jump to navigation

Refugees, tomato raids, libertarian towns, and more August 8, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

You can send a set of ITMFA pins to your Congressperson. Proceeds go to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and the International Refugee Assistance Project.

“‘The refugee agencies didn’t really feel comfortable sending their kids anywhere,’ Adams says. ‘We needed to be that place for them.” It’s no coincidence that as Sullivan has established itself as the go-to school for refugees in the last couple of years, its academic standing has also risen.

“Airwars researchers estimate that at least 2,300 civilians likely died from Coalition strikes overseen by the Obama White House—roughly 80 each month in Iraq and Syria. As of July 13, more than 2,200 additional civilians appear to have been killed by Coalition raids since Trump was inaugurated—upwards of 360 per month, or 12 or more civilians killed for every single day of his administration.

“I was having lunch with Shonda Rhimes last week and a woman stopped at the table — well-dressed, probably in her 40s or 50s — and she said, ‘I just can’t leave this restaurant without telling you I’m just so devastated,’ and she just started to cry. I was on the other side of the table, or I would have done what I have done countless times since the election, which is just put my arms around her. Because people are so profoundly hurt.” The surreal post-election life of Hillary Clinton.

“Not only were the Hartes upstanding citizens with clean records, they were also both former Central Intelligence Agency officers. And they were not weed growers. Rather, the quick-trigger suspicion of law enforcement had snagged on — it would later turn out — tea leaves and a struggling tomato plant.

Initially, the city would impose property and sales taxes, but the property tax would ratchet down to zero over time. The business-friendly environment would draw new economic activity to Von Ormy, and eventually the town would cruise along on sales taxes alone.” Spoiler alert: it did not cruise. It crashed and burned.

“A Facebook group for Norwegians opposed to immigration was widely mocked after members apparently could not tell the difference between empty bus seats and burka-clad women.

Advertisements

How to stop overworking prisoners, underpaying workers, and under-insuring everyone August 3, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

“Over the years, prisoners have packaged coffee for Starbucks Corp. and wrapped software for Microsoft Corp. They manufacture furniture, schools supplies and food products. They make dental products, train animals, work in call centers and even pick cotton. All of these activities put prisoners in direct competition with blue-collar American workers; the latter has essentially no chance.

“…in the substantial majority of instances (68 percent) overall employment increased after a federal minimum-wage increase. In the most substantially affected industries, the rates were even higher: in the leisure and hospitality sector employment rose 82 percent of the time following a federal wage increase, and in the retail sector it was 73 percent of the time.”

“…it seems safe to conclude that Seattle has tolerated its minimum wage increase well and that, by extension, other strong economies could do so. It also suggests that a key to successful large increases is a gradual phase-in that gives businesses time to adjust and experts time to study the impacts as they unfold.”

“If [McCain, recently diagnosed with brain cancer] and his fellow Republicans in Congress have their way, health insurers could soon be allowed to deny me coverage — or to double or triple the cost of my insurance — due to the fact that I lost two close blood relatives to the same disease.

“Republicans are now pushing up against a growing consensus that the government should guarantee health insurance. A Pew survey in January found that 60 percent of Americans believe the federal government should be responsible for ensuring that all Americans have health coverage. That was up from 51 percent last year, and the highest in nearly a decade.”

I didn’t have enough cat links or enough linguistics links for a full post. July 18, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Linguistics links:

Nothing new under the sun: “in tibullus 1.8 (a poem about his boyfriend Marathus) has this line about “pugnantibus linguis” (literally battling tongues) which means that the idea of tongues battling for dominance in homoerotic fiction has been going on since at least the 1st century bce

From Seaspeak to Singlish: cool English dialects and English-based creoles.

Hawaiian pidgin has a great all-purpose noun — it’s “you-know-what”, “whatchamacallit”, “so-and-so”, and “the thing” all at once.

Cat links:

Before there were laptops, cats were happy to sit on our portable typewriters.

“I was right there in case he got upset — I was expecting him to hiss or growl or slink away. But then one of the ginger kittens started licking Mason’s ear, and Mason sort of leaned into it and closed his eyes like it was the most amazing thing ever.

