Weekly Reader: Vol 3 Issue 19

It’s time once again for news and views that you can peruse. It’s time once again for your regularly scheduled Weekly Reader! Got some hot links, blog posts, or articles from a local paper you’d like to share? Head over to the comments and let us know.

The Town That Went Feral (from the New Republic): “Although John’s bids for high office failed, his ambitions remained undimmed, and in 2004 he and Rosalie connected with a small group of libertarian activists. Might not Grafton, with its lack of zoning laws and low levels of civic participation, be the perfect place to create an intentional community based on Logic and Free Market Principles? After all, in a town with fewer than 800 registered voters, and plenty of property for sale, it would not take much for a committed group of transplants to establish a foothold, and then win dominance of municipal governance. And so the Free Town Project began. The libertarians expected to be greeted as liberators, but from the first town meeting, they faced the inconvenient reality that many of Grafton’s presumably freedom-loving citizens saw them as outsiders first, and compatriots second—if at all. Tensions flared further when a little Googling revealed what “freedom” entailed for some of the new colonists. One of the original masterminds of the plan, a certain Larry Pendarvis, had written of his intention to create a space honoring the freedom to “traffic organs, the right to hold duels, and the God-given, underappreciated right to organize so-called bum fights.” He had also bemoaned the persecution of the “victimless crime” that is “consensual cannibalism.” (“Logic is a strange thing,” observes Hongoltz-Hetling.)”

The anti-lockdown scientists’ cause would be more persuasive if it weren’t so half-baked (from The Guardian): “The natural authority that imbues a professorship – and the perception that scientists are somehow neutral experts – makes this very dangerous. Scientists are human, with all the cognitive biases, flaws and personal grudges that entails. This is why academic science has so many institutional checks and balances, such as peer review, to try to filter it all out – checks and balances that the Great Barrington declaration sidesteps altogether. This is a problem because, as always, there is potential for significant human bias. The Oxford professor Sunetra Gupta’s widely reported mathematical modelling in late March suggested that up to half the UK population may have had Covid-19; she claimed at the time she was confident that humanity would build up herd immunity. The serological evidence suggests her modelling was wrong, but Gupta has not addressed this in her declaration. How do we know she is not being influenced by the natural desire to be proved right?”

Wisconsin blames Foxconn, says $3 billion factory deal is off (from ArsTechnica): “Foxconn was supposed to spend $3.3 billion on the project by the end of 2019. Instead, Foxconn had only spent around $300 million by the end of the year.

Foxconn was supposed to build an LCD panel factory based on the industry’s new Generation 10.5 standard. This standard uses enormous sheets of “mother glass”—roughly 10 feet (3 meters) square—to provide LCD panels for large televisions. Each glass sheet is typically cut into several displays. The factory was expected to cost $10 billion to build and eventually employ 13,000 workers in Wisconsin. The state now says that Foxconn won’t come anywhere close to meeting those targets.”

She’s a One-Person Newsroom, But Lee Enterprises Kept Cutting (from WVTF.org): “Like other reporters at Lee-owned papers Spinks was furloughed for a couple of weeks this Spring. And in one particularly infuriating day she, and others, were told their email storage would be slashed. She spent hours deleting messages in order to access her inbox.

But the biggest cut of all for the Floyd Press has been the freelance budget. Spinks assigns and edits a handful of stories each month to freelance reporters.”

Senator Gary Peters Shares His Abortion Story (from Elle): “In the late 1980s in Detroit, Peters and his then wife, Heidi, were pregnant with their second child, a baby they very much wanted. Heidi was four months along when her water broke, leaving the fetus without amniotic fluid—a condition it could not possibly survive. The doctor told the Peters to go home and wait for a miscarriage to happen naturally.

But it didn’t happen. They went back to the hospital the next day, and the doctor detected a faint heartbeat. He recommended an abortion, because the fetus still had no chance of survival, but it wasn’t an option due to a hospital policy banning the procedure. So he sent the couple again home to wait for a miscarriage. “The mental anguish someone goes through is intense,” Peters says, “trying to have a miscarriage for a child that was wanted.””

