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beccap: “But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of...

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beccap:

“But the 8-hour workday is too profitable for big business, not because of the amount of work people get done in eight hours (the average office worker gets less than three hours of actual work done in 8 hours) but because it makes for such a purchase-happy public. Keeping free time scarce means people pay a lot more for convenience, gratification, and any other relief they can buy. It keeps them watching television, and its commercials. It keeps them unambitious outside of work. We’ve been led into a culture that has been engineered to leave us tired, hungry for indulgence, willing to pay a lot for convenience and entertainment, and most importantly, vaguely dissatisfied with our lives so that we continue wanting things we don’t have. We buy so much because it always seems like something is still missing.”

Your Lifestyle Has Already Been Designed

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wmorrell
11 days ago
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denubis
14 days ago
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Sydney, Australia
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shanel
12 days ago
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Checks out...
New York, New York

Braveheart's Speech

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Description: William Wallace is giving his speech before a battle, like in the movie Braveheart.

William Wallace: \
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wmorrell
14 days ago
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Marx stabbing the parasite like a BOSS.
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Health care

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One of the most important issues for free software within the US is one we rarely talk about: healthcare. That is why I am going to write about it.

These days, sustainability in FOSS is a hot topic. In my experience, for many years this conversation focused nearly exclusively on making FOSS -profitable- for companies, in order to create jobs. Now, the conversation is shifting to ask: what conditions do we need to create so that everyone who wants to work in FOSS can do so?

The answer is not the same for everyone, nor is it the same in every country. Someone supporting a family of two, three, four, or however many has greater income needs than I do, as my biggest financial responsibilities are debt and a cat. However, I also have a condition with a mortality rate estimated at 15%. Access to affordable, comprehensive health care is not just a nice perk, but crucial for my continued survival.

Access to health insurance has been the primary factor in all of my professional decisions: staying places where I was miserable, doing work I hated, even choosing where to apply. Access to health insurance was a major factor in my moving to Massachusetts, which offers health insurance to all residents.

While my free software career has been amazing — I am extremely lucky that I was able to cultivate a skill set and social network that enabled me to work in the greater sphere of FOSS (and previously open ed) — I would have made different decisions had I not been reliant on employers to provide me with health insurance.

In the United States (and many, many other places), access to affordable, comprehensive healthcare (from here on: healthcare) is a major factor holding people back from FOSS contribution. When your access to health care is tied to your employer, your time — and literally your life — is dependent on your employer. This seriously impacts your ability to even have free time, let alone using that time to build FOSS.

Since the creation of software largely relies on people’s professional skill sets, we’re asking people to do in their free time what they do in their paid time — design, develop software, plan architecture, organize events, maintain systems and infrastructure, be a lawyer, manage finances, and everything else that strengthens FOSS and FOSS communities. In asking someone to take on a leadership role in a FOSS project or community, you’re asking them to take on another job — one that comes with neither pay nor benefits.

When people face constant threats to their existence due to fearing for their lives (i.e. their health), it can be hard, if not impossible to spend their time contributing to FOSS, or indeed to any activist project.

People who live in societies that rise to meet the basic material needs of all citizens are able to spend time contributing to the greater good. Those of us struggling to survive, however, must forgo opportunities to become participating members of communities that are trying to change the world. Instead, we look to our employers (usually with commercial interests) to meet our needs.

When you work in tech, meeting our basic material needs through employer-sponsored insurance comes at a steep price: non-compete agreements, signing away patent and intellectual property rights, fights to ensure your work is available under a free and/or open source license, and giving up more than 8 hours a day/40 hours a week. When we try to create good FOSS in addition to that, we burn out, we become miserable, and we’re trapped.

People are incapable of creating FOSS when they’re sick, burnt out, worried about their health, struggling with an ongoing condition or disability, or dead. It’s that simple. [powerful]

People fighting for access to healthcare should care about free software for many reasons, but we as a free software community also need to care about access to health care. This is for the sake of ourselves and the sake of our communities. We cannot build the tools and resources the world needs when we are struggling simply to live.

If you accept the notion that lack of access to comprehensive healthcare impacts our ability to have the resources necessary to create something like free software, then we can acknowledge that, by providing health care to everyone, everyone will then be in a better, more equitable position from which they can contribute to FOSS and lead safer, happier lives.

According to the KHN, 8.5% of U.S. Americans didn’t have health insurance in 2018. Un-insurance rates are even higher among non-white populations according to HHS. As a community, we’ve accepted that the lack of diversity and the over-representation of cis white folks is a problem. We need to create more equitable conditions — so that people come to FOSS from similar places of privilege, rather than having a huge disparity in privilege and oppression. Providing health care to everyone will help alleviate this, and will enable more people to do the things they are passionate about — or things they will become passionate about once they have the chance to do so.

If we are to create a world where FOSS is successful, access to health care is paramount and we need to take it seriously.

