dexfarkin: (me)
Federal court officers have recommended a sentence of life in prison for a peanut company executive convicted of selling salmonella-tainted food, a move that attorneys on both sides called "unprecedented" for a food-poisoning case.

In fact, Marler and other experts say the trial of Parnell and two co-defendants last year was the first federal food-poisoning case to be tried by an American court. A jury convicted Parnell of 71 counts including conspiracy, obstruction of justice, wire fraud and other crimes related to a salmonella outbreak in 2008 and 2009. The Centers for Disease Control linked the outbreak to nine deaths and 714 illnesses. It prompted one of the largest food recalls in U.S. history.

For many years, no doubt to the great annoyance of the people reading this, I have been harping on about a common sense revising of liability in corporate American as the key method to curtailing corporate malfeasance. That is to remove the shield that the entity of a corporation provides and to hold both the entity and the officers of it simultaneously responsible for their actions. In any corporation for any kind of actionable violation, there is a key decision maker. There is someone who makes the decision that recalling those cars makes less financial sense than settling the lawsuits, or that following proper safety processes entails too much cost. So when a flaw that has been recognized and studied by a car company roasts a family of five alive in the middle of the highway, you have a direct connection to the decision that killed them and the person who made it. When a piece of machinery that has been tagged as a H&S issues but isn't replaced due to cost cripples a worker for life, you have exact information who made that call. If it's a committee that did it, they share liability equally.

So, here's my question. After the first wave of executives find themselves on trial for conspiracy to commit murder or negligence causing bodily harm, how fast do you think the pushback is against the board towards maximizing profits at the expense of safety? Especially in those states where are their money is flowing to politicians who support the death penalty and mandatory sentencing.
dexfarkin: (me)
My benefit card arrived today, signalling the end of my probationary period at work. I once opined that if you weren't getting pay, was the three month evaluation period then rightly called an 'amateurbationary period' at which point she left and never called me again. But I digress.

The key importance is the drug plan. Over the last year, I've been adapting to regular medication for depression, which I'm told has a wonderful effect of making me sound curt, unsympathetic, and a bit of a jerk. Especially when twinned with my normal active voice as a writer on the internet. However, the evolution of the treatment and the body's adjustment to it has largely evened out by now. The trouble was that while unemployed, my meds ended up costing several hundred a month.

(Yes, I know there are people who pay significantly more and have the added cost of paying for medical care on top of it. It's not a competition)

Now with my benefits, that cost is cut by 90%. It's important because that cost was the major stressor in my life that the medication is supposed to help. Taking medication for depression that is largely caused by money issues that stem from buying the medication to take for depression. That's so far past irony that it's goldy. Or possibly platnumy. Anyhow, with this, I feel like my entire life has been able to take a deep breath.

With that comes a certain amount of reflection. I'm in a good relationship. I have an active social life on and off the net. I run a successful trivia night which has introduced me to a new crowd of people. I'm in a relatively well paid position that I enjoy. There are always issues but unlike the last few years, it now feels like each step is on solid ground towards somewhere, as opposed to mired in quicksand. It's a nice feeling to look at challenges as opportunities and drama as unfortunate but also inconsequential in the long term. I'm going to pick a tomato from my backyard garden tonight and then run trivia. That, my friends, is the very definition of a win.
dexfarkin: (me)

Police find 1200 guns in deceased man's home, along with 2 tons of ammunition. It's early enough that they haven't officially positively identified the deceased or his cause of death, so it is entirely possible that he's some kind of legitimate gun dealer or otherwise related to the industry which makes the cache a little less alarming. But if he's not, this guy was prepared for the ultimate zombie invasion. He alone makes his suburb average one gun per household. You just image this as a Sons of Anarchy episode as they look around at the stacks on stacks of guns and the slow smiles of realization start to appear.
dexfarkin: (dammit)
An extremely effective series of videos discussing the roots of GamersGate and the psychology that leads to it. The videos are good but they also have straight transcipts available.

What these discussions are important )
dexfarkin: (me)
For anyone who is interested in natural disasters and is looking for something really testicle shriveling to think about:
dexfarkin: (dammit)
About a billion barrels of ink has been spilled regarding the economic collapse of Greece, but after 6 years of watching a country twist between the ropes of international finance, inhouse currency manipulation, a corrupt billionaire class and a demand for austerity that would make Leonidas suggest they should slow down a sec, it is all coming down to a referendum on Sunday that is tightening by the minute.

