Monday, March 27th, 2017 10:54 pm
Lots on the Russia situation - first, on Nunes's continuing interference-run on behalf of the Trump administration. "Nunes met source at White House before surveillance announcement," "Chairman and partisan: The dual roles of Devin Nunes raise questions about House investigation," "Nunes’ Surveillance Claim: It’s Coming From Inside the White House," "House Democrats Ask Devin Nunes to Recuse Himself From Russia Inquiry." Good luck with that last one.

I wish I could expect more out of "Senate Committee to Question Jared Kushner Over Meetings With Russians." But, as we've seen, lying to Congress doesn't mean anything anymore, so even if he's truthful, we can't really know that, right? (Another version of that story, more partisan but not paywalled: "Trump’s son-in-law had undisclosed meeting with Putin crony with KGB ties.")

In "so much for breathing" news, "Trump moves decisively to wipe out Obama’s climate-change record."

An opinion piece states the obvious: "The All-Male Photo Op Isn’t a Gaffe. It’s a Strategy." The channers loathe women. I cannot overstate how much they hate, despise, loathe women. It's the ocean in which they swim. And that extends well into Trump's larger base.

"White House keeps up sanctuary cities pressure with funding threat" and "King, Snohomish counties may be targets in Justice Dept. threat against ‘sanctuary cities’" are - well, the latest version of threats and stories made before. Still, keep an eye on it. Also in economic war news, "Next up for Trump Amateur Hour: NAFTA?" Cascadia is a net exporter. Hell, Cascadia runs a surplus with fucking MAINLAND CHINA. Or did, last time I saw figures. I can't wait to see how the Trumpists manage to screw that up.

"Seven Ways the Trump Administration Could Make Obamacare ‘Explode’" goes into detail about some of the ways the GOP will continue to play sabotage over the next few years.

In corruption news, we have a trifecta: "Carl Icahn Is Apparently Profiting Enormously From His Role as an Adviser to Donald Trump," "Finally, a Cure for Government Dysfunction: Nepotism," and "Why Republicans Are Ruling With Utter Incompetence." Well, okay, the last one isn't really... no, it is. "Trump keeps demanding credit for Obama’s successes" kinda is - let's call that the Plus4.

"Trump Repeals Regulation Protecting Workers From Wage Theft" is self-explanitory. "AP Exclusive: 'Bathroom Bill' to Cost North Carolina $3.76B" is kind of a lowball estimate, but is pretty solid as such and I'm good with that.

Finally, an historical: "How resistance overcame hate in Hood River" in World War II and after.

It's March 28, 2017; this is the news )
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 05:05 am

Posted by John Timmer

(credit: Katy Kristin)

The world as a whole has become increasingly reliant on science to provide its technology and inform its policy. But rampant conspiracy theories, fake news, and pseudoscience like homeopathy show that the world could use a bit more of the organized skepticism that provides the foundation of science. For that reason, it has often been suggested that an expanded science education program would help cut down on the acceptance of nonsense.

But a study done with undergrads at North Carolina State University suggests that a class on scientific research methods doesn't do much good. Instead, a class dedicated to critical analysis of nonsense in archeology was far more effective at getting students to reject a variety of pseudoscience and conspiracy theories. And it worked even better when the students got their own debunking project.

The study, done by Anne Collins McLaughlin and Alicia McGill, lumps together things like belief in astrology, conspiracy theories, and ancient aliens, calling them "epistemically unwarranted." Surveys show they're widely popular; nearly half the US population thinks astrology is either somewhat or very scientific, and the number has gone up over time.

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Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 04:43 pm
Sometimes I wonder how I would feel if all those things on the current to-do list were suddenly done.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 09:09 pm
Democracy in Color and the American Majority Project Research Institute just released their roadmap for retaking the House and state legislatures through mobilizing progressive voters in key states.

Their report focuses on the 17 states and 13 congressional districts that Democrats won or lost by single-digit percentages in 2016. Their perspective is that rather than trying to persuade white swing voters, we should work on getting minorities and other progressives who don't vote (yet) to actually get to the polls.

They link to a number of local and state organizations that have proven success in registering and mobilizing new voters, and want to expand those and start similar organizations in other states that need them.

There's a great overview article about it at The Nation.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2017 12:12 am
Now with bonus Marna:

black and white cat stretched out on the lap of a woman with blue hair
Monday, March 27th, 2017 09:15 pm
News / analysis - health care
* More States To Expand Medicaid Now That Obamacare Remains Law (Forbes)

* How Right-Wing Media Saved Obamacare (Atlantic). The title is a wild misrepresentation of the contents, but it's an interesting summary of what exactly right-wing media has been saying all these years about Obamacare.

