Comics and Fun Stuff

Let’s start with the CDC: “If you are generally well equipped to deal with a zombie apocalypse you will be prepared for a hurricane, pandemic, earthquake, or terrorist attack.”

A History Lesson or two.

Is Sovereignty right for you?

Enjoy Juanita’s potpourri.

Oh yeah, and you gotta get your Snowden, Snowden, Snowden, yet more Snowden, privacy, and NSA links someplace! Have a bonus NSA comic.

Just starting to come up for air. Hopefully back to more normal posting next week.

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I bet I know how some jobs could be created….

More than half the nation’s public schools need to be repaired, renovated or modernized, a survey released Thursday found.

Getting these schools in good condition would cost about $197 billion….

Since to the best of my knowledge there’s no Renovation Fairy who can complete a project by waving a magic hammer, that work would have to be done by people. And since all those schools are here in the United States, there’s no outsourcing this to a foreign country with cheap labor. As a bonus, it might result in schools with fewer structural safety issues and better learning environments.

And when they’re done with that project, maybe they can do something about the 78,000 bridges that need a total of $3,000,000,000,000 in repairs.

Seems to me we can keep some construction workers busy for the foreseeable future.

In Closing: your dose of Snowden, NSA, privacy, CIA, and assorted related news; I guess Billie Jean was his lover, and the kid really is his son; sex work; and Vegas, baby.

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More thoughts on Minimum Wage

Many arguments against raising the minimum wage — and indeed, against helping those in low wage jobs — does boil down to victim blaming. That is, “it is the fault of the person making low wages that they make low wages and it is on them to do something about it.” Never mind the fact that as long as we want to be able to buy a fast food lunch, some adult has to make it and sell it to us (oh look, another reason that “minimum wage is not just for kids”, kids should be in school at lunchtime) and that adult deserves to be able to pay his/her bills.

Even the President is calling for a hike in the minimum wage and a “better tax deal for working families” (of course he’s talking out both sides of his mouth). All those petition sites might just be getting some traction.

Nah, that would imply that we live in a democracy where elected officials actually care about voter opinion.

Look, there’s no way around the fact that posting is going to be light this week due to an unusually large number of exams. In return, please accept some amusing comics and other imagery.

In Closing: A few diet links; Elvis House.

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Paranormal Activities: The Marked Shorties

Happy March! Let’s get started….

Student Loans: Officially dragging down the economy.

I think I have a way to increase consumer spending: This is crazy talk I know, but if the minimum wage were higher, people who make minimum wage could afford to buy stuff.

And the Supreme Court makes it worse: Now the government can effectively prevent accused criminals from hiring an effective defense team by confiscating all their assets, making “innocent until proven guilty” potentially a cruel joke.

When even the IMF disagrees with American tax policy: Yeah, they think the rich need to be taxed more. That trickle down thing? Doesn’t work.

Rules: ”Planned food safety rules rile organic farmers“.

Price Fixing: Gold is a market controlled by a handful of banks.

5 Surprising Discoveries: here.

On those new nutrition labels: of course there’s still a 20% margin of error.

Treat someone like a rat and they’ll act like one?: Rat Park (h/t).

Blast from the past: The old Fiat factory.

Plagued with too much money?: Buy a private island!

Interesting point: Cats.

And Finally: I’m sorry, some stuff you just can’t make up. And just wait until you hear the reason this news station can’t air the footage they have.

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Boobs on a Plane

So apparently Delta Airlines told a breastfeeding mother that she would need to cover up or pump ahead of time. This started a flamestorm on the Twitterverse. Delta quickly backtracked, apparently remembering  that “Breastfeeding without a cover is legal in all 50 states” and that would include over those states. Oh yeah, and remembering that lawsuit from a few years back. But that didn’t stop the controversy from being further ginned up by idiots who think “modesty” has anything to do with this. Breastfeeding: made by nature, endorsed by the Bible.* So you want to call it obscene? Tell it to the hand of nursing Baby Jesus.

Now stay with me on this. Plane trips with a baby are no fun at all for anybody — not the parents, not the other passengers, not even the baby — but sometimes they are necessary. Part of the problem is that the baby’s ears have pressure issues on take off, just like a grown-ups do, but babies can’t chew gum or anything like that to equalize the pressure. But here’s a stroke of genius: a feeding baby is not only making those jaw motions that will soothe the ears; what’s better is that the baby’s mouth is full and therefore not screaming! Sounds to me like everybody ought to be happy with that outcome.

Speaking of boobs on a plane, it looks like that new Liam Neeson movie is just ghastly.

In Closing: aw, let’s just close it out with some NSA, privacy, spying, anti-crime/terrorism efforts, and related links.

* Heh, yeah, I know I’m assuming that the people who think OMG TEH BOOBZ WILL DESTROY SOCIETAY UNLESS THEY ARE PROPERLY HOLSTERED are probably Christians. When was the last time you saw an atheist argue that breastfeeding is somehow obscene?

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Music Monday: Better Stock the Bar

It’s nice when a short play has a happy ending.

So get that blender going, Rupert!

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A Couple Follow-Ups

Little Dogs in Big Trouble: Remember this post? The picture was taken in front of the Prince and Princess Puppy Boutique in Las Vegas. Well, there’s been some trouble in the Doggie Kingdom. The owner of the store and her companion are accused of trying to burn the place down with 27 dogs inside. Yeah, if you’re going to try and burn your own business down, you really ought to disable your security cameras first, ya know?

