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Sympthsical's Journal
Sympthsical's Journal
August 5, 2021

Congress and the President need to make clear their plans on expiring unemployment assistance now

The Covid relief benefit of an extra $300 per week is ending on Labor Day. Half the states have already ended this benefit (mostly Republican governors).

We have one month left until the end of benefits. The Delta variant may cause further disruptions in businesses and hiring.

We should let people know so they can plan. Will the benefits definitively end? Will Democrats attempt to procure some kind of relief or extension? What can people expect?

We need to avoid a repeat of the eviction moratorium, where people had no idea what was going on until the last conceivable minute, and everyone had to scramble to figure something out. Everyone knew the day was coming. People sat on their hands until literally days before.

We shouldn't have a repeat of that chaos. Let people know, let people plan. And if Congress or the administration need to take action, let's start getting that together sooner rather than last minute.

August 2, 2021

Meltdown at the pharmacy over Covid vaccine

My partner is a higher up for a pharmacy system, and I just heard this one (he works from home and sometimes has calls on speaker).

A patient went into the pharmacy to pick up a prescription that apparently needed pharmacist consultation. The pharmacist asked if they had gotten the Covid vaccine, and if not, would they like to get one for free today? It's just something they do.

And then the fireworks began. The patient went ballistic on the pharmacist, demanding why she asked ("That's private!" ). Then lit into her for asking out loud. What if his neighbors were there and heard he was unvaccinated? What if anyone he knew had overheard? Apparently he took his mask off while ranting, and the waiting area cleared out fast (the pharmacy is within a hospital). Then security was called.

I didn't hear the ultimate resolution as I had a work call just then.

But sure. Let's behave that way in public in a hospital setting.

What if his neighbors overheard? Hell, I'd call that fair warning for them.

July 31, 2021

Grocery workers aren't even wearing masks, wtf . . .

Went to Costco to grab paper towels (we're genuinely out), then Safeway for things.

I keep tabs on how masking is going whenever at stores. Today was a 50/50 sort of day. Better than it's been.

But some workers weren't wearing masks. I'm talking cashiers, too. It took me a second to realize I'd never seen the faces of a lot of the local grocery workers. Both Safeway and Costco had maskless employees at check-out and wandering around. They were also about 50/50.

How is this happening? How are the stores allowing it, now that we're facing mask restrictions again because of Delta?

Ironically, Costco positioned cases of Clorox sanitation wipes in the vestibule - same as they did during lockdown.

I am totally baffled here. Shoppers not wearing masks yet? Fine. But workers, who are interacting with hundreds of customers a day, many of them maskless?

WTF. Just . . . WTF.

This is California Bay Area.

July 30, 2021

Welp, I've been told not to come into work

I've been working 95% from home since the pandemic started, only going into the office once or twice a week for a handful of hours to manage paperwork or meetings/interviews that can't be Zoomed.

We were supposed to begin transitioning to a 3/2 split next week (3 days at office, 2 days home). That's being scrapped. Corporate is now saying, "We will re-assess in September."

Friends of mine in tech are reporting similar. People were supposed to start going back in late summer/early fall, and it's all being cancelled until further notice.

So this is happening.

July 29, 2021

Iranian Defector Dedicates Silver Medal Win In Judo To Israel

Here's a nice Olympics story. We see a lot of anti-semitism in the games sometimes. One guy said, "Nah, I'm good. Oh, and also, fuck you."

Iranian Saeid Mollaei dedicated his silver medal to Israel after finishing second in the Olympics judo event Tuesday behind Takanori Nagase of Japan.

Mollaei, who now competes for Mongolia, defected from his home country of Iran after his team coaches told him to purposely lose in his semifinals match of the 2019 World Judo Championships in order to avoid competing against Israel’s Sagi Muki, the Washington Examiner reported.

“Thank you to Israel for the good energy. This medal is dedicated also to Israel,” Mollaei told an Israeli Sports Channel, according to the Washington Examiner. “I hope the Israelis are happy with this win.”

Muki, who became close friends with Mollaei following the events of the 2019 championship, congratulated Mollaei on his win during a press conference, the outlet reported.

July 22, 2021

Activision Blizzard Sued Over 'Frat Boy' Culture, Harassment

This is a very big deal, as it's one of the largest gaming companies in the country and around the world. They're the makers of World of Warcraft - the largest Massive-Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Game (MMORPG) in the world and Starcraft, which is massive in Asian, particularly Korean e-sports.

