Not a long post today. The projected high around here is 115, and we are on track to set a new all-time record high of 118 on Sunday. And guess what? July is our hot month! Helicopters are grounded (just as well, I hate helicopters). Planes are taking the unusual pattern of landing from the West, and let me tell you the 757s and 777s look like they are coming in mighty low from where I sit.
So Jeff Skilling got a new sentence handed down for his role in the financial shenanigans at Enron. Actually, it’s a reduction of the sentence he was given back in 2006 for stuff that happened throughout the 90s and caused the company’s collapse in 2004. In case you’ve forgotten:
Enron’s collapse put more than 5,000 people out of work, wiped out more than $2 billion in employee pensions and rendered worthless $60 billion in Enron stock. Its aftershocks were felt across the city and the U.S. energy industry.
That’s over and above defrauding local power companies and gouging “Grandma Millie.”
For years, Enron was able to make people think things were much better than they were. They were able to make people believe they were making money.
America’s colleges and universities used more than $2 billion in student fees — an average of more than $500 per student — to subsidize rapidly growing university athletic budgets, as Ohio University professor Richard Vedder wrote at BloombergView today. Those fees can top $1,000 a year at some schools, and as Vedder writes, reliance on them ends up making college more expensive for students and often places the burden on the poorest students. And most of the time, students don’t even know they’re paying the fees.
In addition to student fees, athletic programs are relying more on money from general university budgets, so taxpayers are also spending millions of dollars a year to cover shortfalls as athletic budgets continue to grow faster than academic budgets.
Now, I have long thought that the accepted wisdom of “sports brings in money and students so we have to fund it” was flawed. If sports are really profitable, why are students and taxpayers paying so much money to support them? I have suspected that the “accounting” used to make sports profitable would have made Jeff Skilling drool. How did they pay for the stadium? It would never have been built without wealthy donors who like having their names on buildings. What about the maintenance for that stadium? Oh, that’s a different budget. What about the scholarships for athletes? Another budget. The coaches? Oh, they’re faculty so that’s yet another budget. Security, ticket sales, advertising the big game? Three different budgets. So most of the expenses of a good athletic program are offloaded onto other areas, leaving only the juicy profits and the bragging rights.
The idea that the money for sports is — really, truly — being paid for by students rips back the curtain on the Great Oz. In an age where the cost of college is rising much faster than either inflation or the wages they can expect to earn, where a student loan crisis is on the horizon, how can any college justify these costs?
No wonder so many young adults don’t know how to handle money. Where would they have learned?
In Closing: a few items on the NSA, FBI, and the government spying on us including a petition you can sign; some stuff on food, obesity, additives, and whatnot; about time somebody used some freaking common sense; assorted nonsense about the latest attempt to make abortion so hard to get that it might as well be illegal; and corporate America running amok or returning from insanity.
Hmm, not as warm and fuzzy as adoption or a happy little family, now is it?
You want to prevent abortions? Prevent unwanted pregnancies! Lobby for widely available contraception, prevention of sexual assault, research into the prevention of birth defects, a better economy so women feel they can feed and care for a[nother] child, and stop with the bullshit.
There is no In Closing today.
Hey dear, let me tell you why you’re never going to lose that 10 to 20 pounds around your hips and waist and why your hubby is never going to lose the gut unless you change your ways.
I’m not going to put all the blame on the expensive whole wheat crap that you think is good for you, even though you should probably only eat half that at most, and even though there is a case to be made for that being your biggest problem. Many experts think that’s good stuff, but you still should put some of it back on the shelf.
I’m not going to be too hard on you for the gallon of frozen yogurt. Again, you think you’re doing the right diet thing, even though it’s still got far too much sugar in it to be truly healthy. Maybe you only eat a tablespoon a day? Maybe I wasn’t close enough to see that it was one of those fat-free or sugar-free chemistry sets masquerading as real food?
