Silly Snake!

Submitted for your approval:

Though it became a well-known pop culture joke after Samuel L. Jackson’s 2006 fictional movie, snakes can sometimes be found on a plane.

That’s exactly what happened on Tuesday when a cabin crew was checking an airplane that landed in Glasgow, Scotland, according to The Scotsman newspaperin Edinburgh. The flight had come in from Cancun, Mexico when staff found a 18-inch long, juvenile snake under a row of seats in the passenger cabin, the newspaper reported.

A Scottish animal welfare charity was called in to recover the snake, The Scotsman reported.

Ok, not exactly a new story. I delayed commenting due to travel. Anyone want to guess where I was?

My first thought was: “Silly snake! Why would you leave Cancun to go to Scotland?

My second thought was that I could completely understand how the little fellow got on board. His home was mere yards from the tarmac.

Cancun — the “nest of the snakes” — was carved out of the jungle. The airport itself is testament to that, and it is even more obvious if you travel South towards Playa Del Carmen. Outside the Hotel Zone, there are clear and constant efforts to keep the jungle from reclaiming territory. Even within the Hotel Zone, sun and salty air mean an ongoing battle against modern human-built structures. A bright coat of paint appears to be shorthand for “recently maintained.” You’ll see at least one person with a paint brush on a regular basis at any resort.

In Closing: about time!; I’ll skip the Winter Garden Loaf, thanks; what’s wrong with Lime Squeeze?; hmm; escaping poverty; security theatre; Nevada Supreme Court quietly wades into serious issues with national implications; and truth in numbers.

Let the Spin Begin

Ok, the good news first. Poverty is down ever so slightly. The number of people without health insurance is down, despite the fact that health insurance premiums went up 4% (far exceeding the official inflation rate).  The bad news is that  typical American income is down for the 4th year in a row. Adjusted for inflation, we’re back to the Clinton Administration.

Sit back and watch the two parties fight about what this means and who is to blame.

In Closing: converted RINO; crass; type 3 diabetes; turns out that training makes for better employees, who knew?!?!?; apples and oranges; voter suppression works too well; and the rules.

Down And Out on Paradise

Sticklers for detail will notice this is the Strip and not actually Paradise, a few blocks East.

Things are tough all over.

I do hope nobody is surprised to learn that poverty in the United States is even higher than expected. After all, some 15% of our population is on food stamps — and that’s according to the freaking Wall Street Journal! And it is worse than average here in Vegas, where the “recovery” you lucky souls in other parts of the nation have been experiencing the last 2 years has passed us by like some angry Santa:

There’s a newer version of this chart right here. Add to that the fact that Vegas is still the reigning foreclosure capital of the nation, and it shouldn’t be any shock that we have a problem with homelessness and “food security” — a fancy term for “no food and/or no money for food.” Please remember that no matter what you may think of the work ethic of people in these situations, some of the people effected are children. There are mighty few jobs available to children that will pay the family’s bills, and most of them are worse than mere hunger.

Maybe if Wall Street didn’t sell us a pack of lies about how we can run our economy on lattes and cheap imports, we could change things. Even Starbucks is trying to create jobs outside the Latte Economy.

In Closing: is police use of a GPS really different from tailing them (uh, yeah); whites use more drugs, but blacks get sent to prison more (huh, could the War on Drugs possibly be racist??); even a broken clock is right twice a day; Americans would rather have government bureaucrats than insurance company bureaucrats (who could know these things?); amen; and right on, Rick.

Geraldine Ferraro, and the One Thing I Remember About Her

The very first news item I encountered this morning as I opened my computer was the death of Geraldine Ferraro. By many standards, she did enjoy a good life: former member of Congress; Vice Presidential candidate (the first female one in the United States — there wouldn’t be another for over 2 decades); TV host; she had a loving husband (that’s one!) and 3 grown children. Yet none of this is what I remember most about Ms. Ferraro.

I remember the 1984 Vice Presidential Debate.

