The Odd, Little Happy

Finally I dance with confidence to songs

The Internet Echo Chamber

Posted by theBarefoot on July 25, 2014


Danger noise hazard

Danger noise hazard

With so much information available, it’s amazing how insulated the average internet user is. They tend to find their echo chamber and stay there. With almost the entire knowledge of humanity available, the average person decides to hide in a blacked-out bubble of their own prejudices, reinforced by others who want the same. I understand the desire to be around people we can related to. I also understand the need to research a topic and come to a rational conclusion. Sadly, it is man’s desire not to be rational, but to rationalize their foregone conclusions.

One thing I’ve noticed about these online echo chambers is when a dissenting opinion does show up, the first reaction is “Get out of here you {insert explicative}.” If they are really proud of their position, shouldn’t their first response be, “Well hello dissenter. Allow me to dazzle you with the logic behind my position so that you, too, may enjoy the fruits of my well-reasoned point of view?” Is it that nonconforming opinions frighten them? Are they afraid the intruder might poke valid holes in their world view?

It doesn’t matter how many facts are behind an opposing view. Most people prefer the comfort of their own feelings to the discomfort facts may bring to bear. Though I’m able to understand this, I just can’t tolerate it. My brain is ruled by logic, reason, and the occasional joke. I try to keep my feelings for my family and dogs. I don’t mind making a fool of myself for a cheap laugh, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to do it to make someone feel better about a conspiracy theory or some Fox News story (story: a fictitious tale, shorter and less elaborate than a novel).

Next time someone asks a question in your little internet group, try, just for once, to engage them instead of dismiss them. I know it will be difficult, but there are rewards for leaving your comfortable bubble.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

 

Here’s Hank from VlogBrothers to expand this thought.

Posted in Advice, Life, rant | Tagged: , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Why Obamacare Got It All Wrong & Should Be Repealed

Posted by theBarefoot on July 24, 2014


It doesn’t matter if you like the ACA or hate it. It doesn’t matter whether you want it repealed or think it should stand. Obamacare, the ACA, got it all wrong.

It’s not that we didn’t get the single-payer system that was really needed to make it work. It’s not the stupid language oversights in the 900 page act that no one caught until now. It’s not that insurance companies had to revamp their policies and increase prices. It’s not that some people lost their insurance. What Obamacare got wrong is, it tried to work within the system. Systems are always designed to resist change. Making insurance mandatory for all, as we see, didn’t do anything to spread the pain, cost, or burden. What was really need was a law making insurance illegal.

Yes. I said, “Make insurance illegal.” If you think gambling is a sin, but still buy insurance, you’re a sinner. Insurance is simply placing a bet that something catastrophic will happen and you win a big payout. As with all casinos, the house always wins. At the core, banning insurance is a simple thought exercise in Economics 101. Supply and Demand rules every market.

You’re thinking, “But medical care is so expensive, I have to have insurance to pay for it all.” But that’s a faulty thought experiment. You have to ask, “Why is medical care so expensive?” Is it to pay for doctor’s expensive medical degrees? Is it because we need to pay for highly skilled nurses and techs? Is it because we need to fund some research? Is it because we need to pay for a new hospital wing with the latest technology? No. No. No. No. And No. It’s supply and demand.

Insurance companies have a huge supply of money, therefore medical facilities, doctors, and drug companies can demand large amounts of that money for their services and products. What would happen if that large supply of money wasn’t there? Economics 101 tells us that without that supply of money, no one could demand that money. In other words, prices would fall. Take Lasik eye surgery,for example. Insurance doesn’t cover Lasik. In the last decade Lasik has dropped from $3,000 per eye to $300 per eye. All because medical consumers had to pay cash for Lasik. Without a huge pile of money waiting to be sent from an insurance company, Lasik providers had no choice but to lower their prices to something the cash market would bear.

If we were to rid ourselves of that supply of medical insurance money, doctor’s couldn’t charge $200 for an office visit. They’d have to find a reasonable cash price the average patient could pay if they wanted to stay in business. Drug companies couldn’t charge $900 for some newly developed drug. They’d have to make their pills attractive to the wallet of the average demographic.

Obamacare tried to spread the cost by making everyone buy insurance when the real solution to universal health care is to make insurance companies illegal and open the market up to unsupplemented market forces. Unfortunately, politics isn’t a product or service that follows the rules of economics and we as political consumers never get what we paid for.

