Links 1/16/19

Links for you. Science:

Lake Baikal: how climate change is threatening the world’s oldest, deepest lake
Should Evolution Treat Our Microbes as Part of Us? (I’m with Strassman on this)
The Apple Watch 4 is an iffy atrial fibrillation detector in those under age 55
The belief that if you study female animals you MUST take hormones into account is SEXIST.
NASA administrator rescinds invitation to Russian counterpart after backlash on Capitol Hill


House Democrats Hoping to Stifle Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Are Only Hurting Themselves
Even without her much-discussed Syria/Assad stuff, Tulsi Gabbard is NOT a progressive on foreign policy & is NOT “anti war”.
How Misdemeanors Turn Innocent People Into Criminals
If Henry Cuellar Is The Worst Democrat In The House, Why Shouldn’t He Be Primaried Before Schumer Picks Him To Run For The Senate?
What If Bernie Doesn’t Run? Are There Other Good Candidates Who Could Beat Trump And Govern America Progressively?
The Big Electoral Story of 2019
If D.C. really wants to improve public schools, treat the principals better
Art stolen by the Nazis is still missing. Here’s how we can recover it.
Bari Weiss Knows Nothing About Australia
The other abortion ban
What actions can policymakers take to avert the brewing national housing crisis?
It was only a matter of time before consumers said no to pricier iPhones
In 2019, The Media Has to Do Better in Calling Out Trump’s Shit
Anderson Cooper Was Taken Aback When AOC Simply Said Trump Is a Racist. Why?
Yeah, Sure, This Is What 2020 Needs: Tulsi Gabbard has carved out an interesting niche with one eye on the Democratic presidential primary.
A Joe Biden 2020 Campaign Would Be the Most Divisive Thing for the Democratic Field (weird how there’s no mention of his support of Social Security cuts which is no way to win the voters he’s supposedly good with)
Democrat wins Northern Va. state Senate seat vacated by Jennifer Wexton (good!)

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Don’t Forget The Randian Batshitloonitarian Right

While many on the left-ish side of the political spectrum are aware of the radical nature of both the theocratic right and the white supremacist right, less attention has been to the radicalism of the Any Rand-following batshitloonitarian wing of the conservative movement (boldface mine):

The writer of the op-ed, published by conservative news site The Daily Caller, argues the partial government shutdown is an opportunity for Trump to greatly reduce the size of government.

“On an average day, roughly 15 percent of the employees around me are exceptional patriots serving their country. I wish I could give competitive salaries to them and no one else,” the op-ed reads. “But 80 percent feel no pressure to produce results. If they don’t feel like doing what they are told, they don’t.”

Later in the op-ed, the author states that the first goal of the shutdown should be to win better security particularly at the southern border. Uniformed border officials should be paid, but nonessential employees should be let go, the author writes.

“Furloughed employees should find other work, never return and not be paid,” the op-ed states.

The second goal should be finding savings for taxpayers, according to the op-ed.

If the shutdown is just about “rhetorical bickering,” it is a loss, the author states. “But if it proves that government is better when smaller, focusing only on essential functions that serve Americans, then President Trump will achieve something great that Reagan was only bold enough to dream.”

…The op-ed’s argument that most federal workers should lose their jobs and that the shutdown should be a way to drive them out is at odds with the public comments of Republican lawmakers and even Trump, who have cast federal workers furloughed or working without pay as a result of the shutdown as victims.

The writer claims that a majority of federal workers “do nothing that warrants punishment and nothing of external value.”

“That is their workday: errands for the sake of errands — administering, refining, following and collaborating on process,” the op-ed reads.

The con that they run is that this is simply an issue of good governance, something liberals have no problem pointing out (e.g., here’s an example at an institution that, overall, is important). But the writer gives away the game:

Most of my career colleagues actively work against the president’s agenda. This means I typically spend about 15 percent of my time on the president’s agenda and 85 percent of my time trying to stop sabotage, and we have no power to get rid of them,” the op-ed states. “Until the shutdown.”

“Federal employees are starting to feel the strain of the shutdown. I am one of them. But for the sake of our nation, I hope it lasts a very long time, till the government is changed and can never return to its previous form,” the op-ed states.

