If it bleeds, it leads…

And apparently, it can pay dividends: School shootings beget more school shootings. And unlike the days of Parkway South — which I bet you never heard of unless you knew somebody who was there — news coverage may be why. From the CNN article:

Researchers gathered records of school shootings and mass killings from several data sets and fit them into a mathematical “contagion model.” The spread they found was not dependent on location, leading researchers to believe that national media coverage of a mass shooting might play a role.

If you’re the kind of person who prefers to look at the research rather than the media coverage of it, good for you: here it is. Left to your imagination is whether other crimes might be subject to the “contagion model” described by the researchers. My guess is “probably.”

In Closing: dinosaur feathers; apparently he had a heart after all (no loss); stand and deliver all your ideologues.

Federal Judge Rules that Banks Must Follow the Law

More specifically, a Federal judge has ruled that MERS tried to circumvent state law, costing counties millions of dollars in lost recording fees, compromising public records, and confusing consumers. Needless to say, executives form MERS disagree with the judge’s interpretation of state law.

This ruling could cost MERS millions of dollars — billions if other jurisdictions are included. Since I have always felt that the entire purpose of the corporation was to get around the law, I hope they get what legal penalties they have coming to them.


In Closing: Yeah yeah I’ll keep posting NSA links as long as there are links to post (bonus anti-terror link!); tax reform; maybe it’s because nobody can afford overpriced organizing stuff; that does sound a little unfair; it turns out that Medicaid is better than nothing– for hospitals!; a couple diet, exercise, and obesity items; about nothing, “not that there’s anything wrong with that”; and “take our puppet, please!”

5 Things Happening that are More Important than Cliven Bundy




Ok, the Bundy thing is still going on, and I do appreciate that it’s a local news story with national coverage. Not sure why anybody cares who says what about him on Facebook. However, while all of us are watching the circus, here’s 5 things we’re not paying attention to:

The President is in the Far East trying to get the TPP rammed through. Never mind the fact that it’s bad for most people.

Did you know that Afghanistan had a presidential election? Abdullah Abdullah faces a run-off, but he may well be the next Afghan head of state.

Iraq is having an election too. It’s this coming week. They also have some unrest ahead of the event.

Issues are not resolved in the Ukraine. Yeah.

Meanwhile in the United States, severe weather blows. Yeah, ok, bad pun.

And a bonusThe FCC wants to “save” Net Neutrality by destroying it.

All this and two new Saints in the realm of Catholicism. Even elections in far-flung lands probably have more bearing on you than the actions of one Southern Nevada rancher. But no, we prefer to hear about some guy who wants to let his cows wander his neighbor’s property without paying for the privilege.

Ignore Them

I am completely disgusted with pretty much all politicians, and even more so with politicians that try to position themselves as “I’m a [insert noun] first, not just another politician.” Those ones are dangerous because half the time they don’t understand what the heck they are dealing with. I’m talking to you, Dr. Joe Heck!

I’m tired of politicians who think we can balance the budget without increasing taxes.

I’m tired of politicians who think we can balance the budget without addressing our 2 1/2 wars.

I’m tired of politicians who think that just because I’m not 55 yet, I just need to kiss Social Security goodbye.

I’m tired of politicians who are so ignorant of history that they think there can be a “private sector” solution to Medicare.

I’m tired of politicians who use the phrase “death tax,” when only a few thousand people will ever pay it.

I’m tired of politicians who use coded words to whip the ignorant into a frenzy. (“Domestic enemy”? Why not just call him Satan or the Anti-Christ? What a shame that you really mean he’s an “uppity ******”!)

And most of all, I’m tired of the other politicians who won’t call them out on this nonsense. Don’t even get me started on the media that lets them lie on the air and call it the truth.

Go ahead. Close down the government. Do it! Do it right at “tax day” and completely screw yourselves.

In Closing: defense; a man and his boat; two takes on dessert sushi; WHY??; if you won’t stop for humane reasons, or justice reasons, how about fiscal reasons?; about time; I like Kathy; it’s all about cheap labor; gaming inflation through housing prices; if you haven’t heard about the real Tea Party yet, watch it today; resist BAMTOR; I knew this would happen! Throw the book at them!; and a picture of a random cat. If anybody knows the source, put it in comments so I can attribute it:

Good Riddance

Yesterday, Mayor Daley the Younger of Chicago — not to be confused with his father — announced that he would not seek a 7th term in office. Quicker than most people can eat a Chicago-style hot dog, speculation began that Rahm Emanuel would run for the position. This speculation is serious enough that even CNN is speculating about who might replace Mr. Emanuel as White House Chief of Staff.

