charisstoma: (Default)
Title: Attention Deficit Distraction
Author: charisstoma
Word count: 243

Drat it. Carefully she lifted the mirror from the altar like vanity as if it were an offering, supporting the silvery polished surface from below and not touching its reflective portion. Too much work went into keeping the mirror clear, bright and perfect. Turning the mirror towards the demon, she said, “See yourself and go, return from where you came and never leave that place.”

The demon laughed, his eyes glowing. “You think you can banish me from this plane before I plant myself in you?”

Her smile answered and made him pause. Sweeping out his hand as if to strike the impediment to his desire, he made the mistake of looking.

His denial slowly vanished as the mirror rapidly sucked him in and through. Some day she resolved, replacing the mirror in its spot as carefully as she’d picked it up.; she would scry where the various ones went when so banished. One could only live so long before curiosity became too strong.

Turning back to the monitor, set onto the back of the vanity, her fingers found the keyboard and she let the internet suck her in. There was scrying and there was informational scrying. Her smile broadened, research, scrying through a monitor was called research. The fiction she was working on was sorely in need of researching. Now where was that photo of the door that seemed to have an eye in the center of its organic exterior. She shuddered.

Part 2 -
It's Magic

meep door prompt
charisstoma: (Default)
I asked a friend who happens to be a lawyer:

What happens to a President who is impeached? They resign maybe and then are pardoned? Then what?

1. A sitting president, Trump, cannot be criminally prosecuted in federal or state court for any criminal conduct engaged in while in office. Example: obstruction of justice and acceptance of foreign emoluments since his inauguration.

2. The appropriate steps to pursue such criminal conduct includes impeachment. If Trump is impeached and removed from office, his constitutional successor, Pence, would have the option of pardoning Trump like Ford did with Nixon. If Pence decides not to pardon Trump, Trump could be prosecuted in federal or state court for criminal conduct occurring after his inauguration.

3. It is an open, unresolved legal question whether Trump can be criminally prosecuted at present for money laundering, collusion, and other criminal conduct predating his inauguration. A court might stay such criminal prosecutions until Trump is no longer in office so he can perform his official duties (other than golf and tweeting). There is only one Supreme Court case on the issue. In Jones v. Clinton, Paula Jones sued Clinton for sexual harassment and other conduct which occurred prior to his inauguration. The court ruled that Clinton was not immune from civil liability; and, it was up to a trial court's discretion whether to stay that civil case until Clinton left office. Clinton ultimately settled the case for $850,000.

4. Several media sources have reported that the US Attorneys in the Southern District of NY and the Eastern District of VA have convened criminal grand juries and are prepared to indict Trump, Manafort, Flynn and others. The NY Attorney General is also exploring state racketeering and other criminal charges based upon money laundering, etc. Time will tell how those federal and state criminal charges will be handled.

5. My personal belief is that Trump will not resign unless criminal indictments are brought against his adult children and Jared Kushner.

6. Good web sites to review:

Palmer Report
Mother Jones
Politicus USA
The Hill
Buzz News
Raw Story
charisstoma: (Default)
Title: When Things Go Wrong
Author: charisstoma
Word count: 526
And yes all this did happen.

Two weeks ago the circulation system had gone down. That meant no books checked out except via the downloaded circulation program, named Remote Destiny. Yeah it was remote… far from reality remote and destiny …. Aaden rolled his eyes.

Yesterday the powers that be had responded to the ransomware attacks that were going on globally and pushed through the patch to fix it. That patch gave you 15 minutes to save your work while it was downloading and then click, it restarted your computer.
Why was there a restart button under the download progress bar if it automatically restarted right after the download finished? Aaden sighed in remembrance because of course that was when teachers started sending students to the Library to return and check out books. Books that could have neither done to them, because the configure part of the download was as long and more aggravating than the tension of the download itself. Still if it did the trick … Please, please let it do the trick of protecting his computer.

So at the end of the day, of the awful day of configuration, when the computer techs showed up and worse went into the closet to see where they were going to replace the computer hub, he knew that it was indeed the advent of the apocalypse. Okay maybe only the end of the school year’s approach. If ever there was going to be a time of things going wrong it seemed to always be at the time before the long summer vacation. Heaven forbid that the system come down and be fixed during the Summer Break when they could fix things without interfering with his Library’s circulation.

It Is the apocalypse.
Aaden looked at his circulation computer. They were supposed to have had it all done by 11:00 the night before. He had a computer that luckily had a tower. The other monitors were computer stations hooked into a server way away at another building. There was no internet access. The stations were boat anchors for all the good they could do.

