10 Reasons Why the Mafia is Better than the State


thetinfoilhatsociety:

Realistically there are some problems with this assessment, but overall I could get behind this. My local government ‘enforcers’ act like thugs anyway. At least with the Mafia I know exactly what I’m getting, my family at least has a history with them. No, I will not elaborate. ETA: well Prohibition was really the only way to make a living back in the day. Just sayin’.

Originally posted on Flyover-Press.com:

From a talk by Emily Sandblade via The Art of Not Being Governed

Reason Number 10: The Mafia has a sense of honor. If they say that they will do something, they stick to it. Nobody in the government has a clue what a sense of honor is. If they say that they will do something, you can count on it only if you’re getting screwed.

Reason Number 9: The Mafia code of conduct is simple and clear, and unfettered by legal doublespeak and millions of regulations.

Reason Number 8: When competing Mafia families go to war, they don’t kill hundreds of thousands of civilians as “collateral damage.” War is the health of the state, but for the Mafia, it’s bad for business.

Reason Number 7: Instead of conducting the war on drugs and the American people, the Mafia is perfectly happy to peacefully provide high-quality products to those who…

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Pack your bags and f*ck off


ETA: What if we think why it happened is wrong?

I think it must be hard to live in the modern world when trying very seriously to practice a religion from the first millenium. And I think modern radical Muslims have lost sight of the fact that many people converted from other religions to Islam purely because they had more freedoms and more opportunities under the new religion. I say this, that they have forgotten, because they appear to want to turn the world into a repeat of the Catholic empire of the first millenium – overarching, all powerful, controlling every. single. detail. of one’s life including WHEN and HOW you may have sex with your spouse. And, not least, to once again relegate women to a position little better than that of animals. After all, you’re not supposed to have sex with animals. I think if it were not for that prohibition there would be absolutely no differentiating women from animals in the radical Muslim’s mind at all. Why on earth women willingly participate in this – abomination – I really do not understand. This contrasts sharply with Islam from the Middle Ages, when it was the most progressive, science oriented, education promoting, opportunity laden, powerful religion on earth. What happened to THAT Islam? I’ve said before, and I mean it quite seriously, that if I were to go back in time I would want to live in an Islamic country like Turkey, and I would want to be Muslim. There simply were too many opportunities for women in that time to be anything other, at least for me. As compared to the Church in that time I think it would be much better.

I mean, I get that they (both men and women) want to be part of a cause. I get that they want their lives to mean something. I get that they feel cheated of the American Dream (TM) and they want to lash out. But really? To participate willingly in a – not sect, they are most definitely NOT that – transmogrification of a once progressive religion and be relegated to less than fully human (3/5ths to be exact) boggles the mind.

I have said for years, since the 9/11 attacks and controversy, that when peaceful Muslims start speaking out frankly, and shouting down and denouncing their radical baggage, that things will begin to change. When peaceful clerics start condemning radicals and their methods, things will change. The Islamic world has not done so until now because they have felt it is important to be seen as a monolith, that all Muslims are united in religion. The reality is something quite different; since humans practice religion, there will always be differences of opinion on interpretation and practice. There are sects and radicals in Christianity as well, but Christianity is not afraid to disown and denounce radicals whenever and wherever they dare to speak openly.

Which is why, when I saw this news story yesterday, it gave me hope:

Mayer of Rotterdam speaking to fellow Muslims

You go dude. Pack your bags and f*ck off indeed. The tide, one can only hope, is turning.

The year of the sheep (natch)


thetinfoilhatsociety:

Yay! Year of the sheep! Maybe I can finally get all those 14 fleeces I got off Craigslist spun up and used! (14 fleeces is equal to about 50 pounds of wool….and you need about 1.5 pounds for a woman’s sweater or 2 pounds for a man’s. Or 5 pounds for a kilt.

Originally posted on Woolwinding:

2015 is, in Chinese astrology, the year of the sheep. Er, otherwise known as the ram or even the goat, but let’s forget about the alternatives and settle for sheep.

sunny sheep

Of course, we’re still in the old Chinese year – the horse – but only just. (Next year is my year; I’m a monkey. As my parents often perceptibly said. And as a monkey I need to avoid bungee jumping in June or July this year, or so I’ve been told. Seriously. No problems there.)

