Thursday, 28 November 2013

Buy Nothing Day is here at last

Novermber 29th 2013 is Buy Nothing Day in North America.

Novermber 30th 2013 is International  Buy Nothing Day.

Do your part by not doing what corporations want.

Buy Nothing Day isn't just anti-corporatism, it's pro-environment.  There is too much waste, too much consumerism, too much "disposable" junk.

Stop buying things that you throw away.  Buy better quality stuff, and use it until it wears out.  My last cell phone was four years old before it broke from everyday use, long after it was "outdated" in terms of features.  ("Outdated"?  No, I could still make phone calls and still receive calls.  It worked.)  And I still use the laptop computer I bought in 2006 because it works too.  I use it for recording TV shows.

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

The War On Cyclists and Pedestrians: Father arrested for walking to his kids' school

How ludicrous has the US become where parents are NOT allowed to walk to schools and pick up their children?  Or that parents are REQUIRED to have cars in order to do so?

"Just doing his job" is second only to "disorderly conduct" on the list of make-it-up-as-you-go-along police work.  It's not about "laws", it's about demonstrating and exerting authority (read: bullying the populace).

Libertarian clowns are trying to get mileage out of this story, but the real issues are parents having the right to see their own children at any time, and that cars are prioritized over pedestrians.
Cumberland County parent outraged by his arrest
A Cumberland County father didn't want to wait in a long line of traffic to pick his kids up from school. That led to a series of encounters last week at South Cumberland Elementary, and now the dad's facing charges.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

What happenes when the "legal system" is more corrupt than the criminals?

What happens?  The corrupt members get a slap on the wrist.
Mass. chemist gets 3-to-5 years in drug lab scandal
A chemist at a Massachusetts drug lab who admitted faking test results in criminal cases pleaded guilty Friday to obstruction of justice, perjury and tampering with evidence in a scandal that has jeopardized thousands of convictions.
"Jeopardized thousands of convictions"?  Excuse me?  How about the dozens or possibly hundreds of innocent people who were falsely convicted?  Or does the stenographer assume the accused are all guilty?

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Feminist Frequency and Tropes vs Women: 4 for 4

Anita Sarkeesian has hit for the cycle.

"Ms. Male Character" is the fourth in her series on video games and tropes against women.  Some try to question her methods and conclusions (she is not another Malcolm Gladwell, thankfully), but her arguments are sound.  They are provocative and eye opening, definitely worth a viewing.

The War On Cyclists and Pedestrians: Squash player deliberately murdered, minimal charges for the driver

Labelling such killings as "accidents" is done to minimize the actions of the perpetrator and to blame the victim.

At the very least, the killing of Adrian Dudzicki was manslaughter, if not second degree murder, and the driver should face that charge and the prison sentence that comes with it.

The media label the killing of cyclists and pedestrians "accidents" to blame the victim and to protect "car culture".  Remember that if you kid is ever run over by a car on a sidewalk - your child will be labelled the guilty party, the driver will be deemed innocent.

Friday, 22 November 2013

Amanda Berry is alive, and Sylvia Browne is dead

People say when someone dies, you should only say good things about them.

Sylvia Browne is dead.  Good.

Browne's track record of "prediction" was so bad that random dice rolls produced better results.

There are thousands of other frauds willing to cheat the uneducated out of their money, but at least Browne won't be doing it anymore.

Thursday, 21 November 2013

It's a start, but we're only part way there

Kids are starting to see that using epithets is wrong, and are not using them anymore.

That's good, but are they calling out others who do it?  It's not enough to stop yourself.  Stop others if you know it's wrong.  "Don't do that," is the least you can say.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Assaulting and/or killing cyclists is a "minor" offense

In the New York Times on November 9, writer Daniel Duane asked, "Is It O.K. to Kill Cyclists?"
The anecdotes mounted: my wife’s childhood friend was cycling with Mom and Dad when a city truck killed her; two of my father’s law partners, maimed. I began noticing “cyclist killed” news articles, like one about Amelie Le Moullac, 24, pedaling inside a bike lane in San Francisco’s SOMA district when a truck turned right and killed her. In these articles, I found a recurring phrase: to quote from The San Francisco Chronicle story about Ms. Le Moullac, “The truck driver stayed at the scene and was not cited.”
In stories where the driver had been cited, the penalty’s meagerness defied belief, like the teenager in 2011 who drove into the 49-year-old cyclist John Przychodzen from behind on a road just outside Seattle, running over and killing him. The police issued only a $42 ticket for an “unsafe lane change” because the kid hadn’t been drunk and, as they saw it, had not been driving recklessly.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Genetics and left handedness may finally have a proven link

A study from the UK and the Netherlands may finally end bigotry toward and the abuse of children who are left handed.  Scientists have identified a genes which makes handedness in inborn trait, and not something to be "changed" through mental and physical abuse.

"Go bags" are a good idea

I like to have a "go bag" ready at all times.   Yes, it's mainly in case of an emergency, but it's nice not having to pack if a friend says, "Hey, let's go to __________ tomorrow!"  I can grab and go at a moment's notice.
(Take note: Being prepared and being a "prepper" are not the same thing.  The former hopes a disaster will end.  The latter hopes it never does.)

If you live somewhere that a disaster could happen (i.e. you live on the Earth), it's a good idea to be prepared, even if it's just the basics.  I don't want six months of food and water in my apartment, but I do have six days' worth at all times.

