Convenience is killing us.
I say that in regard, mostly, to how “convenience” food is anything but for ones health and well being, but what got me thinking about this was bank fraud.
I had to write a check on the joint account I have with my father to pay for his long term care facility so I went online to check the account. There’s virtually no activity in that account: his pension and SS come in and I write checks to the facility. So it was pretty noticeable when there were two checks written against the account for $1100 that should not be there. Two checks by a dude named “Richard Jones” in PA written to Kay Jewelers and, laughably, a bar (a bar that takes checks, apparently). The account numbers were the only legitimate part of the checks so “Richard Jones” in Bridgeport, PA gets to write checks on my father’s NJ account to buy cheap tequila and expensive earrings for his ladylove.
The fact that a check written by “Richard Jones” in PA would be cashed against an account in NJ for someone whose name is not anywhere close to “Richard Jones” evidences that nobody is reading anything. They had the right account number so they go through. No cross check for name against account info. The computer was satisfied, the system worked, millions of transactions, the money flows in and out of accounts all over the world and even NJ. The price paid for the lightning speed of finance is that it’s remarkably easy for “Richard Jones” to buy drinks and baubles with my father’s money. Convenience for him. Sudden inconvenience for me.
So long as people don’t take advantage of the system, it’s all good. But shit happens because there are shitty people who take advantage, and then what? Hours wasted trying to fix the situation. All in all even at the height of frustration dealing with the bank’s fraud department or the local cops (who demurred from even making a report because the crime took place in PA, so they’re relying on the bank’s fraud dept. to figure it out.), I guess I’ll take ATMs, online purchasing, instant credit and all the conveniences so long as the inconveniences are minimized.
This led me back to food. The key word that the food giants use in developing food products is “convenience”. All the processed food in the middle aisles of the supermarket are there for your convenience so you don’t actually have to consider raw materials and spend time cooking them. Mac and cheese, frozen pizza, chips, cookies, pastas, etc. all created, developed and formulated to be irresistibly easy to buy and eat. And in the eating hit that “bliss point” so the fat, sugar and salt take your brain to paradise so you buy and eat more… like narcotics.
Numbers of people have been revolting from this convenience system for years now, eschewing the foods modified by the words “fast” and “processed”. Another word for the slow food movement could be “inconvenience food.” You have to shop daily for freshness, you have to travel to farmer’s markets, and you have to cook it yourself, taking time, effort, thought. Thought. You have to think about things that some people, apparently, just don’t want to think about. They just want delicious to happen. They’re either taking it on faith that nutrition and health will follow, or, aware that it won’t, accept that it’s not a priority.
Every direction you turn your eyes in public you will see people who are conveniencing themselves to death. So the question is how convenient is it to be 55 years old, 70 pounds overweight, diabetic and missing part of your foot due to ever present “complications”?
The bank will put the money back in my dad’s account eventually, but your health is not as easy to “put back.” We need to be inconvenienced more.
Earlier this month Maine became the 12th state to call for a constitutional amendment to overturn the US Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.
Maine joins West Virginia, Colorado, Montana, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, Vermont, New Mexico and Hawaii in calling for an amendment. Washington, DC also backs the movement.
This comes less than a month after red state West Virginia enacted a similar resolution. Momentum is building and it’s bipartisan.
the Maine State Senate voted 25-9 for the resolution, five Republicans joined with nineteen Democrats and independent Senator Richard Woodbury to “call upon each Member of the Maine Congressional Delegation to actively support and promote in Congress an amendmentto the United States Constitution on campaign finance.”
Money is not speech and corporations are not people. Those nine words added to the constitution would change everything.
For the record what was the last amendment to the constitution enacted? The 27th.
Originally proposed Sept. 25, 1789. Ratified May 7, 1992.
No law, varying the compensation for the services of the Senators and Representatives, shall take effect, until an election of representatives shall have intervened.
Have to look into this one. I thought it was expanding the vote to 18-20 year-olds but that was the 26th amendment in 1971. Bottom line it’s only been 21 years since the last amendment. I think most people would be surprised at that. I was.
