Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Long Absence, Personal Post

Sorry for the long absence, but it's just what happens these days.

Today is just a funny personal story.

For the last year or so, we have been collecting songs that J says he likes and putting them on a playlist on my ipod, which we play in the car most of the time while the dude is riding around with us. He's used to this now, so that when he hears a song he really likes, he asks me to add it to the list.

Because its our car, and we control the radio, generally, these are songs that we also like, which means a lot of the songs are bluegrass, americana, rock, and pop.

However, sometimes he hears a song in a store, on the radio or tv that we wouldn't normally put on with him in the car. This is how we ended up with the theme for the Big Bang Theory on his mix, along with - proudly, I might add - Appalachian Spring, by Aaron Copland (Thank you, Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade). But, unfortunately, it is also how, after this morning, his mix and my ipod will now include Every Rose Has Its Thorn by Poison.

Friday, November 01, 2013

We are not the problem. We are the solution.

This is an interesting review of The Infinite Resource: The Power of Ideas on a Finite Planet, by Ramez Naam.

Something that the all-organic, eat local folks might do well to remember: while a nice idea for the rich among us, this is not a plan for feeding the world.
Take agriculture. Ten thousand years ago it took an average of 3,000 acres to feed one hunter-gatherer; farmers today can feed one person using less than one-third of an acre. “Our innovation in farming technology has multiplied the value of a plot of land by nearly 10,000,” Naam notes. If crop yields per acre had remained stuck at 1960 levels, half the world’s remaining forests would have been plowed under by now. 
There is also an interesting, market-based plan for tackling climate change. And the reviewer discusses solutions to the tragedy of the commons regarding collapsing fisheries and depleted aquifers.

And finally:
While Attenborough laments that humanity is a plague upon the earth, Naam counters with an intriguing question: “Would your life be better off if only half as many people had lived before you?” In this thought experiment, you don’t get to pick which people are never born. Perhaps there would have been no Newton, Edison, or Pasteur, no Socrates, Shakespeare, or Jefferson. “Each additional idea is a gift to the future,” Naam writes. “Each additional idea producer is a source of wealth for future generations.” Fewer people means fewer new ideas about how to improve humanity’s lot. 
“If we fix our economic system and invest in the human capital of the poor,” Naam writes, “then we should welcome every new person born as a source of betterment for our world and all of us on it.

Friday, September 13, 2013

No no no no no no no

Oh, look, the the Senate Judiciary Committee has passed horrible, terrible, awful legislation that is likely to pass in the full Senate.

Don't buy the headline about "protection" or the "shield" in the summaries. This bill amounts to nothing but a protection racket, like all licensing laws and regulations (which is what this really is), that keeps the big, rich, entrenched media companies safe while serving as a well-fortified wall against upstarts and rebels.
Feinstein introduced an amendment that defines a "covered journalist" as someone who gathers and reports news for "an entity or service that disseminates news and information." The definition includes freelancers, part-timers and student journalists, and it permits a judge to go further and extend the protections to any "legitimate news-gathering activities." [emphasis mine]
It also has effects that the government loves, giving them power to silence those writers (i.e. speakers) they don't like by allowing the federal government to define who exactly qualifies for First Amendment protections under the guise of "national security". This is perfect, modern crony capitalist legislation.

It would seem at this point, thankfully, that it will have a hard time in the House. I can't even imagine how it could pass Supreme Court muster, if it does become law. Of course, even getting to SCOTUS would require the law to be in effect, someone to be silenced using it and then bringing a challenge. Access to information would suffer in the, potentially long, meantime, and based on many surprising decisions by the court, there's always the possibility they would let it stand.

Never mind that "freedom of speech" is actually separate from "the press" in the First Amendment, but exactly where does it say only the press as officially defined by the legislature?
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
The Founding Fathers were intentionally broad with the Bill of Rights, especially. Their intention was absolutely to limit the power of the federal government. And yet our government continues to distill it and define it down in order to bend it to their will -- more power and control over the lives of American citizens. Eventually it won't bend anymore. It will only break.*


*Some would argue that's already happened via SCOTUS-supported abuses of the Fourth Amendment.


Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Boys to Men

As a wife, and mother of a son, who very much believes in Free Range parenting, the way we tend to treat so many normal situations as inherently dangerous and so many men as predators by default concerns me.

The number of stories of men treated suspiciously simply for being out and about alone in the general vicinity of kids, usually their own, can get downright depressing. Luckily, I live in a place where fathers are often very involved in their kids' lives, and these sorts of assumptions don't seem to be a part of our daily existence.

It's important to remember, though, that this happens more than it used to (unlike violent crime), and there is danger in assuming every man is a potential predator, which leads to demonizing male sexuality. This is not a good thing and should not be taken lightly.

update: hat tip to Delilah S. Dawson's post on Facebook for the article on demonizing male sexuality.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Ah, Government Efficiency

Why is the State Department even trying to get likes on Facebook, much less, paying $630,000 for it? Here's my favorite part, though:
Some of the issues are rather tedious, like whether embassy staffers should go to the Office of Web Engagement or the Office of Innovative Engagement for advice on social media. A section of the report is devoted to telling employees, hey, the "Office of Innovative Engagement is the proper place for this function."
Just straight out of Office Space.

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

What to say?

It's hard to know what to say about this, specifically. But I will say that I love technology and modern science. Cuz, wow.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Lawyers Having Fun

Fantastic response to an absurd cease and desist.

http://www.buzzfeed.com/samir/is-this-the-best-response-to-a-cease-and-desist-letter-ever?s=mobile

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Hadn't Really Thought of It This Way

"Monkeying Around with Redistribution"
http://feedly.com/k/10eZLBY

Monday, May 27, 2013

Good for him

"High School Teacher Faces Discipline for Informing Students About Their Rights" http://feedly.com/k/17iedOU

Monday, April 29, 2013

No Politics Today

This story about the City of Atlanta is so pathetic, that I'd rather post this awesome sci-fi/comic book geekery instead. (OK, so technically, that's not no politics. What can I say, I'm addicted to the idiocy of our government.)

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

"Hell" ... really?

Listening to the "Tell Me More" segment on NPR last night, I was literally screaming at the radio. Yes, literally.

The segment included the author of an article in the New Republic called "The Hell of American Day Care", a Washington Post reporter and mom, and a local administrator and mom who apparently contributes regularly to the Tell Me More show.

As a summary, the story covers the tragedies that happen in some day care centers, the lack of regulation, and the expense of putting your kids in day care. This being NPR, the solutions are of course subsidies and more (federal) regulations.
France spends more on care per child than the United States—a lot more, in the case of infants and toddlers. But most French families pay far less out of pocket, because the government subsidizes child care with tax dollars and sets fees according to a sliding scale based on income.
If you've read my blog for more than five minutes, you know that I rarely think more federal involvement is the answer to anything - hence, the screaming.

And then we came to Ms. Tucker's responses - the working mom - to the groans of these elite reporters describing the difficulties of finding good, affordable daycare - even though they both admitted to having great care for their own kids.

"I'm sort of the lucky one - I think, ... It was phenomenally good" says the writer of the New Republic piece. The other reporter spoke, too, about how hard it is to find good daycare, but that she was also able to do it.

The real problem, they say, is for those who can't afford it and go to unregulated day care providers. Well, guess what regulation does, folks; it adds costs. It will only make day care more expensive. So which is it? Oh right, the government will pick up the tab, so no big deal over here.

My two favorite quotes from Ms. Tucker (emphasis mine): 
TUCKER: And I don't think there's a crisis. I don't think a crisis at all. I think we have a tendency to blow things out of proportion and I hope that parents are not scared by this.
TUCKER: Because who is going to pay for it? I mean they can barely get the budget together for the government, they really going to get the budget together to regulate daycare? I mean personally, as a parent, I am my own regulator. I popped up on that daycare at times to check on them and see how my child was doing and see what was going on when they least expect it. Be your own regulator, because if you're sitting around waiting for the government to do it, sit around and wait because that's what you're going to be doing. They can't even get their own house in order, how they going to get your house in order? So I'm not looking to do that.

