Hiatus

Hi everyone, 

I will temporarily be on hiatus until early November to make way for my new website and other projects.

Maintaining my posts here have been a burden to me because as mentioned, I’m fixing my new website (launching this November) and as well as dealing with a lot of things right now, so letting this go for a while will be necessary.

I’ll still be crossposting Instagram posts and other announcements but as for blog posts, I’ll work on them very soon.

Thank you for understanding, and hope to see y’all in my new home soonest! :)

We're Okay Now

Title: We’re Okay Now
Author: samleftdean
Pairing: Sam/Dean
Rating: G
Warnings: 10x03 “Soul Survivor” spoilers
Word count: 955 
A/N: Just a quick, fluffy, wincest-y ending to “Soul Survivor”

Crossposted to LiveJournal

Dean wakes up gasping for air. His shirt is soaked, but he clutches at his chest anyway. He had felt so empty, not just twisted or ugly or dark, but empty. Even hours after he got all of it back, or at least they hoped he did, Dean still isn’t used to the feeling. It’s like every inch of his skin is overstimulated, his heart is beating three times as fast, and his chest is exploding.

Read More

I made a master list of all the translations I did for the latter half of August until October. They’re all in twitter/twishort, and maybe you’ve seen some crossposted here in tumblr (hopefully credited to keihissi). I made a masterlist to make it easier for people to backtrack so they don’t have to go through all my tweets or ask me for links every time. :)

It currently includes: Seek interviews, magazine interviews, radio show/video transcripts, SWJ blog, SW 2014 concert fanaccounts, etc. I hope it will be useful :)

There’s a Reason it’s Called Reproductive Freedom.

“Pro-life” my ass:

The Irish Times

:



Two investigations are under way into the death of a woman who was 17 weeks pregnant, at University Hospital Galway last month.

Savita Halappanavar (31), a dentist, presented with back pain at the hospital on October 21st, was found to be miscarrying, and died of septicaemia a week later.

Her husband, Praveen Halappanavar (34), an engineer at Boston Scientific in Galway, says she asked several times over a three-day period that the pregnancy be terminated. He says that, having been told she was miscarrying, and after one day in severe pain, Ms Halappanavar asked for a medical termination.

This was refused, he says, because the foetal heartbeat was still present and they were told, “this is a Catholic country”.

She spent a further 2½ days “in agony” until the foetal heartbeat stopped.



Mr. Halappanavar told the paper that he asked a consultant if they couldn’t induce labor and save his wife, but was told no. “The consultant said it was the law, that this is a Catholic country,” he said. “Savita [a Hindu] said: ‘I am neither Irish nor Catholic’ but they said there was nothing they could do.”

Savita might as well have been treated by witch doctors, then sacrificed to some idiot god she didn’t believe in. I can’t imagine what a nightmare it must be for everyone to know exactly what could be done to save your life, to be surrounded with the technology capable of doing it, but to be denied survival because of superstition — “This is a Catholic country” might as well be stated, “this is a stone age culture.”

Once again, we see idiotic and brutal math involved with the “pro-life” position. Quite a while back, I wrote a post about the abortion ban in Romania under communist dictator Nicolae Ceaucescu. Ceaucescu banned abortion in his country and women began dying in epidemic numbers overnight. And it was all entirely predictable. As I wrote at the time, women abort because they feel they have to — that they’d risk their lives to do it proves they feel they have no choice. And to return to that brutal math:

So what we see is that when abortion is illegal women — who are indisputably alive — die. And, since these women are pregnant, that hypothetical unborn life would logically be dead too. The math doesn’t really work. As a lifesaving measure, banning abortion sucks.


Keep in mind, Savita Halappanavar died not so that her “unborn child” could live, but so that the fetus’ heartbeat would stop. There was no saving this pregnancy, they were merely prolonging her agony to satisfy some unscientific and entirely philosophical argument. Nothing about this death serves any point at all. It was stupid. This is a tragedy unworthy of a 21st century nation.