Trump’s White House couldn’t book him a hotel room, and other incompetent-to-treasonous tales from the right July 12, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags:
add a comment

While the Internet is going “can we impeach him NOW?” over Donald Trump’s kid releasing his own treasonous emails, here’s a grab-bag of other terribleness the right has been up to.

Donald: “On the campaign trail, Mr Trump repeatedly criticised President Barack Obama for golf outings during his presidency but as of his last trip to his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, Mr Trump has spent his 35th day at one his own golf properties.” That’s over 20% of his “presidency,” for those keeping score.

‘This is an act of insanity,’ a former Trump inner-circle associate told me, ‘but it’s how he functions.’”

Mike Pence: “He touched a piece of critical space flight hardware in the Orion clean room, despite the fact that there was a sign that clearly read, ‘DO NOT TOUCH.’

The State Department: “His team apparently waited too long to book accommodations for the President [at the G20] and his travelling staff and were told none of the major hotels had vacancies.” And this isn’t even the first time: “Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had to stay several miles away – at a sanitarium outside of Bonn – from other leaders at the February G20 ministers’ meeting.”

The Defense Department: “National security adviser H.R. McMaster, Defense Secretary James Mattis and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson all supported Trump [reaffirming Article 5] and had worked in the weeks leading up to the trip to make sure it was included in the speech, according to five sources familiar with the episode. They thought it was, and a White House aide even told The New York Times the day before the line was definitely included.”

Eric Trump: “…while donors to the Eric Trump Foundation were told their money was going to help sick kids, more than $500,000 was re-donated to other charities, many of which were connected to Trump family members or interests, including at least four groups that subsequently paid to hold golf tournaments at Trump courses.”

Mitch McConnell: “I didn’t expect Donald Trump to win, I think most of my colleagues didn’t, so we didn’t expect to be in this situation [of having to follow through on our own promises].”

Hobby Lobby: Hobby Lobby has been smuggling thousands of illegally-gained artifacts out of Iraq. In case you’re wondering, yes, this almost certainly means Hobby Lobby directly funds terrorists. Hobby Lobby is a sponsor of terrorism.

The RNC: “Political data gathered on more than 198 million US citizens was exposed this month after a marketing firm contracted by the Republican National Committee stored internal documents on a publicly accessible Amazon server.” (Hey, remember how many Americans’ personal data was exposed because of Hillary’s emails? None of it!)

The House: “Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) praised the recent Islamic State attack in Tehran as a ‘good thing’ and suggested that maybe the United States should work with the militant organization.”

A ray of hope amidst the leopards June 21, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

The bad:

Roundup of incidents of Trump supporters being proudly violent, sometimes to the point of murder, in his name. Features racism, sexism, homophobia, Islamophobia, the whole hatred spectrum.

Trump wants to start charging stores to accept food stamps, because apparently Republicans want to help small businesses by driving away their customers.

The Leopards Eating Faces Party constituents:

“‘I really haven’t seen him doing anything’ on jobs, Olsen said. ‘The longer they stall around and dance around and whatever, the more people are gonna get hurt.’” GEE, YA THINK.

“Mike Catanzaro, a solar panel installer with a high school diploma, likes to work with his hands under the clear Carolina sky. That’s why he supported President Trump, a defender of blue-collar workers. But the 25-year-old sees Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate agreement as a threat to his job.

“Trump supporters in Texas are coming to the realization that their vote for the president may force some of them out of their homes for less than they are worth, with others finding out that — if they stay — they’ll be living in Mexico if his wall is built.”

One coping mechanism: “I didn’t want to be depressed. I don’t want to feel that he’s not doing what he said, so I just choose to not listen.

The good:

“My neighbor and I drove home in silence. I wondered if his being amongst Middle Easterners who wore hijab and spoke in their native tongue reaffirmed his anti-immigration stance. As we were parting, he said, ‘Let me know if you need help with more deliveries. I’m happy to help anytime.’ He had tears in his eyes.

Not everyone in this mindset is stuck there forever. Some people can learn, and grow, and change.

