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Topics - ksen

Female broadcaster accuses Al Franken of sexual harassment/assault.

Over the last few days I've heard female lawmakers talking about how they've been harassed by colleagues some of whom are still active members of congress. But they don't name names . . . how come?

CNN did a piece the other day about this:

In that they said:

More than half a dozen interviewees independently named one California congressman for pursuing female staffers; another half dozen pointed to a Texas congressman for engaging in inappropriate behavior. CNN is not naming either of those lawmakers because the stories are unverified.

Unverified reports haven't stopped CNN from naming names in Hollywood and other industries that have had women come out and tell their harassment/assault stories. Why not Congress?

I feel that by refusing to name names CNN is helping to perpetuate the old system of sexual harassment being an open secret where the harassers are free to carry on with their harassing because why not? If they're not going to be prosecuted, censured or even publically shamed what incentive is there for them to stop harassing?
Politics and Current Events / American Epistemic Crisis

Pretty depressing read but I think it paints a realistic picture of where we're at as a country.

Right now it looks like there's no way out of this cycle and I'm a little scared about how it will (has to?) end.
Arts and Entertainment / Stranger Things 2
Comes out tomorrow!

Anyone else plan on binging it this weekend?

Will best girl Barb finally be saved?


Here are three trends that are often discussed in isolation:

  • The low birth-rates of advanced economies
  • The rise of a xenophobic anti-immigration politics
  • The fragility of the welfare state

While these subjects might seem to have nothing to do with each other, in fact they crash into each other like dominos. As rich countries have fewer babies, they need immigration to grow their prime-age workforces. But as the foreign-born share of the population rises, xenophobia often festers and threatens egalitarian policy-making.

There is no reason to think that this cause-and-effect is inevitable, but the trend is clear enough that liberal policy makers need to think hard about this doom loop and how to break it. Let's spell it out in greater detail.

If this is really a global trend and even liberal countries in northern aren't immune I'm not sure how to stop it.
Politics and Current Events / Christianity in action

A North Carolina pastor has "repossessed" the grave marker of a 5-year-old who died of leukemia, because the bereaved family still owed his company money for the monument. Wayne and Crystal Leatherman, who buried their son a year ago, say they're in shock.

. . .

"I hated to do it. I'm not heartless and I have had a child die, so I know how it feels. But what was I to do? I thought having (the marker) would give me some leverage. In hindsight, I should have just written it up as a bad debt ... This could ruin my reputation. Hopefully, we can get this resolved, even if I take a loss on it."

Gee, I don't know Pastor Shoaf . . . what were you to do? Maybe you could have forgiven their debt like Jesus forgave your debt instead of taking a child's headstone off of their grave?
A Woman Went Blind After Stem Cells Were Injected in Her Eyes

In August, the FDA moved toward a crackdown. It posted a warning letter to the Florida clinic that had treated the first three women and called the fat-derived stem cells an unapproved treatment. On the same day, the agency announced that federal marshals had seized live-virus vaccines from a California company that was injecting the viruses along with stem cells into cancer patients. After the news broke, says Mark Berman, a plastic surgeon and the California company's director of stem-cell implantation,"I've actually had patients call me up, cancel their surgery, demand their money back, and tell me what a disgusting human being I am and I should be removed from this planet." He criticized the initial news reports as "classic leftist kind of propaganda, fake news."

Hey Mark Berman, you are a piece of shit.

Nominated for guillotining.

Popular investor Marc Faber, author of the "Gloom Boom & Doom Report" newsletter, wrote in his most recent edition that he was glad the U.S. had been founded and ruled by white people rather than black people.

"And thank God white people populated America, and not the blacks. Otherwise, the US would look like Zimbabwe, which it might look like one day anyway, but at least America enjoyed 200 years in the economic and political sun under a white majority," Faber wrote in the newsletter, according to CNBC.

He added, "I am not a racist, but the reality -- no matter how politically incorrect -- needs to be spelled out."