Aaden sighed, there wasn’t much else he could do. If he wanted to call someone to report a problem or contact a teacher to tell her that one of the Chromebook that was out to be fixed had been returned he couldn’t. Someone had thought it a great idea to have the computers and the phones linked on the same internet system. When one went down so did the other. You couldn’t use your personal mobile phone to call the office or any room in the building. The phone you were calling was not available… beep, beep, beep.

Technology was a curse. An evil curse that suckered you into needing it, and then it didn’t work. Someone needed to work on a foolproof spell to magically ensure that the technology continued to do what it was designed to do. And as soon as the phone/internet came back he’d research that magical business person. They Had Better Exist.

On the other side of the world, Gervais felt a foreboding tingling. Someone was going to try to make him do the impossible.

Part 2 ""

charisstoma: (Default)
My Librarian was off to a state library convention this week, 3 days on my own. Me and the students. *W*

So of course the circulation program started acting 'odd'. Some books wouldn't check in, some wouldn't check out, some did both, but they were all in the library's catalog.

Okay, I worked around it. But first, I called the District's IT dept and the tech thought it was a program problem but just in case he ran a malware scan and clean up on my computer.

Turns out it wasn't only my library. Sooooo in the middle of the day, right after our Fire Drill, an email went out to log off of the circulation program so the program's company could work on it.
That's okay, there's a off-line version that can be used..... except the malware removal took off the off-line version.
So during one of the busiest days for my library's book circulation, I'm trying to find where the off-line program for circulation is stashed on the Library's District site, download it, activate it and use it.
All the while I'm using an Excel spreadsheet to retain the data as to who has checked out which of our books.
Also I'm hoping I downloaded things correctly so that when the fixed circulation program comes back it'll download to it.

Should be easy to just cut and past from the spreadsheet to the off-line program, I thought. Nope. Had to hand type in the patron numbers and book barcodes.

The students were so great. There was the odd 'but but but' from them, but the shelves were astonishingly in order. Okay a number of the students were gone on field trips to the schools that they will be attending next school year. And it helps when you can pivot the monitor to show them the 'this program is not available' notice on the circulation page and tell them, "see this is what is wrong. This is what I'm doing, ie spreadsheet. I can't help it, work with me here."

188 students from one school population and 22 from the other school population came through my tender hands. Most checked out 2 books each. Did I mention the Fire Drill? And the architects who are came through because they're planning improvements probably over the summer... I hope. Please please not during the next school year. That would be really terrible. One of the areas a hallway that is one of the a fire exits from the 2nd floor which just happens to be the access to the floor in between the 1st and 2nd floors and is home to the boiler room that sits atop where our library office and workroom are. At the moment that hallway is used by the theater class for their props. sssssshhhhhhhh it's a fire dept violation. The stage's side rooms have been used for storage of the other school and an office for the head custodian.
charisstoma: (Default)
Armadillo lizard (Ouroborus cataphractus )

The Armadillo lizard (Ouroborus cataphractus )is a lizard endemic to desert areas of southern Africa. The natural habitat of this lizard is scrub and rocky outcrops. It is diurnal. It hides in rock cracks and crevices. It lives in social groups of up to 30. The Armadillo Lizard possesses an uncommon antipredator adaptation, in which it takes its tail in its mouth and rolls into a ball when frightened.
charisstoma: (Default)
mowing the lawn

Not me but the lawn height looks about right.
Ran out of light.
3/4 done but at least the front yard is done.
Ran over a rubber ball, probably from the neighbors' dog? For those that don't known lawn mowers don't like mowing 5" rubber balls. Think the ball survived relatively uninjured and the lawn mower just stopped.
Am so tired. Na-May the Cat sniffed me and went to lie down else where.
charisstoma: (default)

The overhead view of I35 in Fort Worth

For those not U.S. == I 35 is interstate highway 35. This appears to be downtown because that's probably the Trinity River.

Seems like something arcane and if you travel through it you're charging some magical thing... see Witchstone by Grimmsical
charisstoma: (Default)
There is a teacher, who is the most wonderful teacher ever. She has exposed them to Shakespeare,
Louisa May Alcott, and other classics; also learning to read Mayan Hieroglyphs. She is creating a environment that will expand them that will last into adulthood.

