Browsing the archives for the blogging category.


More TechnoDukkha

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The internet service went out Monday night. It was back briefly on Tuesday, but this is the first time I’ve been online since Monday. And I’m exhausted from yelling at people at the Cable company.

The phones were out too, and here in the country my cell phone coverage is spotty. The cable guys were not coming to the house unless they could call ahead and get confirmation someone was there. And we weren’t getting the calls. By this afternoon I was telling the poor people answering the phones that they had damn well better send someone over, confirmation or not, or I was going to eat their offspring.

I’ll post something tomorrow.

 

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Technodukkha

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The Mahablog is being migrated this week to a different server, which will allow me to take advantage of a less expensive hosting plan. But it may take them all week, and I’m not sure if I’m allowed to keep blogging while files are being migrated. So if I’m not updating this week, that’s why. In the meantime, I may update the Rethinking Religion blog (often boring stuff, though) and you can find me on Facebook.

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Please Make It Stop II

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The Bundy verdict is especially unfortunate coming just days before the Titanic That Is Trump finally sinks. I fear it’s going to encourage the yahoos to engage in violence.

So the FBI finds old emails on a device that was shared by Anthony Weiner and his soon-to-be-ex wife, Huma Abedin. And this emails went through Hillary Clinton’s private server, to the Clinton email investigation is on again. I’m going to hazard a guess that the emails are all about stuff between Weiner and Abedin and don’t have anything to do with Clinton or the State Department or anything else that’s anybody’s business.

I don’t want to deal with this. Let’s just watch puppies.

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Enjoy the Fourth

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Went to a fireworks display last night. I’m visiting family in Missouri, where people can buy their own fireworks. While waiting for the main display to start a family was setting off fountains and sprinklers and what not right next to their car. My aunt remarked that when their car blew up it would make a good display.

What can one say but … hillbillies.

More fireworks tonight, if it stops raining. Wish us all luck.

If you want to skip the intro in the video below, start it at about 57 seconds.

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Stuff to Read (or Watch)

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blogging, firearms

The New York Times has a nice investigative piece on what happens when private equity firms take over functions like fire fighting and ambulance services.

A Tennessee woman slipped into a coma and died after an ambulance company took so long to assemble a crew that one worker had time for a cigarette break.

Paramedics in New York had to covertly swipe medical supplies from a hospital to restock their depleted ambulances after emergency runs.

A man in the suburban South watched a chimney fire burn his house to the ground as he waited for the fire department, which billed him anyway and then sued him for $15,000 when he did not pay.

In each of these cases, someone dialed 911 and Wall Street answered.

Lots of buzz in social media about the Texas mother who shot and killed her two daughters and then was killed by police.

According to Christy Sheats Facebook page, she was a gun owner and vocal advocate for the second amendment.

“It would be horribly tragic if my ability to protect myself or my family were to be taken away,” Sheats wrote in March on her Facebook page, “but that’s exactly what Democrats are determined to do by banning semi-automatic handguns.”

In other posts, she showered her daughters with praise.

“Happy Daughter’s Day to my amazing, sweet, kind, beautiful, intelligent girls,” she wrote in September 2015. “I love and treasure you both more than you could ever possibly know.”

Police who responded to reports of gunfire found the daughters lying in the street in front of their home, and the armed mother wouldn’t put down her gun, so they shot her. Authorities are already blaming “mental illness.”

British politicians who had promised everyone a pony if the UK could leave the EU are backtracking.

Before Thursday’s referendum on the country’s membership in the 28-nation bloc, campaigners for British withdrawal, known as Brexit, tossed out promises of a better future while dismissing concerns raised by a host of scholars and experts as “Project Fear.”

But that was before they won.

With financial markets in turmoil, a big drop in the pound and the prospect of further chaos, some supporters of Brexit are backpedaling on bold pronouncements they made just a few days earlier. “A lot of things were said in advance of this referendum that we might want to think about again,” Liam Fox, a former cabinet minister, told the BBC, including when and how Article 50 — the formal process for leaving the European Union — should be invoked.

See also John Oliver.

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Misadventures in Media

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Charles Pierce on John Kasich’s misadventures in New York:

On behalf of every single Christian all the way back to James The Just, I would like to apologize to our Jewish brothers and sisters on behalf of John Kasich, who knows not what he does, and in a big way, too.

