Music Monday: In which I misuse Tom Petty

 

There’s been quite a lot of talk about, between, and across those that think vaccinations are wonderful lifesaving technology, and those that don’t. And for those who are saying “What’s the big deal? Measles are just a rash!” Roald Dahl has some words for you. Here’s one of the better summaries.

Let me briefly put my position out there: vaccines save lives; herd immunity saves the lives of those who are too young or sick for vaccines, as well as those for whom the vaccine didn’t work as well as it should. The risks associated with the currently available vaccines are tiny compared to the risks of being hit by lightning. Vegas is uncomfortably close to Disneyland, has its own supposedly unrelated case of measles, and 3 cases of whooping cough in one high school. All preventable.

Today’s latest round — politicians have waded into the fray. Should we then call it Measlesgate? Vaxgate? Maybe just Stupidgate. So the President went on the record as saying the sensible thing: “You should get your kids vaccinated.” The crowd that would argue about the American flag being Red White and Blue if the Kenyan Muslim Usurper President said so immediately swung into action! They couldn’t come out and say “No no no, vaccinations are dangerous,” because that would be too stupid. Instead, two people who want to run for President in 2016, Chris Christie and Rand Paul, said that parents should be able to make the choice for themselves about whether to vaccinate their kids. Dr. Dean is not amused.

Ok, let’s talk about parental choice and child safety. When it comes to keeping children safe, the law doesn’t allow certain choices. Parents aren’t allowed to choose whether to use a car seat for a baby, or whether their older children use seat belts. Parent’s aren’t allowed to choose to withhold medical care they don’t agree with in most states — even when the “child” is the one making the decision. We don’t let parents choose to do things that are known to put a child in danger (except let them play football, of course). The idea that parents should be able to choose to endanger their children (and those around them) is ludicrous.

In short, this is yet another argument where the facts just don’t support two sides to the issue.

In Closing: they hate us for our freedoms; Greece and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership; yeah, that ain’t happening; no kidding; stereotypes; and Evangeline.

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.

Shorties Academy

One last thing on Microbiology: We have perfectly good vaccines that prevent deadly diseases. Use them!

Freakin NSA: please, help yourself to the links.

Can you feel the love tonight: A wolf falls in love.

This is apparently a thing: Maybe I should have waited until Caturday, but heck, enjoy some Catios.

TIL: Anderson Cooper is the son of Gloria Vanderbilt — which means he is of Old Money. And that’s not even the most interesting thing about him. He was a model as a boy, and a CIA intern for a couple summers.

Radley is Back: And he reminds us that cops (and others) have no expectation of privacy in a public place.

Politics as Usual: Words of wisdom for Republicans and Democrats.

Study proves fruits and vegetables are good for you: duh.

Let’s end happy: A nice news story with a happy ending and a pretty picture.

Not Really Much Music Monday: May 5th

In addition to being Cinco De Mayo…..

 

It’s the birthday of Karl Marx.

 

 

In Closing: It’s good to be the CEO; a couple items on sexual assaults on campus (and not just college campuses, of course maybe if kids didn’t have to go to school in the dark….); turns out it’s not illegal to give away books; vaccination works; somebody’s gonna have to do something real soon now; and the job creation numbers aren’t as rosy as they first seem. Maybe that’s why all those armed guys have time to defend the Bundy Ranch?

Shorties of Chuckie

Ok, let’s start with the NSA data dump: boy howdy and I do mean dump. Big mean dookie here and the administration keeps adding to the pile. Advice to the White House: sunlight is a good disinfectant.

On Republicans: And a possible shutdown of the government (because that worked out so well for the Republicans during the Clinton Administration). But remember, they know better than 97% of scientists about climate change (and for those who are religious? Rush is wrong and if Jesus does come back he’s gonna be honked about what we’ve done with the planet). Oh, and alert the media, I agree with Roger Simon.

On Computer Literacy: Most people aren’t. Even those kids we think are so much better on the computer than their elders. At least many of the elders are aware of the things they don’t know.

An Accidental Invention: The teabag.

On the Labor Force: There is no labor shortage, duh. Alien workers — including the undocumented ones — are sought after because they are easily exploited. Interns are free labor (which means it can be a challenge for young workers to accept the so-called opportunity unless Mummy and Daddy pony up cash). Modern Capitalism looks a whole lot like Feudalism.

