WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

My dog got sick this week. Run down, runs, waking us up all night long to go to the bathroom, the whole nine yards. Turns out he ate a strip of plastic something he found in the yard. He’s not what you’d call “bright” or a “picky eater”.

Our dogs are basset mixes – one a bagel hound and the other a bassador. While you wouldn’t guess it from two short dogs, they incredibly strong and extremely fast when they find something they’re interested in. They also have noses that can scent things from miles away. And if that something is food, they’ll track it to the ends of the Earth. Back in our old neighborhood, someone tossed a box of donuts by the side of the road. Donut abuse, I know, but it’s Albuquerque so we were mostly happy no one shot the donuts and stole their box. That damned box of donuts sat by the side of the road for weeks and every time we walked by on the opposite side of the street, the dogs would lunge toward it.

This is not to say they wouldn’t go for other things, too. In fact, at one point or another, they’ve manage to seize:

  • An alley sandwich
  • A roadside tortilla
  • A piece of fried chicken in an alley
  • Random crunchy things they find in the rocks

Those things were inhaled before we could get them away. And our dogs are well fed and get treats. Still, dogs are dogs and they’ll go for anything.

So, imagine what it takes to get a dog emaciated knowing full well they’ll eat literally anything. That’s the story Ethan, who was found emaciated and dying in shelter parking lot. Fortunately for Ethan, he was nursed back to health and is now living his best life as a dog beer taster with a 20k/yr salary, pet insurance, and all the dog beer he can drink.

It’s a rags to riches story you can only find in America. Although, to be fair, I’m still waiting for my opportunity to be a professional beer drinker. As long as it’s good beer. Unlike dogs, I’m snooty about beer and you’d best keep that IPA crap away from me.

The other side of the story is: Yes, there is such a thing as dog beer. Before anyone gets their knickers in a twist, dog beer is a non-alcoholic blend of stuff doggos dig and, contrary to my dogs’ taste in things, it doesn’t include two-week old soggy donuts, alley sandwiches, roadside tortillas, or alley chicken. Come to think of it, maybe walking them down alleys wasn’t my greatest idea ever.

Dog beer is pork butt, vegetables, basil, mint, turmeric, and ginger, in case you were wondering. Feeding regular beer to dogs is still not recommended. Although, I guess, as long as he’s spending his own money on it, Ethan can probably kick back with an Imperial Stout every now and then as one does.

