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A fool and his money

A man plays a carnival game trying to win an X box. He keeps losing, so he keeps going double or nothing, and spends his life savings- $2,600 trying to win the $300 game. All he won was a stuffed banana with dreadlocks. He calls the police and attempts to use them to get a refund.

– Why would you keep playing, when you keep losing?
– Why would you keep your life savings on you?
– Suing? Because you lost a game of chance? Vegas is gonna be in trouble.
– The police shut the game down? Under what authority?

PT Barnum was right…

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Teen thugs

In 2011, the Miami police began a new program designed to reduce “juvenile delinquency” by simply not arresting them. You see, the criminal teen that is not arrested does not count when statistics of crimes by minors is compiled. This allowed the Miami-Dade Schools Police (the school system has its own police force?) to claim that they had reduced crime by juveniles by 60%- the largest reduction in the state.

Here is the press release (note the date)

The date there is significant because the family of teen Trayvon Martin was able to claim that the young man did not have a criminal record, even though school records show that he had been suspended three times between September of 2011 and February of 2012: Once for possession of drugs, once for vandalism and possession of stolen property and burglary tools, and a third time for unspecified reasons. (His family claims it was for truancy.)
There are claims that the Defense is trying to put the “victim” on trial here, but I feel like it is proper to expose the past of the person in a self defense case. To do otherwise is to permanently paint the loser in a fight as the victim, regardless of the facts.

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Guns at theme parks

So a guy today dropped his heater on a ride at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. He was barred from returning to the park, but no charges were filed. Let me start by saying that this guy screwed up, and he is lucky. Although Disney claims to prohibit weapons on their property, this prohibition does not carry the force of law. Where he broke the law is:

790.174 A person who stores or leaves, on a premise under his or her control, a loaded firearm, as defined in s. 790.001,
and who knows or reasonably should know that a minor is likely to gain
access to the firearm without the lawful permission of the minor’s
parent or the person having charge of the minor, or without the
supervision required by law, shall keep the firearm in a securely locked
box or container or in a location which a reasonable person would
believe to be secure or shall secure it with a trigger lock, except when
the person is carrying the firearm on his or her body or within such
close proximity thereto that he or she can retrieve and use it as easily
and quickly as if he or she carried it on his or her body.

(2) It is a misdemeanor of the second degree, punishable as provided in s. 775.082 or s. 775.083,
if a person violates subsection (1) by failing to store or leave a
firearm in the required manner and as a result thereof a minor gains
access to the firearm, without the lawful permission of the minor’s
parent or the person having charge of the minor, and possesses or
exhibits it, without the supervision required by law:

(a) In a public place; or
(b) In a rude, careless, angry, or threatening manner in violation of s. 790.10.
 Of course, there are comments to the various news articles, claiming that no one needs a gun at Disney, but I can tell you that I have posted on this before.

I have no problem with him carrying a gun in a theme park. I do it regularly. However, carrying a firearm comes with a responsibility. The man involved here failed in that responsibility.

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Higher cost, lower value

In 1880, it cost:
$400 per year to attend Vassar. This included tuition, room, board, heat, light, and laundry service. Adjusted for inflation, $400 in 1883 equals $9,635 in 2013.
$300 per year to attend Georgetown. This included room, board, and tuition. Adjusted for inflation, $300 in 1883 equals $7,126 in 2013. Georgetown law charged $150 for the entire law school tuition, and $100 for the entire series of medical school lectures.

Since 1980, inflation has caused everything to more than double in price. What cost $1 in 1980 now costs $2.15. However, every dollar in college tuition in 1980 is now $5.98. That’s right, college tuition is rising at a rate that is 5 times higher than inflation.

Abraham Lincoln took the Bar exam, and never even completed the third grade. It wasn’t until the colleges convinced the government that they should mandate a college degree in order to practice many careers that college became the large business it is today.
In the 1980s, it was possible to be a Physician Assistant with only an Associate’s degree. Now it requires a Masters. The school itself is still two years, but it now requires a Bachelor’s degree for entry. What the degree is in does not matter.
Nurse Practitioner was a master’s program, now it is becoming a PhD program.
Registered Nurse is fast requiring a profession requiring a BSN.

All of this increases the pay that people expect to receive for these careers, and therefore the costs of the services. Instead of being angry at what health care costs, the public should be angry at what it costs to be a health care worker.

In 1950, only one third of the adults in the United States had a high
school diploma. Many of the adults were blue collar factory workers and
made a good living. Only about 1 in 20 adults had graduated from
college.
That was before education became big business. School became easier, and
kids were passed on to the next grade, not because they had mastered
the skills needed, but because teachers were afraid of damaging the
kids’ self esteem. In 2010, 80 percent of adults were high school
graduates, and 20 percent had a 4 year degree or more.
The latest generation is flush with college degrees that mean little,
because many schools are offering degrees in things that are not needed
job skills. Because we have all of these degrees, we are demanding high
wages, and this has driven the blue collar jobs out of the country.
Unemployment is rampant. At the same time, we are paying people the
equivalent of $10 an hour to sit at home for up to two years, so there
is little to no incentive for work.
Instead of making things like cars and appliances, we sit around and
make war and college graduates with degrees in French Poetry and Women’s
Studies.

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On race

My mother has been doing our family’s ancestry as a hobby. She was showing me the family’s history this past week, and showed me something a bit interesting: The US census record of her grandfather (my great grandfather) shows him as “negro.”

