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Topics - meepmeep


Those dogs' dinners could be swapped out for a plant-based food under a proposal before the Los Angeles City Board of Animal Services Commissioners. The change, which commissioners could decide Tuesday, would make the city's shelter system the first in the nation to feed its canine residents a vegan diet, according to its chief veterinarian.

Supporters, who include musician and animal rights activist Moby and the feminist lawyer Lisa Bloom, say that is one of the selling points: to make L.A. shelter dogs the vanguard of a meat-free movement.

"If we adopt this, it's one more thing that proves to the world that Los Angeles really is the progressive capital," Moby, whose real name is Richard Hall, testified at the board's meeting last month.


The idea was proposed by Commissioner Robert Wolfson, a Hollywood screenwriter who cited research that he contended shows vegan diets "eliminate" many health problems in dogs, which are omnivores. But he said rethinking the dogs' meals is about far more sweeping matters -- the environmental effect of a meat industry that produces the main ingredients in lots of dog food and the ethics of feeding animals to animals.


Also pet food uses leftovers from human food production, and it's the kind of meat that humans won't eat because no one wants to chow down on some delicious diaphragm or bone meal, so all of that food would basically go to waste with no change in food animal production because the humans will still be eating the same amount of meat YOU STUPID FUCKS.

And the ethics of feeding animals to animals? Are you fucking kidding me?

The city's chief veterinarian, Jeremy Prupas, was not convinced. In a report to the commission, he recommended rejecting the proposal, saying that it could deprive dogs of sufficient protein, calcium and phosphorus and that it could be inadequate for injured, pregnant or lactating pups. Prupas said he'd consulted three clinical nutritionists at veterinary medical schools, one shelter medicine specialist and a veterinary toxicologist who works with a pet food company. None endorsed vegan dog diets, he testified.

"We recognize that individual, privately owned dogs can do well on a wide variety of diets (Commercial,  Vegetarian, Organic, Grain-free, Gluten-free, Raw, and Vegan)," Prupas wrote in his report. "However, that is quite a different population than the group of dogs we encounter daily in our animal shelters."

For christ's sake, someone please listen to the goddamn experts for once.

That argument precipitated several diarrhea-related comments in nearly two hours of testimony at the commission's Nov. 28 meeting, where pro-vegan voices dominated. Several pet owners, including Bloom, insisted that their vegan dogs had never suffered from digestive problems.



seriously fuck these people
Sports / Winter Olympics 2018
Off to a great start with Russia being banned!

The International Olympic Committee has suspended the Russian Olympic Committee "with immediate effect," essentially banning the country from the upcoming Winter Olympics over Russia's system of state-supported cheating by athletes using performance-enhancing drugs.

Russian athletes can compete in the 2018 Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea, the IOC said Tuesday -- but the athletes will have to pass strict scrutiny, and instead of wearing their nation's uniform, they will compete under the title "Olympic Athlete from Russia (OAR)."

"They will compete with a uniform bearing this name and under the Olympic Flag," the IOC said. "The Olympic Anthem will be played in any ceremony."

More on the doping scandal:

We now know how Mutko was able to achieve that jump, from 11th place to first, in such a short amount of time: an extensive, state-sponsored doping campaign. After a German documentary interviewed two Russian athletes who had fled Russia and had become whistleblowers about how systematically Russia dopes its athletes, key figures in the world of Russian anti-doping started turning up dead under mysterious circumstances. This prompted Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping agency, to flee, fearing for his life, to Los Angeles and to the director Bryan Fogel. The two had been working together on Fogel's riveting documentary, "Icarus," about how easy it is for an athlete to dope and test clean. Rodchenkov, who had been coaching Fogel in his quest to dope for a cycling event and dupe the tests, decided to confess to Fogel, on camera. He also told his story to The New York Times, and then went into U.S. government witness protection.

Rodchenkov ran the lab at Sochi during the Winter Olympics, and what he did there was essentially what he did for Fogel, but on a more massive scale: helping dozens of athletes dope all through the Games while testing negative on every single test. The story he told to the Times and to Fogel would strain the imagination, were it not independently confirmed by two investigations: one by the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and one by the International Olympic Committee (IOC).

Here is the summary of the operation, from the Times:

    The director, Grigory Rodchenkov, who ran the laboratory that handled testing for thousands of Olympians, said he developed a three-drug cocktail of banned substances that he mixed with liquor and provided to dozens of Russian athletes, helping to facilitate one of the most elaborate--and successful--doping ploys in sports history.

    It involved some of Russia's biggest stars of the Games, including 14 members of its cross-country ski team and two veteran bobsledders who won two golds.

    In a dark-of-night operation, Russian antidoping experts and members of the intelligence service surreptitiously replaced urine samples tainted by performance-enhancing drugs with clean urine collected months earlier, somehow breaking into the supposedly tamper-proof bottles that are the standard at international competitions, Dr. Rodchenkov said. For hours each night, they worked in a shadow laboratory lit by a single lamp, passing bottles of urine through a hand-size hole in the wall, to be ready for testing the next day, he said.

    By the end of the Games, Dr. Rodchenkov estimated, as many as 100 dirty urine samples were expunged.

    None of the athletes were caught doping. More important, Russia won the most medals of the Games, easily surpassing its main rival, the United States, and undermining the integrity of one of the world's most prestigious sporting events.

All of this, Rodchenkov said, was overseen by an officer of the federal security services, the FSB, and had the approval of Mutko and Putin.
Meet (former) Oklahoma City state senator Ralph Shortley.

Graduate of a bible college, married with four daughters, virulent homophobe, staunch conservative, fucking idiot lunatic who tried to introduce a bill to ban the use of aborted baby parts in food (lol, no, really).

Until he got caught up in child prostitution with a 17 year old kid.

Ralph Shortey, 35, pleaded guilty to child sex trafficking in federal court last week; in exchange, child pornography charges were dropped.

Shortey, a former Republican state senator from Oklahoma City, was charged in federal court in September after a months-long investigation that started in March 2017 when he was found in a Moore hotel room with a 17-year-old boy.

