There is trouble in the forest
And the creatures all have fled
As the maples scream 'oppression!'
And the oaks, just shake their heads

Thursday, August 22, 2019

Linkee-poo, these five words in my head scream, "Are we having fun yet?"

"Amsterdam's Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica… houses more ths 25,000 occult texts, covering 'Hermetics, Rosicrucians, Theosophy, alchemy, mysticism, Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Sufism, Kabbalah, Anthroposophy, Catharism, Freemasonry, Manichaeism, Judaica, the Grail, Esotericism, and comparative religion'… The library has begun to scan and post its core collection to an online archive called The Hermetically Open Archive." I'll be in my bunk. (Grokked from Kelly Link)

John Scalzi on Jeannette Ng's Campbell acceptance speech. SF/F has a troubled past. If you doubt that just google World Fantasy's HP Lovecraft award statues. However there are a lot of people invested in the foundation histories and they will die on those hills. I, for one, and willing to let them die on those hills. Because the world changes. And if you don't change with it, your society will perish as well. The shore of progress is littered with the corpses of those who thought they could hold back the tides of change. And to move forward successfully you need to be realistic and honest about the past.

"Because the oceans cover three fifths of the globe, this correction implies that previous estimates of overall global warming have been too low. Moreover it was reported recently that in the one place where it was carefully measured, the underwater melting that is driving disintegration of ice sheets and glaciers is occurring far faster than predicted by theory—as much as two orders of magnitude faster—throwing current model projections of sea level rise further in doubt." We're boned.

"Environmental organizations and researchers say the wildfires blazing in the Brazilian rainforest were set by cattle ranchers and loggers who want to clear and utilize the land, emboldened by the country's pro-business president." Besides removing biodiversity and destroying the "lungs of the world", do you know what happens when you burn the world's largest carbon sink? If you said it releases all that CO2 back into the atmosphere, congrats.

"A crew of veteran U.S. astronauts and aviators are training in Houston for a manned mission to the International Space Station aboard Boeing’s new Starliner spacecraft, which could also be used to take tourists into space on future missions."

"A mass shooting may have been prevented when a co-worker reported that a disgruntled employee had threatened to shoot other workers and customers at a California hotel, police said Wednesday."

"In the 16 months since the law has been in effect, Vermont, with a population of about 627,000, has issued some 30 extreme risk protection orders, or ERPOs… One of them was served on 28-year-old Sean Laskevich, of Springfield, Vt." The story of one attempt to remove guns from a home. Also note how people are intentionally conflating and confusing several things here, including mass shootings and suicides. "Despite all that happened that night, Amanda Barbour says she's confident that Laskevich poses absolutely no threat. Taking his gun away, she says, is not right." Because it'll never happen to them, because they're the "right" people. Until it does happen to them, and then there was no way of foreseeing it.

"New Mexico's commissioner of public lands said she's on a mission for justice as details emerge about Jeffrey Epstein's alleged sex abuse at his ranch in the state. In an exclusive interview, she revealed her office is fully cooperating with investigators and has turned over 400 pages of Epstein's property records to investigators – documents that may contain names of his alleged co-conspirators." Hang on folks, the ride is about to get bumpy.

How go the Trade Wars? "U.S. Steel will reportedly lay off nearly 200 workers at a plant in Michigan… The company cited lower steel prices and reduced demand in idling the furnaces." Remember how this all started with steel and aluminum tariffs? (Grokked form Joy Reid)

"President Donald Trump on Tuesday described the prospect of the US falling into recession as 'irrelevant' and defended his decision to wage a trade war with China." Whistling past the graveyard. No, he doesn't care who gets hurt as long as it's not him.

"The U.S. economy had 501,000 fewer jobs in March 2019 than previously reported, government revisions show… The annual revision is much larger than is typically the case." Half a million is larger than those "Over $1M 401(k)" accounts by a factor of 4. JFC, that's "cooking the books" levels. (Grokked from Joy Reid)

"Over the past two decades, central bankers have used the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City’s annual symposium in Jackson Hole to plot out and signal changes in monetary policy… With global recession fears growing and bond yields tumbling, this week’s gathering is one of the most anticipated in years." Ah, it's time for Geekstock again.

