No Christmas for workers. Because this is just a great big FU to all workers, not just rail workers. Yes, the rail unions are under a different law than all other unions, but the message is clear. "Biden blasted for 'siding with billionaires' over workers on rail strike: Biden warned that enforcing a deal rejected by rail unions could "reignite distrust" of Democrats among workers. Advocacy groups joined rail workers and progressives in Congress on Tuesday in calling out President Joe Biden for encouraging legislative action that would avert a December strike and force through a contract with no paid sick leave."
This comes infuriatingly late — if they'd sounded this way all along it might have made a real difference. "Because 'Publishing Is Not a Crime,' Major Newspapers Push US to Drop Assange Charges: 'This indictment sets a dangerous precedent, and threatens to undermine America's First Amendment and the freedom of the press,' The Guardian, The New York Times, and other media outlets warned. The five major media outlets that collaborated with WikiLeaks in 2010 to publish explosive stories based on confidential diplomatic cables from the U.S. State Department sent a letter Monday calling on the Biden administration to drop all charges against Julian Assange, who has been languishing in a high-security London prison for more than three years in connection with his publication of classified documents."
I have known her for nine years, and the whole time she's had leukemia, a disease with a five-year life-expectancy. I feel very lucky that she still seems to be maintaining — as long as she gets her drugs. She lives in Canada; she would almost certainly have died if she lived in the US. Today she told me about an article she'd written, and like me, she didn't know much about Mark Cuban, but she knew more than I did. "Cutting out the Middleman: I'm not a big follower of The National Basketball Association, but when Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks, told Forbes last year that the pricing for generic drugs was 'ridiculous' I stood up and took notice. You may remember Mark Cuban from the ABC reality series, Shark Tank. He also co-owns 2929 Entertainment, but his interests lie beyond basketball and reality shows. In an interview with Forbes Magazine, January 20, 2022, Cuban said that he wanted to 'show that capitalism can be compassionate' and he added Cost Plus Drugs to his line of investments." My friend's medication retails at $9,657 a month, but without the middle men it's $47 from Cost Plus. Other people have tried to do things like this but they get bought out by the big firms. Cuban, apparently, doesn't care about the money, he can afford to do this and he's doing it. If you or someone you know is despairing of paying for meds, see if Cost Plus has been able to get the generic yet at their site.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky and Wendell Potter, "How Medicare Advantage Scams Seniors: Where billions of dollars flow, deceptive actors follow. And nowhere does deception run deeper than how health insurers lure seniors into Medicare Advantage plans—only to leave many retirees struggling to cover their out-of-pocket requirements when their incomes are their lowest."
"Why Is AARP Boosting Medicare Privatization? The advocacy organization is welcoming the for-profit takeover of its members' national health insurance program — because it earns hundreds of millions as part of the deal. Despite massive and systemic problems with for-profit Medicare plans denying care to seniors while costing the government more than $7 billion annually in excess fees, the leading advocacy group tasked with protecting older Americans is welcoming the privatization of the national health insurance program — while earning as much as $814 million annually from insurers advertising the plans. The state of affairs lays bare a conflict inside AARP, the major advocacy organization for Americans 50 and older, over how to approach the regulation of Medicare Advantage, the for-profit version of Medicare."
"Do You Know What Dreck Is? The House Democrats Are About To Elect A Pile Of It To Lead Them When asked, progressive Democrats in Congress have complained that there is no democratic process for electing the party's new leaders. No one admits they think that Hakeem Jeffries and Pete Aguilar are terrible or corrupt— which they are— but some have cautiously expressed a certain degree of discomfort about what kind of characters these two men essentially are. I did find one or two members who defended Hakeem, but not one— not even one member— who would defend Aguilar. Even the ones unaware of his coke addiction could find a single positive thing to say about him. (Ditto for the two criminal schlemiels running for DCCC chair, Tony Cardenas and Ami Bera.)" Jeffries is so extreme right that he takes donations from Fox News' PAC, News Corp.
Ryan Grim says an anonymous email about five years ago led to "one of the most bizarre stories I've ever reported on," and given recent events, he calls it back to our attention. "Leaked Documents Expose Stunning Plan To Wage Financial War On Qatar — And Steal The World Cup: A document marked 'strictly private and confidential' lays out a plan to manipulate markets and short Qatar."
RIP: "Carol Leigh, activist who coined the term 'sex work', dies at 71: Carol Leigh, a San Francisco activist credited with coining the term sex work and who sought for decades to improve conditions for prostitutes and others in the adult entertainment business, has died at the age of 71. She died from cancer on Wednesday, Kate Marquez, the executor of her state said, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. A former prostitute, Ms Leigh devoted herself to campaigning on behalf of those in the 'sex work industry', a term she coined as the title for a panel discussion she attended at a feminist anti-pornography conference in 1978, according to an essay she wrote. 'Carol defined sex work as a labour issue, not a crime, not a sin,' Ms Marquez said. 'It is a job done by a million people in this country who are stigmatised and criminalised by working to support their families.'"
RIP: Erik Arthur, who opened Fantasy Centre in 1971 and kept it going for the best part of 40 years. It used to amuse us that he'd let an American paint the sign out front so for many of those years it was misspelled as "Fantasy Center" — but then I was surprised to come by one day to discover that after all that time, he'd finally replaced the sign with one that was spelled in British. I never went there much because it was a bit out of the way for us, but I ran into him a lot at conventions and pub meets and parties and always found him delightful. Click the link for pictures and a brief "interview" of the man himself.
RIP: Greg Bear 1951-2022: "We are deeply saddened to report that award-winning author Greg Bear died this weekend at the age of 71. The author of more than 50 books and winner of five Nebula Awards, Bear was also a co-founder of San Diego Comic Con, an artist, and a person beloved in SFF circles for his warmth and kindness."
Hm, I wonder if this will turn up on any crime shows, or whether crime writers who hear about it will just go, "No, that's too far-fetched even for us." "How Jessica Logan's Call for Help Became Evidence Against Her" is the horrifying story about how a cop decided a woman had murdered her baby because her 911 call didn't fit his programmed idea of what a mother should say when she finds her child cold in his bed. And he decided that because someone made up the idea that repeating something or not spelling things out in exactly the right way is evidence of guilt and gives training courses on it, although there is absolutely no science to back it up and the real science can't find any evidence that it's true.
"The Imperial Supreme Court: The past few years have marked the emergence of the imperial Supreme Court. Armed with a new, nearly bulletproof majority, conservative Justices on the Court have embarked on a radical restructuring of American law across a range of fields and disciplines. Unlike previous shifts in the Court, this one isn't marked by debates over federal versus state power, or congressional versus judicial power, or judicial activism versus restraint. Nor is it marked by the triumph of one form of constitutional interpretation over another. On each of those axes, the Court's recent opinions point in radically different directions. The Court has taken significant, simultaneous steps to restrict the power of Congress, the administrative state, the states, and the lower federal courts. And it has done so using a variety of (often contradictory) interpretative methodologies. The common denominator across multiple opinions in the last two years is that they concentrate power in one place: the Supreme Court.
Neil Young, live, "All Along the Watchtower"