Never pass up a chance to sit down or relieve yourself. -old Apache saying

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Colorado shantytowns

On a recent trip to Colorado, I ran across this opinion piece by the Editor, Dave Perry, of the Aurora Sentinel.  It seems that Houston isn't the only place that has lots of homeless people, as if I needed any confirmation of that.  More confirmation is below.  

This problem is pervasive all across America, and we really need to do something about it. One place to start would be to raise the minimum wage from its paltry $7.35/hour to at least $12/hr, preferably up to $15/hr.  

It is shameful how we treat lower-income people in this country.  And it's getting worse.

PERRYBLOG: Preventing a Colorado minimum-wage hike funds Denver-metro shanty towns

If you think a hike in the minimum wage is just about a bunch of shiftless whiners who don’t deserve $12 an hour to clean toilets, feed old people in nursing homes or ring up your groceries, modern-day Hoovervilles is what that kind of thinking buys your fellow humans in and around Aurora

Nothing is more relaxing and therapeutic than a night spent sleeping under the Colorado stars — unless you’re camping among drug addicts and mentally ill vagrants along local creeks and rivers or under metro area bridges.
Every summer, I live to bike all over the metro area, always before sunrise and sometimes hours before then. Avoiding surprised skunks and plagues of mosquitoes, I haunt trails in the dark along the South Platte River, Clear Creek, Cherry Creek, Sand Creek and others.
For years, I’d meet a very few fellow dark-riders and runners, the occasional glassy-eyed reveler and a handful of restless vagrants.
It’s been a whole different world that past couple of years, and especially the past couple of months. I have never seen so many homeless campers on the Platte as I did last weekend. Dozens and dozens of them. Despite what you think, most of them are not the trembling alcoholics that hover around Jesus Saves.
Last Saturday it was an underground city of mostly couples and even families with kids. A story we did last year made it clear that the river-camp plight is a growing problem along the Platte, into Aurora and pretty much all over the metro area. Despite the clichéd beggars you have in mind, a lot of these river people are the real working poor with minimum wage and temp jobs.
So this is what minimum wage gets you in metro Denver as an adult.
If you think a hike in the minimum wage is just about a bunch of shiftless whiners who don’t deserve $12 an hour to clean toilets, feed old people in nursing homes or ring up your groceries, modern-day Hoovervilles is what that kind of thinking buys your fellow humans in and around Aurora.
The problem is so persistent that Denver has made special efforts to shoo away the river people, but it doesn’t work. Aurora regularly confiscates the worldly possessions left behind at camps under bridges and viaducts by people who stash their stuff  and go to school and work. Two years ago, a special Census revealed there were more than 12,000 homeless people in the metro area. Far more. More than a third had jobs. Two-thirds “live” with children.
What’s sadder than families trying to eke out a life on the river is the vehement push-back from opponents of raising the minimum wage to at least $10 or $12 and hour. It’ll bankrupt endless businesses, many say. It’s not needed because $8 an hour in Colorado is all the market can bear.
That’s all crap.
Sure, adding labor cost to any business has a net economic affect. But the myth from corporate America is that higher wages must all come from the pockets of consumers. The offset should come from profits and relative overpayment to top-level management. It’s not wrong or impossible. Wealthy, happy, successful economies like those in Germany, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, the Netherlands and many others have proven that you can have free-market economies, pay people a practical and realistic wage for their time worked and still make big profits for stockholders. If you haven’t noticed, Germany and Scandinavia rule the world right now. They don’t have problems with hard-working, poor people living under bridges. Smaller American companies should be able to offset higher labor costs through tax credits, which in turn are offset by employee taxes on higher earnings paid to workers.
It really works.  But to just shrug our shoulders and say, “Hey, don’t like it? Get a job somewhere else or start your own business,” is like telling an amputee to suck it up and grow legs. It’s unrealistic. More important, it creates a system that forces people into what is, at best, government-sanctioned indentured servitude, and at worst, modern slavery.
Another myth is that these are all illegal Latin American immigrants sleeping along the river. Sure, some are. But they’re also U.S. military vets. They’re elderly Americans who worked their whole lives and lost what little they had to greedy banks and mortgage companies. They’re young couples who have no money for college, and middle-aged Americans with families whose marginal-salary jobs were sent oversees to insufferable child and female labor camps in China, Malaysia and India. They’re our friends, neighbors, families. They’re people.
They’re Americans, and they live on the banks of the Platte River in Denver, walking miles each day to minimum-wage gigs that cap their hours to prevent having to pay overtime or offer insurance, forcing these people to work two or three minimum-wage jobs just to make enough to sleep in a tent among wandering drug addicts and mentally ill alcoholics.
No kidding, it looks like a Steinbeck novel just steps away from million-dollar condos and comfortable suburban homes. It’s grotesque. And it’s wrong. A business and its profit margins pegged on paying people a wage that results in suffering, brings on two things: unionization and, ultimately, revolt. “Can you hear the people sing…?” I can.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

the Iran deal

Recently I saw a clip of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warning that Iran was less than a year away from building a nuclear bomb.  The clip was from about a year ago. Recently I saw another much more recent clip of Netanyahu warning that (after this new deal expired in 10 years) Iran would be 10 years away from building a nuclear bomb.