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acdha
16 days ago
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One pitch to hiring people in .gov is that we offer solid benefits without corporate IP lawyers trying to claim the rights to everything you do. A surprising number of people have circumstances where that factor is extremely important.
Washington, DC
wmorrell
14 days ago
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jepler
16 days ago
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I'm in the US, and I've just left a "regular job" to be self-employed and work on FOSS. Health care is a huge expense, the single biggest line item on my 2020 budget. I'm fortunate enough that I will be able to pay for it, but something needs to be done.
Earth, Sol system, Western spiral arm
fxer
16 days ago
Congrats on the job change! What will you be working on?
jepler
16 days ago
I am working on CircuitPython for Adafruit!

They Accused Me Of Being a Teacher

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This is an amazing look into the mind of the fanatically hard-right Republican. I am just going to paste the whole thing. Enjoy?

Alyssa Dara McDowell spent Election Day waving signs, encouraging voters, and praying that Kenton County would go to Republican incumbent Governor Matt Bevin.

Clad in a Wonder Woman shirt that had become a staple of her campaign wardrobe in the closing days of the 2019 election season, McDowell had no time to change before rushing to pick up a friend as soon as the polls closed.

The two were headed to Louisville’s famed Galt House for what supporters hoped would be a victory celebration for Bevin’s reelection.

But the night took an unexpected turn for McDowell in a variety of ways. Her prayers for a Bevin victory went unanswered, with Bevin losing to Democratic rival Andy Beshear. And then, after a hasty decision to rush the stage, the Covington mother of eight found herself in a viral video that garnered headlines across Kentucky and beyond.

McDowell told The River City News on Wednesday, more than two weeks after the close election and days after Bevin’s concession, that when she first arrived at the Galt House, a woman approached her in the ladies room. “It seemed like she was beginning to placate me about Bevin’s pending loss,” McDowell remembered. McDowell was unmoved, convinced still that Bevin would prevail and win a second term.

“I was keeping up with it online and it looked like he was going to win, or at least come close to winning,” she said.

But more and more people at the event were beginning to whisper about the governor’s fading chances. Beshear had won Kenton County, where McDowell’s first prayers that day were shared on Bevin’s behalf, and neighboring Campbell County, two reliably Republican areas. Fayette County, home of Lexington, and Jefferson County, where the state’s largest city, Louisville, looms large in statewide elections, were both bloodbaths for the top of the Republican ticket.

It was becoming clearer as the night wore on, that Bevin would be unable to make up the margin of defeat in those areas.

“I ran into other people involved in the campaign process and they had similar things they were saying, trying to talk you into that he lost,” McDowell said.

Amid all these messages that she did not want to hear, McDowell turned to her frequent tool: prayer.

“I’m a praying woman. I just go into prayer. That’s what I do,” she said. “I took it to a spiritual level.”

She also took it to Facebook Live, a feature on the social media platform’s mobile app that allows users to broadcast in real time to their followers. She saw comments from followers supportive of a Bevin comeback.

“I just felt like it was a spiritual thing. It just seemed so strange. Everyone was acting really weird,” she said. “And so that’s why I prayed.”

Her thoughts drifted to “voter fraud”. “I felt it in my spirit. There was some kind of thing undermining the Bevin win,” McDowell said. “I just felt like that the entire time. It was such a dark feeling.”

McDowell is no stranger to electoral politics. In 2010 she waged a longshot bid for Kenton County Judge/Executive, where, running as an independent, she managed to get 24 percent of the vote (more than 9,000 votes) against Republican winner Steve Arlinghaus. There was no Democrat running that year, and the Democratic Party didn’t field a candidate for the county’s top job in 2014 or 2018, either, an indication of how strongly Republican the state’s third-largest county is.

That’s why at the Galt House, Kenton County was an early warning sign when Democrat Beshear carried it.

But McDowell was unmoved by her dark feelings.

“Bevin’s a strong Christian, so of course the enemy is not going to want him to win,” she said.

She continued praying with her friend when another woman approached them and wanted to join in. But then, she suspected, the enemy came closer.

“She was trying to steer our prayer toward Bevin was going to lose,” McDowell said. “And I’m thinking, this is really weird. That’s the enemy trying to come in and interrupt our prayer.”

From prayer, McDowell turned to chant. 

“So, I started to begin a chant – Bevin is the best!”

She first started chanting that at the final debate between Beshear and Bevin at Northern Kentucky University to sound off against pro-Beshear attendees. There, she was clad in her Wonder Woman shirt, a purchase from Halloween that became a campaign staple for her.

But in Louisville, someone inside the GOP victory event approached her and asked why she was chanting, she said.

“I kept thinking, why would you ask me?”

