Tag Archive | religion

a year’s worth of bad things, political warnings, and lingering Trump links

2015, and still relevant: The USPS isn’t in financial trouble because people aren’t using it enough. It’s in “financial trouble” because Congress ordered it to stockpile enough cash to pre-fund all employee pension and health insurance costs for the next 75 years. Even if we all sent enough mail to cover that unnecessary liability, Congress could easily pass another law saddling it with another unnecessary liability. We fix this by yelling at our representatives to shape up, not by buying more stamps.

May 2020: “Despite her visible role in the fight against abortion, McCorvey [aka Jane Roe] says she was a mercenary, not a true believer. And Schenck, who has also distanced himself from the antiabortion movement, at least partially corroborates the allegations, saying that she was paid out of concern ;that she would go back to the other side,; he says in the film. ‘There were times I wondered: Is she playing us? And what I didn’t have the guts to say was, because I know damn well we were playing her.'”

May 2020: “Finland ran a two-year universal basic income study in 2017 and 2018, during which the government gave 2000 unemployed people aged between 25 and 58 monthly payments with no strings attached. The payments of €560 per month weren’t means tested and were unconditional, so they weren’t reduced if an individual got a job or later had a pay rise. The study was nationwide and selected recipients weren’t able to opt out, because the test was written into legislation. ”

September 11: “Industry companies spent tens of millions of dollars on [plastic recycling] ads and ran them for years, promoting the benefits of a product that, for the most part, was buried, was burned or, in some cases, wound up in the ocean. Documents show industry officials knew this reality about recycling plastic as far back as the 1970s.

September 30: “Maybe “guided apophenia” is a better phrase. Guided because the puppet masters are directly involved in hinting about the desired conclusions. They have pre-seeded the conclusions. They are constantly getting the player lost by pointing out unrelated random events and creating a meaning for them that fits the propaganda message Q is delivering.” A game designer’s analysis of QAnon.

October 23: “A rightwing extremist boasted of driving from Texas to Minneapolis to help set fire to a police precinct during the George Floyd protests, federal prosecutors said. US attorney Erica MacDonald said on Friday that she had charged Ivan Harrison Hunter, a 26-year-old Texas resident, with traveling across state lines to participate in a riot. ” (It’s them. It’s always them.)

December 9: “Last week, CMD obtained the 2019 tax records of two right-wing funders who donated to the FDRLST Media Foundation that year: GOP megadonor and shipping supply billionaire Richard Uihlein and DonorsTrust, a donor-advised fund manager that has been dubbed “the dark money ATM” of the conservative movement.” Looks like we can add Uline Shipping next to StickerMule on the list of “this company’s owner will pass your money on to horrible causes.”

December 17: “Per capita gross domestic product and unemployment rates were nearly identical after five years in countries that slashed taxes on the rich and in those that didn’t, the study found. But the analysis discovered one major change: The incomes of the rich grew much faster in countries where tax rates were lowered. Instead of trickling down to the middle class, tax cuts for the rich may not accomplish much more than help the rich keep more of their riches and exacerbate income inequality, the research indicates.”

January 20: “Early in President Trump’s term, McSweeney’s editors began to catalog the head-spinning number of misdeeds coming from his administration. We called this list a collection of Trump’s cruelties, collusions, and crimes, and it felt urgent then to track them, to ensure these horrors — happening almost daily — would not be forgotten.”

January 29: “Donald Trump was cultivated as a Russian asset over 40 years and proved so willing to parrot anti-western propaganda that there were celebrations in Moscow, a former KGB spy has told the Guardian.”

February 18: “The Austin American-Statesman found a single, forgotten copy of that report on a Public Utilities Commission shelf in 2011. The paper went looking for it in 2011 because of the cold snap that hit Texas in February of that year. The state legislature held angry hearings, and later that spring Hegar introduced his bill to require the Public Service Commission to prepare a weatherization and preparedness report each year, an obligation that was later neglected.” Texas utility companies vs. history, or Yes, We Need That Infrastructure Bill.