Cool research: lead in your dandruff, dino-chicken mutants, reverse corporate espionage, and more June 7, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

Lead came from his glassware, his tap water, the paint on the laboratory walls, the desks, the dust in the air, his skin, his clothes, his hair, even motes of wayward dandruff. If Patterson wanted to get accurate results, he had little choice but to become the world’s most obsessive neat freak.” The lifelong research that helped us get the Clean Air Act.

“García-Trabanino started a fellowship at the Rosales hospital as a young doctor in 1998, and what he encountered resembled a scene from a battlefield. He had expected to be treating heart disease, neurological patients, eye problems—the full gamut of medical conditions. Instead all he encountered were men dying—sometimes slowly, but usually quickly—from kidney failure.” Global warming has invented a new form of kidney disease.

“We didn’t set out trying to prove anything, but rather compile real data. We framed it as a census rather than a study. So we Googled our way to 8,000 screenplays and matched each character’s lines to an actor. From there, we compiled the number of words spoken by male and female characters across roughly 2,000 films, arguably the largest undertaking of script analysis, ever.

“After noticing that a client was treating him like crap while his email signature was accidentally set to my name, we came up with an experiment. We switched signatures for a week. Nothing changed, except that our clients read me as male and Marty as female. I had one of the easiest weeks of my professional life. He… didn’t.”

“For now Bhullar has no plans, or ethical approval, to hatch the snouted chickens. But he believes they would have been able to survive ‘just fine’.” We made dino-mutant embryos!

“We hear a lot about the spy-movie kind of corporate espionage. I’d love to read a study of reverse corporate espionage, where companies forget their own secrets and employees have to unofficially get them back. I’m convinced it happens more than you’d think.” Within a few decades, this petrochemical company lost the knowledge of how one of their plants worked. Whoops?

Rethinking immigration, tanks, refugees, Africa, and more June 5, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

The inclusion of survivors’ information, she says, is a violation of federal law protecting the information of people applying for special visas or other protections for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, or human trafficking.” An Orwellian ICE database by people who want to whip up fury at criminals, without actually protecting their victims.

White Terrorists Killed More Americans This Week Than Refugees Have in 40 Years.” That’s true a lot of weeks.

“The tank debate between the Army and Congress goes back to 2012 when Odierno testified that the Army doesn’t need more tanks. Odierno lost then too. Congress voted for another $183 million for tanks.” But tell me again how the GOP believes in fiscal conservatism.

I could give him a 30-minute lunch detention […] But do you really think that’s going to remedy what his issues are? … He walked miles to get here. Why?” Schools in New Orleans trying to practice trauma-informed discipline.

“Sources suggest that authorities were informed of the danger posed by Abedi on at least five separate occasions in the five years prior to the attack on Monday night.” His friends, his family, and his local mosque all tried to warn the police, but nothing was done. Keep that in mind next time you hear someone asking why the Muslim community isn’t doing its part.

“Sure, there’s money going in: around $161bn a year in the form of loans, remittances (those working outside Africa and sending money back home), and aid. But there’s also $203bn leaving the continent. Some of this is direct, such as $68bn in mainly dodged taxes. […] Then there’s the $30bn that these corporations “repatriate” – profits they make in Africa but send back to their home country, or elsewhere, to enjoy their wealth. […] Today’s report estimates that $29bn a year is being stolen from Africa in illegal logging, fishing and trade in wildlife…”

60 percent of those who benefit from the home-mortgage interest deduction didn’t think they had ever used a government social program. Fifty-three percent of those with student loans didn’t think they had used one. Among Social Security beneficiaries, 44 percent thought themselves unsullied by the touch of government, and among Medicare beneficiaries, 39 percent said the same. Twenty-seven percent of those in public housing answered in the negative, as did 25 percent of those on food stamps.”

Exotic non-shooting ways the police might kill you in America May 22, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , ,
add a comment

People killed by police, 2017. Currently at 460.

This one’s not a shooting, it’s a hit-and-run: “The evidence was overwhelming. The [white] driver’s identity was known. Her extensive criminal history was known. A witness was actually in the car when the crash happened. But this is America.” Justice for Quason Turner.