I’m not going to put all the blame on the plentiful sports drinks in your cart, even though there is simply no way you are working out hard enough for them to be beneficial to you. Have you ever looked at the nutrition panel? It’s probably replenishing every calorie you “worked” off, and many of those drinks contain corn syrup. If you seriously worked out hard enough for these to be a good idea, you would never dream of wearing your disgusting sweaty workout clothes to a grocery store — even fresh out of the wash!
I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the 3 boxes of different kinds of crackers. For pity sake, if you want to eat something that goes crunch, try an apple or a carrot! You might get some vitamins out of the deal.
I am going to rag on you just a little bit for the fact that the only protein I saw in your cart was a pound of ground beef. Come on, that’s going to last a week? If you don’t eat some protein, your body is just going to steal it from your muscles. In case you didn’t know, muscle is what keeps you from looking like a complete blob.
But the one thing that I think is your biggest problem was the stack of 6 frozen pizzas. That proves that you only give the faintest lip service to eating healthy: pizza is neither low carb nor low fat. Ever. Just, please, tell me that’s not a one week supply. Lie to me if you must. You want a pizza? Learn to make that stuff from scratch. I can guarantee you’ll eat less of it because it’s harder than stuffing that frozen crap in a hot oven, it will be better tasting because you’ll use better ingredients, and healthier. Why healthier? You’ll actually burn some calories kneeding the dough, shaping it, and putting quality stuff on top!
Want to make that gut vanish? Try eating real, minimally processed food. Sure, you’ll have to spend more than 3 minutes preparing it, but you and your husband will both be better off.
I’d like to say at least your dog eats well, but you didn’t buy any dog food.
In Closing: would you like to play a game?; playing it safe; poverty tax; ever wonder what the numbers mean?; duh; travel tips; “let’s just take these laptops with no anti-virus to a hacker’s conference! What could possibly go wrong???”; parks; make “the Pill” OTC, prevent abortions; we don’t need “administrators” with no common sense having any authority over children, ever, for any reason.
Hints of Sanity: Newt says something’s got to change.
Yesterday this was the funniest thing on the Internet: Review of Guy Fieri’s restaurant.
UN Believable: UN says “increasing funding for family planning by a further $4.1 billion could save $11.3 billion annually in health bills for mothers and newborns in poor countries.”
Pro-Life My @$$: Woman suffers for days in excruciating pain and eventually dies because her miscarrying fetus still had a heartbeat, despite the actually born mother’s pleas to terminate the doomed pregnancy. I have some very harsh words for the so-called pro-life people — mostly men who will never get pregnant — who think there is never a reason to abort. Those words are probably not safe for work.
Interesting consequence: Hurricane Sandy caused a rise in used car prices.
I bet there’s a simpler reason: Romney believes that he lost because of Obama’s “gifts” to minorities? What? Seriously? Couldn’t have anything to do with unemployment and real wages, could it? At least Ryan was smart enough to dogwhistle the issue by blaming “urban voters” rather than by flat out saying “brown and black people.”
Poverty might be worse than we think: Depending how you measure it, poverty might be over 16%. And worse yet, over 3% of Americans are in poverty simply because of medical bills.
Less popular than Vietnam: 82% think we are losing the War on Drugs. Only 23% think we should keep shouldering on.
Can’t tell what’s going on without a chart: The Petraeus mess is so weird that you couldn’t make it into an episode of a TV crime drama. Nobody would believe it. I can barely wrap my head around it without laughing. Shouldn’t a General know better than to stick his **** in crazy? And what is with the socialite that she thinks a few emails are worth calling in a favor from an FBI agent? For those of you who are having trouble keeping up USA Today has you covered with a chart. I love the image for “Shirtless Guy.” You know some intern had to sort through dozens of stock photos. At least Holly Petraeus will still have a job at the end of this mess.
Submitted for your approval:
Though it became a well-known pop culture joke after Samuel L. Jackson’s 2006 fictional movie, snakes can sometimes be found on a plane.