There's still a lot of bullshit on just how Greece got to this state. After all, in 2006, for all of the supposed profligate public spending, Greece still maintained a 100% ratio to GDP (far from ideal but only fractionally different from several healthy Euro based economies) and just under 10% unemployment. Greece’s ruin began with secret, fraudulent currency swaps, designed a decade ago by Goldman Sachs, to conceal Greek deficits that exceeded the euro zone’s 3%-of-GDP limit. In 2009, when the truth came out, Greek debt holders realized they had been cheated. Greece's debt ratio was closer to 140% of the GDP; a level that simply was beyond the ability to pay.

Now, shouldn't the government be responsible for it? It depends who you talk to. While part of the ECB, Lucas Papademos was responsible for a flood of cheap French and German investment flowing into the Greek bond market. There's some compelling evidence to suggest a level of collusion between the ECB and the Bank of Greece (of which Papademos was the former President) that pushed the Goldman Sachs plan to conceal deficits through currency swaps. Those deals gave the ruling New Democracy a slush fund to tap into and in return, foreign and local investors made tremendous short term gains that they could funnel out of Greece.

In 2009, the affects of the Wall Street collapse reached the point that the scheme could no longer be hidden. Greece found itself suddenly against a wall, unable to leverage further liquidity. The debt buyers of Greek bonds demanded usurious levels of interest (or, if you prefer, a high spread) to insure themselves against future fraud. The compounding of this interest premium brought the Greek nation to its knees. Eventually a bail out of sorts was devised, especially since the majority of the risk was being held by American, French, and German creditors. Of the $260B that Greece has received, only 10% has gone into recapitalizing its economy. The other 90% immediately went right back to private creditors in Germany, France and the US. Essentially, the Eurozone bailed its our interests out by using Greece as a financial conduit. In the meantime, Greece's unemployment rate is over 25%, over 50% for young works, pensions have been decreased by 40% and there are demands to increase that by up to 80%, and the Greek economy has shrunk by 25%. In order to meet the demands to stay in the Euro, Greece will be unable to recapitalize its economy without a massive transfer of national wealth in the form of existing infrastructure, resource rights, and oh, real estate to the German and French governments. Which is exactly what Germany's finance minister Wolfgang Schäuble has demanded.

Following that route, Greece's economy will re-stabilize, but only at a reduced level. The loss of capital infrastructure and resources will flow profits from growth out of the country, placing them in the position of being a client state; essentially an off-shoot of the Eurozone without having any say within in. Finally, it will create long term elements that disincentivize growth as infrastructure and industrial expansion will require high interest borrowing to facilitate.

The other option is for Greece to leave the Eurozone and re-adopt the drachma. This approach, similar to what both Iceland and Argentina have done will allow the Greek government to write-down a significant portion of debt as well as internally recapitalize their banks. While the conversion will likely cause short-term pain, a significantly lower drachma will allow Greece to halt the bleed they've been suffering against Turkey's lira since adopting the Euro. It would also enable them to begin investment immediately in national infrastructure that will generate long term revenue and stability. They've been warned by the Germans that if that happens, Germany will block their access to international money markets to raise investment. But Greece's financial position is toxic enough that the interest attached to foreign debt looks more in line with a loan shark's register than a normal financial transaction. For Greece to survive, it needs to rebuild its national market and attract outside investment and consumer dollars, not loans.

The tragedy of this farce is that had the Germans and French in the ECB and the Eurozone moved quickly with a stimulus package that was tied to government restructuring and financial accountability as opposed to austerity, Greece would have likely been able to stabilize its economic position within two years for under $60B. Instead, but forcing savage austerity as well as prioritizing private foreign debt holders, more than five times that have been pushed through the country resulting solely in the constriction of their economy; a true case of the 'medicine' being worse than the sickness.

I personally think the referendum on the 5th will produce a 'No' result. There will be several months of contradictory discussions about Greece remaining with the Euro and even a few bailouts proposed last minute. But the scope of German greed and inflexibility as all but poisoned that well for the relationship to remain. I expect the new drachmas to be available before Christmas.
dexfarkin: (me)

Papa Frank is once again giving the gears to things the right wing loves. This time, weapon manufacturers. I have no doubt that there will quickly be a response that the Pope doesn't understand that gun manufacturers do it as a moral duty for God-fearing Catholics to build an armory to protect the Holy Word and Jesus would own an AR-15 if he was alive today.

It is interesting watching the Catholic base twisting in knots trying to square the opinions of their most important religious leader with their own.
dexfarkin: (me)
Seems fairly correct

dexfarkin: (me)
Where are we now? It's a less interesting answer than I had hoped for a year and a half ago.

I have returned to employment, which is a good thing, because I was running out of freezer burnt vegetables to live on. More seriously, I'm back in a solid if unexciting roles and poking along. Money is good, benefits are good, not much to complain about.