Check out the story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are: Susan Scott and yours truly (my, how the numbers are falling).

~~~GUIDELINES~~~
1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).
2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.
3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.
4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.
5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.
6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.
This is a Blog Hop!
Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen:

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Time has no meaning anymore. It’s just a filmy haze of going from room to room in my house, pretending different rooms are different places for different jobs. Living room is writing. Front room is for working.

Like a lot of people, we’ve been working from home full time while a virus runs roughshod over the country. It’s been an experience. I even bought a Bluetooth headset for phone calls. I’ve discovered that Bluetooth headset + lots of phone meetings = plenty of time to develop nunchuck skills.

But, of course, the biggest difference is not driving as much. Although you wouldn’t know it driving around Albuquerque, vehicle traffic worldwide has taken a nosedive. Which, you know, is kind of a pity since gas is so cheap right now. I feel like I should drive around, speeding through school zone and doing a lot of sudden stops and starts just to take advantage of low gas prices. And also to piss off that jackass in the 4×4 with a lift kit who likes to tailgate everyone.

Just like countless songs have crooned over the decades, every cloud has a silver lining. And right now that lining is a precipitous drop in airborne pollutants. People all over the world, stuck in their homes and drinking themselves into a stupor, have suddenly discovered that there’s thing called a “sky” and that “sky” has stuff like clouds and stars in it. Hell, even in Albuquerque, we can now see distant mountain ranges that are normally hidden by smog.

In some cases, and in some particularly filthy cities – I’m looking at you, Wuhan, airborne pollutants are down by as much as 60%. So, that weird feeling you get when take a deep breath outside? That’s air. Without all the crap driving adds to it.

So, while it won’t last forever, take a moment to appreciate the air quality. It’s one of the few good things to come out of this little pandemic. Well, that and I finally get to practice nunchuck twirling in meetings.

Check out the original article here

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are: Susan Scott, Inderpreet Kaur Uppal, Damnyanti Biswas, Dan Antion, and moi.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

Ask any good dictator or fascist regime what the single most important facet of maintaining control is and, without a doubt, they’ll tell you regulating the flow of information. Now, these are usually thugs and low-brained idiots, so “regulating the flow of information” may be beyond their vocabulary. Some will talk about outside influences, some will shout about fake news, some will simply shoot you for asking, but the general gist will always be the same. Control information and you can control people. It’s one of the things that all dictators have in common.

And, coincidentally, the free flow of information is one of the best ways to kick fascist regimes in the balls. For a fascist regime to stay in power, it requires the few to control the many. That requires a population that won’t fight back. Because no matter how many people you have on your secret police force, no matter how brutal they are, there will always be more people than thugs and as soon as the people rise up, the thugs tend to find themselves on the wrong end of a rope.

The question, of course, is how do you get the necessary information to the people who need it when there’s a functional information blackout? Think North Korea’s traditional model of keeping all foreign influence out by keeping all foreigners out or the Great Firewall of China or simply complaining about fake news at every opportunity.

In the case of North Korea, the rest of the world will periodically do things like drop DVDs, DVD players, cell phones, papers, books, and other things into random parts of the country. Such contraband will get the holder killed, but information has a way of leeching into the soil of society. It’s a long-term process, but it will slowly erode the stone bulwarks. But it doesn’t work in semi-open societies since they already have those things. The trick there is present the other side of the news – the one not allowed by the government – and to keep the people consuming that other side safe.

Here’s a fun fact for you: If it weren’t for Phil Zimmerman, the Russian Revolution might very well have failed. Zimmerman got hold of one of the early RSA asymmetric-key encryption mechanisms. He realized just how useful a functionally unbreakable code could be to keep information safe from prying eyes. As the NSA was breaking down his door, Zimmerman released the very first instance of PGP to the world. Much to the chagrin of people who liked to paw through your email to find out when the revolution was starting. By blocking that information, you make it much harder to keep control.

Crypto maintains the free flow of information by preventing its interception. Now, the really cool thing about good crypto is it can free information by preventing its interception on a large scale. As noted before, one of the biggest problems with distributing information that governments don’t want distributed is making sure the people consuming that information don’t get their teeth knocked for consuming it.

For that, you need some way to browse information safely without worrying about who’s watching over your shoulder while you’re reading about all the atrocities being committed by your leaders. That means something like Darknet and our good buddy Tor.

While Darknet has largely become the purview of drug dealers, kiddie porn, and assorted scoundrelry, it’s also potentially a powerful weapon for information warfare. The ability to get information securely to people who need it is immensely useful. Arguably, it’s a better weapon than any bomb or gun could ever be because gunshots and explosions are isolated things. Information spreads like a virus. It’s amazingly useful for tearing down walls and the dictators that built them.

