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Jay Lake
Date: 2011-09-17 08:09
Subject: [links] Link salad thinks about life
Security: Public
Tags:gay, healthcare, personal, politics, publishing, science, tech, weird, writing

[info]seanan_mcguire on poverty and books — This is important. Me, I didn’t grow up wealthy, but I certainly did not grow up in poverty either. Middle class white family with some unusual accretions of privilege due to my parents’ career choices. And I went to high school with some of the wealthiest people in the United States, on scholarship. As a result, in my life experience my exposure to wealth and privilege is much broader than my exposure to poverty and need. I certainly live perfectly well now, if still not wealthy by my own lights. So this is all the more important for people like me to read and try to understand.

On Refusing to Straighten Up — Julia Rios at Outer Alliance with a lot more on GLTBQ YA fiction issues, as a followup to recent events.

‘Tatooine’ Alien Planets Should Be Common, Scientists Say

Fingertip Microscope Can Peek Inside a Moving Animal — Think about that headline for a minute.

Eel removed from man’s bladder after entering penis during beauty spa — Gah!

Today I Opened My Last Unemployment CheckAfter 30 months of unemployment, 400 applications, and only three in-person interviews, I stood looking at my last unemployment benefit without a job in sight. I’ve been in this position, during the Bush recession when the bubble burst. I wish the Republicans in congress and their vicious voting base had the empathy and imagination to understand what it means to be unemployed. We might have a very different country even now.

The Ten Happiest Jobs

Free to Die — Paul Krugman on the conservative movement’s bone-deep lack of compassion.

“Let Him Die” — A debate question exposes the incoherence—and cowardice—of the Republican candidates’ opposition to Obamacare. — More on appalling conservative ‘thought’.

Republican Candidates Answer the Question: ‘Do You Really Believe That?’ — An open appeal to the candidates. Do you really believe that it’s appropriate to just let them die? As for my conservative friends, are you still proud of your Republican party?

Rick Perry, Accidental Civics TeacherThe Texas governor might be bad for the GOP and bad for Democrats. But the media relies on his brand of hyperbole to have any sort of public policy debate.

?otD: Have you been poor?

Writing time yesterday: 2.0 hours (revisions to Kalimpura)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 9.5 hours (interrupted)
Weight: 221.4
Currently reading: Inversions by Iain M. Banks

Originally published at jlake.com. You can comment here or there.

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User: wordswoman
Date: 2011-09-17 16:11 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I thought the "Do you let him die?" debate question was a stacked-deck question. MANY people might be morally OK with letting someone who could *get* insurance but *willfully* chose not to buy it suffer the consequences of his own decision...but that is a skewed way to frame the debate.

A better question would have been this far more likely scenarios:

"Do you let die a man who has lost his job, exhausted his COBRA coverage, and could only find a crappy part-time job that provides neither health insurance nor enough money to purchase it?"


"Do you let die a baby born with a correctable heart defect to self-employed parents, who are refused private health insurance coverage for her due to her pre-existing condition?"

Framing the question around a willfully uninsured young man is intellectually dishonest of them. But what else is new? *SIGH*.
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User: jere7my
Date: 2011-09-17 16:47 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
The debate over the health care plan eddies around whether or not the government should be allowed to compel people to purchase health insurance. In that context, a question about people who choose not to, and the burden (financially and morally) they place on society, is perfectly apropos.
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User: mastadge
Date: 2011-09-17 16:15 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
I really like the comment in the employment link: "400 applications in a year? I send out that many in a weekend!"

And what can you say to that, when spending the time looking for positions that are a good fit and tailoring your CV and writing a fresh letter for each application yields no more results than mass-submitting hundreds of identical resumes and letters. . .
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User: seventorches
Date: 2011-09-17 16:49 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Do any of your Republican friends ever answer that question in the affirmative? (not trying to be snarky, but the comments here tend to skew toward agreement).
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User: anton_p_nym
Date: 2011-09-17 23:12 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
AotD: Yes. I have once run off the end of unemployment insurance and cannibalised the bulk of my retirement savings to stave off bankruptcy before finally finding something that paid... even a minimum wage job with no prospects was welcome then.

-- Steve has since made something of a comeback, but thanks to the US NINJAs his retirement fund has taking another beating. Here's hoping that the Canada Pension Plan doesn't go bust...
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Sputtering with Indignation
User: weirman
Date: 2011-09-18 00:03 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Have I been poor?

I was raised poor and was quite poor for some time in my early adulthood. I remember my mom breaking into tears one day when a stranger came by our trailer park and offered her two hundred dollars for the wheels on our trailer. Up until that point, she was not certain she'd be able to afford so much as mac & cheese to feed us.

I remember using food stamps at the grocery store, and how we couldn't get a Hershey bar with them (not surprising now but at the time I didn't know the difference between a food stamp and a dollar bill).

Later, I used to answer the phone whenever it rang in case it was a creditor. I remember one particularly callous collection agency accusing me of being truant because I'd answered the phone during my school lunch break (we lived just a couple of blocks away). He said that if I didn't give my mom the message that she had to send her check immediately, he'd report me to the cops.

I was the oldest so I was relatively lucky; I got the newer clothes and shoes but my siblings usually wore what didn't fit me anymore. The biggest gift my mom could get me was a book and she used to save pennys in a jar until we had $2.75 so I could get a paperback. Every time the jar got full it was like Christmas.

After I moved out of the house I made the mistake of trying to start my career in the silicon valley. I had to drive 45 minutes every day to get to work from the only apartment I could afford, and I was literally living from one tank of gas to another. When gas went up 30 cents and I didn't have any change from the $20 I used, I had to skip meals. I ended up going to a community college so that I could get a pell grant and use the grant to pay for a cheap dorm room with 1 meal a day in international housing and I still almost got kicked out when I went two months without paying my rent. Taking out a school loan to "buy books" is the way I paid it. It took me ten years to pay off that one loan.

The thing that kills me? I've always been extraordinarily lucky compared to my friends who were a lot poorer than I was.
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Ruthanne Reid
User: ruthannereid
Date: 2011-09-19 22:14 (UTC)
Subject: (no subject)
Thanks so much for linking to McGuire's post. It's a point I've been trying to explain to people for ages, but I said it nowhere near as eloquently as this.
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