The best part, though:
Shortey answered the door in a white t-shirt with the words Ephesians 5:22, a bible verse, written on it, as well as "now go make me a sandwich" written below an image of a sandwich. The bible verse is in reference to women submitting to their husband's will, as they do to the Lord.

lol okay the writers for this computer simulation are getting a little silly here.
Long read, but full of some pretty solid lols:

Shapiro's thoughts about Arabs are all along similar lines. Usually conservatives are careful to draw a distinction: they are not condemning an ethnicity, but rather adherents to an ideology, namely Islamism. Not so with Shapiro: for him, the problem is not Islamism or even Islam writ large. It's Arabs: "The Arab-Israeli conflict may be accurately described as a war between darkness and light. Those who argue against Israeli settlements--outposts of light in a dark territory--argue for the continued victory of night." Arabs "value murder" while Israelis "value life," and "where light fails, darkness engulfs." Arabs are therefore, as an undifferentiated unit, a people of darkness. Palestinian Arabs are the worst of all: they are a "population rotten to the core... Palestinian Arabs must be fought on their own terms: as a people dedicated to an evil cause." The "Arab Palestinian populace... by and large constitutes the most evil population on the face of the planet." Since they're "rotten to the core," there's no such thing as a good Arab: your evil is defined by your ethnicity, by being a member of the People of Darkness and Murder rather than the People of Goodness and Light. Again, it may just be my failure to understand Facts and Logic, but I am having trouble understanding how population-level generalizations about the moral characteristics of particular ethnic groups can be anything other than bigotry.

Shapiro once explained his actual preferred solution to the problem of the dark Arab hordes: mass expulsion. As he said, bulldozing Palestinian houses and subjecting them to curfews are insufficient "half-measures": the only solution is to drive every last one of them forcibly from their homes and take their land:

The Arab enmity for Jews and the state of Israel allows for no peace process. The time for half measures has passed. Bulldozing houses of homicide bombers is useless. Instituting ongoing curfews in Arab-populated cities is useless... Some have rightly suggested that Israel be allowed to decapitate the terrorist leadership of the Palestinian Authority. But this too is only a half measure. The ideology of the Palestinian population is indistinguishable from that of the terrorist leadership. Half measures merely postpone our realization that the Arabs dream of Israel's destruction. Without drastic measures, the Arab dream will come true... If you believe that the Jewish state has a right to exist, then you must allow Israel to transfer the Palestinians and the Israeli-Arabs from Judea, Samaria, Gaza and Israel proper. It's an ugly solution, but it is the only solution... It's time to stop being squeamish.

Alright, well, we may disagree over whether pressuring Congress to pass a jobs bill makes you literally Mussolini. But Shapiro says the anti-Semitism part is clear-cut. Why? Well, the first piece of evidence is that when the Israeli military stormed an aid flotilla bound for Gaza, killing nine activists, the Obama administration soon released a statement saying that "The United States deeply regrets the loss of life and injuries sustained." "How else are we to interpret [this] lightning-fast, knee-jerk anti-Israel response?" except as evidence of anti-Semitism, Shapiro asks. But perhaps you're not convinced. Well, Shapiro has more. In 2009, Rahm Emanuel went to speak at AIPAC and told the audience that U.S. efforts to thwart Iran's nuclear program would be conditional on successful resolution of the Israel/Palestine conflict. This, Shapiro says, showed that Obama harbored a deep animus against Jews, because he holds Israel to a higher standard than he holds anyone else. And while it may have turned out that Rahm Emanuel never actually said anything like this, leading at least one other columnist to issue a correction, Shapiro stood firm. Not only did he not amend the story, but he later called Emanuel (who held Israeli citizenship for nearly two decades, whose middle name is literally Israel, and who even Jeffrey Goldberg thought made the idea of Obama being anti-Israel seem "a bit ridiculous") a "kapo," i.e. a Jew who does the Nazis' bidding. Shapiro said that any Jewish person who voted for Obama was not really a Jew at all, but a "Jew In Name Only" serving an "enemy of the Jewish people." They may "eat bagels and lox," but by supporting an "openly" anti-Semitic administration they are "disgusting" and a "disgrace," and the "twisted and evil" "self-hating Jews" who "enjoy matzo ball soup" and "emerged from a Jewish uterus" but nevertheless choose to "undermine the Israeli government" "don't care a whit about Judaism" and in fact hold "anti-Semitic views." (Those may be snippet-length quotes but go and read the columns if you suspect me of excising context or nuance.)

Shapiro isn't interested in discussing any of this seriously. Just look at how he distorted his questioner's response about moose: he says "Why aren't you a moose?" and when she replies "That's different," he interjects "That's right, men and women are different." She clearly said that species and gender are different (which they are, in that there's a good argument for revising one of the categories but not for revising the other). But he tried to convince his audience that she had essentially conceded his point, by seizing on and spinning the word "difference." (We call this "sophistry" rather than "logic.")

For a man who cares about Facts rather than Feelings, Shapiro doesn't seem to care very much about facts. There are plenty of minor mistakes that cast doubt on the Times quote that Shapiro "reads books." Some are just the little slip-ups that come from careless writing, e.g. the U.S. abolished slavery in "1862," "atheistic philosopher Gilbert Pyle" [sic]. Others are suspicious unsourced generalizations, e.g."Walk into virtually any emergency room in California and illegal immigrants are the bulk of the population." But there are also major embarrassing bloomers, like Shapiro promoting the false rumor that Chuck Hagel received a donation from a group called "Friends of Hamas." A New York Daily News reporter had made up the group's name, as something so ludicrously over-the-top that nobody could possibly believe it, but Shapiro credulous enough to think the organization could exist, and published an article demanding answers. When it was pointed out that there was no such group, Shapiro did not retract the story. Instead, he doubled down, insisting that because he reported that sources said there was a Friends of Hamas, and the sources did say that, his reporting was sound. (Note: this is not how journalism works.)

