10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America (and might be offended to learn)

The point is we don’t really get perspective on what’s close to us until we spend time away from it. Just like you didn’t realize the weird quirks and nuances of your family until you left and spent time with others, the same is true for country and culture. You often don’t see what’s messed up about your country and culture until you step outside of it.

And so even though this article is going to come across as fairly scathing, I want my American readers to know: some of the stuff we do, some of the stuff that we always assumed was normal, it’s kind of screwed up. And that’s OK. Because that’s true with every culture. It’s just easier to spot it in others i.e., the French so we don’t always notice it in ourselves.

via 10 Things Most Americans Don’t Know About America | Der Bananenplanet.

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The Nuts and Bolts of the Military Industrial Complex

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_TOO_MANY_TANKS?SITE=VANOV&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

he first editions of the Abrams tank were fielded in the early 1980s. Over the decades, the Abrams supply chain has become embedded in communities across the country.

General Dynamics estimated in 2011 that there were more than 560 subcontractors throughout the country involved in the Abrams program and that they employed as many as 18,000 people. More than 40 of the companies are in Pennsylvania, according to Sen. Robert Casey, D-Pa., also a staunch backer of continued tank production.
A letter signed by 173 Democratic and Republican members of the House last year and sent to then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta demonstrated the depth of bipartisan support for the Abrams program on Capitol Hill. They chided the Obama administration for neglecting the industrial base and proposing to terminate tank production in the United States for the first time since World War II.

Portman, who served as President George W. Bush’s budget director before being elected to the Senate, said allowing the line to wither and close would create a financial mess.

The context of this is why Congress keeps ordering tanks ths Army doesn’t want or need.

Novartis Violates Corporate Integrity Agreement, Yes, Those Apparently Exist

http://www.forbes.com/sites/edsilverman/2013/04/27/did-novartis-violate-its-corporate-integrity-agreement/

But there is more to this story. Novartis, as Preet Bharara, the US Attorney in Manhattan points out, Novartis is a repeat offender. He was referring to a case three years ago in which Novartis paid $422.5 million in penalties and pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor to resolve criminal allegations for improperly promoting its Trileptal epilepsy med and several other drugs (see this). As a result of that settlement, the drugmaker signed a Corporate Integrity Agreement, which required establishing an internal compliance program and reporting violations, among other things (read more here). The CIA was signed in September 2010, yet both lawsuits allege various infractions occurred afterwards.

Needs more prosecutions.   I’m all for revoking their drug selling ability and auctioning off any patents for important drugs to more reputable companies….yea..reputable drug manufacturers…good luck there.

For anyone wondering about the high cost of healthcare in the U.S., this is one off the main scams.

Want Republicans Think Governing Is

http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2013/04/house-gop-conservatives-obamacare-repeal-vote.php?m=1

“If you’re a freshman — the guys who’ve been up here the last year, we can go home and say listen, we voted 36 different times to repeal or replace Obamacare. Tell me what the new guys are supposed to say,” he said. “We haven’t had a repeal or replace vote this year.”

“We have not had a chance as freshmen to do that,” said first-term Rep. Trey Radel (R-FL). “Even if it’s just symbolic — and even if we understand that process-wise we are not going to be able to say, okay we want repeal, it’s done, and it’s over. But this is the issue that so many people around the country who love the Republican Party are frustrated with.”

We want to waste the People’s time and money too, they cry.

More Errors, More Money

http://m.cbsnews.com/storysynopsis.rbml?pageType=health&url=http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-204_162-57580117/surgical-complications-and-errors-bring-in-more-money-for-hospitals/&catid=57580117

A report published on April 17 in JAMA showed that surgical errors mean longer stays, additional care — and 330 percent higher profit margin compared to a privately insured patient with no complications. Hospitals stand to make 190 percent more from procedures on Medicare patients with errors than those without.

And yet the GOP claims that cutting lawsuits that have realized this dynamic is the solution.  Glad that Obama got results testing for compensation in his health bill.

How will Conservatives Respond to New Information that Counters their Beliefs?

http://www.salon.com/2013/04/17/whoops_turns_out_debt_doesnt_ruin_economies/singleton/

So, austerity’s canceled, right? Haha, no, sorry. The problem is that debt moralists used the study to justify a political belief, and they will not shed that belief now that the study has been shown to be flawed. The idea that debt is just innately bad, and indicative of a sort of national deficiency of character, will persist.

Microsoft “Innovates” Search Like They Did With Everything Else

Google Catches Bing Copying; Microsoft Says So What? | Wired Business | Wired.com.

Sitting next to Cutts, Microsoft vice president Harry Shum didn’t deny that Microsoft was watching what people searched on and clicked on in Google.

“My argument is that when users use search engines, they are actually willing to share the data. We are collectively using the data to improve the search engine,” Shum said. “Everyone does this, Matt.”

Cutts shot back, “We don’t use clicks on Bing in Google’s ranking.”

Extracting Audio from Pictures

Three years ago, a survey team identified a staggering 569,148 time-based media objects on the Bloomington campus of Indiana University—that’s over half a million sound recordings, video recordings, and reels of film. The earliest items documented in the survey report date back to 1893.

However, that report doesn’t mention what might be considered IU Bloomington’s oldest time-based media of all. That’s not because we didn’t do a thorough job. Rather, it’s because the items in question don’t look or behave much like the media we were surveying—discs, reels, cylinders, cassettes, and so forth. Instead, they’re pictures in books. And pictures in books seem well outside the scope of the Media Preservation Initiative.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t play them back—and some of them are pretty exciting.

via Extracting Audio from Pictures | media preservation.

Access and preservation of historical media objects looks to make “history” a more applied profession.

See also…this article on restoring the color of Greek statues.

EA Makes Worst Company In America History, Wins Title For Second Year In A Row!

EA Makes Worst Company In America History, Wins Title For Second Year In A Row! – Consumerist.

Congrats, EA, you earned this!

You’ve also earned my contempt…which is why you haven’t earned any of my hard-earned money after the BF3 fiasco.

Do you care?  No, you don’t…because you know there’s a couple million spoiled rotten upper-middle-class shits that will convince their folks that $60 is cheaper than hearing the kid whine even more…and they’ll shell out enough to make the next uninspiring sequel “profitable”.

Aaaah, corporate America…you suck.