Tech has long had a problem with sexism. The gaming industry doubly so. But even by those standards, what's laid out in this suit is horrifying.


Video game giant Activision Blizzard Inc., maker of games including World of Warcraft and Diablo, fosters a “frat boy” culture in which female employees are subjected to constant sexual harassment, unequal pay, and retaliation, according to a lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

A two-year investigation by the state agency found that the company discriminated against female employees in terms and conditions of employment, including compensation, assignment, promotion, and termination. Company leadership consistently failed to take steps to prevent discrimination, harassment, and retaliation, the agency said.

. . .

According to the complaint, filed Tuesday in the Los Angeles Superior Court, female employees make up around 20% of the Activision workforce, and are subjected to a “pervasive frat boy workplace culture,” including “cube crawls,” in which male employees “drink copious amounts of alcohol as they crawl their way through various cubicles in the office and often engage in inappropriate behavior toward female employees.”

. . .

The suit also points to a female Activision employee who took her own life while on a company trip with her male supervisor. The employee had been subjected to intense sexual harassment prior to her death, including having nude photos passed around at a company holiday party, the complaint says.

I believe all of it. I dated someone who worked for one of the biggest mobile gaming companies in the world. I visited him at his office regularly. It had the usual kitchens full of food. But the kitchens also had special fridges for wine and beer. Many employees openly had hard liquor bottles on their desks. A laid-back atmosphere was encouraged. One time, after a company employee appreciation function full of alcohol, a bunch of us went back to the office for a drink. One guy puked at his desk, and we had to call him an Uber.

I believe everything in this suit.
July 8, 2021

Wow, Tahoe area is getting rocked

Counting 20+ quakes in the last half hour. The biggest is 5.9 so far. And this is 40 minutes after a 4.8 hit a bit east of the Bay Area.

California seems bored today.

June 23, 2021

We screwed our Iraqi service members.

I don’t know if anyone here watches ChubbyEmu. It’s actually a super interesting YouTube channel. he’s an oncological pharmacist. My partner is also a doctor of pharmacology. So, I watch just to be aware.

This . . . broke my heart. The cancers that came back with our soldiers.

This woman is still fighting.

June 20, 2021

How old do you feel?

I had a lot of peers over yesterday. My age. All professionals. We're Millennials approaching middle age now, and this question kept cropping up. We hadn't seen each other in 15+ months, so getting together, it felt like we were different people. We had to get used to each other again.

We don't particularly feel like we grew up.

Don't get me wrong. My friends and I have careers, homes, some have kids. We grew up. But we keep regarding the country and the world as this thing some other people are managing. Not us.

Speaker Pelosi has been in power since 2006. President Biden has been in office for, well, I think before I was born.

We have no investment in what goes on. This all existed before us, and feels like it will exist forever. It won't. But I'm saying, on a pure feeling level.

But I'm wondering, since I know DU skews older. How old do you feel? Did your generation ever have a moment where it was like, "Ok, we have the reins now!"?

June 18, 2021

Is a Chinese defector the reason Biden administration wants an investigation into Lab Leak Theory?

Interesting article from the Daily Beast.

Chinese-language anti-communist media and Twitter are abuzz this week with rumors that a vice minister of State Security, Dong Jingwei defected in mid-February, flying from Hong Kong to the United States with his daughter, Dong Yang.

Dong Jingwei supposedly gave the U.S. information about the Wuhan Institute of Virology that changed the stance of the Biden administration concerning the origins of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Dong is, or was, a longtime official in China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS), also known as the Guoanbu. His publicly available background indicates that he was responsible for the Ministry’s counterintelligence efforts in China, i.e., spy-catching, since being promoted to vice minister in April 2018. If the stories are true, Dong would be the highest-level defector in the history of the People’s Republic of China.

Dong’s defection was raised by Chinese officials last March at the Sino-American summit in Alaska, according to Dr. Han Lianchao, a former Chinese foreign ministry official before defecting after the 1989 Tiananmen Square massacre. In a Wednesday tweet, Han, citing an unnamed source, alleged that China’s foreign minister Wang Yi and Communist Party foreign affairs boss Yang Jiechi demanded that the Americans return Dong, and U.S. Secretary of State Anthony Blinken refused.


Are we ready to stop calling it all a conspiracy theory yet?

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