February 26, 2010

Clark County Schools Punish the Innocent

A young student in Jeffersonville, Indiana, says no to drugs, and gets a five-day suspension for doing it.  According to WAVE-3, a classmate of 13 year old Rachael Greer handed her a pill in a locker room during gym class.  As she'd been taught by her school's DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education), she gave the pill back.
"She was talking to another girl and me about them and she put one in my hand and I was like, ‘I don't want this,' so I put it back in the bag and I went to gym class," said Rachael.
According the Martin Bell, the mindless shill of the brainless school board, even if she'd take the pill directly to a teacher, she'd have still been suspended.
"The fact of the matter is, there were drugs on school campus and it was handled, so there was a violation of our policy," said Martin Bell, COO of Greater Clark County Schools. 
Someone should probably make Bell take the DARE program, so at the very
least he'd know that he's supposed to reward kids who turn down drugs,
not turn them into criminals.

Drugs are not the biggest problem facing Clark County, Indiana: it's the idiots running the school system.  From the assistant principal who handed down the injust sentence to the drooling mouth-breather who upheld it, it's easy to see that Clark County schools are being run by complete morons.  Firing these chuckle heads is would be a good start to improving education in America.

If the penalties for obeying the law are the same for breaking it, why spend the energy adhering to it?

I hope the decent people of Jeffersonville run this idiot out of town before he does any more damage to their children.

February 24, 2010

Sun-Sentinel Missed This Story

Poking through the Sun-Sentine's support pages, I was surprised to stumble upon this little bombshell:

Me, I'd avoid opening anything from the Sun-Sentinel until you know they've stopped sending out infected messages. With any luck, the Herald will run the story and the Sun-Sentinel will regurgitate it so Sentinel readers (aka "the un-informed") will get the news.

OK, Forget Global Warming.

If you live in Broward County, you can quit worrying about the poles melting and raising the water levels. You're probably underwater already, according to the Sun Sentinel. And Palm Beach isn't far behind.
Half of all residential mortgage holders in Broward County owe more than their homes are worth, according to year-end data from First American CoreLogic.

Roughly 54 percent of Broward mortgage holders – 246,675 homeowners – are “underwater.” In Palm Beach County, 45.4 percent of mortgage holders – 157,544 homeowners -- have so-called negative equity.
And you were worried about Global Warming.

February 23, 2010

Call in the MythBusters!

OK, Mythbusters team: I have a myth for you to bust: people being gravely injured by flying hot-dogs.

From KSHB-TV Action News:
Coomer says Slugger tried to throw a hot dog behind his back. Instead of sailing out of Slugger’s hand, the suit says, “Slugger lost control of his throw, or was reckless with his throw, and threw the hot dog directly into Plaintiff”.
No, that's not the implausible part. This is what I want to see put to the test:
The suit says Coomer suffered a detatched retina and developed a cataract in the injured eye, and that he expects to have future medical expenses because of the injury.
That must have been some hot dog, or Slugger should probably be pitching from the mound instead of tossing snacks to fans. A hot dog weighs what, 3 ounces? Sure, there are monster dogs are maybe 4 ounces, the "quarter pound dog." But we're talking baseball park franks.

How much force does it take to create the kind of trauma associated with retinal detachment? How fast would that hot dog have to be traveling to impact with that force?

Unless, of course, Slugger was
hurling something like this:

I mean, sure, if it's a 12 foot long fiberglass set piece, I could see where that could do some damage. Or that Oscar Mayer car/van thingie. But this guy says that Slugger threw it, by hand, from behind his back.

Man, if Coomer wins this suit, the Royals better have Slugger pitching next season.

When I was a kid, I'd probably have stood my little brother out in the back yard, and hurled franks at him until he was blind. But we've grown up, and my brother served in the Army and can kick my ass. Not to mention his proficiency with firearms of various sorts.

But Jaime and Adam could fire hot dogs at watermelons, or catapult them at water balloons. And then there are the variations: does a steamed hot dog hit as hard as a grilled dog? Was it actually a stale bun instead of the franfurter? Does relish affect the flight path? I see a very messy warehouse by the end of the session.

And what causes a retina to detach? Yes, trauma to the head and face is at the top of the list. No surprise there. We've seen all those medical dramas on TV. But so can extreme near-sightedness, and cataract surgery... wait, didn't the lawsuit mention the alleged victim had cataracts?