Posted in Life, Health | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

An Officer’s Life with Commentary from a Skeptic

Posted by theBarefoot on July 8, 2014


This old chestnut, “An Officer’s Life,” floats to the top of the Internet every once in a while. The first line (*) is some comment supposedly made by a non-cop. The response (**) is supposed to be the reason why the cop is doing what he’s doing. It’s supposed to evoke empathy for the hard life of the police officer. The third line in italics are my comments to this pile of utter tripe.

CHS-0122-guaranteed-100-percent-pure-bullshit-sticker

*You wonder why he pulled you over and gave you a ticket for speeding,
**He just worked an accident where people died because they were going too fast.
No, that’s not why. It’s because more than 50% of some police department’s budgets come from traffic fines and property seizures.

*You wonder why that cop was so mean,
**He just got done working a case where a drunk driver killed a kid.
That’s no excuse for rude or unprofessional behavior. It’s called self-control.

*You work for 8 hours,
**He works for up to 18 hours.
Please. Police unions are some of the most powerful in the country. They would never let a cop work 18 hours.

*You drink hot coffee to stay awake,
**The cold rain in the middle of the night keeps him awake.
Then he should get a cup of coffee. You knew the job required you to be outdoors at times. Linemen and utility workers have it worse than cops in this regard. 

*You complain of a “headache,” and call in sick,
**He goes into work still hurt and sore from the guy he had to fight the night before.
So stop tackling and beating people. Don’t start trouble; there won’t be no trouble. Besides, do you know how many cops are on medical retirement?

*You drink your coffee on your way to the mall,
**He spills his as he runs Code 3 to a traffic crash with kids trapped inside.
If the cruiser doesn’t have cup holders, then don’t bring drinks, idiot.

*You make sure you’re cell phone is in your pocket before you leave the house,
**He makes sure his gun is clean and fully loaded and his vest is tight.
Because you never know when you’ll want to use that badge to hide behind while you shoot a kid who’s carrying a toy gun.

*You talk trash about your “buddies” that aren’t with you,
**He watches his buddy get shot at, and wounded in front of him.
Which rarely happens. Contrary to what cops like to tell people, their’s is not the most dangerous job in the world.

*You walk down the beach, staring at all the pretty girls,
**He walks down the highway looking for body parts from a traffic crash.
Such dedication, kind of the like the “blue flu” that’s taken hold of Memphis. Don’t tell me cops don’t look at pretty girls. I could post half-a-dozen news articles here where cops have been arrested for raping women and forcing them to perform lewd acts in lieu of tickets.

*You complain about how hot it is,
**He wears fifty pounds of gear and a bullet proof vest in July and still runs around chasing crack heads.
So stop chasing crack heads. They’re hurting no one but their selves.

*You go out to lunch, and complain because the restaurant got your order wrong,
**He runs out before he gets his food to respond to an armed robbery.
I have personally watched a fire dept crew do this while the cops stayed and ate. They were officially on lunch so someone else was covering.

*You get out of bed in the morning and take your time getting ready,
**He gets called out of bed at 2 am after working 12 hours and has to be into work A.S.A.P. for a homicide.
That would have to be one helluva homicide involving multiple bodies. This just doesn’t happen.

*You go to the mall and get your hair redone,
**He holds the hair of some college girl while she’s puking in the back of his patrol car.
Please. He would have pushed the kid out to keep from fouling his vehicle. And if she got any puke on him, he would have charged her with assault.

*You’re angry because your class ran 5 minutes over,
**His shift ended 4 hours ago and there’s no end in sight.
Post-arrest paperwork is a bitch, ain’t it. Solution, stop arresting people for bullshit.

*You call your girlfriend and set a date for tonight,
**He can’t make any plans because on his off days he still gets called back into work.
More likely, he spent his day off beating his wife and/or girlfriend. Cops have an abysmal domestic abuse rate.

*You yell and scream at the squad car that just past you because they slowed you down,
**He’s in the driver seat of the squad car, going to cut somebody out of their car.
Cops don’t cut people out of cars. They direct traffic around the accident. The fire dept cuts people out of cars.

*You roll your eyes when a baby cries in public,
**He picks up a dead child in his arms and prays that it was crying.
No. That would be tampering with evidence. Picking up the dead child is the corner’s job.