And this would be the state of American medicine if a whole lot of people had their way. Further, this would be what any Catholic hospital could do if even more had their way. A woman could be told she must die to serve her failing fetus, because that’s what the hospital’s “religious freedom” demands. The patient’s religious freedom? Screw that. This is a Catholic country hospital. Oppression equals freedom.

This whole “pro-life” frootloopery is about more than idiotic theories about rape. It’s about more than temper tantrums over contraception coverage. It’s about women’s freedom. Not in any abstract sense, but in the very real “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” sense. In the sense that they get to refuse to be sacrificed to satisfy someone else’s religion. That they’re free to be guided by their own beliefs and their own moral code, not those handed down on high from the Priests of the High and Holy Government Order.

It was the Halappanavar’s misfortune that they didn’t live in a free country and that misfortune cost Savita her life. It was an entirely avoidable tragedy — which is why I, for one, will never stop fighting to avoid similar American tragedies.

-Wisco

[photo via Irish Times]
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5 things Republicans Think are More Dangerous Than High-Capacity Assault Rifles

What are Republican priorities for America? Let’s put them in the context of the theater massacre in Aurora, Colorado — what do Republicans believe is more important than keeping an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round clip out of the hands of lunatics?

Porn
Not child porn, just everyday, run-of-the-mill porn. Just days ago, the Huffington Post reported that Mitt Romney is assuring religious conservatives behind the scenes that he would “vigorously” crack down on porn. “[Romney foreign and legal policy director Alex Wong] assured us that Romney is very concerned with this, and that if he’s elected these laws will be enforced,” one religious right leader said. “They promised to vigorously enforce federal adult obscenity laws.”

So porn, more dangerous and in need of regulation that an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round magazine.


Independent thought
The 2012 platform of the Texas Republican Party includes the statement, “We oppose the teaching of Higher Order Thinking Skills (HOTS) (values clarification), critical thinking skills and similar programs that are simply a relabeling of Outcome-Based Education (OBE) (mastery learning) which focus on behavior modification and have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.” The Texas GOP says the language was “an oversight on the subcommittee’s part,” but did not deny that they opposed critical thinking — suggesting that, yeah they don’t like kids who think for themselves, but they wouldn’t have put it so blatantly if they’d known people were paying attention.

Critical thinking skills; more dangerous and in need of regulation that an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round magazine.

Voting
While Republicans would argue that it’s the God-Given Right of every American to own as many guns of as many varieties with as many cases of ammo as they see fit, they seem to believe that voting is a super-dangerous activity that should — as far as possible — be restricted to responsible people who can be counted on to vote Republican. A recent Brennan Center study found that voter ID laws would disenfranchise nearly 11 million legal voters, to fight nearly nonexistent voter fraud.

Voting; more dangerous and in need of regulation that an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round magazine.


Birth control
I’m not talking about insurance coverage for birth control — although clearly that’s a deadly danger to the American populace too. I’m talking about just birth control. Republicans are big fans of state level “personhood” amendments which define life as beginning “from the moment of fertilization.” According to Rachel Maddow, “Hormonal contraceptives generally prevent an egg from being fertilized in the first place, but the at-least-theoretical possibility that they might also prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus was enough to raise the specter of birth control pills being viewed as an instrument of homicide” — therefore, “personhood” amendments would necessarily ban The Pill.

Birth control; more dangerous and in need of regulation that an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round magazine.


Science
There are a lot of examples of this, but (in my opinion), there’s no better example than the clearest case of scientific censorship out there. Recently, “North Carolina GOP legislators have circulated a bill to outlaw use of science-based projections in planning for future sea level rise.” That’s right, it’s extremely important that coastal North Carolina not prepare for rising sea levels because that would mean admitting that climate change exists. So any mention of climate change must be made illegal.

Science; more dangerous and in need of regulation that an AR-15 assault rifle with a 100-round magazine.


So the next time some nut shoots up some public place (and there will be a next time), go ahead and write your legislators to congratulate them. Because God forbid that same nutjob vote, use porn or birth control. Chasing victims down through pools of blood is one thing, but telling them about global warming is another entirely.

