Music Monday: Courthouse Edition

I spent the morning on jury duty. The first group to get called back was about 40 people. The next group was about 80, and I was in it. I was thinking to myself “Oh nuts, this has got to be a big trial!” Suddenly, we were all dismissed! When I got home, I watched the news to see if just maybe I could figure out what trial it might have been. Well, this case of a cop killer was dismissed this morning. I will never know if this was the actual court case, of course.

I am so sorry I have to say this, but killing a cop just because he happens to be hanging out in his garage — as the accused allegedly did — is extremely uncool.


Also: have some items about American cops. Here, have some bonus items on racism, terrorism, and harassment.

In Closing: The Alamo’s Cat.

R.I.S.D: Rest In Shorties Department

I Would Watch That!: I have been given permission to share my son’s brilliant idea for a new TV show: he calls it “Law and Order and Batman.”

Dumbasses: There are plenty of vegan parents out there who manage not to starve their babies to death.

Leia: 20 facts, 20 pictures, one princess.

Startling: The amount of data that cell phone companies might have.

Pope Francis: I could like this Pope.

Coincidence, I’m Sure: The Feds cut off Vegas’s counter-terrorism funds (whatever) the same day a “suspicious package” forced evacuation of Nellis AFB’s hospital and the day after a suspected pipe bomb was left by the side of the freeway.

Sheila Bair Sounds the Alarm: the banks are getting ready to screw the economy again.

On Expanding War: “[Our leaders] should not casually initiate conflict with only limited understanding of complex situations. It’s past time for greater caution in commitments of U.S. military forces, particularly in the Middle East.”

Here Comes the Sun: Sunshine turns out to be good for humans.

Let’s Get Physical: So is exercise.

Imagine: Today and here are the important things.

What?: A man and his bike and his cat.

What Would Bryan Boitano Do?: Bacon restaurant and bacon cocktails (check the slide show).

Extremism and Understanding: Turns out they don’t go together well.

Yuck: Margarine.

About Time: Costa Concordia captain finally facing a trial. Hey, let’s not rush into anything, it’s only been a year and a half.

Dave is Right: Let’s fix the real problems.

German Efficiency: Not always a good thing.

Valjean’s Confession: Right, because preventing desperate people from feeding their families will totally solve the problem of crime. I’ve said this about Megan’s Laws and I’ll say it about this: if we have decided that some people will always be criminals, they should be put in prison for the rest of their lives, but then we need to have a serious discussion about what that means.

5150 Shorties Way

Let’s clean up some tabs here…. It’s supposed to be cold in Vegas tonight. First person to say that disproves global warning gets smacked upside the head.

It’s called “math”:  Someone notices that rent can be more than a mortgage these days. Funny thing, your landlord is entitled to a profit over paying his own mortgage!

Go ahead, opt out. They dare you: The TSA. And be sure you have an ID with your age on it if you look young.

Drink Up: Red wine seemingly increases testosterone, and reduces the amount peed away.

Musique Concrete: How Dr. Who changed music.

That leaves 1-3 hours for eating, pooping, demanding attention, and running around like a fuzzy maniac: Cats spend the rest of the time sleeping and grooming.

Defused: The latest school shooting rampage was not stopped by “a good guy with a gun.” It was stopped by a teacher talking him into laying down the weapon. Hmm.

Free Gift!: You can now play CDs you bought from Amazon from the cloud in many cases. Even if you bought them 15 years ago. Surprise!

Dave Johnson: He tends to be a bit long winded, but he’s correct.

Too Big To Fail must be Too Big To Exist: Robert Reich.

Didn’t anybody else think the headline didn’t make sense?: It turns out there was a lot more to the story of the woman fired for being too attractive.

And now back to their usual silliness: The American Academy of Pediatrics thinks it would be wonderful to have a doctor in every school. Well sure it would, particularly since I’m sure they would want that doctor to be one of their members! I’m not sure where they think these doctors are going to come from, since there is a shortage which will only get worse as Baby Boomers retire. And I’m certainly not sure where they think school districts will come up with the money. After all, average (median?) pay for a pediatrician is $156,000, and that’s one of the low salary specialties. That kind of money could pay for at least 3 teachers. Which do you think will give the district the most bang for the buck in this age of budget cuts?

Last but not least: The best time to buy almost anything.

I think I have a better idea….

So Clark County School District — the 5th largest school district in the nation — has a “successful” pilot of a program to keep track of students on school busses. Parents can theoretically find out whether their kids got on the bus, and where the bus is. Roughly 700 of the 110,000 students who daily ride the bus got special ID cards and were tracked for 4 whole weeks. Clearly something short of a representative sample. However, “because of financial problems, the district has shelved any large-scale program.”

Good for administrators for realizing that there were concerns about losing passes, and concerns about the costs of the system.