*You criticize your police department and say they’re never there quick enough,
**He blasts the siren while the person in front of him refuses to move while talking on their cell phone.
I never say the police are not quick enough because I don’t call the police.

*You hear the jokes about fallen officers and say they should have known better,
**He is a hero and runs into situations when everyone else is running away in order to make sure no one else gets hurt and loses his life doing it.
Hero is not the word assigned to most cops. Fire fighters? Hero. Paramedics? Hero. Cops? Revenue collectors, megalomaniacs, bullies, yes, but not hero.

*You are asked to go to the store by your parents, you don’t,
**He would take a bullet for his buddy without question.
I’m sorry. I’m laughing too hard to type a response to this one.

*You sit there and judge him, saying that it’s a waste of money to have them around,
**Yet as soon as you need help he is there.
Nope. No he’s not. Like I said, I don’t call the cops, don’t want them around, and have no use for them. Cops inevitably make a situation worse. They are trained to respond in only one way to all situations…with force. Cops don’t make things better. I could quote three stories from the last six months where cops in North Carolina, California, and Virginia were called to help with mentally unstable children and, in all three cases, ended up killing the kids. Don’t call the cops.

Posted in Blogroll | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Coming to America

Posted by theBarefoot on July 5, 2014


The influx of children, unaccompanied minors, refugees, illegal immigrants, whatever you want to call them, from Central America that started in 2011, but has reached fevered pitch here in 2014, has boiled over into the political landscape, leaving scarred and seared political principles throughout the USA. Feelings generally fall into two categories: the “send ‘em back to Mexico” category, despite none of these children are from Mexico; and the “I have a heart” category that is often labeled “bleeding heart liberal.”

I guess I fall into the a third category, the “I have heart, but I’m not fool” category. Not being a fool, I don’t suffer them long or lightly. When I expressed my opinion on the matter in a recent internet story, I was appalled by some of the replies. They fell loosely along the following lines.

Why don’t you take them in?
How does showing a little empathy and compassion equate to adopting a child? How do you know I wouldn’t gladly adopt one of these kids? There’s a time and place to make a stand and/or have a debate about immigration. Taking your stand against pre-teens who are fleeing horrific conditions, drug cartels, and rape gangs means you’re only going to come off looking like the cold-hearted bastard you are.

We’ve got our own to take care of.
Now you’ve graduated from cold-hearted bastard to racist fucktard. If you type long enough, it becomes very clear that your definition of “our own” is some weird graph where geographic location of birth is on the X-axis, and skin tone is on the Y-axis. What you’re really saying is, “We need to take care of the little, white, ‘Merican children.” Never mind the fact that we aren’t even doing that. This is the same mindset that recently cut EBT benefits to those same little, white, black, brown, and yellow ‘Merican children. If you really wanted to take care of our own, you wouldn’t be using that as a lame rally cry. You’d be calling your Congressional representative and telling them to reinstate some benefits for these ‘Merican kids. You’re now a fully matriculated racist who majored in hypocrisy and minored in short-term memory loss.

Spend your money. Not mine.
You have no clue how the government works. My favorite definition of government is “an alignment of mutual interest to accomplish things that cannot be achieved individually.” It’s great that you have some pie-in-the-sky, 18th century, romanticized idea that we should all be wholly self-reliant, but that has never been the case, not even in the 18th century. The very definition of civilization is the combining of specialized skills to benefit the larger society. If all you needed was a mountain stream and some nuts and berries, you could go live off the grid and shout, “Not in my back yard!” until you were blue. The fact that you have an internet connection tells me you don’t really believe in the self-reliant bullshit you’re typing. You like your internet connection. You like electricity coming to your house. You like the running, clean water that magically appears when you turn your faucet. You’re plugged in and you like it. You believe in trade. Trade is where you got that new tablet or laptop through which you spout your ignorance and hypocrisy. So don’t spout your randomly-connected words of self-reliance at me. Maybe trade is only good when it’s electronics and not people?

The Federal government, the great satanic enemy of all neo-Naz…er…neo-conservatives, actually has already set aside your tax dollars to handle situations like minors coming across the border. They actually had the foresight to pass a few laws that specifically deal with just this situation. So whether it’s yours, mine, or our tax dollars, they’re already spent. If you want to rail about reigning in Federal spending, you need to get out in front of the budget that Congress can’t seem to pass and just keeps continuing from previous years. (Insert meme about “You had one job, Congress.”) If there’s not enough money to care for a few thousand kids in our $3.9 trillion budget, we’re just going to have to tax the rich.