So here, in celebration of the Year of the Sheep and marking the fact that I’ve just got to go and quickly sort through – grammar police, are you watching? – my patterns before heading off to a yarn sale (!), are some shots of sheep to celebrate their year, sheep in my local landscape.

sheep on cliffs

This also gives me a great opportunity for some shots of Ardudwy, my part…

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8 knitting days until Christmas…


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That is a cat. Really. Four Knitted Cats by Kath Dalmeny
I lost interest when it got to the seaming part. For a weaver I surely do hate sewing. BUT. It MUST BE DONE by 9am Christmas Eve, so I can wrap it, because it is being given later in the morning!

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Gratuitous photo of Shetland singles for weaving. Not enough to make anything but a scarf, so it shall sit in my stash until I buy another Shetland fleece and spin more. I read in a Starmore book that Shetland is too fragile for weaving; I plan to challenge that statement and report back.

ETA: click on the photos for a better look.

No pictures but progress


I have made two hats, two pairs of mittens, and am about 2/3 of the way through a knitted toy, one of two that I will make this year. A hand made book, a couple of quick other things (can’t do a reveal in case they read the blog!) and our gifting for 2014 will be complete!

I’m hoping not to give gifts on Advent this year…on time is much better.

*sigh*


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Handspun lovely rose grey squishy soft baby alpaca?  Check.  Knitting needles?  Check.  Pattern to go with the yarn?  Nope.

I’ve started two sweaters in the past three days (one is still on the needles in the photo) and both need to be frogged which is knitter speak for ripping out.  It turns out that my hand spun alpaca is not, as I thought, a sport weight, it’s most definitely either a heavy DK weight or a light worsted weight.  AND.  Alpaca, it turns out, has no memory.  So the sweaters I started, will not keep their shape.  They will grow.  Which will be bad.

The first sweater I started had a lovely drape, which would have taken into account the stretch factor, but I’m not going to spin and ply 1800 yards of this stuff before it’s due to be given!  And the body of the sweater was quite drapey but the sleeves looked distressingly tight on the models which concerned me enough that I ripped it out.

The second sweater was working up nicely in the ribbed section at the waist, but when I started on the body I realized there was no way a light weight 2 ply was going to work with a sweater designed for a heavy worsted 10 ply yarn.  Nope.  Knitting you can see through just doesn’t work unless you’re knitting lace.

So, back to square one.  Another two hours wasted surfing patterns at Ravelry yielded exactly nothing that I thought my intended recipient would care for.  Lots I would wear, but this time of year I can’t possibly knit for myself.  I have custom knitting for pay, gift knitting for loved ones and no time to knit for myself, not even socks.

Then I remembered a pattern I had purchased last year.  I searched Ravelry for this pattern made with alpaca.  And found a quite lovely example that proved it could work.  So.

Enter Hitofude.  Lacey, light, drapey and yet slim and stylish, perfect for alpaca.  Win.

Now I’d better get ripping so I can get knitting!  Oh, and find my size 4 circulars….

 

 

Obamacare just might be going away after all.


http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2014/11/supreme-court-just-took-case-could-gut-obamacare-heres-how-states-can-save-it

So there you have it folks – it’s from a liberal perspective, so they’re all about saving it, but facts are facts.

How do you feel, if you live in a ‘red’  state, about having/not having this?

I’m concerned from the perspective that people won’t just go back on what they had before, if they had Medicaid or in Arizona’s case, AHCCCS (pronounced access).  They won’t have anything at all.  And I can tell you, from dealing with Obamacare in residents who were on AHCCCS and are now on ACA, it’s a poorer insurance with fewer choices, higher costs, and less coverage.  This is fine for those who should really be having some skin in the game, but for the elderly who were on some form of state sponsored long term insurance under medicare/medicaid, it’s really pretty paltry, and denies them access to the medicines they need unless they want to spend far more than half their monthly income on insurance premiums and medications.

I agree in principle that ACA must go.  It’s an insurance company bailout, and a gift to the pharmaceutical and hospital industries, nothing more.  But we really need to be having discussions about what will take its place.  When I get my license, I can provide visits for a quite reasonable fee, or barter for things we both benefit from, but that doesn’t help when the person needs to be hospitalized, or if the medicine they really need costs $249 per month.  By the time they’re at a place where they need a medicine that expensive, there are not many herbs I can prescribe that will do nearly so good a job of controlling symptoms.