So, you can imagine how my eyes lit up when I saw BBC News was mirroring its site on Darknet. It’s brilliant. It’s a perfect way of getting information past censors and firewalls and protecting the people consuming it. Putting BBC News on Darknet is a weaponizing information and pointing it straight at the fascists who would stop it from spreading. And that is a far better use for Darknet than slinging drugs.

Check out the story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts of the month are: Sylvia McGrath, Lizbeth Hartz, Shilpa Garg, Mary Giese, and Belinda Witzenhausen

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Here’s an interesting tidbit of historical knowledge for you: America’s first “Drug Czar” was a guy named Harry J. Anslinger. He was the first commissioner of the U.S. Treasury Department’s Federal Bureau of Narcotics and held that post for an incredible 32 years. Prior to that post, he was deeply involved with the Department of Prohibition, those fun-loving guys responsible for smashing every bottle of bourbon in the country. During America’s brief flirtation with alcohol prohibition, Anslinger dismissed marijuana as a harmless weed, not a problem, harmless, and felt it was absolutely absurd that it caused violence in people. After the U.S. came to its senses and repealed prohibition in favor of getting drunk on the weekends, Anslinger saw his role in the Federal Government might be creeping to a close and did a quick 180 on the chronic. At the time, marijuana was largely the purvue of poorer classes and immigrants, so it was a relatively easy sell to say, “Marijuana users are getting high and raping white women.” Banning it largely impacted people who no one in charge cared about. It was the perfect bogey man. If you wonder why you can’t do a little wake and bake without the Feds busting down your door, you can thank Mr. Anslinger for his tireless devotion to keeping himself relevant and his career afloat by going after weed like it was slashing tires and knocking up little girls.

Another fun fact: In 2017, 1,394,514 people were arrested on various posession charges. Meaning they weren’t trafficking the stuff, just carrying. Not all were incarcerated for posession, but plenty were. All of them now have a record for violating federal narcotics laws, which means jobs can be trickier to come by. This, of course, means people have to settle for lower-paying jobs or no jobs at all. As a result poverty goes up, bringing its good buddy crime along with it. Now, you can conflate Mary Jane with poverty and crime and you’ve got a nice spiral of destruction going on. We won’t even bring up the amount of money the private prison system brings in by incarcerating people for getting stoned and listening to Pink Floyd. Money talks, cages lock. And all because Harry J. Anslinger didn’t feel like getting another job.

Of course, the recent trend – started by Colorado, which is frankly making a killing in taxing weed – is for states to start effectively decriminalizing weed. Thirty three states have effectively said they don’t care: Toke up. The Federal Government has not followed that trend, but it’s probably only a matter of time. So what about the people who got popped before the changes in the laws went into effect? Well, some of them are still in prison and most of them still have a criminal record for carrying a few joints. But all isn’t lost, states and private companies are working together to start puring criminal records for low-level posession crimes. To the tune of possibly hundreds of thousands of convictions being overturned. Cook County in Illinois, for example, is looking at expunging tens of thousands of convictions automatically. And that’s one county.

Now, all this doesn’t necessarily mean I’m saying go get baked or even that I’m planning on getting baked, I’m just saying we tried the exact thing with prohibition and it was a miserable failure. In fact, it could be argued that prohibition alone gave rise to the power of the Italian Mafia just like the war on drugs is giving power to a bunch of Mexican cartels. Too many people have been caught up in Mr. Anslinger’s desperate need to keep his job. Fortunately, that’s looking like it could finally be corrected. Without wasting time on weed, it frees the country up to deal with bigger problems like meth, crack, and opioids.

Go check out the full story here

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented co-hosts this month are
Susan Scott, Peter Nena, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Damyanti Biswas/a>.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now your moment of Zen

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck


Depending on who you listen to, climate change will either be the end of humanity or it’s a hoax invented by the Chinese because reasons. Some people dedicate their lives to fighting global climate change by complaining endlessly about industry while others give up straws for a week and call it good. Still others ignore every bit of evidence and claim it’s not happening. But, the sad fact of the matter is, the world’s climate is changing. It’s getting warmer. Weather is getting weirder. None of this is exactly debatable. What is debatable is how much of the problem is human causes (likely a lot) and what we can do about it (probably not much).

If that sounds glum, sorry.

Now, as I said, most people put on a shirt with some environmental message and claim they’re fixing the world. Then there’s David Gilmour.

If you don’t know who David Gilmour is, I’m very disappointed in you. He was the lead guitarist for Pink Floyd. If you don’t know who Pink Floyd is, I’m utterly disappointed in you.

Gilmour recently sold off some of his guitar collection for a whopping $21.5 million and donated all of it to a charity that’s fighting climate change. Kind of makes slapping some bumper stickers on your car and wearing a save the planet T-shirt look pretty lame, right?

Although, to be fair, most of us don’t have a guitar collection worth $21.5 million lying around. Also, to be fair, it’s gonna take more than one person’s guitar collection to change the world and every little bit helps. So, keep on using reusable straws, wearing save the planet T-shirts, and plastering your car with environmental bumper stickers. Rhetoric can be just as powerful a weapon as money.