Shapiro mocked T.I. for naming his children "Zonnique and Deyjah." (It's not clear what the Rational basis for disliking black names is.) When Barack Obama said that "we need to keep changing the attitude that punishes women for their sexuality and rewards men for theirs," Shapiro wondered why Obama thought anyone should "be rewarded for their sexuality." (I am curious how Shapiro did on the Logical Reasoning section of his LSAT if he believes "Don't punish X or reward Y" means "reward X and/or Y.") He thinks that criticisms of those who seem to love wars but decline to fight in them are "explicitly reject[ing] the Constitution itself, [which] provides that civilians control the military." (Go ahead and try to figure out the reasoning on that one.) He was strongly against a federal ban on using cellphones while driving, because it would take away drivers' freedom of choice, yet he believes it is "morally tragic" that we no longer use the police to stop people from making and watching pornography, because it follows the "silly" philosophy that "as long as what I do doesn't harm you personally, I have a right to do it." (Shapiro said that if pornography is legal, there would be no logical reason not to legalize the murder of homeless people, without addressing the potential meaningful distinctions between "having sex" and "killing a person in cold blood.") Shapiro may be The Cool Kid's Philosopher, but on the rare occasions when he actually dips his toe into metaphysics, the results are catastrophic: he argues that atheism is incompatible with the idea of free will because religious people believe that free will is granted by God. ("My beliefs say that your beliefs can't be true therefore they can't be true" is known as "assuming the conclusion.")

What's more, Shapiro doesn't believe that criticizing the American government during a time of war ought to be legal at all. The champion of Free Speech has literally called for reinstating sedition laws. When Al Gore told a Muslim audience that he believed the United States' indiscriminate rounding-up and detention practices after 9/11 were "terrible" and abusive, Shapiro called the statements "treasonable," "seditious," and "outrageous" and demanded that the law respond:

At some point, opposition must be considered disloyal. At some point, the American people must say "enough." At some point, Republicans in Congress must stop delicately tiptoeing with regard to sedition and must pass legislation to prosecute such sedition... Under the Espionage Act of 1917, opponents of World War I were routinely prosecuted, and the Supreme Court routinely upheld their convictions.... During World War II, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the internment of hundreds of thousands of Japanese-Americans, as well as allowing the prosecution and/or deportation of those who opposed the war.... This is not to argue that every measure taken by the government to prosecute opponents of American wars is just or right or Constitutional. Some restrictions, however, are just and right and Constitutional--and necessary. No war can be won when members of a disloyal opposition are given free reign [sic] to undermine it.

The Wilson administration's crackdown on critics of the war, and the imprisoning of dissidents, were actually a low point in the history of American liberty, and the legal decisions upholding these acts are now discredited. But Shapiro sees this, along with the even more disturbing mass internment of Japanese Americans, as a model for eliminating critics of America's wars. (Although elsewhere Shapiro has called the Supreme Court's decision upholding Japanese detention "evil and disgusting." Consistency, as I have indicated before, is not his forte.)

Politics and Current Events / The Paradise Papers
The group that released the Panama Papers teased a big new project the other day, and it just dropped:

I haven't looked at anything yet, but this should be interesting.  :hmm:
Arts and Entertainment / Harvey Weinstein

holy shit

Asia Argento, an Italian film actress and director, told me that she did not speak out until now--Weinstein, she told me, forcibly performed oral sex on her--because she feared that Weinstein would "crush" her. "I know he has crushed a lot of people before," Argento said. "That's why this story--in my case, it's twenty years old, some of them are older--has never come out.

The story, however, is more complex, and there is more to know and to understand. In the course of a ten-month investigation, I was told by thirteen women that, between the nineteen-nineties and 2015, Weinstein sexually harassed or assaulted them, allegations that corroborate and overlap with the Times's revelations, and also include far more serious claims.

Three women--among them Argento and a former aspiring actress named Lucia Evans--told me that Weinstein raped them, allegations that include Weinstein forcibly performing or receiving oral sex and forcing vaginal sex. Four women said that they experienced unwanted touching that could be classified as an assault. In an audio recording captured during a New York Police Department sting operation in 2015 and made public here for the first time, Weinstein admits to groping a Filipina-Italian model named Ambra Battilana Gutierrez, describing it as behavior he is "used to." Four of the women I interviewed cited encounters in which Weinstein exposed himself or masturbated in front of them.

Sixteen former and current executives and assistants at Weinstein's companies told me that they witnessed or had knowledge of unwanted sexual advances and touching at events associated with Weinstein's films and in the workplace. They and others describe a pattern of professional meetings that were little more than thin pretexts for sexual advances on young actresses and models. All sixteen said that the behavior was widely known within both Miramax and the Weinstein Company. Messages sent by Irwin Reiter, a senior company executive, to Emily Nestor, one of the women who alleged that she was harassed at the company, described the "mistreatment of women" as a serial problem that the Weinstein Company was struggling with in recent years. Other employees described what was, in essence, a culture of complicity at Weinstein's places of business, with numerous people throughout the companies fully aware of his behavior but either abetting it or looking the other way. Some employees said that they were enlisted in subterfuge to make the victims feel safe. A female executive with the company described how Weinstein assistants and others served as a "honeypot"--they would initially join a meeting, but then Weinstein would dismiss them, leaving him alone with the woman.

Four actresses, including Mira Sorvino and Rosanna Arquette, told me they suspected that, after they rejected Weinstein's advances or complained about them to company representatives, Weinstein had them removed from projects or dissuaded people from hiring them. Multiple sources said that Weinstein frequently bragged about planting items in media outlets about those who spoke against him; these sources feared that they might be similarly targeted. Several pointed to Gutierrez's case, in 2015: after she went to the police, negative items discussing her sexual history and impugning her credibility began rapidly appearing in New York gossip pages. (In the taped conversation with Gutierrez, Weinstein asks her to join him for "five minutes," and warns, "Don't ruin your friendship with me for five minutes.")

Peter Thiel is literally a fucking Bond villain:
Thiel's purview is as vast as his ambitions. He has homes or properties in San Francisco, the Hollywood Hills, New York, Hawaii, and New Zealand, where he acquired citizenship a few years back. (He is a keen fan of The Lord of the Rings, which was filmed there.) According to one of his friends, "Thiel has said to me directly and repeatedly that he wanted to have his own country"--even placing a dollar value on "owning" a sovereign state: $100 billion.