Real Life MacGyver: Snakes on a Catapult and 9 other great tricks.

The Truth about Eyeglasses: pupillary distance, and adjusting your frames.

Petroglyphs: Over 10,000 years old.

On a Happier Note: Steinway sold for $512,000,000. Interestingly enough, the C above Middle C should be tuned to 512 hertz.

No Credit isn’t Bad Credit: the unscoreables.

Accurate Title: Yes, Vaccinations Save Lives.

I Question Their Criteria: Edmunds.com’s list of “best” cars for short drivers doesn’t even mention adjustable belt points and properly proportioned seats.

Hmmm: Childhood obesity linked to school lunches and TV watching.

Scientists having a pissing contest: On de-extinction.

And finally: Goodnight iPad.

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.

Too Mad to Write about Politics

Seriously. If I write about any of the crap spewing from Washington — whether from Congress, Timmy Geithner, or our gutless President who is more conservative than Nixon or Reagan — I’m likely to say something regrettable. So here’s what some other people have to say. As it is, I use a little more salty language than normal, so deal with it.

Here’s something on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. You know, the group of fatcat businessmen that President Obama was begging to create jobs? What a bunch of “greedy fucks.”

Here’s what an 11 year old girl has to say about Gitmo. Notice where she admits that some of her information may be biased? I have hope for the critical thinking skills of the next generation, somewhat less hope that the War on Terror will ever end.

There’s a lot to be said about Egypt today. How about we start with a picture:
Bill Day

But really, this sums up my thoughts well.

There’s really a lot to say about the Anti-Woman forces calling themselves “Pro-Life”, but I’ll let Nancy start the parade. Remember, HR3 has a much wider reach than most people know. That’s even before we start talking about conscience clauses that would allow ignorant ******* to turn people away whose pregnancies can kill them. That’s before we talk about the fact that if these ******** had their way, women whose “babies” would be born with fatal birth defects would be forced to carry that corpse to term, endure dozens of well meaning people asking “Is it a boy or a girl? Have you picked a name??”, go through all the complications of pregnancy including the possibility of death in labor, all so some ******** can pretend he — and I do mean HE — is preventing abortions. People who think that is acceptable can rot in hell. Republicans want to cut family planning too, so we know they don’t really give a damn about preventing abortions.

Here’s something on states declaring bankruptcy to get out of paying people the retirement funds they were promised — and remember, state employees pay no Social Security taxes, so those pensions may be all they’ve got.

Speaking of bankruptcy, here’s something on how the bankruptcy “reform” of a few years back contributed to the foreclosure mess.

Nobody seems to remember that almost all regulations are put in place to protect somebody. Of course it’s dumb to say that regulations are automatically “job killing.” If the people whining about “job killing” gave a shit about jobs, maybe they wouldn’t be trying to cut and gut jobs programs! Here’s an urgent message for our elected officials: JOBS are still the number one issue on Americans’ minds. Put people to work, and some of the other problems — national deficit, social security, foreclosures — might start to fix themselves.

But this one really makes me mad. Ornery has it right when he calls the move to cut emergency funding for heating in the middle of a colder than average winter “so fucking tone deaf it boggles my fucking mind.” Heaven forbid we should raise taxes on people making, say, a million dollars a year when we can just freeze Granny to death! Who needs a death panel when you’ve got a blizzard? Whiskey, Tango, Foxtrot!

See how mad I am, and all I’m really doing is quoting other people? Over the weekend I promise to have something happier to say… about something.

In Closing: Kafka-san; tip of the iceberg?; junk fees and foreclosure; too lazy; secret air travel; pot of gold; is it snarky if it’s true?; the status quo is bad; on conservatives and the Bible; city-states; zero tolerance means zero thinking; vaccinate; the budget.

The Shorties Exorcism

Where Have You Been?: Playing Black Ops. CODBO or BLOPS if you prefer. No zombies.

Daddy Says So, and That’s That!: Jeb is not running for President in 2012. Even though Daddy admits that “he’s a good man, he performed as governor, he’s well-spoken, he’s not an extremist, he’s not a wild guy that attributes bad motives to those that disagree with him, and he’s good. And people that know him and hear him say the same thing.” In other words, all the stuff Dubya isn’t.

