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Shootings of licensed veterans, random bystanders, children, and dogs; plus, non-gun police violence May 19, 2019

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“The correction was too late for Mr. Bradford, whom the police initially identified as the culprit, only to change their story a day later. Mr. Bradford had not shot anyone, the Hoover police said, but was a licensed gun owner at a chaotic scene in the crowded mall.” Justice for Emantic Bradford.

A Navy veteran was shot and killed by Oregon cops after his pistol fell from a holster as he tried to break up a fight outside a bar, according to local reports.” Justice for Jason Washington.

“A Washington state family that survived the mass shooting last year at a Las Vegas concert says a neighbor shot and killed the dog they got to deal with stress and anxiety from the attack.

A former Texas police officer was found guilty of murder [in August 2018] for shooting into a car carrying a group of teenagers, killing a 15-year-old boy.”

“There have been 209 children killed or injured by a gun in 2019, according to the Gun Violence Archive, which compiles shooting incident data. In the past two days alone, two 4-year-old boys, one in Illinois and another in Ohio, were killed by gunfire.”

“Police sexual misconduct and cases of police sexual violence are often referred to as hidden offenses, and studies on police sexual misconduct are usually based on small samples […] While those numbers represent a fair portion of cases, arrests rely on a victim making a report and a law enforcement agency making that report public, after an arrest or otherwise. With sexual assaults by police officers, neither is guaranteed.”

[Police chief] Atesiano, along with Charlie Dayoub, Raul Fernandez and Guillermo Ravelo, conspired in various combinations to falsely pin four residential burglaries on a 16-year-old boy identified as T.D., two residential burglaries on a man later identified as Clarence Desrouleaux, and five vehicle burglaries on a man identified as Erasmus Banmah. All three are black.”

“Boone, 35, and two other officers, Randy Hays, 31, and Christopher Myers, 27, threw a man to the ground and viciously kicked him and beat him with a riot baton, even though he was complying with their instructions. But the three police officers had no idea that the man was a 22-year police veteran working undercover, whom they beat so badly that he couldn’t eat and lost 20 pounds.

It is not yet clear what threat the 11-year-old girl may have posed to the off-duty officer as she walked away from him. Or how many steps she took before he unholstered his Taser.”

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Scamming the VA, supporting your kids without fraud, and socializing the oil industry May 1, 2019

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It is a huge scandal that Congress has not yet instructed the IRS to automatically prepare taxes for the vast majority of Americans. The IRS has all the information required to do that for all but a few taxpayers, and the main reason it hasn’t to date is lobbying by companies like TurboTax and H&R Block.”

Still boggling over the discovery that the whole trope of the “welfare queen” is based on one ridiculously prolific scammer…who was Caucasian. (Scammers Georg had a bunch of other cons running, but, oddly enough, she’s only remembered for the welfare ones.)

79% of parents are providing financial support to their adult children. ‘And not just a little; the average was $7,000 a year,’ said Dychtwald. Merrill Lynch and Age Wave call this the ‘family bank.'” …That checks out. (Although thankfully my parents wouldn’t jeopardize their own financial security for their kids’ sake, and don’t need to.)

Many of the students who benefited did not know about the fraud being committed for them. In several instances, their parents endeavored to keep the payoffs and cheating secret, arranging false tests so the children would never know that their scores had been deceitfully obtained. The kids were fakes, and ignorant of that fact.” Now imagine how many schemes like this don’t get caught. How much unearned confidence is being actively pumped into rich kids, who can’t be self-critical about it because they don’t know.

Norway’s Government Pension Fund – Global is a tool to manage our petroleum wealth wisely and avoid the “resource curse”. From this it follows that the Fund is large and that it is invested overseas. A sensible management of oil-producing countries’ petroleum wealth in well-functioning financial markets is in everyone’s interest.” How socialism of the oil industry worked for Norway.

a [wordless agonized keening] type of link roundup March 23, 2019

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Key members of the Trump administration pushed a plan to sell nuclear power plants to Saudi Arabia in the months after the inauguration despite objections from members of the National Security Council and other senior White House officials.”

“A LT in the US Coast Guard was arrested [the week of Feb 20] for drug and gun charges. It looked like a run of the mill case until the detention memo filed yesterday. He had a hit list, contacts with white supremacists, guns, and, again, was [a Coast Guard] assigned to HQ.

