10 Shortiesfield Lane

Hi everyone. Sorry there was no music yesterday. Hopefully I can make it up to you with some delicious shorties.

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On Phone Security: Do you like being able do to things like buy things or pay bills using your phone? Government insistence on back doors and custom hacking software will make your phone vulnerable to Bad Guys who can rob you blind through your phone. Oh, and the cops don’t even think there’s any information to get off that phone in San Bernardino. It’s just a fishing expedition designed to make you less secure.

Some random food items so I don’t lose track of them: eating relatively healthy at a fast food place; healthy eating at chain restaurants; and cheap but healthy cooking.

Unequal Returns: Poor kids who go to college don’t get nearly the income boost that middle and upper class kids get with a college education.

DWB: Or, cell phone cameras continue to throw light on misconduct.

Just because it’s Super Tuesday: One Hillary link and one Trump link.

Oh, and one more thing: If you want to actually fix the immigration system — rather than slapping some patches on it — you have to address the fact that by law, there is an annual ceiling of 675,000 legal immigrants. There are roughly 12,000,000 undocumented  (or unlawful, if you prefer) immigrants. Even if all of them were legal immigrants, it would take over 17 years to get them all normalized status under the current law. People coming to this nation — legally, as refugees, whatever — now are taking years to get to court at all. That’s part of the reason there are undocumented immigrants in the first place. Telling them to go to the back of the line is a joke, because the line would be over 17 years long. Any immigration “reform” that doesn’t address the ceiling and doesn’t address employers who exploit cheap labor from undocumented workers (who will often gladly work for illegally low wages in unsafe environments because it’s still better than where they came from) is nothing more than window dressing.

 

Happy Tuesday.

I am apparently being “Ridiculous”

“I don’t mean people are packages, so let’s not be ridiculous,” the New Jersey governor told an interviewer on Fox News Sunday who pointed out that foreigners do not have labels on their wrists.

“This is once again a situation where the private sector laps us in the government with the use of technology,” Christie said. “We should bring in the folks from FedEx to use the technology to be able to do it. There’s nothing wrong with that.”

I’m not entirely sure how he intends to “use the technology” without something that seems very much like barcoding visitors. Maybe mandatory checkins with local authorities?

In Closing: this might be worth watching, but nobody better get in my way on the 21st. Got that??

Chirstie Shows his True Colors

So the latest “brilliant idea” from the Presidential candidate Chris Christie is to track immigrants as if they were Fed-Ex packages. Claiming that 40% of illegal immigrants are here on expired visas, his idea is to keep track of where they are, “And then when your time is up … however long your visa is, then we go get you and tap you on the shoulder and say ‘Excuse me, thanks for coming, time to go.’” Yes, real quote. Also, no specifics on how that would work. It’s not exactly dignified to slap a bar-code on them when they arrive at the airport. Hey, make sure the hotel scans that for you regularly, mmkay?

Now allow me to point out that — even if we take Mr. Christie’s often-quoted statistic at face value, this will catch at most 2/5 of illegal immigrants at some point in the future. It won’t do anything about the other 3/5. Hmm, interesting fraction that, since many illegal immigrants work in jobs that routinely violate labor laws, or are in outright slavery.

 

Back to the idea of somehow tracking every non-American who shows up at an port of entry, including airports and border crossings. Maybe give them some kind of emblem to pin on their jackets?? Now, if the Religious Right wing of the Republican base actually knows the tenets of their faith, they should have a specific Bible verse coming to mind.

Anybody who really wants to talk about the illegal immigration problem needs to address the fact that it can take many many years to get normal permanent status and/or become a citizen. There are only a limited number of permanent visas and green cards issued each year, and most immigrants must maintain that status for 5 years before applying to become a citizen. Dealing with current immigrants under these quotas is much like attempting to drink a gallon of milk using a teaspoon.

But hey, it sure sounds cool to track them like some package you’ve ordered.

In closing: boat; no, she can’t; irreproducible results; what recovery?; the plague.

Shorties: The Reawakening

Sorry for the tab dump here. I’m in the progress of migrating RSS readers and all is madness.

Gee, I wonder why that would be!: These big events tend to inspire copycats. Well maybe if we didn’t glorify the asshats who do this stuff….

On Bad Trade Deals: Um, yeah, we need to keep paying attention.

It’s All Greek to Me: No?

On the Redditpocalypse: I was beginning to think the place was too big anyway. I have yet to evaluate alternatives.

On with the body count: Our police violence problem has gained international attention.

YSK: Ponzi and pyramid schemes.

Meanwhile: How dare people — particularly young people — want jobs that pay a living wage! Particularly in these 10 states…

An interesting view: On consent.

Lemmings: Well, I suppose inasmuch as illegal immigrants are by definition here illegally, sure. But by that standard, lots of people have “bad intent.”

Finally: Via my old and dear friend Rachel, a misplaced dominant seventh chord was once all it took to land you in jail. Listen for yourself near the bottom.

Music Monday: Thanks, Johnny

Ladies and Gentlemen, Johnny Cash:

 

In Closing: moving; a few diet items; I’m not sure how this works (except Obama is black and therefore any race issues are his fault?); as long as we’re on the topic of the President, a couple immigration items; life chances; it’s good to be king CEO; not so good to be an average worker; even worse to be in prison; but hey at least if you’re in prison you’re alive.

News

Even though the stats say people read this little site regularly, the fact is not many people comment. One of the few people who I’d call a “regular commenter” was Cynthia.