Move out of my state
You know what? It’s my state, too. I live here. I’ve lived here for over 30 years. My children were born and raised here. Geography isn’t like the internet. You can’t run and hide in some internet echo chamber where other extremist feed your view of the world. Real life means living next to people who may believe differently than you. It means compromising on things. It means following some basic rules that we developed in the last 10,000 years of civilization. This is why I’m glad we don’t have pure democracy in the USA. If we did, the fear-induced stampede of wrongheadedness would destroy everything we’ve built over the last 235 years.

Obama is breaking the law, bringing them here, or I hate everything Obama does
Fine. You hate President Obama. The person you voted for didn’t get elected and now you’re upset. That’s the way our system works. You get to be upset until the next election, but that doesn’t mean everything the man is doing is illegal, immoral, and fattening. He didn’t send invitations to Central Americas to come to the USA. The truth is, President Obama is following the law, enforcing the law, two very specific laws. The Homeland Security Act of 2002 and the Refugee Act of 2008, both passed before Obama was President, clearly outline how unaccompanied minors are to be dealt with. Mexicans are repatriated. Those from other countries are turned over to the Department of Health and Human Services which then attempts to place them with a relative or, barring that, into foster care. That’s the law. These kids cannot be legally sent back to their respective countries. President Obama has asked Congress to change the law so these children can be handled differently, but Congress has refused. They know it’s a win-win situation for Republicans because slack-jawed, knee-jerk, uneducated yokels will always blame Obama for everything. This is just one more situation where the President is damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t.

Idiots block HHS bus

Dumbassary In Action

OK. They can stay, but not in my backyard.
Here we have the most liberal heart found on the normally rabid, attack-mode-only side of the political spectrum. They either have enough empathy or have resigned themselves to the fact that these kids must stay. They acquiesce to letting them stay in the USA, if only temporarily, but NIMBY! Don’t bring them to my state! This is where the most depressing photograph taken in recent times comes into play. This photo above is heartless, neo-cons blocking a bus full of children from entering Murrieta, CA. The picture is the most revolting use of an American flag I’ve ever witnessed. Men and women fought and died for the principles behind those colors. They believed in equality, freedom, hope, and a better life for the next generation. That flag was once a beacon for the tired, the poor, the huddled masses yearning to be free. It was never meant to be used to destroy the only chance an 8 year-old had to be safe, warm, and hopeful. Those flags in Murrieta showed a bus full of children that the United States is now closed for business. We’ve given up hope, freedom, and the chance to better ourselves. We’ve sunken into a mire of our own fears and prejudices. We’re stuck so deep in this mire, we can’t even extend a slice of bread and warm blanket to a child.

It was easy for these fear mongers to stop a bus. I wonder if they could have look into the faces of the children on the bus and stood their ground. It’s easy to wave your “I hate Obama” sign at a bus. It’s a different thing to wave it in the face of a hungry child. Therein lies our moral. Government, the coming together to do that which is mutually beneficial and which we cannot do individually, has a human face. There are definitely principles government adheres to, but in the end, government is people helping people, people building communities, people bettering a nation. When we remove the human component from our politics, we begin a short slide into the dehumanized side of governments. That’s the pit out of which we had to climb by fighting World War II. That’s the pit wherein dehumanized people are slaughtered. That’s the pit beyond the line of human decency. It’s a short step from the mire of fear to the pit of despair.


The author didn’t not vote for Obama. In fact, the author has never even voted Democrat. The author was, until recently, a Republican, but alas, you’ve changed Republicans. You’ve changed.

Posted in Political correctness, politics | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Fire The Police?

Posted by theBarefoot on June 23, 2014


police-tape

Does your city need to save millions in tax expenditure? Here is one simple, cost-saving solution: fire the police.

It sounds radical, because it is. I’m not advocating the complete removal of the police in your community. I am suggesting that huge amounts of money could be saved by removing what most people think of when they think of “the police,” the patrol cop. This is not an “I hate cops” rant. I’ve never been arrested and never gotten more than a minor traffic ticket in 35 years of driving. This is a logical, economic-driven solution. It’s about saving tax dollars without increasing crime.

Constables on Patrol (cops)
No other job except police includes the need to drive around looking for work. None of the other tax-provided services work this way. Firefighters and paramedics don’t scourer the city streets looking for emergencies. They wait until they are called. This can work just as well for police.