“Contrary to a lot of guilt-tripping pleas for us all to take the bus more often to save the world, your individual choices are probably doing very little to the world’s climate. The real impact comes on the industrial level, as more than 70 percent of global emissions come from just 100 companies.”

“189 calls were made from 46 sites, raising new questions about working conditions. One ex-employee said ‘breakdowns [are] a regular occurrence’ at Amazon.

“London ended up with all of the gold and silver that should have gone directly to the Indians in exchange for their exports. This corrupt system meant that even while India was running an impressive trade surplus with the rest of the world – a surplus that lasted for three decades in the early 20th century – it showed up as a deficit in the national accounts because the real income from India’s exports was appropriated in its entirety by Britain.”

Trump’s shutdown [did] cost the U.S. economy $5 billion in lost output every two weeks it continues based on the administration’s own impact estimate. That’s $2.5 billion per week, $357 million per day, or $15 million per hour.”

Here’s a list of all the awful things done the Trump Administration has done so far. […] It’s also a reminder that policies enacted by the Trump Administration can be long lasting and cumulative, which is easy to forget in a political culture which jumps around from controversy to controversy, forgetting them as it goes.”

a backlog of links about dirty industry secrets March 12, 2019

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What’s a dirty secret that everybody in your industry knows about but anyone outside of your line of work would be scandalized to hear?” Twitter thread, both DMs in screenshot and direct replies.

“An investigation found that [Tokyo Medical University] had reduced all medical school applicants’ initial test scores by 20%, before inflating the scores of male applicants’ exams.

“Some executives argued that women’s traditional expertise at painstaking activities like knitting and weaving manifested precisely this mind-set. (The 1968 book “Your Career in Computers” stated that people who like “cooking from a cookbook” make good programmers.)”

“At first, the military doctors in Germany refused to admit her, saying it was just period cramps […] Finally, almost exactly a year after Lipe first started experiencing the pain, a private, nonmilitary reproductive endocrinologist and general surgeon in Jacksonville, Florida, figured out what was wrong with her — multiple small pelvic hernias caused by the ill-fitting body armor. It took two one-hour appointments, her records show, and they knew exactly how to fix it.

Somehow, my personal autonomy, my health and my comfort didn’t rate high enough to outrank the desires of my future, then-nonexistent partner. And nothing I said could change my doctors’ minds, not the stories about my frequently dislocating hips, my mom’s complicated pregnancies or the increased rate of miscarriage and preterm labor for EDS patients.” (Inconsistent attempts to use trans-inclusive language, but the point is serious.)

The photo went viral because many viewers noticed how beautiful the subject was before they noticed his prosthetic leg. The image also landed me in Facebook jail. Facebook deleted it and suspended my account for six months. It was only after a huge public outcry and media inquiry did Facebook reinstate the photo, but shortly after reinstating it, they once again removed it, and my account was again banned.”

“11 percent of users older than 65 shared a hoax, while just 3 percent of users 18 to 29 did. Facebook users ages 65 and older shared more than twice as many fake news articles than the next-oldest age group of 45 to 65, and nearly seven times as many fake news articles as the youngest age group (18 to 29).

Fandom Trumps Hate bidding is now open! February 26, 2019

Posted by Erin Ptah in Fandom.
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FTH is a fanwork auction to raise money for a whole bunch of good causes. Here’s their 2019 list of nonprofits. When you win an auction, you don’t pay the creator of the fanwork — you donate the money to the cause of your choice.

As usual, I’m offering fanart! Any fandom, and/or original characters; any ship.

Check my bidding spreadsheet to see the current going price, and place your bid here!

Good things. (Candy invention, migrant citizenship, Ursula Le Guin being awesome, and more) February 12, 2019

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“At first the brothers printed the sayings by hand. Since the lozenges were fairly large, they could accommodate long statements (Victorian favorites included “How long shall I have to wait? Pray be considerate” and “Please send a lock of your hair by return mail”).” The origin of Sweethearts.

“Impressive as this finding about hemimastigotes is on its own, what matters more is that it’s just the latest (and most profound) of a quietly and steadily growing number of major taxonomic additions. Researchers keep uncovering not just new species or classes but entirely new kingdoms of life — raising questions about how they have stayed hidden for so long and how close we are to finding them all.” Guys, we found a New Science Thing.

“I emerged from the complicated underworld of toxic shock syndrome science with far more than I bargained for, including a lecture from an elderly man on the “art of making love,” a possible TSS-related upside to having sex early and often, multiple accusations of collusion, and the story of a bitter, decades-long rivalry between two prominent microbiologists. I also learned that everything you think you know about tampons, period sex, and toxic shock syndrome is probably wrong.”

