel across a New York City block, is set to be sentenced Tuesday to a mandatory term of life in prison." Remember when conservatives screamed about keeping terrorist at GitMo so they could face justice. This was for a terrorist attack in 2016. The trial of the 9-11 "mastermind" hasn't really progressed to the actual trial stage yet.

"Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte should be taken seriously, but not literally, his spokesman said on Tuesday…" How does that work? "…after the controversial leader drew criticism for saying he once ordered soldiers to shoot female Maoist insurgents in the genitals." Misogynists are gonna misogynate. Say, remember when Hitler said Jews were like dogs and the people just laughed and laughed. And gee, I seem to remember Sanders and Spicer telling us the same thing about our President. And we go back to the rules to remember under an authoritarian regime. Rule one is "believe the leader when they say something."

Just someone's opinion. "Increasingly, Wall Street banks and independent economic researchers are starting to flag doubts about the health of the Trump economy, further fueling the belief that a downturn could hit in 2019. The thinking is that the economy is likely to overheat, forcing the Federal Reserve to have to hike interest rates quickly to prevent inflation, where prices rise rapidly on everything from rents to food to gas. Once the Fed starts pumping up rates, business and consumers are likely to pull back their spending."

"There's a glaring hole in President Trump's budget proposal for 2019, global health researchers say. A U.S. program to help other countries beef up their ability to detect pathogens around the world will lose a significant portion of its funding." What could possibly go wrong? Say, remember when people lost their shit with the prospect of Ebola coming to America?

"The World Health Organization says as many as 450 people may have been infected with Lassa fever in Nigeria in less than five weeks."

"But Federal officials say it's not their role to warn the public about missiles. 'FEMA will tell the states that there's a missile inbound and where it's going to land,' says Mark Lucero, chief of engineering for IPAWS. 'And then the state will initiate any plans it has in place, one of which being issuing an alert to the public, telling them what to do.'… This comes as a surprise to many of those local emergency management officials." It shouldn't if they kept up with their required emergency systems training (as all local officials are required to do). But then, as I remember, they were a little vague on who was in charge of every thing (much of the text was "the person in charge/responsible", but very little on chain of command). I asked a lot of questions. But the Hawaii alert failure exposed a lot of problems with the system including software design and lack of strategic thought about all the situations. Basically it took them over half-an-hour to get the all-clear out because nobody had ever thought a warning would be issued by mistake. The system is set up to have the local agency issue warnings because many of the warnings to be issued would be for local issues (weather related, 911 issues, neighborhood evacuations, etc). Having to raise the issues up to the federal level first takes time. So the system is designed top-down. A local official can call an emergency. A state official can call an emergency which then the local officials announce. A federal official can call an emergency which is then communicated to the states which is passed to the local officials to announce.

"American Conservative Union chairman Matt Schlapp warned the Republican-controlled Congress not to underestimate the impact of responsible spending for voters." They're so cute when then think the GOP is the same party they joined decades ago. The GOP is now a social conservative movement.

"The budget outline also zeroes out the Public Housing Capital Fund, dedicated to rehabilitating and modernizing public housing developments, and eliminates the Community Development Block Grant which local governments can use at their discretion to address a variety of community and infrastructure needs." Yep, both sides are exactly the same (except they're not). And I know there's a lot of brouhaha over the president's budget, and we should talk about it because it demonstrates the mind set of the president and the conservative movement. But Congress passed a 2-year budget resolution and the president signed it. That's the real fucking budget. Now, of course, it remains to be seen how Congress sets up the actual appropriations bill (which is the law that tells the government departments how much money they can spend and on what priorities). It's the appropriations bill that matters. Budgets are just wish-lists and guidance documents. The appropriations bill is what spends the money (and where and on what).

"South African President Jacob Zuma must leave office promptly so that the country can move toward political stability and economic recovery, the ruling party said Tuesday, finally disowning a leader who has been discredited by corruption scandals."

"Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate intelligence committee that Moscow viewed its attack on the 2016 election as decidedly worthwhile given the chaos it has sown as compared to its relatively low cost… That's why such interference is likely to continue, he said." No it's likely to continue because their goal has not been achieved and we have not made it too costly to them to continue (with either proportionate responses to their politics or infrastructure, or driving up their actual hard currency costs, or even to impose basic sanctions as required by law which the president just sort of ignored).

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