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

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Linkee-poo Thursday

"Schwab’s skills are on full display in this page. She’s a master of characterization and she knows how to let a moment breathe." DongWon Song on openings. Rewrote part of chapter 1 of WIP to emphasize what the character notices and why, and to add more characterization. I'm on the 3rd file for Chapter 1, and at least the first part is almost Draft 1 level.

"In partnership with Den of Geek, we are proud to announce the launch of TorCon, an all-new virtual convention that brings all the fun of panels directly to the fans. From Thursday, June 11th through Sunday, June 14th, Tor and Publishing are presenting eight panels featuring over twenty of your favorite authors across different platforms, in conversation with each other—and with you!" Have you ever wanted to know what a convention is like, but didn't want the expense or the travel? Well, here's one way to experience panels of a convention. So far I'm not seeing a cost (other than your internet connection and time).

"As Jack Zipes asks in his fairytale analysis Why Fairy Tales Stick, why do some fairytales stick and not others? I decided to ask several writers and retellers of fairytales this question to get their opinions. Their answers are multi-faceted." Generations have their favorites (although The Mouse now controls some of the arc of that). The same is true for orchestral music. I'm glad my generation got Mozart (mostly because of the movie "Amadeus" which tore through the public consciousness when I was in my late teens). While I love Beethoven, Bach, List, Handel (somewhat), Sibelius, Tchaikovsky and a lot of others, Mozart just resonates. The same is true with fairy tales. Something about one or the other resonates with the zeitgeist of the time. Also, fairy tales were not meant to calcify. They changed like the folk tales they came from. There is a whole area of study researching the etymology of various tales (in the same way Joseph Campbell did comparative religions and myths to find commonalities and the "meta" story).

"Secretary of Defense Mark Esper is on shaky ground with the White House after saying Wednesday that he does not support using active duty troops to quell the large-scale protests across the United States triggered by the death of George Floyd and those forces should only be used in a law enforcement role as a last resort." I mean, he only referred to DC and the "battlespace", it's not like he transmitted the codes.

"Revising an earlier account, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said he was aware of the Monday night plan to visit a Washington church — where President Donald Trump posed for photos holding a bible — but he didn't know what would happen when they arrived." You're saying the cat is on the roof and won't come down?

"Defense Department officials say they are increasingly uncomfortable with the more prominent role the U.S. military is playing in tamping down violent protests breaking out all over the U.S., and the growing tendency of the president to call on the troops for domestic missions ranging from border security to law enforcement." Gee, is there an election coming up or what.

"A friend of George Floyd who was in his car when he was killed in a confrontation with police says Floyd did not resist arrest, but the Minnesota attorney general warns that winning convictions against the officers will be difficult."

"President Donald Trump on Wednesday denied multiple news reports that he took refuge for his personal safety in an underground White House bunker Friday night during intense protests outside the building over George Floyd’s death, claiming he only visited the bunker during the day for 'a short inspection.'" Uh huh. Uh huh. Sure.

"His death came on a violent night in St. Louis, where four officers were shot, officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks, and 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged, including a convenience store that burned. Police also shot and gravely injured a burglary suspect who they say shot at officers."

"The bigger picture is clear: The police showed up in Minneapolis looking for a fight and were ready to use even the slimmest excuses in order to unleash violence on protesters who weren't armed and didn't injure anyone. (And some of whom were literally children.) But in Ohio and Michigan and other places, anti-lockdown protesters literally showed up to threaten politicians with an implicit message of violence by performing their paramilitary cosplay — and police did nothing." Funny, that.

"Drifting out of the shadows in small groups, dressed in black, carrying shields and wearing knee pads, they head toward the front lines of the protest. Helmets and gas masks protect and obscure their faces, and they carry bottles of milk to counteract tear gas and pepper spray… Most of them appear to be white. They carry no signs and don't want to speak to reporters. Trailed by designated 'medics' with red crosses taped to their clothes, these groups head straight for the front lines of the conflict."

"U.S. unrest over the death of a black man in police custody has reversed the usual tide of diplomacy over human rights, as nations stung by American criticism over the years return fire, accusing U.S. authorities of double standards." So much winning.

"Violent protests are less likely when police have a good relationship with the local community - but how they react to demonstrations on the day also matters, experts say." On how peaceful protests can turn violent.

"And this is why, rather than the words of the chiefs, it’s been much more instructive to follow what’s been going on with their rank-and-file officers since the death of Floyd." The difference between what they say and what they do.

"Those who remember the last time the Insurrection Act was used, during the 1992 Los Angeles riots, warn that President Donald Trump could undo decades of progress between police and the communities they serve if he invokes it now." Even though it's been minimal, there has been movement.

Forming neighborhood protection groups… "But is this a path to vigilante justice?" Yes. No matter how noble the impulse, or how needed it is initially.

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Organizers of protests in Los Angeles against police brutality say they have deliberately avoided South L.A. in order to focus on more affluent areas like Hollywood and Beverly Hills." They're coming to get you, booga booga.

"Piece by piece, authorities overnight began pulling down a five-story-tall monument to Confederate troops that has stood for more than a century in Birmingham, Ala… By the time the workers paused Tuesday morning, little was left of a spire that had become a lightning rod for controversy in recent years and a focal point for local protesters outraged by George Floyd's death last week in Minneapolis."

