On Boston

My tax day post was obviously pre-written, and the actual events of the Boston Marathon Bombing left me with nothing coherent or original to say.

As things stand, there are few answers and much worthless conjecture. If anybody tries to tell you that “everybody knows,” remember that once upon a time “everybody knew” that the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around it, and that witches kept cats as familiars. For example, here’s a collection of stories that are not true about Boston. As usual, you can count on a level head from security expert Bruce Schneier.

Now we have a nutcase Congressman who is against immigration reform because “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.” Forgive my bluntness, but that is a reason we need immigration reform: so they don’t get jobs in agriculture where they can poison our food (and oh boo hoo we might have to pay minimum wage to legal workers). The fact is that the overwhelming majority of voters — you remember, the people who elect Congressmen — support immigration reform.

However, since there is not yet any evidence of who was behind the events in Boston let alone why, I’d like to focus on a blog post by someone who lives within walking distance of the tragedy. Oddly enough, this was the bit that got me thinking:

[N]ote to emergency planners–don’t assume people from out of town or who don’t speak English well will understand where things are, even if they’re really close by[.]

Now Boston has its share of tourists and I do not dispute this. However, I live in a city whose economy lives on tourism. We had over 39,000,000 annual visits to a metropolitan area that — on a good day — has a population of barely 2,000,000. And not only do those tourists come from all over the world, we have a large population of immigrants as well. On a trip to a nearby grocery store, it’s not unusual to hear conversations in Spanish, Cantonese, French, or Russian. The local Home Depot has staff members who speak Japanese and Tagalog.

So, as we carry out our own Bad Thing Happens In Public Place drill, will we account for those whose English skills are poor, or lacking?

How will we account for the fact that a bombing attack such as happened in Boston might force the evacuation of multiple huge hotel-casinos?

Traffic on the Strip sucks on a good day; what happens if all that traffic has to be re-routed to roads like Paradise and Decatur — two roads that also have frequent congestion? What if it has to be re-routed for more than a couple blocks, as with the taxi incident?

I realize that there’s no planning for the extremely unlikely, but emergencies do happen.

In Closing: Complete noobs wanted for toughest assignment in the system; wow; the student loan crisis is worse than you think; “It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou”; Eric Schmidt is right; and pissing contest.

Music Monday: He would have turned 257 yesterday

Rock me, Amadeus.

 

In closing: as true as this is, the other half of the solution involves prison time for supervisors and managers that ignore the law; facts can be twisted; work out before breakfast; how to cancel almost anything; hahahahahaha what planet are they from that they think doctors set their own prices??; 150 things really smart people are worried about; what kind of moron texts his girlfriend to say the baby isn’t breathing instead of calling 911??; deadliest jobs in America; Fluffy’s Dream Home.

Music Monday: Happy Hanukkah

Comrade Misfit already posted the Adam Sandler Hanukkah song, so here is something different….

 

In Closing: staying in shape while traveling; what?; duh; it never was the union’s fault; backfired; surprise, most doctors are bad a math; and 10 things you probably didn’t know about Christmas.

ShortWoman.com Supports the International T-Pain Autotune Treaty

Be it resolved that henceforth, only T-Pain will be allowed to use autotune in recorded music. Other uses shall be considered a crime against humanity.

It is further resolved that quotations of Rapper’s Delight may only be made with the express consent and permission of the United Nations Security Council.*

Please, join me in support of this desperately needed performing arts issue. If I had a little more HTML talent, I’d put together a little ad for the sidebar.

In Closing: Mongols; he’s got a point; Rolling Jubilee; delayed; I guess it’s hard to win elections when you piss off 50% of the population; but they’re already part of the United States!; we’re all suspicious; belly buttons; new health plan?; politics and religion; filibuster all you like, but you gotta talk!; and oops! Somebody was very sure he’d win.

* Yeah, I’m talking to you too, Pitbull.

Addressing a trend

I’ve been getting more than my fair share of comment spam recently (not quite enough that I’m ready to use one of those “prove you’re human” things). Lately, one of the topics is HCG diets.

Let me make one thing perfectly crystal clear about HCG: it is the only diet drug required by the FDA to have a black box warning saying it does not work! Really, that’s the only thing you need to know about HCG. Just say no. It’s a waste of your money and potentially dangerous.

As for the new “safer” homeopathic HCG drops, they’re still sugar water. Further, even if homeopathy did work, the “Law of Similars” — “a substance that when taken in crude form causes a set of symptoms or disease in a healthy person can cure similar symptoms occurring during an illness when treated with small, often infinitesimal, potentised doses of the same substance” — would suggest that diluting a weight loss “drug” for homeopathic use would make the user gain weight, wouldn’t it?

It is at this point that I will point out that I’m not a doctor, nor a dietician. I’m only pointing out two things: HCG is FDA proven to not work for weight loss, and mixing it with a bunch of water isn’t likely to make it more effective.

While we are on the topic, here’s some tips for not letting the holidays ruin your diet.

In Closing: tricorder; oops; The Jungle returns; doing good work; what??; free markets won’t fix health care; which reality will win, not enough money to retire or not enough health to keep working?; couples and money; the near poor; I’ve always thought it would be a great idea to have a “third party debate,” and apparently there was; and who needs MacGyver when Dolph Lundgren really exists??