* Democrats should write their own “terrific” Obamacare replacement (Vox)

* The Death Of Trumpcare Is The Ultimate Proof Of Obamacare’s Historic Accomplishment (HuffPo)

* How Democrats Aided in the Demise of the GOP’s Health Bill (WSJ)

* John Bel Edwards made 300,000 people eligible for Medicaid within 24 hours of becoming Gov. His upset win in 2015 had huge consequences." (Twitter). Short thread with some really incredible statistics on the difference Medicaid has made to Louisiana.

News / analysis - not health care
* Pentagon Tells Congress to Stop Buying Equipment it Doesn't Need (Military.com).

* LGBT seniors marked for removal from survey on elder care services (Guardian)

* Lacking Evidence of Voter Fraud, Legislatures Target Its Specter (NYT)

* Trump Administration Orders Tougher Screening of Visa Applicants (NYT)

* Federal Judge Sides With Trump In A Challenge To The New Travel Ban Executive Order (Buzzfeed)

* California Upholds Auto Emissions Standards, Setting Up Face-Off With Trump (NYT)

* Nobody Knew Governing Could Be So Complicated (Atlantic). On the difficulty of turning GOP obstructionism into GOP governance.

* Passing Tax Reform Will Be As Difficult As Repealing Obamacare (Forbes)

* Wisconsin judge orders state GOP to redraw gerrymandered legislative districts (Salon, Jan 2017)

* LGBTQ Advocates Horrified By Trump Administration’s Civil Rights Health Pick (HuffPo)

* 'The Resistance' Faces A New Question: What To Do With All That Money (NPR)

* 6 Big Takeaways From The RNC's Incredible 2012 Autopsy (Talking Points Memo, March 2013). This is fascinating to look back on from the perspective of the past election.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 10:43 pm
(Why yes, I got kind of behind in my blogging...)

Carrie is witty, but she's the sort of witty that I think may work better as a comedy act than as a book. I did enjoy the bits about her mother, who sounds delightful, and about her bipolar disorder -- she was pretty fascinating when writing about bipolar disorder, although I think I'd run across most of the really good lines pasted into memes in the months after her death.

Overall, it was OK.

I still miss her. :-( I usually shrug over celebrity deaths, but this one hit me kind of hard.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 09:37 pm
It's almost Wednesday and I'm two weeks behind on my comics posting. So, lets try to catch up a bit with my comics from two weeks ago.

Behind the cut: Sex Criminals #17, Black Panther: World of Wakanda #5, The Mighty Thor #17, U.S. Avengers #4, Star-Lord #4, Spider-Man #14, Ms. Marvel #16, Patsy Walker, AKA Hellcat #16 and Bombshells Vol. 3: Uprising

Highlights of the week were definitely Sex Criminals and Ms. Marvel.

So many comics )
Monday, March 27th, 2017 10:59 pm
I've finished my second playthrough of Inquisition. I replayed my Trevelyan warrior because I wasn't ready to let her go after the first playthrough. I have so many unwritten little fic for her! This playthorugh had 100% more Iron Bull/Dorian however, which was the big difference from my first time through.

I know large chunks of the game can drag when you've played it before, bus I still love to core story to pieces. I love this world. I already want to play again.
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Monday, March 27th, 2017 11:44 pm
[dreamwidth.org profile] owlmoose tagged me for this a few weeks ago! I'm ignoring the "tag other people" bit, but I enjoy reading things like this, so if you need a nudge to do a random-facts post, consider yourself tagged.

(If I think too hard about "wait, does everyone already know this?" I'll freeze up, so...I'm not gonna think about it much.)

RULES // POST 10 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT YOURSELF AND PASS IT ON 15 PEOPLE

1. On an average day I probably drink three or four mugs of tea, but I didn't start drinking tea at all until I was in my late 20s. (I think I was 27.) One more thing to pin on internet friends, because what got me started was Shadow (from the Furuba days) sending me a small array of flavored black teas to try. I have no recollection of how this came about.

2. Halifax and Toronto are the only places I've ever lived. When [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose and I lived in Toronto, the things (other than people) I missed about Halifax were a) the cleaner air, b) the subliminal awareness of the ocean's presence, and c) pizza. (Halifax pizza, as a sweeping statement, has declined in quality since those days. Alas.)

3. I'm still friends with quite a few people I initially met online, and then in person, via the Sailor Moon fandom, which I haven't been active in since about 2000.

4. My gateway comic was Power Pack, which I read via the library sometime in Grade 2 or 3.

5. I love Siberian cats with all my heart, and may never have any other kind of cat again, but historically my favorite breeds (neither of which I've ever lived with) are Abyssinians and traditional Siamese (which Wikipedia recently told me are now called Thai cats, and it's nice that they have a separate name, I guess, but it bugs me a bit that they didn't get to keep the original name and have the new one assigned to modern Siamese).

6. I took ballet for about seven years, starting when I was 15, and jazz dance for about six (starting the year after ballet). I was never terribly good, but I really enjoyed barre. If I could take a class that was just barre, I'd be very tempted. (Yes, I know that many exercise studios offer a "barre" class these days. I've looked into several. They are not what I want.)