Through it all, Thiel, who guards his privacy, has become known for challenging conventions, including those as seemingly immutable as death, taxes--and tuition. To wit: he takes daily doses of human growth hormone to stave off the effects of aging. He has supported the Seasteading Institute, which seeks to build floating cities beyond the reach of traditional governance. And his Thiel Fellowship hands out $100,000 grants to budding entrepreneurs who agree not to go to college. Such maverick ideas make Thiel "something of a revered figure for his successes in the tech and venture-capital worlds," claimed author and biotech journalist David Ewing Duncan. "And despite what many see as his controversial backing of Trump, if you're a young entrepreneur you don't want to cross him because he has the power to invest in your next big dream. There is a case to be made that renegades should be defended."

It was Thiel, after all, who secretly funded the invasion-of-privacy lawsuit that pro wrestler Hulk Hogan brought against Gawker Media, resulting in a $140 million verdict for Hogan (since negotiated downward) and bankrupting the gossip-and-news franchise, whose blog (Valleywag) had earlier "outed" Thiel. Regarded warily for his stealth, single-mindedness, and tenacity, he is, in a way, a Silicon Valley Steve Bannon.

And yet a number of people who describe themselves as either Thiel's friends or longtime associates would speak with me only on the condition of anonymity, citing a variety of reasons: non-disclosure agreements they had signed with one or more of Thiel's entities, fear of retribution from Trump-administration officials, or reluctance to alienate Thiel or the PayPal Mafia. These individuals--including several in his inner circle--would only arrange a meeting or a conversation using tradecraft worthy of C.I.A. case officers. They communicated via encrypted apps (ones that do not register on a cell phone's call log). Two of them, to check my bona fides before agreeing to sit down with me, requested screenshots of Google searches about me--explaining that if they were to run the searches themselves, and someone combed through their search histories, they might be identified as a source for this article.

Some of these individuals insisted that there is a perplexing duality to the man. Said one friend and colleague who has known Thiel for nearly 20 years, "He exempts himself from the rules he applies to others. He's a hard-core libertarian who rails against state surveillance except when he's profiting off of it. He's a strong believer in personal privacy but is happy to kick-start and sit on the board of Facebook, which monetizes every ounce of Americans' data." He described three prime movers in Thiel's life: achieving immortality, resisting state control over his actions, and acquiring the money necessary to pull it off. Paradoxically, he added, Thiel distrusts authority: "That's [partly] what motivated him years ago to run headlong into the intelligence field. He understood that, in a technological world, power is wielded by the intelligence community. You can only trust that community if you trust--or better yet, if you are--the person at the switch."
Jesus christ, the French:

It wasn't long before she realised that "difficult" was a colossal understatement. "You're Gabrielle Deydier," was the first thing the teacher in question said when they met. "I don't work with fat people." Gabrielle tried to laugh it off, but the difficult teacher wasn't smiling. "It wasn't a joke," she said.

There are many equally bizarre episodes in her life story. Returning to the teaching job, this is how it ended: discrimination on grounds of physical appearance is illegal in France, a law that seems not to have filtered through to employers. Following the awkward introduction, the "difficult" teacher introduced Gabrielle to the class of six autistic children as: "The seventh handicapped person in the room." She accused Gabrielle of sweating too much. The headmaster told Gabrielle: "If she has a problem with you, then so do I."

"He said it was unfair on the children because they were now being doubly stigmatised - for their disabilities and because they'd be bullied for having a fat teacher." Gabrielle was asked to "have a think" about her future. "We're going to give you 30 days to prove you are motivated."

Motivated? "Motivated to lose weight. To show you're committed to this job." "It was never the children," says Gabrielle. "They were wonderful. But I was finding it difficult and complicated to deal with." It was noted that: "You were seen out of breath after climbing the stairs to the third floor."

Why didn't she take the school to court? "I was afraid I wouldn't be believed," she says. It's not an unlikely scenario. She'd experienced many similar events. The gynaecologist who grumbled: "There's so much blubber here, I can't see"; the male colleague who denied he'd sexually harassed her on the grounds that his wife was much better looking: "Why would I try to rape a fat woman?"

"The police were very good, but said: 'You have a right to make a complaint, but we advise against it because a tribunal won't be on your side.'"

Science / Peter Thiel is a fucking lunatic
Holy fuck, this is so terribly unethical and fucked up:

WASHINGTON--Defying U.S. safety protections for human trials, an American university and a group of wealthy libertarians, including a prominent Donald Trump supporter, are backing the offshore testing of an experimental herpes vaccine.

The American businessmen, including Trump adviser Peter Thiel, invested $7 million in the ongoing vaccine research, according to the U.S. company behind it. Southern Illinois University also trumpeted the research and the study's lead researcher, even though he did not rely on traditional U.S. safety oversight in the first trial, held on the Caribbean island of St. Kitts. 

Neither the Food and Drug Administration nor a safety panel known as an institutional review board, or an "IRB," monitored the testing of a vaccine its creators say prevents herpes outbreaks. Most of the 20 participants were Americans with herpes who were flown to the island several times to be vaccinated, according to Rational Vaccines, the company that oversaw the trial.

Even so, Fernández a former Hollywood filmmaker, said he and his investors plan to submit the trial data to the FDA in hopes of getting the vaccine approved for treatment.

Oh, okay, phew, I'm confident this guy knows what he's doing.

Before the trial, Halford tested the vaccine on himself and Fernández. After he failed to secure federal funding and without an IRB, Halford moved ahead with the trial offshore. 

This is fucking bananas.
Because there are so many idiots showing their dumb asses that this should probably have its own thread.

Example #1 of the type of person who would totally swear up and down that they're totally not racist:

My personal favorite example:

As Calderón pressed Barker on his views, he called her the n-word and told her to go back to her country. He also appeared to threaten her.

"Why don't you go back?" Barker said in the interview, which Univision aired Sunday night. "We have nothing here in America, ya'll keep flooding it. ... We're going to chase you out of here."

"Are you going to chase me out of here?" Calderón responded.

"No, we're going to burn you out," he said.

"How are you gonna do it?" she retorted.

At one point, she asked him how he would burn out the 11 million unauthorized immigrants in the country.

"Don't matter," Barker said. "We killed six million Jews the last time. Eleven million is nothing."