My answer? Is James Baker available?

I kid of course. But the point remains that leaving the White House would be the best thing to happen for the Obama Administration, even if President Obama doesn’t know it. Mr. Emanuel is the biggest problem facing the Democratic Party today, alienating core constituencies by saying stuff like “F*** the UAW” and completely ignoring the grass-roots support that got his boss elected. He’s a symptom of a faux-populist White House that gives half-measures on everything and then wonders how come nobody is happy with the half-assed results.

Seriously. Run, Rahm, Run! Get your tuchus out of Washington and back to Chicago, where that kind of “Because I’m in charge and said so” politics actually works. It’s the best thing for everybody.

I wanted to embed this, but it’s disabled. Try this version instead:

In Closing: low Vitamin D levels linked to heart failure and schizophrenia; bike helmets; antibiotic beer; caught evolving; more people might vote if there were better candidates; instant karma; rich people sure are different; how to save Social Security; how to study; War is Over??; on Craigslist; infrastructure is not a boondoggle; dumbass; Ms.; tuition; we know the economy sucks!; and let Isaiah Mustafa do your voicemail message. On a horse.

Oh, and Happy New Year.

Shorties Lake

Latte Economy Revisited: It turns out that more Americans think it is important to create jobs — and specifically manufacturing jobs — than worry about the deficit. Dave doesn’t think we have a Latte Economy; he thinks we have a “Cake or Death” economy.

Education Researchers Don’t Need Statistics: A real scientist looks at the “good kindergarten teachers will help your kids earn more money” study. Unfortunately the figures don’t add up.

Left of Center, Maybe: Great quotes. “If we were a right-of-center nation, you could win an election by saying you planned to eliminate Medicare and Social Security. After all, this would be an effortless way of leaving the unprecedentedly bloated defense budget intact while still cutting big ‘gubment.’ Instead such a proposal is grounds for getting you burned in effigy.” Also, “The reality: the majority of Americans are actually progressive whether or not they call themselves that. Poll after poll finds when Americans are asked how they feel about issues like the minimum wage, protecting the environment, gay rights and even gun control – the majority agrees with the Left.”

Follow up: Dipak Desai’s competency hearings are beginning.

You’ve got to read this and pass it on!: Ok, if you’ve been reading me for a while you probably know all this, but MoveOn’s got the top 5 Social Security myths. And they’re delightfully blunt about the motives of the people who keep spouting them.

Speaking of which, talk to Granny about where she gets her information on the health insurance reform bill: It turns out that a lot of senior citizens are very misinformed.

Funny Thing, Most of Us Get Fired for Not Doing Our Jobs: Five years ago I said “If you have moral problems with doing your job, you must quit. Today. Otherwise, you are saying your morals only matter when they inconvenience others. A vegan waitress knows she will have to serve meat unless she works in a vegetarian restaurant; a recovering alcoholic realizes he should probably not go to bartender’s school; pacifists normally don’t enlist in the armed forces.” This week a judge said yeah, you don’t have a right to only do the parts of your job that you like, and you don’t have the right to re-write your professional guidelines to suit your moral qualms.

It had been months since I linked Pandagon and now I’m doing it twice in one post: Some conservatives are in a tizzy that President Obama is sitting down to an interview with Barbara Walters and a few of her friends… on her daytime show aimed at a mostly SAHM audience. Here’s a little secret — it turns out that women have had the ability to vote since 1920, and the sort of women who can take the time to watch daytime TV have the time to get to the polls.

Fine, how do YOU want to measure it??: 10 key indicators show that yes, global climate change is real. That’s what most scientists call global warming these days so freak snow doesn’t confuse the small-minded.

It sure would have been nice for someone, like say the news media, to have pointed this out in 2002: Hans Blix on the fact that he found no Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq because there were none.

How nice for somebody, I guess: Health insurer Aetna made more money last quarter — even though they had less revenue — because of lower costs (that is to say, less paying for actual health care).

And finally: an interview with Isaiah Mustafa, “The Old Spice Guy.” Turns out he’s got some acting parts that involve wearing a shirt. Also turns out he’s a P90X guy.

