What a Perfect Spot for a Picnic!

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Don’t mind the rattlesnakes, they don’t like sandwiches.

In Closing:  A little NSA and government spying stuff; a little education stuff; a little health and fitness and diet stuff; a little women’s issues stuff; a little historical stuff.

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Music Monday: A Night at the Symphony

This is probably my favorite full symphony composition of all time. And that’s saying something from a lady who loves her some Wolfgang Amadeus (yeah yeah and props to Ludwig Van).

In Closing: some more NSA and privacy follies; student loans; crude; illustration of double standard; embarrassing coincidence; lost Sherlock Holmes story; malls have always been an easy target and I’m not sure why this is news (oh but if you had to go through a TSA checkpoint to go shopping I bet Americans would say enough); a shocking misunderstanding of anatomy; because ads will surely cure you; and amusing alteration of signage.

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Where is my motivation?

Since getting home from Texas last week, I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to write anything. I promise to get back on track soon. In the meantime, please enjoy some NSA and spying on Americans links, on the Post Office, our Vice President getting cheeky, crows solving problems, stuff I have been saying for years, sex workers, Mustangs, resume tips, a good point about antibiotic resistance, reverse Robin Hood, and many thanks to Comrade Misfit for introducing me to Wednesday.

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So much for the right to a speedy trial

As our elected officials continue to do almost nothing that solves any real problems (and propose many things that pretend to solve problems both made up and real), I’d like to point out something about the immigration “reform” debate: the people who are trying to get their status normalized are being told they might get a court date in 2019.

Now, take a look at your calendar. Says 2015, right? So that’s 4 years from now. It’s also one Presidential election and two Congressional elections from now, so who can really say what the rules will be when today’s immigrants finally get their days in court.

Gee, it’s almost like the Powers That Be like the fact that there’s an easily exploited underclass of illegal workers!

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Convenient Insecurity

My car is a simple thing. You hit a button to lock the doors. You hit a button and you can unlock doors. If you open a door from inside, it unlocks.

I don’t think I’ll ever own a GM car. I’ve been in a number of rentals, and there’s a “feature” I find unacceptable. Ok sure, lock all the doors when I get rolling, that’s good. But when the car is put in park, all the doors unlock? Seriously? I thought GM’s world headquarters was in Detroit. How did anybody think this was a good idea? Does nobody ever go in a drive up lane at a bank or fast food place? Have none of them ever stopped in a parking lot to deal with a phone call or consult a map? This is the opposite of a feature: it’s a safety hazard.

A while back, I had the “opportunity” to drive a car with one of those fancy new push button starters. I was ok until I realized that if the key is anywhere near the car, it’s effectively unlocked. Because hey, a bad guy would never want to do anything with you or your car! Don’t even get this guy started on the ways that’s bad.

So yeah, I think I’ll stick to owning cars that you actually have do something to unlock.

In Closing: I can’t see actually making this recipe, but it looks awesome.

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Music Monday: Kick Against the Pricks

In closing: enigma; happily ever after; one size fits all; do I still have the right to party?; a few choice words on inequality and trade agreements and related issues; please add “or whatever”.

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Crystal Ball

It is the year 2035, and one court case is receiving a whole lot of attention: Average vs Doe. The facts of the case seem simple. Back in 2020 Joe Average got married to Mary Doe-Average. Just last year, Mary tragically succumbed to cervical cancer. Doctors were able to trace her cancer to Human Papilloma Virus.

When Mary was a pre-teen, her parents John and Jane Doe decided they would not consent to her receiving the vaccine for HPV, despite the fact that her school encouraged all incoming 7th graders to get this vaccination. Their reasoning was that they were not going to do anything that would encourage her to have premarital sex. Unfortunately, Mary was raped as a teenager. Despite the fact that Mary and Joe had a completely monogamous relationship, Mary got HPV as a result of that rape.

Joe is suing the Does for wrongful death and a bunch of other things his lawyers thought up. His reasoning is that his beloved Mary would still be with him today if it weren’t for a short-sighted decision by her parents. The Does argue that they had no control over what happened.

How do you think this will play out?

In Closing: more spying on Americans; a couple of hopefully last words on vaccines.

