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From CBS News:
Dozens charged in major opioid bust across U.S.
By Brian Pascus
Updated on: April 17, 2019 / 10:36 PM / CBS News

Dozens of people, including 53 medical professionals, have been charged for their alleged participation in the illegal prescription and distribution of opioids and other narcotics, Justice Department and Department of Health and Human Services officials said Wednesday. Federal law enforcement and health officials held a press conference in Cincinnati where they announced charges resulting from the Appalachian Regional Prescription Opioid Strike Force takedown operation that began only four months ago.
'k
[...] According to the indictment, one pharmacy in Dayton, Ohio prescribed over 1.75 million opioid pills
Wait what. Pharmacies can prescribe? Is that a thing? I thought the whole point of pharmacists existing was to separate the prescribing of drugs from the selling of drugs to eliminate the conflict of interest?
The indictment states one doctor in the Western District of Tennessee, who called himself the "Rock Doc," would exchange opioids and benzodiazepines with patients in return for sexual favors.
This is your friendly reminder that if a physician is prescribing medications to someone, the recipient of that prescription is that physician's patient, and a physician having sexual contact with a patient is, depending on jurisdiction, somewhere on the continuum from profoundly unethical to frankly felonious. Further, that someone with an addiction is someone with a mental illness that makes them desperate for relief. This is not an exchange for sexual favors, this is a medical professional sexually extorting the vulnerable mentally ill. Jesus Fucking Christ. This is like saying that a manager "exchanged promotions with subordinates for sexual favors", only worse. There is no sense in which this is a meeting of equals in which consent can obtain.

But all that said, turns out this "Rock Doc" person is not a physician. From The Tennessean:
Young, 43, a Tennessee nurse practitioner who called himself 'Rock Doc' and once piloted a reality show about his Jackson clinic, was indicted with federal drug trafficking charges this week, accused of trading drugs for sex.
*rolls eyes* Do NPs get to prescribe unsupervised in TN? Or is there some physician whose license this was done under?
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I received an email today from the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (consumerfinance.gov) with the subject line "Sandbox: Your email address and username have changed." and the text "If you did not make or request this change, or the new email address/username is incorrect, please contact us immediately at (855) 411-2372."

And, as long-time readers may remember, I use plus-addressing, and of course I had used a unique tag when I had opened an account (to complain about BoA, actually) with the CFPB years ago, and, yes, the tag in the email address was correct. Whoever it was who was emailing me had access to the CFPB's corpus of complainant email addresses.

I read the header, and there was a lot about Salesforce.com in there, and a SPF soft fail. There were no malicious urls hidden in the body and the phone number was correct, so *shrug* I called the CFPB.

They were very abashed and apologetic. And "knew about the issue". No, they weren't compromised; yes, "the emails had been sent in error".

[health, me] Technical Difficulties

Apr. 17th, 2019 12:07 am
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I am experiencing some technical difficulties with my body: I'm having some RSI problems with my arms, and also I seem to have injured a leg. The remaining limb aint none to happy with the resultant distribution of labor.

My various hurt bits seem to improve if I don't use them. But everything in my life seems to consist of either keyboarding/writing or going somewhere. Argh.

[labor, MA] Peapod Update

Apr. 16th, 2019 11:56 pm
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Peapod has no delivery times available until Sunday April 28. This suggests either an abundance of caution, or they don't think the Stop and Shop strike is being resolved any time in the next week and a half.

They're still aggressively advertising their new delivery discount deals, which one cannot presently elect. I'm guessing that was preprogrammed in advance, or maybe there's areas they're still delivering in? Their notification text suggests that.
Also, it was updated:
Important information regarding order availability.

We are experiencing some service disruptions within your service area due to a result of current negotiations between UFCW unions and Stop&Shop. If you are looking to place an order, delivery and pick-up times may be limited. Please check the Delivery Times page to see current availability for your specific location.

We know our customers rely on us. We’re working hard to ensure that we can continue to serve the communities that we operate in and we hope to be back to full service availability as quickly as possible. We genuinely appreciate your business and thank you for your patience.

If you have any questions about a scheduled order, please call or email Peapod Customer Care on 800-5-PEAPOD (800-573-2763) or service@peapod.com
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FreeTaxUSA.com: "Thank you for your business. We look forward to preparing your
tax return next year."

You do? Then why did you fuckers print "SELF-PREPARED" all over the tax return I just had you, uh, "prepare".

So what, exactly, is the IRS's definition of a professional tax preparer, such that something like FreeTaxUSA – or its better known competitors TurboTax, TaxAct, H&R Block at Home, etc – isn't one?