So today she posts:
Me: *have a rough little minute, reaches for inhaler
Kid, whispering: May the ghost of Shakespeare watch over her
charisstoma: (default)
Maine Voices: The problem isn’t Obamacare; it’s the insurance companies
Patients and primary care physicians are getting the raw end of the deal for the sake of corporate profits.


Cathleen London, M.D., is a primary care physician practicing in Milbridge

MILBRIDGE — With the recent news about increases in premiums for health plans sold through the Affordable Care Act marketplace, everyone wants to vilify the ACA. The ACA is but a symptom of the issue. Where are our policy dollars going?

As a primary care physician, I am on the front lines. Milbridge is remote. In good weather, we are 30 to 40 minutes from the nearest emergency room, so my office operates as an urgent care facility as well as a family medical practice.

It can take 20 minutes for an ambulance to get here (as it did one time when I had a patient in ventricular tachycardia — a fatal rhythm). I have to be stocked to stabilize and treat.

We are also about two hours from specialist care. Fortunately, I am trained to handle about 90 percent of medical problems, as my patients often do not want or do not have the resources to travel. I have to be prepared for much more than I did in Boston or New York City, where I had colleagues and other materials down the hall or nearby. No longer do I have a hospital blocks away.

One evening I was almost home after a full day’s work. Around 7:30, I got a call on the emergency line regarding an 82-year-old man who had fallen and split his head open. His wife wanted to know if I could see him, even though he was not a patient of mine.

Instead of sending them to the ER, I went back to the office. I spent 90 minutes evaluating him, suturing his wound and making sure that nothing more sinister had occurred than a loss of footing by a man who has mild dementia. When I was sure that the man would be safe, I let them go.

I billed a total of $789 for the visit, repair, after-hours and emergency care costs. Stating that the after-hours and emergency services had been billed incorrectly, Martin’s Point Health Care threw out the claims and reimbursed me $105, which does not even cover the suture and other materials I used.

I called them about their decision, said that it was not right and let them know they’d lose me if they reimbursed this as a routine patient visit. They replied, “Go ahead and send your termination letter” – which I did.

The same day, Anthem Blue Cross kept me on the phone for 45 minutes regarding a breast MRI recommended by radiologists on a woman whose mother and sister had died of breast cancer. She’d had five months of breast discharge that wasn’t traceable to anything benign (and it turns out the MRI is highly suspicious for cancer).

Anthem did not want to approve the MRI unless it was to localize a lesion for biopsy, even though the mammogram had been inconclusive! This should have been a slam-dunk fast track to approval; instead, dealing with Anthem wasted a good part of my day.

Then Aetna told me there is no way to negotiate fees in Maine. I was somewhat flabbergasted. I do more here than I did in either Brookline, Massachusetts, or New York. The rates should be higher given the level of care I am providing. I have chosen not to participate with them. This only hurts patients; however, I cannot keep losing money on visits.

I do lose money on MaineCare – their reimbursement is below what it costs me to see a patient. For now, that is a decision that I am living with.

I had thought those losses would be offset by private insurance companies, but their cost shifting to patients is obscene. I pay half of my employees’ health insurance, though I’m not required to by law – I just think it is the right thing to do.

My personal policy costs close to $900 a month for me and my sons (all healthy), and each of us has a $6,000 deductible. This means I am paying rack rate for a policy that provides only bare-bones coverage.

Something is wrong with the system. In one day, I encountered everything wrong with insurance. I am not trying to scam the system. I am literally trying to survive. I am trying to give care in an underserved area.

This is not the fault of Obamacare, which stopped the most egregious problems with insurance companies. Remember lifetime caps? Remember denials for pre-existing conditions? Remember the retroactive cancellation of insurance policies? Returning to that is not an option.

One answer is direct primary care: contracting straight with patients to provide their care, instead of going through insurance companies to get paid. I offer it (though I still accept Medicare, MaineCare and some private insurers). Many of my colleagues have also opted for direct primary care – they’ve experienced the same frustrations I have.

Something has to change if we are to attract up-and-coming medical students to primary care and retain practicing physicians. When both patients and physicians are frustrated, we know that only greed is winning, and the blame for that lies with corporations.
charisstoma: (default)

A coffee shop has opened in Cardiff for people who hate mornings.

Grumpy Fuckers’ Coffee Shop opened its door yesterday and was overwhelmed by demand.