Jesus H Christ.  :stareicide:

In 1997, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration discovered an unusual, ultra-low-frequency sound emanating from a point off the southern coast of Chile. It was the loudest unidentified underwater sound ever recorded, detected by hydrophones 5,000 miles apart. It lasted for one minute and was never heard again.

Apparently Cthulhu snored.

Do you think Wayne State law school also makes lawyers allergic to math?

Do you think this problem will take care of itself as new people that are used to operating in a more empirical world are elevated to the Supreme Court?

The Supreme Court is currently considering a landmark case challenging partisan gerrymandering, specifically Wisconsin Republicans' efforts to draw state assembly districts so as to firmly entrench their majority. At the heart of the case is a concept called the "efficiency gap," a simple number that political scientist Eric McGhee and law professor Nicholas Stephanopoulos have devised to measure how much a given district map favors one party over the other. If the number gets too high, it's an indication that one party has rigged the game to ensure they keep getting reelected.

Sound simple enough? Well, not to Chief Justice John Roberts, who dismissed the concept as "sociological gobbledygook" in oral arguments for the case.



The guidelines include ensuring the "government may not target religious individuals or entities through discriminatory enforcement of neutral, generally applicable laws." Those entities include for-profit corporations as well as nonprofits such as churches or synagogues. So for example, according to this guideline, the IRS is required to avoid enforcing the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits churches and other 501(c)(3) nonprofits from endorsing particular candidates, in circumstances where the amendment would not be enforced against secular nonprofits.

How can a for-profit corporation, a government licensed fiction, have religious beliefs? Do they take a poll of the religious beliefs of the shareholders and majority view wins?

I don't know why Idjit Pie even bothers with this whole farce. We all know how this chapter is going to end.

Is this where we're really at for politicians in the Year of Our Lord 2017?

Walker signed a deal on Monday that approved up to $3 billion in subsidies for the flat-screen Taiwan-based manufacturing company that plans to build a factory in Racine County, Wisconsin. The Wisconsin Legislative Council's memo referred to how Walker and fellow Republican lawmakers had drastically altered how courts would handle potential litigation over the soon-to-be-built Foxconn factory, in a bid to fast-track construction of it.

In particular, one recent law that Governor Walker signed seemed designed to shield the corporation, which had revenues of $134.7 billion in 2016, from any legal or environmental challenges in the state.

The Sentinel elaborated:
The law signed by Walker on Monday changes how environmental challenges and other potential legal cases over the factory would be handled, including automatically suspending any lower court orders until a higher court has weighed in.

The eight-page analysis highlights this provision among the areas of concern, saying the decision on whether to suspend rulings could be seen as a core power of the court system.

Politics and Current Events / Catalonian Independence

But it's probably safe to say that the vision of the city's founder, a libertarian lawyer whose family traces its roots in Von Ormy back six generations, has curdled into something that is part comedy, part tragedy.

Boy, who could have seen this coming?

eta: also just a reminder this is the GOP vision for the entire country
I guess typically it refers to jobs that get at or near minimum wage.  Including things like fast food workers, janitors, retail store workers, etc.

Neoliberals then make the jump from "not requiring much skill" to "not worth paying a living a wage too".  I contend the latter does not follow from the former.

Would businesses be able to function and turn a profit without people filling these "unskilled" jobs? No, of course they wouldn't be able to unless they figured out a way to automate the whole process. Therefore the jobs may be considered "unskilled" but at the same time they are also necessary for the survival and growth of the business.  And if they are necessary for the business to prosper then the people working in them ought to be paid at least a living wage.

If right now all McDonald's workers walked out of their stores and refused to work and McDonald's was not able to replace them McDonald's would be fucked as a business.

Or if janitors stopped cleaning the bathrooms and nobody else stepped up to do it how much repeat business would these places get? Probably not enough to stay in business.

