[-] [email protected] 4 points 20 hours ago

There are plenty of great affordable houses in vibrant, economically prosperous, almost-urban communities out there. Like this one https://maps.app.goo.gl/r42MN8wXEYVNwqzVA . So maybe it'll need a fix or two, but you'll own the libs by not having any homeless or drug users around, unless that describes you. You'll enjoy the several functioning roads (in season) and a well-maintained railroad - hopping a freight has never been more convenient. Drop by anytime, but don't delay, this one won't last!

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the CFPB has done its share of policing mortgage brokers, student loan companies, and banks. But as the U.S. health care system turns tens of millions of Americans into debtors, this financial watchdog is increasingly working to protect beleaguered patients, adding hospitals, nursing homes, and patient financing companies to the list of institutions that regulators are probing.

In the past two years, the CFPB has penalized medical debt collectors, issued stern warnings to health care providers and lenders that target patients, and published reams of reports on how the health care system is undermining the financial security of Americans.

In its most ambitious move to date, the agency is developing rules to bar medical debt from consumer credit reports, a sweeping change that could make it easier for Americans burdened by medical debt to rent a home, buy a car, even get a job. Those rules are expected to be unveiled later this year.

The CFPB's turn toward medical debt has stirred opposition from collection industry officials, who say the agency's efforts are misguided. "There's some concern with a financial regulator coming in and saying, 'Oh, we're going to sweep this problem under the rug so that people can't see that there's this medical debt out there,'" said Jack Brown III, a longtime collector and member of the industry trade group ACA International.

Brown and others question whether the agency has gone too far on medical billing. ACA International has suggested collectors could go to court to fight any rules barring medical debt from credit reports.

At the same time, the U.S. Supreme Court is considering a broader legal challenge to the agency's funding that some conservative critics and financial industry officials hope will lead to the dissolution of the agency.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 1 day ago

In my Connecticut hometown, the average winter temperature used to be slightly below freezing. Now, it’s slightly above. How many joyful days filled with snowball fights and sledding would I have instead spent suffering in a classroom, gazing out the window at the rain, imagining the world just a little colder?

Ditto for my Vermont hometown. All winter = bitter cold and lots of snow - sometimes feet deep, but definitely enough for sledding and skiing most of the season. Dad was happy to have that snowblower and it got a lot of use. Now all I ever hear about from back east is all the flooding and resulting destruction. This article sheds some light on some of the reasons for all that. Rural VT and NH, easily reached from BOS/NY and southern New England, have economies that are heavily dependent on tourism, and especially winter tourism in the form of skiers. Less and/or crappier (wet) snow is really going to cause pain.

The resort also sells as many preseason passes as it can, which can cushion the financial blow of a ski season without much snow.

Sure you can fool the Flatlanders into taking such gambles, maybe for a season or two, but it won't be long before they're tired of taking the snow risk (quantity, quality) on themselves (rather than the resorts taking it) and choosing to stay entertained in some other way.

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Harper's Weekly Review 27-Feb-24


The United States cast the sole vote against a United Nations security council resolution that would have endorsed a ceasefire in Gaza; the dissension was sufficient to veto the action, and represented the third instance of the Biden Administration’s rejection of a cessation of hostilities. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reiterated his intent to order the ground invasion of Rafah, and said that even the return of the remaining hostages in Hamas captivity would not deter him. “We’ll do it anyway,” he said. The UN’s World Food Programme announced that it would halt all deliveries of food rations to northern Gaza; the UN said that the aid would have been “lifesaving,” as conditions there approach those of famine, but that widespread Israeli bombardment of the region forbade their safe approach. President Joe Biden requested that Israeli forces not target the members of the Gazan police force that escorts the aid trucks, and his administration restored a legal finding that Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories are inconsistent with international law; an Israeli campaign to build more than 3,000 homes on Palestinian land in the West Bank precipitated the White House revision. “We should kill ’em all,” said the Tennessee Republican congressman Andy Ogles of Palestinians in Gaza. “I will no longer be complicit in genocide,” said a member of the U.S. Air Force before self-immolating in front of the Israeli Embassy in Washington. He succumbed to his injuries.

