AZ

 
 01 May 2010 @ 10:07 PM 

Say you’re a Latino living in Arizona, who has a “contact” with the police.  They think you may be an illegal alien, and ask for your identification.  Turns out, there’s no law requiring any citizen to actually possess or carry identification with them.  What’s the next step for the police?

Oh, and by the way, police have always been allowed to check the immigration status of suspects, this just allows them to check the status of other people who have “contact” with the police.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 01 May 2010 @ 10:07 PM

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 19 Apr 2010 @ 8:23 AM 

Saw this headline today, and figured that is one they can recycle for every bill so long as the GOP is in the minority:

Republicans Unanimously Against Bill Being Brought to the Senate Floor This Week

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 19 Apr 2010 @ 08:23 AM

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 18 Apr 2010 @ 12:35 PM 

No.

The annexation agreement does not include any language regarding secession. Neither does the state Constitution. There are the usual platitudes about the people being sovereign, but we saw how well that played out in 1860, didn’t we?

One of the other commonly cited “quirky facts” about Texas, that it can subdivide itself into up to 5 states at any time, is actually found in the annexation agreement. Of course, the US Constitution also states that any other state can split itself too. The difference being that the annexation agreement says Texas just needs to get permission from Texas, while any other state has to get permission from its government and the US Congress.

So, can Texas secede? Just as much as Virginia and Georgia can and no more. Good luck with that, Governor Perry.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010 @ 12:35 PM

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 18 Apr 2010 @ 8:33 AM 

A man’s mother told him that his son went missing, so he drove like an idiot, got arrested, is facing felony charges, and… April Fool! His son was never missing.  Mom is not getting flowers in May, I’m guessing.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Apr 2010 @ 08:33 AM

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 16 Apr 2010 @ 6:54 AM 

The people screaming about high taxes this week are insane.  The simple truth is, taxes are low – lower than most of us have seen in our lifetimes.

According to the Tax Foundation, which actually does something called research and something else called math, there’s a simple method to determining how bad taxes are – Tax Freedom Day. This is the day when you’ve worked enough to have finished paying the government share of your labor and begin to earn the remainder. This year, it’s the second-earliest day in their records (which go back to before the Johnson administration); last year was the earliest. As of April 9th, on average, Americans have worked to pay off their tax burden for the year. That’s 99 days of 365 that we work just to pay the overhead (27% of our income goes to taxes of various types). Now, some might say that’s too high. If you believe that it is, fine – but you must be intellectually honest and realize that it’s less than you’ve ever paid in your life (for my generation anyway), and if you didn’t bitch about the tax burden in 2000 when you had to work until May 1st to hit Tax Freedom Day, you’re not being consistent.

On the other hand, spending is crazy. The main reason that Tax Freedom Day is so early this year is because we aren’t paying for what we’re buying. If we actually had to pay taxes that balanced the budget, Tax Freedom Day would be … wait for it… May 17th. Democrats can’t be fairly called “Tax and Spend liberals” right now – they’re more like “Don’t Tax and Spend Anyway crypto-liberals” instead. Only 1998-2001 were we paying the debt down instead of building it up. Heck of a way to balance a budget.

These dates are all averages, and are based on federal and state combined numbers. Each state has vastly different tax structures, so Alaskans get to start earning their own money on March 26th while folks in Connecticut have to wait until April 27th.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 16 Apr 2010 @ 06:56 AM

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 08 Apr 2010 @ 6:58 AM 

How is it possible for good liberals and progressives to (at least tacitly) approve of the recently leaked plans to assassinate an American citizen by the U.S. government? (This sort of situational ethics is not new. When the current President was campaigning for office, and while he was in the Senate, he was vehemently opposed to indefinite detention for any people without charges, much less U.S. citizens. Almost a year ago, he proposed formalizing the system of indefinite detention that he claimed (most would say rightly) was unconstitutional when done by his predecessor.) I find it hard to imagine how one could think that arresting someone and locking them up without habeas corpus is an absolute travesty, but then think it’s acceptable to target someone for a bullet to the head without even a trial.

I realize that Awlaki is seemingly not a nice person and almost certainly is fomenting violent actions against us. I would like him to be stopped. But, is it not more in keeping with the Constitution that President Obama once was expert in to target Awlaki for arrest rather than just shooting him whenever it’s convenient?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2010 @ 12:26 PM

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 24 Mar 2010 @ 9:11 PM 

I know, it’s unfair and biased.  But funny!

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 24 Mar 2010 @ 09:11 PM

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 23 Mar 2010 @ 7:18 AM 

You almost have to feel sorry for the Republican party this year. Their tactics of screaming loudly, encouraging their followers to scream incoherently, and basically kicking and yelling “no!” have failed to prevent the (watered down) health care reform bill from passing. Already, they plan to introduce legislation to repeal it. Since they could never produce more than a dozen pages of counterproposal, I suppose a “make it go away” bill is about the right length for their proven abilities.