March 11: “It isn’t easy to figure out exactly how much electrical energy these ‘idling cars’ are consuming, but even the lowest estimates are eye-wateringly bad. Cambridge University seems to have done the most legwork in figuring this out, and at the moment, the annualised power consumption of bitcoin mining is 128 terawatt hours. In 2019-20, every single thing plugged into Australia’s largest main grid consumed 192.

When the globe hits 300K deaths, I’m closing this COVID-19 Dashboard tab

It’s the one from Johns Hopkins University, for anyone who wants a good site to check in with. There’s also good detailed graphs — scroll down for links to all the options — on this page by Worldometers.org. Other options: Links to a variety of COVID-19 maps & visuals.

Happy/reassuring/uplifting links:

Lockdown Omens, written by GNeil and performed by Sheen and Tennant — in which Crowley isn’t setting a bad example and Aziraphale is catching up on his reading.

April 22: What masks don’t help with, what they’re very good at, and why it makes a difference if you wear them: a lengthy and detailed breakdown.

May 4: “Staff working in a care home in France have kept their residents safe by locking down with them for 47 days and nights to wait out the coronavirus storm.” And it worked — not one of them died.

All the other virus links:

April 10: “A doctor who has been testing the homeless in downtown Miami for COVID-19, the deadly infection associated with the coronavirus, said he was handcuffed by police outside his Miami home Friday morning — for no reason that he can discern — while he was placing old boxes on the curbside for pickup.”

April 24: Virus sweeps through Bible Belt evangelicals who won’t stay home. “Bishop Gerald Glenn, founder and leader since 1995 of the New Deliverance Evangelistic Church in Chesterfield, Virginia, was the first black chaplain of the town’s police. He had vowed to continue preaching ‘unless I’m in jail or the hospital’ before his death from coronavirus earlier this month.”

April 28: “These numbers are preliminary because death certificates take time to be processed and collected, […] In Connecticut, for example, where reported coronavirus deaths are high, the C.D.C. statistics include zero reported deaths from any cause since Feb. 1, because of reporting lags.” And even with that — the death counts are way up in places that are (a) hard-hit and (b) have numbers starting to come in. Like 120% of normal in MA, and 325% of normal in NYC.

May 7: “It’s not that the bathroom poses a more serious coronavirus risk than anything else you’re doing. (Workplace consultants believe the bottleneck on the return to downtown offices will be elevators.) But it does serve as a reminder that what we’re really talking about, when we talk about density as a factor in disease transmission, is particular spaces that a number of people have to share.

May 8: “I ended up in an isolation room in the antechamber of the intensive care department. You’re tired, so you’re resigned to your fate. You completely surrender to the nursing staff. You live in a routine from syringe to infusion and you hope you make it. I am usually quite proactive in the way I operate, but here I was 100% patient.” A virologist’s infection story.

May 9 (NYT): “Dr. Bright was largely sidelined by personal disputes with Dr. Kadlec and his aides, some of which long predated the coronavirus, the documents suggest. By the time the pandemic arrived in force, the relationship between them had become toxic, with Dr. Bright increasingly left out of key decisions. His ideas about battling the threat ‘were met with skepticism,’ the complaint says, ‘and were clearly not welcome.’” Hey look, it’s the scientist from the first act of Every Disaster Movie Ever.

May 10: “People disregarded a rule to order an hour before pickup and demanded their ice cream anyway, he wrote on [the Polar Cave Ice Cream Parlour’s’ Facebook page. Customers took out their anger at delays on overwhelmed employees, including a teenage girl who quit, he said.”

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

“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.)

All the miscellaneous links I’ve been hoarding up through the midterms

Trying to actually clear out my to-post pile — from political, technical, and fannish links alike.


Useful:

“Am I really just lazy?: A helpful key to why you are not doing that thing you know you are supposed to be doing.

Many of us are taught to make sure our sites can be used via keyboard. Why is that, and what is it like in practice? Chris Ashton did an experiment to find out.” Great article, prompted me to review my own sites and make some updates.