Manager Clive GrimGrits told Grumpy Fuckers:

“I had to get up at 5am to get the bastard shop open. I hated it. Most people are still sleeping at that time. We opened the shop at 6am and by 7am, we’d already sold out of ‘Fuck You Frappuccinos’ as well as our ‘Piss Poor Tea’. Every fucker who came in had a face on them like a slapped arse so I closed the shop at 8am so I could go home and get some proper sleep like most people do.”

One customer said that she would visit the coffee shop again, despite everyone bumping into each other and not saying a word.

“It was perfect for me. I could just sit there, thinking how shit my life is and how I hated going to work. They guy next to me was asking whether they did any cooked breakfasts but the manager told him to fuck off and get a life. Everyone was grumpy, which was fine because we were all grumpy together."
charisstoma: (Default)


The swimming pool is fun to watch.

NWS Fort Worth ✔ @NWSFortWorth
8:11pm: Hail Report: Softball size hail (4.25 inch) just north of Corinth, TX. #dfwwx #texomawx
8:13 PM - 26 Mar 2017

Nothing happened, not even rain at my house.
charisstoma: (default)
So why do cats purr? Page 12

We're sorry. We said there would be no dark facts anymore, but we lied. This here might be the darkest of them all, and we apologize in advance.

First, the happy. Even the most marginal of cat people know that cats purr when they're happy. They make the noise by some sort of respiratory magic that happens in their diaphragm and larynx, and just how they do it remains one of the best mysteries of modern science. (It's one that we think we need a grant to be able to study in-depth.) It turns out that the idea of purring at happiness might be a bit of a misunderstanding, and they're actually asking us to keep petting them or keep providing a comfortable lap for them to sleep on. It's more like a polite and dignified request.

Now, the not-so-happy. Cats also purr when they're injured or scared, and researchers think that it has something to do with the healing power of the purr. You absolutely read that right. Cats purr at a frequency of 26 hertz (for most domestic cats), and that just happens to be the same frequency that's been found to promote healing in bone and other body tissues. Crazy, right? But that's the deal, and when cats are injured, they're likely trying to help themselves heal or comfort themselves by the reverberation of their own purr. It's why cats will often curl up with an injured cat (or non-cat) and purr. They're trying to help.

And now, the even worse part. Since cats purr to comfort themselves, it's also something that dying cats have been observed doing. They do it to console themselves and maybe, just maybe, to console you a little bit. Go on, wipe away that tear. That's what we need to do.

Cats have almost mastered language, and they only speak to humans Page 3

We know you talk to your cat, and we know she talks back. (You don't? You're a heathen or a liar.) It turns out that language is another way cats display the brilliance they all know they possess, and we take for granted. Cats have a whole bunch of ways to communicate with us, and it's up to humans to pay enough attention to facial and body cues, like "crazy face" and "STFU ears," to be able to understand what they're saying.

They've also developed a super-top-secret language that they use only to communicate with humans: meowing. Cats that live together don't usually meow or talk to each other, and studies of feral cat colonies find that cats in only-feline company are pretty silent. It's only humans that they meow to and, if you pay any attention to your cat at all, you can probably tell what they're saying. Things like, "Put those opposable thumbs to good use and open the cat food now, Human!" sound pretty different from something that means, "Please sit and give me cuddles, and I will allow you to bask in my sleepy, adorable glory."

In 2003, Cornell University researchers tested whether or not we could understand our cats or if we were taking environmental cues to figure out what they're saying, and they had people listen to recordings of cats and try to tell what it was they were saying. They could, but only when the sounds were coming from their own cat. That implies that we shouldn't worry too much, because there's not some universal cat-language that they're teaching us. They are, however, each teaching us their own commands, which might be even more worrying? That's strictly a skill that's been developed by domestic cats, and we tend to interpret wild cats as sounding just angry, no matter what they're saying. The moral of the story is: your cat has learned how to sweet-talk you to get what he wants.
charisstoma: (default)
Girls are right-handed, boys are left-handed page 7

Right. Since we all need a little recovery time after realizing Snuggles probably wants to conquer the world, here's a fun bit of trivia that's made us realize we should have been scientists. Specifically, we should have been the kind of scientists that get this kind of funding. Psychologists at Queen's University Belfast in Northern Ireland asked themselves whether cats were right-pawed or left-pawed, and you've wondered it, too. We certainly have. They wanted to see which paw cats favored, so they gave 42 different cats a jar with a bit of tuna in it. The only way they could get it out was to reach in and, well, fish it out — when they did, they'd show which paw was dominant.

