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).



Paranormal Activities: The Marked Shorties

Happy March! Let’s get started….

Student Loans: Officially dragging down the economy.

I think I have a way to increase consumer spending: This is crazy talk I know, but if the minimum wage were higher, people who make minimum wage could afford to buy stuff.

And the Supreme Court makes it worse: Now the government can effectively prevent accused criminals from hiring an effective defense team by confiscating all their assets, making “innocent until proven guilty” potentially a cruel joke.

When even the IMF disagrees with American tax policy: Yeah, they think the rich need to be taxed more. That trickle down thing? Doesn’t work.

Rules: “Planned food safety rules rile organic farmers“.

Price Fixing: Gold is a market controlled by a handful of banks.

5 Surprising Discoveries: here.

On those new nutrition labels: of course there’s still a 20% margin of error.

Treat someone like a rat and they’ll act like one?: Rat Park (h/t).

Blast from the past: The old Fiat factory.

Plagued with too much money?: Buy a private island!

Interesting point: Cats.

And Finally: I’m sorry, some stuff you just can’t make up. And just wait until you hear the reason this news station can’t air the footage they have.

America Knows Best

Sorry for the little hiatus. Finals are coming Real Soon Now and my writing has been monopolized by a paper on Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. Fascinating stuff. For a minimally sciencey version, check out this biography.

Depending what day it is, the world news front is likely to say something about Iran, North Korea, and/or Syria. Iran is developing nuclear technology, and probably weapons. North Korea is more open about their weapon development. The US is warning Russia that they had better not send Syria better missiles, particularly since Syria is accused of using chemical weapons.

Now make no mistake. I don’t think anybody really wants Iran or North Korea having nukes. I don’t think most people think a better armed Syria is a good thing. But here’s the thing: who gave us the right to enforce our opinion?

Who is the United States to tell another sovereign nation what weaponry it can or cannot have? Under what authority? What if some other country decided that the United States shouldn’t have nukes? Or aircraft carriers? Or [insert fancy piece of military technology here]?

I know a lot of people in the West don’t think much of Al Jazeera as a news source, but they are right to point out that the American bargaining position regarding Iran — and truly, all 3 nations — is a lot like trying to negotiate with Republicans: the only possible option is “do it our way or else.” Or, if you prefer to be more patronizing if not outright racist, “everything would run so much better if you brown people would do it our way like civilized people!”

Maybe, just maybe, international issues could be resolved more smoothly if we treated other sovereign nations like big boys and girls rather than little children who need our guidance.

In Closing: soda; I suspected as much; Jesus is coming, look busy; the Borgias are coming, look busy; um yeah, you can’t do that; student loan debt is officially bad for the economy; consumer spending is up and late mortgages are down (good news!); eVerify; Too Big To Fail must be Too Big To Exist; side effect; don’t forget that Federal law always trumps state law; and riiiiight, exactly where I want to go on Mother’s Day. Not.

On Boston

My tax day post was obviously pre-written, and the actual events of the Boston Marathon Bombing left me with nothing coherent or original to say.

As things stand, there are few answers and much worthless conjecture. If anybody tries to tell you that “everybody knows,” remember that once upon a time “everybody knew” that the earth was flat, that the sun revolved around it, and that witches kept cats as familiars. For example, here’s a collection of stories that are not true about Boston. As usual, you can count on a level head from security expert Bruce Schneier.

Now we have a nutcase Congressman who is against immigration reform because “We have people that are trained to act Hispanic when they are radical Islamists.” Forgive my bluntness, but that is a reason we need immigration reform: so they don’t get jobs in agriculture where they can poison our food (and oh boo hoo we might have to pay minimum wage to legal workers). The fact is that the overwhelming majority of voters — you remember, the people who elect Congressmen — support immigration reform.

However, since there is not yet any evidence of who was behind the events in Boston let alone why, I’d like to focus on a blog post by someone who lives within walking distance of the tragedy. Oddly enough, this was the bit that got me thinking:

[N]ote to emergency planners–don’t assume people from out of town or who don’t speak English well will understand where things are, even if they’re really close by[.]

Now Boston has its share of tourists and I do not dispute this. However, I live in a city whose economy lives on tourism. We had over 39,000,000 annual visits to a metropolitan area that — on a good day — has a population of barely 2,000,000. And not only do those tourists come from all over the world, we have a large population of immigrants as well. On a trip to a nearby grocery store, it’s not unusual to hear conversations in Spanish, Cantonese, French, or Russian. The local Home Depot has staff members who speak Japanese and Tagalog.

So, as we carry out our own Bad Thing Happens In Public Place drill, will we account for those whose English skills are poor, or lacking?

How will we account for the fact that a bombing attack such as happened in Boston might force the evacuation of multiple huge hotel-casinos?

Traffic on the Strip sucks on a good day; what happens if all that traffic has to be re-routed to roads like Paradise and Decatur — two roads that also have frequent congestion? What if it has to be re-routed for more than a couple blocks, as with the taxi incident?

I realize that there’s no planning for the extremely unlikely, but emergencies do happen.

In Closing: Complete noobs wanted for toughest assignment in the system; wow; the student loan crisis is worse than you think; “It’s pretty exciting to be on a list that frequently features Mark Twain, Harper Lee, and Maya Angelou”; Eric Schmidt is right; and pissing contest.

