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.

Do you think these two things might be related?

Fact one: Home prices are up nationwide. By how much depends on which index you like to use.

Fact two: The number of available existing homes listed is down. Not down a little bit, but down about 17% in 146 metro areas (I think that qualifies as “nationwide”) and down over 25% in a couple dozen places.

Looks like the law of supply and demand is still in play. Keep this in mind if you think this is a great time to buy.

In Closing: Harvard points out the obvious; about a quarter of Americans have more credit card debt than money in the bank — not total debt, just credit card debt; the truth about low capital gains taxes; signs of autism can be found at birth (that’s long before anybody can get vaccinated, for those keeping score); strategy; and surely I am not the only person who thinks the timing here is odd. Do you really believe that the Pope mulled his decision to resign for health reasons for quite a while before suddenly making an announcement, then realizing too late that it’s the middle of Lent and somebody has to do his job?

Music Monday: In “honor” of the Pope

It seems like everybody has at some point today said “I didn’t know the Pope could quit!” A lot of us remember John Paul II spending a lot of years being rather frail, so I am forced to wonder about Benedict XVI’s “health” issues.

Tim Minchin is hilariously funny, highly intelligent, a ridiculously good musician, and sometimes highly offensive. Not Safe For Work, Not Recommended For Catholics:


In Closing: this can’t be good; mood music for tortoises; how dare a government agency work in favor of the people; how to really help the middle class; McCain is a realist sometimes; college; on the post office; Reuters seems to misunderstand the term “liberal”.


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.

The Shorties in Black

In Plane Sight: I have a soft spot for Boeing. Here’s the latest version of the 747.

True: About the 2012 Elections.

On the Economy: global growth; more than 3 people for every available job in June despite the highest number of job openings in 4 years.

Math: “With regard to mathematics, the problem is not that we are teaching too much of it—but that we are teaching math ineffectively.  The expectations and architecture of the new Common Core State Standards in Mathematics can help to remedy this.  Faithful implementation of those standards will support districts that want to adopt curricula that unfurl mathematics in a rational, coherent program and that jettison approaches that are illogically sequenced and that overuse and abuse manipulatives.”

Perhaps there’s a logical explanation: Kids who eat good food turn out smarter than kids that eat junk food. Is it that good food contributes to intelligence, or that smarter parents feed their kids better stuff? I fail to see that this study accounted for the IQ, educational level, or socio-economic level of the parents.

People stand with the Nuns: and they appreciate it.

Today I learned: apparently, a psychic’s word is enough to get a warrant to search somebody’s property for a mass grave. Local governments are strapped for cash, but somehow they’ve got money for psychics? I do hope the locals find a way to get rid of the sheriff and judge that signed off on this.

The truth about corporate income tax: Many companies don’t pay that much.

Killer Kats: Turns out that outdoor cats kill a lot more than anybody knew. Funny thing about them being predators.

Funny, I have yet to kill anybody: “People without Facebook accounts are suspicious“? Seriously? I don’t have a Facebook account. There are millions of people who don’t. I’d say that relatively few of us are planning violence. Except maybe against idiots who think it means anything that I choose not to participate.

Shorties: The Hands of Fate

The Things One Finds: Roman beads in ancient Japanese burial mound.

Well, we all gotta go sometime: Ok, sure, we have more heart disease and cancer. We also have a whole lot less tuberculosis, flu, gastrointestinal infections, and diphtheria.

Because the real purpose is to make Chertoff a nice chunk of change: Not a single terrorist has been arrested through the use of whole body scanners.

It’s a good start: Two slimeballs convicted, one for molesting kids and one for standing by and doing nothing about it.

Oh really, USA Today??: “Supreme Court’s health care decision could affect millions”? Really? You don’t think that’s a given? By the way, it’s not a health care decision. It’s a health insurance decision and don’t ever forget it.

This is what rock bottom looks like: Former high school principal “went on a drug- or alcohol-induced rampage on Friday, stabbing several people — killing two — before driving his car into a crowded porch and brutally attacking a couple at a motel they ran. ‘You’ll be very proud of me, I just killed 10 drug dealers,’ Giancola told his mother afterward….”

Jill’s Got a Point: If already-low taxes and record profits aren’t enough to make “job creators” actually create jobs, what is?

Hillary’s at it again: saying radical stuff like how women need to be able to decide for themselves whether to have children. Hey Hillary, be sure to keep that message going once you get back to the States, mmkay?

How to Prevent the SWAT Team Bashing Your Door Down at 3 AM: boils down to “don’t be poor.” Because middle class and wealthy people never ever run drug operations or anything like that. Never. And the low level poor people never work for higher-ups who have money and don’t live in “the hood”. Couldn’t possibly happen!

Why That Burger Doesn’t Look Like the Picture: Truth be told, it’s a pretty good reason.

More Comedy Gold from USA Today: Are they running a newspaper or what? Apparently there are some Baby Boomers who have money to blow on $100,000 classic car restorations. Seriously? Because most of the Boomers I know are worried about whether they can afford retirement. Don’t get me wrong, I love to look at old cars and I have a soft spot for classic VWs. Even so, I can’t justify spending that kind of money on any car. I keep thinking “That could buy 3 nice sedans. Or maybe a sedan, a pickup truck, and a convertible.”

Another reason to take the bus: License plate scanners are on the rise, telling authorities (and anybody who cares to subpoena the records) everywhere your car has been for the last 2-5 years. Expect this data to end up in a criminal or divorce court near you.

And last: Here’s what 100 grams of protein looks like.

Good News on the Economy

Seriously, I’m coming up on 9 years of writing here, and this is the first time I’ve been able to write those words without meaning it sarcastically.

First, unemployment is down to 8.1% (locally, down to 12.4%). That’s still too high, and it still doesn’t account for people who have given up on finding a job and people who have settled for part time work. And the economy still isn’t quite up to making enough jobs for people new to the workforce, and new grads are still going to have a crappy time out there. However, not that long ago we were looking at almost 10%.

Second, there are signs of life in American manufacturing. Auto plants are working at capacity, and may have to actually hire an additional shift of workers — which is much less expensive than building a new plant and then having it sit idle 16 hours a day. Some industries that decided it was cheaper to make it overseas and ship it here are thinking twice. Senior executives are cautiously optimistic, and 40% report moving operations to the United States.

Finally, home prices are starting to inch up. Granted, this is at least in part because of reduced supply (and at least in part because prices got stupid-low on a per-square-foot basis in some places).

So there you have it. People are getting jobs and buying stuff. Some manufacturers are running out of the ability to make more stuff — so they may have to build places and hire people to make even more stuff. Maybe soon the Fed can raise interest rates from the supposedly “stimulating” levels they are today, and in turn banks will be able to make a reasonable profit lending money without making up fees or outright committing fraud.

In Closing: Who could have guessed that Citizens United could open the door to ordinary people taking over elections?; never forget Romney’s dog; Tokyo Sky Tree now open; too useful to be real; cheap and free ebooks; yet one more reason I’m against school vouchers; FISA; $27,000??; and the Vatican gets outraged when nuns actually act on What Would Jesus Do.