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Member since: Fri Feb 14, 2020, 07:34 PM
Number of posts: 5,084

Journal Archives

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."


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


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.


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:


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.


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.

Johnny Depp vs. Amber Heard verdict in

Will be read at 3pm EDT.

Should be interesting. I've followed the trial. She clearly lied her head off to take advantage of Me Too. He's a broken mess of anxiety and addiction. So . . . don't date either of these people.

Did she defame him? Seems pretty obvious she did. However, the law is not that straightforward, and defamation cases in this country are very, very hard to get a verdict on.

So, I'm about 50/50 on the verdict.

A small part of me thinks the jury will vote against both of them (Heard is counter-suiing). Pox on both your houses sort of thing.

Do we live in an age of false empowerment?

Having had a week to observe the reaction to the Roe leak, I've seen hundreds to thousands of articles, posts, and op-eds discussing the situation, and maybe 95% of the time, I find myself leaving the piece thinking, "That's all very nice, but what are you going to actually do to change things?"

I've long had a fairly negative opinion of what has come to be known as "slacktivism" in social media spaces. Someone writes a post or changes their profile picture to a flag or banner that addresses the Issue of the Moment. And it seems like there is this illusion of something having been done or accomplished. "I have retweeted this Very Important Half-Thought from Phil in Beaverton. I can do no more for my country."

There was a comedian some years back - I can't remember who - who joked about how people and celebrities were forever "raising awareness." They weren't doing anything. They were just raising awareness. It was a cost-free, no inconvenience necessary way of feeling virtuous, being "one of the good guys" out there making the world a better place with pixels.

With the sea change that the overturning of Roe will bring to this country's women, our laws, and how the government controls our personal choices, I keep looking for solutions of gravity. I think, "Ok, let's see some good ideas. Maybe a general strike. Let's see some action items of impact."

And . . . it's Twitter. "I will not be silenced . . . on Twitter!" I guess some people want to make more hats now? I suppose the increased yarn sales at Hobby Lobby will be darkly ironic.

So in all this cacophony of speaking out and not sitting down and taking it and this total lack of silence, I kept thinking and asking, "Do social media channel voices in such a way that they are rendered inconsequential while allowing the users the illusion of productivity?" Are you empowered, or are you given the illusion of empowerment by being able to direct your voice and energies in a way that will ultimately not change any structures of power and consequence?

Has technology literally put everyone on a hamster wheel without them noticing it? We're speaking out more than we ever have in history, so why does it feel like we never go anywhere with it? No one can say the past ten years have been particularly kind to an America that is more empowered than ever to speak their minds, both individually and collectively. Where is the power behind all those voices? We're very good at Sound and Fury.

So in the hundreds of posts on DU I read in the past week, I saw one by WhiskeyGrinder (sp?). It was a short post about what you can do. It gave advice about assisting local abortion provider networks. No Twitter. No ten dollar donations to national organizations like Planned Parenthood to assuage the conscience. Community level. Women who live near you. People who need money with no overhead. Women who need transporation, an ear, and a support.

The tangible, the concrete, and the unpixelated.

That post got maybe four replies.

Once finals are all done, I'm going to go do that. The unpixelated. I'll know, without a sliver of doubt, that I have "done something" and I'm going to encourage those around me, in person, to help out.

Imagine if people decided, "For every hour I spend on social media talking, I will devote 15 minutes to in-person assistance on this issue." How many lives could be tangibly, concretely changed and helped?

Or are we just really happy with the current illusion? Because maybe, just maybe, real work is something that is hard to be bothered with.

Opposition to abortion isn't generally men vs. women

I was listening to Bill Maher's show this morning, and he was reading off some facts about abortion he was unaware of. One of them is that it isn't really men vs. women when it comes to wanting to ban it. I was curious, because my assumptions had been that the numbers between men and women would be fairly different.

I wanted to find polling. However, I wanted to find polling that wasn't affected by recent events, so I looked around for polls from about two years ago. Just to see what people said before the latest Court situation. Here was one example of the breakdown. Other polls yielded similar results:


So how is opposition being determined? Age, education, and religion.

Why post this? I just want to highlight that women's equality and rights isn't necessarily a battle between the sexes. It isn't racial. It's a battle between equality and conservatism/regressivism. I've spent my whole life working towards LGBT equality, and one of the things I've always kept in mind is that my battle isn't against straight people as a general force. It has always been against religious influences, conservative impulses, and people who simply resist any kind of change.

One of the things that I think the LGBT community has done successfully and what turned a corner over the past 20-30 was how many of us came out. It's hard to be ignorant when we're people you know, your friends and family, your coworkers, the person from church or on your softball team, your doctor or your mechanic.

I think one of the most powerful weapons in our arsenal is when women share their stories.

Half of Online Political Media right now:

"Who cares about the leak? The leak's not important! People need to stop talking about the leak!

And now here are eight paragraphs on my personal theory of who leaked and why.

Please like and subscribe!"

I've been sort of enjoying it. Maybe it's just me.
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