France: Je Suis Désolé.

Translation: I am sorry.

Today Paris was rocked by explosions and gunfire. At least 40 are dead so far. Oops, make that at least 60. Nobody yet knows who is responsible, or why. Of course that is subject to change at any moment. Not even the American media dares call it “terrorism” just yet — although it is surely on the minds of many people.

Think your happiest thoughts for France.

Looks like USA Today scored 60% again.

EDIT: The hostages are free, over 150 are dead, and now the word “terrorists” is in play. The attacks were well organized, except for the pesky issue of what they were trying to accomplish.

Is that the best you can do?

Today I came upon this image:

I agree that the news media often choose not to report things that are important in favor of things that get ratings. However, the list of “what you should know about” is focused on environmental issues and barely gives lip service to other important things the media isn’t covering. Here’s a few things you should know about that might not make your evening news:

  • The TPP isn’t dead yet; if it gets ratified, you will have fewer rights and corporations will be more powerful. Heck, you might not even know the TPP was a thing if you relied on the evening news.
  • The cops can use devices that force your cell phone to tell them where you are — unless a judge catches them.
  • You aren’t imagining. You are working harder for less.
  • Those politicians out there trying to earn votes for an election over a year from now are mostly bought and paid for by special interests.
  • There’s probably a kid that died in your metropolitan area, too.
  • There are multiple humanitarian crises going on in the world right now.
  • Over 40,000 Americans commit suicide each year. That works out to one every 13 minutes, and one a day in my city. You might be able to do something about that.
  • Since the list was a bit food centric, here’s a food item: Congress doesn’t think you need to know where your meat was raised.

And that’s just a short list.

In Closing: Liverpool; ramen; resume; then she should find a job that doesn’t require her to do things that conflict with her religion (oh, you thought I was talking about that marriage license thing?); not having the desired effect on his image;

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.

Happy NSAmas!

The Feds took advantage of the fact that nobody was expecting anything newsworthy to happen on Christmas Eve to quietly release a treasure trove of documents (links to source material here!) showing that they have been very very bad stewards of our private information.

And all of you who bought the Elf on the Shelf? You’re teaching your kids to submit to constant surveillance. Hope you’re proud.

In Closing: A few items on the police; air travel; on screwing the nonrich; because clearly the race of fictional characters is newsworthy; what if the terror threats were in fact a brilliant publicity stunt to puff up what is by all accounts a not-very-good comedy?; and wolves are better at math than dogs.

Put the Outrage where it Belongs

So, this story has been making the rounds: a worker at a Subway sandwich shop was allegedly fired because she left sick. More specifically, she went outside to puke some more and a worker at a nearby Pizza Hut noticed her, calling an ambulance on her behalf. Cue the outrage and petitions saying she should get her job back. As the article points out, Subway has a history of labor violations, so the story is plausible but not confirmed. Remember that the overwhelming majority of these shops are franchised.

Let’s assume that the allegations are true.

Sure, be outraged that this worker was fired for leaving her shift sick. Be outraged that American workers can’t afford to be sick, even on so-called days off.

But remember to be really outraged at the manager. Oh, not for firing a sick employee. Be outraged that he was willing to endanger the health of every employee and every customer of that store.

Justice would not simply be hiring that employee back. Justice would not even be firing that manager. Justice would be random weekly inspections by the local health department every freaking week until they are absolutely sure there will be no more problems. This would, by the way, send a message to every restaurant and fast food joint in town: don’t play games with customer safety.

In Closing: Aw no it’s time for some more NSA and terror related links; more reasons not to like that sportswear company with the three L’s in the name; the DEA somehow thinks FedEx can be responsible for knowing whether or not a package contains prescription medication for which there is no prescription; pretty much the conclusion I reached; funny how the news media refers to Hamas as “militants” when in fact they are the democratically elected government (and shame on the media that a freaking CARTOONIST has to point that out); but it makes a pretty scatterpoint graph; a couple Affordable Care Act links; and LEGO Beach.

You mean news should be informative rather than just sensationalist?

As far as I am concerned, the mainstream TV news sources should be utterly and completely ashamed of themselves.

A new study shows that the most informed “news” watchers are not the ones watching CNN or Fox or even reading their local newspapers. The most informed consumers of news are the ones watching Comedy Central’s The Colbert Report.

Remember back in the 2004 elections? Presidential candidate and then Senator John Kerry went on Comedy Central’s Daily Show with Jon Stewart? He didn’t really do that well. Tucker Carlson wanted to rag on Jon Stewart for not asking hard enough questions, who said among other things “I didn’t realize — and maybe this explains quite a bit — that the news organizations look to Comedy Central for their cues on integrity. . . . If your idea of confronting me is that I don’t ask hard-hitting enough news questions, we’re in bad shape, fellows.” 

So here we are, a few months shy of a decade later, and Comedy Central is more than “Where more Americans get their news than probably should.” Comedy Central is in fact where the most informed Americans get their news. Stephen Colbert is doing a better job of explaining convoluted topics like campaign finance than any traditional news source, and that is a pity.

Maybe — just maybe — that’s why all the major news channels are seeing a drop in viewers.

In Closing: “Come on guys, you’re making us look like a bunch of morons“; Portland Japanese Gardens; 86 real Life Pro Tips with pictures!; a few random economy things; a few really random NSA and spying on Americans things; Thank heaven Radley isn’t working for HuffPo anymore (because now I can get a freaking feed that is just him rather than 102 things I don’t care about plus just try to find what he wrote — is HuffPo that desperate for readers?); the only reason I hope Senator Warren doesn’t run for President is that she’s too useful where she is; oh look, they noticed; antibiotic resistance; and the importance of good research methodology.

I saw the news today, oh boy.

I made the mistake of watching my local noontime newscast. Here were the items covered before breaking for weather:

  • Yesterday’s school shooting!!! Complete with interview of distraught parents!!!
  • Benghazi!!! No, nothing new to report. Just Benghazi!!!
  • Firefighter pointing out what he thought was a deceased victim before the fire truck ran over her…. last year!!! New footage!!!
  • Identification of a snowboarder who unfortunately died on Mount Charleston (yesterday)
  • Kids set fire in vacant house (yesterday).
  • Late night shooting in North Las Vegas.
  • Sentencing delayed for the alleged pimp (who allegedly shot another pimp, causing him to crash into a taxi and burst into flames) on [unrelated] sexual assault charges. This is one of those cases that would make a better CSI script than the stuff they film sometimes.

Apparently, it is not newsworthy that:

  • Congress is working on an important budget bill (and congrats to the feds for having a $53,000,000,000 surplus in December!).
  • Germany may or may not be trying to negotiate a “no-spy” treaty with the United States.
  • 75 leading economists think our minimum wage workers deserve a raise.
  • Some men in Congress want to make women pay out of pocket for abortions regardless of whether they are medically necessary.
  • Anything whatsoever is going on about the NSA, the promised list of upcomingreforms,” and the court cases involved.
  • There are stalled bills to restore food stamps and extended unemployment benefits.

I could go on this way for a while, but there’s no point. Apparently I’ve been watching News Lite: 25% less relevance. I wonder how it compares to original News as far as facts.

In Closing: antibacterial soap, West Virginia chemical, and just maybe if either of the political parties actually tried representing We The People, there wouldn’t be a record level of “independents“.

Music Monday: In “honor” of the Pope

It seems like everybody has at some point today said “I didn’t know the Pope could quit!” A lot of us remember John Paul II spending a lot of years being rather frail, so I am forced to wonder about Benedict XVI’s “health” issues.

Tim Minchin is hilariously funny, highly intelligent, a ridiculously good musician, and sometimes highly offensive. Not Safe For Work, Not Recommended For Catholics:


In Closing: this can’t be good; mood music for tortoises; how dare a government agency work in favor of the people; how to really help the middle class; McCain is a realist sometimes; college; on the post office; Reuters seems to misunderstand the term “liberal”.


Music Monday: Musicology and Modern Popular Music

Free term theme idea: Recurring Thematic Material in the Collected Works of Flo Rida.

If one were to listen to his entire discography, how many songs would seem to reference oral sex?

Regrettably, there doesn’t seem to be an official music video I could embed.

In Closing: a bounty I hope gets paid; waaah, the media isn’t telling why it might be a good idea to shoot 14 year old girls in the head for wanting an education (damn liberal media!); maps; quiet victory; this could be a bumpy election; confession; she’d be a Saint even without the Pope’s say-so; who needs effective antibiotics anyway?; science literacy; duh; and just say no.