And this isn’t even comprehensive. It’ just the first five that occurred to me. There’s marijuana or transparency laws for political donors, for example. You’ll be able to think of a few yourself. But high-capacity assault rifles?

There are, after all, certain priorities.

-Wisco

[image source]

The Fox News Death Panel of Experts

Today I posted an image called “Fox News killed my mother.” Because it did. It was the most widely circulated image I’ve ever posted. But, after about and hour I could no longer read any of the comments. Still can’t. And some of you have messaged me to say you can’t see it. So here it is again. This time, my explanation will be in the first comment instead of here. Basically my mother fell and refused to go to the doctor because she was afraid that “Obamacare” would get information about her and use it in their “death panels.” Since then several of you shared identical experiences. This is how their fear mongering is killing our nation, one person at a time, one lie at a time.
-Tracy Knauss, Facebook


“FOX News is killing America one lie at a time, one life at a time. I know this personally,” Knauss wrote in her comment. “FOX News killed my precious mother, Hallie. She watched FOX religiously. And when she fell ten days before she died, she refused to go to the doctor because, ‘I don’t want Obamacare to get all of my information!’ she declared, recalling the warnings from FOX News ‘anchors.’ She was emphatic. She was not going to consort with the Muslim enemy. As she made out her will she told her lawyer, ‘I don’t want any of my money going to the Muslim Brotherhood!’ And her last protestation dealt with ‘Obama’s death panels.’ Mother died just days later. I hold FOX News responsible for my mother’s death.”

It seems the real death panel here is the panel of “experts” (otherwise known as “PR flacks”) on any given Fox News program. This is the danger that not only Fox News presents, but the entire rightwing “news” industry and the Republican Party: when you lie to people about healthcare, bad things happen. It’s really no different than being a snake-oil salesman — except, for some reason, you aren’t held responsible for the damage you cause.

But I’d go further here. Yes, Fox is the worst of the mainstream media — followed by talk radio on the second tier and the wingnut blogosphere at the lowest — but the supposedly “unbiased” media sources share a lot of the blame as well.

The problem with “unbiased” news is that it’s not exactly unbiased, so much as it’s nonjudgmental. When it comes to reporting on things like the “death panels” lie, most of the media tends to try to take what appears to be an even view of the subject matter. What’s true and what’s not true is irrelevant, since the reporting isn’t on the “death panels” per se, but on the controversy surrounding them. It’s about the “he said, she said” story, not what he and she are arguing about. Headlines that should blare “GOP SPREADING THE PUREST FORM OF BS KNOWN TO MAN” are instead “BIG FIGHT IN WASHINGTON AS REPUBLICANS HONE THEIR MESSAGE.”

As a result, even a small percentage of outlets like MSNBC’s audience probably believes that the “death panels” are real. We live in a world without facts, where every difference is a matter of opinion. There are no lies, just different takes. There is no concrete truth, only opinion. Because reporting that Republicans lie would look like bias — and we can’t have that. Somewhere along the line, the idea of “balance” — which is really just false equivalency — became more important in journalism than facts.

Which isn’t to say that all mainstream media lies outright. But they do lie. It’s simply a lie of omission. When Sarah Palin launched this whole “death panels” myth, news sources reported the absolute, undeniable fact that she said it. What they failed to do was report that it wasn’t even remotely true. As a result, they wound up repeating the lie. Not as a statement of fact, mind you, but as an expression of Palin’s opinion. Mother Hallie might well have died the same way, regardless of which news network she watched. The odds were just better with Fox.

It doesn’t have to be this way. In February, National Public Radio introduced their new handbook of journalistic ethics and, with it, a policy of focusing on truth.

In all our stories, especially matters of controversy, we strive to consider the strongest arguments we can find on all sides, seeking to deliver both nuance and clarity. Our goal is not to please those whom we report on or to produce stories that create the appearance of balance, but to seek the truth.