Once again, we really need to be having discussions about alternative ways of care delivery.  And about medication costs.  And about hospital costs.  And about the elderly’s idea that medicare should be free for them.  And about the younger people’s idea that Obamacare should be free for them.  We STILL don’t have insurance.  Why?  Because it was too expensive even with the subsidies.  For a $12,700 deductible, we’ll just take our chances.   The penalty is significantly cheaper than buying the insurance would have been.

The system is broken.  We need to look at alternatives.  When can we begin this conversation?  Without having to talk about concierge care type systems that only benefit the wealthy, or subscription systems that still don’t address medications or acute care, or the idea that some should just go without or die?

I hate living at the twilight of empire sometimes.  Hobson’s choice indeed.

Ebola.


I have been very busy with real life recently; my oldest son and his wife whom I haven’t seen in two years came to visit and to be present at my middle son’s wedding. But of course the topics in the news came up during our conversations.

My son lives in a town with a genuine Level 4 containment facility. But here’s the problem: even the staff that are assigned to that area state that they aren’t adequately trained to work in it! Why? Because it costs money, a lot of money, to have the supplies ready to use in doing the training necessary to keep people not just minimally competent but proficient at such a methodologically demanding task.

It’s something similar to Magnet status for hospitals — they all like to promote that they have magnet status, but most of them don’t live by the ethics and level of staffing a magnet status requires — they just up the staffing for the original certification and the recertifying. In between? Just like everywhere else, overworked and under staffed. I know, I used to work for a magnet hospital. And having a level 4 containment facility gets them extra government money just like magnet status does, but they don’t spend the extra money toward what it’s supposed to go toward: maintaining appropriate staff levels and training to back up those special status items.

Dear oldest son said he thinks hospitals are going to have to make a decision on whether they will care for Ebola patients or care for the community; he thinks any hospital that admits an Ebola patient is going to become ‘toxic’ to the rest of the community, especially if other patients get infected from exposure at the hospital, and they will either have to close to the public to care for Ebola patients or they will have to turn them away to Level 4 facilities if they want to take care of the rest of the revenue generating patients they would normally see.  I think he may be right.

I made a comment on another site I visit every so often on a post about Ebola. I said something to the effect that, if it did in fact become an epidemic in the US, that nursing staff were going to begin refusing to care for those patients. Or even refusing en masse to even come to work.  While I haven’t gotten any real negative feedback and plenty of “likes” for the comment, I did get a response that ended with the statement “ebolaf@#kyou I ain’t afraid.” Or something to that effect.  I am, quite frankly, much too lazy to go and actually look up the comment; it wasn’t phrased in an insulting way.

I took that to mean the author of the response thought I was afraid of Ebola, or that nurses were, and that fear is a bad thing. So I crafted this response:

I have been in medical services since 1994. First as an EMS person then as a nurse. I am used to putting my life on the line in service to others. I used to be the one who ran into the burning house you all ran out of. I’ve fallen through floors, been in flashovers, broken bones from collapsing gear, been puked on by contagious patients, been stuck by contaminated broken glass, had exposures to tuberculosis, meningitis and hepatitis among other things. It is part of the job. You just keep working, whiners need not apply. HOWEVER.

I was trained in how to deal with all of the above, and I was given the tools to do my job properly and safely. My supervisors took my safety seriously. I was trained to recognize the symptoms/signs of danger in the situations I faced and encouraged – required even – to take appropriate action to minimize the dangers to myself and my crew.

This is not the case when it comes to Ebola. Hospitals aren’t capable of handling this, just ask any nurse or doctor in a facility near you – off the record, of course. There is no training and no real plans for training. No facility is going to waste the money to purchase the gear and then waste a lot of it in training staff how to safely don and doff it, unlike the training offered to me in HazMat, fire fighting, and EMS training. It’s just not going to happen.

You want people to not be afraid? Then they need to be trained to recognize early symptoms, to be ready to err on the side of safety, and to be aggressive about taking defensive actions. Nurses in particular are held up as these Florence Nightingales with lanterns sacrificing their lives in service to unwashed humanity (even the male nurses among us).