And if you happen to have a collection of important, classic guitars lying around, feel free to sell them and donate the money to charity. Either way, shine on you crazy diamond. And if you haven’t listened to Pink Floyd, for the love of god, go do it now.

Read the whole story here

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented co-hosts this month are
Sylvia McGrath,
Susan Scott,
Shilpa Garg,
Eric Lahti,
and Belinda Witzenhausen.

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

ninja

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Contrary to what most people think, the American system of incarceration – and possibly the world’s – isn’t predicated on the notion that jail is revenge. It’s supposed to punishment, sure, but in addition to safely stowing away people who could cause harm to society, incarceration is supposed to be about paying for a crime. One would think after a jail sentence, the crime might still be there, but it has been paid for. Done. And, arguably, the person who was in jail should no longer be considered a criminal.

Unfortunately, that’s not the way it works and we see lots of people shrieking “I hope you get raped in prison” at everyone who gets tossed in the can. As if gang rape was part and parcel of the criminal justice system. To make matters worse, once an inmate is released, it’s difficult to get a job and go straight because even though the crime has been technically paid for, former inmates are still considered criminals in the eyes of society. This leads to high recidivism rates because, hey, if you can’t get a job it’s damned hard to get luxuries like food and a place to live.

Now, it’s likely the criminal justice system will continue to spiral down into anarchy, at least until a lot of things change. And part of that change has to be in the way we view former inmates. Rather than mindless brutes, there are some clever folks in prison. Take, for instance, the prison debate team at Eastern New York Correctional Facility who recently not only beat Harvard’s debate team, but they beat the Cambridge debate team. Not bad for a bunch of guys who don’t even have Internet access.

Additionally, the ENYCF debate team, rather than having to dodge jocks in the hallways, has the support of a large portion of the prison population. They are, in their own way, celebrities.

We could argue whether or not being on a prison debate team is helpful in reforming prisoners, but you have to admit that it’s better than getting out of prison with B.S. in Violent Crime, and M.S. in Bodybuilding, and a PhD in Going Right Back To Prison. At the very least, debate encourages critical thinking, argumentation without resorting to childish nicknames, research skills, and presentation skills, all things which will be more useful than killer biceps.

Read the whole story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented co-hosts this month are
Lizbeth Hartz,
Peter Nena,
Shilpa Garg,
Me,
and <https://inderpreetuppal.com//”>Inderpreet Kaur Uppal

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

pinkpanther

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

Doubtless everyone has heard of the Centers for Disease Control, those brave, fun-lovin’ folks that put their lives on the line in the epic quest to quash Ebola outbreaks and keep the world safe from the next explosion of Solanum. A little less well-known is the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. USAMRIID, primarily a US Army organization, works with the CDC and The World Health Organization and they all help keep the world safe from the tiny little bugs that can – and have – wiped out huge portions of the human population in the past. All these organizations are dedicated to keeping us safe from coughing out our lungs and bleeding from our eyeballs.

Death by disease ain’t pretty, and it’s probably an uphill slog since diseases have a nasty habit of mutating. Think about things like the Black Plague that wiped out upwards of 200 million people in about four years or the Anthrax attacks of 2001. One of those was a weaponized virus, the other was a completely natural occurance. Then realize that according to the CDC, 80,000 people died from the Flu last year. When you’re done pondering that, think about the guy next to you at work who’s busy hacking up a lung and sneezing on his computer screen when he should be at home in self-imposed quarantine rather than infecting the whole office.

Disease is a very real threat to our existence. Fortunately, brave souls at the CDC, USAMRIID, and WHO are willing to put their lives on the line to study diseases, keep them from spreading, help those who are infected, and find ways to keep it from happening again. It involves putting themselves in the middle of Ebola outbreaks, getting up close and personal with Flu victims, and walking into places where even a tiny tear in your suit can mean a miserable, lingering death as your organs liquify.

Then there are the anti-vaxxers.

I can’t say for certain if there’s an anti-vaxxer movement in other parts of the world. I liked to think we’d managed to keep that disease localized in the United States, but with the way messages shoot around the planet these days, their particular breed of stupidity has found warm hosts all the world. In fact, the WHO puts anti-vaxxers in the top 10 global threats. For those of you who are unfamiliar with anti-vaxxers, they’re the group that claims the vaccines that helped wipe out a lot of childhood diseases are all part of some massive conspiracy cooked up by the CDC, Big Pharma, the WHO, possibly The Who, and a shadowy cabal of evil-doers to do something nefarious. The prevailing message from the anti-vaxxers is that vaccines cause Autism, but they’ve also claimed mind control and population control at points in the past. Imagine your crazy uncle, drunk on cheap whiskey, waving a knife around, and babbling about the Rothschilds and you’ll get the idea.