Why do police patrol? The most basic reason is, because it’s always been done this way and no one has taken much time to consider if it’s effective. Prior to the automobile, foot patrols were very necessary, otherwise, cops might as well be 100 miles away. With automobiles, having a cop in the station house is just as close as having one on foot 10 blocks away.

Patrolling is commonly dressed up as community involvement, a crime deterrent, or reduction in response time, but none of these are worth the money required to keep cops roaming the streets. They aren’t even valid reasons for patrolling. Studies, like the famous Kansas City Patrol Experiment, conclude that regular police patrols have no effect on crime or citizen satisfaction with their police. They also don’t decrease response times because most calls for service never involve only the closest officer. By policy, many situations require the officer to wait for back-up which negates the response-time argument.

The need for community involvement spawns more serious questions. Why does the community need better relations with the police? Police, like their fire and EMS counterparts, provide a service. Why are public relations a concern? When is the last time paramedics came to your house just to chat and see how you’re doing? Beyond the guy soliciting donations for the volunteer fire department, do firefighters ever drive around to simply show a presence or impress our youth? What is the mysterious relationship police departments are trying to foster? Community relations is really a euphemism for “damage control”. The damaged caused by the increasing, militaristic behavior of police and the natural backlash of the community’s declining respect for police can be better addressed in more economical ways.

What about traffic enforcement?
Won’t our streets turn into a bastardized, full-contact, demolition derby without cops on the streets? Nope. Most people obey traffic rules out of respect and safety. Few start their cars and think, “I’d better not speed because I could get a ticket” or “I wonder what I can get away with today.” The overwhelming majority of drivers are safe, courteous, and sensible. The few that aren’t are not weeded out by issuing the rest tickets.

In 2005, Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili, in response to rampant police corruption especially traffic stop shakedowns, fired the country’s 30,000 police officers. In the months it took to replace the old guard, there was no appreciable increase in crime, either violent or non-violent. There was no change in the number of traffic accidents. As President Saakashvili put it, crime actually decreased.

But I think that the overall picture of crime has decreased. The old police used to beat up people. They basically used what amounted to torture to extort the evidence. And the new police force was educated and is controlled in a way where nothing like this–there is zero tolerance towards torture. Zero tolerance. Everybody thought that there was no way to keep crimes checked unless you occasionally beat them up or managed them with beating them up or blackmail them into something. No, our examples show that you can reverse the crime trend even by being civilized.

Kill the self-feeding monster.
As with most things in life, little things grow to be big things, then giant things, then the unavoidable, mindless apparatus that most government is. Take traffic laws. We codify the reasonable things most people are doing anyway (e.g. slowing down or stopping at intersections, following color-coded traffic signals, stopping for pedestrians, etc.) Now that these are laws, we tell our police they must enforce the rules by ticketing or arresting those who break the rules. The city government now needs to hire more officers to enforce the laws. How to pay for the additional police needed? Collect fines from the rule-breakers, of course. Now we have hundreds of city employees and thousands of dollars and other resources dedicated solely to traffic law enforcement, fine collection, and an entire court set aside just for traffic violations. Throw in the natural need to defend one’s job and the status quo, and we have created the proverbial snake eating its tail. If we could do away with the cost of all that enforcement and collections, the cost of the additional police would evaporate, and the number of traffic accidents would remain unchanged. For even a moderately-sized city, that would free up thousands of dollars, money for things like road improvements that reduce accidents. Missing from the list of things that reduce traffic accidents is “increased police presence.”

The rules police enforce were designed to make people safer, but is anyone safer because of enforcement? The rules came from the fact that most people were doing those things in the first place, without anyone looking over their shoulder for red-and-blues. It’s unclear how police on every corner, collecting money from motorist, makes my daily commute safer. Most days, I don’t see a cop and I still don’t speed or run red lights. I, like most, follow the rules of the road in a very non-altruistic need to remain safe. I expect others to do the same. Before you know it, we have a community working together so everyone gets where they’re going safely without anyone making us wait precariously on the shoulder for some useless paperwork while other cars whiz past at 100 kph.