In a letter, members of Congress urged Biden to secure reparations for black Americans. A contender in the race for governor of North Carolina suggested that black people themselves owe reparations; the candidate, who currently serves as the state’s lieutenant governor, is black. During a South Carolina stump speech by Nikki Haley, black rallygoers revealed themselves to be protesters, interrupting Haley’s address to call her promotion of union busting “disgusting”; former President Donald Trump went on to secure that state’s primary in a landslide victory. “The black people are so much on my side now,” he said, attributing his supposed appeal among that demographic to his criminal indictments and the prevalence of his mug shot. “They have been hurt so badly and discriminated against, and they actually viewed me as, I’m being discriminated against,” Trump continued. “This is connecting with black America because they love sneakers!” opined an anchor for Fox News of Trump’s recently announced line of footwear. Joe Biden and Kamala Harris hired a “Black media director,” who called Trump “an incompetent, anti-Black tyrant.” Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas hired a law clerk who is alleged to have written text messages stating “I HATE BLACK PEOPLE. Like fuck them all … I hate blacks. End of story.” The late-night talk show host John Oliver said that he would award Thomas $1 million to resign from his post.

Vice Media announced plans to shutter its publication and slash hundreds of jobs. Biden told White House aides that the secret to a successful marriage is “good sex.” “Could it be that the world of Barbie is sheer hell?” asked the director Werner Herzog. Flaco, the Eurasian eagle owl that escaped the Central Park Zoo just over a year ago, died after flying into a building on Manhattan’s West 89th Street, and a crew of scientists working on the TV show Pole to Pole: With Will Smith discovered a new species of snake while filming; they declined to name the anaconda variety after the actor. An unidentified flying object observed traversing the skies of Salt Lake City, Utah, turned out to be a balloon; a joint military command issued a fighter jet to intercept it. Two thousand nauseated passengers have been sequestered to their cruise ship off the coast of Mauritius until their mystery gastrointestinal illness passes. Monica Lewinsky partnered with the clothing retailer Reformation to raise voter turnout with a promotional line of dresses; Lewinsky modeled each dress herself and urged women to head to the polls if they “wanna complain for the next four years.” —Lake Micah

[-] [email protected] 6 points 1 day ago

It was an adopted home for me, but yeah, I feel your pain.

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A clear majority of adults in the Seattle area — around 64% — never attend church or religious services, or go less than once a year. That pencils out to about 1.98 million people out of the total 3.1 million population aged 18 and older in our metro area, which includes King, Pierce and Snohomish counties.

The survey includes data from all 50 states plus the nation’s 15 largest metro areas, including Seattle. And among those 15, Seattle ranked the least religious, edging out San Francisco, where 63% never attend religious services, or go less than once a year. Boston was a distant third at 56%.

What may be surprising to folks in the Seattle area, though, is that the rest of Washington is nearly as nonreligious as Seattle. Statewide, 63% never or almost never attend religious services, just 1 percentage point lower than the number for the Seattle area.

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Fascinating interview/podcast with ex-Fundie zealot Brad Onishi. (Terry Gross, NPR)


Christian nationalism, including an extreme version advocated by the group the New Apostolic Reformation, the NAR, has become influential in American government and parts of the judicial system. The NAR advocates for Christian dominion over government, religion, family, business, education, arts and entertainment, and the media. According to the NAR, some of its opponents are afflicted by demons, which must be cast out through exorcism. The NAR has aligned itself with Donald Trump and efforts to overturn the election. Mike Johnson, the speaker of the House, has said he's been profoundly influenced by Dan Cummins, a Christian nationalist activist. A flag associated with the NAR hangs outside Johnson's office.