Medical Problem: the Law of Supply and Demand is Still in Effect

As we all know, all too soon we Americans will be required to purchase health insurance from the highly profitable corporations that got us into the health insurance “reform” debacle. Even people who should know better think we just have to have mandatory insurance to abolish pre-existing conditions because after all “people would buy insurance on the way to the hospital!” Clearly people who can say this with a straight face have never attempted to purchase health insurance.

Here’s the problem, as Massachusetts has already found out. All those newly insured people? They are going to want value for their money! They are going to want to see a doctor! We already have a physician shortage — which is being made worse by Baby Boomer retirements. Nevada has had a shortage for a decade, and it’s not getting better (don’t get me started).

Now there is news that — officially — it’s not going to get better for at least 4 years. It seems that even though medical schools are churning out doctors, those newly degreed docs with six figures of student loan debt sometimes can’t find residency programs! No residency, no full license, no insurance reimbursement, no job as a doctor. What a waste. Gee, your doc doesn’t seem so greedy now that you know what bills he’s facing, does he?

Want to bring down medical costs?  You’d better find a way to make more doctors, more ways to train them, and better ways to pay for their education.

In Closing: a couple comics; the cat film festival will return for a second year; oh well then I’ll just try not to look like a dissident; if anybody finds any follow-up on FPS Russia, please let me know; oh the things musicians will argue about; and duh.

Beneath the Shorties

LOL: Enjoy this meme while you can, I figure it’s dead in 3 weeks.

They just keep coming: Remember, the plot to kill Big Bird is still in play. There’s a Million Muppet March planned.

Twelve! Meeeeelion! Jobs!!!: Yeah, so?

Get it off me! Get it get it get it….: Is it just me, or does Mr. Romney look uncomfortable in this picture? You don’t suppose it could be that he’s being touched by a black man, do you?

Beating the dead dressage horse: What Romney’s tax “plan” could do to housing.

If you like it then you shoulda put a ring on it: Scientists found a planet twice the size of Earth, largely made of diamond. Good thing it’s far enough away that DeBeers can’t get hold of it!

Like you needed an economist to tell you that: Your paycheck is being outstripped by inflation. So if low interest rates are supposedly the cure for inflation, what the heck is the Fed going to do now??

But apparently some people do need an economist to tell you this: Here’s why cutting taxes never has and never will create jobs.

Gee, maybe saying “no” wasn’t such a good strategy: Failing to pass a Big Agriculture Giveaway  Farm Bill before leaving Washington gave some Democrats an upper hand.

Judges judge things: An Appeals Court has ruled part of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional.

Unexpected Excitement: Passengers on a Canadian airliner helped save a boater’s life. That beats most in-flight movies.

Wheat Ain’t What It Was: On modern wheat.

Not sure how to get out of this mess: Two out of three new college grads has college loan debt, and the average amount is $26,600. The scary part is that many of them won’t be getting jobs anytime soon. Just a reminder, it would take 3668 hours at minimum wage to pay that off. That’s 152 days of nonstop 24/7 labor. And it won’t be wiped out by bankruptcy.

Newsweek: will stop printing a paper edition.

But what about the economy?: Here’s an outline of the risks.

“The other 1%”: 2/3 of the bottom 1% of Americans are in prison.

Turns out it won’t turn good girls into sluts: Girls who get the HPV vaccine are not more likely to have sex.

Carbs: “People 70 and older who eat food high in carbohydrates have nearly four times the risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, and the danger also rises with a diet heavy in sugar, Mayo Clinic researchers have found. Those who consume a lot of protein and fat relative to carbohydrates are less likely to become cognitively impaired, the study found.”

And it turns out that Doing Good might Make More Money: At least that’s Coca-Cola’s theory.

Disaster Averted!!

It turns out that we need not fear a global bacon shortage. Prices may go up, but since I expect prices to go up on pretty much all foodstuffs (already seeing it on some products), I refuse to panic. Maybe now they’ll have to stop making that bacon-infused-lunchmeat crap.

In Closing: how to waste time while imaging that you are doing “marketing“; student loans and the default thereupon; ain’t I a woman too; you can’t reform schools successfully without addressing poverty; but clearly jobs are going overseas because we have too much regulation and lazy workers, right?; and when the ACLU and the Heritage Foundation agree, either something is a serious problem or you need to be on the lookout for other signs of the apocalypse.

Music Monday: Inspiration, Part 1

When I was first losing weight and trying to get fit, there were two music videos that I found inspiring. This is the positive one:


Madonna was 40 years old when this was shot, and a new mom. Ok, I couldn’t afford personal trainers and dietitians, but I could watch what I ate and work out.

In Closing: scandal; what about S-Mart?; depressing graphic; some people need to grow up; this could be a problem; history we don’t talk about; and Nipplegate .

Music Monday

If you don’t know of these talented and funny ladies, allow me to introduce you.

In Closing: Good enough for Israel but not good enough for you; How many times must I point out that the 9/11 terrorists were frequent fliers??; socialism; tell me something new; yeah; beware of a new scam; and government regulations put fishermen out of business!!! Oh wait, no, it turns out that government regulations made fishermen both safer and more profitable.