I was in the pro-life movement. But then, widowed with 6 kids, I prepared for an abortion. (from USA Today): “If abortion wasn’t an option, I likely would have faced death if the pregnancy had gone to full term. My kids would have faced the death of not only their father but also me, their mother. We’ve barely survived this past year and few months as it is, but we wouldn’t have made it with my physical and mental health overwhelmed by an unsafe pregnancy.

The pro-life movement can make up all the caricatures they want about people who didn’t plan well, but I was happily married to a living husband when I got pregnant. If I could have planned for him not to die, I would have.”

Who’s the Tax Cheat: The Lady in Jail or the Man in the White House? (from the New York Times): “The larger point is not that Trump is a con artist, although he is, but that the entire tax system is a con. The proper reaction to the revelations about Trump’s taxes is not to fume at the president — although that’s merited — but to demand far-reaching changes in the tax code.

We interrupt this column for a quiz question: What county in the United States has the highest rate of tax audits?

…The five counties with the highest audit rates in the United States, according to Tax Notes, are all predominately African-American counties in the South.”

QAnon: What you need to know as this unhinged, pro-Trump conspiracy theory grows (from CNET): “The core belief is that Trump is working to remove Satanic criminals inside the government, the Democratic Party and Hollywood.

Followers believe notable members of the Democratic party and the Hollywood elite operate pedophile rings. Tom Hanks, Oprah Winfrey and Ellen Degeneres are baselessly named as being participants. (CNET didn’t contact any of the stars for comment because the accusations are bogus.)”

A Major Medical Staffing Company Just Slashed Benefits for Doctors and Nurses Fighting Coronavirus (from ProPublica): “The memo announced that the company would be reducing hours for clinicians, cutting pay for administrative employees by 20%, and suspending 401(k) matches, bonuses and paid time off. Holtzclaw indicated that the measures were temporary but didn’t know how long they would last.

In a follow-up memo sent to salaried physicians on Tuesday night, Alteon said it would convert them to an hourly rate, implying that they would start earning less money since the company had already said it would reduce their hours. The memo asked employees to accept the change or else contact the human resources department within five days “to discuss alternatives,” without saying what those might be. The memo said Alteon was trying to avoid laying anyone off.”

Dexamethasone, the steroid Trump’s doctors say they administered, is recommended for severely ill patients (from the Washington Post): “Mortality rates were “lower among patients who were randomized to receive dexamethasone than among those who received the standard of care,” according to NIH. “This benefit was observed in patients who required supplemental oxygen at enrollment. No benefit of dexamethasone was seen in patients who did not require supplemental oxygen at enrollment.””

I Lived Through Collapse. America Is Already There. (from Gen via Medium): “This is how it happens. Precisely what you’re feeling now. The numbing litany of bad news. The ever rising outrages. People suffering, dying, and protesting all around you, while you think about dinner. If you’re trying to carry on while people around you die, your society is not collapsing. It’s already fallen down.

I was looking through some old photos for this article and the mix is shocking to me now. Almost offensive. There’s a burnt body in front of my office. Then I’m playing Scrabble with friends. There’s bomb smoke rising in front of the mall. Then I’m at a concert. There’s a long line for gas. Then I’m at a nightclub. This is all within two weeks.”

That’s all for today. Stop by again for more information you might need in your life right now. Until then, have a great week, stay safe, and happy reading!

About Silverwynde

I'm a Transformers fan, Pokémon player, Brewers fan and all-out general nerd. I rescue abandoned Golett, collect as many Bumblebee decoys and figures as I can find and I've attended every BotCon--official and non--since 1999. I'm also happily married to a fellow Transfan named Prime and we were both owned by a very intelligent half-Siamese cat, who crossed the Rainbow Bridge on June 16, 2018. We still miss him. But we're now the acting staff of a Maine Coon kitty named Lulu, who pretty much rules the house. Not that we're complaining about that.
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