A Word From Some of Our Other Disasters: LA Pet Bleg

While we’ve been focused on Harvey and its effects on Texas and Louisiana, as well as potential follow ons from Irma and other developing tropical storms, significant portions of the US are on fire. There’s a very large wildfire in Curry County, Oregon – details here. A chunk of Montana is on fire. Actually from looking at the incident list, Montana is on fire – not just a chunk. And, of course, there is a huge wildfire in the greater Los Angeles area. The Los Angeles Animal Shelter has put out a call for fosters and adoptions as they are over capacity from animals evacuated and/or rescued from the La Tuna Canyon fire.

Urgent need for adopters and fosters NOW. Our shelters are full as we prepare to provide care and shelter for animals being evacuated from the La Tuna Canyon fire.
Fosters Urgently Needed: East Valley – 29, Harbor – 40, North Central -16, South Lost Angeles – 43, West Los Angeles – 14, West Valley – 5
So if you’re in the area and have a safe place and the ability to help, please do. If you’re wondering just how bad the La Tuna Canyon fire is, and you don’t have your own F/A-18E/F Superhornet to fly over and check it out, here’s a fairly recent picture:
If you’re in proximity to these fires, please stay safe.

Texas Flooding – How To Help

Here’s someone who’s helping.

Not all of us can bring our boats down to Houston to help rescue people. Probably would not be a good thing if we all did. It’s even possible that this will be one of those Twitter feel-good stories that winds up otherwise. Here’s another story and a social science comment. Most people are good at heart.

The best thing we can do from far away is to send money to organizations that are providing help. Here are some. Offer up more, preferably those that you know personally, in the comments.

Red Cross

Houston Humane Society

San Antonio Humane Society

Austin Pets Alive

Update: Suggestions from the thread below.

SPCA of Brazoria County

Houston Food Bank

Portlight – Disaster aid for people with disabilities

Texas Diaper Bank






Cat Rescuer Bleg: Bella in NOLA

Remember Bella, and her rescuer Dalai Rasta (Scott)? They could use some help right now….

Unfortunately, everything hasn’t been well. Bella had her first phenobarbital level taken on July 27. Her vet slightly reduced her dose because Bella was close to a toxic level; unfortunately, she had a seizure the following Saturday morning, so she had to go back to the original dosage. Bella’s behaving normally now and hasn’t had another seizure, but I’m still very concerned about her health going forward.

In other news, my father had to go to the hospital on July 28; his white blood cell count was very low, and he contracted a respiratory infection. He was diagnosed with streptococcal bronchitis and congestive heart failure. The hospital treated him for almost a week, then sent him home on August 3 and, to me, it all felt a bit precipitous. He’s been improving, but he’s still got a bad cough…


Here is the link for my father’s GoFundMe campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/eugene-p-carter-chemotherapy-fund

He was able to resume chemotherapy, and his time in the hospital has proved to be something of a positive, since his medications have been adjusted for his current condition. It’s also just nice to spend a bit of time out of the house with him on the days I can accompany him for his treatments.

Bella is doing fairly well, though I am rather troubled that we weren’t able to reduce her dosage. The cats have been introduced to laser pointers, and our two torties are big fans of the red dot. I’m adding a few pictures of Bella and Dobby playing with my father on the night he came home from the hospital.

I’m not on any social media other than this blog, so even if you can’t donate, it would be a mitzvah for you to post the GoFundMe link on Facebook et al. Positive pings also encouraged!

Cat Brothers Rescue Bleg – Wilmington, NC

From longtime commentor EFGoldman:

My son-in-law’s mother died suddenly this week. She had two cats, which she mistreated by overfeeding them terribly (one weighs 40 lbs!!). They need to be rescued or rehomed.

Can we put out a request for possibilities in the WILMINGTON NC area, please. I will pass them on to my son in law. Sorry, got no pix.

The cats are a bonded pair of male orange tabby brothers from the same litter, approx 8-9 years old. They are large and slow, in both senses of the word, not particularly active or vivacious but generally purring lumps, amenable to petting. They have lived in the same house since kittenhood and are as yet untried with dogs or children.

If you have room in your homes and your hearts for a couple of friendly, ambulatory hassocks — or if you have recommendations about no-kill shelters in the Wilmington area — leave a comment below. Or contact me at AnneLaurie.BJ@gmail.com, and I’ll forward your message to EFG.

Pet Bleg III: The Buddy Update

Look at that face! You know you want to help that face!!!!