An Alabama Supreme Court decision just made it illegal to destroy frozen, fertilized embryos that are used in infertility treatments because those embryos are people. The chief justice of the court wrote a concurring opinion that says even before birth, all human beings have the image of God and their lives cannot be destroyed without effacing his glory. My guest, Brad Onishi, not only studies Christian nationalism. He used to be part of that movement. He left after studying theology at Oxford University. He's the author of the book "Preparing For War: The Extremist History Of White Christian Nationalism - And What Comes Next." He also co-hosts the podcast "Straight White American Jesus," which reports on and analyzes the impact of Christian nationalism on American democracy. He teaches at the University of California, San Francisco.

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 days ago
[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 days ago

I'm pretty sure I read it back in the day but had forgotten all about it. I was at M$ around the time it came out and I vaguely recall employees talking about it in a dismissive but not exactly outraged sort of way. Kind of like you might expect if the author hit pretty close to home re: the culture but without it seeming (to the employees) like an attack piece.

Thanks for mentioning the book, it'll be fun to re-read it after all these years and see how it's held up. Maybe my library can get an inter-library-loan of a special, limited-edition, BG-autographed version, embellished in gold leaf all over. Hmm, Medina doesn't appear to have a public library, how could that be?

[-] [email protected] 3 points 2 days ago

Ha, wasn't sure if that was sarcasm or just Trollage at first. Well played! Yes, I am a pathetic, talentless loser, otherwise I'd be having drinks with BG on his jet or lounging on Larry's yacht or even fly-fishing with a Supreme at some wilderness resort.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 2 days ago

The "Thoughts and Prayers" for the murder of secular democracy.

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Imagine if they DID "have the facilities" to kill him by firing squad. They'd spend 45 minutes trying to figure out how to load their rifles, kill a few members of the squad by mistake, then proceed to graze this guy a half dozen times if they were lucky. Idaho. Famous potato-heads.


The execution of Thomas Creech scheduled for Wednesday morning was canceled at 11 a.m. Idaho Department of Correction director Josh Tewalt determined the execution could not happen because the medical team could not establish an IV line.

In a news conference, Tewalt said the medical team did a physical assessment of Creech this morning and believed they would be able to establish IV access. When Creech was in the execution room, Tewalt said the team tried eight times through multiple limbs and appendages to establish that access.

Witnesses from news media said the medical team began trying to get IV access at 10:13 a.m. and it went on for around 45 minutes.

Idaho law allows for execution by lethal injection and firing squad, but Tewalt said the state does not have the facilities to carry out a firing squad style execution at this time.

Creech has been returned to his cell in the F block. Tewalt said that they will allow the death warrant to expire and there is currently no idea for a time frame or next steps moving forward in regards to the execution and death warrant, but that will be discussed in the days ahead.

[-] [email protected] 26 points 2 days ago

M$ under Gates was also hugely about shafting many of the engineering staff working there. These were the Permatemps, people who worked on site alongside ordinary employees, doing the same work, working for the same managers on big products you've heard of. But the Permatemps, and I was one of them, didn't work for M$, we worked for the most part as W2 employees of external staffing companies. OK salaries, basic benefits, but zero equity compensation or job security. Occasionally a permatemp would get hired as a M$ employee and that's probably what a lot of them were hoping for. I got a small pay-out from the Permatemp lawsuit settlement (see link above) while some of the regular employees around me became M$ Millionaires in their 20s, including my tech lead at the time. But at least I was allowed to shop at the Company Store and got a discount on my copy of Vista! Meanwhile Gates conserved huge amounts of equity and had a big staff he could fire at the drop of a hat, because he didn't technically employ us in the first place.

[-] [email protected] 2 points 3 days ago

Some might be surprised to learn that this kind of exploitation on tribal lands didn't only happen in the Southwest. For example, there's the Midnite Mine on the Spokane rez in E.WA.

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Marc Benioff

He's the CEO and co-founder of San Francisco-based Salesforce, one of the world's largest software companies, which owns the popular messaging service Slack and is worth nearly $300 billion. He also owns Time magazine.