There were 21 males and 21 females in the test, and 20 of the males were left-handed, with one ambidextrous over-achiever. Twenty of the females were right-handed, and one girl, in true cat spirit, refused to conform to any human societal expectations.

Read More:
charisstoma: (default)
Go read these *grins* They are 'interesting'

Why some cats are catnip junkies page 5

Do you ever feel like a crack dealer when your cat sees you getting out the catnip? For about 50% of the cat population, catnip is like happiness in herbal form, while the other half (and kittens) have no response to it whatsoever. What gives?

The gene that makes cats sensitive to catnip is hereditary, and it's an inherited response to a chemical called nepetalactone. The scent bonds to receptors in the cat's nasal passages, which then stimulate the sensory receptors in the brain. If your cat's acting like they're on a complete sensory overload, that's because they absolutely are. And they're loving it. Some cats have a … specific set of responses they exhibit when they're exposed to catnip, and it's akin to a cat in heat. That's because the senses that are being overloaded are the same ones triggered by cat pheromones, so when you give your cat some of the nip? Give them some alone time, too. They deserve it, and expect it.
Their brains have 90% in common with ours Page 6

Read More:

It's an age-old argument: who's smarter, cats or dogs? (People aren't a choice in the equation, because cats and dogs are both definitely smarter than most people.) It turns out that, on a biological level, cats might have a slight edge on dogs, but we hope you won't tell them that. Dogs will never live it down.

With the wonders of modern science, researchers have been able to measure the number of neurons present in the part of cat and dog brains responsible for things like problem-solving and information processing. Cats have a staggering 300 million neurons, while dogs only have 160 million. Sorry, pups.

While that means that cats are going to be quicker at some things than dogs, what about comparing them to humans? Part of human's processing power comes from the folds that are on the surface of our brains. The more wrinkles there are, the larger the surface area and, in turn, the more processing power the brain has. That's where the 90% number comes in, and it turns out that cat brains are wrinkled like ours, so much so that they're 90% similar. They also have large and complex cerebral structures, which governs decision-making, memory, advance planning, and reasoning skills. Their similar brains mean that there's a lot going on in there, and if they found time and motivation to care, they could outsmart circles around Pupper. So the next time you suspect Kitty is plotting to install himself as the world's next great supervillain, he just might be.

Read More:
charisstoma: (Default)
Title: Wednesday
Author: charisstoma
Word count: 218

“Dearly Departed, we are gathered here today to disjoin this body from this soul.
If anyone can show just cause why this body should not be separated from its soul, speak now or ever hold your peace. “

John looked at Henry. “Bad day?”

A toothy wide smile directed at him was Henry’s answer.

“How do you feel about decorating the office with heads put up on spikes around the room on the bookshelves?”

“Um,” John paused, “any particular heads and do they have to be real because after a time they’ll stink.”

“Oh, we’d have them professionally done to prevent that problem. And I haven’t determined which heads … yet.”


“Nooooo, I’ve got other uses for your head … and your body. Stress relief through mutual pleasure. Plus you’re warm and cuddly which a definite plus…. And I love you.”

“Oh good,” John grinned. “I love you too.”

“However… you might not want to hang around today if the computer keeps pausing to decide if it wants to do what I’m telling it to do or I may affix you to the door and throw paperclips at you.”

“Right. I’ll bring you back lunch. Anything you have a yen for?”

“The blood of my enemies.”

“Right. Chocolate something for dessert,” John said leaving the room quickly.
charisstoma: (default)
Buc-ee's Fort Worth
click the link above and scroll through the photos for the full experience or as much as is available without being there.
or there's

Chain of convenience stores for snacks & drinks, plus eclectic, Texas-themed T-shirts & knickknacks. Oh and they sell gas (petrol)

One of our teachers was on the field trip(a three day environmental/science/team-building camp) with the students and FB posted:

Well, I'm at Buc-ees with 82 8th graders(13 - 14 year olds, mixed genders). Not sure how to describe this experience.

In and out in 25 minutes. Hysterical. They all thought they needed a cart. Students buying gallon jugs of tea, Beaver Nuggets, t-shirts, doo-dads, and I think one student put a bag of deer corn under the bus.

Parent: A clear sign of the Apocalypse? ??
Teacher: I spoke those exact words to a parent as we stood back and tried to take it all in.
Parent: What's next? Skydiving? Bungee jumping? Over Niagara Falls in a barrel?
charisstoma: (default)

A new bill would protect drivers who 'unintentionally' hit Dakota Access protesters with their cars
Sonam Sheth

Jan. 26, 2017, 2:04 PM

A bill introduced in the North Dakota legislature in early January would protect negligent drivers from legal consequences if they were to hit protesters with their cars if those protesters were blocking a road or highway.