Convinced that “the enemy” was in her midst, McDowell returned to prayer and Facebook Live. “And then I ended up getting a phone call from another friend and was praying with him and my friend who was there (at the Galt House), and he’s telling me the results are coming in,” she said.

The idea that results were still coming in kept McDowell’s hopes alive. 

Bevin just needed more prayers, she thought.

“There was nobody there to lead us in prayer, so somebody needs to lead us in prayer,” she said.

Bevin had, after all, appointed McDowell to the state consumer protection advisory council just weeks before the election. The failed candidate for Kenton County judge/executive (2010), Covington mayor (2012), Covington city commission, Kentucky state representative (2018), and President of the United States (as she announced in 2016) wanted to stand up for her guy.

The somebody who needed to lead the GOP victory rally in prayer may just be her, Alyssa Dara McDowell, she thought.

“I kind of felt like – this thought came to my head – it would be weird for me to go on stage,” she said. But her friend on the phone praying with her prodded her. “He said, if there is no one there to stop you…”

McDowell, in her Wonder Woman shirt, her mind on praying away the enemy, made her way to the stage.

“Honestly, I didn’t expect to announce that Governor Bevin had won,” she said.

But she did.

As seen in a viral video distributed by Lexington TV station WLEX, which now has nearly 400,000 views, McDowell is seen coming on an empty stage with a mobile phone at her ear, trotting towards the open podium.

“Hey, we just got word,” she shouted into the mic. “Matt Bevin has won!”

The crowd, which had much to celebrate as the Republicans easily swept all the other statewide offices but were down at the prospect of Bevin’s pending loss, went from somber to jubilant in an instant.

McDowell appeared to become swept up in it. Still holding a phone to her ear, she began to “whoo” along with the crowd, her voice amplified by the mic. “Yes!,” she shouted before jumping up and down and waving her hand around. 

By the time she went back to the mic, grabbing it with her free hand and beginning to speak into it, the sound had been cut off and a man was tapping her on the back. Still holding the phone at her ear and shouting into a mic that was no longer on, McDowell initially ignored the man who was trying to get her to leave the stage. She yelled into the turned-off mic for fifteen full seconds, long enough for a second man to come along and nudge her off stage.

Finally, she relented and departed.

McDowell was kicked out of the Galt House.

In sharing her recollection of the event, McDowell maintains that she was motivated purely to lead the attendees in prayer on behalf of their governor. A friend on the other end of the phone was sharing information that some counties were going for Bevin, she said, and she just wanted to say the Lord’s Prayer to the crowd. 

In fact, while the mic was still on, it can be made out that McDowell said, “Hey, we just got word, Matt Bevin has won! So, we’re just gonna pray,” before she was swept up in the cheers.

“I had planned on saying the Lord’s Prayer and it kind of came out,” she said to The River City News about her erroneous victory proclamation on behalf of Bevin. “I was trying to think back, why did I say that?

“I did not premeditate this.”

But the jubilation from the crowd was a good feeling for her, she remembered. 

“It felt like that was Joshua’s walk in the Bible when the wall came down and people were able to enter the Promised Land,” she said. “We have to pray for the wall to come down and then they shouted and that’s what it felt like, the spiritual battle is over.”

But McDowell’s battle at the Galt House would not be over.

After being ushered off the stage, she said some in the crowd shouted at her, Lock Her Up, a refrain common at rallies for President Donald J. Trump in reference to his vanquished Democratic rival Hillary Clinton. Someone ripped her Matt Bevin pin from her lapel, McDowell said.

She said that while she was on stage shouting into a mic that was no longer on, she was reciting the Lord’s Prayer. 

“Someone tried to grab me while I was getting ready to pray. I felt somebody’s hand on my arm, but I didn’t register exactly what he was saying. I was just thinking, let me finish this prayer,” she said. “I just finished the whole Lord’s Prayer, even the mic wasn’t on. I didn’t realize the mic was off until halfway through, but I just thought, at least complete the prayer.”

“The other guy did get a little pushy. I had to turn around and say, do not push me.”

“As I walked through the crowd, it was so traumatic for me,” McDowell said. “People had lined up. People were shouting, lock her up. Someone ripped my Bevin pin off my jacket. They accused me of being a teacher.”

Kentucky teachers had been credited with buoying Beshear’s campaign against Bevin following the incumbent’s support for controversial pension reform legislation.

“I just kept thinking, why?,” she said. “You don’t even know if he won or not.”

“To me, it was a blatant coup. It was already set up and I just wanted to uncover it.”

Instead, she was asked to depart the premises.

“I was escorted out of the event,” she said. 

But her moment on stage inside the event would become a viral moment that McDowell herself would be late to see. She said she had exhausted herself campaigning for Bevin across Kenton County and then driving to and from Louisville, and by the time she returned to Covington and went to bed, she slept until 2 the next afternoon.

