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Sympthsical

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Member since: Fri Feb 14, 2020, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 4,742

Journal Archives

Jill Biden's "breakfast taco" may have been an inside joke

Which the locals would have understood, but it didn't play well nationally when bereft of context.

I did some quick searchy searchy, because I wondered if breakfast tacos were an Americanized thing. Instead, I found this rather lengthy article about the origins - and epic War of the Roses level fight - over the origin of breakfast tacos.

Summarized: San Antonio (where Biden was) hates, hates, hates that Austin takes credit for popularizing breakfast tacos, when it was very much their own culinary convention for years.

https://www.ocweekly.com/who-invented-breakfast-tacos-not-austin-and-people-should-stfu-about-it-6992058/

So the speech writer may have been playing to the audience in the room, but on a national level it just looked like pure cringe.

The more you know.

(None of this story is important. I'm just bored).

News engagement plummets as Americans tune out

https://www.axios.com/2022/07/12/news-media-readership-ratings-2022

Cable viewership across the three major cable news networks — CNN, Fox News and MSNBC — is, on average, down 19% in prime time for the first half of this year compared to the first half of 2021. Those losses skew heavily toward CNN and MSNBC, which are down 47% and 33%, respectively. Fox's ratings are up 12% in that six-month span.

News app sessions for the top 12 mainstream most-trafficked publishers dropped 16% in the first half of 2022, according to data from Apptopia.

Website visits for the top 5 news websites in the U.S. by unique visits tracked by Similarweb dropped 18% in the first half of 2022.

Engagement on social media with news articles cratered over the past six months, dropping 50% since the first half of last year, despite more articles published, according to data from Newswhip. Engagement is measured by interactions with articles posted, which includes likes, comments and shares.


The best part of statistics like these, anyone can read anything into them according to personal politics and taste. Everybody's happy!

My current avoidance with news organizations is how dense and erratic the news cycle has become. One story dominates for a day or so. Forgotten. Dominates. Forgotten. "MOST IMPORTANT THING EVER!!!!" Forgotten perhaps by end of day. It's always been somewhat like this, but I think the clickbait nature of everything has rendered much of it exhausting and not worth the effort. "That story is eight hours ago. We need to re-engage eyeballs!"

For me, it's at the point of reading a highly embellished headline that looks like the internet equivalent of skywriting and thinking, "No. I'm not reading that. I know it won't be worth it."

Millennials are the largest workforce and the least wealthy -- why?

https://minnesotareformer.com/2021/08/11/millennials-are-the-largest-workforce-and-the-least-wealthy-why-politics/

Some highlights:

In 1989, when Baby Boomers were roughly the same age as Millennials today, Boomers owned 21.3% of the national wealth. Millennials today own just 4.6%. This means that at their same stage of earnings development, Baby Boomers owned proportionally four times as much of the total wealth as Millennials. . .

As the economy continues to change, things are looking worse and worse for Millennials without a college degree. Race also plays a significant role in wealth statistics. At the end of 2019, Black Millennials had just $5,000 in household wealth on average, compared with their white counterparts, who had on average $88,000. The same study also showed that not only are Black millennials trailing white Millennials in terms of wealth, but are also trailing previous generations of Black families' average wealth by 52%. . .

One significant dampener of Millennial wealth is student loan debt. As shown in the chart below, Millennials hold roughly $500 billion in student loan debt. Between 1964 — when the youngest Boomers were born, and 2015 — the annual cost of a four-year public university grew by 3,700%, even after adjusting for inflation. This means that in 2019 dollars, when Boomers entered college in 1982 they paid an annual tuition of $1,031; Millennials had to pay $9,970 for yearly in-state tuition. (Average costs are more than double at out-of-state four-year universities are more than double and nearly quadruple at private universities). Again, both of those amounts are adjusted for inflation to 2019 dollars. . . .

Both of these causes of the dearth of Millennial wealth are the result of deliberate political and policy choices: States have cut support to higher education, shifting the cost on to students, who in turn borrowed money for college degrees they were told were essential to survive in today's economy. Once in the economy, Millennial workers were left to confront a political economy in which labor unions were crushed and employers given maximum leverage.


