19 January, 2022

Jordan Thomas’s Army of Whistle-Blowers

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/01/24/jordan-thomas-army-of-whistle-blowers

One reason for this urgency is the sheer abundance of corporate malfeasance. After Thomas established his whistle-blowing practice, at the law firm Labaton Sucharow, he commissioned an anonymous survey of finance professionals, conducted by the University of Notre Dame. The findings illuminate a rampant ethical permissiveness: more than a third of respondents who have salaries of half a million dollars or more say that they have witnessed, or have firsthand knowledge of, wrongdoing in the workplace; nearly twenty per cent of respondents “feel financial-services professionals must at least sometimes engage in illegal or unethical activity to be successful.” The S.E.C. established the whistle-blower program partly so that people who witnessed misbehavior would have a reliable mechanism for reporting it. The agency had ignored the forensic accountant Harry Markopolos when he sounded the alarm about Bernie Madoff’s Ponzi scheme. “Huge percentages of people know stuff,” Thomas told me. “They’re just not speaking up.” The JPMorgan whistle-blower said, “There were a dozen people I worked with who knew the same information I knew and still didn’t report anything.”


This is a dangerous time in the pandemic for people like me. Don’t forget us.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2022/01/17/immunocompromised-pandemic-omicron/

People’s objections to government shutdowns, school closings, masks, vaccines, testing and the like have been well-documented. They don’t want the government to tell them what to do. They have questions about the safety of the vaccines. Testing is inconvenient and uncomfortable. And so on. To be honest, I’m not as orthodox about those things as you might imagine. Widespread shutdowns and school closures at this point, in my opinion, do more harm than good.

But masks? Social distancing? Frequent testing? I’m sorry, but those are no-brainers. The same goes for vaccines. The World Health Organization, CDC, and other leading scientific groups have deemed the shots safe, and hundreds of millions of people worldwide have been safely and effectively vaccinated. Most covid protective measures have proved to be minor nuisances, involving negligible disruption and minimal risk. If the benefit is potentially saving the lives of millions of vulnerable people, and who knows how many in general, then the cost is clearly worth it.

It’s Been a Home for Decades, but Legal Only a Few Months

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/12/18/business/economy/california-housing.html

Through ten years as a code compliance officer for the County of Los Angeles, Jonathan Pacheco Bell estimates that he entered about 1,000 different homes, most of them in the unincorporated areas around South Los Angeles. He handed out violation notices and watched illegal housing get destroyed or vacated.

But, after a decade of enforcement work, he said he came to accept that zoning codes become something of a fiction in the face of an affordable housing crisis. Many informal units are substandard or unsafe. But most, he said, are not. And until recently, the county’s policy of removing them was, in his view, creating more problems than it solved.

Mr. Pacheco Bell is now a consultant who gives frequent talks at planning conferences. In those presentations, he tells the story of a family he cited in 2016, just as the state laws on accessory dwellings were changing. The family patriarch had died in a bus crash in 2009 and, to supplement her income, the widow hired a neighbor to build a backyard home. It cost $16,000 to build and she was able to rent it for $500, providing years of income for her family and one unit of affordable housing in a region that badly needed it.

Mr. Pacheco Bell showed up after an anonymous complaint. The unit had plumbing and a kitchen. There was a crucifix on the front door, magnetic letters on the refrigerator and a child’s homework assignments taped to the wall. The home was usable and well-maintained, but was in violation of zoning codes because it was too close to a fence. Mr. Pacheco Bell wrote the unit up and returned a few months later to confirm it had been demolished. Walking around the backyard, and seeing the outline of the home and the rubble, made him question the job he was doing.

15 January, 2022

The story of a "kids for cash" victim of corruption

https://www.reddit.com/r/Documentaries/comments/s3qjsm/kids_for_cash_2013_corrupt_judge_ruined_over_2000/hso84iz/
my brother was .. sorry, IS a kids for cash victim. still is. we are in our mid 30's now. at age 12/13 my brother and his punk friend went to the dollar store and stole a can of hair spray. they went some blocks down into an alley way next to a business (trying to stay out of sight) and using a lighter they were making a "blow torch". which okay, sounds terrifying but we've all been kids fucking around with shit. two idiot boys playing with fire. no one else was nearby. anyway a resident that lived across the street called the police, rightfully so, concerned these young boys were going to get hurt. i remember my dad going to the police station under the impression he would retrieve my brother and beat him senseless or smash his nintendo64, ground him for the summer or whatever shit out parents did to us in the 90s. he was informed by the police that my brother would be taken into and remain in custody at juvenile detention center. even the police were a bit timid about it, as my dad got very upset and full of questions for the officers who said the situation was "out of their hands". my brother had the misfortune of landing in front of mark ciaverella. he was a first time offender, influenced by his friend to do some dumb shit. he was wrong, however my family paid a good lawyer to take our case. even he knew we were up against some tough times.

he was charged with multiple offenses, including theft and arson. 