Safer for cops
Contrary to what most police tell you, being a cop is not the most dangerous job in the world. Cop doesn’t even make the top 10. But when cops are hurt, the main cause is traffic accidents. A little math tells us that minimizing their exposure to traffic would reduce police injury rates by almost 40%. We spend millions of dollars on bullet-proof vests and other equipment to protect officers, but we still send them out in the middle of their most dangerous predator, the automobile. Additionally, we tell them, they need to park their cars on the shoulder, precariously close to high-speed traffic, and distract themselves with document collection and form completion. The side of an interstate highway is hardly a conducive spot for office work.

Additionally, when city’s budgets require austerity, they typically eliminate police partnerships, sending most cops out on patrol alone. If police are held in reserve until dispatched, they can be dispatched in numbers required to deal with the call. No longer would cops be left alone in situations that have the most potential to cause harm. Single-officer traffic stops are the primary source of injury from both agitated motorist and traffic accidents. Taking the patrol officer off the road will eliminate their exposure to this potential harm.

What exactly do cops do?
It is the rare exception that police are in the position to prevent a crime from happening. When it does happen, it makes headlines exactly because it is the exception to the rule. The bulk of police work is post-crime. Investigations, interviews, evidence gathering, prosecution, and paperwork make up the majority of policing. Imagine how many crimes could be solved by reallocating the roving officers to these duties. But if money is to be saved, imagine how things would remain unchanged if the police department consisted of only the investigative wing.

Alternatives
We’ve come to believe police have special powers, but in most states, any citizen has almost all the same powers a cops has. Police simply have cute uniforms, shiny badges, government-issued guns, and special immunity. It’s that immunity that is the rub. Immunity fosters no accountability. Private security can and does offer all, if not more, of the protection the police provide. Plus, they are accountable for their behavior. If the police beat a suspect, they answer to only themselves via internal affairs. If a security guard beats someone, they answer to their employer and the courts. That puts a new spin on “justifiable force.” A private company or employee has a direct incentive in the form of a contract or paycheck to do their job. Police, on the other hand, are notoriously difficult to fire even in cases of extreme negligence. Try telling a cop, “I pay your salary,” and see what reaction you get. Now tell your private security guard that same thing and see if their job performance doesn’t improve. (See how Threat Management is effectively addressing the crumbling police infrastructure in Detroit.)

Technological innovations offer other cost-effective alternatives. I’m not talking about traffic cameras that mail out anonymous tickets, either. Those have serious 6th Amendment issues. Nor am I suggesting we employ a fleet of drones and CCTV cameras to monitor every nook and cranny of our towns. Those have serious privacy and other Constitutional hills to climb. I am suggesting we get our laws around our technologies and employ them in a safe, sane way to improve our lives. But in all honesty, being in public is just that. In today’s camera-laden world, you must expect that if you pick your nose at a red light today, it will be on Youtube tomorrow. The great thing about technology is a definite price tag comes attached. Hiring a city employee comes with all sorts of long-term, unadvertised costs. Buying a camera is a clear red-ink item on the city budget. You know exactly what you’re getting and how much it costs. Your town is also in less danger of running out of money in 20 years because some retirement investment went belly-up.

This is madness!
If cities really want to save money and spend their collected taxes wisely, rethinking how we police is long overdue. We are operating on 19th century policing principles well into the 21st century. It’s time to redefine why we have police and how they effectively manage crime. Reallocating or eliminating patrols has proven to have no effect on the crime rate. Why not take this to its logical conclusion? The first step is an honest evaluation of what police in our society really do and should do. It requires we drop any sentimental feelings we have for a uniform and honestly examine the mission of our police departments. If we want them to be self-feeding, collection agencies with little accountability, we can proceed with the status quo. If we want them to be effective crime* prosecution forces, it’s time to reorganize exactly what they do, how they do it, and how we pay for it.


*Crime here is defined as acts that cause harm to another person or another person’s property. This definition does not include the prosecution of actions that don’t involve harm to others. If cities need to raise revenue from people’s personal choices, they should tax those activities instead of criminalizing them.

Posted in crime | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

The Plant Stand Problem: Build a Bench

Posted by theBarefoot on March 3, 2014


I’ve been Googling plant stands to fill a corner of my deck. The former occupant, a child-size bench, finally succumbed to the weather. I found plenty of designs that I liked and that were terribly complex to build. I finally realized how simple the little bench was to build. Being the laziest man on Earth, I decided to build a replacement bench.

