15 December, 2017

A Sheriff, a Mystery Check and a Blogger Who Cried Foul - The New York Times

A Sheriff, a Mystery Check and a Blogger Who Cried Foul - The New York Times:\

DECATUR, Ala. — One evening last fall, an informant for the Morgan County sheriff entered the office of a small construction business near this old river town and, he said, secretly installed spyware on a company computer. He had no warrant.
The sheriff, Ana Franklin, wanted to know who was leaking information about her to a blogger known as the Morgan County Whistleblower.


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The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR

The USDA Rolled Back Protections For Small Farmers. Now The Farmers Are Suing : The Salt : NPR:



"Four packers control 82 percent of the market," explains Joe Maxwell, executive director of OCM, "and they've carved the country into regions and don't compete with each other. Farmers feel threatened by packers because in their area, there's only one choice."

Weaver says contract poultry farmers like himself are wooed by slick sales pitches from meatpackers, then "have to put their home in hock" to raise the $1.5 million to $2 million it takes to start a poultry operation. "Then you have to take what the companies give you," he adds, "or take your chances on losing the farm. Companies abuse that, shamefully."

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14 December, 2017

LSE BREXIT – Brexit appealed to white working-class men who feel society no longer values them

LSE BREXIT – Brexit appealed to white working-class men who feel society no longer values them: "Our focus is on subjective social status, namely, a person’s sense that they are accorded the social respect or status associated with full membership in society. There are good reasons for thinking that economic and cultural developments have combined to depress the subjective social status of white working-class men.  Since social status is typically conferred by levels of income and the quality of one’s occupation, shifting patterns of employment that have eliminated well-paid, medium-skill jobs and forced many men into more precarious positions may well have undercut their own sense of where they stand in society.  At the same time, shifts in cultural frameworks, marked by an increasing emphasis in mainstream discourse on racial and gender equality, may have threatened the subjective social status of any who may have relied on the notion that they were white or male to underpin their own sense of social standing.

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13 December, 2017

Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction - Vogue

Mimi O’Donnell Reflects on the Loss of Philip Seymour Hoffman and the Devastation of Addiction - Vogue: "Twelve-step literature describes addiction as “cunning, baffling, and powerful.” It is all three. I hesitate to ascribe Phil’s relapse after two decades to any one thing, or even to a series of things, because the stressors—or, in the parlance, triggers—that preceded it didn’t cause him to start using again, any more than being a child of divorce did. Lots of people go through difficult life events. Only addicts start taking drugs to blunt the pain of them. And Phil was an addict, though at the time I didn’t fully understand that addiction is always lurking just below the surface, looking for a moment of weakness to come roaring back to life.
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Sasha Cohen: Olympic figure skater on life away from rink | SI.com

Sasha Cohen: Olympic figure skater on life away from rink | SI.com: "As you might imagine, competitive life didn't leave me much time to fully develop personally or experience the many rites of passage that those in the normal world go through, like prom, joining a sorority or summer backpacking. When I competed I was constantly resting between practices, in bed early and visualizing my next performance as I fell asleep. I didn't have the bandwidth or desire to be involved in the social fabric of life. I couldn’t believe what my first year of retirement was like: Without the stress and mental weight of upcoming competitions, life felt like a permanent vacation. I could now enjoy the Fourth of July instead of being the only one training at the rink and running sprints at the track. I could go to bed late, eat pasta and simply goof off with my friends at the rink. It seemed too good to be true—and it was, because it came with a price.

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ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?: "The results of this are not a coincidence. Waste in the medical system accounts for $750 billion of $3.2 trillion in total expenditure (nearly 1 in 4 dollars) (If I paid $120 for running shoes and the salesperson immediately threw $30 in the toilet, I would feel scandalized that I paid $120). This is the result of, in order of significance: 1. Repetitive or unnecessary services - especially labs, 2. Ballooning administrative costs, 3. Inefficient care, 4. Inflated prices, 5. A set of smaller factors that, together, are significant. And when it comes to increasing costs, JAMA articles point to Rx, medical devices, and hospital care accounting for >90% of pricing increases.
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ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?

ValueBasedPugs comments on Medical Professionals of Reddit, When was someone's self diagnoses surprisingly accurate?: "The results of this are not a coincidence. Waste in the medical system accounts for $750 billion of $3.2 trillion in total expenditure (nearly 1 in 4 dollars) (If I paid $120 for running shoes and the salesperson immediately threw $30 in the toilet, I would feel scandalized that I paid $120). This is the result of, in order of significance: 1. Repetitive or unnecessary services - especially labs, 2. Ballooning administrative costs, 3. Inefficient care, 4. Inflated prices, 5. A set of smaller factors that, together, are significant. And when it comes to increasing costs, JAMA articles point to Rx, medical devices, and hospital care accounting for >90% of pricing increases.
"



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10 December, 2017

The Russian family of six, cut off from all human contact for 42 years in the Siberian wilderness | Abroad in the Yard

The Russian family of six, cut off from all human contact for 42 years in the Siberian wilderness | Abroad in the Yard: "In this week’s Smithsonian Magazine, writer and historian Mike Dash recounts the amazing story of the Lykov family, who fled from civilization to the Siberian wilderness in 1936 to escape the Communist purges.  They were discovered living in a mountainside shelter by Soviet geologists in 1978, having been totally isolated from the outside world for 42 years.

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09 December, 2017

Andrew Sullivan: Let Him Have His Cake

Andrew Sullivan: Let Him Have His Cake: "The smartest and most nuanced take I’ve read on the subject is that of philosopher John Corvino. He argues that there is indeed a core right not to be forced to create something against your conscience but that in this particular case, the act of creation is so deeply entwined with hostility to an entire class of people that antidiscrimination laws overrule it. It’s worth reading, but he still doesn’t quite convince me. The baker is clearly not discriminating against an entire class of people; he is refusing to endorse a particular activity that violates his faith. Kennedy was absolutely right in oral arguments to make a distinction between an identity and an activity. The conflation of the two is just too facile.

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07 December, 2017

The Adopted Black Baby, and the White One Who Replaced Her - The New York Times

The Adopted Black Baby, and the White One Who Replaced Her - The New York Times:

Marge Sandberg slowly blotted out her cigarette in an ashtray.
“Listen carefully,” Amy recalled her mother saying, “because I’m only going to tell you this story once.”
It was around 1970 in Deerfield, Ill., and Ms. Sandberg told her youngest child a closely guarded secret about a choice the family had made, one fueled by the racial tensions of the era, that sent a black girl and the white girl that took her place on diverging paths.


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RaeADropOfGoldenSun comments on This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.

RaeADropOfGoldenSun comments on This library has a directory for topics people might be embarrassed to ask for.:

My friends and I occasionally get bored and play The Library Game. We each have 5 minutes to think of a question, then we trade questions and have an hour in the library to answer them with no use of technology whatsoever. The questions get really complex (like last time mine was “you’re shipwrecked in the South Pacific in the 18th century and you lost all your money in the wreck, you need to be back in Spain in a month. What do you do?”) and the person with the most complete answer wins.
I’ve learned by now that librarians tend to react to “Hey, I have a weird question and also you can’t use your computer for it....” with a lot more enthusiasm and a lot less scorn than I’d expect. Especially if it’s a slow day and you can tell they were bored too.


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(1) Desafinado by Joao Gilberto - YouTube

(1) Desafinado by Joao Gilberto - YouTube:





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