10 January, 2022

The Great Distractor

https://www.mediatechdemocracy.com/work/the-great-distractor

Edward Palmer and the Children’s Television Workshop built the distractor in order to improve their real work. That work, as described by the New Yorker’s film critic Renata Adler in 1972, was “to sell, by means of television, the rational, the humane, and the linear to little children.” Google and its ilk have instead concentrated on improving the distractor, and the result is the triumph of the irrational, the inhumane, and the non-linear. And it has made them very rich indeed.


 

29 December, 2021

u/earlyy_bird on alcoholism

https://www.reddit.com/r/LearnUselessTalents/comments/rqk4rb/coolest_drinking_talents_to_learn/hqb9jf0/

Drink once, feel a buzz. That was nice. Drink more, get drunk, whoa. Go to party, drink, drink, drink. Black out for the first time. Wake up to stories about yourself you dont remember. "You were so funny last night. Life of the party!" Cool. So you're charming when you're wasted. Become 'that guy/girl' and be the party animal you were always born to be. Get invited to parties because you're always funny to watch. Make drinking friends. Master the hangover. Teach yourself to throw up to feel better. This is a science now. You got a handle on this. Alcohol is the tool, you're the master. It makes you feel good, act charming, have a great time. Picks you up when you're sad and makes happy days even happier. Day drink for summer vibes, night drink for sexy times. Alcohol makes everything better.

Sometimes you do or say something embarrassing, but who cares? You're the class clown. Everybody is having a good time when they're laughing. Hear stories about yourself, maybe feel a little ashamed. Push it down, if they don't have a problem with you acting like that way then neither do you. Maybe you regret doing or saying some of those things but whatever, you can live with your shame. We all make mistakes.


 

u/9k3d on NFTs

https://www.reddit.com/r/Bitcoin/comments/rqg0fh/forgive_me/hqaehse/?context=1

I'm going to take a moment to talk about NFTs since I see people in here talking and arguing about them. NFTs have some actual use cases, but what people are currently doing with them on altcoin platforms is not one of them.

Below I will explain how the NFTs on altcoin platforms work on a technical level and I will explain why they probably wont even exist in 10 years. I will also explain why some of these NFTs are selling for such high prices.

Many of those NFTs that were sold for crazy high prices were not actually sold to other people. The person who bought those expensive NFTs is often the same person who minted the NFT in the first place. I will explain how whales can easily own very expensive rare NFTs for very little cost. They can just mint an NFT and sell it to them self for $500,000 worth of etһ. They will only lose the small percentage that the NFT marketplace takes and now they own a super rare NFT worth $500k and they will still have most of their etһ because they sold the NFT to them self. And there is a small chance that they might be able to to sell that worthless NFT to some fool who believes that it is actually valuable. Doing this also entices more newbies to mint NFTs in the hopes of getting rich. 

27 December, 2021

That Twitter Thread (On Criticism)

https://leemandelo.com/f/that-twitter-thread-on-criticism

Art does not exist to be evaluated on a scale of “harm” to “uplift,” and if we want to talk dog-whistles, that right there is a huge one: it’s deeply anti-intellectual, and it centers a form of toxic individualism that evacuates solidarity/difference in favor of moral purity.

Also, relevant from other recent intra-community trans Discourse: the fact that something triggered or hurt you, personally, is real— but that doesn’t actually make it bad, or wrong, or Harmful (tm) because you *are not the center of the universe.* Other trans folk who have different experiences of gender and the world might be deeply seen by the art that you think is morally bad and harmful personally. To some extent, we know why this is common: traumatic stress forces your focus to be survival oriented, internal, and evaluative. It’s hyper-vigilance! However, what it is *not* is healthy or productive— especially when turned relentlessly outward to hold others responsible for your bad feelings as opposed to processing them, or saying “ouch, not for me.” (Which is not to say artists shouldn’t be cognizant of other people’s pain and the larger social implications of their work, so please don’t reduce what I’m saying here to “fuck it, who cares.”)


The other huge flaw with “the story harmed me” or flat harm-critique is the lack of acknowledgement that, if we’re using that metric, then your insistence on the story harming you is EQUALLY harming to the other trans folk for whom the piece was a revelatory story, or productive.

26 December, 2021

Intimate portraits of a hospital COVID unit from a photojournalist-turned-nurse

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2021/12/26/1066395049/intimate-portraits-of-a-hospital-covid-unit-from-a-photojournalist-turned-nurse

Steven Murray did not get the vaccine. "I thought that if I got COVID, I'd be able to fight it off like the flu. Boy was I wrong. There is nothing you could have told me to make me get the vaccine. After this experience, I'm telling everyone I know to get it now. The grim reaper was reaching out for me. I was scared."

But within an hour of being admitted, Murray says doctors told him he would likely not leave the hospital alive if he didn't get intubated — inserting a tube into the trachea to maintain an airway.

Stubbornly, he refused and now admits he was scared he would die if put on a ventilator.

He survived.

When health care staffers asked why he'd decided against getting vaccinated, Murray says he told them, "because I'm a dumbass."