While most people are quite content to trust professionals with their health care decisions and look to places like the CDC, the WHO, and USAMRIID for pointers on how to not die horribly, the anti-vaxxers look to other sources. Major disease control organizations have people with medical degrees, scientists, and folks with hands-on experience studying biological threats. Anti-vaxxers have Jenny McCarthy and that blog written by that one chick who doesn’t work, but she totally took a bio class in college and she’s a mom so she gets it. Also, she saw that episode of the X-Files where they were using the bees to transmit alien DNA and there’s this other blog by a guy who says he worked for the CDC and the bees didn’t work so they had to start using vaccines to spread it.

Somehow that bizarre message of Autism and mind control took root and now the anti-vaxxers are spreading like a plague. The end result of this disease of ignorance is more actual diseases killing people even as we see a dearth of people with alien DNA doing whatever it was they were supposed to be doing.

Disease control experts will usually tell you one of the first things you have to do to stem the tide of infections is quarantine. Find the source and make sure it can’t go anywhere else. Then you can work on curing folks without having to worry that the next town over just fell to Solanum and the dead are coming back to life. Unfortunately, due to the way the 1st Amendment works, you can’t just shut off the valve of the nonsense coming from the anti-vaxxers. They can continue to say whatever crazy shit they want and there’s no legal way to stop them without some epic court battles revolving around Freedom of Speech.

So, if you can’t make them shut up, how do you fight the misinformation? Well, you can counter with real information, but you can also take away their ability to make money by spreading lies. While the CDC, USAMRIID, and WHO are focusing on the first part, the platforms that provide the medium for the message are starting to step up and tackle the second part. YouTube, for instance, just pulled all ads from any videos that promote the anti-vaxxer agenda. While that won’t stop the message from being out there, at least those people won’t be making money off their lies. If this happens enough, eventually the invisible hand of captialism will squeeze the life out of the movement when it’s no longer economically viable to sit on your couch and talk about things you just pulled out of your ass.

It’s not the best news, because the disease vector is still out there, but by making it harder to make a living being an anti-vaxxer icon, it’s a step in the right direction. Hopefully, at some point in the future we’ll be able to look back at the anti-vaxxers as a brief, dangerous flirtation with death rather than looking back and wondering how a disease that we had a vaccine for wiped out half the planet.

Read the original article here, in case you missed it up above.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.
Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Sylvia McGrath,
Peter Nena,
Shilpa Garg,
Inderpreet Uppal,
and Belinda Witzenhausen

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible. (Wow, I totally missed that mark this time around).

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

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WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

There’s little doubt in the world that the American healthcare system is pretty pimpin’. We excel at fixing things. If you walk into a hospital with both lungs hanging out and missing some limbs, they can fix it. Of course, all that high tech wizardry comes with a steep pricetag. So, while we may have this amazing stuff, we’re also one of the few countries where people still declare bankruptcy after major healthcare because the costs are on par with the costs of space exploration. We’re also one of the few places left where what to about the cost of healthcare is something politicians run entire campaigns on. Some people want to nationalize healthcare, others say it’s fine and people should just be less poor.

Most of us have insurance through our jobs, but there are still plenty of people out there who don’t have it or can’t get it or simply can’t afford it. So, that leaves a sticky situation where people juggle whether it’s better to go to the hospital and have that tumor that screams in Chinese all night long checked out and possibly removed or eat this year.

Now, a debate about how to fix healthcare in the United States isn’t really what WATWB is all about. If you want more information about it, there are plenty of good resources available who can provide a much better explanation than I can.

Rather, what I’d like to say is this: Sometimes breaking the law – especially insurance law – can be a good thing. It would seem there’s a superintendent in Indiana who recently got nailed for insurance fraud not for setting her own house on fire or tossing herself in front of a moving vehicle and claiming whiplash. Instead, she put her own ass on the line to help a kid in her school system. Casey Smitherman, the superintendent of the Elwood Community Schools in Indiana, was booked on charges of insurance fraud, identity deception, and official misconduct for claiming one of her students was her son so he could some treatment and medicine.

While it’s likely she won’t face any serious punishment, she very could have and to take the risk to help a kid that’s not even her own takes some serious guts. Sometimes you just have to put your own ass on the line to help others when no one else will do it.

Anyway, check out her story here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.
Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Sylvia Stein,
Inderpreet Uppal,
Shilpa Garg,
Damyanti Biswas and
Simon Falk

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To sign up, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot of News That Doesn’t Suck

About sixteen years ago, I was watering my plants when one of those poor college saps who got suckered into going door-to-door to get signatures on environmental issues wandered into my yard looking both lost and bright-eyed at the same time. I like to think he’s get his bright-eyed enthusiasm, but the going door-to-door collecting signatures has a way of beating enthusiasm down with a stick. Anyway, he was collecting signatures to get a bill passed that would help end the state’s reliance on fossil fuels. I told him I thought that was a wonderful idea and asked what the proposed solution was. Nuclear? Too dangerous. Wind? Too dangerous for birds. The answer, according to him, was solar.

