Over 95% Bums and Idiots

I’m more than a little peeved at Washington today.

Let’s start with the reply I got from Senator Reid regarding NSA spying programs, including this paragraph:

These surveillance authorities are important tools for the counterterrorism officials working to dismantle foreign terrorist networks and keep America safe. These authorities have played a vital role in helping the U.S. Government identify and disrupt terrorist plots, and have helped our Intelligence Community better understand the nature and extent of terrorist networks. However, I share your concerns about ensuring transparency and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding Americans as our government uses these expansive tools. I have strongly supported efforts to strengthen oversight and disclosure requirements as we have periodically reauthorized these surveillance authorities.

Really, Harry? Are you sure about that? If these programs are so successful, how come they can’t trot out some captured terrorists? The other day, the NSA said they can’t actually search through the “Centuries of Data” they are prepared to collect. Now which is it? “This is a vital program that helps us find and catch bad guys,” or “I dunno, it’s in here somewhere”?

The nicest thing I can say about having voted for you, Harry, is that you were more sane than your opponent. Don’t make me regret that, Senator.

Remember that the Amash amendment failed bipartisanly. That means the RepubliCANTS and DemocRATS are equally in favor of letting the spies violate your rights under the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments all they like.

Speaking of bipartisan idiocy, why won’t Steve King just shut up? Bad enough he wants to compare immigration to choosing “a pretty good bird dog” and can’t understand why anybody thinks that’s offensive. Now he’s doubled down with talk about how most immigrants are drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes. Steve, sweetie, when even Mr. Boehner thinks your remarks are  hateful and ignorant, they probably are.

Remember that an immigration “reform” plan that doesn’t include a way for undocumented workers to eventually become citizens is saying “We like having easily exploited, illegal workers in this nation.” See also, the truth about guest workers, and why unemployment is “down.”

And now there’s serious talk about making Larry Summers the Fed chair? Oh please.

Are there more than a handful of intelligent elected officials who aren’t owned by special interests in all of Washington DC? Who the heck am I supposed to vote for when all my choices are idiots, nutcases, liars, hopelessly out of touch, paid to do as they are told, openly against my interests, and/or quietly working against my interests while telling me it’s for my own good? Jon Porter was a Republican, but at least he had the guts to tell me “I respect your opinion but I disagree because….” on multiple occasions.

In Closing: Thanks for saving Ohio the expense of a heavily publicized trial; some of the smartest stuff I’ve read about Detroit; why yes, I find it convenient to be alive.

Being Angry at a Black Guy is Not a License to Kill

Maybe there wasn’t justice in Florida. However, Wisconsin is another story.

Last year, an angry old white man decided that the people who had broken into his house had to be the black boys that lived next door, despite the fact that his security cameras showed two different black men who had happened to come from that direction and the fact that the police didn’t have enough evidence to arrest anybody. So he did what seemed right to him. He went and killed the 13 year old boy:

Spooner’s surveillance video provides a clear view of what happened. Spooner emerges from his house and confronts the teen, who is retrieving his family’s garbage cart from the street. Spooner points a gun at Darius, who moves back a few steps. Spooner then exchanges words with Darius’ mother, who’s standing on her porch out of view of the camera, and Spooner briefly points the gun in her direction. Moments later, Spooner points the gun back at the boy standing a couple of feet in front of him. He fires, hitting Darius in the chest.

The teen stumbles and runs away, and Spooner fires a second shot that misses. He appears to attempt a third shot, but the gun jams.

Darius’ mother, Patricia Larry, testified that she chased her son to where he collapsed in the street. She cradled him in her arms as he died.

You are welcome to watch the snuff film surveillance video here. The angry old white man still considers this “justice,” and admitted on the witness stand that if he had a clear shot, he would have killed the boy’s 18 year old brother too!  Finally, when asked how he felt about it, his answer was “Not that bad.”

Seriously? Killed a human being who wasn’t threatening you, wasn’t threatening your family, who might have stolen something from you, and you feel “not that bad” about it? Wow. What a guy.

So the case in court came down to two things: did the angry old white man intend to kill the boy, and was he sane at the time?

I am not an expert in gun safety, but I do know that one of the top gun safety rules out there is “Never point a gun at something you don’t intend to destroy.” Anybody who didn’t grow up in a Warner Brother cartoon knows that if someone is shot in the chest from a few feet away, they will probably die. Therefore I am forced to assume that he meant to “destroy” that kid. So intent? Check!

As for sanity, it really only mattered here for what his final destination was: prison or mental hospital. Most of us don’t want gun-waving angry old men in our neighborhoods. Nevertheless, another one of those gun safety rules? “Be sure of your target and what is beyond it.” By golly, he followed that one! That would tend to support the idea that he was sane at the time. Sanity? Check!

You will not be surprised to find that a jury figured the same thing. Now, he will probably live the rest of his life in prison.

Of course none of this brings that boy back. Thoughts of peace for his family.