I mean, I understand the logic at one point might have been, "Well, it's just software, a tool, that the user uses to prepare a tax return, unlike hiring a professional to interrogate you for your financial information, answer your questions about what needs to happen and what the tax laws say, advise you on how to minimize your taxes, or generate the actual documents you sign and send to the IRS/state equiv." Except not only does the tool do a bunch of those things, these tools all come with access to documentation and even human interactions to provide all the rest of that. There doesn't seem to be any daylight left between what a human tax preparer does and what these software tools + their customer support humans do.

Is this just one of those things where the real sole difference is that the software companies just disavow legal responsibility as "tax preparers", and are allowed to get away with it by buying Congress?

[me, taxes] Taxes done

Apr. 14th, 2019 11:08 pm
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Done, phew! My Federal taxes took longer than expected because I didn't know about the Qualified Business Income Deduction, which doesn't turn to out play gracefully with multiple Schedule Cs - or at least the implementation at FreeTaxUSA.com doesn't handle it gracefully.

Also, I duly made my first quarter estimated tax payments, both IRS and DOR.

Good lord the DOR's web interface sucks. For anybody else trying to do this, the obvious "Make a Payment" link on the home page has maybe nothing to do making tax payments at all; you can't use it for estimated tax payments, certainly. Every damn time I have to look up in the FAQ how to find the interface for making tax payments, which is different.

I did not in any way expect that the bank account I set up last Tuesday would be up and running sufficiently that I would be paying my Q1 estimated taxes out of it today, but here we are. Paypal turned around the set up process of linking the account faster than they ever have in my experience, and the transfers I made via Paypal from old bank account to new cleared in about 24 hours each. The money was all sitting in my new account waiting to go yesterday - Saturday, four days after the account was opened. So, *shrug*. What the hell. I was all prepared to use the old account, but it wasn't necessary.
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0) Stop & Shop workers are on strike. Support the workers! Do no cross the picket lines and shop somewhere else until management comes to terms.

1) What Peapod management said about the strike (from Boston.com):
Peapod, the online delivery company that partners with Stop & Shop, told customers Thursday that the strike should not affects its services, but would inform them “if for some reason an issue arises.” Peapod is owned by the same parent company as Stop & Shop, Dutch grocery giant Ahold Delhaize.
What is actually happening on Peapod.com right now:

Notification on Peapod 4/12/19 (technically about 1am 4/13/19).  Transcription:  Important information regarding order availability. We are experienceing some service disruptions with your delivery area. If you are looking to place an order, delivery times are limited. Please check the Delivery Times page to see current availability. For customers expecting completed orders, you should have received details via email, call and/or text regarding your order status. Thank you for your patience.

"Please check the Delivery Times page to see current availability"? Okay...

Screenshot of Peapod scheduler interface, showing "sold out" availability on Sunday, two days from taken.
Screenshot of Peapod scheduler interface, showing "sold out" availability later on Sunday, two days from taken.
Screenshot of Peapod scheduler interface, showing "sold out" availability on Monday, three days from taken.
Screenshot of Peapod scheduler interface, showing "sold out" availability on Tuesday, four days from taken.
Screenshot of Peapod scheduler interface, showing "sold out" availability on Wednesday, five days from taken.

Uh-huh.

Not that I had any intention of booking my regular – or any – order. I just logged in to fire off a note to customer service expressing solidarity with the union and letting them know I was observing the strike, and having done that, saw the service outage notification and decided to share.
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From:    "Tumblr" <noreply@tumblr.com>
To:      siderea
Date:    Fri, 12 Apr 2019 23:00:00 +0000 (UTC)
Subject: The Tumblr community is nominated for a Web
     ***by!

part 2     text/plain                2686
This is the header title.

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it. Aliquam tincidunt elementum sem non luctus. Ut do
lor nisl, facilisis non magna quis, elementum ultrici
es tortor. In mattis, purus ut tincidunt egestas, lig
ula nulla accumsan justo, vitae bibendum orci ligula
id ipsum. Nunc elementum tincidunt libero, in ullamco
rper magna volutpat a.

blogname.tumblr.com

Blog description here

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing el
it. Aliquam tincidunt elementum sem non luctus. Ut do
lor nisl, facilisis non magna quis, elementum ultrici
es tortor. In mattis, purus ut tincidunt egestas, lig
ula nulla accumsan justo, vitae bibendum orci ligula
id ipsum. Nunc elementum tincidunt libero, in ullamco
rper magna volutpat a.Unsubscribe From This List


Yes, Tumblr, even in 2019, some of us see the text/plain component of emails.

[banking] How Not to Run a Bank, S4E1

Apr. 12th, 2019 05:03 pm
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A new season of How Not to Run a Bank commenced on Tuesday! I don't know however that there will be anything to actually air, because so far the bank in question hasn't screwed anything up.

I know, I wasn't prepared either.