Shannon Hurd was sentenced to life without parole for stealing $14. Ten years later he was diagnosed with kidney cancer, though the prison had ignored his symptoms and complaints for so long that they didn’t catch it until the tumors had spread to his brain.

Women suffer domestic abuse in at least 40% of police-officer families, way higher than the overall US rate of 25%. (Appears to only deal with the rate of male cops abusing their female wives/girlfriends, no stats for non-male police and/or their non-male partners.)

“Ms Grice was then charged with “having caused wasteful employment of police by making a false report” because she failed to disclose that Lane was her on-off boyfriend, and was issued with a fixed-penalty notice.” That was February 2016. In August, the boyfriend murdered her.

No charges for the prison officers who scalded Darren Rainey to death. Apparently in Florida it’s a totally understandable accident for a responsible employee to “accidentally” boil a human being alive.

In addition to attempted manslaughter in the third degree, North Miami Police Officer Jonathan Aledda was also charged with culpable negligence, a first-degree misdemeanor, for the shooting of behavioral therapist Charles Kinsey in July.” At least someone’s getting charged for something.

Friday night bright spots May 12, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , , , ,
add a comment

Ordinary Canadians had essentially adopted thousands of Syrian families, donating a year of their time and money to guide them into new lives just as many other countries shunned them. Some citizens already considered the project a humanitarian triumph; others believed the Syrians would end up isolated and adrift, stuck on welfare or worse. As 2016 turned to 2017 and the yearlong commitments began to expire, the question of how the newcomers would fare acquired a national nickname: Month 13, when the Syrians would try to stand on their own.” I wish I had the money to do this. It’s so heartwarming, and sounds so fulfilling.

A showcase of Muslims who risked their lives to help Jewish people escape the Holocaust. This is what heroism looks like.

“The same exact pattern happened in 2016, Phelps said: A wage increase by the state [of California] led to a bump in business. Now Phelps is convinced that minimum wage increases aren’t bad for the fast food business. They’re great.

Employment at Arizona restaurants, bars surges after minimum-wage increase. There’s also been a bump in the rest of the leisure and hospitality sector. (Manufacturing is still going down. Retail too, thanks to online shopping.)

A recycling initiative for hotel toiletries: “Last year Clean the World sent out 400,000 hygiene kits and made more than 7 million bars of soap, including half a million bars for Haiti and the Bahamas after Hurricane Matthew.”

“Based on an advanced copy of America’s budget for the 2017 financial year, it looks like there has been an actual increase in science funding across the board, and rather wonderfully, Trump’s requests to have it cut have been comprehensively ignored.” (Now it just has to pass.)

The GOP keeps bleating about ~law and order~ while the people cry out for Justice May 4, 2017

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup.
Tags: , , ,
add a comment

People killed by police, 2017. Currently at 399.

Federal immigration officials knock on the door of a family of legal US residents, then shoot one of the unarmed homeowners.

Off-duty cop Kevin Ferguson harasses some kids, grabs a 13-year-old, ends up firing his gun at the group. It’s all on video. And yet the middle-schooler gets charged with battery, while the grown adult member of law enforcement is allowed to keep walking around armed with no charges.

“The video shows Rosen stomping on the head of Demarco Anderson while Anderson is already handcuffed and under control. Anderson is visibly restrained and does not appear to be agitated or resisting when Rosen charges from the left side of the frame and pounds his foot into the back of the suspect’s head.” Justice for Demarco Anderson.

“He was not trying to harm anybody. He was asking them for help and they shot him down.” And the whole thing was streamed on Facebook Live. Justice for Rodney Hess.

“Soon after, Wade — fully restrained and surrounded by officers — would be writhing in pain and screaming “I can’t breathe” after enduring two blasts of pepper-spray at point-blank range.” Justice for Charles Wade and Amber Swink.

The mailman suffered injuries to his neck, face, back and arm and underwent two surgeries and physical therapy.” And the cops who beat him up were completely acquitted. Justice for Karim Baker.

“Aware that the call was in response to a possible drug abuser, instead of proceeding calmly as to not alarm the person- when officer Stumler shouted: ‘raise your hands’ she automatically shot him in the stomach with no chance to respond.” Justice for Bruce Warrick.