One would think that 10 years away is much better, and safer, than less than one year away. No matter, Netanyahu condemns the deal in the strongest of terms.

The Republicans in the US Congress, still bent out of shape over that nasty black man in the White House, are opposing the deal with apocalyptic language.  And I'm afraid that what we have here is a case of "Chicken Little."  The GOP has complained and opposed every single thing that Obama has proposed that it is now very hard to take any criticism of the Iran deal seriously.

You just cannot tell any longer if GOP opposition is principled or knee-jerk.  I lean towards knee-jerk.

And here is an ad in favor of the Iran deal that I did not expect. Don't let the incessant Chicken Little GOP sway you. This deal is in everyone's best interest, even Israel's. 


Monday, July 27, 2015

WWYD

What Would You Do?

You have probably seen some of this ABC TV series, where they stage an event in public and see how bystanders will react.  It's sometimes good, but this episode is ridiculous and inflammatory.

Atheists are already one of the most reviled groups in America, and we do not need a major television network fanning the flames of intolerance, hatred, and misinformation like this.  

No atheist would act in this way.  I know plenty of atheists, and none would ever act in this way.  If I see a family praying in public, I may feel pity, but I certainly would not interrupt them to get them to stop.  We are not the rude ones, knocking on doors to check on the non-religiosity of people and trying to convert them to atheism.

In Jaclyn's comment section on YouTube, there is a link to ABC if you would like to complain to them about it.  I did.

Some of you might have seen my previous post, where I was rather insulting to apocalyptic Christians.  That is quite different.  It's on my blog.  It's not public.  I'm not humiliating anyone in person.  If you cannot see the difference, you may be a Christian.



Sunday, July 26, 2015

psychotic Christians

Ever since recorded time began, people have been predicting the end of the world, the second coming, and apocalypse.

The advancement of time and science has done nothing to dissuade the end-of-the-worlders.  

The latest prediction (that will prove to be wrong), is that Satan will take over the world on September 23, 2015!

You better get right with God!!!  And send me your money!  Because you're not going to need it!

Check it out, typos and all.  Why is it that these blubbering Christians are so challenged at spelling?


ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2015 SATAN WILL RECEIVE FULL REIGN OVER THE WORLD!

I received confirmation that on September 23rd, 2015 Satan is going to get his full, unrestrained reign over the whole world that’s spoken of in the Book of Revelation!
THINGS HAVE BEEN ACCELLERATING, BUT YOU AIN’T SEEN NOTHIN’ YET, PEOPLE! TIME IS SHORT! GET RIGHT WITH GOD. Jesus is the only way anyone is going to get through what’s coming on the whole earth.
For decades, movies, television, music, and even some politicians, have cryptically been hinting at the dates on or around September 23, 2015.
Part of the irony of these references is that this year, September 23, 2015 is the Jewish Day of Atonement. Moreover, the blood moon tetrad has been happening on all the Jewish feasts the last 3 moons, and will fall again on 9/28/15.
The implication is that it is possible God’s wrath will be poured out on the entire earth, starting on the 23rd of September by allowing Satan to have full, unrestrained rule upon the eart (see Revelation 12:12 below) upon those who have not received Jesus as the atonement for their sins. In essence, those who reject Jesus will have to pay the atonement fee themselves, and that means wrath.
Unlike the well-known 9/11 date disclosed on the ID of Neo in The Matrix, this September 23rd references date back decades, and we seemingly keep finding more.
Those poor, poor, deluded "believers".  You'd think that hundreds of predictions, all wrong, might make them stop to think. HAhahaaaahahahaha!  No way.

This guy (this piece is "unsigned") has links to all sorts of videos and movie clips that are ALL JUST SLAPPING YOU IN THE FACE!  If you want to see the absurd, tenuous connections, click here.

Oh, and we can add this to the ever-growing List of dates predicted for apocalyptic events

Saturday, July 25, 2015

another injustice

This is just one injustice piled on another. Absurdity infinitum.

Kansas Man Facing Felony Murder Charge for Telling an Acquaintance Where He Could Find Marijuana

This is one part of what's the matter with Kansas.

