Meanwhile, in Arizona

Long time readers know that in the past, I have been critical of the Sheriff of Arizona’s Maricopa County, Joe Arpaio. Nor am I alone. And yet even Arpaio seems to think this guy is an idiot:

An Arizona grandfather has been arrested and accused of leaving his five-year-old granddaughter alone in the desert with a loaded and cocked .45-caliber handgun and the instruction to “shoot any bad guys,” authorities said on Monday.


Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio told Reuters by telephone… “I don’t know how a five-year-old can tell a good guy from a bad guy, but that’s what she said she was told.”

Here’s some other coverage of this fine, upstanding grandfather.

In Closing: Presidential candidates on money; Tokyo color.

Blood Shorties

Have you all missed me? Finals is upon me and all is chaos. Nonetheless, the need has arisen to clean out many tabs of items I had hoped to share with you. Let the Blood Shorties begin!

It just won’t die!: I am of course talking about the TPP. The world has certainly turned, since Hillary has made weasel words about maybe it’s not a good idea. Do I believe Hillary? I believe she will say whatever she thinks will get her elected. In the meantime, more bits have been leaked. Make sure your CongressCritter knows where you stand (and remind him that unlike corporations, you vote).

Speaking of voting: Sometimes dollars speak louder than words. And yes, it would be nice if the news media would report news that actually matters.

The Price of Medicine: Not all drug price hikes make the news. Of course, since the price tag for most of us is laundered through our insurance companies, all we see is rising premiums.

Come on, Generation X! Get your act together!: You are behind on saving for retirement. Couldn’t have anything to do with being stuck in crappy jobs (when you can find jobs at all). Terrifyingly enough, it turns out that I am ahead of over half of all Americans when it comes to savings.

The Smartphone App Saving Detroit: It’s called “Improve Detroit.” And apparently, it works!

Now Accepting Applications: Speaker of the House.

Secret Society: The Hidden Christians of Japan.

Sure they did: FBI has prevented lots of people from becoming ISIS terrorists! They just can’t tell you about any of them.

Wow: Prehistoric Tsunami.

Finland: We keep sending people to study what they are doing right, then we do the opposite.

What could possibly go wrong?: Put a single, newly sober young woman into a room with a bunch of recovering alcoholics in meetings as often as every day and trust that nothing will go wrong.

And finally: How to pet a kitty.

Music Monday: The Sea

Today is a holiday in Japan called Sea Day (Marine Day or Ocean Day, if you prefer), so enjoy this little sea shanty from Shogun:


In Closing: Oh yeah get your hot fresh NSA and privacy and War on Terror links right here (H/T Comrade Misfit); the War on [Brown People Using] Drugs, the Police State, and other oddities; uh, that’s still less than one in 5; infrastructure; I hope this crazy woman ends up paying everybody’s legal fees; Why Johnny Can’t Sit Still; Turns out that higher minimum wages are good for job creation (and I have yet to see an iPad run a deep fryer or stock a shelf, thanks); the working poor have jobs, stupid; a couple education items; and a terrifying coincidence.

Music Monday: Christmas in July

Ok, this is not actually the track I wanted. Brave Combo is a North Texas based band with a following in Japan. A while back they did a Christmas album. As the story goes:

We never considered recording a Christmas album before. Everyone had already heard most of the famous songs enough for a lifetime and the challenge to make them fresh would be immense. Plus, Brave Combo walks a pretty thin line between novelty and serious anyway. A Christmas album would just never have Crossed our minds. However, in early 1991, during our second trip to Japan, a man from P-Vine Records asked us if we would be interested in the idea. “What, an album of Japanese Christmas music?” I asked. “No, there are no Japanese Christmas songs,” he replied, which meant to me that he wanted an album of standard melodies and songs that Americans hear and sing every winter. It seems that Christmas is a big holiday in Japan as well, stripped of all religious significance: a time of indulgent buying and gift-giving (a Japanese art) when Jesus Christ is acknowledged, but no more important an icon than Frosty, the Snowman. The idea was definitely interesting. We could choose a bunch of our favorite Christmas songs, mutate them into new shapes and release them in Japan only. Plus P-Vine had big plans. They would re-release it every year and perhaps it would become a classic. If the album came out too corny for jaded western ears, it wouldn’t matter. No one in the U.S. would even have to know about it.

So I had hoped to post their track “Christmas in July,” but it’s just not out there as far as I can tell.

In Closing: race relations; common sense on Social Security; eggs; on our shrinking freedoms; some good news for a change; and “Tiny Rat Cocktail Parties.”