One thing that seems to be a truism in American politics is that everyone is against government spending except when it is something they want.  Also, every new entitlement becomes an entrenched permanent benefit as soon as it becomes law.  Look at the fact that we still have tobacco farming subsidies, even while we do our darnedest to make tobacco usage less popular than a vampiric leper zombie.

Now that the health care reform bill has become law, the GOP is in the unenviable position of trying to reduce benefits and remove people’s health insurance. It’s easy to rant against the evils of socialism, all while ignoring that many of our institutions are socialized (police, fire, road work, military, yada yada). It’s a lot harder to tell people that, for their own good, you’re going to make it okay for insurance companies to more easily deny coverage to their sick mother. Not to mention, the CBO came out with their estimate that this bill will reduce the deficit, which makes the “it costs too much” rhetoric feel a little hokey.

Some of the provisions of the health care reform bill that become effective this year:

  • Insurance companies can’t drop your coverage if you become sick while insured
  • Parents can insure adult children up to 26 years old
  • The Medicare “donut hole” will get a rebate, eventually becoming a solid bismarck-like holeless mass
  • Children will not be barred for pre-existing conditions
  • Lifetime coverage limits will be gone
  • Small businesses will get a tax credit to help provide health insurance for their employees

Of course, John Boehner is upset that one other provision goes into effect this year: tanning beds get a 10% additional tax.  I love that taxes are seemingly randomly associated with anything they are meant to assist, but tanning salons? Weird.

So the GOP is going to be campaigning this year to repeal this law. They will be out there telling their constituents and voters that they want senior citizens to pay $250 more for their medication, that they want to deprive small businesses of a tax credit, that they want to deny coverage to little Jimmy with leukemia… yeah, that’ll work.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 23 Mar 2010 @ 07:18 AM

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 18 Mar 2010 @ 7:36 AM 

Some car dealers have installed “black boxes” in their new cars, which have the ability to shut off your car remotely, or honk the horn, when you’re late with a payment. What could possibly go wrong with that system?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 18 Mar 2010 @ 07:36 AM

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 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:30 AM 

I know that things which appear to be clusters are merely random stastical fluctuations, but if another Canadian child actor from the 80s dies this month, it’ll be freaky.

Corey Haim, 38. At least the vampires didn’t get him.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Mar 2010 @ 10:30 AM

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 08 Mar 2010 @ 7:41 AM 

Once again, the War on (some) Drugs has been made to look stupid and petty by its very nature. This time around, a SWAT team busted into a family’s house, shot their two dogs (one of them a very threatening Corgi), arrested the father and traumatized a child. And the big bad druggies they busted? Oh, they were caught with what the police describe as a “small amount” of marijuana. The parents have been charged with possession and with child endangerment. The possession charge is a misdemeanor.

Just to be perfectly clear here – the police believe that possessing a small amount of marijuana is child endangerment, but shooting two family pets in front of that same child is perfectly reasonable behavior.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Mar 2010 @ 07:41 AM

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 05 Feb 2010 @ 12:00 PM 

Apparently the opening speaker of the Tea Party Convention is openly courting racists. Tom Tancredo, who is cuckoo for illegal aliens, started off the proceedings by claiming that President Obama was only elected because people who can’t say “vote” in English elected him. Wow, we must have an awful lot of non-English speakers in the USA, to have over 50% of the vote like that. And then he appeals to people to take back America from “them” – whoever they might be.

I find it interesting that all of Tancredo’s grandparents were immigrants (legal presumably) and yet he’s still so unabashedly xenophobic in his rhetoric. Just for full disclosure, my father’s family immigrated to this continent before the USA was founded (by over a century), and I somehow was capable of pronouncing the word “vote” and casting it for Obama.

Oh, and real socialists most assuredly do not consider this president one of them. At this point, many liberals are saying he’s not even one of them.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 05 Feb 2010 @ 12:00 PM

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 29 Jan 2010 @ 7:11 PM 

A year after I posted the “with and without stimulus” economist projection, it’s interesting to see how things have actually panned out.

What expert economists said they expected:

What actually happened:

You can see that the projection was that we’d peak at around 8% unemployment, with the stimulus that was proposed. A much smaller stimulus was put into place, and it peaked about 10% instead. But, the projections also said we’d see see a plateau and reduction in unemployment right around the beginning of 2010, and we did. So, it’s been a bit worse than projected, but it’s turning around right on schedule. Of course, it’s still too early to see if this plateau is done and we’re actually recovering, or if we’re just going to plateau until the end of 2010, which would be what was projected to happen without any government intervention. That would suck.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 29 Jan 2010 @ 07:11 PM

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 26 Jan 2010 @ 7:36 AM 

Thank you, California, for finally diverting some of the “oh no they didn’t” attention from Texas. Menifee, a town in Riverside County, has decided to pull the Webster Collegiate Dictionary from their school library, because it has definitions of terms like “oral sex” and the poor children just can’t handle such things. Seriously, didn’t everyone flip through the dictionary looking for dirty words, just because you could? Our children are not so delicate and easily bruised, people!

