Music Monday: ?

Happy Birthday to both John Barrowman (Captain Jack Harkness) and Alex Kingston (Melody Pond River Song).


In Closing: let’s just get all the TSA bashing out of the way; hope nobody is surprised that Federal law still says pot businesses aren’t legal; Sir Patrick Stewart; no plan is a plan; I already said this; perspective; and it’s getting worse; and even worse; oh, that’s why; actually, people’s opinions are center-left.

Music Monday: He would have turned 257 yesterday

Rock me, Amadeus.


In closing: as true as this is, the other half of the solution involves prison time for supervisors and managers that ignore the law; facts can be twisted; work out before breakfast; how to cancel almost anything; hahahahahaha what planet are they from that they think doctors set their own prices??; 150 things really smart people are worried about; what kind of moron texts his girlfriend to say the baby isn’t breathing instead of calling 911??; deadliest jobs in America; Fluffy’s Dream Home.

The Decline of the Butcher Counter

When I was a kid, any decent grocery store had a butcher counter. The butcher was there every day. He could help you pick a cut of meat for your recipe, or grind some beef for you, or get “specialty cuts” for you. If you only needed a small roast and all that was out were big ones, he could cut a big one down for you. And of course, he always had lollypops for little kids. Of course, some things were out of his realm — bison, lamb, venison, kosher or halal meats for example — and for that you’d have to go to a specialty butcher shop.

A lot of grocers still have something they call a butcher counter, but it’s not what it used to be. Most of the meat that gets sold comes to them already packaged and ready for sale. A small amount of meat is in the counter, mostly common items like ground beef and chicken breasts, and sale items. The “butcher” is also responsible for the meager selection of seafood, often half of it pre-cooked shrimp in various sizes, along with seasonal items like salmon in Springtime. The “butcher” himself knows cuts of meat, but he’s unlikely to know much about meatpacking. I really only know one traditional grocer in town that has a real butcher, and that’s a kosher butcher in a heavily Jewish neighborhood. Ask him about chopped liver and you’ll get a regular dissertation.

Some stores don’t even have that much. Just try to find a butcher in a Wal-Mart Supercenter or a Fresh And Easy. Every bit of meat arrives shrink wrapped, much of it half-frozen. What’s in the cold case is what they’ve got. The end.

So this brings me to an interesting discovery. Some ethnic markets still have actual butchers! That’s right, a human being who hacks up cows and chickens and pigs and sells the parts. I don’t worry about “pink slime” in the ground beef from my local Asian grocery store, because I have every reason to believe there’s a guy dumping chuck steak into a grinder in the back. Because most of the clientele isn’t interested in traditionally Western cuts, things like sirloin and filet mignon are downright cheap. This particular store even has a fish counter where you can buy frozen or fresh seafood (some of it still swimming). And as if that’s not enough, the produce is fresh, plentiful, and inexpensive. We also have a terrific Hispanic superstore that has a whole section devoted to different kinds of bananas. Shopping at these alternative stores is also a great way to stay away from heavily processed “Standard American Diet” foods.

So do yourself a favor: head out to your local ethnic market and see what they’ve got. You might have a new favorite grocery store!

In Closing: she doesn’t post often but she’s interesting; two views of the Apple ebook case; I really don’t want to step into the latest round of Mommy Wars; guerrilla gardening; GOP says we don’t need any consumer protection; counter-intuitive; and Sakura.

Seriously, California?

One thing that happens every January like clockwork is a whole bunch of new laws go into effect, and this year is no exception.

California has decided that kids must be kept in child safety booster seats — in the back seat, of course — until they are 8 years old or 4’9″ tall. If these child safety laws get any sillier, I may have to figure out how to drive from a booster in the back seat.

Was there any science whatsoever behind this law? Perhaps more to the point, any science that wasn’t produced by a manufacturer of children’s car seats? How many “lives” will this save, really? Is there any reason that a 4’9″ 7 year old is less safe than a fully grown 4’9″ woman? And who exactly are these 4’9″ second graders? If California seriously thinks there is a problem with car seat safety for young people under 4’9″, then just maybe they should send some California Department of Transportation officials to Detroit to ask for better safety from the seat and seatbelt already securely mounted in the car. Perhaps those same officials could talk to the guys in Washington DC that make the regulations.

Nope, it’s easier to make people buy a cheap piece of plastic and mount it in the back seat, lest they receive a $475 fine.

And that brings me to the other interesting observation about this law: it will be enforced disproportionately against those who can least afford it. It will be used as a tool to harass immigrants and people of color and women the cops don’t like. After all, some Rich B**** in a minivan has the money to buy the car seat, and the means to hire a lawyer to contest the ticket. In short, she will be a pain in the @$$ if she gets pulled over!

Bet it can’t be enforced on school buses or public transportation.

In Closing: on Religious Law; unemployment is no vacation; one more person tells me how “Liberal” the President is and I may lose it; scroll down to the revised jobs chart; free stuff; the downside is they will know where you live; and for those of you with weight/fitness New Years Resolutions, an entire community’s wisdom in one infographic.

Uh, That’s for Boys Then?

Surely the nice folks at Old Navy just choose a bad place for the maternity mannequins. Or maybe this is a commentary on childhood obesity!

In Closing: I know I packed it; food by state; claiming profit on money never paid; Dog Fort; WTF; Con, duh; safety net; science; wolves; the truth about buying a smart phone; lost daughter; Peach and Zelda; love story; begging; nachos; how to read a legal opinion; consensus; on birth control.