Now, bear in mind, this was in the early 2000s when solar tech was nowhere near where it is now and nowhere near ready to take over even New Mexico’s energy needs. He dug in his heels and said it was solar or nothing.

In a way, he was onto something. But, just like the guy putting raw ground beef on a burger bun, he was way too early. The technology was nowhere near mature enough. The ability to kind of power a house didn’t translate to powering a state even in a part of the country where we have something like 300+ sunny days a year. That was bad enough, but he was adamant that the only thing that would work was a complete switch over to solar. No incremental fixes for this guy, he was just going to throw a shit-ton of cash at the problem and flip a switch when it was all said and done and everything would be perfect.

Much as I love the idea of solar power, I couldn’t get behind an all-or-nothing solution, so I bid him good day and didn’t sign his petition; it seemed like it had disaster written all over it.

Back in World War II (and trust me, this will make sense in a few minutes), Japan suffered such heavy bombing that its infrastructure was basically destroyed. Electricity, gas, water, everything. Even phone lines were toasted. Being the Japanese, they rebuilt everything better than it was before and even eventually build the most advanced cellular network in the world. That was partially because they didn’t have to shoehorn it into an existing system; it could be anything they wanted it to be so they made it totally badass.

Or at least that’s the story I’ve heard. It may or may not be true, but last time I was in Japan, their cell system (and cell phones) were light years ahead of anything else I’d seen at the time. Theirs could launch space shuttles, my phone could very slowly play Tetris on a 2″ black and white screen.

The US power system (and its attendant reliance on fossil fuels) is very much a thing and any new things that get added have to be shoehorned into that thing or it’s all gonna fall apart or not even make it to the adoption phase. Fossil fuels are so entrenched in our culture that even the thought of doing something else leads to screams of “socialism!” and “dirty hippies!” Even though getting rid of fossil fuel reliance would be an amazing thing, it’s going to have to be an incremental process that will likely involve bribing no end of Congress critters. It’ll happen eventually – there’s too much public outcry over pollution for it not to – but it ain’t gonna happen all at once.

Interestingly, in emerging nations, that’s a non-issue. They don’t have to worry about shoehorning new tech into old or paying off the old guard to let them do it because there’s just not that much infrastructure there to replace. As a result emerging nations are the ones driving innovation in renewable energy technologies like solar while the developed parts of the world are stuck using decades or centuries old technology. Just like the Japanese after World War II, they’ve got a mostly clean slate to work with.

That means that things like wind a solar energy are much more viable systems and their utilization is driving down the cost of the technologies and improving them at the same time. Meanwhile, here in the U.S., we’re still debating about clean coal and whether or not climate change is a thing.

So, hats off to innovation. It would seem that necessity really is the mother of invention. Read the original article here.

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Peter Nena and Damyanti Biswas

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.

lukegonnahavecompany

WATWB – Your Monthly Shot Of News That Doesn’t Suck

All around you are invisible people. The toilet paper doesn’t magically refresh itself any more than the dirt on the floor disappears on its own. There are people that scrub toilets and take out trash and clean floors, doing all the shit jobs that people don’t want to do and it’s amazing to me how many people completely ignore them when they pass in the halls. On a good day, your average janitor might get a nod from a suit or a muttered good morning as they breeze past.

This is unfortunate and, frankly, pretty cold-blooded.

Fortunately, it’s not always the case. In Tullahoma, TN, a group of kindergartners not only told their deaf janitor, they learned to sing the entire “Happy Birthday” song just for him. The result of this is obviously a good thing for the janitor, but also a good thing for the kindergartners who learned a valuable lesson about why kindness can be a wonderful thing. So, while the immediate benefit went to a guy who spends his whole day cleaning up after everyone, the long-term benefit went to a group of kids who might be able to change the world for the better in some small way.

Go check out the original story. Your homework is to notice a janitor and give ’em a happy, “Good morning” tomorrow. Just remember the only philosophy you really need to make the world a bit better:

If you’d like to connect your blog and help spread a little joy (or snark, like I do), it’s easy to sign up. Just ask and ye shall receive. Or go check it out here: here.

Our lovely and talented hosts this month are:
Eric Lahti, Inderpreet Uppal, Shilpa Garg, Mary J. Giese and Roshan Radhakrishnan

~~~GUIDELINES~~~

1. Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

2. All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood.

3. Join us on the last Friday of each month in sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity.

4. Place the WE ARE THE WORLD Badge on your sidebar, and help us spread the word on social media. Tweets, Facebook shares, G+ shares using the #WATWB hashtag through the month most welcome. More Blogfest signups mean more friends, love and light for all of us.

5. We’ll read and comment on each others’ posts, get to know each other better, and hopefully, make or renew some friendships with everyone who signs on as participants in the coming months.

6. To signup, add your link in WE ARE THE WORLD Linky List below.

This is a Blog Hop!

Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

And now, your moment of Zen.