Stuff to Read (or Watch)

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.

8 thoughts on “Stuff to Read (or Watch)

  1. Yes, by all means, privatize emergency services.
    Because that worked out so well in NY City back in the 19th Century. You had competing fire-companies fighting in front of burning buildings, which, as burning buildings not helped by fire departments do, then burned to the ground.

    As to that woman in TX, since we don’t need to hunt for our own food, and we still have not-as-yet-privatized police forces, then why have a gun?
    It’s a mental illness issue!

    And as for Brexit, what, no unicorns, no pots of gold?
    Maybe you twit’s should have thought of that earlier!
    I grow weary…………………………..

  2. I keep rereading that 2nd Amendment to the US Constitution, and keep failing to find mention of gun ownership anywhere, let alone the “right” to own nuclear weapons (the logical extension of the gunnuts’ arguments).

    However, Congress is charged with “…organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia…”

    In other words, taken together, the obvious intent was that some people would own guns, and the Feds would arm the remaining members of the Militia, and people would be allowed to keep and bear these arms so that they could be ready in case of need and that they would practice to proficiency, both individually and under the states’ direction based on Congress’ rules. It was further understood that the common person couldn’t just go out and buy a cannon and run it through the streets. In fact, it has always been assumed, until the NRA decided it was a political organization of nutcases, that gun regulation was the natural purview of Congress (and even the NRA is not openly advocating the personal ownership of fully automatic weapons, that experiment in the ’20s not ending so well).

    The problems of the gunnuts began to take concrete form when the NRA stopped being an advocate of hunting and gun safety and started pursuing a role as a national political power broker signed up by the then-struggling Republican Party. That marriage has brought untold devastation to this nation and will continue its destructive endeavors until a stake is finally driven into the corrupted undead corpse of the Republican Party as it has become. I do not expect the Teabaggers to go peacefully, however, so foresee new waves of violence for the future. I’m too old to worry about it, but I cringe for the kids and the world they will inherit.

  3. Brexit came down to immigration phobia.

    Trump started with huge negative numbers until he announced his candidacy with a promise to build a wall and have the Mexicans pay for it.

    We are stuck in a long period of rightwing economic malaise (remember that term?), and people are looking for a bumpersticker phrase to get us out.

    Hopefully we will not, as a people, follow Britain’s example and cut our own throats to spite our face (mixed metaphor intended). Beware if Trump comes up with a short but catchy jingoistic slogan.

  4. To be fair, fire departments are not there to save the building that is on fire, but rather to prevent the fire from spreading and to provide medical assistance as needed. Once a building catches on fire, by the time a fire truck can respond pretty much anything inside that building not made of metal is rendered unusable because of smoke damage.

    But industrializing the process certainly does not make it cheaper or better in any material way, and usually just the opposite. Rural areas have always relied on VFDs that are tax-supported to keep costs down.

    Interestingly, many of my most staunchly Republican/rightwing friends worked their entire lives in public (government) employment, yet fail to see the irony of their current political leanings…

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