Music Monday: What’s Going On


In Closing: the cat came back; the wages of austerity; aww rats; adventurous surrogate mother wanted; rubber duckies; well yeah, it looks silly when he does it; too redacted; Clouds! Pork Exercise! Mexico! Pass the word; backtrack; never occurred to them that’s not an option for everybody; locking up the dumb b**** for not knowing what’s good for her baby; dealing with climate change; some bosses think Jesus wants them to break laws they don’t like (I seem to remember a line about rendering unto Ceasar…); on math; on history; and a prototype of facebook.

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.

Book Review: Diary of a Mad Fat Girl

This post is in connection with the BlogHer Book Club. I am being compensated for this review and received a free copy of the book itself. Join the conversation!

My first clue that Diary of a Mad Fat Girl by Stephanie McAfee might have a little disconnect was when I laid eyes on the cover: a pair of slim legs draped over a wood privacy fence, not a hint of cellulite, not an ounce of flab, topped with a flouncy pink miniskirt that no overweight woman I’ve ever known would be caught dead wearing. Now, I wasn’t expecting extreme corpulence, but our protagonist describes herself as size 16 high school art teacher. Frankly, I was expecting, well, somebody who looks more like the author.

One of the more remarkable things about this book is that it was originally self-published as an e-book! It was so successful online that the author was able to get a literary agent and a publisher. This is in fact the author’s first novel, and as such I am going to cut her some slack for some heavy-handed foreshadowing and a delightful deus-ex-machina. Whoops! I dare not say more! Nobody likes spoilers.

If you’re a fan of small town intrigue or school district politics, you’re going to love this one. Most of the major characters have known one another since they were children. The prose is amusing, the dialog perfectly suited to the characters, some of the situations delightfully silly. Serious topics like spousal abuse and homosexuality are treated with dignity. If you’ve read my reviews before, you know I’m very picky about endings. Without giving anything away, there was one aspect of the obligatory happy ending that didn’t really fit right. Assuming you can take the sexual themes, an amusing book worth checking out

In Closing: Try to use them all!; contraceptives; urban unrest; Hail Seizure; Call Center Bill; guaranteed prisoners (somebody explain to me how a for profit company can provide the same quality for less money than a government body that doesn’t need to make a profit? Don’t yell pensions because some government agencies have proven they can already screw workers out of those); costs more and pays less; stop buying them; this must stop; on moral decline; judge speaks common sense, that someone in a public place has a limited expectation of privacy, even if he/she is a cop; nothing to hide; and what really causes heart disease.

On Being a Responsible Consumer

I grew up in a household that values the power of the consumer. I have never crossed a picket line. My father refused to so much as ride in a Mercedes because of what the company did in World War 2, before he was born. I’m not sure, but I think when Mercedes bought Chrysler, he sold his 10 year old New Yorker in favor of a Ford. He had purchased it used. I have at least forgiven VW for things done over 60 years ago.

Alright then. Just about the time that Wal-Mart (mostly) rehabilitated it’s corporate image, Target got itself in hot water with the liberal/progressive communities with ill-considered campaign donations, and stayed there after some Halloween ads that were considered in poor taste by Parent-Americans. Ok, fine, looks like Wal-Mart has moved to be the lesser of two evils, at least until the other day when they “teamed up” with the Department of Homeland Security to “catch terrorists” (remember, terrorists do “suspicious” things). Clearly, no officials from the DHS have ever actually been inside a Wal-Mart.

So where am I supposed to shop? Albertsons apparently wants to get rid of unions; is it alright to shop at Smith’s or Von’s? Will it be acceptable next week? Even if I could afford to shop at Whole Foods, there’s still the scandal surrounding their purchase of Wild Oats. I could go down to the farmer’s market, but unlike those amazing markets in cities like San Francisco, there’s just not a whole lot available. This of course assumes that the vendors at my local farmer’s market aren’t practicing the exact same contemptible business practices of the worst factory farms. “Hey Mr. Farmer! You don’t mind if I drive on out to your farm and see if your workers are legal before I spend $3 on onions, do you??”

And now I’m supposed to get rid of my account because they decided that the rest of their clients were more important than one controversial one? Screw that!

Since I am clearly not allowed to shop anyplace convenient or close, that means I’ll be using a bunch more gas: do I buy it from the guys who polluted Alaska, the guys who poisoned the Gulf of Mexico, one of many that is stirring up Middle East unrest, or the Venezuelan “dictator”? How do I reconcile my bigger “carbon footprint” with avoiding businesses whose practices I don’t like? Do I buy the electric car from Japan, or the American one that unlocks all my doors and puts my life in danger every time I put it in park?

Things get even worse if you want to boycott products by a certain company. Let’s say for the sake of argument that Proctor and Gamble has done something you disapprove of: here’s everything you must avoid if you want to vote with your wallet! You’ll have an easier time getting by without Colgate-Palmolive’s products. If you decide you won’t give money to P&G, Colgate, or Unilever, give up any hope of cleanliness. Ever. We’ll just call you Pig-Pen. Unless you prefer “Dirty Hippie.”

And let’s not get started on banks! Even if you are willing to endure the hassle of changing banks, the only way to be sure your new bank won’t be taken over by one of the big players is to give up and bank with a “too big to fail” institution and just live with the BAMTOR Principle. It’s worse with mortgages: you can’t control who buys the note, you can’t control who your servicer is, and you may not be able to stop them from claiming you owe money even if you don’t.

So how exactly am I supposed to “vote with my wallet”?

I’m deadly serious about this. It has literally gotten to the point where I cannot avoid doing business with companies I don’t like. How can I possibly stick it to the Oligarchy when I can’t go a day and a half without giving them my money or using their products and services?

When Ted Kaczynsky starts to look sane, the nation has gone crazy.