House Bill 1203, which began receiving committee hearings last week, was written as a direct response to protests at the Standing Rock reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota, against the Dakota Access pipeline, Rep. Keith Kempenich, the bill's lead sponsor, told The Star Tribune.

"If you stay off the roadway, this would never be an issue," Kempenich said. "Those motorists are going about the lawful, legal exercise of their right to drive down the road. ... Those people didn't ask to be in this."

Kempenich has said the point of the bill is about shifting responsibility to people who have "made a conscious decision to put themselves in harm's way." He said however that the legislation would not protect those who intentionally hit pedestrians on the roadway, and it would not protect drivers who hit jaywalkers or children who wander off the sidewalk and onto the road.

The bill's text highlights no such exemptions, according to James Grijalva, a professor at the University of North Dakota School of Law and Director of the Northern Plains Indian Law Center.

"The language of this bill doesn't specify that it relates to protesters. It could, in theory, even apply to someone whose car breaks down on the side of the road, or a child who chases a ball onto the street," Grijalva told Business Insider.

"What it's basically saying is that if you're a careless driver who causes death or injury to someone who happens to be — intentionally or unintentionally — in the roadway, then you have not committed a crime and you are not civilly liable to the family of the person you hit," he said.

The bill's text, in effect, creates a specific exception to North Dakota's code of criminal law relating to negligent homicide, which is classified as a felony in the state.

"There's an important distinction in criminal law between intentional and unintentional crimes," Grijalva said. "If you didn't intend to kill someone but were driving so carelessly that it resulted in someone's injury or death, that could be considered gross manslaughter under the criminal code. But this bill makes that something you're not criminally liable for."

The bill has sparked outrage from Dakota Access protesters.

Wes Clark Jr., a military veteran and environmental activist who spearheaded the deployment of at least 2,000 veterans to Standing Rock at the height of the protests last year, likened the bill to "legalizing murder."

Clark said he assumed "any lawyer with a conscience" would challenge it in court if the bill were signed into law.

"This bill is an endorsement of violence against peaceful protesters. It is totally against the spirit of this country, and against everything that is good and just," wrote the organizers of a petition on Care2 launched in response to the bill.

Tara Houska, an activist, similarly expressed shock at the bill, telling NBC News that it "allows for people to literally be killed for exercising their right to protest in a public space."

"These [bills] are meant to criminalize the protests with no real concern for constitutional law," Houska added.

Whether HB 1203 will become law remains to be seen.

"This bill does not seem like a reasonable response to the Dakota Access protests," Grijalva said. "I would hope that it's not signed into law, because it broadly sanctions careless driving that results in injury and death to pedestrians who, by definition, are unprotected."

Clark and other activists are gearing up for a fight on the heels of executive orders signed by President Donald Trump on Tuesday aimed at advancing the Dakota Access and Keystone XL pipelines.

"Climate change is happening," Clark told Business Insider on Tuesday, adding that Trump wants to harm "the entire human race so a few billionaires can have a few more dollars."

Activists have promised grassroots opposition to Trump's executive actions.

"We intend to stay on those campuses and continue to work with community groups to make sure that the American people are aware of what's happening," Tom Steyer, a billionaire environmental activist and top Democratic donor, told Business Insider. He also promised to continue to financially support the millennial groups working to curb the effects of climate change through his organization, NextGen Climate.

HB 1203 isn't the only bill introduced in the North Dakota legislature in response to the pipeline protests. One proposed bill would make it a crime for adults to wear masks, and another would allow the state to sue the federal government over policing costs related to pipeline protests.
charisstoma: (default)



Individual property ownership rights are engraved into the bedrock of this country. So is the government’s power of eminent domain (the taking of private property for a greater public purpose). It was invoked more than a century ago, when the transcontinental railroad first connected this country. Since that time, many farmers have lost the use of their land to four-lane highways, regional airports, and public utilities.

It’s for the public good. Nothing can be done. It’s progress, they’ve been told. Despite the gut-wrenching impact on some farm families, eminent domain has remained an abstract topic for most.

Today, a brand-new world of eminent domain is looming on the horizon, and farmers would be well advised to take note. For-profit private companies increasingly are gaining the use of this governmental power to take property over a landowner’s objections (after paying fair market value). Many of these power plays pit agricultural assets against energy infrastructure, cutting across a broad swath of land in multiple states.