But let’s step back.

The first Presidential Election I have any recollection of was the 1976 contest between Gerry Ford and Jimmy Carter. However, the first debate I can recall sitting through was in 1980 between Carter and Ronald Reagan. That’s the one with the famous Reagan catchphrase “There you go again.”

In those days, the debates were run by the League of Women Voters.

By 1984 we had — heaven help us all!!! — a woman candidate for Vice President. How could this be? Can she possibly be qualified?? Quick! Somebody set up a debate between Geraldine Ferraro and the Republican candidate, George H.W. Bush (later known as “President Bush” or “Bush 41”). It wasn’t the first Vice Presidential debate, but it is the first one Generation X is likely to remember.

The woman, who normally wore sharp little suits like this, showed up in a rather unflattering grey sweater. Even to a child it seemed like a thinly disguised attempt by some patriarchal campaign handlers to make her seem “friendly,” “feminine,” and god help her “momlike.” She stood there, next to a former CIA director, former Ambassador, former RNC Chairman in his blue wool suit with the red silk tie, and looked like she was ready to take the class on a field trip.  I can’t recall a word of what was said. From where I sat, this moment lost the election for Mr. Mondale.

But onward to 1988, when Dan Quayle was the Vice Presidential candidate. The poor man is right that he took a lot of heat for statements that wouldn’t have gotten a second glance had they come out of the mouth of his running mate’s son. Again, a debate, but now under the auspices of the Commission on Presidential Debates — a wholly owned subsidiary of the two major political parties.

I’ll skip such fine moments as “Gridlock!” and “Oh no say it ain’t so Joe!” and move on. In 1992 they were honest enough to include a third candidate in the debates, the popular if mercurial Ross Perot and his running mate. This would be the last time the CPD would include any “undesirables.”

The Republican field is already starting to populate with Presidential candidates and wanna-be candidates. Before the year is out, we will be subjected to various debates between them where the only thing they actually agree on is that President Obama stinks, is too liberal, might be a socialist, might be a communist, might be a Muslim, might be the anti-Christ, might be Kenyan. In short, they will call him everything except a nice Blank man. By this time next year, the running will be between a short list of 2-5 players. By 18 months from now, we will have had a couple of Presidential Debates and maybe a Vice Presidential one or two.

What will be missing from this picture is all the third party candidates.  And this brings me to a proposal.

Let’s have a big, televised debate next spring or summer with all the “other” candidates. And I do mean all of them! Everybody who can get his or her name on the ballot is welcome to come on (at their own expense), answer questions, and talk about their views.

I predict that two things will happen. Most of the candidates will come across as having serious holes in their platforms — if not being completely loony. Some of the candidates will actually have a good idea or two, and perhaps some of these ideas will either create a credible third party or get co-opted by one of the mainstream parties. Either way, this is a win for both the candidate and the country.

In closing: a job fit for a dog; more like this please; insanity; interesting but not happening; way down; when did Jim Bakker start talking sense?; a lousy graph; the good old days?; dangerous; sakura; and even Time thinks it’s odd.

Wanted: X-Ray Glasses

Watch this. It’s a man with a golf club, being shot to death in his own home by cops who had a no-knock warrant. He was known to have a drug problem, and was suspected of being a dealer. The county attorney called it “justified.” Do you hear the police identify themselves in that video?

Now then, pretty much every state in the union gives me the right to defend myself and my home. I live in a neighborhood where people try to deliver items to homes with the same number but a different street name on a regular basis. So I have a deadly serious question: When somebody is trying to break down my front door, how do I tell whether it’s a theoretical drug-addled group of gangsta neighbors, a bank trying to illegally foreclose on the wrong house, or Metro Police executing a no-knock warrant on the wrong address?

I’d really like to know, because in two of those situations I’m a hero for defending myself, but in the other I’m dead.

In closing: Todd the Bod; Facebook; really, Wal-Mart?; MC2; follow-up on an adoption; truth; and coffee.