If I could have stood up in my car and given her a standing ovation, I would have. I settled for screaming hoorah's and yay's at my radio, instead. I just love that this woman, who the writers think they are helping by calling for more regulation and money, stands up on national radio and says no thank you.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Words

I absolutely despise the word "synergy". It conjures images of slick salesmen and slimy executives hoping for the big payoff. But sometimes it's the only word that works.

I had a fantastic meeting this morning with a former colleague, and it seems we are working on very similar projects from different angles. I don't know what can come from it, but it was exciting to find the common ground and know that there is some potential there. We just have to figure out how to mesh it all together.

So, what other workd can I use?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

If it weren't so disgusting and pathetic, it might be funny

"Feds Spent Millions of Dollars to Find Data That Was Publicly Available and Free" http://feedly.com/k/Ybv7p4

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

Productivity Gains

This is a really interesting bit on what we gain with (and lose to) increases in labor productivity.

And as much as we hear about the evils of off-shoring/outsourcing, there is this:
Even moving the entire U.S. textile and dry-goods industry for cheap labor offshore did not produce such dramatic price reductions as the automation that has changed U.S. manufacturing, doubling output since 1975 while employing only two-thirds as many workers.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

The solution for failed government is more government

An illustration of how government has driven up the cost of healthcare (then manages to claim that only government can save us from expensive healthcare).

Certificate-of-Need Laws Prevent Access to Lifesaving Medical Technology [feedly]

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Authority

Stories like this are the reason we should be wary of blind respect for/obedience of authority.

At Former Florida Boys’ Home, Looking for Reasons — and Bodies — in the Ground - NYTimes.com [feedly]

Hat tip www.ifeminists.net

Friday, March 15, 2013

For Your Entertainment

Ever since The Station Agent, I have adored Peter Dinklage. Then there was Death at a Funeral (that he played the same role in both the Brit and American versions of that movie says something about his unique talent). Though I don't watch it (and probably should), I hear only great things about him in Game of Thrones. Now, the folks at one of my favorite YouTube channels - ScreenJunkies - have created this wonderful compilation video - set to a dubstep beat, just so you don't take it all too seriously, I guess. I could watch this on repeat, the same way J watches the Call Me Maybe video with "that pretty girl".




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Catching Up

I'm going through the starred items in my RSS feed and realized there's a ton from 6+ months ago. So, here is one that I read and loved but forgot to post here.

It's not money; it's power. Politicians need to be needed. Be careful faulting corporations for having lobbyists. Washington has made sure that companies need lobbyists.

Monday, February 04, 2013

This is what it's come to

Selling the bill...
"Still, it has to restore your faith in America when a cult of personality degenerates in five years into an insurance brokerage." -James Taranto

And I just love the part where it's considered a good thing for the PPACA to become like Social Security and Medicare. Bankrupt?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

On Changing Your Mind

I'm intrigued by people who change their minds about things they were quite sure of, even more so if they were very publicly sure of their positions. This story interests me for that reason, and, admittedly, because I happen to generally agree with his new opinion on the matter.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

One of those days

So, since only a couple of you read this, this is my venting space.

I am so frustrated right now dealing with a client issue that's been going on for over a month. No, I'm not frustrated with the client, but with the various outside parties over which I have zero control. And there it is - the key to getting over this - realizing and accepting that I have zero control.

But sitting around and waiting is not in my nature. So here I sit. Waiting. Fuming. Unable to focus on much else besides getting this resolved.

There, vent done. Thanks for listening.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

I Will Wait - Singalong

OK, one more try on posting this audio clip.

I am so happy that this is the song J sings along to right now (well, this and Christmas carols). I wish I could have gotten more, but we have to be very clandestine with the recording devices. And the phone wasn't very close by when the song started, so I only got the end.



Monday, January 07, 2013

Friday, January 04, 2013

2012 Entertainment and Travel in Review

Here's the 2012 Books, Movies, Events, CDs, and Travel list:

Books
(As usual, not nearly enough books...)
World War Z, Max Brooks
Stupid History, Leland Gregory
Edge of Shadows, Cege Smith
The Good Book, Peter Gomes
Wicked as They Come, Delilah S. Dawson
Power Listening, Bernard Ferrari
(I have begun, but am not very far into Les Miserables, Victor Hugo. It may end up being my only book in 2013, at this rate.)