Music Monday: Musicology and Modern Popular Music

Free term theme idea: Recurring Thematic Material in the Collected Works of Flo Rida.

If one were to listen to his entire discography, how many songs would seem to reference oral sex?

Regrettably, there doesn’t seem to be an official music video I could embed.

In Closing: a bounty I hope gets paid; waaah, the media isn’t telling why it might be a good idea to shoot 14 year old girls in the head for wanting an education (damn liberal media!); maps; quiet victory; this could be a bumpy election; confession; she’d be a Saint even without the Pope’s say-so; who needs effective antibiotics anyway?; science literacy; duh; and just say no.

Let the Spin Begin

Ok, the good news first. Poverty is down ever so slightly. The number of people without health insurance is down, despite the fact that health insurance premiums went up 4% (far exceeding the official inflation rate).  The bad news is that  typical American income is down for the 4th year in a row. Adjusted for inflation, we’re back to the Clinton Administration.

Sit back and watch the two parties fight about what this means and who is to blame.

In Closing: converted RINO; crass; type 3 diabetes; turns out that training makes for better employees, who knew?!?!?; apples and oranges; voter suppression works too well; and the rules.

R.I.P. MCA

Today we have the sad news that Beastie Boys member Adam Yauch — also known as MCA* — has passed away. Although it is widely known that he was battling cancer, there is no word yet on whether he in fact died of cancer.

Since he was a Buddhist, it is perhaps more appropriate to say that I hope he made it to enlightenment this time around. Peace.

Not to hijack this event, but I would like to point out that this was a man who could afford the best treatment for his illnesses. If his insurance company said “you can’t do that,” he could say “Visa/MasterCard is my secondary insurance and they will cover it!”

Seriously, do everything you can to make sure you have cancer screenings.

In Closing: a judge uses common sense; free online yoga classes; there’s jobs in Walker County; Vogue bans “too skinny” models — well, underage too skinny models (wake me when size 8 is normal).

 

* Make a note, you are unlikely to see me link TMZ again any time soon. Tell you children about this day! Ok, maybe not.

My Boss Had Some Things to Say about Fear

He gives us a video update every week at our office meeting. I thought this one was more general interest, not really about real estate this week.

One thing though: why was he smiling about the idea of a knife to one’s throat?

In closing: movie; Zoinks, a ghost ship!; REAL done; don’t let them make it about sluts; moderate levels of chocolate and exercise work well together; the simple version of why mandatory health insurance isn’t the answer; I’ve been wondering the same thing; going in my blogroll; and exercise myths.

An Update: Ok, he wasn’t a good man. He probably would have robbed the place if nobody were home to stop him. Still, I don’t know of any court that sentences someone to death for sneaking into a back yard.

Stephen King’s Bag of Shorties

Red Meat: Well sure, if you’re willing to call a double cheeseburger “unprocessed red meat,” maybe red meat is bad for you. I also liked the fact that the same questionnaires that “prove” the connection also say that 1/5 of women make do on 1200 calories daily — that would be a bare minimum for somebody trying to lose weight, not something sustainable. Think just maybe some people weren’t quite reporting the whole truth?

It turns out that 100% of rapes are committed by rapists: Don’t rape.

Bruce Wayne: Has a hard time at the psychologist’s office.

Senator Lugar: Well, is he a resident eligible to run for Senate, or is he a non-resident who can’t vote?

His name is disgusting: Mr. Santorum thinks Puerto Rico should learn some darn English already so they can become a state! Ok, he actually said they have to make English and only English the official language, and they need to have a “common language” with us whiteys normal Americans. What makes him think they want to be a state? Pretty blatant example of a conservative expressing the idea that “those brown people would be so much better off if they did things my way!” Now he can’t decide if he wants to stand by the comments or not. mmWaffles.

So you want to be a blogger?: Here.

Deregulation: Doesn’t work (HT).

There’s no point arguing with crazy: Ornery Bastard colorfully and succinctly says what many think about the GOP.

Viva Las Vegas: House sales up. That’s right, I said up. And people are noticing.

Glad I’m not in Arizona: Proposed bill would allow employers to ask women if they use The Pill and fire them if they don’t like the answer. Never mind medical privacy. No word on whether they’ll ask men if they take erectile dysfunction meds. Guess they aren’t expecting a lot of women voters. Maybe the next proposed bill is to disavow the 18th Amendment.

If only just Arizona were the problem: Thankfully we have some uterus-having Legislators helping bring balance and/or silliness to some of the anti-woman bills.

Double-you tee eff: An officer but not a gentleman.

Hail Britannica: Someday kids will look at you funny when you talk about an encyclopedia being a big set of reference books that many middle class families owned.

What??: Hotel pools must close or install wheelchair lifts.

You know there must be candy and rainbows for bankers in the foreclosure fraud settlement: JP Morgan Chase announces a hike in the dividend. The investors go wild.

Crash the system: Refuse a plea bargain. Insist on your Constitutional right to a jury trial.

Nixon in Love: Turns out he was a bit of a romantic. Who knew.

I see it around here: More people using public transportation. And as a result, more people walking, at least locally. I think it’s a good thing.

Eastern Germany: Check out the before and after pictures by clicking the pic at top.