Saint Sen. Elizabeth Warren has a no-brainer proposal to stop the looming increase in student loan interest rates and give our kids a break much like we give the Banks at the Fed window.
a bill that would give a steep, temporary discount, taking the interest rate from 3.4% to less than 1%.
The U.S. government has been lending money at a rate of about 0.75% to financial institutions for years, said Warren.
If we do nothing Stafford loan rates will double on July 1 from 3.4% to 6.8%, which is unconscionable. All three of the Polislice progeny have federal student loans, millions do. <
“[T]he federal government is going to charge students interest rates that are nine times higher than the rates for the biggest banks,” said Sen. Warren, “the same banks that destroyed millions of jobs and nearly broke this economy. That isn’t right.”
That’s why Warren introduced the Bank On Students Loan Fairness Act [PDF], which would prevent Stafford loan rates from reverting to 6.8% on July 1 and would set the interest rates for loans disbursed until July 1, 2014, at “the primary credit rate charged by the Federal Reserve banks on July 1, 2013.”
The Senator maintains that by allowing banks to borrow at insanely low rates, taxpayers are effectively investing in those institutions.
The bill only lowers the rate for 1 year. Hopefully, this can be passed and then extended. It just makes sense to give a break to our kids who are doing the right thing for their futures, and ours. The Consumerist lays out a list of principals we need to adopt for student loans. The present system, whether by government or private for profit is a mess. And yes, largely it’s because college tuitions have skyrocketed over the last 10 years making it difficult for average families to deal with. The 2006-2008 implosion of the housing bubble and the loss of household equity was an educational disaster as so many middle class families used the equity in their homes to help pay for tuition.
Increasing college costs, lower home values and equity and contracting good-paying job prospects = $1 trillion in outstanding student loans and despair among our young. It’s…all…so…stupid.
Surprise, we had a $113B surplus in April. This year’s deficit is $240B less at this time than it was at the same time last year. Thankfully, the first benefit of this is that the debt ceiling and the next no-holds-barred Thunderdome death match between POTUS and the GOP Congress is delayed, a tad.
And yes, some of this is expected because of April tax income:
There is usually a surplus in April because that is when the government receives an influx of annual tax payments. But tax receipts this April are 28 percent higher than in April 2012. And the surplus is nearly twice as high.
Again, the good side of this is more revenue coming in (about 16% more), so the increase in tax rates and apparently more commerce happening out there, is salutary. On the other side, the sequester and cuts in government spending have been counter productive. If the Congress had passed any of the WH proposals for jobs, infrastructure, etc. we might be in even better shape with income, offsetting the cost of such stimulus.
Our still too high 7.5% unemployment would be around 6.5% if not for all the public employee jobs shed by states. A true Keynesian response to the downturn would have, at the very least, dictated more aid to the states so those jobs would have been retained. That’s the difference between this recession and every other recession in our lifetimes – the GOP austerity obsession in the states.
Spending has declined 1 percent in the first seven months of the budget year. Defense spending has fallen $18 billion, or 5 percent. Spending on unemployment benefits has dropped $14 billion, or 21 percent. The Treasury Department has also recalculated the cost of its bank bailout program, as more of those funds have been repaid. That’s lowered the cost of that program by $50 billion this year.
Things still ain’t good for most of us. The working class is still treading water in unpredictable seas. But it could be worse too. Maybe the new normal is less boom and bust, more slow and steady wins the race.
You have RWNJs on my twitter insanely claiming that “Benghazi was the worst foreign policy disaster in 40 years” and Fox News continuing to speculate as to what really happened, even though we know what really happened. So many theories abound all designed to damage either President Obama or (Future President) Hillary Clinton, all of them nonsense because – there’s no rational, or even irrational, motivation on God’s green Earth for them doing any of the things the deluded fools accuse them of doing.
