The Shorties on the Train

What do Dave Johnson and Donald Trump have in common?: Both agree that we have infrastructure that needs to be fixed. But I’m not hearing mainline Democrats or Republicans joining in. It’s not a brave political statement to say “Maybe we could put some people to work fixing some roads.”

Speaking of American Politics: I’m not the only one who noticed it’s crazy out there. Hillary has her share of foot-in-mouth disease. And Bernie is closer to the true center — the one that wants decent jobs and affordable healthcare — than anybody in the establishment wants to admit (which is why Trump is more welcoming to Sanders followers than Hillary; see the speech text above).

The Noose Gets Tighter: The Senate failed by ONE VOTE to pass a law allowing the FBI to look at your browser history for funzies. Remember come November. Meanwhile, US Customs wants to know the social media accounts of people entering the country. Because no terrorist is smart enough to say “no I don’t have Twitter” or give a username more generic than the one they use to keep up with the latest ISIS jihabi memes. Meanwhile, the TSA is still pushing their “get out of the security line free” card as a way to shorten lines at the airport. One user gave the ringing endorsement of “not so hard as signing up for Obamacare.”

Free Electronic Music: Moby wrote himself some yoga and meditation music. He decided to share. Very nice of him.

Not sure what to say about Brexit: So here’s one of the more intelligent things I’ve read on the issue.

Obligatory Economy Item: Wages have been stagnant for over 40 years when adjusted for inflation. Maybe some of these ideas could help. Oh, and don’t let anybody scare you about Social Security. Forbes is hardly a “liberal rag,” and they say that the latest scaremongering is way overblown.

I believe

I believe that both political parties have lost their minds. They’re both so far out of touch with what their voters want and need that they may as well run the country from Mars.

I believe that the no-fly list as it exists today — with many ways on, no clear way to get off if there’s an error and no accountability — is a dumb idea exceeded only by PreCheck. PreCheck is proof that the whole process is Security Theatre, and that some people are willing to pay for convenience. It assumes that nobody ever hides radical tendencies, nobody ever becomes a Bad Guy, nobody ever goes crazy, and certainly nobody ever has their identity stolen. Oh yeah, and the current long airport security lines? They may well be designed to manipulate you into paying.

I believe that making the no-fly list into a no-gun list is also stupid. Funny how nobody suggested the idea until we had some Muslim mass shooters. The problem is that none of them were actually on the list. In fact, this last asshat was actually removed from the watchlist. Twice. Yet now sensible ideas such as universal background checks are being conflated with this bad idea.

I believe that the Second Amendment — along with the rest of the Bill of Rights — was written by men who overthrew the legal government.

I believe that, since it costs 18 times as much as life in prison (not just a little bit more, but 18 times more!) and there’s the possibility of making a mistake, there is no reason to support the death penalty. Conservatives should oppose it on fiscal grounds. Liberals should oppose it on fairness grounds. The end.

I believe that Obamacare is neither as good nor as bad as everybody says. I further believe it could be greatly improved by allowing people to buy in to Medicare: a public option that means I don’t have to enrich for-profit insurance companies to follow the law.

I believe that a social safety net is a good thing. Don’t believe it? You don’t even need to read Les Miserables to understand how that works, you can now watch it.

I believe immigration is hopelessly messed up in this nation. That is partly due to quotas, which are both artificially low and outright discriminatory against people who are not white and English speaking. Illegals need to “go to the back of the line“? That line is something like 17 years long. Talk about a sick joke.

I believe that America’s largest employers, including and especially the military, deserve to know that any high school graduate from any school in the United States has certain skills in reading, writing, and math. However, I believe that Common Core is not that standard.

I believe in school choice. I also believe that taxpayers should not pay for your choice if it is not a public school. And as many rules as get forced down as a condition of receiving funds? Parents should not want money that could have strings attached later.

I believe it’s entirely possible that I’ve become so liberal that I’ve come around the other side of the spectrum and somehow become conservative. In fact, I actually agreed with Glenn Reynolds about something. I suppose there’s a first time for everything.

Music Monday: Takeover

When Willie Nelson covers your song, it becomes his. Sorry, Eddie. Paul Simon already knew.

 

In Closing: want; poor babies; history lesson; definitions; dumb questions; biometric database; maybe salt isn’t the devil; reasons; files; and just for fun, how many people have your name. There’s another Bridget Magnus in Canada, but I’m apparently unique in the US.