In Closing: Just an assortment of NSA, Snowden, spying on Americans, blah blah links (can somebody please explain how this stuff can possibly be legal under the 4th Amendment??); Her Majesty; joblessrecovery“; Antarctica; and oops, somebody accidentally said the truth out loud.

John Dies at the Shorties

Baby Dinosaurs: More accurately, embryos in various states of development.

Follow-up on FPS Russia: Yeah, not a lot of meat on this story. Since when does the ATF get involved in “murder” investigations?

Random items on Real Estate, biased towards Vegas: Foreclosures are returning to where they were before the bust, with Nevada leading. However, prices are 30% higher than last year and distressed sales are down by a similar percentage. Interesting.

When you have a minute: Check out BustedKnuckles‘ new site.

Backtracking: CNN/Money might have thought Chained CPI was a great idea to save the budget a few days ago, but now they realize what way the wind is blowing.

I can’t believe we are back to “Jobs Americans Won’t Do”: They want to solve this “problem” with a new class of serf permit visa. Seems like these hypocrites are all about “let market forces do the magic” when it’s raising prices, but against the same when it might mean paying an American a decent wage! Go ahead, watch a bit of Dirty Jobs and tell me there’s such a thing as “jobs Americans won’t do” with a straight face! It isn’t that Americans won’t do them, it’s that they want more money (and perhaps safety equipment) than an easily exploited semi-legal immigrant worker.

Meanwhile, there are 3 unemployed Americans for every job opening: Yeah. Go ahead and push that serf permit visa program.

At some point, the Baby Boomers decided that they were never going to get Social Security; then they went about insuring just that: 1983 was the important year.

Le Petit Prince: Prince Hisahito goes to Kindergarten. You may remember him from this adorable picture.

When the Shorties Went Out

Gee, D’ya Think?: Turning underpaid undocumented workers into legal taxpayers making at least minimum wage could boost the economy.

I Could Like this Pope: Ok, he’s not perfect (No, I don’t believe in Papal Infallibility either). At least he has no Nazi entanglements, what with having been a little kid on the other side of the globe during World War 2. But there’s something to be said for a Pope who preaches things like taking care of the environment and those less fortunate than ourselves. It’s like he’s been reading some sort of… Bible or something.

Nevada is Catching On: I think we may just pass a legal marijuana bill here, mostly because the Legislature smells tax dollars.

Turns out it’s easier for everyone: When I was a kid in school, we were “tracked by ability” and we all knew it. Nobody ever told us there were the “smart kids,” the “average kids,” and the “dummies,” but we all knew who we were — and among ourselves, those were the names we used. No “bluebirds and redbirds” for us. That sort of self-labeling might be part of why schools discarded the practice. But it’s back. It has to be easier to teach (and learn in) a group of 20 kids with similar abilities than 20 kids that are all over the map!

Gonna have to try this: Veggie oil + baking soda = cabinet cleaner.

Security Theatre: The TSA is protecting us from people on trains who have had medical tests.

Considering a career in criminal justice?: Then please do check out DiscoverCriminalJustice.com.

On Perception of Aging: And why a good lipstick is really important.

Top Ten Candidates for Species Resurrection: Scientists think there is hope for bringing back these extinct animals.

The more you know: Failure to use a condom when planned counts as condom failure.

Who knew?: Big cats like classical music.

And finally: It’s coming. It’s slow, but it’s coming.

Music Monday: ?

Happy Birthday to both John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Alex Kingston (Melody Pond River Song).

 

In Closing: let’s just get all the TSA bashing out of the way; hope nobody is surprised that Federal law still says pot businesses aren’t legal; Sir Patrick Stewart; no plan is a plan; I already said this; perspective; and it’s getting worse; and even worse; oh, that’s why; actually, people’s opinions are center-left.

Bath Salts Shorties

Bottom line: “Even healthy oils are not calorie free.”

“You only think you need medication for that”: 5 psychiatric disorders with probable genetic basis.

Ancient Sea Creature: “The fossilized animal, an arthropod called a fuxhianhuiid, has primitive limbs under its head, as well as the earliest example of a nervous system that extended past the head. The primitive creature may have used the limbs to push food into its mouth as it crept across the seafloor. The limbs may shed light on the evolutionary history of arthropods, which include crustaceans and insects.”

Unintended Consequences: Keep up the fight, Karl Rove!

Bonnie Franklin isn’t even buried yet and she’s spinning in her grave: “[I]f [a single mom] wants to increase her take-home pay, what does she do? She has another child out of wedlock, right?… If she wants to lose it all, she finds somebody to support her and she gets married.” Right. You just keep saying that in public, Senator.

Mostly, it’s the sugar: Salt Sugar Fat author speaks. So does Stanford.

Great Beaches: I’ve only been to #6 and #8. I think #8 is far superior.

Bad news for the economy: Personal income and savings suck.

Bad news for the future economy: The student loan bubble sucks harder.