“At the end of June, through Comic Tea Party, I surveyed webcomic/indie comic readers and gathered data on their reading habits. This included questions about reading frequency and how they interacted with the comics they read. The survey received 188 responses, and today I would like to go through the data and share what we have learned.”


Depressing:

The YouTubers taking this challenge are very young, and they are making fetish content for adults. They just don’t know it.” Creepy. (Article from 2016.)

Bowles knew the sedative was “dripping into her veins” and that at any second she would cede control to a surgeon who had just revealed his intention to do something she’d explicitly asked him not to do. She felt panicked, but her body was unable to move. She recalls saying no twice, repeating that she wanted to be flat.”

Many parents and their kids are becoming more and more immersed in the fandoms surrounding their favorite shows, movies, and books. The below article by guest contributor Sean Z. is an in-depth look at the recent history of fandom and some of the pitfalls we should all be aware of and be discussing with our kids.


Uplifting:

The intersex community is counting on doctors to improve the treatment conditions our community has inherited. We dream of a world in which diverse sex traits are once again seen as natural variations, as they are in some cultures — not problems to be fixed. It can be intimidating to be called upon to rebuild a paradigm. But at least there’s a step-by-step guide.”

So, hey, it seems like George Takei is cool. (And literally did get targeted by Russia-based propaganda networks.)


Miscellaneous:

If Le Guin’s hand-drawn map of the icebound planet Gethen is somewhat obscure, it’s perhaps because it seems to pop up for the first time only in the endpapers of The Hainish Novels & Stories. Published in 2017, the year before the author’s death.”

“The Dutch firm Ecory was commissioned to research the impact of piracy for several months, eventually submitting a 304-page report to the EU in May 2015. […] illegal downloads and streams can actually boost legal sales of games, according to the report. The only negative link the report found was with major blockbuster films.” (So guess what was the only part of the report that got released?)

“Not since the angel Gabriel visited Muhammad in a cave around 610 AD, informing him that he is God’s prophet, has there been a new globally influential religion with hundreds of millions of followers. Though the world’s religions are very dynamic, and major faiths continue to shift and evolve in ritual and doctrine, the world today is dominated by the same four faiths that dominated the globe a millennium ago: Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam. According to a 2012 Pew study, 92 percent of religiously affiliated people around the globe belong to one of these four faiths.” An investigation on some of the cults and mini-religions growing today, and why it’s been so long since one of them made it big.

Monday Works Roundup, 4/2/18

But I’m A Cat Person
A Girl And Her Dragon (art | Jany, Kara Lynn | worksafe)
Thoroughly Modern Mary (art | María, Josh, Saxon, Dove | worksafe)
Be not afraid. (sketch | Dove | worksafe)
The Big Olive (art | María, Saxon, Josh | worksafe)

Leif & Thorn
Hazelnut and Hyacinth (art | Hazel, Hyacinth | worksafe)
This is not an effective sweater (AI sketch | Leif | worksafe)
Stripes and Blades (art | Del, Juniper, Mata, Alruna, Vine, Imri | worksafe)

Fake News
Tek and the Daily Girl! (art | Tek Jansen/girl!not!Jon | worksafe)
Draw This Again: Tek and the Daily Girl (art meme, worksafe)

Hellsing, Good Omens, religion, various
Shine Profiles – Heaven and Hell (art | Aziraphale, Crowley, Integra’s shoulder angels, Sett, Harkonnen Spirit, Helios, DEATH, Count D, Ballaberith, Lisa, Jesus | worksafe)
And Shine Heaven Now Resurrected (comic | Integra, Alucard, Seras, artist | G)

General/Miscellaneous
Webcomic Woes 11 – Hard follows (comic, G)
Webcomic Woes 12 – #QueerPlanningProblems (comic, G)

This Week in But I’m A Cat Person:
Nerves are running high as Patrick and his former Master are about to be reunited.

This Week in Leif & Thorn:
A fusion-filled extended visit to the Steven Universe AU.