Events
Willie Nelson - Georgia Mountain Fairgrounds, Hiawasee, GA
Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Alpharetta, GA
The Highballs, with Special Guests Funkle Ester - The Melting Point, Athens, GA
Yacht Rock Review - Riverside Park, Roswell, GA
Renaissance Festival - Fairburn, GA
SuperWhy! Live - Cobb Energy Center, Atlanta, GA
Radney Foster, with Runaway Home - Eddie's Attic, Decatur, GA
The Black Lillies - Riverside Park, Roswell, GA
DragonCon Parade - Atlanta, GA
Rush - Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, Alpharetta, GA
Universal Studios Islands of Adventure - Orlando, FL
JD McPherson, with Sean Rowe - The Earl, Atlanta, GA
Disney Live! Mickey's Music Festival - Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Joe Gransden and His Big Band, with Special Guest Francine Reed - Eddie Owen Presents at the Red Clay Theater, Duluth, GA

Travel
Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC
Camden, ME/Boston, MA
Tarpon Springs, FL
Charleston/Mt. Pleasant, SC

Movies (** in theater):
Take Me Home Tonight
Batman/Superman: Apocolypse
Crazy, Stupid Love
Life in a Day
Sherlock: A Scandal in Belgravia
Sherlock: The Hound of Baskerville
Sherlock: The Reichenbach Fall
The Kids Grow Up
Cedar Rapids
Money Ball
Madagascar
The Change-Up
Rio
Dogville
Real Steel
Adventures of TinTin
Three Muskateers (2011)
**The Hunger Games
Hugo
Ponyo
MI4: Ghost Protocol
Captain America: The First Avenger
Underworld: Awakenings
Haywire
**Dark Shadows
Win Win
Chronicle
Thor
**Avengers
Wrath of the Titans
City LIghts
**Dark Knight Rises
Total Recall (1990)
The Orphanage
The Other F Word (great movie for parents who think they are/want to still be cool)
Our Idiot Brother
Drive
Midnight in Paris (loved this movie)
Blue Valentine
21 Jump Street
Pirates! Band of Misfits
The Cabin in the Woods
Five Year Engagement
Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
**Skyfall (x2)
The Amazing Spiderman
January Man
Men in Black 3
Bottle Shock
Doctor Who - Series 1 (9th Doctor)
Doctor Who - Series 2 (10th Doctor)
Doctor Who - Series 3 (10th Doctor)
**Les Miserables
The Bourne Legacy
Brave

CDs Purchased (a new addition for this year's entertainment list; the vast majority of these were purchased at the used CD store, a wonderful wonderful place)
Bruno Mars - DooWops & Hooligans
Foo Fighters - Wasting Light
Daniel Martin Moore - In the Cool of the Day
Harry Connick, Jr. - In Concert on Broadway
REO Speedwagon - The Hits
Dwight Yoakam - Hillbilly Deluxe
The Black Keys - Brothers
Adele - Live at Royal Albert Hall
Sarah Jarosz - Follow Me Down
Radney Foster - Del Rio Revisited
Edgar Meyer - Uncommon Ritual (with Bela Fleck and Mike Marshall)
Black Lillies - 100 Miles of Wreckage
Bruno Coulais - Oceans
Dwight Yoakam - Blame the Vain
Jack White - Blunderbuss
Dwight Yoakam - Buenos Noches from a Lonely Room
John Denver and the Muppets - A Christmas Together
Dwight Yoakam - Dwight Live
ESOEBO - ESOEBO
Foster and Lloyd - It's Already Tomorrow
Hugh Laurie - Let Them Talk
Jason Mraz - Love is a Four Letter Word
Lyle Lovett - Release Me
Mark Knopfler - Shangri La
Dwight Yoakam - Three Pears
Dave Matthews Band - Away from the World
Rush - Clockwork Angels
Mumford & Sons - Babel
The Avett Brothers - The Carpenter
CeeLo - CeeLo's Magic Moment
k.d. lang - Hymns of the 49th Parallel
Dwight Yoakam - Tomorrow's Sounds Today
Chris Isaak - Always Got Tonight
Bruno Mars - Unorthodox Jukebox
Watchmen - Original Soundtrack
Diana Krall - The Girl in the Other Room