“On this page, you will find more information about The Green Hosting Directory. For every country, the list starts with Partners: the [Internet] hosting companies that provide proof of their green claim online.”

“Greece has awarded citizenship to three migrant fishermen – two Egyptians and an Albanian – who rescued Greeks from a devastating fire near Athens last July. At a ceremony the Greek President, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, thanked the fishermen for showing “solidarity and humanity” by rescuing dozens of people. ‘You are now European citizens too, and so you can teach all our partners who don’t realise the values of Europe, to do what they ought to do.’

Le Guin – sanguine, curious, unconcerned – looked around at the Venus of Willendorf replica, the flyers advertising knitting circles and separatist meetings, the box set of Dykes to Watch Out For, and said, ‘I like it.’ She walked further into the store. ‘Let’s look around.’”

Bad things. (troop positions, scared refugees, lax gun laws, and more) January 8, 2019

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“Settled in their new countries, as years and sometimes decades go by, they often find these objects precious reminders of the lives left behind. They’re cherished long after the crisis has passed. In some cases, these keepsakes remind refugees and migrants of an essential part of who they are. NPR’s story about how a toy monkey ended up becoming a connection to a previously unknown part of a German boy’s family inspired us to look for other similar stories.

The president’s video posted Wednesday did not shield the faces of special operation forces. Current and former Defense Department officials told Newsweek that information concerning what units are deployed and where is almost always classified and is a violation of operational security.”

“Attorneys general from nine states and the District of Columbia wrote the court in January, 2017, urging the judge not to approve the recall process. The notices weren’t descriptive or informative enough, they noted, and Remington hadn’t even tried to find its rifles’ owners. […] But in March 2017, Smith approved the settlement. By then, only 22,000 people had sent in their Model 700s. That left as many as seven million unfixed rifles in circulation — “guns,” the attorneys general noted, “that might go off accidentally at any time.”

Hate crime reports increased 17 percent last year from 2016, the F.B.I. said on Tuesday, rising for the third consecutive year as heated racial rhetoric and actions have come to dominate the news.” (Notice the use of the passive voice, here.)

“I’ve long understood that the dangers of global warming are real and rising. I’ve seen its power firsthand in the form of receding glaciers, dried lake beds, and Sierra tree stands taken down by bark beetles. This is the first time, though, that I smelled and tasted it in my home.

I Was A Cable Guy. I Saw The Worst Of America. A glimpse of the suburban grotesque, featuring Russian mobsters, Fox News rage addicts, a caged man in a sex dungeon, and Dick Cheney.” (Note: it’s got sexual harassment & homophobia in the mix.) (On the plus side, it prompted me to offer this morning’s cable guy a — much-needed, as it turned out — bathroom break.)

I wish we could stop calling it a “government shutdown.” December 31, 2018

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It makes people think every government program is coming to a screeching halt — and if there are no visible effects on their lives, their next thought will be “wow, what do we need government for anyway??”

Even though, if the operation of the federal government did really shut down, they would Notice.

Imagine if all flights were grounded because the TSA wasn’t in service. Imagine if Social Security checks went on hold, and Medicare service stopped being covered. Imagine no mail being delivered. Imagine how everyone with an international business would feel if the borders were actually closed, even for a very short time. Imagine not a single member of the Secret Service being on-duty.

And, on a slight time-delay, imagine the outbreaks of e.coli that could happen while the FDA isn’t checking your food, or the terrorist attacks that could be planned while the FBI isn’t listening.

What’s really happening is “lots of government employees are continuing to come to work without getting paid.”

…which is kind of amazing, if you think about it. Anyone who doesn’t work in public service: imagine if your boss said “hey, listen, you’re not getting your next paycheck, but keep coming to work anyway, we’ll have you covered eventually.” You wouldn’t believe it for a second. You’d assume there was bankruptcy on the horizon. Maybe you’d stay long enough to raid the supply closet, but the next day would be spent sleeping in, watching Netflix, and updating your resume.

(Congress, btw, is not included in this deferment. Because of course they’re not.)

(December talking meme.)

“Scott Warren has a far stronger claim as to the sincerity of his religious beliefs than Hobby Lobby did.” December 21, 2018

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“Democrats in North Carolina earned 48.3 percent of the total vote cast in House races but appeared to win only three seats; Republicans had 50.4 percent of the vote and won at least nine seats.” The poisonous effects of gerrymandering. With maps!