Wichita, KS — Kyler Carriker is a good person. He is a loving husband and a father whose life could be ruined because of the ridiculous nature of the state’s war on drugs.
According to Carriker’s family, on April 17th, 2013, Kyler and a friend had finished work and were headed out to go fishing. They were stopped by a train where they ran into Carriker’s former classmate. Carriker was asked if he could find any “smoke,” meaning marijuana. Carriker said he could try, so they exchanged telephone numbers.
What Carriker didn’t know was that his old classmate from school had since become an active gang member. This former classmate planned to rob Carriker and whomever else was involved in the marijuana transaction.
Kyler Carriker agreed to meet his former classmate at his friend Kyle Belts’ home to introduce his former classmate and the marijuana dealer. However, the former classmate arrived with several other gang members, and later testified in court to the fact that the plan was to rob Carriker, Belts, and Ronald Betts, the marijuana dealer and brother of former Kansas state Senator Donald Betts.
Almost immediately upon entering Belts’ home, the gang members began firing. Carriker and Betts were both shot and unfortunately Betts died from his injuries.
According to Carriker’s family, after leaving the home, the shooter bragged to the other gang members, saying that he had “killed them all.”
After the shooting, instead seeking actual justice for this killing, Carriker was charged with the murder of Betts because he acted as a middleman in the marijuana sale.
In a tyrannically absurd move, the state of Kansas added marijuana offenses to the list of inherently dangerous felonies, or crimes where death is likely to occur. The law was amended on July 1, 2013, three months after the incident involving Carriker. However, the state retroactively applied this nonsense to Carriker’s case!
Carriker did absolutely nothing morally wrong; he merely lined up a potential trade deal between two other people. In the process, he and his friend became victims of an armed robbery. For being victimized by gang members, Carriker now faces a mandatory minimum sentence of 20 years in prison, without the possibility of parole.
He harmed no one!

A child could tell you that the death of Betts was a result of the robbery and not a marijuana deal, as deals do not involve one party killing the other. However, the court has ruled that Carriker’s attorney cannot use this as a defense, despite the ruling of State v. Beach, which dictates that an extraordinary intervening event [the robbery] can be presented as the cause of death, according to the family.
The court has also ruled in favor of prosecutor Trinity Muth’s motion in limine to suppress all information pertaining to the robbers’ gang affiliations. This means that the jury will not be told that Carriker had no ties to gangs and that the robbers were all documented gang members.
By pursuing murder charges in this fashion, the court is essentially saying that marijuana is more dangerous than armed robbery.

On Monday, Carriker’s trial began. Jennifer Winn, Carriker’s mother, and a former gubernatorial candidate has helped to raise awareness for her son’s railroading by the justice system.All of this injustice is facilitated by a flawed legal doctrine called the Felony Murder Rule. While the felony murder rule is most commonly used to defer the liability of police who kill innocent people during the pursuit of a criminal, in this instance, it’s being used to bolster the prosecutor’s conviction rate by charging an innocent man with murder.
Advocates of jury nullification and ending the drug war all showed up to court yesterday to voice their support for Carriker. However, in true tyrannical fashion, the judge ruled that t-shirts showing support for Carriker are now illegal and can not be worn to court.
The irony here is that had the state not outlawed marijuana effectively pushing its sale into dark alleys and criminal elements, Kyler Carriker would be enjoying his children right now, instead of facing the possibility of never seeing them again.
This case is one of the worst travesties of the justice system’s war on marijuana in recent history, and the mainstream media is silent. Please help shine light on this darkness by sharing this article with your friends and family. If you are in the Witchita area, please go to the courthouse and show your support for this father and husband. 
Please help this family seek #JusticeforKyler.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Cyd Maurer

Meet Cyd.

Oregon TV anchor fired over positive drug test now a pot activist

Cyd Maurer, a morning weekend anchor at Eugene’s ABC affiliate KEZI-TV, said she was fired in May after getting into a minor accident while on assignment. In a video posted online, Maurer said that after the accident she was forced to take a drug test per company policy and failed it.

Maurer, 25, said she was completely sober at work and had used the marijuana several days before. Studies show marijuana, unlike alcohol, can be detected in some people for days after use — or even weeks, in case of frequent users.

In June, a court in Colorado ruled that a medical marijuana patient who was fired after failing a drug test cannot get his job back. The patient, a quadriplegic, said he didn’t use the drug at work. The company, Dish Network, agreed that he wasn’t high on the job, but it said it has a zero-tolerance drug policy.

The Colorado justices ruled that because marijuana is illegal under federal law, use of the drug couldn’t be considered legal off-duty activity. 

That would be true for states where weed is not legal, but that's illogical in states that have legalized recreational use.  Can I get an appeal?

More to that story here.

Where marijuana is legal, employers have to quit firing people who test positive for it.  We know that traces of the drug remain in your system for days, even weeks, after you have consumed.  Long after you're no longer high, obviously. 

Who here could ever honestly say they were still high in the morning after toking the night before?  It. Does. Not. Happen.

We need better testing to be able to distinguish between those who are actively high and those who may have consumed some after work, last nigh, but show up to work sober.  I'm sure this is possible. 

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