When I ask Benioff about the properties in the anonymous LLCs, things seem to take a turn. He starts speaking more quickly and fidgets with a piece of paper in his hand. He's reluctant to go through the holdings, and his adviser on the Zoom call jumps in to say we can discuss later.

A couple of days before the interview, Benioff texted the same NPR colleague again, asking for intel on my story. Then he called me and demanded to know the title of this piece. During that call, he also mentioned he knew the exact area where I was staying. Unnerved, I asked how he knew, and he said, "It's my job. You have a job and I have a job." During the interview, he brings up more personal details about me and my family.

I leave the meeting disconcerted and still unclear about what exactly is happening with his land in Waimea.

The following day, I drive around with a photographer to take pictures of the town and Benioff's projects. We go to the property he described as a community center and are confronted by one of his employees. The photographer explains we're there to take photos of the outside of the building. Shortly afterward, I get a text from Benioff. His employee seemed to think we were "snooping," and he says he's escalating the incident to NPR CEO John Lansing. Lansing confirmed he spoke with Benioff, without going into detail — the NPR newsroom operates independently, and the CEO is not involved in editorial decision-making. Benioff didn't respond to my question about the purpose of this call.

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Tom Parker, a Republican who joined the court in 2005, wrote a concurring opinion that quoted at length from sources such as the Book of Genesis, the Ten Commandments and Christian thinkers of centuries ago, such as Thomas Aquinas. But comments he has made in other media have raised questions about his seeming espousal of "Seven Mountains" theology, a concept that some experts consider to be Christian extremism.

"God created government. And the fact that we have let it go into the possession of others, it's heartbreaking for those of us who understand. And we know it is for Him," Parker said on a recent podcast hosted by Christian activist Johnny Enlow. "And that's why He is calling and equipping people to step back into these mountains right now."

The Seven Mountains Mandate urges adherents to establish what they consider to be God's kingdom on Earth by taking control of seven areas of society: family, religion, government, education, arts and entertainment, commerce and media. Once relegated to a fringe of the Christian conservative movement, it has gained followers in recent years as the ranks of nondenominational, neo-charismatic Christians have grown in the U.S. It also has earned greater media attention since House Speaker Mike Johnson assumed his elevated role, due to his connections with leaders in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR) movement that espouses Seven Mountain theology.

"The Seven Mountains is a structured outline for Christian supremacy," said Matthew Taylor, senior scholar at the Institute for Islamic, Christian and Jewish Studies in Baltimore. "The idea is that Christians are supposed to take power over society and that influence flows down from the top of each mountain."

Parker's close involvement with the NAR network was evident in the weeks after January 6th, when he joined its massive prayer phone call for Alabama in March of 2022. On that call, he spoke about his desire to influence judges in that state to accept his interpretation of Christianity.

"When the judges are restored, revival can flow, so that righteousness and faithfulness are the products," he said. "But at least, as chief justice, I can help prepare the soil of the hearts, exposing the judges around the state to the things of God."

Parker did not respond to NPR's request for interview.

"It is a real Christian Nationalist threat to our judicial system to have Supreme Court justices who understand theologically and think of themselves theologically as above precedent and the rule of law," said Taylor. "If they think that their allegiance is to a higher power and their allegiance is to the Bible primarily before the Constitution, if they are invoking modern prophecies as the rationale for the work that they do, that should really raise questions about the separation of religion and state and the ways that Christianity and Christian nationalism is getting infused into the very structures of how our legal system is working."

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From the output of Google Voice's speech-to-text software. This was part of a routine appointment reminder voicemail.

You are currently taking patience and visitors experience within our facilities regardless of vaccination status.

Well, that's very kind of them to put up with me I guess.

If you have any questions concerning disappointment, please call our office 6650. Thank you.

Yes, I do have such questions, many of them in fact, a whole lifetime's worth....