If they’re good people looking for refuge, we’re Americans and we should have a heart and we should try to help them. […] How much suffering and effort are they putting forth to get to our border? They are after some freedom and liberty and a better life.” When literally Cliven Bundy thinks your immigration policy is racist and terrible, whoo boy.

Toronto police are investigating a fire they believe was deliberately set at a Toronto hotel housing refugees [in October], stoking fears in some that it was motivated by anti-migrant sentiment.”

Ivanka, a White House senior adviser, used a personal account to send hundreds of emails last year to White House aides, cabinet officials and her assistants – many in violation of federal records rules.” Because of course she did.

“As a 17-year-old girl scout, Cassandra Levesque led a campaign to end child marriage in New Hampshire, and was brushed aside by a state legislator. […] Rather than being deterred, Ms. Levesque decided to take her crusade a step further: She ran for the State Legislature herself, and won.” Such a power move. (I remember the original news story, and I am loving the sequel.)

We were all really supportive at the beginning […] We figured we didn’t know all the facts and something would happen and this won’t be a long-term thing.” So…next time Trump says something that doesn’t make sense, will you keep assuming that he’s actually right because of secret facts that only he knows, or will you catch on?

By the administration’s own estimate, on its current course (if nations around the world do nothing more to respond to the climate change threat) the planet will warm by 7 degrees by the end of the century. It means, as one Twitter commentator pointed out, that climate change is not only real, but catastrophic… and the response is to burn more carbon because we’re all dead anyway.” As always, the people running the con job know exactly how disastrous their ideas are. They just don’t care.

“Six degrees of separation? That sick bastard was in my passenger seat. And I didn’t know because I was too busy loudly proclaiming that I was just exactly the sort of man who couldn’t be trusted with knowing.” (At least for some people, the delayed self-awareness eventually kicks in.)

“Scott Warren has a far stronger claim as to the sincerity of his religious beliefs than Hobby Lobby did. He has a far stronger claim to such devout sincerity than any of the no-cakes-for-gays bakers or florists, too. […] Warren’s actions on behalf of immigrants are in accord with the most-repeated commandment of the Hebrew scriptures and with the very founding of Christianity at Pentecost in the New Testament.” I’m guessing it won’t, but, listen, good for this guy.

“But [research on actually-proven-false rape accusations] suggests that every part of this narrative is wrong. What’s more, it’s wrong in ways that help real rapists escape justice, while perversely making it more likely that we will miss the signs of false reports.” Important!

(Putting this on the December talking meme.)

The latest adventures of “good guys with guns” November 23, 2018

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People killed by police in the US, 2018. Discontinued by the volunteer maintainer at the end of July, at 720.

“Roberson was wearing his uniform, including a hat emblazoned with the word “security,” and was holding a firearm he was licensed to carry. Midlothian police confirmed that two officers responded to the scene at the bar on Sunday and that one of them opened fire.” He WAS the “good guy with a gun,” and that’s what got him shot and killed by another “good guy with a gun.”

“Dallas police said Friday they are seeking a warrant for manslaughter against one of their own after an off-duty officer entered the wrong apartment in her building and killed a man who [actually lived there].” That’s right, she didn’t even pretend to be investigating a suspected crime, she just walked into a guy’s apartment and killed him. Justice for Botham Shem Jean.

They saw a car full of black people sitting in front of a Walmart, and they decided that was suspicious. They just began pouring bullets … It’s irresponsible. It’s dangerous. It’s mind-boggling, the use of force.” Justice for Diante Yarber.

[A police spokesperson] confirmed that Washington had a valid concealed carry permit. Washington was a Navy veteran and an employee with the United States Postal Service since 1998. He worked with the collections unit as a letter carrier at the main office in downtown Portland, where he also served as the union shop steward.” Justice for Jason Erik Washington.

“Banning large magazines and bump stocks was part of PERF’s call to limit the availability of high-power firearms. The Waffle House shooting also raised the issue of “red flag” laws, under which authorities are empowered to seize weapons from those who show signs of mental illness or other crises. Police had earlier taken guns from the Waffle House shooter, but his father apparently returned them to him.”

This last one, this is the big one. The way to stop this bad guy with a gun was to stop him from having guns, and the law had him clocked before the shooting, but with NRA-tied hands they weren’t able to follow through.