There's battle lines being drawn.
Nobody's right if everybody's wrong.
Young people speaking their minds
getting so much resistance from behind

Monday, June 10, 2024

Linkee-poo June 10

So, doing search for t-shirt designs for a general Radiology (instead of the specific topic I'm designing). And I gotta say in the last 4 years the t-shirt biz has produced a lot of good work for Radiology. Part of me is, "hey, that's great, I'm jazzed" and part of me is, "get the fuck off my lawn!"

The Hidden Brain podcast on… "Thinking is a human superpower. On a daily basis, thinking and planning and effort bring us innumerable benefits. But like all aspects of human behavior, you can sometimes get too much of a good thing. This week, we talk with philosopher Ted Slingerland about techniques to prevent overthinking, and how we can cultivate the under-appreciated skill of letting go." And I think this is in part what happened to my writing. In 2009 I was in a good place, I had learned enough and internalized enough that I was able to relax. I could hit the writing equivalent of my designing mind. Since my life was turned upside down in January 2010, I've learned more, but have been trying too hard because I'm 1) running out of time, and 2) need to break out quickly. And so I became like the centipede who was asked how they can walk with all those legs. I'm thinking about the process. Suddenly I couldn't. I would break down. It was too important to let go. I lost the "ease" of writing. Can I still find it? Sure, but not when I'm working on fiction. Instead of flow, my mind is racing, "am I building tension properly, and I including all the Chekov's guns I'll need, and I using the correct homophone?"

"A majority of Americans believe that the economy is in a recession even though it’s not. On this week’s On the Media, hear why there’s a mismatch between facts and feelings about the economy. Plus, how the outlandish claims of AI companies often go unchecked by the press." "On the wide open, grassy space on the National Mall, halfway between the U.S. Capitol and the Washington Monument, a temporary village has sprouted up in recent days. Several tiny houses line the paths, and workers assemble what looks like an instant log cabin. A few manufactured homes are clustered near the Smithsonian Castle." The problem, I've looked for these solutions, and I can't really find them.

"Enter the 'hospital facility fee': a charge hospitals can add to bills from doctors’ offices, outpatient surgical clinics and diagnostics centers that they own, rebranding them as 'outpatient hospital departments', even if the facility is miles from a hospital campus… 'It’s one of the most egregious examples of hospital financing at the expense of consumers,' said Liz Hagan, director of policy solutions at the United States of Care, a non-profit advocacy group that released a new report on the practice." My own hospital system does this, and it was announced to great fanfare as "what a wonderful thing." No, it's not. And I made my opinion known. It didn't do anything, of course, because the administrators don't think the patients are going to do anything at all about it (unlike me who sees a major reform coming).

"Demoralized doctors and nurses are leaving the field, hospitals are sounding the alarm about workforce shortages and employees are increasingly unionizing and even going on strike in high-profile disputes with their employers." Our hospital system has a 23% turnover rate for healthcare providers. And they think this is "normal" and "sustainable." And it was slightly possible (ignoring the morale and 'tribal knowledge' issues that level brings) when there were so many people graduating from nursing and allied health programs. But what's not mentioned here is that schools have hit the demographic cliff, that is the student population has plummeted. When I went through radiography there was a 2 year wait after you were accepted to the program (this was after 1 full year of pre-req courses which we had to pass before we could even apply to the program). Of the two schools we accept students for clinical experience, there is now no wait times. We may not even have students from one of the schools this Fall. Management has begrudgingly begun to work on this problem, but only on the recruitment side (we now have several "tech assistants", ie. student we pay nominally to lock them into working for the system before they realize all their options). There is zero work on the retention side.

"More than half of patients (60%) diagnosed with advanced forms of lung cancer who took lorlatinib were still alive five years later with no progression in their disease, data presented at the world’s largest cancer conference showed. The rate was 8% in patients treated with a standard drug, the trial found." "Battlefield medicine has come a long way. But that progress could be lost…" And then there was this part… "A Defense Department internal memo obtained by NPR found that outsourcing did not actually save the military money, but it did hurt readiness." Outsourcing government functions always costs more, and does not provide better services.

"Top-line results from two clinical trials were impressively positive, with MDMA therapy in combination with psychotherapy showing statistically significant, clinically meaningful improvements for PTSD symptoms. But, as the discussion dove deeper into the data, the experts identified a damningly large number of trial flaws, including missing data and bias, that threw the validity of those positive results into serious question." This really is on the poor record keeping and mismanagement of the company seeking the approval. Which is a shame, because it appears (except the double-blind portion of the test really wasn't) that it is an effective treatment.

"Now, new disclosures seen by HuffPost shed some light. Just weeks before she issued the ruling, Mizelle had discreetly attended an all-expenses-paid luxury trip from a conservative group whose primary mission is to persuade more federal judges to adopt the use of corpus linguistics. For five days, Mizelle and more than a dozen other federal judges listened to the leading proponents of corpus linguistics in the comfort of The Greenbrier, an ostentatious resort spread out over 11,000 acres of West Virginia hillside." JFC, there's this long running social media thing about, "but the dictionary defines this word to mean…" completely missing both the actual real definition (which is usually multipart) and the connotation of the words. And now we're going to have judges pulling this trolling bullshit. Great.

"Anna Harrold should have been celebrating her victory at the Great West Run in Exeter on Sunday, but instead she faced a barrage of abuse from people online who called her “disgusting”, 'revolting' and a 'disgrace'… The comments were centred on false claims she was born a man." Gee, who could have seen the anti-trans people trying to police women's bodies to see if they're "feminine enough"?

