Bonus Music: Funky!

More here. I particularly like the fact that this wasn’t just a production of the dance team and assorted Pretty People. Yeah, even a Fort Worth girl can appreciate what they did in Dallas.

In Closing: Yay, we’re last; scarfgate debunked; not a fan of Obamacare, but I did come out ahead; all those poor people taking advantage of the law!; not sure what to say; yeah; on moral agency.

Do No Harm

Today’s question:

Hippocrates famously said: “Make a habit of two things: to help; or at least to do no harm.” Add one more important habit to his list.

Never mind that he didn’t actually say any such thing….

But as long as doing helpful things and refraining from doing harmful things is the topic, let’s go back to another ancient source, a fellow named Siddhartha Gautama. He taught that we would be happier if we followed eight habits, including seeing the world as it really is, paying attention why we want things, saying the right things (not saying bad things), doing the right things (again, not doing bad things), having a job that is good for the community or mankind (yeah, maybe “assassin” isn’t a proper career path), putting a good effort into all we do, being aware, and focusing on things where appropriate.

You don’t have to believe everything he said to think those are good ideas.

In Closing: keep looking up; a research problem; unfortunately I doubt they mean it; finally somebody thought about it (at least a little); Dayton; civil rights; words.

Eat It

Today’s question:

Do you tend to order the same thing at restaurants? Or do you like to jump around the menu?

Answer: yes. It depends where I am. There are places where I just want the one or two things that I know are awesome. There are other places where I am busy trying new things. Remember, Vegas is a world class food city! Sorry, I don’t have much more to say about the issue than that.

In Closing: no regard for the Supreme Court; catching the cold; one Indiana lawmaker doesn’t think you should have a choice whether you raise a child with severe disabilities; cybersecurity; doing the same thing and expecting different results; finally somebody said it out loud.

Music Monday: Weezer

In Closing: Reading about the people justifying torture can seem like they are torturing the truth; a few police brutality and racism items; common sense may not be common; TPP; she can’t be trusted to make a decision regarding having a baby, but she can somehow be trusted with a baby. Oh, and one last must read commentary.

Fear-mongering at its finest.

The TSA really doesn’t like that Apple and Google both have products they can’t just hack remotely. As in, they are trying desperately to make them stop it. Poor babies may actually have to get search warrants. Oh, and here’s a nice article on some of the NSA’s computing issues and an item on how this mess got started.

In Closing: our rising police state; bankers gone wild; be afraid!!!; don’t you have anything better to do?; and adorable kittens.

Music Monday: Retro Revival

Just a friendly reminder though: there is a difference between a fine booty and a fat ass.

In Closing: a few birth control and other women’s issues items; this is why net neutrality is important to you even if you didn’t know it; a couple random NSA and CIA items (you know, they could halt the scandal by shuttering the program); maybe a poor choice; send in the drones?; wow; and I do feel certain your life isn’t 70% better than it was in 1980 (assuming of course that you were alive then).

Only Shorties Left Alive

Ok, I know why some of you are here: to get your sweet sweet dose of NSA links.

Turns out not: There’s no shortage of STEM workers. There may, however, be a shortage of STEM workers who want to work for crappy wages.

Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me: Which of these inventions is likely to be fake? Two teenage girls invent new bomb detector that could revolutionize getting around their home town, teenage boy makes browser plugin that allows you to see who a politician’s major contributors are with a simple mouse-over, or Egyptian military invents a gadget that can detect AIDS and Hepatitis C without taking blood samples? Regrettably, I cannot promise that Carl Kassel will record your voicemail message.

Sick of Politics and November is So Far Away: Pelosi thinks immigration reform is now a longshot (because hey, we can’t have a Democratic Kenyan President signing that into law or something). Republicans don’t like it when President Obama does things that President Bush and President Reagan did frequently. Maybe Senator McCain shouldn’t talk about ISIS anymore. And the Koch agenda.

A Couple Items on Abortion: Southern Beale points out that abortion restrictions don’t keep women from getting abortions, just from getting safe ones. And someone I’ve not had the chance to link to in a long time, MahaBarbara on “What If Banks, Not Abortion Clinics, Needed Buffer Zones?”

Have you ever wondered what these signs mean?: In short, the higher the number, the more dangerous it could be.

I’ve said it before: In areas where schools push the high school start time back, student traffic accidents dropped 70%. Oh yeah, and their grades improved.

Have you read this one yet?: It’s been making the rounds, just want to make sure everybody’s seen it.

And finally: A gun safety ad that doesn’t involve a made up tragedy.

No Shortie Lives

Ok, just so you know, air quality in Vegas is absolutely awful today because of the massive fire on Mount Charleston. This also means that Vegas’s favorite get-out-of-the-heat spot is closed. So on with the Shorties.

A Few Words on Abortion: Don’t want one? Don’t have one. Don’t think others should have them? Support birth control or admit that what you’re really against is sluts having sex.

Insurance Companies Fixing Things: Heh, Kansas’s plan to let teachers carry guns has effectively been nixed by the insurance company. It makes me wonder if SWAT team tactics might not be fixed by enough insurance claims. Turns out Allstate and those guys have lots of lawyers on the payroll….

Always Low Wages: Walmart threatens to leave DC if they are forced to pay a living wage. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

Speaking of Wages and the Mood of the American People: liberty vs security, where’s the outrage, I’m not sure it’s capitalism to blame.

On Health Insurance Reform: “The politicians’ consensus is that health care reform shouldn’t alter or disrupt the way the majority of Americans get their insurance today…. The policy consensus, though, is that the status quo is actually the problem and that it deserves to be threatened, undermined and replaced as expeditiously as possible.” Further, it turns out that when real people are forced to hold their noses and select coverage, they choose the plan that costs the least every paycheck and still pray they don’t get sick because the coverage sucks. I concede that means I was wrong about where cash-pay clinics are headed; we’re gonna need more, not less.

How about Lowering the Danger, then?: Pentagon wants to cut danger pay.

On the Millenials: Matt Bors. Thank heaven we have a better name for them than “Generation Y”.

Miscellany: Banks, Choirs, Sinners, Poor Little Pageant QueenCats, Planes, and freakin hipsters.

 

Hot Hot Hot

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, I hope nobody was really thinking that mortgage rates were going to stay near “record lows” forever.

And now, let’s have a bunch of relevant items on the NSA, spying, and Mr. Snowden.

And for desert (yeah, I meant desert), a bunch of relevant items on abortion, pregnancy, and Texas.

Creative Accounting, or GO REBELS!

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.

Which brings me to this item from ThinkProgress:

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 case you didn’t get the title, University of Nevada Las Vegas’s sports teams are the Rebels. Enjoy this unintentionally hilarious radio ad. 

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.