"Today’s meritocrats still claim to get ahead through talent and effort, using means open to anyone. In practice, however, meritocracy now excludes everyone outside of a narrow elite… Hardworking outsiders no longer enjoy genuine opportunity." The lie of the "meritocracy." But then the article goes on to focus on the mental health care costs on those who are in the pipeline of the "meritocracy," because they're driven so much and so much is expected of them. Well, the author is of that class, so he's speaking from. And yes, it's true. But just imagine how much harder it is for those who don't have the benefit of the higher income class. Because all those stresses he talked about (basically "welcome to workaholism", "Hi, my name is Steve and I'm a…") are stresses we all feel at all levels. Welcome to the trap the 1% created for everybody.

"An audit of the federal system that fines mining companies for unsafe conditions found no evidence that more than $1 billion in mine safety penalties over 18 years deterred unsafe mining practices." Shocked, shocked I am the fining companies less than 1 days' profit and pre-announcing inspections would fail to really change anything.

How goes Brexit? "It would seem that both Mr Macron and Angela Merkel are determined not to shut the door entirely in Boris Johnson's face, and perhaps equally determined not to be blamed for no deal." But they're not giving him anything. They're basically saying, "the deal is our idea of how it should work, tell us yours and we'll see what we can do."

"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office now says the federal deficit will hit $960 billion in fiscal 2019 and average $1.2 trillion in each of the next 10 years." Finally conservative my ass. But hey, I bet one more tax cut will do the job. And the president is talking about a payroll tax-cut, those are the taxes for Medicare and Social Security, which would lead to… a deficit in those programs which would give the GOP the excuse to eliminate those programs entirely.

"Hundreds of millions of dollars in federal student loan debt owed by tens of thousands of disabled military veterans will be erased under a directive President Donald Trump signed Wednesday." The process was already underway, he's just changing the rules and hoops vets had to jump through to get it.

"Australia has agreed to join a U.S.-led naval contingent protecting commercial shipping in the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman amid alleged attacks by Iran against vessels operating in the strategic waterways." That makes four, when we should have twelve or fifteen.

On the Media podcast on the democracy we think we live in, wherein the call out Fox News. "The pathways and origins of white nationalist thought were a matter of deadly importance in coverage of last weekend’s shootings. On this week’s On the Media, how mainstream punditry launders a tolerance for xenophobia. Also, the history of American presidents and media figures dismissing black and brown claims to power in a democracy. Plus, what calls for additional federal oversight in Puerto Rico mean for Puerto Ricans." On the Media is doing the hard good work.

"President Trump defended the idea of buying Greenland… in part by saying the idea first came from President Harry Truman… Is that so?… The short answer:… Yes — but it's complicated." It was a bad idea then, and it's still a bad idea. Yes there is some strategic value as both the global contest between the US and Russia heats up, but mostly for the exploitation of mineral wealth in the newly opened Arctic (because of global warming).

"Just hours after accusing Jewish people who vote for Democrats of 'disloyalty' (which drew widespread condemnation), President Trump quoted a controversial radio host who called him the 'King of Israel' and 'the second coming of God,' in the latest of a series of inflammatory comments about Jews." President Crazypants goes on a tear.

"Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper announced his Senate candidacy on Thursday, giving Democrats a widely known contender to take on a vulnerable GOP incumbent a week after Hickenlooper dropped out of the presidential race." Several of them should do the same.

"Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee announced Wednesday that he is withdrawing from the race… Inslee made climate change a top issue as a candidate" Jay, if you want to be able to tell your grandkids that you did everything you could, even if you drop out of the race doesn't mean you have to disappear. Keep fighting, keep fighting to change the politics, keep fighting to get the best people elected.

"President Donald Trump claimed to laughter on Wednesday that he sought to give himself a Medal of Honor, but decided not to after being counseled against the move by aides." While lots of news orgs are saying he doesn't qualify because he never served in the military (which is true), the ignore the very basic fact that it's full name is the Congressional Medal of Honor. Congress is the body that awards the medal, it's the president that presents the medal. He can't give it to himself, because he's not the one who nominates or approves of it. He's so fucking clueless about the basics of things he's an active participant in. (Grokked from Joy Reid)