Is Menifee in the 909?

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 26 Jan 2010 @ 07:36 AM

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 13 Jan 2010 @ 7:03 AM 


Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 13 Jan 2010 @ 07:03 AM

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 11 Jan 2010 @ 2:38 PM 

A student at the University of Wisconsin in Milwaukee was walking home from work when four men pulled him into an alley and forced him to lie face-down with a gun to his neck. They took everything from his pockets, but when the gang leader looked in the victim’s wallet and saw an Army Reserve ID card, he told his accomplices to give him his stuff back. “The guy continued to say throughout the situation that he respects what I do and at one point he actually thanked me and he actually apologized,” the unidentified 21-year-old victim said. “The leader of the group actually walked back [and] gave me a quick fist bump.” Police note that 10 minutes later, the gang robbed another man, who had a Department of Corrections inmate ID in his wallet. They didn’t give him his wallet back.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 11 Jan 2010 @ 02:38 PM

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 08 Jan 2010 @ 7:15 AM 

When I’m on a road trip, or even just going to the park with The Boy, I grab a bottle of soda from a convenience store. I know that the fountain drinks are cheaper per ounce, but I justify this by telling myself I don’t actually need a half-gallon of any drink, and they seem to taste funny at times. There was this Arby’s my coworkers and I went to in Arizona – I’m sure the Mountain Dew was laced with some sort of detergent there.

Anyway, there is now a study which makes me glad I’ve been avoiding fountain drinks: they’re laced with bacteria. 48% have some form of coliform bacteria in the beverages. So, I’ll just keep getting my bottle of Vault and leave the e.coli for someone else. Ew.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 08 Jan 2010 @ 07:15 AM

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 31 Dec 2009 @ 11:59 AM 

One year ago, I made a series of 10 predictions for the new year.  Let’s see how I did.

  1. The right wing noise machine did find new and interesting ways to make themselves look silly while calling the new president a socialist, a communist, a nazi, and a racist – all at the same time. If President Obama were on fire, the GOP would call fire departments a socialist plot, as John Scalzi wrote this week.
  2. Windows 7 did not save the computer industry.
  3. Netbooks were a bit easier to find than I feared, so there’s one point against me. To be fair, the good netbooks were harder to get hold of, so maybe half a point.
  4. Yep, suck.
  5. No single sign-on system of any note, although Facebook is getting a lot of headway into “sign in with Facebook” on various sites.  Maybe we’ll count this as half and half.
  6. No crypto.
  7. DTV changeover was, although delayed yet again until June of 2009, not a crazy display of incompetence and weeping and gnashing of teeth. Got this one wrong.
  8. Politicians continued to line their pockets by picking ours, and gave as much largesse to their corporate overlords as possible. Sadly, I got this one right.
  9. Weather was much remarked upon. Denialists continued to deny reality. Climatologists turned out to sometimes be jerks, but that overshadowed that the science continues to be reinforced with evidence.
  10. Kit dropped me from her “LJ Friends” list after 9 years (no idea why), so I have no idea how amusing she is.

Let’s see, that gives me 6 of 10 completely right, 2 partly right, one completely wrong, and one I can no longer assess, so I can’t use it for any statistics. We’ll call it 7-2 or 78% accurate. I’m sure that beats all the “psychics” out there.  Now, what shall I predict for 2010? Stay tuned.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 31 Dec 2009 @ 12:08 PM

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 15 Dec 2009 @ 6:34 PM 

In order to complete the closure of the Guantanamo Bay prison, the Obama administration has proposed moving any “too dangerous to release but somehow we have no evidence of a crime” prisoners to Thomson Prison in Illinois. Because Congress forbade the Executive branch from using any funds to release prisoners in the United States, they’ll just keep them locked up forever.

Many people found it extremely distasteful that the Bush administration went through such lengths to find a location which was outside any jurisdiction in Guantanamo. Gitmo is not in the USA, so domestic laws don’t apply, but it’s not under Cuban jurisdiction either, so nobody rules there except by force of arms. Now, the great hope for change has proposed moving that extra-legal jurisdiction to the United States mainland. How can there be any justification for keeping dozens of prisoners under indefinite detention within our country? Gitmo was a stretch. Illinois is just venal political bullshit.

Change you can believe in.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 06 Dec 2010 @ 12:24 PM

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 10 Dec 2009 @ 7:03 AM 

Apparently Congress doesn’t have anything useful to do, so a subcommittee found time to debate whether the NCAA can call someone a “National Champion” if they haven’t gone through an elimination-style playoff.  Really?  This is something which is so important that the United States Congress must intervene?  People are stupid.

Posted By: Gary
Last Edit: 10 Dec 2009 @ 07:03 AM

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