An octoroon is a person with 7 white great-grandparents, and one black one.That accurately describes my ancestry.

This means that under the law, I am an African American. See, much of the United States follows the “one drop” rule, where even a single drop of African blood makes you an “African American.” This also means that I am part of the protected class, and I can now get preference in hiring, promotions, and I can whip out the race card whenever I wish. It is also impossible for me to be called a racist.

The funny thing is that people who claim to be minorities are more likely to get a job. I know someone who was looking for work, and was having trouble even getting interviews. She had been looking for work ofr over four months, and had not even managed to get an interview. She has brown skin, so I suggested that she start putting down “American Indian” in the race column. Less than a week later, she got a job. 

Claiming to be a minority is a fast way to get a job, because employers use the fact that you are a minority to prove that they are an “euqal opportunity” employer, and use this as a talisman against racial lawsuits.

This, more than anything, proves that racial definitions are silly.

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Our Nation

Nothing makes a larger statement about the character of our nation than this story. The third place finisher for a TV contest that is so unpopular that it is about to be cancelled is more important than our veterans.

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A house divided

In 1790, when the Census was carried out, the Union contained 3.9 million inhabitants. Virginia being the most populous state, with19 percent of the total population of  the Union: 747,610. The problem was that 293,000 of them were slaves. Many other slave states were in a similar position, with nearly half of their populations being slaves.
During the years of the Articles of Confederation, the south argued that slaves should not count as part of the population, since the could not vote, and the north argued that they should. This was not done out of kindness or cruelty on either side. The reason for this was that the taxes paid by each state under the articles was apportioned by population. The more people, the more taxes.
During the ratification and writing of the Constitution, the states changed positions. The new problem was that population equaled votes in the electoral college and representatives in the legislature. The northern states did not want to see the southern states dominate the political landscape, and so the three fifths compromise was born. The states agreed that the slaves, who could not vote, would count as three-fifths of a person for the purposes of calculating representation in the House of Representatives, and for the purposes of calculating electoral votes.
Even so, these ‘extra’ votes that were allowed by counting slaves allowed the south to dominate the political scene for the first 80 years of the union’s existence. It was only through the passage of the 13th and 14th amendments that mooted the three fifths compromise and would have shifted political power to the southern states.
The Fifteenth Amendment mandated that the right to vote could not be denied on the basis of race. The north could not have that, so they proposed literacy exams, poll taxes, and other means of disenfranchising the black vote. This would have the effect of disproportionately disenfranchising blacks.
This was about politics and about power, just as the issues are today. You can trace the political questions about illegal immigration and other issues back to politics. Politics has never been about right and wrong, only about power and the desire for more of it.

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Gun show waiting periods and background checks

There is some confusion on background checks in Florida. The papers are all abuzz, because Pinellas County and Fort Lauderdale are requiring gun shows to conduct background checks on all sales that occur at gun shows. This is allowed because in November of 1998, the voters of the state of Florida passed the following amendment to the state constitution:

(b) Each county shall have the authority to require a criminal history
records check and a 3 to 5-day waiting period, excluding weekends and
legal holidays, in connection with the sale of any firearm occurring
within such county. For purposes of this subsection, the term “sale”
means the transfer of money or other valuable consideration for any
firearm when any part of the transaction is conducted on property to
which the public has the right of access. Holders of a concealed weapons
permit as prescribed by general law shall not be subject to the
provisions of this subsection when purchasing a firearm. 

 Note that there are two important exceptions to this provision: the holders of a CCW are not subject to it, and only gun sales that occur on land where the public has the right of public access. What does this mean? This means that a county may pass an ordinance prohibiting the sale of firearms on public property (which is the only land where the public has a right of access).

Fort Lauderdale is in Broward County, which along with Pinellas County, have both enacted laws requiring background checks and waiting periods for firearm purchases on public property. The local officials are threatening to shut the shows down or not renew their lease.

“If they continue to challenge our enforcement, it’s much easier to not have a gun show,” Seiler (the local official) said.

If I were the gun show promoter, I would look for a new venue NOT owned by the public immediately, and then I would open the show as before, but I am in your face like that.

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Home of the slightly more free

On this Memorial Day weekend, we should remember the sacrifice that so many have made, so that we could enjoy the freedoms that we have. Now I am one of the first to point out that in many ways, we are by no means the free nation that we once were, but are still more free than most.

Case in point: in the UK, people are being arrested for making anti-Muslim remarks on Facebook.The police claim that the remarks cause more harm to the community than Muslim thugs murdering people on the street.

Superintendent Matt Goodridge said:
‘Surrey Police will not tolerate language used in a public place,
including on social media websites, which causes harassment, alarm or
distress.’

So the removal of the right to own a means of self defense is followed by the loss of other rights, including free speech. How surprising, A government that lacks respect for one right, lacks respect for them all. Looking at this picture of one of the attackers, I would point out that the knife he is holding is also illegal in the UK, but once again we see that laws against weapons only stop the law abiding.

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You don’t know me

To be placed in the “friend zone” has a different meaning. To be put
there means that the woman placing you there wants you to do all of the
things that a boyfriend or husband would do: take her to dinner, travel,
movies, etc, with one important exception:
You will never see her naked, nor will she ever be yours.

The song that I think is the saddest and most beautiful song about this phenomenon is this one by Harry Connick, Jr. I know I’ve posted this before, but it is simply a beautiful song.