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

Friday, August 30, 2019

Linkee-poo, solidarity forever

It's a long holiday weekend in the US. If you're enjoying time off, hug a union worker. And give the people who do have to work a break.

"All of Florida is under a state of emergency and authorities are urging residents to stockpile a week's worth of food and supplies as Hurricane Dorian gathers strength and aims to slam the state as soon as Monday as a Category 4 storm." Rhut rho. Waits for the evangelicals to either pray it away or blame on on teh gayz.

"When shopping for processed meats, many health-conscious consumers look for products with words like "no nitrates added" or "uncured" on the packaging. But we may have been misled, experts say… A new report finds that deli meats with those labels actually contain similar levels of nitrates as meats that don't carry these labels." Sometimes the rules lie (because they were written to do it that way).

"In January 2016, 'Goats & Soda' reported on lead levels in the soil of neighborhoods near an abandoned smelter in Kabwe, Zambia — and in the blood of the children. For nearly 100 years, smoke from the smelter, which closed in 1994, had been releasing heavy metals, including lead, in the form of dust. Children have grown up playing in that dust, inhaling it — and being poisoned by it. How are the people of Kabwe faring two and a half years later?" Spoiler alert, nothing has changed.

"Dismaying immigrants and advocates, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has sent out letters saying the agency will no longer consider most deferrals of deportation for people with serious medical conditions, documents show… The agency is now saying those decisions will be made by another agency: U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement." Performative cruelty. (Grokked from Kathryn Cramer)

"The widow of a veteran who died under suspicious circumstances at a West Virginia Veteran Affairs Hospital last year told NPR an autopsy report found the 81-year-old died of an unnecessary insulin injection. It is the second confirmed homicide in a string of deaths at the facility that are being investigated." And they didn't report either (or now, "any") as sentinel events?

"Krevat’s bills were just a drop in the American medical-debt ocean. About 43 million Americans have unpaid medical debt dinging their credit, and half of all overdue debt on Americans’ credit reports is from medical expenses, according to a Consumer Financial Protection Bureau study from 2014. The debt typically comes from out-of-network doctors who people thought were in-network, hospital stays, or ambulance rides. About one in six Americans received a surprise out-of-network medical bill in 2017 after being treated in a hospital, even though they had insurance, according to Kaiser Health News."

"From a planning perspective, Wolfgang Balzer is the perfect health care consumer… Balzer, an engineer, knew for several years he had a hernia that would need to be repaired, but it wasn't an emergency, so he waited until the time was right." Also, quotes in the medical field mean nothing. There is no legal obligation to honor them. This is why "price transparency" won't work. The "free market" doesn't work for medical care.

"Two cameras that malfunctioned outside the jail cell where financier Jeffrey Epstein died as he awaited trial on sex-trafficking charges have been sent to an FBI crime lab for examination, a law enforcement source told Reuters." It just means they want to make sure and have all the data points. (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"Satellite imagery shared exclusively with NPR shows that an Iranian rocket appears to have exploded on the launch pad Thursday."

"Police in Hong Kong arrested three well-known pro-democracy activists over the course of just 24 hours; the latest move to quash anti-government protests heading into their 13th consecutive week. The move came on the eve of a highly-anticipated but now officially banned pro-democracy march on Saturday. Two of the activists were later released on bail."

How go the Trade Wars? "China’s best option in the trade war is to wait it out, experts say, as it’s huge domestic economy is increasingly being driven by the power of its consumers — not trade." Thank you Captain Obvious.

"This should come as something of a relief to the Chinese, who were flummoxed by Trump’s initial claims. 'Regarding the phone call in the weekend, I am not aware of that,' Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters… And it may indicate why the president was so hesitant to offer any detail on said calls… Could it be that Trump was genuinely confused about communications coming from China? Sure. Could it also be that he’s desperate for a win after virtually an entire presidency of failures? Seems likely!" A lot of Wall Street trading is now controlled by computers who scan the internet for clues about which way to lean. Apparently they're also scrubbing the president's twitter feed for trading clues. And since this AI is not actually AI at all, we get wild gyrations of the market all based on the president's tweets. Which traders know this happens, so even though they know the president can't be trusted, because they might miss out on a few million on instant trading, they'll continue this practice.

"U.S. consumer spending increased solidly in July as households bought a range of goods and services, which could further allay financial market fears of a recession, but the pace of growth in consumption is unlikely to be sustained amid tepid income gains." It's called "back to school" and "pent up demand."

"A lot of American companies that make or buy products in China are starting to rethink that, as a new round of tariffs takes effect this weekend. But Robert D'Loren doesn't have to worry. As CEO of the Xcel Brands clothing company, he began moving production out of China some time ago." Good for him. He's still exploiting cheap foreign labor.

How goes Brexit? "The PM has warned MPs they are damaging his chances of getting a deal with the EU by trying to block a no-deal Brexit." What?

"Stillwater City Council passed a resolution Monday to symbolically put permitless carry to a vote of the people. The law is set to take effect November 1 and would allow those 21 and older to carry a firearm… But during the council meeting, members were threatened by an angry person who called the Stillwater Dispatch Center." Our well-regulated militia, everybody. (Grokked from Laura J Mixon)

"Braxton Ryback, 25, and Johnny Young, 22, were recently arrested by Las Vegas police after threatening to shoot up the XS Nightclub at Wynn Las Vegas." (Grokked from Xopher Halftongue)

"U.S. Attorney Justin Herdman's comments on recent Ohio cases involving political violence." Stands and salutes. (Grokked from Tobias Buckell)

"Madeleine Westerhout was forced to resign as executive assistant to the President on Thursday after Trump learned she had shared information with reporters at a recent off-the-record meeting, during which she didn't say her comments were off the record, according to sources familiar with her departure. A reporter divulged details about the dinner to White House staff, the people said."

"Former Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday defended the 'central point' of a war story he told on the campaign trail last week as 'absolutely accurate' after a report exposed a slew of incorrect details." If only the media were half as tenacious and concerned about the president's lies.

Evergreen story. "US spies say Trump's G7 performance suggests he's either a 'Russian asset' or a 'useful idiot' for Putin." Why couldn't it be both?

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