On to the more exciting writing stuff... it got unexciting quick. Despite numerous back and forth, it appears that I've fallen off of Palladium's radar again. A shame because I had some good ideas. It still exists as a potential but I won't hold my breath. I also entered the Top Cow writer contest but failed to place. I don't feel that bad because I'm rather proud of the script I produced with minimal knowledge of the characters. I also got to fit in a cheery kindergarten saying 'A is for Anal' into the story, so that's a success on its own.

Past that, I've been focusing on a few short stories. The nice thing about being back to work is that my capacity ramps up quickly, so I can start grinding on a number of projects that I've let slide. More importantly, there's new ideas to explore. So, yeah, I think that gets us up to date in this quiet and desolate platform.
dexfarkin: (me)
That being said, I'm coming back to LJ hard. I'm driven by Flowers for Algernon. I can feel proud crying at the end. I'm back.
dexfarkin: (me)

"A little."


"It takes a special look. And, you know, flesh."

dexfarkin: (me)
The rocket scientists over at PJ Media have determined that they've finally cracked the code on progressive politics and have determined that unlike lofty conservative goals like restricting the ability to vote and abolishing affirmative attack in the current post-racial America, progressive politics are entirely rooted in racism against blacks.


Progressive position:
Prohibit businesses from giving plastic bags to customers.

False public rationale offered by progressives to justify their position:
Discarded plastic bags harm the environment and befoul the landscape; we should be kind to the Earth by using cloth or paper bags instead.

Conservatives’ inaccurate theory of progressives’ real intent:
Leftists have an illogical phobia about plastic, because to them it symbolizes artificiality and consumerism; they’re trying to outlaw an extremely useful invention simply to make shopping and capitalism more inconvenient.

The actual racist origins of the progressive stance:
White progressives specifically want to stop inner-city blacks from littering, but don’t want to be perceived as racists who further penalize the black community for its behavior, so rather than focus on whom they believe to be the actual perpetrators of littering, they remove from everyone‘s hands any objects which might potentially become litter.
dexfarkin: (me)
Apparently, the Canadian Women's Hockey team just won gold. I can tell that because I can hear cheering from around the neighbourhood all the way from my basement with music on. According to Twitter, the player of the game vote is split between Marie-Philip Poulin and the Canadian goal post.
dexfarkin: (me)
Kevin Roose, a NY Magazine financial journalist snuck into a Kappa Beta Phi reunion to see the goings on. KBP is an elite fraternity heavily populated by financial industry titans; hedge fund founds, top CEO and bankers. The party is, typically, astonishingly self-congratulatory regarding just how supremely the financial sector screwed American tax payers and made a fortune out of nearly destroying the world economy.
dexfarkin: (me)
Three of perhaps the dumbest issues going around today.

Volume One - God Bless America should be sung in American!

Volume Two - American Gets Lost, Lies about Gun to Cross Canadian Border, Claims He Forgot When Arrested. 2nd Amendment Activists Outraged

Volume Three - Felicia Day Chops Hair, Outrages Male Fans

Kind of makes you think that it's time to pull the trigger on the mass genocide and give the octopuses a shot at giving civilization a go.


Jan. 31st, 2014 03:35 pm
dexfarkin: (me)
Yes, I've been quiet over the holidays. Upheaval and the like, you know.

So, what's new? Well, I've transitioned over to writing fulltime for 2014. The question is whether or not I can sustain my production and also whether or not I can make enough to live off of. The advantage is that I don't need to make that much money to cover my bills. If I can't, at least by the end of the year I should have somewhere in the range of 300K worth of written words in various forms to shop around while I'm back to work.

I have also made the discovery that not only was my former workplace entirely toxic, but that my long standing issues with anxiety and self doubt are in fact the result of mild clinical depression. I finished a study in December as a way of assessing in, and with the doctor, decided to go on medication for the first time. I can't say that I feel different, but I've managed to completely avoid the worst of the black moods and wasted days that were the basis of my last period of unemployment. Other than a bit more shaking and the need to nap every three hours, I'm actually feeling pretty good.

As for my pitch, it's very much alive but also highly delayed. I'm hoping to hear some more information in the next few weeks. Otherwise, it's still a promising opportunity out of no where to look at.


Nov. 25th, 2013 03:56 pm
dexfarkin: (me)

In case anyone is interested, here's my first piece available for order from Palladium.
dexfarkin: (me)
An expensive data recovery later, I seem to be largely whole again. I've lost a handful of music and files, but nothing that I'd actually mourn much. The main thing is that my data files are fine. So, extensive work to do reorganizing everything this weekend, and then backing up everything with a properly configured program.
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