[-] [email protected] 14 points 6 days ago

You'd think so, wouldn't you? People have been locked-away for treason after lesser acts than Jan 6. Treason laws in the United States . If the feds won't prosecute, I'd hope the state AGs would start to look into these kind of public displays of insurrection.

[-] [email protected] 7 points 6 days ago

There were always religious nutters (Xians naturally) on AM, as long as I can remember, but they used to be a minority. AM was mostly pop music and C&W and talk shows. One thing I now look back on nostalgically was Art Bell's Coast to Coast AM show that aired really late at night. I used to listen to it on my long drive home from work and he'd have all kinds of crazy conspiracy theorists (UFOs, aliens, Area51 activities) and paranormal "researchers" &etc &etc on the show. Great fun, and despite the conspiracy stuff, largely non-political. Everyone understood it was "entertainment". You can probably find recorded episodes online. Satan knows what kind of horrible garbage is on AM these days, but I'm not about to go find out either.

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Just ahead of his headline spot at the CPAC convention in Virginia and the South Carolina primary on Saturday, Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump delivered a speech to right-wing broadcasters Thursday night in which the former president vowed to hand power over to the Christian nationalist movement on an unprecedented scale.

Trump said during his speech at the annual conference of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) in Nashville, Tennesse that he would defend "pro-God context and content" on the nation's AM radio stations as he told the audience that religion is "the biggest thing missing" in the United States and warned, without evidence, that Christian broadcasters were "under siege" by the left and a "fascist" Biden administration.

"We have to bring back our religion," Trump declared. "We have to bring back Christianity."

Striking a Christ-like pose at one point with his arms outstretched as if on a cross, Trump mentioned his legal struggles, including multiple criminal indictments and civil judgements, and said, "I take all these arrows for you and I'm so proud to take them. I'm being indicted for you."

As Common Dreamsreported earlier this week, right-wing Christian Nationalists operating in Trump's inner circle are quietly preparing for the prospect of his possible reelection.

In his speech Thursday, during which he also promised to close the Department of Education so that Christian fundamentalists could take over school policy at the state level, Trump said, "If I get in, you're going to be using that power at a level that you’ve never used before."

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According to a new survey from the Public Religion Research Institute and the Brookings Institution, more than half of Republicans believe the country should be a strictly Christian nation — either adhering to the ideals of Christian nationalism (21 percent) or sympathizing with those views (33 percent).

This point of view has long been prominent among white evangelicals but is spreading into almost all reaches of the Republican Party, as exemplified by the Alabama Supreme Court’s ruling.

It is also closely linked with authoritarianism. According to the survey, half of Christian nationalism adherents and nearly 4 in 10 sympathizers said they support the idea of an authoritarian leader powerful enough to keep these Christian values in society.

During an interview at a Turning Point USA event last August, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., said party leaders need to be more responsive to the base of the party, which she claimed is made up of Christian nationalists.

“We need to be the party of nationalism,” she said. “I am a Christian and I say it proudly, we should be Christian nationalists.”

A growing number of Republican voters view Trump as the second coming of Jesus Christ and see the 2024 election as a battle not only for America’s soul but for the salvation of all mankind.

An influential think tank close to Trump is developing plans to infuse Christian nationalist ideas into his administration if Trump returns to power, according to documents obtained by Politico.

Spearheading the effort is Russell Vought, who served as Trump’s director of the Office of Management and Budget during his first term and remains close to him. Vought, frequently cited as a potential chief of staff in a second Trump White House, has embraced the idea that Christians are under assault and has spoken of policies he might pursue in response.

Those policies include banning immigration of non-Christians into the United States, overturning same-sex marriage, and barring access to contraception.

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“Welcome to the end of democracy!” Posobiec declared. “We’re here to overthrow it completely. We didn’t get all the way there on January 6th, but we will endeavor to get rid of it and replace it with this right here,” he said, holding his fist in the air. “That’s right, because all glory is not to government, all glory to God.”