It is with great sadness that I must report that Cynthia passed away this morning. She leaves behind a long-term boyfriend, assorted distant relatives, a grandson, and one daughter. That would be me.

In Closing: rubble bucket challenge; an interesting and relevant graph; on inequality and impounded cars; cop cams; one less one less problem; Karl calls ’em as he sees ’em; shhh, ancient oligarch secret; and thanks to bankruptcy “reform,” there is no hope of this getting better until the previous item miraculously vanishes; I still wonder why insurance companies haven’t put their considerable clout behind this; and won’t somebody please think of the children (unless of course they are brown).

 

 

Keep It Simple, Silly.

Alright, so apparently it took tens of thousands of kids showing up all alone in our country, having traveled thousands of miles through incredible obstacles to get us to collectively pay attention to immigration policy for more than 5 minutes. There’s screaming on both sides: they’re kids, many of them little, and they need our protection; they’re here illegally and we need to send them back to their [incredibly impoverished and unsafe] homes as quickly as possible before they bring crime and disease for crying out loud, due process be damned.

Let’s be clear on this. Immigration policy is broken. Further, our current system for asylum and naturalization is so complicated that any solution that does not involve radical simplification is no solution at all. That simplification needs to include a reduced amount of paperwork, written in a way that it can be filled out in some cases without the help of expensive lawyers. That simplification needs to eliminate limits on the numbers of immigrants that can come from specific regions and get work permits — unrealistically low limits that even the Senate knows need to go. Maybe it doesn’t need to be so simple that a little kid can navigate the system, but certainly an adult who knows how to read should be able to get started.

Of course that’s only one piece of the puzzle — the part the most helps the kids right now. In the long term, we as a nation have to stop doing things that increase poverty and gang violence in Central and South America. That will make it safer for other children to stay in their homelands with their families rather than come thousands of miles to a strange land that only offers the faintest hope of a better life.

We also need to remember that children aren’t the only ones who illegally come to the United States because no matter how bad conditions are here, it’s better than at home. Conditions are bad here for undocumented immigrants because the byzantine rules for work permits means they work in low wage, low skill, long hours, sometimes blatantly illegal, non-existent protections for workers jobs — the so-called “Jobs Americans Won’t Do [because we foolishly want minimum wage and a safe workplace]”. The employers who exploit these willing workers (and put law abiding businesses at a competitive disadvantage) must face consequences: fines, inspections, jail for the people who sign off on breaking the law.

This is not a complete solution. However, it’s how we “stop digging the hole” we’re trapped in.

In Closing: “The beatings will continue until morale improves”; the latest attempts to undermine your privacy (and indeed, your access) online, and bonus NSA links; the rich get richer and the poor get poorer yet again; “This isn’t about your health. It’s about control.”; great, because it turns out we’re gonna need some new bridges soon! (I saw a picture of the set-up last week and it’s truly impressive); and Remember Come November. Oh, and vote in the damned primaries so we at least have decent candidates!

Over 95% Bums and Idiots

I’m more than a little peeved at Washington today.

Let’s start with the reply I got from Senator Reid regarding NSA spying programs, including this paragraph:

These surveillance authorities are important tools for the counterterrorism officials working to dismantle foreign terrorist networks and keep America safe. These authorities have played a vital role in helping the U.S. Government identify and disrupt terrorist plots, and have helped our Intelligence Community better understand the nature and extent of terrorist networks. However, I share your concerns about ensuring transparency and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of law-abiding Americans as our government uses these expansive tools. I have strongly supported efforts to strengthen oversight and disclosure requirements as we have periodically reauthorized these surveillance authorities.

Really, Harry? Are you sure about that? If these programs are so successful, how come they can’t trot out some captured terrorists? The other day, the NSA said they can’t actually search through the “Centuries of Data” they are prepared to collect. Now which is it? “This is a vital program that helps us find and catch bad guys,” or “I dunno, it’s in here somewhere”?

The nicest thing I can say about having voted for you, Harry, is that you were more sane than your opponent. Don’t make me regret that, Senator.

Remember that the Amash amendment failed bipartisanly. That means the RepubliCANTS and DemocRATS are equally in favor of letting the spies violate your rights under the 1st, 4th, and 5th Amendments all they like.

Speaking of bipartisan idiocy, why won’t Steve King just shut up? Bad enough he wants to compare immigration to choosing “a pretty good bird dog” and can’t understand why anybody thinks that’s offensive. Now he’s doubled down with talk about how most immigrants are drug smugglers with calves the size of cantaloupes. Steve, sweetie, when even Mr. Boehner thinks your remarks are  hateful and ignorant, they probably are.

Remember that an immigration “reform” plan that doesn’t include a way for undocumented workers to eventually become citizens is saying “We like having easily exploited, illegal workers in this nation.” See also, the truth about guest workers, and why unemployment is “down.”

And now there’s serious talk about making Larry Summers the Fed chair? Oh please.

Are there more than a handful of intelligent elected officials who aren’t owned by special interests in all of Washington DC? Who the heck am I supposed to vote for when all my choices are idiots, nutcases, liars, hopelessly out of touch, paid to do as they are told, openly against my interests, and/or quietly working against my interests while telling me it’s for my own good? Jon Porter was a Republican, but at least he had the guts to tell me “I respect your opinion but I disagree because….” on multiple occasions.

In Closing: Thanks for saving Ohio the expense of a heavily publicized trial; some of the smartest stuff I’ve read about Detroit; why yes, I find it convenient to be alive.