John Dies at the Shorties

Baby Dinosaurs: More accurately, embryos in various states of development.

Follow-up on FPS Russia: Yeah, not a lot of meat on this story. Since when does the ATF get involved in “murder” investigations?

Random items on Real Estate, biased towards Vegas: Foreclosures are returning to where they were before the bust, with Nevada leading. However, prices are 30% higher than last year and distressed sales are down by a similar percentage. Interesting.

When you have a minute: Check out BustedKnuckles‘ new site.

Backtracking: CNN/Money might have thought Chained CPI was a great idea to save the budget a few days ago, but now they realize what way the wind is blowing.

I can’t believe we are back to “Jobs Americans Won’t Do”: They want to solve this “problem” with a new class of serf permit visa. Seems like these hypocrites are all about “let market forces do the magic” when it’s raising prices, but against the same when it might mean paying an American a decent wage! Go ahead, watch a bit of Dirty Jobs and tell me there’s such a thing as “jobs Americans won’t do” with a straight face! It isn’t that Americans won’t do them, it’s that they want more money (and perhaps safety equipment) than an easily exploited semi-legal immigrant worker.

Meanwhile, there are 3 unemployed Americans for every job opening: Yeah. Go ahead and push that serf permit visa program.

At some point, the Baby Boomers decided that they were never going to get Social Security; then they went about insuring just that: 1983 was the important year.

Le Petit Prince: Prince Hisahito goes to Kindergarten. You may remember him from this adorable picture.

Ides of March

Pi Day is over. Today is the anniversary of the assassination of Julius Caesar in 44 BC.  To the best of my knowledge, Caesars Palace is not planning any memorial events. A friend has suggested not celebrating with a salad.

In Closing: three political cartoons (render unto Caesar, eh?); oops, turns out the samples from Lake Vostok were contaminated; Yay! Vegas is not number one!; on the interpretation of study data; grumble; double a small number is still pretty small; wow; comfortable workers work harder (attention, Yahoo); hard to save anything when there’s nothing left; totally bombed; cord cutting; when there is no market, market forces don’t act.


Diet Research? It must be January.

Yes indeed, it’s the first week of the year, and that means millions of Americans are trying to shed between 5 and 500 pounds. Some scientists were even willing to stick their necks out there and say fructose is a culprit in weight gain (a culprit not the culprit). Check the archives and you will find me many times saying that every weight loss diet that works requires drastically reducing if not altogether eliminating added sugars.

So Loyola University wants to help you out. They’ve got what they think are the top 4 reasons diets fail. Let me save you some reading:

  1. Underestimating calorie intake (e.g. eating too damn much)
  2. Overestimating activity and calories burned (e.g. imagining that an amble around the mall is just like a 5 mile run)
  3. Poor timing of meals (the dreaded “starvation mode“)
  4. Inadequate sleep (having a job and other responsibilities)

Really? I’m on board with reasons 1 and 2, although I see them as two sides of one coin. But do they really think that sleep is a bigger issue than unrealistic expectations in the first place, or diet plans that are for whatever reason unsustainable? Do they think that eating at the wrong time is truly a bigger issue than unsupportive friends and family who –subtly or openly — undermine the dieter’s efforts?

Want to lose weight without torturing yourself? Try eating reasonable portions of real food: plenty of veggies; adequate protein; no sweets, no crap that comes out of a box, no food-like chemistry sets. Hey, it’s no dumber than the other diets you’ve tried over the years.

In Closing: free classes; Downtown Vegas and F15; maybe now somebody will ask banks to follow the law pretty please?; Onnabugeisha; ha!; conform or be called a terrorist; Malala; why oh why did Texas give him a second term?; more employment data than you probably want; somebody inform Scalia that 24 is not a documentary; the estate tax is not a wealth tax, it’s a wealth moving into the hands of someone who didn’t actually earn it tax; it turns out you need facts before you can figure out what to think about them; well that’s gonna have conservative panties in a wad; the Romney Loophole; is anybody surprised by this?; and I think Brent may have been playing Black Ops 2.

Happy Thanksgiving


In Closing: That would be bad; Googlegator; Japan Crush; Rolling Jubilee gets more press; the last cooler than average month was during the Reagan Administration (maybe hell froze over when he compromised with Democrats or raised taxes?); Lost Decade, American Style; Forbes and USA Today disagree on the buyer, but agree that somebody will make your freaking Twinkies (and screw workers in the process); of course, you could just make your own freaking Twinkies; maybe if the so-called adults made it clear that we must treat others with respect, this wouldn’t be a problem; vintage pictures of Japan; Susie’s right; so is Robert.