Steve Bannon, former White House adviser, is heard in the background exclaiming, “All right! Amen!”

All Republicans are perfectly happy with the idea of having a (Christo-)fascist dictatorship in power in the U.S. . All that they care about is that the dictatorship rewards them with money and power. I know Republicans like this, people you might think were just ordinary folks, and they're masters of telling themselves stories to justify their violence and thievery and masters at not seeing anything that might cause cognitive dissonance, to the extent that they're capable of that at all.

7
"Nobody’s paying their bills." (harpersmagazine.substack.com)
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A weekly dispatch taking aim at the relentless absurdity of the 24-hour news cycle.

The Israeli military temporarily released a Palestinian prisoner bound in zip-tie handcuffs to tell the thousands sheltering in a Khan Younis hospital to evacuate before the facility would be bombed; among the refugees was the prisoner’s mother, and Israeli forces shot him fatally after he delivered the message. “We don’t expect Gazans really to be able to return to their homes until this mission is completed,” said Matt Miller, a spokesperson for the U.S. Department of State. President Joe Biden phoned Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and conditioned his support of Israel’s air strikes in Rafah on “a credible and executable plan for ensuring the safety of and support for” civilians therein; since then, a member of Netanyahu’s cabinet planned a ground invasion of the city, Netanyahu said that Israel would “finish the job” in Gaza if hostages taken by Hamas were not returned by Ramadan, and the Biden Administration declared its intention to supply Israel with still more munitions. “I will be damned if I’m going to give another nickel to the Netanyahu government in order to continue this war against the Palestinian people,” said Senator Bernie Sanders. Senator Chris Van Hollen condemned Israel’s actions in Gaza as war crimes, then voted to send the country $14 billion in aid. The Water Transport Workers Federation of India refused to load and unload weapons cargo meant for Israel, and Yemeni Houthis disrupted Israel-bound shipments. Container ship arrivals in the Gulf of Aden were down 92 percent.

The state of Wisconsin adopted legislative maps that will reduce a long-standing Republican gerrymandering edge. Nearly one-fifth of Americans believe in a conspiracy theory involving the strategic government use of Taylor Swift to increase Biden’s reelection chances. The White House announced Biden’s imminent annual physical, which will not include a cognitive test. In a poll, 62 percent of respondents said they thought Biden was not mentally sharp, while only 47 percent said so of Donald Trump. Wind farms were found not to be “driving whales crazy,” despite Trump’s assertion that they were. Campaigning in Pennsylvania, Trump attended Philadelphia’s Sneaker Con to reveal the design of his “Never Surrender” line of footwear, the MSRP of which is $399; the announcement was met with a chorus of boos even as the shoes sold out within hours; the day before, Trump received a fine of $355 million that would require the sale of an estimated 1,127,820 pairs to pay off. “Nobody’s paying their bills,” said Trump of NATO member countries that do not devote at least 2 percent of their gross domestic product to defense. “If they’re not going to pay, we’re not going to protect,” he continued. Trump’s deputy director of communications posted a video clip of the former president watching high school cheerleaders dance for him; Trump made for an audience of one, and shimmied in return.

A New York man exploited a housing loophole that allowed him to live rent-free for five years in the New Yorker Hotel; he later filed paperwork claiming ownership of the building and charged another tenant for rent. A school in Florida asked parents for permission to teach “a book written by an African American.” “I’m hit! I’m hit!” cried a Florida deputy after mistaking for gunshots the sound of falling acorns. A virgin stingray in a North Carolina aquarium is pregnant. Senator Elizabeth Warren said that the Rock would be in her “dream blunt rotation.” The NYPD dance team performed a choreographed routine on a local New York news station; they received poor reviews. “How many school music programs got defunded for this?” asked Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez upon seeing the footage. —Lake Micah

[-] [email protected] 37 points 6 months ago

Indeed, very much so.

But wait, I've heard "there are good people on both sides" [some infamous criminal].

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