Follow-Up and Vegas Miscellany

In a way I wish I had waited until today to write The BAMTOR Principle. By some weird coincidence a bunch of other people have also noticed that Banks Always Make Their Own Rules that don’t necessarily have anything to do with the law. It turns out that many people knew that Wall Street was selling mortgage backed securities that were destined to fail. But what HuffPo didn’t bother to point out is that what those banks and brokerages did was in violation of the law. This blatant double standard — “laws are for little people” — will continue until the Feds start putting people in jail, levying huge fines against individuals who signed off on breaking the law, and states sue for the right to prosecute violations of state law.

In light of this, the banksters have the chutzvah to say that breaking up “too big to fail” institutions would create more risk. Yeah, more risk for their jobs.

As far as the economy goes, it turns out that 74% of Americans agree with me that regardless of what the government says about GDP, we are still in a recession. It’s getting more obvious that the numbers are being gamed. But don’t expect any administration in the near future to start talking about what inflation, unemployment, and GDP really are, because then we would all understand what deep doo-doo we are standing in and probably vote a lot of bums out.

Of course you need to be careful about voting bums out, as Christine O’Donnell and Nevada’s own Sharron Angle illustrate. Congruent Angle? Sorry I’m running out of Angle jokes.

And that brings me to an armload of local interest items. Let’s start with the spectacular view from the Cosmopolitan. Down the Strip a little bit, be careful about sitting by the pool at CityCenter’s Vdara, or you may experience their unique “death ray.” If you are planning on getting off the Strip, you will want to at least look over these amusing tips. One of the restaurants I visit regularly has been reviewed again, and I only recognize two of the things they were served. I haven’t talked a lot about it, but I am keeping an eye on the case of Erik Scott, killed in broad daylight by Metro in front of a Costco in one of our most yuppified neighborhoods. By the way, last week’s CSI did a great job of addressing it and not addressing it.

In Closing: electromagnetic spectrum; lies your teachers told you; cheap food costs dear; abortion does not have dire emotional consequences; Israel cannot have its cake and eat it too; people don’t like health insurance reform because it didn’t go far enough!; True Mud; a few words on taxes; Professor DeLong nails the Republican view of America; have we tried the simple stuff first?; Jack LaLanne is 96 (was I the only one who noticed Drew Carey’s homage in the blue “speed suit”?); and medical ignorance.

Life Imitates Monty Python

First, it was the news that Scotsmen were “universally unhealthy” and indeed “living dangerously” when it came to their lifestyles. Sadly, the first thing that popped into mind was that they were universally bad at tennis as well:

Punchline here, if you are unfortunate enough not to remember this.

Then mere hours later, I stumbled upon an item about bearded women taking on the “good old boy” network in France. Please forgive me for automatically thinking of this:

Makes it hard to take the world seriously.

In Closing: proposed stupid laws (LIEberman really thinks there’s an internet “off” switch someplace that the President could pull??); smart judge; gee, what could possibly make somebody nervous in an airport?; Desai pleads not guilty; bank closure 82; earlier school day == more teen car crashes (can we hope that the insurance companies actually do something good for us and pressure school districts?); and for Japanfilter, the Ikaros Solar Sail. Don’t fly too close to the sun, guys.

2001 Maniacs: Field of Shorties

The Truth About Cattle Grazing: done correctly, it can help restore the land.

Two Funny Things and a Lot of Unfunny Ones about Racism: Let’s get rid of the Mexicans, and Who translated this for you? There’s a movement afoot to pass laws that violate the 14th Amendment on the grounds that not everyone born here has parents that are really not American enough. By not American enough, they generally mean “brown.” There are a number of problems with this, aside from Constitutional issues (funny how some people only like the Constitution some of the time). First, you might end up with people who can’t prove they were born anywhere because the law denies them a birth certificate. Second, you might end up with people who are effectively not citizens of any nation, because they weren’t born in the country of their parent’s citizenship. Third and finally, who gets to decide what constitutes “American enough”? At least “born in U.S.” is a simple to apply measure.

More on Friday’s lousy employment report: Good, bad, and ugly. Really ugly.

Obligatory Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill Items: Woo, recapturing a whole 10,500 barrels a day. Really interesting that a BP exec managed to dump a third of his company stock a month before the disaster. You would think they could find a cable tie to keep stuff out of the way on the equipment BP is using a mile below the surface. Harry Reid thinks BP should pay for the clean-up (more on Harry come Tuesday with the Nevada Primaries, probably over on TMV). And on BP’s spill “plan”.

Civil Forfeiture Must Go: Guy sells truck on a payment plan. Truck gets seized by the cops. Cops don’t care that guy still has title and is owed money on said truck. Somehow I bet GMAC doesn’t have this problem.

And it’s only June 6: 22% of states have passed new abortion restrictions and 81 bank failures so far this year.

Speaking of the Banks: 6 made $51,000,000,000 last year; the other 980 lost money.

While we’re on the topic of making money: Just the threat of Federal enforcement makes companies want to restate their earnings.

How Laws are Really Made: Most people of my generation were taught that it works something like this, but the truth is a bit more complicated.

Run Sarah Run!: Ten reasons she should just keep doing the speaking circuit and stay the heck off the ballots.

Two Medical Items: Did you know that if enough doctors decide “No, that isn’t enough money for that procedure and we won’t take that insurance anymore,” the Government can decide they are in violation of anti-trust laws? And scroll down for a breakdown of infant mortality rates in developed nations, compared to health care spending per capita and military spending as a percentage of GDP. The United States has a shameful showing.

And Finally, Japanfilter: Fireflies.