[…]

At all times, we report for our readers and listeners, not our sources. So our primary consideration when presenting the news is that we are fair to the truth. If our sources try to mislead us or put a false spin on the information they give us, we tell our audience. If the balance of evidence in a matter of controversy weighs heavily on one side, we acknowledge it in our reports. We strive to give our audience confidence that all sides have been considered and represented fairly.


“With these words, NPR commits itself as an organization to avoid the worst excesses of 'he said, she said' journalism. It says to itself that a report characterized by false balance is a false report,” wrote media watchdog Jay Rosen at the time. “It introduces a new and potentially powerful concept of fairness: being ‘fair to the truth,’ which as we know is not always evenly distributed among the sides in a public dispute.”

The logical equation of “a report characterized by false balance is a false report” jumps out at me; mostly because it should seem so obvious, but instead seems so profound. And it seems profound because it’s so alien to the media landscape we’ve become way too used to. That phony balance is why people doubt global warming and evolution. It’s why people think the president is secretly a Muslim Kenyan and that Iran’s building a nuclear weapon this very minute — if they don’t have one already. The news tells “both sides of the story,” then neglects to tell you which side is the liar.

No one’s ever going to make a similar “NPR killed my mother” photo-manip. Their hands are clean. The rest of the media doesn’t get off so easily. Fox News may be the worst, but they’re the worst of a bad lot.

-Wisco

Let me tell you about Saga:

  • Surrealist star-crossed romance/family adventure comic IN SPACE. Alana and Marko are fleeing from opposing sides of a very old war, trying to keep themselves and their newborn alive without getting killed by either side.
  • Written by Brian K. Vaughan (author of Y: The Last Man and the Faith arc of the Buffy S8 comics) and art by Fiona Staples. Ongoing with 14 issues so far; it looks like there are scheduled hiatuses every six issues? There are now two volumes collected the first 12 issues.
  • Definitely an adult-content book. There is violence, sex, nudity, and bits.
  • Gorgeous artwork. The use of color, the expression and individuality of the faces, the visual concept work - Staples does wonderful stuff.
  • Gonzo worldbuilding. One of the people after us is Prince Robot IV, who comes from a race of people with TV sets for heads. Another of the people after us travels with a giant blue hairless cat which, whenever anyone lies in its presence, says, “Lying.” There’s a significant character with one huge eye in the middle of his face and a minor character that is a human-sized, air-breathing seahorse in a suit. And I will let you discover The Stalk for yourself, but she is possibly my favorite of all.
  • Easy to read – all the pages are left-to-right, top-to-bottom. No panels overlapping with other panels, no following panels all up and down the page. It’s always extremely clear what panel to look at next. (This bullet point is aimed specifically at my friends who say they’re not sure how to read comics. Saga will start you off very gently!)
  • Lots of awesome women! Specifically Alana and infant daughter Hazel (who narrates), but we also have, uh, various spoilery other people. We frequently have more women than men in a scene, and the women are all complicated and layered and excellent, as they should be.
  • First issue caused a minor hullabaloo for having Alana breastfeeding on the cover.
  • Racial diversity – almost none of these people are actually human, much less of a particular identifiable ethnicity, but Alana is noticeably browner than Marko, and [spoilery other characters] are both much darker still. It’s not by species, either; Marko has horns and is light-skinned, but [spoilery character] also has horns and the darkest skin of any of the humanoids we meet.
  • The storytelling makes me trust it. It keeps returning to the elements and events it’s introduced, so that a character who’s a topic of discussion shows up in person six issues later, and a scene that is referenced in passing is seen in full flashback further down the road. There is no waste here.
  • It’s hopeful. There’s death, and it’s sad, and the war is terrible and the environment in which we are trying to survive is terrible, and yet the story itself seems to be an act of building up, rather than tearing down, if that makes any sense – for the reader and for the characters.
  • The first issue is free! You can pick up the whole 6-issue volume for pretty cheap, either digitally or in hard copy, and the second for not too much more. Or, you know, Amazon. Alternatively, the library! (I’m sure there are also other, less reputable ways of acquiring it, but I can’t help you with those.)