Do you really think, when health care has become a multimillion dollar business, that image is going to be the reality? When what the WHO and the CDC say about transmissibility differs in not insignificant and potentially deadly ways? When Sanjay Gupta can’t doff protective gear without contaminating himself on live TV?

My husband also works in the health care field and had a conversation with a doctor about Ebola. The doctor said straight up that if it became an epidemic he wasn’t going to be bothering to come to work, he was going to be home caring for the safety and health of his family where he belonged. That’s the reality. It’s not pretty, it’s not what the public wants to hear, but reality is a harsh mistress.

I’m not afraid, at least not blindly so. I think one must take precautions, and protect oneself, and be able to assess risk. I have a lot more chance of getting a Norwalk type virus than I do of getting Ebola, thankfully, because one involves 3 days of wishing I were dead and one involves the likely possibility I will in fact die. It’s all in assessing risk.

This whole idea that nurses are, and should be, held to a “higher standard” than the likes of the rest of the great unwashed humanity…?  Bunk.  We’re people just like the rest of you.  Nurses are obese, smokers, diabetics, drug abusers, alcoholics, codependent, crazy, in possibly much greater numbers than the rest of the population as a whole.  As I said in my original comment, I have a license and a calling, not a death wish.

Enough said.

Wool has to be soft…?


IMAG0941

This is hand spun, hand dyed wool from local sheep. It’s reasonably soft, being a Jacob/Merino mix, but not the softest thing I’ve ever felt by a long shot. Who cares, right?

Well, this yarn is for sale on consignment at a local yarn shop. When I was last in there, several women were feeling it and commenting that it wasn’t very soft. Then they asked me why the alpaca yarn was so much softer. I never got the chance to answer, because then they realized it *was* alpaca.

Now, I’m not a fan of really scratchy wool. I don’t know anyone who is, except perhaps people who weave carpets. But because I buy raw fleece from a variety of breeds, and process it myself or send it to my friend Rita at Arizona Fiber Mill, it is not processed by using chemicals to burn the vegetable matter out of the fleece. This preserves the inherent softness. It gets plain old soap and really hot water, just as it’s basically been done for hundreds – thousands – of years. Though to be fair in some regions urine was boiled to wash the wool. Urine actually is a pretty powerful antimicrobial cleaner, believe it or not. The active ingredient is ammonia.

But back to the title of the post.

As a hand spinner, I spend a lot of time with fiber. I want my finished product to be beautiful, functional, and above all durable. There are many types of sheep who produce many types of wool. ALL of these sheep were developed for specific purposes. And until recently, those purposes had to include not only meat, but fiber as well.

Want a durable carpet? Don’t use merino wool! Use the outer coat of an Icelandic, or Lincoln, or a primitive fat tailed sheep variety such as is found in carpet producing regions like Pakistan or Turkey, or Iran.

Want great long lasting socks that stay up? Again, don’t use merino! Use Dorset down, which in my opinion is far and away the springiest and most resilient wool and excellent for socks.

Want a blanket or a jacket? Use Cotswold. Spun worsted, it makes the ideal weaving yarn.

Want a really soft yarn for a scarf or a hat? OK, now use merino. But be aware that it probably won’t last for years and years, not if it’s spun to current standards. Industrially spun yarns are not very tightly spun nor plied. It give a softer hand to the yarn, but it will pill and make your hard work look quite bad in not a very long time. It’s even worse in a sweater unless it’s spun with something like silk.

I’m not anti-merino. It’s a wonderful type of crimpy fleece that is pleasurable to spin. BUT. Because I can spin my own, I choose to spin a slightly ‘harder’ yarn with more twist than you will see in commercial yarns. This is because I want my yarn to pill less and last longer in good condition.

The above Jacob/merino cross is a perfect example of what people don’t understand about wool yarn now days, because our mass produced industrial society encourages overconsumption and throw away items. This apparently includes hand knit items, because the only thing most knitters I know who don’t spin look for is “soft wool.” OOH, it’s so soft!! When I hear how soft a yarn is I automatically picture the product pilling and being discarded after a year or two. This yarn pictured is actually pretty reasonably soft, because the wool itself is medium soft and because it’s spun to preserve a reasonable portion of the ‘soft’ factor.