"You're telling me you're going to burn me," Calderón also said, to which he responded: "Yeah, you're sitting on my property now."

"I've been here over 20 years and we've never had a black person or whatever you want to call yourself, you're a mongrel to me," Barker said. "We've never had one. We don't let them around."

Calderón frequently pushed back on his views, and told him she found his language offensive. "My skin color doesn't define me," she said.

"I'm way more superior than you'll ever be," Barker said.

As the Univision crew filmed, other members of the Loyal White Knights joined the Barkers to perform a cross-burning ceremony. They held torches and circled a cross, chanting "For race, for God, for nation, for the Ku Klux Klan."

At one point during the interview, Calderón asked him if, hypothetically, he would be willing to accept an organ donation from her to one of his children, if she was deemed a match. He told her it was not possible, Calderón recalled, claiming that his blood was not the same as hers because of their different races.

Barker denied that he led a hate group. Both he and his wife said they "don't hate anyone," were "not racist" and do not condone violence.

"I think genocide is a good idea and that black people have literally different blood than I do and that I'm superior to them in every single way but let's not all get carried away. It's not like I'm a racist!"

I grew up in a town called Bells, one of the five small towns that make up Crockett County in West Tennessee. The county is 83 percent white--I am also white--14 percent black and 10 percent Hispanic. (For comparison, according to 2016 Census data, Tennessee's population is only 17 percent black and 5 percent Hispanic.) The median household income is $35,000, and 19 percent of the county's 14,411 residents live below the poverty line. Most of the people I went to school with are still there. The area is deeply rural--the main highway that winds through the county is framed by cotton fields and pastures where cows keep a lazy watch over passing cars. Friday night football reigns supreme; game attendance is only second in importance to church. Many families have been here for generations, passing down their farmland and businesses to their children and grandchildren.

It can be a lovely place to live, but in counties like Crockett, it's hard to be anything other than white. So I decided to go back home and talk to the people I should have been talking to all along--people of color who live and work and go to school with white Trump supporters. They told me how it feels to live among neighbors who voted against their best interests and--worst case--their basic existence.

Turner's mom, who cleans houses in town for a living, went to work a couple of days after that, and her employer, an older white woman, brought up the results of the recent election. The two had talked politics before--Turner's mom is a Democrat, and her employer is a Republican. "Well, you might as well come and live with me now," the employer said. "You gonna be mine eventually."

She called her daughter in tears. Turner immediately got in her car and picked her mother up to bring her home.

Last year before the election, a young woman Turner described as one of her best friends casually mentioned she hoped for a Trump victory so that he might "do away with some of these African American people." She quickly clarified that she wasn't referring to Turner's "type," but when Turner sharply asked her what she meant, she couldn't answer. Another friend assured her that it would be okay if Trump won the election because she would convince her parents to purchase Turner's family as their new slaves. In a place where a few large plantation-style houses remain scattered through the county, the "joke" feels a lot like a threat.

Jesus christ, these people.

Politics and Current Events / Poland

The erosion of the rule of law also raises difficult questions for the European Union, which once saw Polish democracy and prosperity as its biggest success after the 2004 expansion that encompassed much of Eastern Europe. Now, E.U. leaders are threatening to suspend Poland's voting rights in decisions of the bloc, though they may be thwarted by the veto of Hungary's leader, Viktor Orban, another post-communist prime minister who has centralized power in defiance of democratic norms.

The U.S. State Department sounded an alarm about the measure, which would cast out all current justices of the Supreme Court, except those handpicked by the governing party's justice minister. But Trump's visit was tacit support for Law and Justice leaders, said Michal Kobosko, director of the Atlantic Council's Warsaw Global Forum, and "encouraged them to move forward with their offensive against the courts." Another measure would dissolve the independent body that selects judges. And the Constitutional Tribunal, the authority capable of invalidating the legislation, has been filled with government loyalists.

Gersdorf said the judiciary is the last independent institution protecting citizens from an authoritarian state whose aim, she said, is removing legal obstacles to interference in elections. The government has already clamped down on public media and restricted democratic assembly

"The last barrier is the Supreme Court," she said in an interview. "This change would undo our democratic system based on the independence of the courts. Each citizen has to know that a judge won't fall in front of political power."

According to Law and Justice, however, the courts are riddled with corruption, a product of lingering communist influence. The charge, said Jan Gross, a Polish-born professor of Eastern European history at Princeton University, is "total nonsense." He called the proposed changes "an indigenous assault on democracy and decency."

Polish democracy icon and former president Lech Walesa on Saturday joined the protests that have broken out across Poland over plans by the populist ruling party to put the Supreme Court and the rest of the judicial system under the party's political control.

The European Union and many international legal experts say the changes would mark a dramatic reversal for a country hailed as a model of democratic transition over the past quarter century, and move Poland closer toward authoritarianism.

The ruling Law and Justice party defends the changes as reforms to a justice system that party leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski says was never purged of former communists after that system collapsed in 1989. The claim is rejected by critics.

Walesa addressed protesters in Gdansk, his home city, where he led strikes in the 1980s against the then-communist regime that eventually toppled the government and ushered in democracy.

The 73-year-old Walesa recalled those democratic changes, saying that the separation of powers into the legislative, executive and judicial branches was the most important achievement of his Solidarity movement.

"You must use all means to take back what we achieved for you," he told a crowd that included young Poles. The 1983 Nobel Peace Prize winner also said he would always support their struggle, words that appeared to rule out any leadership role for him in the protests.

Of course, state TV is rabble-rousing:

Poznan tonight:

The hottest of gourmet takes offered for your enjoyment :

Lololol good idea using Vietnam as the model and lol poppy fields in Mexico? You mean the ones in Afghanistan? You know, the ones that expanded after the US invaded.

Love the subtle use of "death drugs" and the complete failure to mention potential body counts on either side. And of course it's Mexico's fault if some dumbass kid decides to try meth or heroin.
This piece is fucking bonkers:

In USC's lecture halls, labs and executive offices, Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito was a towering figure. The dean of the Keck School of Medicine was a renowned eye surgeon whose skill in the operating room was matched by a gift for attracting money and talent to the university.