So, clearly this is something you want to investigate further, yes? Yes? :D

A GOP Economic Myth Bites the Dust

It’s one of the most enduring myths in American politics; that if you increase taxes for the wealthy (or, in the right’s favorite BS term, “job creators”), the rate of employment will take a nosedive. Nothing about this makes any sense at all, but with a media environment that values a false “balance” above truthtelling, it’s much easier to gloss over that fact. What the right is saying when they make this argument is that it would be too expensive to make profit — a ridiculous claim that ignores simple math, not to mention logic.

So, in our current political and media environment, even obviously bogus claims need to be debunked. And two top economists — Nobel Prize winner Peter Diamond and John Bates Clark award winner Emmanuel Saez — probably felt more than up to the task when they took it upon themselves to bust this rightwing myth. In a Wall Street Journal op-ed, Diamond and Saez set the record straight.

The share of pre-tax income accruing to the top 1% of earners in the U.S. has more than doubled to about 20% in 2010 from less than 10% in the 1970s. At the same time, the average federal income tax rate on top earners has declined significantly. Given the large current and projected deficits, should the top 1% be taxed more? Because U.S. income concentration is now so high, the potential tax revenue at stake is large.

[…]

According to our analysis of current tax rates and their elasticity, the revenue-maximizing top federal marginal income tax rate would be in or near the range of 50%-70% (taking into account that individuals face additional taxes from Medicare and state and local taxes). Thus we conclude that raising the top tax rate is very likely to result in revenue increases at least until we reach the 50% rate that held during the first Reagan administration, and possibly until the 70% rate of the 1970s. To reduce tax avoidance opportunities, tax rates on capital gains and dividends should increase along with the basic rate. Closing loopholes and stepping up enforcement would further limit tax avoidance and evasion.

But will raising top tax rates significantly lower economic growth? But will raising top tax rates significantly lower economic growth? In the postwar U.S., higher top tax rates tend to go with higher economic growth—not lower. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Bureau of Economic Analysis, GDP annual growth per capita (to adjust for population growth) averaged 1.68% between 1980 and 2010 when top tax rates were relatively low, while growth averaged 2.23% between 1950 and 1980 when top tax rates were at or above 70%.



So no, raising taxes on the wealthy won’t harm job creation — mostly because the “job creators” aren’t the wealthy, they’re consumers as a whole.

“With the ‘taxes harm growth’ and Laffer curve arguments undercut by research such as this, Republicans have fallen back on the argument that it’s unfair to take income away from those who earn it,” comments economist Mark Thoma (link mine). “But that presumes that the system allocates income fairly, a claim that is hard to swallow given how much financial executives are paid relative to their contribution to the productive process (to name just one example). There’s nothing unfair about using taxes to ‘clawback’ misdirected income, and it won’t harm growth to send income where it should have gone in the first place.”

In other words, the dreaded “redistribution of wealth” — although it would be more accurately described as the “re-redistribution of wealth.” Insanely low tax rates and a corporate culture that rewards even failure with tremendous bonuses represent “Robin Hood in reverse” economics, where those least able to afford it take the hit, in order to take the burden off the wealthy.

Does this create jobs? We’ve already established that the answer is no. And the reason is simple — producers will only offer the goods and service that people will pay for. The less money consumers have to spend, the fewer employees will be needed at any given workplace. By taking money from consumers to cover tax breaks for the wealthy, you do the opposite of creating jobs. Take a look at that chart at the top of the page — tax rates for the top earners are the lowest since 1950 and jobs follow that downward arc. Money in the hands of consumers, not employers, creates jobs. This is not a hypothesis, this is as solid a fact as gravity.

It’s really very easy to explain all of this: employers don’t hire people any time they can afford to — they only hire people when they can’t afford not to. Anyone who argues otherwise is either a liar or someone who doesn’t understand economics, business, or math at all.

-Wisco
Screenwriting Tip #1096

Know what your protagonist wants, know why she wants it, and know why the thing she wants isn’t the same as the thing she needs. If you know those three things, the rest of your protag’s characterization will fall into place.

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