Saturday, May 01, 2010


I'm stuck in census limbo. It's now a certainty that I won't be starting work on Monday, and maybe not on Tuesday. Last word had our supply boxes in Concord and no vehicle large enough to distribute them to the field. So they sit in Concord. Which really doesn't matter because all the maps and address lists that tell us which doors to bang on are no where to be seen. All of which is fine as it stretches the completion date closer to when we will be bugging out of this gods-forsaken place and I won't need to bother with finding another job until we get to Florida.

Having Monday off will come in handy, so the census chaos isn't all bad. I finally got word back from the IRS, and I am the proud owner of an ERO number, meaning I can now file your tax return electronically directly with the IRS (and any state) without having to pay to use an intermediary. I need to make some phone calls to Intuit regarding their two tax products and nail down pricing so I can decide which one I'll be using next tax season. I also need to arrange for sending through some test returns and other such minutia. I also need to look into what Intuit has been up to lately with the client write-up version of Quickbooks. I haven't taken a serious look at it since the version that ran on Win3.1 and have no real knowledge of it. I heard a rumor that a local CPA teaches classes on using it, but I don't know who or when. Maybe I can find that out on my day off as well.

So maybe "day off" isn't the correct term.

The world is ending. Glendale, AZ has laid off ten, TEN people. Of course, they are also leaving 22 police and fire positions unfilled. Of course. But TEN WHOLE PEOPLE. Gods have mercy.

Christians have been trying to de-gayify people for a long time. A guy in my school was sent off to one of these de-gayification camps in the 1970's to get "cured." A reporter recently spent some time undercover, so to speak, at one of these in Arizona. The story wanders back and forth between weird and disturbing. But his conversation with a fellow camper after it was all over is a key take-away for any homosexual who may be contemplating plunking down cash to be de-gayified (or any parent bent on de-gayifying a son or daughter):

“C’mon, do you really think straight men go off into the woods and hold each other?” I demand. “What about that all-night holding session you told me about? Does that sound like something straight guys do?”

Things may get weird in deer camp, but not that weird.

Next we have a school principal that may challenge my general loathing for public school officials:

Please do the following: sit down with your child (and they are just children still) and tell them that they are not allowed to be a member of any social networking site. Today!

Let them know that you will at some point every week be checking their text messages online! You have the ability to do this through your cell phone provider.

Let them know that you will be installing Parental Control Software so you can tell every place they have visited online, and everything they have instant messaged or written to a friend. Don't install it behind their back, but install it!"

Wow. Parents being asked, asked, by a school official to act like parents. No cops handcuffing 6-year-olds or demanding new laws or social services intervention. The world really is ending.

(And why exactly does an 8th-grader have a fracking iPhone in the first place?)

In case anyone was wondering how General Motors, which is still losing billions, paid back their government loans, the short answer is, they didn't:

GM is using government money to pay back government money to get more government money. And at a 2% lower interest rate at that. This is a nifty scheme to refinance GM's government debt--not pay it back!

How can you tell when the politician-appointed head of a government-owned corporation is lying? His lips are moving.

More on the new law in Arizona that insists that law enforcement enforce the law. As most articles do, this one simply glosses over the distinction between legal and illegal immigration, as well as displaying the typical lack of comprehension east-coasters have of the Southwest. As I said before, this is a bad law, especially in the hands of a corrupt, power-mad sheriffs department. But people in Arizona are simply fed up waiting for the Imperial City to act.

And then add a bit of gasoline on the fire. It could turn out to be a long, hot summer in Arizona.

Oil continues to pour into the Gulf of Mexico, and it looks to continue for some time:

BP PLC, the oil giant that leased the rig whose sinking last week caused the disaster, has failed in efforts using unmanned submarines to activate a shutoff device on the undersea well.

A stopgap solution BP is planning—covering the well with containers and pumping the oil out—will take weeks to roll out and is untested at the one-mile depth of this well, however. BP said it would begin working this weekend on a permanent solution to the crisis, drilling a new hole to cut off the damaged well, but industry scientists said that could take months.

The blowout preventer, immersed in mile-deep near-freezing water, failed to prevent a blowout. It's backup system is also non-functioning. Neither of the alternative measures have been tried at this depth and it is an open question whether either will work, and even if they do work, the best case scenario is several weeks of oil pouring into the ocean at 5,000 (or maybe 25,000) barrels a day.

And while the oil slick will have huge repercussions on fisheries, never forget that 11 people died (quickly, if they were lucky), and their families will likely never have a body to bury. Their deaths will certainly be blamed on corporate greed and faulty preventers, but in truth, we are all to blame.

Well, I'm off to spread some good cheer elsewhere.

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