Then you have the hypocrisy of all the mayhem that occurred under the administration of the guy they wanted to have a beer with but they made 0 peeps about. They were just fine with wars of choice, thousands dead, torture, spying, lies and manipulation of intelligence. None of that was the worst foreign policy blunder of the past 40 years, except that THEY ACTUALLY WERE. And then to top all of that, Bullshit Mountain has to completely ignore the 13 Benghazi’s during President C Student’s reign:
January 22, 2002. Calcutta, India. Gunmen associated with Harkat-ul-Jihad al-Islami attack the U.S. Consulate. Five people are killed.
June 14, 2002. Karachi, Pakistan. Suicide bomber connected with al-Qaida attacks the U.S. Consulate, killing 12 and injuring 51.
October 12, 2002. Denpasar, Indonesia. U.S. diplomatic offices bombed as part of a string of “Bali Bombings.” No fatalities.
February 28, 2003. Islamabad, Pakistan. Several gunmen fire upon the U.S. Embassy. Two people are killed.
May 12, 2003. Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Armed al-Qaida terrorists storm the diplomatic compound killing 36 people including nine Americans. The assailants committed suicide by detonating a truck bomb.
July 30, 2004. Tashkent, Uzbekistan. A suicide bomber from the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan attacks the U.S. Embassy, killing two people.
December 6, 2004. Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Al-Qaida terrorists storm the U.S. Consulate and occupy the perimeter wall. Nine people are killed.
March 2, 2006. Karachi, Pakistan again. Suicide bomber attacks the U.S. Consulate killing four people, including U.S. diplomat David Foy who was directly targeted by the attackers. (I wonder if Lindsey Graham or Fox News would even recognize the name “David Foy.” This is the third Karachi terrorist attack in four years on what’s considered American soil.)
September 12, 2006. Damascus, Syria. Four armed gunmen shouting “Allahu akbar” storm the U.S. Embassy using grenades, automatic weapons, a car bomb and a truck bomb. Four people are killed, 13 are wounded.
January 12, 2007. Athens, Greece. Members of a Greek terrorist group called the Revolutionary Struggle fire a rocket-propelled grenade at the U.S. Embassy. No fatalities.
March 18, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Members of the al-Qaida-linked Islamic Jihad of Yemen fire a mortar at the U.S. Embassy. The shot misses the embassy, but hits nearby school killing two.
July 9, 2008. Istanbul, Turkey. Four armed terrorists attack the U.S. Consulate. Six people are killed.
September 17, 2008. Sana’a, Yemen. Terrorists dressed as military officials attack the U.S. Embassy with an arsenal of weapons including RPGs and detonate two car bombs. Sixteen people are killed, including an American student and her husband (they had been married for three weeks when the attack occurred). This is the second attack on this embassy in seven months.
Yeah, no, those things happened, but whatever, sure 13 times. When it happens once to a Democrat it’s the worst foreign policy blunder in 40 years.
Bottom line for Republicans, and mark this well, is that the lesson of Whitewater was: keep investigating no matter what, until somebody gets a blow job and THEN… YOU… POUNCE!
It is one of the galling pieces of historical information that Bill Clinton was hounded for 6 years over a meaningless land deal that he lost money on, the Inquisition covered in stupid, until a malicious busy body named Linda Tripp offered her completely unrelated to the investigation but nonetheless welcome ”testimony” about Monica Lewinski and a certain blue dress.
Both are macho, male dominated and dictate an unsympathetic, unyielding and violent attitude towards, well, everything. It’s kill or be killed and rape or be raped, apparently. Where the answer to one’s own feelings of inadequacy is to arm oneself to the teeth, or force yourself on someone that you can dominate, either physically, emotionally, psychologically, or all three.
We’re kind of inured to the gun violence in general, it’s everyday and there’s virtually no end to the stupid and preventable tragedies caused by those dedicated to gun culture. It’s really tiresomely easy pickings to Google gun violence and list the stories of idiots and their victims. We wake up when a Newtown happens and finally take rhetorical arms against real arms.
