Friday links! Serve the humans edition

What's that? Do I hear pussy talk?

What’s that? Do I hear pussy talk?

Well, it happened: Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius resigned before I could record the rap lyric I serve humans like Kathleen Sebelius, / reading Jack Handy and Marcus Aurelius. She also resigned before I could design and construct the machine that would allow me to join the Beastie Boys in a time when that rhyme scheme was appropriate, but that’s the thing about building a time machine. You can finish it whenever.  Today is Friday, and we’ll bestow our gifts on the people when we damn well please. Won’t you do a basically adequate job of serving humanity with me?

Poor Kathy the Bee. Her job was a necessary casualty of the defining political, cultural and moral project of our lives: repealing Obamacare. In its triumph, Fox News gently shifts the narrative to have Sebelius presiding over a failed rollout of the health insurance exchanges, not just And thus the first draft of history is written. Can you believe a bunch of nerds who don’t know how to work their computers did this shit to Kathleen goddamn Sebelius? The former governor of Ohio? The former governor of Ohio’s daughter? Those nerds are going to pay.

Specifically, they will pay various political action committees to halt investigations against them. The New York Times has published a scathing editorial denouncing the “connection between Medicare fraud and super PAC abuse.” Here’s how it works: Dr. Salomon Melgen is the number-one recipient of Medicare dollars in the US, billing the program $21 million in 2012. He gives $700,000 to a Harry Reid super PAC and about $140,000 to Democratic campaign committees and Sen. Robert Menendez (D-NJ.) In a dispute over a lucrative port security contract, Menendez intervenes with the State department on Melgen’s behalf. Pretty much all the dollars involved in this tale of graft were collected from taxpayers.

But it’s not enough to serve people like that. You also have to protect them. This article about a Department of Justice investigation finding that the Albuquerque Police Department exhibited a “pattern or practice of use of excessive force” is exciting in a lot of ways. But my personal favorite is the last two graphs, which describe ongoing protests against police brutality:

In last month’s protests, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets for almost nine hours in the second such gathering in less than a week. At one point, police used tear gas against the crowds after some participants began vandalizing property and spray painting buildings along Central Avenue, according to KRQE.

Maybe don’t even bring tear gas to the rally against police brutality. Should the crowd run wild and beat up you, the police, you will arguably be in an even better position than if you had gassed the hell out of everybody. Fun, only partly-related fact: because so little is known about North Korea, the International Centre for Prison Studies can’t decide which country has put the largest portion of its populace in prison: the DPRK or the United States.

Internet facts are the best, aren’t they? Just ask the Imgur contributor who spent an afternoon posting made-up facts on Facebook. He really nails the visual style, as well as the affirmative tone of such claims as “your heart wants you to live.” But there are lots of misconceptions floating around, as well as corrections of misconceptions that may themselves be misconceived. Did you know that George Washington’s dentures contained actual human teeth? Why not? 



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