Senate Republicans Acting Like Toddlers

Or, Senate Decides its Just Fine to be a Wholly Owned Subsidiary of the Fortune 500 and Special Interests.

Seriously. The Senate voted 57 to 41 on largely party lines to defeat what Harry Reid called “a bill whose principles both parties once supported and that 9 in 10 Americans want us to pass,” despite the fact that none other than the Supreme Court encouraged Congress to clarify the law on required disclosure of political donations.

Color me disgusted. They are in effect saying “NO! I want candy for dinner and you can’t stop me!”

Now don’t get me wrong, I think the disclosure requirements shouldn’t have loopholes for the NRA or unions. Then again, I honestly think you should have to demonstrate that you can actually legally vote for a candidate to give them money! Still, this act was a lot better than nothing. And as for Senator Snowe’s criticism that it was written too fast? How quickly she forgets how fast the mammoth pile of legislation known as the PATRIOT Act was passed. Where were her objections to swift legislative answers to problems then? Oh yeah, buried under a blanket of largely unfounded fear that the terrorists were going to try to get us again any moment now.

Got a Republican Senator? Remember come November.

In Closing: Goldman shows us where the money went; next time somebody talks about how great it would be to gamble invest Social Security money in the stock market, remember these 10 stock market myths from, of all places, the Wall Street Journal; No, I do not want bacon in my martini!; Susie‘s right again; “The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says the US Department of Defence is unable to account properly for 96% of the money.”; employees becoming as mercenary as their bosses (no wonder); housing consolidation; “Document Leak May Hurt Efforts to Build War Support” (no really? D’ya think??); open letter to Lindsay Lohan from the ACLU; Angle Update; health insurance and small business; and a pile of big yellow dinosaurs that won’t die.

The Internet Ate My Homework

In the last 24 hours I have switched cell phones and had my RSS reader suddenly stop working. As a result, I’ve spent much of the last day digging out and trying to organize things — and that’s no easy task. So as much as I would like to write something deeper, I’ll be talking briefly about the group of cowards and self-centered blow-hards in Washington DC who are our elected Representatives and Senators.

Thanks to our elected officials preferring the company of insurance company lobbyists to that of citizens that can actually vote for them, we still have a health care system that costs too much and does too little. At least we will soon have certain “rights” when dealing with these companies, but some warn that these “rights” will translate into even higher costs. The House of so-called Representatives did get up off their collective asses to fix a looming slashing of what doctors would be paid under Medicare. Why is this important? First, your doctor’s costs of doing business have not gone down. Second, most major insurers base what they will pay on what Medicare pays. So this would within a year put some doctors out of business.

The House also managed to pass a campaign finance reform bill that would force candidates and political parties to disclose the identities of most big donors. Except of course for the biggest and most powerful donors. They are still free to own their own Congresscritters. Now the bill is ready for slaughter in the Senate.

A couple of Senators are actually trying to do something for children — odd in an election year since they can’t even vote. It seems that an unintended result of some immigration raids is that there are kids whose parents have been taken away. Those kids are often American citizens thanks to the clarity of the 14th Amendment. The bill in question would allow the parents to arrange care for these little Americans, make sure that they have resources and can report abuse, and prevents authorities from involving the kids in interrogations. Think what you want about the parents, but the kids did nothing wrong and deserve the protections of law. The end.

But what could our elected officials not be bothered to do? They couldn’t be bothered to protect servicemen from predatory car salesmen, not even for Mrs. Petraeus. They couldn’t be bothered to extend unemployment benefits for a million people, despite the fact that there are at least 5 unemployed Americans for every available job opening. And no, Sharron, people aren’t living a life of luxury in Las Vegas on unemployment benefits.

So Remember Come November. Vote for those few who have been taking care of your business in Washington, and against those who have been trying to obstruct your business. In the meantime, click here to figure out how to contact your Senators, and here to find your Representative. You’ll need to know your Zip+4, so dig out some mail first.

In closing: fat people don’t walk (an essay on urban design); a “silly” lady who desperately needed the 911 operator to listen (need help? these people can help); they hate us for our electricity; what would Jesus do?; it’s not your typical state dinner — don’t tell Michelle they split an order of fries; and your dose of Japanfilter, the Pepsi Strong Shot.