Mystery Solved: Last semester I was confused by this Crosswalk to Nowhere. I figured it was a vestige of some campus roadway plan that never came to pass, but I was very wrong! This week I saw it used for it’s actual purpose. It’s hard to tell in my picture that the “crosswalk” is probably as wide as a 6-lane road. However, remember that there’s no road? This crosswalk is for rehab: a (supervised) patient can learn or relearn to cross a street in the amount of time allowed by a typical crosswalk with no stress and no actual traffic.

Ok, now on to In Closing: NAFTA and TPP (pay attention to TPP and tell your friends!); NSA, DHSprivacy, and NSA; on logic; oh did He? Never heard Jefferson and his crew referred to as “God” before; unexpected; and where is the money coming from??; keep calm and ask a question; economyCPI, and economy; Descartes; “to him, it was science possibility” (Ron McNair was also going to perform the first saxophone solo recorded in space); if Howard Hughes had his way, the west quarter or so of the Las Vegas Valley would be a giant aircraft plant; and I can’t help but notice that the world didn’t end today. I consider that a Good Thing.

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A little reasoning

This post may seem a little dry, but bear with me.

  1. Let’s start with a basic premise: There are millions of square feet of retail, office, and light industrial space in this nation, and it all requires cleaning on a regular basis. I think everybody sane should be able to agree on this point.
  2. For practical reasons, most of this space needs to be cleaned when it is not in use. That usually means somebody needs to clean it at night, after closing.
  3. I can think of several very good reasons this work should be done by adults. First — remember that the cleaning is being done after business hours — the cleaning staff needs to be someone that can be trusted with keys. Second, adults have more experience cleaning things in a safe manner. Third, if we really think education is important, young people should be studying and sleeping so they can do good work in school (add the implied “you don’t want to be working as a janitor when you’re 50, do you kid?”). These are just a few reasons off the top of my head; give me a while and I am confident I can come up with more.
  4. I reject the idea that the minimum wage “is for kids who are going to work their way up to a better job” based on the reasoning above. In fact, the original law mandating the existence of a minimum wage said the idea was to create a ”minimum standard of living necessary for health, efficiency and general well-being, without substantially curtailing employment”.
  5. Adults who work full time jobs deserve a wage that allows them to pay their bills. Ok, the cleaning staff maybe don’t need to drive Ferraris, but they do deserve to be able to pay the rent, the power bill, and still have money for groceries. I don’t see how anybody can say with a straight face that an executive who sits behind a desk all day works harder than the guy who spends the night cleaning the office toilets.
  6. Someone working 40 hours a week, 52 weeks a year at minimum wage earns $15,080 annually. Do the math yourself if you like. That’s no vacations, no getting sick, actually getting scheduled 40 hours every week, and no getting stiffed on hours (I can hear the laughter). The poverty line for a family of two is $15,730. That’s an average across the lower 48; obviously $15,730 is not going to go as far in some areas.

I think it’s fairly obvious that I support raising the minimum wage. You’ve heard news reports over the last few days about how the CBO report on this proposal offers conflicting opinions. It turns out that some of that reporting may be misunderstood. I’m not an economist, but I do know that when people who have a hard time paying the bills, they spend money. And I also know that consumer spending is a major factor in our economy. More people with more money buying spending more money means more demand, and that is a good thing right now. As a bonus, more wages means more taxes collected — including Social Security contributions. Seeing that certain people in Congress are still clutching their pearls about how there’s not enough money in the Federal coffers, that has to be a good thing too.

A special announcement: I have been asked to share a little information with you. If you’ve ever thought that medical coding and billing might be a great new career for you, you should really check out this site and their free ebook.

In Closing: Wheeee, let’s have some fun NSA, NSA, and NSA links to start off (you know, if they had come clean in the first place, we might not still be talking about it months later); flood zone; rich people problems; political reality set in; be careful buying a used car but not for the reason you think; engineering marvel; and the Bobcats.

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Music Monday: She Got a Bang out of That

Sometimes a play in 3-5 minutes can be very silly, very tragic, or both.

Of course, the real moral of this sad story is “Friends don’t let friends write song lyrics stoned.”

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A Simple Request

I was looking at my calendar, and happened to notice that it’s 2014.

Can we please, for the love of all that is good, stop speculating about the 2016 Presidential Elections?

Seriously. It’s over two years until that particular election day, and two other First-Tuesday-After-The-First-Monday-Of-November election days between now and then. A lot can happen between here and there: scandals with -gate appended to them; game-changing political decisions; world events could impact American politicians; personal issues up to and including death could shorten the list of potential candidates; Kanye West could decide he’d make a better President than all those old white guys and the Godfather’s Pizza dude — that would liven up the debates that will seem interminable two years from now.

Enough already.

In Closing: let’s start off with all the NSA, NSA, Snowden, privacy, and NSA links you can manage; DRM is part of the security problem; just a reminder that if the products the weight loss industry worked, eventually they wouldn’t have any more customers; on minimum wage and working for a living, sort of; wisdom (h/t); um, yes; sure looks nicer than a traditional solar panel!; free things to do in Vegas; addiction; Biblical scholarship; and Quantum Physics for Babies.

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