There was another side to the Harvard-educated physician.

During his tenure as dean, Puliafito kept company with a circle of criminals and drug users who said he used methamphetamine and other drugs with them, a Los Angeles Times investigation found.

Puliafito, 66, and these much younger acquaintances captured their exploits in photos and videos. The Times reviewed dozens of the images.

Shot in 2015 and 2016, they show Puliafito and the others partying in hotel rooms, cars, apartments and the dean's office at USC.

In one video, a tuxedo-clad Puliafito displays an orange pill on his tongue and says into the camera, "Thought I'd take an ecstasy before the ball." Then he swallows the pill.

In another, Puliafito uses a butane torch to heat a large glass pipe outfitted for methamphetamine use. He inhales and then unleashes a thick plume of white smoke. Seated next to him on a sofa, a young woman smokes heroin from a piece of heated foil.

As dean, Puliafito oversaw hundreds of medical students, thousands of professors and clinicians, and research grants totaling more than $200 million. He was a key fundraiser for USC, bringing in more than $1 billion in donations, by his estimation.

Puliafito resigned his $1.1-million-a-year post in March 2016, in the middle of the spring term, saying he wanted to explore outside opportunities.

Three weeks earlier, a 21-year-old woman had overdosed in his presence in a Pasadena hotel room. The woman was rushed to a hospital, where she recovered. Police found methamphetamine in the hotel room, according to a police report, but made no arrests. Puliafito has never spoken publicly about the incident, which is being reported here for the first time.

Puliafito, a native of Buffalo, N.Y., who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard Medical School, had helped invent a laser technology -- optical coherence tomography -- that revolutionized the way doctors around the world diagnose and treat eye disease.

omg this lunatic invented the OCT we use every day at the facility :psyduck:
Very interesting read:

And yet, today, a growing chorus of voices argues that to be proper environmentalists and nurturing parents, each night should involve a home-cooked meal of fresh, organic, unprocessed ingredients. "We're doing so little home cooking now," food guru Michael Pollan says, "the family meal is truly endangered."5 Chastising the typical household for spending a mere 27 minutes a day preparing food, Pollan champions increasingly time-consuming methods of food production in defense of the allegedly life-enriching experience of cooking he fears is rapidly being lost.6

The juxtaposition is jarring, if not much remarked upon. At a moment in our history when increasing numbers of women have liberated themselves from many of the demands of unpaid domestic labor, prominent environmental thinkers are advocating a return to the very domestic labor that stubbornly remains the domain of women.

For women of lower socioeconomic status, the demands of a time-intensive, low-technology approach to food preparation are even more onerous. In a critique of this return-to-the-kitchen narrative, authors Sarah Bowen, Sinikka Elliott, and Joslyn Brenton describe interviews they conducted with mothers from a variety of ethnic and socioeconomic groups, whose experiences could not have been more unlike the idealized vision offered up by Pollan--in which the cook finds herself "in that sweet spot where the frontier between work and play disappears in a cloud of bread flour or fragrant steam rising from a boiling kettle of wort."7 Rather, they were juggling tight schedules, picky children, and the cost of fresh ingredients.4

For the women interviewed by Bowen and her colleagues, shopping and cooking occasionally added joy but just as often added stress, burdens, and trade-offs. Ironically, the practices advocated by Pollan, Mark Bittman,23 and other popular food and lifestyle gurus in the name of sustainability and a rich and fulfilling home life turn out to be practical only for women who have benefited the most from industrial society.

But the demands that contemporary environmental ethics place upon women do not end with Pollanesque gatherings around the family table. Young mothers are told to forgo processed baby food, relying as it does on far-flung commodity chains and nonlocal ingredients. Instead, they should make their own,24 reject formula in favor of breastfeeding,25 and replace disposable diapers with cloth.26 All, women are told, are necessary to raise healthy babies on a healthy planet. Each prescription combines claims of environmental benefit, however minor (given the water- and chemical-intensive processes associated with producing and reusing cloth diapers, for instance, they are only marginally better for the environment), with increased domestic demands.

Upon leaving the home, women face another series of charges from lifestyle greens. The choice to ride a bike instead of drive,27 for instance, isn't so simple for women disproportionately tasked with shopping and transporting children from place to place.28 Little wonder that women ride bicycles as transportation at less than one-third the rate of men.29

In these and a variety of other ways, green ideology tells women that tasks that can be automated should be rejected in the name of processes that are closer to nature, without any recognition of the broader social and structural context in which these activities occur. Women perform the bulk of unpaid labor while being beseeched to perform that labor in ways that are more difficult and time-intensive and bring at best minor benefits to the environment or the well-being of their families. The "natural is better" formula and the romanticization of domesticity as untainted by capitalism allow the larger systems in which women and the environment are embedded to escape scrutiny.

The glorification of nature and farming and the romanticizing of the home, domestic life, and the woman at the center of it are ultimately nostalgias that cover up the brutality of rural life and drudgery of domestic labor in a perfume of freshly cut hay and caramelizing onions. While the new domestics advocating home brewing, fermenting kombucha, and churning butter are likely aware of their irony in an era of unprecedented technological progress, this nostalgia does little to further the goals of middle- and lower-class women in the developed world.

"Our biologist believes it had learned the cues of the sound of a garage door opening. It had learned that the sound of a garage door opening meant dinner," said Bill Vogrin, public information officer for Parks and Wildlife. "This bear was so fat from eating human food it couldn't climb a tree ... so it made a bed under a tree."

Despite its taste for human food, the bear managed to avoid two traps baited with doughnuts, icing, syrup and dog food, after Backstrom's encounter, Vogrin said.

Take that, stupid humans.

"It takes an enormous amount of strength, something I could never do," O'Dubhraic said.

lol that is exactly what I would expect a guy who looks like that guy to say.

The bear accessed the home through a crank-style window on the first floor that was damaged in a recent windstorm and had been left ajar.

"The bear popped it open and broke off the crank mechanism and came in the window," Vogrin said. "This was a smart bear, a dangerous bear, so it was only a matter of time before someone got hurt. We're lucky it didn't happen last night."

Anti-intellectualism in this country has gone too far.