We're quite an entitled generation. Boot straps, people. Boot straps.

I can't shake the feeling the Court is Congress reaping what it has sown

For at least forty years, Congress has again and again thrown to the courts and other areas what they themselves probably should have been managing.

Think of how many advances we've made as a society that never made it through Congress but were instead tossed at the courts to or federal agencies to deal with. Reproductive freedom. LGBT rights. Climate change policy.

Once the Court well and truly flipped and started deciding, "Not our job. Not the EPAs job. It's Congress' job," there's chaos.

Codifying those things we want to keep into tangible law rather than relying on the vacillating interpretations of five people is something we should have been doing all along. But there is forever an election on the horizon. Stop me if you've heard this. "Now's not the time, because the election is 12, 9, 6, 3 months away . . ."

I'm not agreeing with the Court's recent rulings - far from. I am, however, suggesting that how our political system functions and how much we as voters and partisan actors have indulged it for so long was leading to this kind of inevitability.

Congress has sacrificed many of its roles and functions to the executive and judicial branches over the past 50 years. What we're seeing now can be directly traced to it. When we left our basic liberal advances in the hands of a few, we imperiled their lasting power.

Maybe it's time to stop writing everything on a political dry erase board and start doing things more concretely. Our representatives need to start taking stands and doing the work even if it makes their Novembers more difficult.

Just my thinking at the moment.

Senate passes the PACT Act

This was a long-needed bill to help veterans who are grappling with health problems due to toxic exposure during their service.

The Senate on Thursday passed historic legislation that would help millions of veterans who were exposed to toxic burn pits during their military service.

A wide bipartisan majority approved the long-awaited bill by a vote of 84-14. It will now go to the House of Representatives, where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has pledged to move quickly and send it to President Joe Biden's desk for his signature. The bill is an amended version of the Honoring Our PACT Act that passed the House earlier this year.

"Today is a historic, long awaited day for our nation's veterans," said Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer in a floor speech on Thursday ahead of the vote. "In a few moments, the Senate is finally going to pass the PACT Act, the most significant expansion of health care benefits to our veterans in generations."

Schumer continued, "The callousness of forcing veterans who got sick as they were fighting for us because of exposure to these toxins to have to fight for years in the VA to get the benefits they deserved --- Well, that will soon be over. Praise God."


https://www.cnn.com/2022/06/16/politics/senate-vote-burn-pits-veterans/index.html

A video on what happened to one veteran after she was exposed (mild content warning, because what happened to her health is awful).

U.S. inflation vs the world.

Thought this was interesting. Inflation rates in the G20. First number is current, second number is previously reported number.

China 2.1 2.1
Saudi Arabia 2.2 2.3
Japan 2.5 1.2
Switzerland 2.9 2.5
Indonesia 3.55 3.47
Australia 5.1 3.5
France 5.2 4.8
Singapore 5.4 5.4
South Korea 5.4 4.8
South Africa 5.9 5.9
Canada 6.8 6.7
Italy 6.8 6
India 7.04 7.79
Mexico 7.65 7.68
Germany 7.9 7.4
Euro Area 8.1 7.4
United States 8.6 8.3
Spain 8.7 8.3
Netherlands 8.8 9.6
United Kingdom 9 7
Brazil 11.73 12.13
Russia 17.1 17.8
Argentina 60.7 58
Turkey 73.5 69.97

https://tradingeconomics.com/country-list/inflation-rate

Asian-American Councilman attacked at SF's Land's End

So this shit is still going on:

A Bay Area elected official said he is recovering after he was attacked with a concrete block in San Francisco’s Lands End Saturday.

Millbrae City Councilman Anders Fung said he was walking with his family around 5 p.m. Saturday when a chunk of concrete fell from above. According to Fung, the concrete was thrown from at least 20 feet above him.

"As I was just walking by the cove. I got struck by a heavy object on top of my head," he said. "And I struggled to get up. As I was getting up, I continued to see heavy objects casted very close to me."

At first, Fung said that he thought it was an accident. But when two young men in hoodies kept throwing rocks and targeting him, he realized this was an act of senseless violence.


https://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/millbrae-city-councilman-attacked-with-concrete-block-in-san-francisco/2917494/

Chesa Boudin did very little about anti-AAPI hate crimes, which was another reason he was recalled. A lot of the money and advertising against him originated in those communities.