ETA: after I re-read the above paragraph this morning I realized I should include how it’s spun to clear up the apparent discrepancy between saying I spin a ‘harder’ yarn and spinning to preserve its softness. I spun this particular yarn in a semi-woolen manner. Meaning, I spun it using a modified long draw (picture my arm drawing way back like I’m going to pitch a ball, only I have wool in my hand and a twisted single going into the spinning wheel as I draw back. When I bring my arm forward, that single gets taken up onto the bobbin). This is what gives the fluffy and soft aspect of the yarn. I spin from carded pin drafted roving when I do this which gives the semi-part of the semi-woolen. It’s not quite full worsted (firm and durable) and not quite true woolen (really fluffy and soft, not durable at all). As I said, my yarns have more twist in the singles to start with than a lot of commercial yarns do, so even my softer stuff will hold up better than an equivalent commercial yarn.

In older times, people weren’t so concerned about “soft” because they knew they were sacrificing durability for softness. If they put a wool item on as a warm layer, they usually had something like linen underneath. No one had time to reknit something just because they wanted another one. Things got worn until they were past mending any more. As a hand spinner, my outlook is much more closely aligned with my ancestors’ than with current standards. I want soft, yes. But in small quantities for specific uses. Otherwise, I want durability over soft.

It takes me about a week to wash and comb enough fleece to begin spinning yarn for socks. I make a 3 ply yarn when I make sock yarn, so I spin up 3 four ounce bobbins worth of singles. Then I ply them all together to make my 3 ply yarn. I lose a bit in length by doing a 3 ply because they are circling around themselves in a larger diameter than in a 2 ply, but I also get much better resistance to wear by doing so. A round yarn wears better than a flat one. You want this for socks. It takes me approximately 5 hours to spin 4 ounces of singles at the thin diameter appropriate for making a nice thin sock yarn. Before I’ve even begun to ply I’m already at 15 hours of time at the spinning wheel. Plying takes another 3-4 hours. Then I have to wash it and set the twist.

If I’m going to dye it now is the time, which takes another day for dyeing and drying. I’m now approximately 40 hours into these socks, and I haven’t even begun knitting yet!

I can knit a regular crew length sock in approximately 5 hours. So it takes me 10 hours to knit a pair for myself. 50 hours worth of work is a lot of time to invest in an item! From my 12 ounces I can knit 3 pairs of socks for myself, 2 pairs for a man, or 1 pair of kilt hose. And this is why I won’t use merino for hand spun socks. Not only does it tend to pill, but it felts VERY easily. Which is something you do NOT want in a pair of socks, because felting shrinks them too. Dorset doesn’t felt very well in my experience, at least when it’s spun true worsted (all the fibers aligned in the long ways direction).

It’s a similar process for a sweater. The average sweater requires a pound of wool. And for a woman, approximately 1200 yards of yarn. That’s only if it’s color work or plain knit. If you are doing a lot of cables like an Aran sweater, you need closer to 3 pounds of wool, and 1600 yards of yarn. Regardless of what you may have read about Aran sweaters being a traditional garment, the plain fact is that they weren’t in common use until well after the industrial revolution and most women were no longer spinning their own yarn. No one is going to invest that much time into spinning the yarn for that kind of sweater when they are knitting for their entire family.

So soft…? Only sometimes. Mostly I prefer to sacrifice a little softness in favor of durability. But then, I’m a very practical person. What about you?

NEJM editor: “No longer possible to believe much of clinical research published”


thetinfoilhatsociety:

The former editor of the New England Journal of Medicine even says medical studies cannot be trusted. This is BIG NEWS that is being completely glossed over. A Story of Corruption

Originally posted on The Ethical Nag:

NEJM posterHarvard Medical School’s Dr. Marcia Angellis the author of The Truth About the Drug Companies: How They Deceive Us and What to Do About It. But more to the point, she’s also the former Editor-in-Chief at the New England Journal of Medicine, arguably one of the most respected medical journals on earth. But after reading her article in the New York Review of Books called Drug Companies & Doctors: A Story of Corruption, one wonders if any medical journal on earth is worth anybody’s respect anymore.

“It is simply no longer possible to believe much of the clinical research that is published, or to rely on the judgment of trusted physicians or authoritative medical guidelines. I take no pleasure in this conclusion, which I reached slowly and reluctantly over my two decades as an editor of The New England Journal of Medicine.”

Dr. Angell cites the case of Dr. Joseph…

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