The Atticus Shorties

Indiana: Taken to absurdity (as if it weren’t already there).

Won’t Somebody Think of the Children: testing, 1, 2, 3….

Things People Say: to women.

I bet I know a way to create some jobs: repair some bridges.

Sobering Statistic: On average, 3 people were killed every day in March — by police.

Aw, you know I wouldn’t skip this part: a few choice NSA and privacy links for you, and one bonus TSA item.

Both ends of the spectrum: top and bottom.

A few choice words: on Christianity. Bonus track from the Pope.

I Don’t Know How I’ve Overlooked This: Sandwich Monday.

And Let’s Finish with Vegas under a Full Moon: Enjoy.

Music Monday: Oh Yeesus.

In Closing: a few words on mass surveillance and encryption; a record warm temperature; antibiotics; an interesting idea (hell, I’d be happy to go back to plain old fashioned metal detectors and no effing Pre-Check); the truth about the Estate Tax and why George W Bush couldn’t find a single widow who lost the family business to pay it to sit in the balcony at the State of the Union Address in 8 years; and some cool places to visit.

About Time

For the longest time, it seemed like the only person truly trying to bring attention to the flaming bag of feces on America’s doorstep known as the Trans Pacific Partnership was Dave Johnson. Thank [deity] he’s so tenacious. Well, now he’s getting some traction. Here’s from today’s New York Times:

Under the accord, still under negotiation but nearing completion, companies and investors would be empowered to challenge regulations, rules, government actions and court rulings — federal, state or local — before tribunals organized under the World Bank or the United Nations.

Let me translate that for you: a company doesn’t like a law. They can sue the city/county/state that made the law in a UN Tribunal! While the feds or a state might have the funds to fight that, your city or county is effectively bullied into compliance with corporate demands. Say goodbye to environmental regulations, fracking bans, efforts to curb corporate abuses. Kneel before your corporate overlords!

Yeah, I’m not a fan of the NYT’s 10-hits-per-month thing either. But I’m glad that a Serious News Source is pointing out reality.

In Closing: not sure how many of us have the patience to make rice this way; zombies and you; “His life story is so ridiculous that if they made a movie about it, nobody would believe it is true”; while I don’t agree with all of it, I have to admit that it works (and would work so much better with a public option!); one meeelion people have “get out of the security line free” cards (that’s one out of every 320 people in our nation, the rest of us better bathe and watch how we yawn!); the Supreme Court had to say “um yeah, you should follow the law.”

Not So Simple

So, just to make sure you’re up to speed before we get rolling. Uber put together service in Nevada arguing that they’re just a technology service that happens to connect consumers to people who are willing to drive them in private cars for a fee but they’re so not a taxi service. It looks like a duck and quacks like a duck but somehow it isn’t a duck. Nevada courts said “What you’re doing is illegal. Stop it!” Some days later Uber said “Ok fine, we’ll stop breaking the law but we’ll bury you under a petition until you let us do whatever we want, bwahahahaha!”

Since then, Uber has had a couple of little assault problems in other states, which is unfortunately nothing new. In one country, Uber has decided they don’t give a darn about being banned. Yeah, way to show how much you want to follow the law by simply ignoring it.

Got that? Ok.

Today the Review Journal published an article that begins by saying all Nevada has to do is copy-paste some other state’s laws to make it all good. Later down, concessions are made that yeah, we kinda have to address the public safety issues. And sorry, the safety issues do go beyond what kind of insurance they are required to have and what kind of background checks drivers need. Keep in mind that Nevada requires background checks and fingerprints on hand for a whole bunch of professions (including real estate agents and casino workers), so I’m one of the people who thinks its reasonable for Uber drivers to give them up too. Most of the coverage I have seen doesn’t mention that in Nevada, taxi drivers have commercial drivers licenses and have to pass a DOT physical every couple of years. Further, taxis get regular professional maintenance, which is something you can’t count on from one of the independent contractors using private cars for Uber.

So the short version is that the  only easy fix is for Uber to follow the same rules that taxi companies currently follow in Nevada. Anyone who believes otherwise doesn’t understand the problem (or doesn’t want to).

In Closing: Tardigrade; “Nobody’s paying attention anymore? Good! Scrap the plans to scale back mass surveillance”; translating Joni Ernst.

Bad Habits: Firearms Edition

So, 2014 set a shameful record: most guns in carry-on bags seized by the TSA. Worse yet, over 80% of them were loaded. No shock that the rootinest-tootinest gun-totinest airports were DFW, Atlanta, and Sky Harbor. Not because they’re kinda southernish, but rather because they are big hub airports. For the record, it appears that there were 30 guns found at Vegas’s McCarran Airport, 9 unloaded and 21 loaded. It is unknown/unknowable how many weapons might have been missed by the TSA.