Building the little bench is an easy project for any novice woodworker. It only requires 2, 1″x12″x72″ boards, basic tools, and a splash of paint. I used pocket holes to assemble mine, but you can use screws or even nails through the sides to attach the back and bottom. I know that the back and bottom could be higher to give it more of a bench-like look, but remember, for me, this is a plant stand.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in DIY, Woodworking | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Cutting Board Storage Inside a Cabinet Door

Posted by theBarefoot on February 25, 2014


I was really tired of leaving my cutting boards on my kitchen counter top, but if I put them in a cabinet, they would slowly disappear and I couldn’t find them easily. I got this idea from Pintrest and modified it to my liking using the materials I had on-hand. It’s a simple concept and even easier project to execute. Just be sure your cabinet will close with the pocket in place and that the pocket is big enough for your boards. Other than that, here’s how it goes

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in DIY | Tagged: , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

What I Learned in Court Today

Posted by theBarefoot on February 24, 2014


I had the pleasure of visiting a local municipal court this morning. I was only there long enough for the person to whom I gave a lift to plead not guilty and get a future court date. But in those few minutes, something struck me. Those waiting for their turn at justice were overwhelmingly minorities.

I estimate there were 60 to 75 people there on this bright Monday morning. That probably equates to 40 cases given that most had friends or spouses with them. Of the 40 only 4 where white. And of the 40, only two had lawyers and, yep, both those people where white. The rest were, for the most part, black with maybe 6 or 8 Latinos scattered around the room. I had to ask myself, “Why?”

Obviously, minorities are hassled and arrested at a much higher rate than whites. This I already knew. Is is out of prejudice? I’m sure that factors in. Is it because minorities are more lawless? No, white people break the law in the same percentage as minorities, but minorities bear the brunt of the legal system. Cops obviously hang out in “the black part of town” to meet their quota make their arrests.

Once a case is in court, it is all about the money. If you’re guilty, you pay a fine. And in this particular municipality, the State reimburses the city for expenses incurred for every DUI conviction. That’s like getting double the money for every DUI. Quite an incentive to turn the justice system into a game of pick the poor man’s pocket. I say this because the overwhelming majority of people in this morning’s courtroom where unmistakably poor.

This is no scales-falling-from-the-eyes revelation. For all of history, money has bought “justice.” It was the the cattle lined up for the grinder image that surprised me. Based on how many there had lawyers, I guess only two were pleading not guilty. The rest were there to be fed into the legal system’s shake-down machine. They would leave the court and be faced with the windows on the way out. One window to sign up for driving school and two windows to pay fines. I think that tells you which is more important, safety or money. And for the two pleading not guilty, it’s only a matter of who gets the money, if not the State then an attorney. Either way, you pay.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy, but while chasing it, don’t speed and for God’s sake, don’t drive drunk.

EDIT
Coincidentally, I found this video from The Young Turks where a white guy and a black guy try to open a locked car without keys. At one point you’ll see a cop just cruise by as the car alarm is blaring for the white guy, but watch how fast the cops show up when the black guy is working on the lock.

Posted in Life | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Witchcraft, Magic, Lighters, and Snow

Posted by theBarefoot on February 3, 2014


Recently, someone who never graduated from grade school decided to stick a butane lighter in some snow. It could have stopped there, but they made a video about it. Now Youtube is all abuzz with chemtrail conspiracy wing nuts sticking their Bics into snow and screaming, “See! It won’t melt and it turns black. This proves the air is full of deadly chemicals!”

What it actually proves is butane is a very dirty fuel and the snow that doesn’t sublimate from a solid to a gas, bypassing the liquid state, is absorbed into the space between the snow flakes. For those of use who stuck it out through high school and went on to take a few college chemistry courses, it isn’t witchcraft, magic, or the government. It’s just simple science.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in Chemistry | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

No End in Sight

Posted by theBarefoot on January 26, 2014


I’ve been meaning to refinish an antique wardrobe for a few weeks…er…months…OK…you caught me…a few years. This monster has been in my wife’s family for about 120-130 years. Somewhere along the way, someone painted it a French Provencal white with gilded trim. Yes, you can retch. That is he correct response.

I’ve cleaned all around the white whale and finally decided I better tackle it if I want to really reclaim my garage. So here’s whats going on.

So what do you call this piece of furniture? Wardrobe? Armoire? Chifforobe? Let me know below.

Keep chasing the odd, little happy.

Posted in Woodworking | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

 
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