Farm-to-market routes

The most prominent case is the Keystone XL oil pipeline, first proposed in 2008. It would move Canadian tar sands oil from Calgary to the Gulf Coast, crossing six states. The project was rerouted in 2011 because of its environmental risk to the Ogallala Aquifer. Many voluntary easements have been obtained. Yet, the question of eminent domain rose to the Nebraska Supreme Court in 2015 when landowners contested the governor’s authority to approve the route. The southern portion of the pipeline, from Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast, is almost complete.

As Keystone’s northern route awaits a State Department review, domestically produced crude oil pipelines also are overflowing with controversy. Dakota Access LLC, a division of the Texas-based Energy Transfer Partners, plans to build one that is 1,134 miles long – from the Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through South Dakota and Iowa, to a transfer point in Illinois near St. Louis. From there, oil would move by railcar or by pipeline to the Gulf.

Other energy projects are blowing in the wind. A company called Clean Line Energy Partners in Houston, Texas, has proposed six wind transmission projects. The Rock Island Clean Line (RICL) runs 500 miles across Iowa to Morris, Illinois, affecting 2,000 landowners (

Another line, the Grain Belt Express, also would erect towers from Kansas, through Illinois, and into Indiana.

(These are transmission lines. Eminent domain is unlikely to be used for turbines.)

Fringe benefits

Although the power of eminent domain isn’t new, these infrastructure projects raise some new questions. What is the definition of public use? Should a private company be granted franchise status (with eminent domain powers) if a majority of landowners reject voluntary easements? What is just compensation: fair market or commercial value?

Grassroots opposition groups have formed. Critics point out that, unlike interstates, state highways, or public utilities, the public use of these privately owned pipelines and wind transmission lines is destined for distant population centers.

“The benefits to property owners or citizens are tenuous at best,” says Algona, Iowa, attorney, Mike Gabor. “Economic benefits would be generated by construction jobs, property taxes, and a limited number of permanent jobs, but for the majority who live along the lines, use of the energy won’t be an option.”

Landowners argue that eminent domain was designed as a last-resort tool when one person or a small group of property owners is in the position to stop a project and thwart the will of the majority; it’s illegitimate if a majority refuses to accept a deal.

For-profit private companies must petition state utility boards for the power to use eminent domain. In Iowa, the RICL must have its franchise status approved by the three-member, nonelected Iowa Utilities Board (IUB). Now, 19 months into its acquisition effort, it’s obtained fewer than 15% voluntary easements on 1,540 parcels across the 16 Iowa counties along the route, says Carolyn Sheridan, president of Preservation of Rural Iowa Alliance, a nonprofit group that’s hired an attorney to represent all landowners with the IUB on the proposed pipeline (

She says the group supports wind energy but objects to the use of eminent domain. “RICL originally proposed following the railroad rights-of-way, but now it plans to create a new easement through prime farmland,” she says. It will erect four to six 115- to 150-foot-tall towers per mile. Other groups are opposing Clean Line Energy projects in Illinois, Missouri, Arkansas, and Oklahoma.

The Dakota Access LLC pipeline would cross 18 Iowa counties, creating 15 permanent jobs there. Objections include concerns over accidental leaks, damage to farmland and crops, reduction of property values, and interference with tile lines. The pipe would be buried beneath eight rivers and a handful of streams in Iowa alone.

Landowners also raise questions about fair payments. The easements are permanent. Yet, the compensation is a one-time, lump-sum payment. What about damages, lost profits, or property values?

“If the RICL is approved, it will be the largest taking of private property in Iowa,” Sheridan says.

By April 2015, 1,296 formal objections had been filed with the IUB. The hearing dates are likely to be mid- to late summer.

Multifaceted approach

The definition of public use varies from state to state. The stakes of eminent domain were raised in 2005, when a Supreme Court decision (Kelo v. City of New London) supported a broader definition of public use, including private economic development. In response to the RICL and Dakota Access projects, Iowa legislators are proposing a law to clarify eminent domain.

Few farmers would dispute the need to transport domestic oil and wind energy from where it’s produced to populated markets. No oil company, however, has come forward yet with plans for a pipeline to transport ethanol. Rail transport accidents involving the highly flammable Bakken oil also pose safety questions.

The Center for Rural Affairs has a report addressing eminent domain and use of fair market value at 052014.pdf.