That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when a cabin crew was checking an airplane that landed in Glasgow, Scotland, according to The Scotsman newspaperin Edinburgh. The flight had come in from Cancun, Mexico when staff found a 18-inch long, juvenile snake under a row of seats in the passenger cabin, the newspaper reported.
A Scottish animal welfare charity was called in to recover the snake, The Scotsman reported.
Ok, not exactly a new story. I delayed commenting due to travel. Anyone want to guess where I was?
My first thought was: “Silly snake! Why would you leave Cancun to go to Scotland?”
My second thought was that I could completely understand how the little fellow got on board. His home was mere yards from the tarmac.
Cancun — the “nest of the snakes” — was carved out of the jungle. The airport itself is testament to that, and it is even more obvious if you travel South towards Playa Del Carmen. Outside the Hotel Zone, there are clear and constant efforts to keep the jungle from reclaiming territory. Even within the Hotel Zone, sun and salty air mean an ongoing battle against modern human-built structures. A bright coat of paint appears to be shorthand for “recently maintained.” You’ll see at least one person with a paint brush on a regular basis at any resort.
In Closing: about time!; I’ll skip the Winter Garden Loaf, thanks; what’s wrong with Lime Squeeze?; hmm; escaping poverty; security theatre; Nevada Supreme Court quietly wades into serious issues with national implications; and truth in numbers.
Back in July, I talked about turkey sandwiches being dressed up in Thanksgiving condiments. I figured the trend would percolate around the high end dining scene for a while before hitting casual dining. Well, I was a little off. It is returning to the carry out restaurant world from which it came first.
Einstein Bros is now offering a seasonal menu that includes a “roasted turkey breast sandwich… spiced with cranberry ginger chutney and offered on an artisan wheat bread.” Sure, it’s seasonal. But I bet if they sell well they could jump to the regular menu. Regrettably, it’s hard to get nutrition info on the seasonal items.
In Closing: this is what parental consent laws do; I see what you did there; killing Big Bird will cut 0.01% from the national budget; not only dumbed down, but deliberately made unreadably dull; stamps; debunking; let them be responsible but remember that we’re checking up on your oversight; and a new mom.
Once more it is book review time. Today’s selection from the BlogHer Book Club is Trust Your Eyes by Linwood Barclay. As usual, this is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own. Join the discussion here!
When Ray Kilbride comes home after his father’s fatal accident, one of the things he must deal with is his schizophrenic brother Thomas: a recluse who thinks former President Bill Clinton has personally tasked him with memorizing every street in every major city on the behalf of the CIA. Thomas spends all day, every day, clicking down streets of the world using a tool that is absolutely not Google Maps at all against the possibility of a massive internet outage making all online maps inaccessible. Then one day, he spots what looks like a possible murder.
This has by far been my favorite of the books I’ve been asked to review. It is a thriller with more twists than a mountain highway. I absolutely promise there will be things you didn’t see coming. Chapters are generally short, so I found myself thinking “Oh, I have time for one more” often. It is unfortunate that any accurate description of the plot gives away what should have been the first twist in the Prologue.
A++, Would Read Again.
In Closing: be sure to read to the end; aw that’s sweet; I’m so glad somebody is asking what the heck information on 12,000,000 Apple devices was doing on a laptop for any reason; “Ok, you can play, but only approved games led by an adult”; dirty lies; wage stats; as expected; and I liked number 4.
Ok, here’s an explanation of that thing you just watched. It’s nice to see someone with a sense of humor about himself.
Ok, and here’s a Music Monday Bonus: 10 Songs that you’re more likely to have heard the cover than the original! Complete with videos.
In Closing: hiding in plain sight; seriously?; AOL paying shareholders $500,000,000 (didn’t know they still had that kind of money); pseudoscience; Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison defends the Republican stance on women without ever mentioning birth control or abortion (she does at least mention rape) (“People in red cars don’t necessarily drive fast. I used to own a red Ford Escort!”); and listen, if you are applying for a job with me, I don’t want to hear from your mommy. I hear from mom, and your resume goes straight in the NO pile.