Ugh.

Everyone should read this article, click here!

But know there are a few things you can do.  In no particular order other than stream-of-conscious …

1. On an individual level, consume less media and produce more of it yourself.  2. Do the same with everything else, borrow and share too.  3.  Realize that when you rip off artists and musicians, by not supporting them with actual money, things get worse.  This may seem to conflict with #1 & #2 and it does really, so find the right balance for you and don’t expect it all for free.  4. Stop working in tech or other forms of content packaging and distribution and make content yourself.  Or at least respect and cherish the content producers that make your distribution job possible: don’t take advantage of them.  4a. Play a musical instrument, even poorly.  5. Volunteer and help other people out directly, don’t expect others or the government to do it for you.  6. Only read and watch the best in breed in journalism, avoid all the rest at all cost.  7. Dive deep and master something, don’t think you need to be aware of everything going on under the sun to survive and be happy.  8. Trust the experts and scientists that have done the work and the study and have the best credentials, ignore the rest.  9. Get a dog.  10.  Fall in love and have a lot of sex.  10a. If you’re not in love, you should still have some sex too.  11. Start a family (but be ready to do so).  12. Be social in real life, meet real people and make real friends, listen to their stories and share your own, have good conversations, start conversations.  13. Give back and pay it forward.  14. Don’t be ashamed to ask for help, advice, or knowledge.  15. Get an education and realize you can get one on your own outside of a school too if school isn’t an option.  16. Don’t be lazy, fight it off when it starts to get the best of you.  17. Vote, and vote with your brain not your heart, gut, or genitals. 18. Know that you will fail and other will too but don’t let it stop you (not that you have a choice really) or drive you nuts.

 

 

Everyone hates Hamas

When Hamas only gets props from Iran, Syria, and Turkey (really Turkey?) you know the jig is up. Oh and Qatar, I forgot Qatar, but who doesn’t, right?

If you’re for a free Gaza with open borders and little to no control from Israel, please know that Hamas is making that a lot less likely, not more. Because nothing says “trusts us, we make great neighbors” like rocket attacks, terrorist tunnels, broken cease-fires, and suicide bombers! Even Egypt, normally Gaza’s best friend, locked down the border between it and Gaza and went after the tunnels there too, and before Israel decided to do the same thing. Arguably the closed Egypt/Gaza border is what really caused Hamas’s current desperation, as it was getting most of its resources from that route. (Note: the US and Mexico have a free trade agreement and we still control that border, more so everyday.). So yes, champion a free Gaza, but do so with smarts and class, not with terrorism and anti-Semitism. No discussion occurs about a free Gaza with Hamas in power there, that’s the political reality. Even 75% of Gazans hate Hamas. 

The other bit of crazy talk is when people say “Israel’s response should be more proportional”. Here’s the thing: Hamas and Israel are fighting a war, like it or not (not). And the objective of war is to win not tie. A proportional response leads to stalemate not victory. Now this doesn’t mean I’m pro war or even think that Israel should try to achieve its goals with war. It’s just that it’s silly to expect either side to hold back in a war, no matter which side you think is justified (if any justification can actually be ascribed). If Hamas were to acquire better weapons and tactics it would use them in its quest for victory, it wouldn’t hold back at all, especially not out of fear of killing civilians.

Yes, many of Israel’s weapons are from the United States. And many of Hamas’s weapons are from Iran, Syria, and Russia.

So why I’m a getting so worked up about this shit to the point where I need to discuss it on this forum of kitten videos and food photos? I mean other than just trying to make sense of it?? Because I’m discouraged to see my people, we liberal hipster creative types, fall on the wrong side of the argument. And, not for nothin’, to see Fox News more or less fall on the right side of the argument. Not that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict slots neatly into a right/wrong binary, but I do think Israelis are less wrong than Palestinians. It’s shocking to see how much strange thinking exists out there, how much anti-Semitism or near-anti-Semitism there seems to exist in purportedly open-minded people. I know the tendency in my tribe is to support the little guy, the underdog, the mom-and-pop, and all things indie. And I know it seems like Hamas are the freedom fighting rebels like in Star Wars. But they’re not, and even if they were the end doesn’t justify the means. The ultimate irony is to say Israel has created an Apartheid state in Gaza and thus Hamas can do no wrong, as Nelson Mandela himself tried fighting oppression with violence first, failed at it, then tried peaceful, thoughtful, non-violent tactics like sanctions and divestiture and succeeded.

Flight 17

Hmm, so if Flight 17 was hit by an SA-11 missile that disables its target with shrapnel rather than with a concussive explosion, it seems possible that many of the people on the plane would have survived the missile attack and would not have died immediately, but would have lived as the plane fell from the sky and died upon impact with the ground. Yes, cabin depressurization and the resulting lack of oxygen would have rendered the passengers unconscious. But if the oxygen masks deployed properly it’s possible the passengers did not lose consciousness. If the masks did not deploy and the passengers passed out, they may have regained consciousness once the plane descended to thicker air with more oxygen.