Harassment of employees is a crime, unless you're doing it for "god"
Judge: Owner can't lecture employees on religion
A southwest Iowa grocery store owner who lectured an employee on her religious beliefs must pay her unemployment benefits, a state judge has ruled.
The case centered on a question that often divides civil libertarians and people of faith: Do business owners have the right to advocate for their religious beliefs in discussions with employees?

Of course not.  Religious harassment and come-ons are as offensive as sexual harassment and sexual come-ons.  They're both unwelcome and both criminal.

Sunday, 17 November 2013

The dealer has changed the packaging of his addictive drug

Changing the packaging doesn't change the fact that the drug is addictive, or that the dealer is trying to keep the profits coming in.

Arizona prisons are turning into death camps

Arizona prisons are turning into death camps, and like death camps elsewhere, many of the public think those inside "deserve it" and have no empathy for them.

Arizona prison horror: “Critically ill” inmates told to “pray” for healing
A new report alleges illegal and deadly mistreatment of Arizona inmates whose medical care the state contracted out to the country’s largest private prison health care provider.

Why I don't watch football, part 6: Thuggish behaviour by players and coaches

Jameis Winston, quarterback for the Florida State Seminoles professional football team (let's not pretend otherwise) is under suspicion for sexual assault allegedly committed a year ago.  It does not surprise to hear about such things when so much money is on the line (e.g. merchandise, TV rights, bowl games, et al).  Given that FSU is contending for the fictional "national championship", you can be certain that every effort will be made to keep Winston out of jail until after the championship game or bowl game which FSU goes to.  He should enjoy his freedom while it lasts.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

"Looks to me a little bit like lust"

The only lust I see is Gordon Klingenschmitt's lust for hate and violence.   Or does Klingenschmitt secretly have a thing for babies?

How could anyone who is well adjusted read sexual desire into the faces of a pair of loving fathers?

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Why I don't watch football, part 5: "Keep the redskins white"

I don't see any ethical difference between Daniel Snyder's refusal to drop the name "redskins" and a picture from 1961 of Ku Klux Klan members protesting for the team to continue having only white players.

Mother Jones: Richard Cohen's 10 Worst Moments, Counted Down

You have to wonder where someone's head is - down the rabbit hole perhaps (or somewhere else dark, wet and dirty) - to think such things.

No matter which one you read first, the others are worse.

Why I don't watch football, part 4: Another dead kid

With each passing day and each new story, I regret ever having been a fan of the game.  Football should be banned, along with boxing, "ultimate fighting", "mixed martial arts" and other potentially lethal activities.
A high school football player died Monday night at a Phoenix hospital, days after he suffered a blow to the head during a game.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Never "thank" an ex-soldier for his military service

"Thanking" ex-soldiers is not about showing gratitiude, it's about smug self-satisfaction and flag waving by those "thanking" them. If people really cared about them, they would be offering condolences for their lost innocence and their dead friends.

In May 2013, a series of pictures hit the news showing the faces of British soldiers - before they ever seeing combat, during, and after. You can see the lost hope, joy and innocence in their faces and especially their eyes.

Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end

The enscription on the gravestone of 2nd Lieutenant Arthur Conway Young, who died on August 16, 1917, reads thus:

"Sacrifice to the fallacy that war can end."

The corpse worship that goes on every November 11th is not a call to end war, it is a call for blind support of war. And those who call for it the most are often the profiteers of war. In England, BAE (the biggest supplier of military equipment in the country) is the principal "sponsor" of the British Legion.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Good riddance to bad rubbish...I mean, bad business practices

Blockbuster Video, the lackluster rental company, is finally and permanently closing its doors.  It won't be missed.

The company may have been a giant, but became one at the expense of other companies and of consumers.  Its poorly written and inconsistent policies, its excessive late fees and its sheer arrogance made it easy for a competing business like Netflix to arise.  On top of that lackluster...I mean, Blockbuster failed to see the writing on the wall of their brick-and-mortar business.  Digital distribution was the future, and they failed to see it until five years too late.  I certainly won't miss them.  If I rented their movies more than five times during their existence, I would be surprised.

I preferred the mom-and-pop rental shops, and not just because they were locally owned.  They tended to be reasonable and responsive to problems, and not treat human beings as an inconvenient part of doing business.

A wrinkle in time: smooth skin as a sign of longevity

Like it or not, your skin may be an indicator of how long you live.

A study in the Journal of Gerontology (*), a study of both women and men showed a relationship between blood pressure and how wrinkled a person's skin is.  The more wrinkles there are, the higher the blood pressure.

(* published by Unilever, so there may be corporate for-profit pseudo-science)

Sunday, 10 November 2013

A slap on the wrist is not "punishment"

Former  Williamson County (Texas) district attorney Ken Anderson has been disbarred, serve 500 hours of community service and do ten days in jail.  For what crime did he get such a punishment?

He knowingly railroaded an innocent man, Michael Morton, to a conviction for the murder of his wife.

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

BMW says, "Pedestrians cause car accidents"

BMW has created a "pedestrian safety" website, "instructing" children (read: blaming children who are hit) to wear fluorescent vests or armbands when walking on the sidewalks and when crossing streets.

On the face of it, this sounds like something responsible.  In reality, this is victim blaming.  The goal of the website is to say, "They should have been more visible," to children who are injured or killed by speeding drivers.