Washington Post fires reporter over Twitter slapfights

This is one the (out of a million) reasons I think Twitter is absolutely toxic to our culture. So many media figures and ostensible journalists seem to spend half their days trolling and trawling around it as if that were journalism. They constantly get into pissing matches and slap fights. Which is interesting in high school students - maybe - but less so in supposed adult professionals.

Inevitably, this happened:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/09/business/media/felicia-sonmez-washington-post.html

Felicia Sonmez, a reporter for The Washington Post who in recent days has been at the center of a debate over the organization’s social media policies and the culture of the newsroom, was fired on Thursday, according to a person with knowledge of the matter who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss personnel matters.

In an emailed termination letter, which was viewed by The New York Times, Ms. Sonmez was told that The Post was ending her employment, effective immediately, “for misconduct that includes insubordination, maligning your co-workers online and violating The Post’s standards on workplace collegiality and inclusivity.”

The email also said Ms. Sonmez’s “public attempts to question the motives of your co-journalists” undermined The Post’s reputation.

“We cannot allow you to continue to work as a journalist representing The Washington Post,” the letter said.


It bears repeating for the billionth time: Twitter is not real life.

Still, if you followed this as it unfolded like I did, it was a glorious trash fire.

So we don't get mail everyday anymore.

This started a month ago. There would be days we didn't get mail. It's highly unusual. Both of us work from home and receive various work things in the mail regularly. During early Covid, we had family living with us for the first year, and we were getting tons of mail. Because we're both home all day, people send things here and we're kind of friends and family's mail depot. So having 6-8 pieces of mail daily is about our usual.

We started noticing it when I ordered a new debit card because my old one was wearing out. I kept checking the mail daily, and more and more days didn't have mail. At one point, we went from Thursday to Tuesday with no mail. Clearly something was up. Neighbors started posting on NextDoor about not getting mail.

Finally, people started going to the post office about it. And these are some bullet points of what is being said:

- They are extremely short staffed and we may or may not receive mail on any given day.

- Some areas no longer have assigned carriers

- If they have time, sometimes they will deliver another route’s mail, but if your at the end of the route and they run out of time, you are out of luck.

- You must ask if it's wise to order your medical supplies and medication by mail order or if you should go pick it up. There is no guarantee your medication or medical supplies will arrive in a timely manner.

- You can choose to go pick up your mail at the post office if you wish. You must make allowances for them to put it aside. Unsure how many days.

- You must be aware, because they are so short handed that mail can be delivered as late as 1015 pm.


This is suburban Bay Area.

Can we fix the Post Office now? Mail only twice a week is kind of not great for even vaguely timed things.

Still don't have my debit card.

Man uses M-80s and a drone to annoy neighbors

This has been floating around my NextDoor for awhile, and they finally caught the guy.

It's almost kind of ingenious though. Annoying, frightening, angering. But ingenious.

https://napavalleyregister.com/news/local/american-canyon-police-arrest-resident-using-drone-to-ignite-illegal-fireworks/article_87d10b74-e378-11ec-b43b-2f72ec230c94.html

After hearing complaints of “large booms” over the past few weeks, the American Canyon Police Department arrested a man shortly after midnight Friday for igniting illegal fireworks using a drone, according to a department press release.

Following a report of illegal fireworks being ignited from a drone, officers were dispatched early Friday to the 400 block of Poppyfield Drive. Once there, the officers saw a drone in the air, and the drone was igniting fireworks, according to a press release.

The officers then followed the drone, which landed about a block over in 600 block of Kilpatrick Street. Police found an American Canyon resident holding the drone, and detained him, the press release says. The resident admitted to igniting M-80 type explosive devices from the drone — which reportedly had a device attached to it that was used to ignite explosives while in flight. The resident was arrested and issued a misdemeanor citation for dangerous fireworks, police said. Police also seized the drone for evidence.

The press release notes that the incident happened a few days after the Old Fire, which has burned roughly 570 acres, broke out in Napa County.
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