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Posted in Fiction by bmagnus. 2 Comments

Music Monday: In which I misuse Tom Petty

 

There’s been quite a lot of talk about, between, and across those that think vaccinations are wonderful lifesaving technology, and those that don’t. And for those who are saying “What’s the big deal? Measles are just a rash!” Roald Dahl has some words for you. Here’s one of the better summaries.

Let me briefly put my position out there: vaccines save lives; herd immunity saves the lives of those who are too young or sick for vaccines, as well as those for whom the vaccine didn’t work as well as it should. The risks associated with the currently available vaccines are tiny compared to the risks of being hit by lightning. Vegas is uncomfortably close to Disneyland, has its own supposedly unrelated case of measles, and 3 cases of whooping cough in one high school. All preventable.

Today’s latest round — politicians have waded into the fray. Should we then call it Measlesgate? Vaxgate? Maybe just Stupidgate. So the President went on the record as saying the sensible thing: “You should get your kids vaccinated.” The crowd that would argue about the American flag being Red White and Blue if the Kenyan Muslim Usurper President said so immediately swung into action! They couldn’t come out and say “No no no, vaccinations are dangerous,” because that would be too stupid. Instead, two people who want to run for President in 2016, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, said that parents should be able to make the choice for themselves about whether to vaccinate their kids. Dr. Dean is not amused.

Ok, let’s talk about parental choice and child safety. When it comes to keeping children safe, the law doesn’t allow certain choices. Parents aren’t allowed to choose whether to use a car seat for a baby, or whether their older children use seat belts. Parent’s aren’t allowed to choose to withhold medical care they don’t agree with in most states — even when the “child” is the one making the decision. We don’t let parents choose to do things that are known to put a child in danger (except let them play football, of course). The idea that parents should be able to choose to endanger their children (and those around them) is ludicrous.

In short, this is yet another argument where the facts just don’t support two sides to the issue.

In Closing: they hate us for our freedoms; Greece and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; yeah, that ain’t happening; no kidding; stereotypes; and Evangeline.

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Every Afternoon

 

Translation: Every Afternoon in Grenada, Every Afternoon a Child Dies.

Here in Las Vegas, our Child Protective Services office is under fire. Here’s a dead baby found incidental to police serving another warrant. Here’s a boy beaten to death for lying about reading some Bible verses — sadly, school officials alerted CPS to a potential problem just hours before his death. Here’s a child sex abuse case. And the latest, a baby dead after having been removed with his 8 siblings from a home described as having “deplorable conditions.”

There’s a lot of finger pointing, a lot of shoulda-couldas. The fact remains that CPS — and the police — have limited resources to do a Herculean job: keeping every child safe.

But you know what? Every time some busy-body calls the cops or the CPS for a false abuse charge, or a kid or pre-teen left in a car for 5 minutes while mom runs a quick errand, or a kid merely being outside without direct adult supervision? The cops and CPS workers pushing that paperwork can’t spend that time investigating a real case of neglect or abuse. The end result is more kids hurt and more kids killed.

In Closing: walking is good for you; license to work; so much for “elected” officials; shoe’s on the other foot; I love Max.

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Lost At Sea

Let’s start with the wreckage of Blackbeard’s ship, Queen Anne’s Revenge. Seems there were a number of interesting medical devices on board.

In the century after that ship sank, submarine warfare was born. Alas, the first “successful” sub, the Hunley, sank. Now researchers are finally able to learn more about what happened to the Hunley.

And on a lighter note, Wikipedia has a fascinating article about Ship’s Cats. It discusses ship’s cats both real and fictional, up to and including Cat from Red Dwarf. Fairly early in the discussion, it states “Cats are able to detect slight changes in the weather, as a result of their very sensitive inner ears, which also allow them to land upright when falling. Low atmospheric pressure, a common precursor of stormy weather, often makes cats nervous and restless.” Yesterday morning around 5:30 AM, I observed this phenomenon personally. Purrsonally?

In Closing: gone to the dogs; babies in boxes; Boomers; pull the plug on the NSA; how to fix inequality (if those who made the system can be talked into allowing it to be unmade); dinosaur; and your brain on food.

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