This is the libertarian equivalent of saying the racist parts out loud. What the author means isn’t that there are a lot of people goofing off or working inefficiently. What he (?) means is that he doesn’t believe in the mission of the agency, and those employees who are trying to enforce or follow the law are the problem. In other words, EPA staff who don’t want kids to ingest mercury or inhale lead are the problem. Workers who want to enforce the tax code are the problem. And so on. Those who purport to lead these agencies fundamentally do not believe in those agencies’ missions.

This is not temperamental conservatism, or a skepticism about how things actually work; the left no more likes stupid, wasteful policy than the right (more so, as it undercuts the legitimacy of those policies). This is a radical ideology that simply believe that many of the things government does should not be done, that the market will magically take care of it.

These assholes are every bit as dangerous as the theocrats and the supremacists.

Posted in Conservatives, Fucking Morons | 1 Comment

Links 1/15/19

Links for you. Science:

Why 2019 is shaping up to be a stellar year for space exploration
An Ocean Engineer and a Nuclear Physicist Walk Into Congress…
Mysterious Shark Species Discovered in Museum Collection May Already Be Extinct
Lab Severs Ties With James Watson, Citing ‘Unsubstantiated and Reckless’ Remarks
Is Sunscreen the New Margarine?


The Intelligence Community Has Long Suspected Trump of Being Under Russian Influence (excellent; related post here)
What happens when Tucker Carlson makes sense?
Off-Roading, Chopped Joshua Trees, Overflowing Toilets: Our National Parks During a Shutdown
I Sold My Data for Crypto. Here’s How Much I Made
You Don’t Have to Choose Between ‘Populism’ and ‘Identity’
Sherrod Brown Is the Real Deal—Could He Win It All in 2020?
Debt? What debt? At $22 trillion, here’s the argument the national debt doesn’t matter
Deborah Harry circa 1977 by Chris Stein
They are nervous. Nervous is good.
Made in China: Most of what you pay goes to U.S. workers and businesses, despite what the label says
Life, Death and Insulin
Trump’s ties to the Russian mafia go back 3 decades
Is The Los Angeles Teacher Strike A Different Kind Of Strike?
Conor Lamb Has Been As Terrible Since His Election As Anyone Might Have Assumed
Democrats Scared AOC Will ‘Mean-Tweet’ Them (courage of their convictions!)

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Co-Pays, Elective Treatments, And Insulin

The Best Healthcare System In The World™ (boldface mine):

Mallory Lorge, who suffers from Type 1 diabetes, is forced to ration her insulin and look at her possessions to decide what she can sell to pay down her bills because she isn’t receiving a paycheck during the record-long government shutdown.

Lorge, who lives in the small town of River Falls, Wisconsin, said she has two vials of insulin left in her fridge, but she is rationing them because she can no longer afford the $300 copay.

Her blood sugar rose to a high level last week, but she said she felt forced to ignore it. Instead, she went to bed.

When it gets that high you can go into diabetic ketoacidosis, you can go into a coma,” she said. “I can’t afford to go to the ER. I can’t afford anything. I just went to bed and hoped I’d wake up.”

Let’s, for now, ignore that the cost of insulin is too damn high. This also shows just how stupid the co-pay system is (boldface added):

Which brings us back to the rationale for copayments. No one takes too much insulin because they feel like it (that actually could lead to brain damage if not dealt with). There’s no potential for waste involved here. Quite simply, a juvenile diabetic must have the insulin he or she needs to treat this chronic condition. If he or she takes too little, they get sick and eventually have to be hospitalized (which is expensive).

Yet, in the case of insulin, the copayment is large, and for people of modest means who are not poor, it is too much.

There is no reason whatsoever for a co-pay for something one can’t do without. Then again, if we had a civilized healthcare insurance system, co-pays would be trivial or non-existent. Future generations will wonder how we were so barbarous and cruel.