And it's not just in the South. "Workers removed a statue of Philadelphia's controversial former Mayor Frank Rizzo from its place of honor across from City Hall early Wednesday morning, finishing a job that protesters attempted to accomplish during recent demonstrations against police brutality." Fuck Rizzo.

"The Missouri city where the death of a black teen set off weeks of nationwide protests and outrage in 2014 elected its first woman and first black mayor Tuesday night, according to CNN affiliate KMOV."

"The House-passed anti-lynching bill won’t pass the Senate without changes, Sen. Rand Paul said on Wednesday, raising the prospect that Congress may once again fall short of confronting the abhorrent practice." On how to look like you're doing something when in reality you're just spinning your wheels for show.

"Now the man credited as the architect behind (Sweden's coronavirus) policy, Anders Tegnell, is acknowledging that he sees 'potential for improvement in what we have done in Sweden.'… if Sweden kept its bars and restaurants open, more people among the less vulnerable would develop immunity and ultimately slow the spread… So far, though, Sweden has not yet seen the health results for which it's hoping." I know, I'm shocked too.

"A malaria drug President Donald Trump took to try to prevent COVID-19 proved ineffective for that in the first large, high-quality study to test it in people in close contact with someone with the disease."

"The two doses are likely to be required because SARS-CoV-2 is a newly emerged virus that no one has developed antibodies against. Also, with many potential vaccines being created using new systems it’s believed two doses will be required for full immunity." There are several vaccines like that. Also, again, we don't know how long immunity will last.

"One of the largest publishers of coronavirus disinformation on Facebook has been banned from the platform for using content farms from North Macedonia and the Philippines, Facebook said on Friday."

"After brushing off Democrats’ demands for more relief, Senate Republicans now say the next major coronavirus package is likely to move in the coming weeks. And a key conflict ahead will be over how to help the 40 million Americans out of work." But McConnell will only support it if the rich get more and we stiff the poor.

"The European Central Bank (ECB) announced Thursday that it will increase its Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme (PEPP) by 600 billion euros ($672 billion), as it attempts to bolster the region’s economy following the coronavirus crisis."

"White House officials have decided not to release updated economic projections this summer, opting against publishing forecasts that would almost certainly codify an administration assessment that the coronavirus pandemic has led to a severe economic downturn, according to three people with knowledge of the decision." Cool. Cool.

"An additional 1.877 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits in the week ending May 30, exceeding economists’ estimates for 1.843 million initial jobless claims during the week. The prior week’s figure was revised higher to 2.13 million from the previously reported 2.12 million… This week’s report marked the first time that weekly initial jobless claims came in below two million in 10 weeks." So much winning.

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "Thursday's report would suggest the worst is over for the labor market…" You know, except for the 40+ million people out of work.

"The US government says it will block Chinese airlines from flying into the US in response to what it says is a policy that has prevented US carriers from service between the two countries." The horses are all out, time to close the barn doors.

"In the past, Twitter has said that incitements to violence from world leaders like President Donald Trump should be treated differently from those made by the rest of us. This week, that policy was shown to clear effect when the social media network banned the @SuspendThePres account and ordered it to delete a tweet. Its crime? Tweeting the exact same words used by Trump a day earlier."

"Snapchat’s parent company, Snap, on Wednesday said that it would stop promoting Trump’s campaign account on its Discover tab, which has been a strategic priority for Trump to reach the younger voters who are Snapchat’s core audience. That decision provoked a searing statement from Trump’s campaign manager and instantly made Snapchat and its CEO a flashpoint in the escalating fight between Trump and tech." And because they're no longer giving the president free promotion, the right has labeled them as "radicals".

"Retired Marine Gen. Jim Mattis, who resigned as President Trump's defense secretary nearly a year and a half ago over policy differences, has issued an extraordinary critique of the White House's handling of nationwide unrest, saying Trump has sought to divide Americans and warning against 'militarizing our response' to the protests." To bad he didn't have the same fortitude while he was defense secretary. But I guess we all have our lines we're not willing to cross.

"Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein said Wednesday he would not have signed off on a foreign surveillance warrant used in the FBI's Russia investigation, but he defended his appointment of former special counsel Robert Mueller to investigate Russian election interference and President Donald Trump's associates." Ah, that's a hard baby to split, isn't it?

"Former Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein on Wednesday defended his role overseeing the federal investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election, blaming senior FBI officials for withholding vital information related to the probe." It's not my fault, he cried. It's McCabe's fault. Sure.

Meanwhile, on Bullshit Mountain… "What was Rosenstein thinking when he approved the fourth and final of my FISA warrants, after so many of the lies that precipitated this fiasco had already been debunked? How did that application manage to elide all the exculpatory evidence the FBI held about me and other supporters of President Trump? Did the bureau lie to Rosenstein as well, or was he somehow complicit?" Dear Carter Page, you bragged about being an advisor to the Kremlin. George Papadopoulos whom you worked with bragged about being in touch with the Russians while working on the campaign. So please feel free to fuck off and die.

"After years of racist comments that lost him the support of many Republican Party leaders, conservative Iowa Rep. Steve King has lost his bid for reelection to a primary challenge by GOP state Sen. Randy Feenstra." Well, some good news (not that the replacement will be much better, just slightly less vocal). I wonder how much Fox News will pay him now?

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