Prepare for eyerolls. No, I'm serious, you might want to stretch first because it's gonna be a big one. "But there are foods, the bullies and the priggish suggest, that alert the world you are gay in a negative way. It’s mostly the stuff of immature oooOOOOOooos and teenage razzing, but studies show men will avoid everything from yogurt to rosé to “products with rounded edges” because they are associated with femininity, and for a man to do a womanly thing could give someone the wrong idea. Because to come off as queer is still the “wrong idea.” The feeling behind the joke is that to be queer is to be lesser, and that you could be perceived that way with the slip of the tongue across a scoop of mint chip." The article does do a good breakdown on gender and how culture perceives it. This week we decorated the workroom with our names of Summer icons, cutouts of watermelon, sandals, icecream cones, etc. There was a brouhaha (not from me) because whomever did the names (it was the students I think) put my name on "pink" flip-flops. Much profuse apologies and a call for making a new item for me. I stopped it. I don't care if my name is on a pink piece of paper I told them to their objections. Seriously, my "maleness" and "manhood" was settled long ago and frankly cannot be affected in the slightest by something exterior to me, especially not by what someone else may say, think, or do. Pink as feminine is a 1950s marketing construct. Most of this bullshit is created by insecure social gatekeepers or by someone trying to sell you something. Don't fall for it.

"The Affordable Connectivity Program, which helped low-income Americans get online, is no more… On (May 31), the US government announced the final closure of the broadly popular federal program, which has helped tens of millions of households afford internet service, after Republicans in Congress ignored calls by consumer advocates and Democratic lawmakers to approve more funding this spring… The program’s lapse threatens to throw nearly 60 million Americans into financial distress, CNN has reported."

"Moreover, retailers’ decision to hike prices in the first place can’t all be attributed to inflation, Lindsay Owens, executive director of economic policy group Groundwork Collaborative, argued. She told the Washington Post that companies actually increased their margins in times of increased operating costs. A March 2024 Federal Trade Commission report found retail revenue for food and beverages increased 7% above total costs in the first three quarters of 2023, indicating that grocery stores’ decision to raise prices wasn’t just a result of inflation, supply-chain disruptions, or the rising prices of commodities." There's another name for this. It's called "price gouging." And some companies are realizing that they went too far, and even with their increased margins were starting to lose overall revenue.

"'When a cop tells you to do something, you fucking do it,' one officer told the shopkeeper… The surveillance video was shared with THE CITY on the condition that the identity of the shopkeeper be protected. The arrest and criminal charge was confirmed by police records… The shopkeeper’s lawyer, Steve Zissou, told THE CITY that the video shows both due process violations and personal civil rights violations." Well, there's a lawsuit waiting to happen. And it might be a class action.

"An off-duty armed security guard shot and killed a teen who he thought had a gun and was about to rob a Renton sporting goods store, detectives said. According to court documents, the teen didn't even have a real gun on him."

"Alex Jones, who spread lies about the 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary that killed 26 first-graders and staffers, has dropped efforts to declare bankruptcy and agreed to liquidate his assets in order to finally start paying the nearly $1.5 billion in damages he owes the victims' families." That's a good start.

"Steve Bannon, a longtime ally of former President Donald Trump, must report to prison by July 1 to serve his four-month sentence for defying a subpoena from the House committee that investigated the U.S. Capitol insurrection, a federal judge ruled Thursday." Again, a good start.

"A liberal former neighbor of conservative Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito is publicly offering her account of a series of tense interactions she had with Alito’s wife, Martha-Ann, around the time of the 2020 presidential election and the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol." You mean the Alitoes lied? Shocked, shocked I am…

"A Manhattan jury on Thursday found Trump guilty of falsifying business records in order to influence the 2016 presidential election. Soon after the verdict was read, right-wing politicians and pundits including Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., Fox News contributor Guy Benson and far-right conspiracy theorist Ali Alexander shared images of an inverted American flag on social media. Alexander, organizer of the 'Stop the Steal' rally that pushed false claims about the 2020 election, posted the upside-down flag on Telegram with the message: 'No one is coming to save us. We must.'"

"When Donald J. Trump was found guilty on all counts in the hush money trial, some in the press were caught off guard. But the former president and conservative pundits primed for this result with a strategic messaging campaign. On this week’s On the Media, hear how Trump uses Truth Social to disseminate talking points to a web of right-wing influencers."

"Nine witnesses in the criminal cases against former President Donald Trump have received significant financial benefits, including large raises from his campaign, severance packages, new jobs, and a grant of shares and cash from Trump’s media company… The benefits have flowed from Trump’s businesses and campaign committees, according to a ProPublica analysis of public disclosures, court records and securities filings. One campaign aide had his average monthly pay double, from $26,000 to $53,500. Another employee got a $2 million severance package barring him from voluntarily cooperating with law enforcement. And one of the campaign’s top officials had her daughter hired onto the campaign staff, where she is now the fourth-highest-paid employee." Criminals gonna criminal.

"The Proud Boys say recruitment is growing and they’re ready to serve again as Donald Trump's unofficial protection force." As long as there have been supposed strong men, there have been toadies. However, the long term prospects of such groups, especially if the "strong man" gets into power, is not a good one. I think the Proud Boys really should look at Operation Hummingbird, or as it's more often called, the Night of the Long Knives.

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