7. I can't drive, ride a bicycle, blow bubbles with gum, or whistle.

8. I had size 4.5 feet until I was about 20. Thankfully they're now a much-easier-to-shop-for size 6/6.5.

9. Drinking milk makes me unwell. I am not lactose intolerant or allergic to dairy; I can and do consume every other dairy product, including milkshakes or hot chocolate made almost entirely of milk poured straight from a carton, and I put milk in my tea. But I haven't had a glass of milk since my early 20s. I still kinda miss it sometimes. (Cereal hasn't ever been something I was into, so I don't have a data point for whether I can eat cold cereal in milk.)

10. I took my minor at a different university from my BA so I could take a few classes from an amazing professor [dreamwidth.org profile] scruloose had studied with. Fortunately, Halifax is so packed with post-secondary schools that I could literally walk between the two universities in fifteen minutes.
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Monday, March 27th, 2017 08:27 pm
* I bought a tonne of houseplants
* I need to produce: Japanese lessons, some fic
* I am: going to Toronto in a few weeks

HOW ARE PEOPLE?

Does anyone have prompts for Hikaru no Go, space opera, or porn they would like to see written? Or any random fandom - try me, I want something to occupy me...

especially since I am running again and feel like i have no legs
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Monday, March 27th, 2017 08:44 pm
Wow, the end of the semester swamped me fast... Emerging from grading/paper/presentation doom momentarily to write down tonight's really good first attempt at fish stew:

- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 large cloves garlic, minced
- 3 slices ginger, minced
- 1 dried bird's eye chili pepper, crushed
- white pepper to taste
- salt to taste (I used ~2-3 tsp?)
- 1 pinch turmeric
- 1 pinch paprika
- cumin to taste (~2 tsp?)
- sesame oil
- dried shiitake mushrooms
- white fish filets, chopped (~900g, which I only know because mine were frozen/prepackaged)
- dried lentils (~1 cup?)
- 1 tomato

I threw everything except the lentils, fish, tomato, and mushrooms in the bottom of my inner rice pot* and sauteed it until the onions were cooked soft. Then I added the remaining ingredients, put in enough water to cover everything, and cooked it in my rice pot (this took maybe 30-40 minutes?). I'm sure you could also do this in a slow-cooker or on the stove, but if you do it on the stove you may want to simmer everything for a longer time on a lower heat to get more flavor into the fish (assuming you don't pre-marinate it, which I didn't).

*Mine is a Tatung rice pot with removable inner pots, i.e. the kind where cooking time is determined by how much water you put in the outer pot, so I can't be very specific. ^^;
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Monday, March 27th, 2017 08:35 pm
Brain is not working properly tonight. Focusing on names for the moment...

How Tolkien inspired some Dutch street-naming.

From the BBC: The place where children can be very unlucky with their names, a profile of some - not all - of the naming practices of Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Heather Mallick noting some similar pitfalls, but in Europe.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 09:25 pm
1) The second-last round of the Unbound Worlds Cage Match is underway, and Georgia is facing off against Ragnar Volarus from Red Rising. So far things aren't looking good for her, but voting's open for three more days. Please vote for her! Get [livejournal.com profile] seanan_mcguire to write just one more of these little vignettes!

Pleasepleaseplease?
There was nowhere for me to run. Wolf girl had taken her forest with her when she left, and now I was alone in the nothing, looking at a mountain that seemed to have decided it wanted to be a man in its spare time.

I had never been murdered by a landscape before. What an educational day this was turning out to be.

2) And then there's this: "Blizzard is remastering StarCraft [including Brood War] in 4K resolution this summer". I don't have much to say about this, but there was such flailing when it crossed my Twitter feed. Remastered StarCraft, guys. *starry eyes*
Monday, March 27th, 2017 11:28 pm
Smartphone banking is turning us into smart savers, research suggests, as consumers take control.
Monday, March 27th, 2017 11:43 pm

Posted by Beth Mole

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Joe Raedle)

While facing intense outrage for repeatedly jacking up the price of their life-saving epinephrine auto-injectors, Mylan continually argued that patients were shielded from the soaring list price—thanks to insurance coverage, discounts, and rebates. But a new study looking into insurance claims casts doubt on that defense.

Between 2007 and 2014, the average out-of-pocket spending per insured EpiPen-user jumped 123 percent. During that time, Mylan raised the list price of EpiPens from around $50 per pen to a whopping $609 per two-pack. In 2007, the year Mylan obtained the rights to EpiPen, the average patient spent around $33.8 out-of-pocket for a two-pack. By 2014, the average spending rose to $75.5 per two-pack, according to the new analysis published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The figures don’t square neatly with Mylan’s assurances. The company repeatedly claimed that most most patients weren’t significantly affected by the price hikes and pay only $50 out-of-pocket or less. Reuters reports that Mylan even claimed that about 90 percent of patients paid that little.

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