Murray says he bought into what he calls the misinformation and politics surrounding the pandemic. He goes out of his way to share his story whenever he can, and "when I tell them, I'm like please, please, please get the vaccine. If you haven't gotten it, please." 

u/Snowypinkrose on experiencing COVID hospitalization

https://old.reddit.com/r/COVIDAteMyFace/comments/roy5q2/intimate_portraits_of_a_covid_unit_from_a/hq1rdp3/

Sometimes it’s choking to death acutely but much more often it’s this slow burn that takes a couple weeks. It robs people people of all dignity.

We give you a ton of oxygen. Then that’s not enough, and your blood is becoming acidic, denaturing the proteins in your blood and slowly hurting your organs. Your ability to heal and fight is compromised. Your kidneys start to become damaged. We put you on bipap, hoping the machine will help force CO2 out of your lungs to reduce the acidity of your blood.

Eventually that’s not working so good either. We spend half a day watching your saturations drop. You’re exhausted. You can barely speak. The bipap mask muffles what words you do wheeze out. We start discussing the odds of you coming off a ventilator if we put you on it. We’re in a rock and a hard place. We are watching you breath harder and faster. Your body is going to go into respiratory failure.

We ask if you want to be coded. We ask that you say goodbye to family, because we might not be able to get you off the ventilator. Maybe you’re scared. Maybe you’re so exhausted that anything to help you not struggle to breathe sounds preferable.

We get you on the ventilator and spend a few hours to a day trying to get the sedation right so you don’t wake up and yank the tube out. We shove a catheter into your bladder. We put you in a brief. We place more IV’s cause many of the meds we are going to need to give are incompatible in an IV line.

You hover for a bit, but you start going downhill. Your labs are getting worse. Sometimes you may develop emboli in various parts of the body. Please don’t have a massive stroke. There’s not much we can do against the dying of millions of your cells in various organ systems all being starved of oxygen, exacerbated by tiny little clots that are clogging your capillaries.

The fluid is building up in your lungs. You’re drowning on dry land. You organs are starting to show a lot of damage. Your ability to keep your pressures regulated is plummeting. Your kidneys are dying. We need to get a fistula in you for dialysis. We have to get all the IV’s on that arm moved.

You don’t have that many areas to poke. The doctors have a central line placed, usually triple lumen so we can give multiple meds through one site. Your dialysis is working a bit, but not enough. You’re still going downhill. We go through the process of proning you, literally getting the fluid in the lungs to move in such a way that your alveoli aren’t submerged. The front of your body isn’t meant to take this weight. We turn you every 2 hours, a process that takes 4 nurses and respiratory therapy, in case the specially elongated ET tube used in proned patients dislodge. We pray you don’t code every time we move you.

You’re still not getting better. We update your family as best we can, we can’t call very often cause each of us has 3 of you that we are doing all this on.

Your labs are still getting worse. The doctors weigh ECMO intervention. Shit, do we even have any ECMO machines available? Fuck, do we have to get this person transferred to a different facility?

Oh! Another one of you died. Thank God, maybe we can at least get that machine onto you now so maybe I won’t have to go searching the hospital again for a body bag.

Fuck. You’re still going downhill. It’s been a few weeks now. Sores are developing on your body. The meds we are giving are harsh, and we are dealing with their consequences, and the consequences of all of your homeostasis being fucked up.

The doctors will call your family. Things aren’t looking good. If you have family far away, ask them to be ready to either say good bye over a phone or a computer screen. We can allow maybe one of you to the floor to say goodbye. They can’t for very long, it’s a dangerous last act of love.

You’re still declining. We are showing signs of neurological damage. You’re still declining. The docs tell your family there’s nothing more to be done. We may be able to help you linger but the odds of there being much of you left if we wake you up are remote. Maybe they decide to push through. In that case, we will eventually code you. Again. Did I not mention that? You’ve probably coded a few times so far. Maybe they let us let you leave with “dignity,” if you can call lying in a bed, unconscious, machines functioning as your organs, soiling yourself, sores developing all over you, if you can call any of that “dignity.”

Care fails. I’ve watched you dying. I knew you would die. It still hurts. I’ve fought minute-by-minute for you. Sat with you. Talked at you, hoping some part of you knows you’re getting my best and that your people love you.

One way or another, you end up in a body bag. After I get you to the morgue, it’s right back to the unit. I have 2 other people in this situation. And there’s another in the ER who needs your old room.

I have no hope this will stop. Your death was completely meaningless. And so will be the deaths of those who follow you. 

24 December, 2021

My Work Almost Crushed Her Family. Now I’m Welcomed at Her Table.

https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2021/december-web-only/christmas-restoration-ruth-malhotra-rzim-lori-anne-thompson.html

Even as Lori Anne and I both continue on the path to restoration, with much still to grieve and lament , our time together felt like a significant step toward understanding and wholeness.

“There is nothing ‘Hallmark’ about this level of harm,” Lori Anne later told me. “What you witnessed in our home is a miracle—but it was a bloody one. It also cost victims to commune and communicate with you, even as it may have cost you to commune and communicate with them.”

She is right. There is an immense cost to listening to survivors, to believing their voices enough to journey alongside them in pursuit of justice, to reckoning with our own complicity in a system that has further harmed those already victimized.

It’s costlier still to forgive those who have wronged you, to love those who are different than you, to offer a seat at your table to an unlikely and undeserving guest.