As previously mentioned, I found my then-new bank's statements unusable. And there was also the fact – did I mention this? – that while opening the account in the first place, I discovered that they were so profoundly unprepared to open a business account for a sole proprietorship, and were finding the whole thing so traumatic, that I said, "Hey, if it would make things easier, I just really need the checking account now. We can come back and do the savings account on another day." And the banker (and her boss and her other colleague) gratefully accepted my offer.

(How unprepared were they to open a business account for a sole prop? Their computer system was incompatable with Massachusetts sole prop business certificates. Yeah, MA is one of the few(?) states that has biz certs issued by municipalities, not counties. Their screen for entering the info from the biz cert had a helpful pulldown list to indicate the granting jurisdiction – of MA counties. Apparently they don't do this much in MA. I chatted up the branch manager (who was by this point involved in trying to set up my account) and he said the bank was from Connecticut.)

I never did go back for the savings account. I emailed my banker on a Friday asking about terms for their available banking products, and by Saturday night I had the flu, and even though she got back to me on Monday, I was out of commission for a week, then moving. And the terms sucked and also I was not feeling like I wanted to do business with a bank that considered a MA sole prop with business certificate some sort of challenging exotic edge case. So I have been trying to run my business out of a single checking account and it's been driving me up the wall.

I did decide, upon discovering the uselessness of their statements, that I needed to move to a new bank. At the time, I was overwhelmed with my personal moving drama, and not in any position to deal with it, and, well. Another bank was in the process of opening up a branch right around the corner. One with which I had previously had many satisfactory dealings. So I waited patiently, and a week ago Wednesday, I discovered it was finally open. I stopped in, tested the ATMs to make sure they accept cash deposits, and chatted briefly with a banker, asking the crucial question about what their statements were like for business bank accounts. I explained what the other bank was doing and he got that slightly incredulous "I know I shouldn't be surprised, but man" look.

Also, their business accounts are free.

So I came back on my first available day, Tuesday afternoon, and opened a fresh set of business bank accounts.

So far so good. I've already patched the checking account into PayPal and gotten my online banking account up and running. I did run into one technical glitch with the website, but I've gotten that straightened out with a call to tech support. I'm still waiting on getting the ATM card so I can migrate fully to them and close the previous account, but in the meanwhile, I've been moving money in from the shambles that is the previous business bank account via PayPal.

It has been amazing how much a relief it has been to do this, and actually get my accounts in order. I shouldn't feel this much glee at banking, but here we are.

Meanwhile, I still have the previous pair of bank accounts open, the ones I was trying to flee by opening the account at the bank that I am now leaving. The ones at BoA. I cleverly decided to open a new pair of business bank accounts in December, and start using the new accounts with the new fiscal year; I would then finish up fiscal year 2018 out of the BoA accounts and close them. The last thing to do was file my taxes and pay my outstanding tax bill, and then transfer everything left over into my personal bank account as profit – which I was planning on doing the second the IRS opened 2018 tax year filing. Like Feb 1. Ha ha ha. Moving. So now it's April 12 and I still haven't filed my taxes.

I have started preparing them. That was the other thing I was doing this week. I have an hour or two more going over my hard-copy receipts to see if I missed any of my expenses, and then I push the button.

Pro tip: don't try to pay your estimated tax payments while delirious with the flu! I accidentally double-paid my last payment. I have a checkbook "app" that lets me set up transactions in advance and store them, so that I just have to click an icon and confirm to write them to the register when they happen; I had lovingly set up all my tax payments in there when I did my 2017 taxes. In the throws of the flu, I completely blew past the pre-set (correct!) payment in my Upcoming transactions log, and entered a fresh one from memory. I assume I was getting panicky in a "OMG IRS DOESN'T CARE ABOUT YOUR FLU MUST MAKE PAYMENT BEFORE DEADLINE" way. I don't remember much of that chunk of January, except the part about coughing up blood.

So here I am, expecting to owe the IRS about $1.5k, and fully prepared to pay two grand, aaaaaaaaaaaand it's looking like I owe about $300. \o/

Anyways, I'm super looking forward to being done with that bank too.

ETA: $99! \o/

[civics, surrealism] Serendipity

Apr. 12th, 2019 04:50 am
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I had a nice experience on the way to work today. Have you ever thought to yourself, "grumblegrumblegrumble I wish they'd asked me for my input before they went and did this! What were they thinking?!" Today, by complete chance, I was in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to discover Something Bad was going to happen to my local bus stop, due to private citizens, who meant no harm, having no idea that what they were up to was going to impact the stop, and engage them in friendly conversation, and provide them with what they clearly found to be helpful pointers about how bus stops work. They were delighted and grateful, and we may now be getting a bus stop bench. You're welcome, Arlington.
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