Friday (somewhere): Why

More stuff broken and worse than I expected.

Rather an understatement, that. This week has been a massive case of broken.

Other broken things

Wishing us all a better weekend. Be kind to each other and fix something broken.

Blogger since 2002, political activist since 2003, geek since birth. Opinions informed by mixed-race, multi-ethnic, cis-female condition, further shaped by kind friends of all persuasions. Sci-tech frenemy, wannabe artist, decent cook, determined author, successful troublemaker. Mother of invention and two excessively smart-assed young adult kids. Attended School of Hard Knocks; Rather Unfortunate Smallish Private Business School in Midwest; Affordable Mid-State Community College w/evening classes. Self-employed at Tiny Consulting Business; previously at Large-ish Chemical Company with HQ in Midwest in multiple marginalizing corporate drone roles, and at Rather Big IT Service Provider as a project manager, preceded by a motley assortment of gigs before the gig economy was a thing. Blogging experience includes a personal blog at the original blogs.salon.com, managing editor for a state-based news site, and a stint at Firedoglake before landing here at emptywheel as technology’s less-virginal-but-still-accursed Cassandra.
13 replies
  1. bloopie2 says:

    “Polarized Congress damaging oversight?” This has certainly contributed to the Executive Branch no longer believing that it is accountable to the Legislative Branch. Red, Blue, doesn’t matter. The Atlantic had a recent article in which State government workers complained that FOIA request work kept them from doing their “real” jobs. It’s as if reporting to your boss (the People, in this case) as to how and what you are doing what they hired you to do, isn’t part of everyone’s job.

  2. bloopie2 says:

    “Be kind to each other and fix something broken.” One of the smoke detectors in one of the bedrooms is beeping every thirty seconds or so—battery low, I guess. If only these old ears and brain could hook up together and figure out which one it is. Replace them all? Oh, well.

  3. bloopie2 says:

    Here is a link to a neat 2008 New Yorker article on the use of less lethal force by police departments (a propos today in light of the Dallas robot execution). Recommended reading, so you will know what options were (even 8 years ago) available to cops, other than guns. I especially like the last one, the magnetic audio device, which is today a commercially available product.
    .
    http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2008/06/02/non-lethal-force

  4. bloopie2 says:

    Rayne, I expect you to keep me up to speed on everything worth knowing (!!). I fear, however, that somehow you have missed this article relating to child marriage. Did you know that in some states if an adult gets a child pregnant, the child’s pregnancy constitutes an exception to the rule barring underage marriage? I just love America; there’s SO much fodder for cocktail party chatter.
    .
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2016/jul/08/child-marriage-forced-minors-virginia-law

  5. John Casper says:

    Rayne, thanks for the great link on the UP derailment and resulting oil explosion–excellent detail on track inspections
    .
    bloopie, sorry to hear about the beeps. Would a battery tester help?
    Also, perhaps logging (on the detector?) of when the battery was last changed?

    • P J Evans says:

      I used to wrap an file-folder label around the battery and put the date on it, as well as the previous two or three dates the battery was changed.

      Some people suggest changing the battery on the same day every year, so you know when you should do it whether it beeps or not. (I tended to aim at Veteran’s Day; choose your own memorable date.)

      As far as the RR inspection: they may have too many miles of railroad to check per day, or not enough inspectors to do it on foot.

      • John Casper says:

        PJ, like your battery tracking system.
        .
        Railroad oligopoly background, Bill Ackman used to own 9% of Canadian Pacific. With his recent losses–Herbalife, Valeant–, he may have had to sell some. Buffett owns Burlington Northern. AFAIK, other elites, private equity firms, TBTF banks control Union Pacific. They’re squeezing out as much cash as they can.

        They know the weight of each car, the speed, wind speed and direction; weather conditions. With hyper accurate geo-positioning, couldn’t they use data from each train to build an early warning system database? Wouldn’t one or multiple cars sense deteriorating track conditions, that could trigger a human inspection? From the other side, isn’t there a way to wire the tracks to sense tampering and degradation to inform the database?

        I assume they’ve insulated themselves with insurance coverage for catastrophic events. Underwriters must figure their losses are capped. In the event of fatalities, they probably feel as though low level company executives will face criminal courts. Don Blankenship killed 29-miners and got a year. http://www.reuters.com/article/us-massey-energy-ceo-idUSKCN0X324W

        • P J Evans says:

          In my immediate area, the tracks belong to our commuter rail agency. They still have a lot of rail to inspect, but it’s not as big a problem. They replaced a lot of ties several years ago – there was a storage yard right across the tracks from the parking lot – so it’s possibly in better shape that it might have been. (We get freight going through mostly at night, and a couple in the middle of the day, along with Amtrak.)

          I’m wondering how much of it depends on where the tracks are – do urban-area tracks get inspected more closely than tracks out in the middle of nowhere?

  6. laura says:

    It is entirely possible that Gretchen Carlson was required to agree to arbitrate any/all employment-related disputes including Title VII.
    My employer called a staff meeting and when we arrived, the boss explained how he was giving us a choice of signing an agreement to arbitrate all employment-related issues including discrimination. He had the attorneys present and said we could ask for a consultation. No one did because the client is the employer. The alternative was to turn in our keys and resign.
    I don’t know that Ailes required his staff to waive all contractual and statutory rights without a review of the contract.
    Just sayin’ this is a thing.

    • Procopius says:

      I saw on another blog a statement that she says she never agreed to arbitration for anything. That would be unusual in today’s corporate world. If Ailes succeeds in getting this pushed into arbitration it should be another argument against TPP/TTIP/TiSA.

    • rugger9 says:

      I do see those kinds of things as well, but since when does arbitration supersede the Supremacy Clause? If Roger A is not careful, he may get this point specifically litigated and all of those arbitration constraints be thrown out.

      After all, if it’s contract law and only contract law, even slavery is not off the table.

      • bmaz says:

        The employment contract was with Fox though. Does a private action against an individual, Ailes, require consideration under the employment agreement with Fox, where Ailes is a superior?
        .
        Think the argument that it does is not ill-taken. It might! By the same token, Carlson is trying to sue under very expansive and favorable NY law that might go outside of the “contract” with Fox.
        .
        Problem is she is doing so in a New Jersey court. Her attorneys have attacked brilliantly so far. That said, I would not be surprised if there was not a ruling at some point that it is subject to arbitration.
        .
        Better question is what happens on THAT appeal?

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