Posted in Basic Human Decency, Healthcare | Leave a comment

Links 1/14/19

Links for you. Science:

CDC says it’s another bad flu season with up to 7.3 million people sick so far
The Weather Service is open 24/7, forecasters are working without pay, and it’s taking a toll
Dinosaur-Killing Asteroid Triggered A Mile-High Tsunami Across The Globe
BLAST+ 2.8.1 with New Databases and Better Performance
Small Weasel-Like Animals Are Taking Down Big Cats


Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Takes the Democrats Back to the Future: An Interview with the Historian Rick Perlstein (excellent; must-read)
The Ugly, Illiberal, Anti-Semitic Heart of the Yellow Vest Movement (at its core, it strikes me as what a Marxist would call bourgeois)
How to Reform Payroll Taxes to Fund Medicare for All
CBO Will Score All Health Reform Plans as Nationalization
Cemeteries use a lot of space and are terrible for the environment. Is there a better way?
Head Start improves kids’ lives. But we’re still finding out just how
Pancho Villa, prostitutes and spies: The U.S.-Mexico border wall’s wild origins
Yes, That Was D.C.’s Oldest Synagogue Moving Down The Street (Again)
Liberals dare Trump to back their bills lowering drug prices
An Ode to Shaw Junior High: School, sanctuary, fortress, incubator for greatness. A former student remembers Shaw in the 1980s
The $786 million question: Does Steve Schwarzman — or anyone — deserve to make that much? (when an econ professor at George Mason writes this, the wheel is turning…)
DC statehood movement, without movement
Change is coming to the National Gallery of Art. But is it ready for Kaywin Feldman?
Remembering Howell E. Begle Jr., The D.C. Lawyer Who Fought For R&B Stars Swindled By Record Labels
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Is The Latest Member Of Congress To Sign Onto D.C. Statehood Bill
D.C. police don’t carry the overdose antidote naloxone. Should they? (yes)
Thoughts on Warren and Sanders: How Much Change Is Needed in 2021?
Shortage of Inpatient Detox Beds Is New Obstacle for Addiction Treatment in D.C.
Rapists Coming Over The Border

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Maybe Democrats Should Curse More Often?

Last week, Media Matters noted that the major networks spent five times the amount of air time on Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib’s calling Trump a motherfucker versus Republican Congressman and elite racist Steve King’s complaining about how white supremacy is viewed as a bad thing (yes, he did that). While much of the left-ish side of the political spectrum is bemoaning this as a sorry state of affairs, I’m not sure that’s entirely correct.

The networks spent a lot of time associating Trump with the word motherfucker–which is a fair association; he is a motherfucker. While discussing King would also be helpful, network news is rarely up to the task of providing the larger context of Steve King such ashe is not as much of an outlier as Republicans would like to pretend, or that something is very rotten in ‘heartland’ Iowa.

We Americans are not a subtle people. Cursing–and not done in that dorky, hackneyed Tom Perez way–but done right and appropriately is one way to cut through the noise and sometimes get the attention needs to convey your message.

Posted in Democrats, News Media | Leave a comment

Links 1/13/19

Links for you. Science:

Jellyfish Genome Hints That Complexity Isn’t Genetically Complex
How Climate Change Caused The World’s First Ever Empire To Collapse
Despite an opioid crisis, most ERs don’t offer addiction treatment. California is changing that.
NEON ecological observatory in crisis again: Top scientist quits, Battelle fires advisory board and senior managers
Shutdown Means E.P.A. Pollution Inspectors Aren’t on the Job


Health Insurer Greed or Desperation? An Odd Data Point From Cigna (feature, not a bug)
Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton Pushes for Back Pay for Furloughed Federal Contract Workers
Donald Trump’s very favorite rhetorical mode is that immigrants are coming across the border to kill you. Heretofore IACATBTKY.
Finally, Someone Who Gets It
Bernie Sanders slams Trump for stoking ‘fear and hatred’ with lie-filled national address
The Economics of Cryptocurrency Pump and Dump Schemes
The Mysteries Surrounding Rhodes Pharmaceuticals, the Sackler Family’s Second Opioid Company
Facebook is the new crapware
How a little-known Democratic firm cashed in on the wave of midterm money (odious people)
Why Regulators Went Soft on Monopolies
What Materialist Black Political History Actually Looks Like
Why the Differences Between Sanders and Warren Matter
Yes, people being dragged screaming below the surface by the pale, eyeless horrors that have wrenched themselves free from an earthen womb is bad, but are those trying not to be devoured also at fault?
People older than 65 share the most fake news, a new study finds
Kamala Harris Tells Big Lie: That 2012 Mortgage Settlement Was a Good Deal for Homeowners
Joe Biden is the Hillary Clinton of 2020 (no mention of his Social Security stance, which would destroy him)
Frustrations With Ward 4 Councilmember Brandon Todd Grow

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