I know I'm preaching to the choir here but I've been thinking about this and just needed to type it out and get it off my chest.

tl;dr - nice blog post bro
Politics and Current Events / Poor Che Guevara

In an effort to advertise apartments and office space, a company chose to use a massive version of an iconic image of Marxist revolutionary Che Guevara. Predictably, a Twitter users image of the building's advertisement went viral.

"A revolutionary place to live and work," the advertisement said under the picture of Guevara with an addition of aviator sunglasses and a cigar in Bristol.

viva la revelucion!

Awan, a longtime IT staffer who worked for more than two dozen House Democrats, has been at the center of a criminal investigation on Capitol Hill for months related to procurement theft. Several of his family members, also IT staffers at the time, were implicated in the ongoing investigation.

Most Democratic lawmakers cut ties with Awan and his family after the criminal investigation came to light in early February. But Awan has continued to be employed by Wasserman Schultz, although it's unclear what his job duties are given he has been barred from accessing the House IT system for months.

Alvi, another House staff member involved in the Capitol Hill investigation, left the country with their three daughters, headed for Pakistan in March, according to an affidavit filed in the Awan case. Alvi had "numerous pieces of luggage" and more than $12,000 in cash, FBI agent Brandon Merriman wrote in the affidavit.

I am sure no hay will be made of this.
p sure it is but I need teeth's input to know for sure
Arts and Entertainment / Hugh Grant . . .
. . . not dead.

I watched About a Boy last night and I just wanted to say that I really like Hugh Grant in comedic roles.  I think he has great comedic timing and delivery.

There, I said it.

Carry on.
The Mystery of Why Japanese People Are Having So Few Babies

Of course the easy answer is Anime and mobile gaming.

But there's another, simpler explanation for the country's low birth rate, one that has implications for the U.S.: Japan's birth rate may be falling because there are fewer good opportunities for young people, and especially men, in the country's economy. In a country where men are still widely expected to be breadwinners and support families, a lack of good jobs may be creating a class of men who don't marry and have children because they--and their potential partners--know they can't afford to.

This guy was lucky enough to get a steady job but had to live through a nightmare that almost killed him.

At POSSE, I met a young man named Jou Matsubara, who graduated from Rikkyo Daigaku, a prestigious private college in Japan. Matsubara, who comes from a working-class family, thought he'd achieved the Japanese dream when he graduated from college and got a job at Daiwa House Group, a Japanese home builder.

The company advertised itself as a great place to work, but Matsubara, who was a wrestler in college, told me it soon became evident that it was anything but. Though company employees left work at 7 p.m. on paper, Matsubara said he was required to work until late at night almost every day. Employees were required to sign off at 7 p.m., even if they were still working, and were given iPads so that they could do so even if they were out of the office at meetings. If they didn't sign off, they'd get a call on their cellphones brusquely asking them to sign off immediately but keep working, he said. "The amount of time you're actually working and the amount of time that is recorded you're working have absolutely no relation to each other," he said. Matsubara got almost no time off, and was required to take classes to receive real-estate certifications on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which were days he was told he'd have free. This lifestyle made dating impossible. The closest he got to women, he said, was when his boss would drag him to cabaret clubs, and then make him pick up the tab.

After a year, the long hours and stress started to affect his health. Matsubara had trouble sleeping, and started hearing voices. He fell into a depression, he said, because the experience he had expected from a regular job and his own experience were so different. Matsubara told me he was taken to the hospital multiple times in an ambulance because he couldn't breathe. Eventually, he suffered a nervous breakdown. He said the company forced him to resign, and then made him pay back the money he'd saved from living in a company dormitory. (Daiwa House did not return a request for comment.) Matsubara is now living on welfare. "My life that was going smoothly and systematically was destroyed by Daiwa House," he said. He estimated that out of the 800 people who started with him at Daiwa House, 600 have quit.

At what point can these companies and the politicians that enable be charged with crimes against humanity? Surely there's an enterprising group of young lawyers that are creative enough to build such a case.

When government and corporate policy allow such horrible practices that the population growth of the entire country is adversely affected how does that not rise to the level of criminality?