This is not new, people: The IRS doesn’t care if you got your money illegally, you still have to pay tax on it.

And yet look for it to be in the immigration “reform” cramdown: eVerify is like a no-fly list from the depths of hell.

Book Review: A Good American

 

Today’s book review for BlogHer Book Club is A Good American by Alex George. Be sure to go check out the discussion, starting hereThis is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

The little reviews on the back of the book agree on one key fact: there are funny parts and sad parts. In the case of poor Magnus Kellerman, perhaps a little of both at the same time. As other reviewers have mentioned, this is the story of one family in a small Missouri town through multiple generations, as told by the grandson of German immigrants. It’s a nice quick read; good airplane material but not enough for an entire vacation.

So what do Good Americans do? They learn English. They become citizens. They have babies. They run businesses. They sometimes keep secrets. They fight and sometimes die for their country. They have good things and bad things happen to them. They make friends. They get in fights. They make music. They fall in love. They get broken hearts. They laugh. They live.

A solid B, maybe B+. Would recommend.

In closing: too poor for WalMart; eVerify; minimum wage isn’t what it used to be; the real zombie apocalypse; work-life balance.

Clive Barker’s SHORTIESRAISER

Ok!  Let’s clear some browser tabs!

Yahoo!: Not so excited about Wall Street protesters.

Anybody Surprised?: OnStar selling your data. But have no fear, they won’t give it to the FBI for free. Unless they ask sweetly.

To think I’ve been paying money for this: How to make your own ricotta.

Explain it again: seriously, how does lower taxes for wealthy individuals cause these guys to create jobs?

It was still the damned scopes: Desai will stand trail.

From the Archive of Great Headlines: Anonymous US Officials push open government (HT).

Drew hits the nail on the head: How some people think it’s obviously meant to read.

More missing good old days that were only good for wealthy white Protestant folks: colleges becoming increasingly unaffordable, and scholarships becoming increasingly scarce.

Don’t travel with cash: Unless you can afford to lose it.

We’re Number One!: In a bad way. Nevada leads the nation in domestic violence killings. Remember SafeNest.

Silence: At what point do we get noisy?

About the Ladies: Middle Class White Guy and crimes vs. reported crimes.

Wish I were surprised: Fewer than one in 4 people can correctly identify all 3 branches of our Government.

And last…

Oh Hai!: I brought you something!

 

Public Service Announcement

If you’ve noticed that a bunch of your favorite blogs that usually update every day don’t have new posts, there’s a reason. I have it on good authority that Blogger is down. This good authority goes on to wonder how “fun” it would be to have a cloud computing outage when trying to get work done.

In Closing: Nat Geo decides they don’t want any trouble with the Yakuza; dead terrorist; happy; reality; new thing to do in Vegas (no gambling or drinking required); homeless in Vegas; scrutiny; statesrights; McCain regains sanity; awwww; reading; kids are capable when we let them be; on immigration; Social Security; and does Michelle Bachmann know more than a high schooler?

Education Roundup

This week, there’s been quite a buzz in education. Or perhaps it just seems that way since we have a new Superintendent of Schools in Clark County Nevada.

So lets start with President Obama feeling that part of the problem is that many schools are using outdated textbooks. Has basic reading or math changed recently? Will your child be laughed at for using an outdated form of Algebra? Sure, our understanding of science changes all the time. And foreign languages evolve — Latin excepted. As for history, does it matter inasmuch as they will never get to the last chapter anyway?

The same day, E. D. Hirsch argued that the new educational standards we are trying to formulate won’t amount to a hill of beans without a good curriculum to ensure that kids actually learn it. He’s an expert in both education and cultural literacy with a bibliography longer than my arm, so ignore him at your peril.

One problem with education is that the people who teach the teachers how to teach are failing to address the basics: things like classroom management and how to effectively meet the objectives of reforms like standardized testing. Or, “how to keep a job as a teacher.” In fact,”only 49 percent believe state governments should adopt the ‘same set of standards and give the same tests in math, science, and reading nationwide.'” Sorry professor. Colleges and modern employers expect a high school graduate to know certain things.

In Closing: Rest in Peace Tony Curtis; Happy Birthday Hoover Dam; health insurance changes; it’s not over ’til the crazy lady sings; I’ll have Honda on asphalt with mayo; Erik Scott leads to ch-ch-ch-changes; you can’t have both; on Social Security and Women; Kohl‘s is creating jobs (that’s more like it); why it’s a “bad thing” for household debt to decline (if you are an economist); once more the rich get richer; Dear Ben Stein, stop whining; worker’s health costs to rise 12% next year; and maybe the reason it “seems” that Americans don’t want jobs as migrant farm workers is that they don’t speak Spanish, don’t have “tractor skills” and like coming home to their families every night (certainly a barrier for single parents!). But we would rather pretend that it’s because we uppity high school and college grads are too good for back-breaking labor in an environment where only lip-service is given to labor laws.