Totally Silly Acronym: It turns out that TSA screeners don’t like to touch your junk either. Mostly. But even though nobody finds the current system acceptable, the Boss says it’s not changing. Now, one thing that surprised me being trapped at an unexpected layover in Tucson is that the color-coded alerts are still in effect (“orange,” if you were wondering). Well, maybe not for long. Oh, and Ms. Napolitano thinks that nudie scanners should be installed for other mass transit as well! Way to kill any hope of relieving traffic congestion! The idea is that “terrorists are looking for vulnerabilities.” Then I got news for you, the mall is the next target. It’s soft, it’s easy to get in and out, and it’s full of people who aren’t thinking of security beyond “where’s my wallet”.

“What About My Options?”: Sharron Angle thinks she has political options. My neighbors think otherwise:

Lying With Statistics: Oh No! The Regulations!! They’re choking small businesses! Ok maybe not.

Ded body, snding pix: 911 may get upgrades allowing them to receive text messages and even video of emergencies in progress.

Meditation for Healthy Cells: Could be!

The Truth: Just Do It.

Think beyond the Infomercial: Tony Horton is.

Live From Sesame Street, It’s Saturday Night!:

That’s all folks. Happy Thanksgiving.

Nevada Firestorm

And no, I’m not talking about the two multi-acre blazes within 4o miles of Las Vegas.

Well, the internet has been all abuzz over the latest from Sharron Angle. Everybody and their dog has already had something to say about her latest interview, including the guy who interviewed her. No wonder she does so few of them! Ezra Klein points out that the choice should be fairly simple, given that Nevada has one of the highest unemployment rates in the country, Angle thinks all those unemployed people should get up off their lazy asses and find a [nonexistent] job, and Reid keeps trying [and failing] to get unemployment benefits extended to at least try and prevent all those unemployed people from becoming homeless too. At least her website has been updated with a little less crazy. She still does think it’s unreasonably hard to get a ballot initiative up in Nevada. I have long urged people to Just Say NO to all voter initiatives, so this is just fine with me.

But wait! Let’s not forget that The Other Reid (he’d prefer to just be known as “Rory“) is in an election too, and his opponent Brian Sandoval has also been campaigning. This week he announced a plan for Nevada schools. It includes giving a “grade” to each school and allowing kids in poorly graded schools to transfer to better schools. Now, there’s 2 problems I see with this. First is that No Child Left Behind already allows the same freaking thing; why reinvent the wheel? The second problem is geography. Nevada is a big state with a small population, and 73% of the population is in one county. While the idea almost makes sense in the Las Vegas Valley, the Reno area, and the Carson City area, it makes no sense in the rural areas where the next school might be an hour or two away.

His second plan is the popular idea of making teacher pay dependent upon student performance. Well, here’s the thing. Teachers can only control what happens in their classroom, and even then only most of the time. When you’ve got kids worried about living on the street, kids stealing ketchup packets so they can have dinner, gang violence, child abuse, parents who don’t give a damn, official curricula that still use sight words*, limited ability to discipline students who are out of line, a bureaucracy that would make any government proud, and a half dozen impediments to learning in the classroom, merit pay is a sick joke.

And idea three is to outsource non-educational services. That would include janitorial services, human resources, and food service. It makes me wonder what firms I would find if I were to look closely at Mr. Sandoval’s investments! There is just no way that it’s cheaper to have a cleaning crew come in at night than to have one or maybe two people on hand all day to clean messes as they occur. Hiring a for-profit catering service to put the cafeteria ladies out of work is just madness. This is aside from the concern some parents will have over whether the employees of these firms might maybe have some desire to harm a child. As much as I would like to dismiss this as tinfoil hat lunacy, the fact of the matter is that Clark County School District has had incidents where non-teachers are accused of harming students.

* I was just horrified to learn what constitutes homework for a first grader!

In closing: A tangible Good Thing from health insurance reform starts today; mortgage rates at record lows, why aren’t we borrowing? (because unemployment is around 10% and most homes are worth less than what is already owed, duh); a financial reform package passed the House and is headed for the Senate, let the hunt for loopholes and political favors begin (it’s ok, banks will ignore what they don’t like anyway); fiscal austerity still doesn’t work; Real Socialists beg the wingnuts to stop calling Obama one of them; a bit of follow-up, the list of countries Van Der Sloot can be extradited to for more charges grows; both of these statements are logical, but both cannot be true; 100 Yen shops, the Japanese Dollar Store; vaccinate your kids!; smart pet tricks; flying cars; and libertarians.