Your farm may not be affected by these energy projects. Yet, domestic energy production is positioned on a fast track, and more landowners will be in its path. Today’s decisions are likely to set a precedent

If you’re asked to sign an easement or to negotiate terms, here are five steps you will want to take.

1. Contact your attorney to review any agreement.

2. Study damage, negligence, and abandonment clauses.

3. Determine exact size of easement area.

4. Learn if you would have more protection or compensation if you wait for condemnation.

5. File objections with utility board; ask for a survey permit.
charisstoma: (default)
Gaslighting: Know It and Identify It to Protect Yourself
Gaslighting is a manipulation tactic used to gain power. And it works too well.

Posted Jan 22, 2017

Gaslighting is a tactic of behavior in which a person or entity, in order to gain more power, makes a victim question their reality. It works a lot better than you may think. Anyone is susceptible to gaslighting. It is a common technique of abusers, dictators, narcissists, and cult leaders. It is done slowly, so the victim doesn't realize how much they've been brainwashed. In the movie Gaslight (1944), a man manipulates his wife to the point where she thinks she is losing her mind.

People that gaslight use the following techniques:

1. They tell you blatant lies.

You know it's an outright lie. Yet they are telling you this lie with a straight face. Why are they so blatant? Because they're setting up a precedent. Once they tell you a huge lie, you're not sure if anything they say is true. Keeping you unsteady and off-kilter is the goal.

2. They deny they ever said something, even though you have proof.

You know they said they would do know you heard it. But they out and out deny it. It makes you start questioning your reality - maybe they never said that thing. And the more they do this, the more you question your reality and start accepting theirs.

3. They use what is near and dear to you as ammunition.

They know how important your kids are to you, they know how important your identity is to you. So that is one of the first things they attack. If you have kids, they tell you that you did a disservice by having those children. They will tell you that if only you weren't _____________, you'd be a worthy person. They attack the foundation of your being.

4. They wear you down over time.

This is one of the insidious things about gaslighting - it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a lie there, a snide comment every so often...and then it starts ramping up. Even the brightest, most self-aware people can be sucked into gaslighting - it is that effective. It's the "frog in the frying pan" analogy - the heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what hit it.

5. Their actions do not match their words.

When dealing with a person or entity that gaslights, look at what they are doing rather than what they are saying. What they are saying means nothing. It is just talk. What they are doing is the issue.

6. They throw in positive reinforcement to confuse you.

This person or entity that is cutting you down, telling you that you don't have value - is now praising you for something you did. This adds an additional sense of uneasiness. You think, "Well maybe they aren't so bad." Yes, they are. This is a calculated attempt to keep you off-kilter - and again, question your reality. Also look at what you were praised for - it is probably something that served the gaslighter.

7. They know confusion weakens people.

Gaslighters know that all people like having a sense of stability and normalcy. Their goal is to uproot this and make you constantly question everything. And humans' natural tendency is to look to the person or entity that will help you feel more stable - and that happens to be the gaslighter.

8. They project.

They are a drug user or a cheater - yet they are constantly accusing you of that. This is done so repetitively that you start trying to defend yourself - and are distracted from the gaslighter's own behavior.

9. They try to align people against you.

Gaslighters are masters at manipulating and finding the people they know will stand by them no matter what - and they use these people against you. They will make comments such as "____________ knows that you're not right", or "___________ knows you're useless too". Keep in mind it does not mean that these people actually said these things. The gaslighter is a constant liar. When the gaslighter uses this tactic it makes you feel like you don't know who to trust or turn to - and that leads you right back to the gaslighter. And that's exactly what the want. Isolation gives them more control.

10. They tell you or others that you are crazy.

This is one of the most effective tools of the gaslighter - because it's dismissive. The gaslighter knows if they question your sanity, people will not believe you when you tell them the gaslighter is abusive or out-of-control. It's a master technique.

11. They tell you everyone else is a liar.

By telling you that everyone else (your family, the media) is a liar, it again makes you question your reality. You've never known someone with the audacity to do this, so they must be right, right? No. It's a manipulation technique. It makes people turn more to the gaslighter for the "correct" information - which isn't correct information at all.

The more you are aware of these techniques, the quicker you can identify them before you fall into the gaslighter's trap.


charisstoma: (Default)

July 2017

23456 7 8
9 10 11 12 13 14 15
1617 18 1920 21 22
23 24 25 26 27 28 29


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 29th, 2017 11:39 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios