Where is my motivation?

Since getting home from Texas last week, I’ve had a hard time getting motivated to write anything. I promise to get back on track soon. In the meantime, please enjoy some NSA and spying on Americans links, on the Post Office, our Vice President getting cheeky, crows solving problems, stuff I have been saying for years, sex workers, Mustangs, resume tips, a good point about antibiotic resistance, reverse Robin Hood, and many thanks to Comrade Misfit for introducing me to Wednesday.

A Rant about the Constitution

Some people in Congress — by which I mean Republicans — have been ranting about how the President can’t do this or can’t do that because it’s unconstitutional (even though those accursed commie libruls can point to Republican presidents who have done the exact same thing.

Well guess what? I can point to at least two things that Republicans want to destroy that are explicitly required by the Constitution. The Post Office is mandated under Article I, section 8, and the Census by Article I, section 1.

So the next time some right wing blowhard tells you how the President is shredding the Constitution, remind him to read the freaking document. The NSA, TSA, CIA, FBI, DEA, FISA, IRS, INS, and a whole lot of other government entities they couldn’t imagine doing without aren’t there, but the Post Office and the Census are specifically mentioned in the first freaking article of the Constitution. Stuff that in your conservative pipe and smoke away.

And then maybe you can shift the conversation to how the government could create some jobs by making sure our bridges don’t fall down.

In Closing: warms the heart, and other bits too; I am not really sure what to say about Ferguson and police killing with impunity anymore; I think I’ve brought up a couple of these tips before; and practice. I had some things I wanted to say about Uber, and that might yet happen.

A Revisit

Back in September I did a little item on a few TV shows. I thought it would be a good idea to follow up.

Madam Secretary: Sorry, stopped watching after the first episode. It’s opposite Brooklyn 99, which is actually entertaining.

Gotham: Still watching, still loving it. They’ve backed off on Jim Gordon’s partner, who is now Harvey Bullock. Harvey Dent arrives in tomorrow’s episode. Penguin is wonderfully sociopathic. Ed Nygma is developing a backstory. The girl with the green goggles? That’s Selena “Cat” Kyle. And it turns out that Alfred is a badass.

Scorpion: Oh my [deity] this show is hilariously awful. The premise of one episode was “terrorists are trying to blow up the internet.” Last week, they were unraveling a plot to kill people to keep secret the fact that a number of top hit songs were in fact written by a sure-fire hit-writing computer program. Hello, welcome to twenty years ago. Computers are very good at writing music. Just listen to what this guy can make a computer do!

This show is allegedly based on a true story. Grimm’s Fairy Tales are more realistic.

In Closing: Pope Francis continues to do good things; violence; poverty; kill the postman.

Springtime

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Taken in my back yard with a “potato”*. At least one lantana is starting to bloom, which means the hummingbird and butterfly buffet will soon be in full swing.

In Closing: Why doesn’t Johnny just go to broadway and get it over with?; Save Our Post Office; Wingnut screaming about how if we had Russian wiretap laws we could have prevented Boston in 3…2…1…; there just has to be a middle ground between “college for all” (value of a degree for none) and “you are clearly doomed to menial labor because of your race/ethnicity/gender”; the monolithic “left“; dumbass; Compare and Contrast.

* Derogatory term for certain cell phone cameras.

We don’t want any trouble

Nobody wants to live in a bad neighborhood, right? And certainly nobody wants to live in the kind of place where the police are continually coming around.

But consider this situation. Imagine you get beaten up. As bad luck would have it, it happens a couple more times. The third time, the cops call your landlord and order him to evict you. After all, you’re a troublemaker. Bad things happen around you, and this town doesn’t want your sort here. Sound far fetched? Unfortunately, laws all over the country designed to make it easier to move known drug dealers and pimps into crappier areas evict criminal neighbors are being used to evict crime victims instead:

Last year in Norristown, Pa., Lakisha Briggs’ boyfriend physically assaulted her, and the police arrested him. But in a cruel turn of events, a police officer then told Ms. Briggs, “You are on three strikes. We’re gonna have your landlord evict you.”

Yes, that’s right. The police threatened Ms. Briggs with eviction because she had received their assistance for domestic violence. Under Norristown’s “disorderly behavior ordinance,” the city penalizes landlords and tenants when the police respond to three instances of “disorderly behavior” within a four-month period. The ordinance specifically includes “domestic disturbances” as disorderly behavior that triggers enforcement of the law.

After her first “strike,” Ms. Briggs was terrified of calling the police. She did not want to do anything to risk losing her home. So even when her now ex-boyfriend attacked her with a brick, she did not call. And later, when he stabbed her in the neck, she was still too afraid to reach out. But both times, someone else did call the police. Based on these “strikes,” the city pressured her landlord to evict. After a housing court refused to order an eviction, the city said it planned to condemn the property and forcibly remove Ms. Briggs from her home.

Sure, it’s “domestic assault.” It’s still assault, just as if some random guy beat her up  — except worse! If the cops told her, “Listen, he has to go and we will make sure he does,” that might be understandable. But no, just get out and try not to bleed on anything.

Unfortunately, neighbors that are afraid to call the cops are no better to have around than neighbors that violate the law. If you agree with the ACLU that “Effective law enforcement depends on strong relationships between police and members of the community,” you might consider sending them a couple bucks.

In closing: overdose; problem solving; on real estate, education, and commuting; parking; 15 out of 16 of us lost net worth between 2009 and 2001 (that’s after the real estate bubble popped, for those of you paying attention); one soda a day keeps insulin astray (ok, I strained to make that work); and an internet necessity.

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”.

 

Facebook

Facebook is a social media site that I don’t use. At all. Ever. You see a Bridget Magnus over there? It’s not me. Probably that lady from Vancouver.

Ok, disclosure out of the way.

So, it seems that their stock is at a record low. And it’s expected to dump more altitude in a couple of weeks when employee stock can start to trade.

Is it really relevant to talk about a stock being at an all time record low when it hasn’t even traded for 6 months yet?? Seriously?

If you want a real Facebook story, how about the fact that 80% of ad clicks might be bogus? That’s where Facebook makes it’s money; is it possible that their profits are padded by bot-generated activity? Which of course begs another question: who ever clicked on those ads? I had about 3 hours where I thought it might be a good idea to advertise over there, but then I came to my senses.

As for myself, I’m not buying their ads, not buying their stock, and not taking their free membership either.

In Closing: life lessons; Jill explains why the Post Office is really in trouble; enough with biometric security already (hello!); how far will this scandal reach?; sugar; Orwelling; nope, no such thing as global climate change (BTW it’s raining in Vegas today).

Shorties Saga: Eclipse

Ok, the title was kinda a cheap one.

Solar Airplane!: “The organizers said the flight was the longest and highest by a piloted solar-powered craft, reaching an altitude of just over 28,000 feet above sea level at an average speed of 23 knots, or about 26 miles per hour.” The biggest problems were drinking water that froze and an iPod battery that ran out. Maybe he could have used a solar powered MP3 player!

How to reduce unemployment, Republican style:
Ed Stein

Susie’s Right: Maybe paying attention to the base instead of the cash, the cash and the votes will take care of themselves.

Comrade E.B. Misfit is right too: on Declining Sales and Spying on Americans (which seems to me a colossal waste of resources).

Roman Treasure: Amateur with a metal detector stumbles on thousands of rare old coins.

Well, I guess I’m willing to give up on ever being on MSNBC too: No really, a female employee was once found dead on the floor of then Congressman Joe Scarborough’s office. It’s true! And then the strange part happened.

Shoppers are back, but they’re picky: 10 months of retail gains, but things aren’t improving as fast as experts thought they would (or as fast as retailers would like).

Another Cartoon About Republicans (Because I Feel Like it):

Rob Rogers

Yeah, but you have to do business with Chase: Chase is offering discounted interest to small businesses that borrow money and then hire new employees. Interesting that they are trolling for “qualified” borrowers. I wonder how hard it is to actually qualify for the program.

This is going to be a mess: New reporting rules that were stealthily placed into the health insurance reform bill would require small businesses to report and file a form 1099 on any vendor from whom they bought more than $700 of goods or services. For example, I will have to report my office rent, my cell phone bill, and probably my office supplies. I might be able to get around reporting my NAR membership because the money gets split between national, state, and local organizations. Sounds like the “Put IRS Agents and Accountants To Work Act”. Hat tip to Jukkou-san, sorry it took so long to find an authoritative source.

Raise interest rates?: That’s what Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Thomas Hoenig says. His reasoning is that the economy is growing and rates are too close to 0% now. I agree, but for different reasons.

And Finally: Look out for sub-standard olive oil. I honestly don’t know what to tell you other than to make sure you trust your supplier, sniff it before you use it, and hope.