“My kids were saying, mom’s gone viral,” she said. “And they were just watching it and laughing their butts off and my daughter was like, I don’t want to watch it, I don’t want to hear about it.”

“We like to laugh a lot anyway. I don’t mind laughing at myself and I thought it was funny. My daughter is a little embarrassed. I’m probably a laughing stock at church now.”

Some pastors, she said, called to see if she was OK.

And she is OK, she said, and even plans to run for office again. “I will probably do it perpetually,” she said. 

“I always pray about it. And Lord, if you want me to do something, I’ll get an idea to do it,” she said. “I’m wide open to politics. I’m pretty much always going to be involved at some level.”

And as she reflected on her viral moment from the GOP event in Louisville, she turned upward again.

“I did it for you, Lord.”


This might just be one crazy person. But she is a good representation of what the conservative movement has become. And if this is what the Lord wants, then I hope to go to Hell as soon as possible.

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wmorrell
16 days ago
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“They accused me of being a teacher.” Jesus H Christ.
acdha
14 days ago
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Washington, DC
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deezil
14 days ago
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Yet another reason I'm ashamed of my state. People using religion to be crackpots and lying and thinking god commands them to rush a stage.
Louisville, Kentucky

Four cops handcuff black man for "illegal eating"

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"You're eating. It's against the law."  That's what this white police officer told a black man who was eating a sandwich while waiting for a train in Contra Costa, California. The man purchased the sandwich in the station, and was eating it outside in the platform while waiting for a BART train. According to the person who shot the video, there are no signs stating that it is forbidden to eat food on train platforms.

The officer grabbed the man's backpack and asked him for his identification. The man eating the sandwich calmly told the officer that he was doing nothing wrong and refused to show the cop his ID. The cop called for backup and four other officers arrived to handcuff the man and take him away.

“Four cops for eating a sandwich?,” says the man.

BART said it is investigating the incident, says The San Francisco Examiner.

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wmorrell
27 days ago
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Fuck the BART cops.
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Postwar Douglass

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The great historian David Blight with a typically excellent essay on Frederick Douglass’ postwar vision for America.

In the late 1860s, Frederick Douglass, the fugitive slave turned prose poet of American democracy, toured the country spreading his most sanguine vision of a pluralist future of human equality in the recently re-United States. It is a vision worth revisiting at a time when the country seems once again to be a house divided over ethnicity and race, and over how to interpret our foundational creeds.

The Thirteenth Amendment (ending slavery) had been ratified, Congress had approved the Fourteenth Amendment (introducing birthright citizenship and the equal-protection clause), and Douglass was anticipating the ratification of the Fifteenth Amendment (granting black men the right to vote) when he began delivering a speech titled “Our Composite Nationality” in 1869. He kept it in his oratorical repertoire at least through 1870. What the war-weary nation needed, he felt, was a powerful tribute to a cosmopolitan America—not just a repudiation of a divided and oppressive past but a commitment to a future union forged in emancipation and the Civil War. This nation would hold true to universal values and to the recognition that “a smile or a tear has no nationality. Joy and sorrow speak alike in all nations, and they above all the confusion of tongues proclaim the brotherhood of man.”

Douglass, like many other former abolitionists, watched with high hopes as Radical Reconstruction gained traction in Washington, D.C., placing the ex–Confederate states under military rule and establishing civil and political rights for the formerly enslaved. The United States, he believed, had launched a new founding in the aftermath of the Civil War, and had begun to shape a new Constitution rooted in the three great amendments spawned by the war’s results. Practically overnight, Douglass even became a proponent of U.S. expansion to the Caribbean and elsewhere: Americans could now invent a nation whose egalitarian values were worth exporting to societies that were still either officially pro-slavery or riddled with inequality.

The aspiration that a postwar United States might slough off its own past identity as a pro-slavery nation and become the dream of millions who had been enslaved, as well as many of those who had freed them, was hardly a modest one. Underlying it was a hope that history itself had fundamentally shifted, aligning with a multiethnic, multiracial, multireligious country born of the war’s massive blood sacrifice. Somehow the tremendous resistance of the white South and former Confederates, which Douglass himself predicted would take ever more virulent forms, would be blunted. A vision of “composite” nationhood would prevail, separating Church and state, giving allegiance to a single new Constitution, federalizing the Bill of Rights, and spreading liberty more broadly than any civilization had ever attempted.

Was this a utopian vision, or was it grounded in a fledgling reality? That question, a version of which has never gone away, takes on an added dimension in the case of Douglass. One might well wonder how a man who, before and during the war, had delivered some of the most embittered attacks on American racism and hypocrisy ever heard could dare nurse the optimism evident from the very start of the speech. How could Douglass now believe that his reinvented country was, as he declared, “the most fortunate of nations” and “at the beginning of our ascent”?

Of course you are going to want to read the whole thing and learn a lot. I know I learned something new.

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wmorrell
27 days ago
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