South Dakota lawmaker: Let businesses ‘turn away people of color,’ later apologizes

I can just see the thought process here… “Darnit – with Trump in office I can’t tell anymore when I’m supposed to be wearing my ‘not a bigot’ facemask and when I’m not…”

In a Facebook comment, state Rep. Michael Clark, a Hartford Republican, said business owners should have the final say in who they serve.

Clark later pulled the Facebook comment. And an hour after the Argus Leader published a story about the comment, he sent an email apology to a reporter.

The comment elicited outrage from constituents and calls from Democratic opponents for him to withdraw.

Clark’s initial comment came in response to the U.S. Supreme Court’s narrow decision Monday siding with a Colorado baker that refused to make a cake for a same-sex couple’s wedding.

via South Dakota lawmaker: Let businesses ‘turn away people of color,’ later apologizes

A Christian Nationalist Blitz – The New York Times

The hard right evangelicals who put Trump in power see a window of opportunity open across the country with so many legislatures in the hands of highly conservative GOP legislators. They are certainly going to use this window to sow more exclusion, more division, and rafts of discriminatory laws disguised as “religious freedom” measures.

The purpose of these mostly unconstitutional bills is to get out the vote the next two election cycles. If hard right evangelicals can’t get enthused for Trump anymore, they can for these bills.

See Katherine Stewart’s article below:

The sponsors of Project Blitz have pinned their deepest hopes on the third and most contentious category of model legislation. The dream here is something that participants in the conference call referred to in awed tones as “the Mississippi missile.” The “missile” in question is Mississippi’s HB 1523, a 2016 law that allows private businesses and government employees to discriminate, against L.G.B.T. people for example, provided that they do so in accordance with “sincerely held religious beliefs.” The bill offers extraordinary protections, not to all religious beliefs per se, but to a very narrow set of beliefs associated mostly with conservative religion. If you hold a different set of religious beliefs, like, say, a commitment to gender and L.G.B.T. equality, there is no liberty in this bill for you.

In another piece of model legislation, the blitzers’ goal is to get state legislatures to resolve that, notwithstanding the Supreme Court’s recent decision on same-sex marriage, “This state supports and encourages marriage between one man and one woman and the desirability that intimate sexual relations only take place between such couples.” We have known for a long time that Christian nationalists seek to control what goes on in other people’s bedrooms. The striking thing about this model bill is the cruelty with which it advances the argument. The bill claims that people in same-sex relationships have a “higher instance of serious disease.”

It would be touching to think that the sponsors of Project Blitz have at last turned their attention to health care, but, no — their concern here, according to the guidebook, is that all of this gay sex is costing taxpayers lots of money — “estimated to be in the billions of dollars annually,” according to the bill template.

via Opinion | A Christian Nationalist Blitz – The New York Times

Public Shaming or not, the FDA Should out Companies Blocking Generic Drugs

This is a good thing, drug prices in this country are killing people who can’t afford them.

The Food and Drug Administration plans this week to effectively begin publicly shaming brand-name drug companies that stand in the way of competitors trying to develop cheaper generic drugs.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb told reporters on Monday and Tuesday that the agency will unveil a website on Thursday, May 17 that names names of such companies. More specifically, the website will publicly reveal the identity of 50 branded drugs and their makers that have blocked generic development. The website will also be updated “on a continuous basis” to list additional names.

In fielding questions from reporters, Gottlieb denied that the effort was a form of public shaming. “I don’t think this is publicly shaming,” Gottlieb said, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence. “I think this is providing transparency in situations where we see certain obstacles to timely generic entry.”

via FDA to start naming names of pharma companies blocking cheaper generics | Ars Technica

Appropriating Morality

Here is one of my favorite YouTube commentators, Theremin Trees,  regarding the tendency of religions to claim credit and co-opt works, ideas, and philosophies that originated outside of religion. Before either Christianity or Judaism existed practices and concepts such as Democracy, Republic, Human Rights, and laws against murder, theft, and violence were extant in Greece.

via appropriating morality [cc] – YouTube

Deadpool 2 – Trailer

Deadpool 2 | The Trailer – YouTube

You Can’t Step Twice

To everyone it’s apparent that rivers are always ever changing, so Heraclitus (or Plato as some would have it,) stating that you ‘can’t step twice in the same river’ is not as philosophically pithy and profound a statement about the nature of our universe as it might initially seem. Instead, it’s one of those master of the obvious things like Cyndi Lauper proclaiming that “until it ends there is no end…” in “All Through the Night;” or Yogi Berra proclaiming that no matter where you go, well there you are, which was later borrowed by Buckaroo Bonzai and the Pig Farmer in “Beyond Thunderdome.”

8 Years Ago

I was on a metal table, with my rib cage cut open and spread by an ingenious tool resembling a Medieval torture device. People with long retracter rods held my flesh open as well, and I have those bruises to this day.  However it was successful and here I am preparing to binge watch the Netflix Marvel series again in preparation for the upcoming Defenders 1st season.

This morning I walked the dogs at the lake, and since I walk briskly some looked at me as a challenge, and they worked hard to pass me by,  but later were huffing and puffing beside the path as I went by them a half mile later. What I didn’t tell them is that if they have to work hard to pass a 62 year old quintuple bypass survivor with a pacemaker, then they should probably see a doctor. Life’s not a sprint, but rather a progressive steady journey, take it at a reasonable pace and you will do better. While I still struggle at times when I bend over and I’m getting cataracts, I’m otherwise healthy for my age.

Bending my midsection  is rough at times – hopping in the car seat can put me out of breathe, at the verge of urination, and choked up all at once. It’s just like a solar plexus punch panic attack when the spiral wiring that ties my rib cage together stimulates  my vagal nerve.

Growing old is not for wusses, and I tell my friends and anyone else who listens that in the race of life I intend to finish dead last.

Ethical Design in the Age of Artificial Intelligence

From Asimov’s laws of robotics to the present people have wrestled with the ethics of decision-making processes for AI’s. This seems urgent in this age of drones and robotics, but the greatest urgency is in the world of social media and information distillation.

The AI engines that work in drones and robots decide singular events – and when they fail responses and repair will be quick. The questions by failures to keep humans in the loop, how are decisions made in combat, or in traffic will be all answered over time after events and failures occur.

However our information aggregation and distillation AI’s work behind the scenes in murky fashion, uncontrolled by user inputs and they affect humanity’s entire direction now. It’s a scary world when whole populations become herdable or affected at once, and we don’t even understand the who, the how, or the why of these engines. This is why ethical design review is a must going forward.