The photos of the crash site also seem to suggest that large sections of the fuselage crashed intact and that the plane was not disintegrated by the missile at 33,000 feet as originally reported/suggested by the media. Reports initially said the missile “slammed into the plane”, but now it has come to light an SA-11 missile explodes about a hundred meters in front of or underneath the plane it’s targeting, creating a cloud of small bits of shrapnel that the plane flies into which then disables the plane. The photos also show a large area of scorched earth, suggesting that the fuel in the plane did not ignite from the missile attack but ignited upon impact with the ground. Yet media reports are still saying the fuel exploded in mid-air at the time of the missile intercept. Also, the reports of many of the bodies being found intact on the ground is further evidence that there was not a massive, catastrophic explosion mid-air.

I guess the data recorders will shed light on this all.

Doctors need to change, not patients.

Since it appears that people will continue to use the emergency room for minor health issues even after getting health insurance, doctors and hospitals should adapt to the behavior of the people and not the other way around.

Health care is perhaps the only industry were sellers expect buyers to adapt to them, rather than accept and operate as nearly ever other industry where organizations are always adapting to the needs and preferences of consumers in a ever-changing marketplace.

Expecting people to self-triage, and then charging them a penalty (in either time or money) when they get it wrong is how it works in American healthcare today.

The current system expects the patient to know the difference between whether, for example, they have the common flu or SARS and to choose the proper doctor and facility to match exactly what they have. Is it appendicitis or just bad gas? You better know before you decide where to go to seek relief or you may wind up having to pay out of pocket for a bill five times what it should be.

Prejudice toward women …

Colonial Williamsburg: stop the practice of reenacting witch-hunts and pull the TV commercials advertising them as part of a “romantic vacation”, as both are disrespectful and prejudice toward women.

Watch the TV commercial here.

Sign the petition here!

The practice of reenacting a witch-hunt and depicting it as part of a romantic vacation is horrifically disrespectful of women and to the right to due process in the United States.  The witch-hunts in the US were one of the lowest, darkest, most evil points in US history and they should not be treated in such a glib, humorous manner in reenactments and in TV commercials of such reenactments.  US witch-hunts were often used to torture and kill innocent “hysterical” women who suffered from mental health problems.  They were also undertaken by certain people or groups to perform sanctioned murder against women those people and groups did not like.  There is no positive, silver-lining to witch-hunts in US history and Colonial Williamsburg should stop presenting reenactments of them out of context as a form of entertainment.

If Mississippi offered vacation packages offering the reenacting of lynchings and of shootings of civil rights workers, no one would stand for it.  Similarly, no one should stand for such reenactments of witch-hunts and for advertisements of them.

Women’s rights are hard-fought around the world and in the US.  History shows that they can wither away rather easily.  Women’s rights should be celebrated and secured; attempts to trivialize them should be regarded with disdain and should not be the endeavor of a tourist destination.  Witch-hunts are not things of the past.  Since 2009 there have been witch-hunts in Sub-Saharan Africa, Papua New Guinea, Saudi Arabia, and India.

Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby

While I wish the Supreme Court had ruled the other way in the Hobby Lobby case, the optimist in me (a small one to be sure) feels that all the recent talk of descending down a slippery slope where corporations will refuse to pay for health insurance policies that cover drugs and procedures that they find objectionable on religious grounds is entirely overblown. First of all, slippery slopes are rare if not nonexistent in US politics, law, culture, and business. Second, the Supreme Court merely settled one case in a narrowly defined (i.e. applicable only to the named parties in the suit), it did not change any laws or declare any laws unconstitutional, nor did it strike down the ACA birth control requirement. Third, while it set a precedent that future litigants can cite in future suits, I do not think many companies will be willing to take the time, effort, risk, legal liability, and especially the cost of denying employees drugs and medical procedures when litigation is almost sure to follow. 

Most companies, I optimistically feel, will not choose to go down this road as it is hard enough to remain profitable as a company and all companies seek as few legal headaches as possible. Plus, no company will want the bad PR and its possible effect on the bottom line. The idea that a company will decide to not pay for or allow its health insurance provider to cover blood transfusions, as some are suggesting will happen, seems ludicrous. I don’t think any company will be willing to open itself up to that legal liability, nor do I think any insurance company will do so either. Really, I don’t think a health insurance company would ever consider creating a health plan that doesn’t cover blood transfusions, which are usually essential and life-saving, due to the legal liability and bad PR it would pose. I bet (and hope) that if asked to do so by a company, the health insurance company would refuse. 

While the Supreme Court made a bad call, it seems unlikely it will bring on the extreme situations some are predicting. And even if a handful of companies decide to try their luck in court, that will hardly be a slippery slope and they outcome of such cases would be nowhere near assured.