Victim has cataracts. Victim has a detached retina. Maybe this could be an episode of HOUSE. He could send the team scurrying to break into the guy's optometrist's office to see if he'd already been diagnosed with cataracts before going to the game. I can see him sneering at Cuddy; "He's SCAMMING you; he's just trying to get Major League Baseball to pay because his insurance won't cover it!" Pouring over video of the game, they find footage of the stands showing the alleged victim crushing a hot dog against his own face in all the confusion. Commercial. Confronted with the overwhelming facts, patient relents. The activist that House called in the first half of the show agrees to make Coomer a health-care crisis poster child, and an abashed Congress instills a single-payor system like the rest of the civilized world. Roll end credits.

You do know House is fiction, right?

Or maybe it was a one-in-a-million shot and that hot dog really did cause his retina to detach. Shit happens. I'd still like to see Jamie and Adam work out if it's PLAUSIBLE.

Either way, perhaps the Royals can still help the guy out: they need umpires, don't they? Coomer would be a natural!

Cheney's Staff Caught Fibbing

Notice it wasn't his doctors saying he had a "heart attack," it was is office. Medical professionals won't get caught stating that Cheney has a heart. That's why hospital spokespersons keep saying "chest pains."

February 18, 2010

Two Men With Tax Problems: Two Roads

Both men were entangled in long-running disputes with the IRS. Both were in debt up to their ears. Joseph Stack chose to become a domestic terrorist and wasted his life in a cowardly attack on a building full of innocent people, while Terry Hoskins bulldozed his own home flat to punish his bank.

The High Road: Flattening his Home
Terry Hoskin's home was valued at $350,000, and he owed the bank $160,000. He found someone who would purchase the house for $170,000, which would settle his debt. But apparently River Hills Bank, which was owed only $160,000, decided to move ahead with foreclosure so that they could sell the house at full value, or at least for a lot more than they'd make by allowing Hoskins to settle his contracted debt. Rather than settle for what they were actually owed, it seems River Hills Bank decided to abuse the law so they could grab money they were not entitled to have.

Congress needs to enact laws that force banks to work with people who find a way to meet their contracted obligation, even if they are behind in payments at the time, as long as the homeowner comes up with the solution prior to foreclosure. This case illustrates clearly why we need bank reform; banks should not be able to skirt the edges of the law to basically commit theft. In this light, Hoskin's actions are truly heroic: he snatched their ill-gotten prize from their jaws, basically ensuring the bank did not profit from corrupt machinations.

And he did it without resorting to terrorism, and without risking a single life.

A Despicable Act
No kind words for Joseph Andrew Stack, who left a long diatribe against the IRS, the government , big business, and organized religion before flying his plane into an office building full of people. He blamed everyone but the one person responsible for his actions: himself.

He starts off complaining about the rule of law. Then He railed at the injustice of the federal goverment spending hundreds of billions of dollars to keep automakers, investment brokerages, and banks afloat while not helping him out of the problems he dug himself into. Of course, the bailout, which everyone agrees is a mess, is intended to help hundreds of thousands if not millions of people by preventing a collapse of our entire economy, while bailing out Joe Stark would only help Joe Stark. He railed at our ridiculously complicated tax code that exempts religious and charitable organizations from paying taxes, ignoring that those organizations have to meet rigid standards to qualify for those exemptions.

What happened to start Stark's journey to terrorism is something that has happened to thousands of Americans, and it is a terrible flaw in the enforcement of our tax laws: employment paperwork was filled out that made him responsible to pay taxes that he thought his employer was paying. They may very well have lied to him about it. It's happened to a member of my family. What happens in these cases is that the IRS comes after the one the paperwork says was responsible for paying, even if the employer logically should have been the one paying.

My relative appeared on numerous news programs, lobbied his congressional representatives, and ultimately paid the IRS what they demanded. It took him years to recover. But he did recover, and recently was able to retire to enjoy his family. And he's been lobbying for changes, And he hasn't committed a single act of terrorism.

Joe Stack is no hero. He did nothing worth celebrating. He was a gutless coward who took a coward's way out of the mess he'd made of his life. Even if you buy into his ludicrous premise that the IRS is a criminal enterprise that answers to no one, the building he flew into - an IRS office complex - would never have been filled solely with IRS staff. Having been there himself, he was well aware that there would have been people just like him - taxpayers being audited - all over that building. He wasn't just lashing out at the IRS, he was out to callously murder innocent strangers who had no complicity in his troubles.

Joe Stark was no victim. The real victims are his own family, who is left to clean up a mess that he made unimaginably worse.

February 9, 2010

Boom Di Ya Da!

An ode to XKCD

Thanks to Neil Gaiman for the link to the video.  ( He loves the mystery - I love the sarcasm).