However, here’s the thing. There’s already a great technology in the hands of many middle school students and virtually all high school students that parents can use to keep track of their kids. Better yet, there is absolutely zero cost to the school district for this technology; most parents willingly — nay, eagerly — pay for implementation and all necessary equipment. I personally tested it for 4 years within the Clark County School District Transportation Department, and I feel certain that other parents here and elsewhere have similar experiences. In one case, I was even alerted to a wreck involving the school bus. This of course not only delayed pickup, but changed the pickup location. Use of this amazing technology saved the school district the time and expense of individual notifications to parents in most cases.

It’s called a cell phone.

Stop trying to reinvent the wheel, and stop pretending that a child’s RFID tag is necessarily in the same location as the child.

In closing: good call; inconvenient truth for anti-porn crusaders; Heinlein; I guess none of the researchers ever played the “telephone game”, or they could have saved a lot of research; so some busybody docs and pharmacists think they know more about women’s reproductive health than gynecologists; support a political cartoonist; hackers, crackers, and black swans; Expert Ezra; what could possibly go wrong; income inequality; the Buffett Rule; sure, there’s no such thing as inflation; and Cat Heaven Island. Enjoy an early Caturday.

Detail Work

Ok, let me start by saying that I’m as outraged as anybody that we have JUDGES in this country that can’t seem to use good JUDGEment.

The story of the 17 year old honor student jailed overnight for truancy has made the rounds. It’s very sympathetic. She works a full time job and a part time job to support her siblings and still manages to pull down good grades. The judge felt he had to make an example out of her. Wow, what a heartless judge, right?

Some people think this is a travesty because “how is putting her in jail going to put her in school.”  Some say it’s a travesty just because the situation is ludicrous — after all she’s an honor student, not some gang-banger. Some say it’s a travesty because she’s old enough to drop out of school with her parents‘ written consent.

And, you see, that’s the real problem that everybody seems to have missed, including the judge. Her parents are gone. Split up, one no longer even in the state and the other only occasionally around, not really in her life. She shouldn’t have to work 2 jobs to support her siblings and herself.  No 17 year old should have to do that. When the judge realized that she was a minor and her parents were not there, he should have adjourned to call Child Protective Services. You know, the government agency that protects children. She and the younger sister should be with a foster family today, she should be able to at the very least quit one of her jobs, and her truancy problems should be over.

Who is the adult here? Sadly, the 17 year old truant who can’t even sign a binding legal document is.

In Closing: consumer lack of confidence; easy ways to end up in indefinite detention; and a list of keywords that the Department of Homeland Security is watching for. If this list is correct, the DHS must spend a lot of time looking for secret messages in newspapers and blogs.

Red Riding Shorties

In other news, sky blue, water wet: The cable industry recognizes that poverty is as big threat to their subscriber base as Netflix.

Duhpartment of Research: What do cats do all day? Mostly sleep and rest.

World’s Oldest Known Museum: Turns out to have been in ancient Babylonia.

Views of Vegas: From the Strip and from one of the mountains north of town.

Couldn’t have anything to do with it: Worker’s share of national income is plunging faster than a supermodel’s neckline.

Congress Can’t Outlaw What They Aren’t Told About: surveillance programs go unnoticed. It’s a bad thing.

Cancer Needs Sugar to Survive: Low carb diets prevent cancer.

Sure Would Be Handy: Let’s see, we have lots of unemployed people, and we have roads to fix, schools to build, and lots of infrastucture that needs to be constructed or repaired. Gee, why don’t we try putting those things together??? Aw, that’s crazy talk.

If you say so: Has anybody come up with a really good use for these things? Lots of people say I need them and then they can’t explain why.

Can’t Resist: I know I said it earlier elsewhere, but HA HA! Righthaven smacked down! Yes, the source of that article was intentionally ironic.

My First Book Review

Maybe you knew — and maybe you didn’t — but I like to read. The nice people over at BlogHer asked me to take part in their BlogHer Book Club review-cluster (somebody needs to think of a word to describe dozens of reviews of one book) on Jean Kwok’s semi-autobiographical novel, Girl in Translation. Just want to jump to my review? It’s called “Nobody in America Lives Like This,” Except They Do. I’ve already spawned a spoilers discussion!

There’s a new “Book Reviews” category. Don’t know if you’ll see more in it yet, but I’m leaving myself the option.

Update: per comment from P.D., they are now “Book Events.”

In Closing: yes, there are jobs making clean tech, in China!; on higher education; Judge realizes that you are not your IP address (just one fatal flaw in pretty much every online ID scheme proposed); I think there will be some mighty surprised people in a couple of weeks; UPS’s safest driver; disenfranchisement; you are not a storm-chaser, get your butt to cover!; screw austerity; Senator Dean Heller; looking forward to this book!; I [heart] Amazon; what do soap and school vouchers have in common? (heck, I talked about vouchers within my first 10 posts); on McJobs; must be nice to be that lucky every day (what? you don’t suppose they are manipulating the system, do you?); and the Black Hole.