Poor Mr. Bear. RIP, little buddy.  :smith:


Also I love how they don't even mention actual guns or gun rights or the Second Amendment at all because 2017 is all about the death of subtlety and making what was previously subtext the very fucking obvious in your face text.

eta in b4 so much for the tolerant left, economic anxiety, and stop playing identity politics

The Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation survey of nearly 1,700 Americans -- including more than 1,000 adults living in rural areas and small towns -- finds deep-seated kinship in rural America, coupled with a stark sense of estrangement from people who live in urban areas. Nearly 7 in 10 rural residents say their values differ from people who live in big cities, including about 4 in 10 who say their values are "very different."

That divide is felt more extensively in rural America than in cities: About half of urban residents say their values differ from rural people, with about 20 percent of urbanites saying rural values are "very different."

"Being from a rural area, everyone looks out for each other," said Ryan Lawson, who grew up in northern Wisconsin. "People, in my experience, in cities are not as compassionate toward their neighbor as people in rural parts."

Yes, but, what if your neighbor is a black or a queer or Jewish?

Rural Americans express far more concern about jobs in their communities, but the poll finds that those concerns have little connection to support for Trump, a frequent theory to explain his rise in 2016. Economic troubles also show little relation to the feeling that urban residents have different values.

Rural voters who lament their community's job prospects report supporting Trump by 14 percentage points more than Clinton, but Trump's support was about twice that margin -- 30 points -- among voters who say their community's job opportunities are excellent or good. Trump also earned about the same level of support from those who say they don't worry about paying their bills as those who couldn't pay their bills at some point in the past year.

Rural residents are nearly three times as likely (42 percent) as people in cities (16 percent) to say that immigrants are a burden on the country.

"They're not paying taxes like Americans are. They're getting stuff handed to them," said Larry E. Redding, a retired canning factory employee in Arendtsville, Pa. "Free rent, and they're driving better vehicles than I'm driving and everything else."

Wait a goddamn minute, you mean I've been paying taxes all this time like some fucking sucker when I didn't have to? Also where can I sign up for my free rent and nice vehicle?

The poll reveals that perceptions about abuse of government benefits often go hand in hand with views about race.

When asked which is more common -- that government help tends to go to irresponsible people who do not deserve it or that it doesn't reach people in need -- rural Americans are more likely than others to say they think people are abusing the system. And across all areas, those who believe irresponsible people get undeserved government benefits are more likely than others to think that racial minorities receive unfair privileges.

In response to this poll question -- "Which of these do you think is the bigger problem in this country: blacks and Hispanics losing out because of preferences for whites, or whites losing out because of preferences for blacks and Hispanics?" -- rural whites are 14 points less likely than urban whites to say they are more concerned about blacks and Hispanics losing out.

"The culture and the type of people you see, they're different" in big cities, said Bethany Hanna, a homemaker in Saint Albans, W.Va., who said she visits urban areas on missions with her church. "It tends to be the type of people who are getting more assistance. .?.?. And the way you hear people talking, the viewpoints that they have on certain matters, it leans toward a pretty liberal opinion. Some of it's an entitlement thing. They say 'that's not fair,' or 'I deserve this,' that kind of thing."

I'm shocked that someone on a mission with their church would encounter people who need more assistance. Weird!
Science / Chronic Lyme Disease
Interesting piece in WaPo:

Chronic Lyme disease is a diagnosis that some health-care providers use to describe patients with a variety of symptoms such as fatigue, generalized pain, and neurological symptoms.

It's a confusing term because it's been used to mean many different things. Some practitioners have used the diagnosis to describe lingering symptoms after infection with the bacteria Borrelia burgdorferi that causes Lyme disease. Others use the catchall term to describe patients with subjective symptoms but no evidence of ever having been infected with the tick-borne illness.

Many of these patients have experienced significant debilitation from their symptoms and failed to find relief after seeing conventional medical practitioners. As a result, some turn to alternative medicine clinics or practitioners who sometimes identify themselves as Lyme disease specialists, or "Lyme literate" doctors, who may subject patients to a host of unproven treatments, the report said.

Typical symptoms of true Lyme disease include fever, headache, fatigue and a skin rash that may have a characteristic bull's eye shape. If left untreated, infection can spread to joints, the heart and nervous system. The recommended treatment is generally a two-to-four-week course of antibiotics. The CDC estimates about 300,000 people are diagnosed with Lyme each year, and the numbers have been on the rise.

Federal health officials don't know the number of people who undergo treatments for chronic Lyme disease or the complications that result from such treatments. But based on information received in the past three years from state and local health departments, and from clinicians who have treated patients who have become very sick as a result of these treatments, "we really have a sense that both the treatment and scope are broadening," Nelson said.

"Health-care providers are seeing the fallout," she said. "These treatments are really dangerous. This is just the tip of a very large iceberg that no one is talking about."

The CDC report:

Based on what I've learned from working with dogs, treating with doxycycline after a positive ELISA is standard practice, but it's common to see subsequent positives even in symptomatic dogs that see symptoms reside with treatment. In some cases, a quantitative measure of antibody can help clear up what might be going on, but not necessarily. There was one canine model study done years ago that showed antibiotic therapy didn't completely eliminate the bacteria and that immunosuppressed dogs (in this case, infected dogs given corticosteroids) saw reactivation of symptoms. There's some suspicion that doxy might help through its anti-inflammatory properties more than anything.

If it's the same in humans, then chronic Lyme is a possibility if antibiotics don't completely clear a person of the organism and if it can be reactivated in certain circumstances. Or it could be that the bacteria are completely cleared but that enough damage/change makes people susceptible to inflammatory flare ups. But the topic has become politicized, and there are a bunch of nutty advocacy groups and bullshit documentaries out there among all of the quacks.

Then there's the vaccine. We've been vaccinating dogs for a long time, and within the past 2-ish years or so, they've released new chimeric recombinant vaccines on the market that are able to target the type of outer surface protein on the bacteria that tends to vary. Being unable to target that class of proteins is what made the old vaccine not so great. Once upon a time, there was LYMErix, but since it got pulled from the market, no one has dared introduce another vaccine. So here we are with hundreds of thousands of people getting infected every year.