After touring a matzo bakery and a Jewish bookstore in Brooklyn on Tuesday, Kasich delivered a speech on the sidewalk about the importance of Passover, in which Israelites put lambs blood on their door posts as a signal that the Angel of Death should pass over their homes. “It’s a wonderful, wonderful holiday for our friends in the Jewish community—the Passover. The great link between the blood that was put above the lamp posts…The blood of the lamb, because Jesus Christ is known as the lamb of God. It’s his blood, we believe…”

Lamp posts? There are no lamp posts in the Passover story. There weren’t even lamp posts in The Ten Commandments. There were door posts and lintels, the latter of which Kasich may believe is something you put in soup.

The primary is Tuesday, so we don’t have votes yet. But I suspect Kasich would have done better to not have come to New York at all.

This’ll cheer you up — Rush Limbaugh is, finally, about to be dumped off the gravy train. And his downfall is a classic tale of capitalism eating itself.

Limbaugh’s paychecks come from iHeartMedia, a company formerly known as Clear Channel Communications. Back in 2008, when Limbaugh was riding high, Clear Channel Communications gave Limbaugh an eight-year contract worth $400,000. By the following year, already Clear Channel was struggling under the weight of the contract, laying off thousands of employees.

On top of that Clear Channel was taken over by Bain Capital in a leveraged buyout deal. Yes, children, our dear Mittens’s old outfit.

As a result, Clear Channel/iHeartMedia has been sinking under an unmanageable amount of debt.

How bad was the deal? Monumentally bad:

In 2007, the company, then called Clear Channel, reported a net income of $939 million. In the years since the LBO, the company has reported losses of between $220 million and $4 billion per year. For 2015, it reported a loss of $738 million.

Now Limbaugh’s contract is up, and even if iHeartMedia wanted to renew it, it cannot.

Is this a company that can continue to fill wheelbarrows full of cash and pay Limbaugh $38 million annually, and bless him with another $100 million signing bonus? No way.

In fact, iHeartMedia’s too busy putting out other raging fires right now — like trying to stay solvent.

What sparked the sudden specter of bankruptcy was an allegedly deceptive move made by iHeartMedia: Shifting money from one division of the business to another instead of paying debts owed to creditors.

The creditors went to court and sued. They “believe the stock transfer constitutes a default and might call their debt within 60 days,” Billboard reported. iHeartMedia sought an emergency injunction, stressing that if creditors won their “default” claim, the dominoes would instantly fall and iHeartMedia would face an avalanche of bond defaults totaling $15 billion to a long line of creditors. Those are payments the company simply cannot make, which would mean bankruptcy for iHeartMedia.

We weep and we mourn. Meanwhile, Rush’s ratings are way down and his demographics get older and deader. It’s not impossible that some other media company will pick him up. It is impossible he’s going to be paid in the manner to which he is accustomed.

Finally, here’s a fun little story about some climate change deniers who got onto Bill Nye the Science Guy’s Facebook page to make disparaging remarks about NASA data. Lo and behold, NASA got into the act and corrected the deniers. Reminds me of the Marshall McLuhan scene in Annie Hall.

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Stuff to Read

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I’m still under the weather, but here are some really good articles that I recommend:

Does Bernie Sanders Know What He’s Doing? by Pachacutec

The Establishment Looks Like This by Paul Rosenberg

The Clintons Really Don’t Get It by Bill Curry

Crazy Nut Donald Trump Thinks George W. Bush Was President on 9/11 by Jonathan Chait

 

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An Epic Moment in Derp

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Seriously?

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) argued this week that restaurants should be able to “opt out” of health department regulations that require employees to wash their hands after using the bathroom.

It gets better.

“Don’t you believe that this regulation that requires this gentlemen to wash his hands before he serves your food is important?” Tillis was asked by the person at his table.

“I think it’s one I can illustrate the point,” Tillis told the women. “I said, I don’t have any problem with Starbucks if they choose to opt out of this policy as long as the post a sign that says ‘We don’t require our employees to wash their hands after leaving the restrooms.’ The market will take care of that.”

Um, Senator, do you think restaurant owners will post that sign voluntarily? Wouldn’t you need another regulation?

What can one say, but … derp.

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Alan Rickman, 1946-2016

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I feel like canceling Christmas.

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And Now for Something Completely Different

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My kids dropped by the temple yesterday for Christmas dinner.  I made slow cooked beef brisket; everything else was vegetarian. Porkless black eye peas and collard greens, corn bread, and banana pudding. The damnyankees in these parts don’t know what to do with black eye peas, and most of them never even heard of banana pudding.

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