The girls in Cleveland, made sex slaves for 10 years, imprisoned, stolen, and finally released strikes a chord with people, even though such stories are very rare. But it’s disturbing that people can do that to other people. It just makes you shake your head at the inhumanity.
The last two days have seen, maybe, a similar alarm bell shake us conscious about rape and sexual assault, particularly in the military.
The military! That institution that is based on honor and sacrifice that we virtually all pay our respects to if for no other reason than they’re doing something that we don’t want to do and might just pay with their lives. The military, that most democratic of institutions where everyone can rise based on their talents. The first institution to integrate, even before Jackie Robinson. The military, that except for some cro-magnon throwbacks, embraced women who wanted to serve and pushed them further than our backwards society wanted them to go. The military that just completely absorbed their gay brothers and sisters recently because society said it was ready. They were already ready, a non issue.
The military. Home of rape and sexual assault with impunity. From Daily Kos:
The Air Force has a major problem with sexual assault, and it’s coming from the top. Not even just the top as in the sexual assault arrest of Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, its head of sexual assault prevention. At a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing Tuesday, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh:
… appeared to blame broader society, noting that 20% of women report they had been sexually assaulted “before they came into the military.”
“So they come in from a society where this occurs,” he said. “Some of it is the hookup mentality of junior high even and high school students now, which my children can tell you about from watching their friends and being frustrated by it.”
Yeah, he said that. Dismissing sexual assault as being the same thing, or emanating from consensual sexuality. Which makes it all okay. If I may translate: If anything it’s the girls who should be more virtuous and then this wouldn’t be happening. Get it?
For me this comes as I am reading David K. Shippler’s The Working Poor, his book from 2004 telling the stories of the many people on the edges of our society that he interviewed and followed over a 7 year period. The stories are heartbreaking. And so much more often than the average middle class person would imagine, the stories involve some sort of rape, sexual assault or molestation. One can’t read the stories and not come away, sadly, concluding that such brutality is a thing. It’s like way too common to take any comfort in some idea of scarcity, no, it’s a thing. A thing that some kids, some women, never know are not common, because in their world it is:
The ten-year-old girl sat on an idle swing, chatting with the caseworker on the swing beside her. ”How many times, the little girl asked, “have you been raped?”
The question came casually, as if it could merely glide into the conversation. The caseworker “Barbara,” tried to stay composed.
“I said that I hadn’t, and she was surprised,” Barbara recalled.
“‘I thought everyone had been,’” she remembered the girl saying.
If that doesn’t break your heart… The idea that yeah, everybody gets raped in my family, in my neighborhood, in my school, it’s a thing! And that’s the military in 2013. The same brutal violations of the weak that goes on in the worst slums of America, as part of the socialization process seemingly, happens in the barracks and training facilities that the rest of us pay for with out tax dollars. We pay the salaries of those officers too. We’ve paid to train them and we’re paying them as they rape, or overlook rape, or condone rape – all the way up the chain of command.
And like gun culture it is a misguided, disturbed, inhumane way of thinking and acting. What are we going to do about this? Surely, we will do something.
This is not a new challenge for the military. It’s been more than 20 years since the Tailhook scandal exposed a Navy and Marine Corps culture where women were sexually assaulted and male perpetrators rarely held accountable. Since then, with women gaining more equal status in the military and on Capitol Hill, there has been incremental progress, but last year’s Oscar-nominated film The Invisible War revealed there is still much to be done, and male service members too have been victims of sexual assault.
The Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most famous in the world and since its opening in 1937 it’s also been a mecca for people in despair. The officers who talk people down are heroes
More than 1,500 people have killed themselves by jumping off the Golden Gate, making the bridge that opened in 1937 one of the world’s most-active suicide spots. A less-known statistic is the much larger number of people who have been talked out of taking their lives by the CHP, U.S. Park Police and bridge security officers.
As with most tragedies that you see on the local news, where if it bleeds it leads, you never see what brought people to that moment. And for each story that ended sadly, there are many others that end hopefully that you never hear.