It's extremely frustrating because tick-borne diseases are a huge problem. In recent years, people doctors have been catching up and paying attention, but there are still too many out there who don't know enough about these diseases and who don't take them seriously enough. And it's only going to get worse as these diseases spread and as milder winters contribute to the explosion in populations of different tick species all across the country. As more and more people become infected by these various diseases, we're heading towards a fairly significant shitstorm what with our gaps in knowledge mixed with the army of Drs. Google out there.

When I was in high school, my friend had some mystery illness that turned her into a near skeleton with fibromyalgia and all sorts of problems. She eventually found one of those "Lyme literate doctors," who had her blood tested multiple times before finally getting a positive for Lyme. Looking back on that now, it's pretty :unsure: . That doctor also ended up giving her a bunch of shit for treatment, including these amazing foot pad thingies that you stick on the soles of your feet at night and in the morning you can see all the toxins they pulled out! :ohmy: She first introduced me to this world of warring groups of advocacy groups who believe they know the REAL story that the other villains (other doctors, CDC, FDA, Big Pharma, the AMA, other disability advocates who are jealous, space aliens probably) are hiding. It's insanity.

So, guys, be careful and check yourselves for ticks all the time and keep your pets on preventatives. I had never found a single tick on my dog until this year. He's been staying at my parents' house, and on his first or second day here, I pulled 5 ticks off of him in a single fucking day and have found several more since. I found one live one next to him on the couch that had probably hitched a ride on his fur without actually biting him. Little fucker could've easily hung out and bitten a human instead. My mom has found lots of them on her clothes and found one attached on her back that she had me take out. And we've got all three of the major fucking species out here. The little motherfuckers are everywhere, and things are bad enough this year that you might find them on you even if you never go through wooded areas, so watch out.

The best thing about the "now is not the time to discuss gun policy" argument is that in America, there's always yet another shooting to restart the "when we can talk about this" clock.  :patriot:
Today's poor innocent victim:

Millennials are killing chains like Buffalo Wild Wings and Applebee's

 :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:  :stopper:

Is nothing sacred anymore?

Where will I go to buy a $20 plate of microwaved food if Applebee's goes away? :sadcheer:
Science / Charles Murray and Sam Harris

Finally, let us consider Sam Harris and his willingness to endorse Murray's claims -- his decision to suspend the skepticism and tough-mindedness we have come to expect from him. There is a fairly widespread intellectual movement among center-right social theorists and pundits to argue that strong adherence to the scientific method commits us to following human science wherever it goes -- and they mean something very specific in this context. They say we must move from hard-nosed science of intelligence and genetics all the way -- only if that's the direction data and logical, unbiased interpretation lead, naturally -- to genetically based differences in behavior among races.

Moreover, a reflexive defense of free academic inquiry has prompted some to think it a mark of scientific objectivity to look at cognitive differences in the eye without blinking. To deny the possibility of a biological basis of group differences, they suggest, is to allow "moral panic," as Harris puts it, to block objective scientific judgment. But passively allowing oneself to be led into unfounded genetic conclusions about race and IQ is hardly a mark of rational tough-mindedness. The fact is, there is no evidence for any such genetic hypothesis -- about complex human behavior of any kind. Anyone who speaks as if there were is spouting junk science.
This article is fucking terrifying.

The ability to protect the health of mothers and babies in childbirth is a basic measure of a society's development. Yet every year in the U.S., 700 to 900 women die from pregnancy or childbirth-related causes, and some 65,000 nearly die -- by many measures, the worst record in the developed world.

American women are more than three times as likely as Canadian women to die in the maternal period (defined by the Centers for Disease Control as the start of pregnancy to one year after delivery or termination), six times as likely to die as Scandinavians. In every other wealthy country, and many less affluent ones, maternal mortality rates have been falling; in Great Britain, the journal Lancet recently noted, the rate has declined so dramatically that "a man is more likely to die while his partner is pregnant than she is." But in the U.S., maternal deaths increased from 2000 to 2014. In a recent analysis by the CDC Foundation, nearly 60 percent of such deaths are preventable.

While maternal mortality is significantly more common among African-Americans, low-income women and in rural areas, pregnancy and childbirth complications kill women of every race and ethnicity, education and income level, in every part of the U.S. ProPublica and NPR spent the last several months scouring social media and other sources, ultimately identifying more than 450 expectant and new mothers who have died since 2011.

The list includes teachers, insurance brokers, homeless women, journalists, a spokeswoman for Yellowstone National Park, a cofounder of the YouTube channel WhatsUpMoms, and more than a dozen doctors and nurses like Lauren Bloomstein. They died from cardiomyopathy and other heart problems, massive hemorrhage, blood clots, infections and pregnancy-induced hypertension (preeclampsia) as well as rarer causes. Many died days or weeks after leaving the hospital. Maternal mortality is commonplace enough that three new mothers who died, including Lauren, were cared for by the same ob/gyn.

The reasons for higher maternal mortality in the U.S. are manifold. New mothers are older than they used to be, with more complex medical histories. Half of pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned, so many women don't address chronic health issues beforehand. Greater prevalence of C-sections leads to more life-threatening complications. The fragmented health system makes it harder for new mothers, especially those without good insurance, to get the care they need. Confusion about how to recognize worrisome symptoms and treat obstetric emergencies makes caregivers more prone to error.

The DOH examined Lauren's records, interviewed her caregivers and scrutinized Monmouth's policies and practices. In December 2012 it issued a report that backed up everything Larry had seen first-hand. "There is no record in the medical record that the Registered Nurse notified [the ob/gyn] of the elevated blood pressures of patient prior to delivery," investigators found. And: "There is no evidence in the medical record of further evaluation and surveillance of patient from [the ob/gyn] prior to delivery." And: "There was no evidence in the medical record that the elevated blood pressures were addressed by [the ob/gyn] until after the Code Stroke was called."

The report faulted the hospital. "The facility is not in compliance" with New Jersey hospital licensing standards, it concluded. "The facility failed to ensure that recommended obstetrics guidelines are adhered to by staff."
...apparently coming at 8 am local time. There was an emergency meeting called.

French media are saying Prince Philip has kicked the bucket.