Now, who are these people who forget they’ve got a loaded gun in their carry-on bag? It’s not like guns not being allowed on airplanes is a new thing and people are just forgetting they have to check them now. It’s been the rule as long as I can remember, and I remember when Madonna was a hot new artist.

So if you’re in the habit of carrying a firearm, please do yourself and everybody else a favor: make sure it is secure so that it can’t be accidentally discharged, and lock it up at home before heading to the airport.

In Closing: Starbucks; Measles has arrived in Vegas; minimum wage and racism; cats in glasses; and perspective.

The Shorties Man

Federal Judge uses Common Sense: It is super effective.

Net Neutrality: It’s not dead yet.

Our waning privacy: The FBI is trying to scare Congress. The NSA might find themselves near the end of their leash (a girl can dream).

Strangest thing you’re likely to read today: I promise.

Ok, maybe it’s not a magic anti-aging pill after all: Resveratrol.

Women With Ballots: scary! Be sure to vote, ok?

The Pope: Look, he either speaks the words of God or he doesn’t.

Alcohol: Why doesn’t a bottle of liquor have calorie info on it?

Resume: Um, yeah.

I apologize: I mentioned this story last week, and I am sorry to have gotten pulled in to the hype.

Modern: World War I.

Double Down

The Freakin NSA

The Executive Director of Google says that the NSA is going to break trust in the internet, and thereby break the very internet itself. I don’t think the government cares. The NSA will do whatever it likes, thankyouverymuch. Further, it will do what it likes in whatever country it chooses! Ed Snowden still believes that the whole thing will be found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court. Only problem with that is that by his own admission, none of the felonies uncovered have been prosecuted. A case has to get to the Supremes before it can be heard there. Chalk it up to terror-phobia.

The Freakin Economy

This is why I like Elizabeth Warren: she knows what she’s talking about and she’s not afraid to say it loudly. In this case, she’s willing to say the system is rigged against Joe and Jane Average, in favor Wall Street — a group of institutions almost as untouchable as the freakin NSA. Gee, maybe that’s why Americans are flat-out broke. And for African-American or Hispanic-American families, median assets are worth less than a decent used car. By the way, notice that infographic doesn’t say net assets, just assets. Oversight, or does that not reflect debt owed on assets?

In Closing:  a couple of TSA items; Can we please have more cops like this guy and fewer cops that see the public as a bunch of incipient criminals, please?; “shut the whole thing down“; fight to the death and reap the profits thereof; please be sure to take this quick ebola quiz courtesy of Southern Beale — you’re much more likely to encounter Enterovirus D68; two items on diabetes; and I didn’t get the memo either.


Happy Blogiversary, Judicial Edition

So, I’ve been at this 11 years. My second post was about the new Supreme Court rulings of the day, and as such, it’s only fair to bring you a breath of fresh air from the Supremes: the cops can’t just go browsing through your cell phone, even if you’ve just been arrested. In another surprisingly reasonable ruling from a different Federal court, the No Fly list is unconstitutional because there’s no due process involved.

However, a different court ruled that collecting data on the communications of citizens of the world is just fine (I have to wonder if there’s anything the international courts can do). In the meantime, the NSA debate and the resulting fallout continues vigorously. It’s important to remember that our own government isn’t the only government that thinks suspected criminals (and anyone they may talk to) have limited privacy rights.

Still, the idea that we’re all being spied upon is relatively benign compared to what happens if you are actually suspected of any sort of crime. Yes, I do mean any sort, particularly if you happen to be a person of color. Militarization of our police means more SWAT teams, more no-knock warrants, more wondering if the home invader is government sponsored, and make no mistake it also means more dead cops.

In Closing: girls; your money or your life; modern slavery; prudence; someone got paid to find out that a lot of people have no money saved; logical fallacies; help JP out; and Stay Focused.

Music Monday: Got Plans?


In Closing: the TSA; I hope I never need this drug; power of the purse-string; the end of the Kombi; yet another heaping helping of NSA, FBI, Snowden, privacy, and related links (oops, the money might actually be on We The People’s side this time); um, yes; Chinese food; REAL ID is still out there; cannabis; killer cows; part-time; sorry, those 70+ grocery stores weren’t making enough money; apparently the conservatives are on to Pope Francis’s source material; and the middle class.