BL has sent along an update about Buddy. First the good stuff:

Buddy now likes to play ball. At first he was horrible at catching balls, but is getting better. His walking is also improving daily. At first he could hardly walk; now he is trotting short distances. He loves scratches and sleeps next to me as I work. He’s a really happy dog and should make someone very happy.
And now we tug your heart strings and ask you to reach deep, deep, deep!
Thanks for your help so far.  I have sent emails and phone calls to about 10 rescue groups so far, and heard back from one. That one (a lab rescue) is processing the information to see if they will accept Buddy. I think we will have better luck if I get him all his tests and vaccinations.
Buddy will spend the next few days at my daughter.
I am scheduling Buddy for vaccinations, tests and to be fixed later this week.
I estimate the initial costs for Buddy, not counting the $300-$500 that Rescue Groups ask for in donation to be $1710.
Doctor visit $52
Anasthesia Check/Fix (checked w/vet) $520
Fecal check $51
Bordatella $37
Influenza $43
Lepto $37
Lyme $43
Heartworm screen $57
Cardiologist $700
Heartworm Prev – 6 mon $60
Lyme screen $50
Tick-Flea Prev – 3 mon $60
I already paid for a rabies shot so it is not in the above costs. The estimate for the cardiologist to check his potential arrhythmia came from my daughter that has a dog with arrhythmia and recently saw a cardiologist.
I started a youcaring fundraiser, since they seem to charge the least in fees.
Here is the link.
Any assistance for BL efforts to get Buddy situated would be greatly appreciated! All lines are open. Operators are standing by.

Managing the information fire hose

How do we manage the information fire hose when critical public news breaks in an area with significant technical jargon, precedents and folk ways breaks through the barrier of interesting to vital. How do we, people who want to be reasonably well informed, differentiate between the spectrum between expertise to bullshit to active noisemaking to drown out the signal?

For health insurance and health finance, I have an advantage. At this point, I can filter information streams where some people say very little but are extremely information and value dense, to daily reads with something interesting to say where I can trust that I am not going to chase references to people with interesting things to say but have to be approached with care to active bullshit artists. Those categories are independent of political affiliation. I have liberal and conservative high density information providers, I have liberal and conservative bullshit artists that I just don’t read. This filtering was developed over years of participation in the conversation.

National security law, money laundering, counter-intelligence are all areas that I know exist and I know some people are worth tracking. David Ignatius at the Washington Post is a pipeline to the three letter agency world. Bradly Moss is an acknowledged expert on clearances. The Brookings Lawfare blog is a collection of experts who are trying very hard to write for both a professional audience and an informed lay audience. There are others, but I don’t know who they folks are.

As this issue increases in salience people emerge from the woodwork. Some of them know what they are talking about (much like some anonymous guy at an almost top-10,000 blog proved that he knew what he was talking about on health insurance) and some don’t. Yet they offer nuggets that could be very tempting to chase for confirmation bias reasons.

How do we manage the information fire hose to at least flag the actively negative contributors to net knowledge and hopefully filter out or at least minimize the noise from the occasionally interesting but often non-contributory voices.

We’re lucky here at Balloon Juice. We have two domain area experts, Adam and Cheryl, sharing with us. But as issues outside of our normal experiences dominate the political discussion, how do we find people who know what the hell they are talking about without wading through a river of nonsense?

Tech Bleg


Hey, all.  Here’s a post that substitutes fecklessness for anything even remotely resembling politics.

The sprout, a gamer, just came in to ask if we could upgrade to 330 mbps internet from RCN, from our current 155 mbps.

We got the latter on a 12 month intro price that has just expired, and we’d get the new service on a renewed promotional price, so the all-in price is only about eight bucks more per month.

What I’m wondering is if the increase in download/upload speed will make any noticeable difference to our actual web life. We use our home connection to do very conventional things:  email and the kind of online work that grown ups do (I spend a lot of time mousing around digital archives, for example, and a lot looking at online art galleries); gaming (my son) and streaming TV:  Netflix and Amazon Prime right now.

We’re getting artifacts and annoying skips and resolution loss in the latter, and it would probably be worth a few bucks a month to smooth that out.  But I have no real idea if our bottleneck lies with the download speed or if there are other bottlenecks to blame.

Any thoughts, oh more technically capable folks?

Also, any reason I shouldn’t by a DOCSIS 3.0 modem instead of renting one from RCN? Any insight on how malicious the cable companies are about obsolete-ing home gear?

Thanks to any and all.

Image:  J.W.M. Turner, Rain, Steam and Speed — The Great Western Railroad, 1844.