and what’s the deal with airline food?

Somewhere in this country there are people – I don’t know how many – who signed off on this:

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Not content to drain our lifeblood at the pump, the greasy leeches want a dollar (quarters only!) per tire. I’m sick to death of the ghoulish vampire capitalist mentality that sees customers as nothing but sheep lined up in pens to be ruthlessly bled out and sucked dry in every possible way at every possible turn.

I can’t wait for the day – and I believe it will come – when we hunt these soulless assholes like rabbits and line them up against their own machines to be dispatched without mercy.

We’ll fill our tires for free and leave 50 cents in quarters on each of their cold, dead eyes.


Caught this at a Wal-Mart:

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I can’t decide whether I should be horrified that management felt the need to teach employees how to wash their hands or just be grateful that they did.

Also, people in foreign Wal-Marts always seem more hideously mutated than people at my regular Wal-Mart. There’s definitely a Hills-Have-Eyes thing going on in other Wal-Marts.

Oh, SNAP!

Here are some things you should know:

1. Welfare OVERWHELMINGLY helps three kinds of people:
- The sick
- The elderly
- Children

2. The vast majority of adults receiving welfare DO work. Many work two jobs. They work long hours at hard, demeaning labor for next to nothing.

3. Most welfare benefits have a limit of five years, and most families move off of welfare well before then.

4. People on welfare still live in poverty.

If this sounds new to you, or if you hear a little voice in the back of your head saying, “That’s bullshit!” It’s okay. It’s not your fault. We’ve all been conditioned to believe the stereotypes about poor people and “welfare queens,” but the only people getting rich on government welfare have “CEO” after their names. It’s hard to uproot that programming, but understand: welfare is a program (or combination of programs, if you want to get nitpicky) that provides limited help to people who need it the most. Government dollars are spent helping the sick, the old, and needy kids.

Get a job, Grandma! If you've got time to lean, you've got time to clean.


Get a job, Grandma! If you’ve got time to lean, you’ve got time to clean.

 

Which brings us to the next thing you should know: your tax money is going to be spent SOMEWHERE.

We can spend it building roads and bridges and feeding American kids, or we can spend it carpet bombing foreign kids and paying for Jamie Dimon’s hookers and blow. This is a choice that we, as a nation, make. It’s a choice we keep screwing up.

Let’s talk about why drug testing welfare recipients is a shitty idea.

1. It’s unfair. Corporations, farmers, students, and married couples all get breaks and benefits from the government. We just don’t call them “welfare.” Somehow nobody brought up the idea of making Deferment Dick Cheney piss in a cup when the government gave Halliburton so much welfare its stock value tripled. EVERYONE gets welfare. Are you paying off student loans, conveniently subsidized by the government? Getting a break on your mortgage? Hell yes, I got Pell grants. I’m no better than that woman in front of me with her Lone Star card. Neither are you. Note also that poor people in general, and people on welfare in particular, are NO MORE LIKELY than any of the rest of us to use drugs. (Incidentally, this unfairness is the basis for challenges to these laws’ constitutionality.)

2. It’s expensive. It doesn’t save money. Florida’s first experiment with this garbage cost them more than it saved. Utah thought that more careful screening would make their program worth the additional expense. It didn’t. (Florida’s program, not coincidentally, was jammed through by a governor who had a financial stake in a chain of drug-testing centers. Blame and exploit the poor for fun and profit!)

3. It’s just mean. The people who depend on these programs are already stigmatized, embarrassed, desperate, and ashamed. This is just one more useless, degrading humiliation to pile on, one more bullshit red-tape hoop to jump. One more day they have to spend begging to switch shifts with a coworker or pleading with their boss for just a little more time off (for which they won’t be paid.) It doesn’t save money. It doesn’t catch bad guys. It makes life unnecessarily miserable for desperate people when they’re most vulnerable.

4. Most importantly: it makes it harder for people to get help. The additional burdens (time, effort, and sometimes financial) imposed by drug testing make it harder for people to access welfare. Remember who gets helped the most? That’s right. Kids. The elderly. The sick. Putting up roadblocks to keep needy people from getting help is a rotten way to pinch pennies.

That’s the meat of my argument. Drug testing welfare recipients doesn’t save us anything. It’s just kicking people when they’re down, for no good reason, and it hurts kids and old people (and probably cute puppies.) This would be self-evident if the great lie of the “American dream” hadn’t preconditioned us to blame poor people for their own poverty.

(You can stop reading now and you won’t miss much or be too offended. If you want to go for the bonus round, however, continue to Part II: A Very Special Message for Christians. Please understand that this has been simmering for a year, driven by things I’ve read in other places. It is not directed at any particular individual; I’ve just been living in Abilene for way, way too long.)

 

Just another drag on the system, spending MY tax dollars on Capri Sun and apple slices.


Just another drag on the system, spending OUR tax dollars on Capri Sun and apple slices.

Part II: A Very Special Message to Christians

If the shoe doesn’t fit, don’t wear it. For the rest of you: Stop it. Just cut it out. Please.

Ya know how many times Jesus talked about gayness? Like, a handful. Maybe. And everyone knows those are sketchy and uncertain translations. You know how many times he talked about abortion? Like, pretty much exactly zero. You know how many times he talked about clothing the poor? Feeding the hungry? Healing the sick? A metric shit-ton.

So, it’s just maybe a teensy tiny bit hypocritical for Christianity to go all-out, saints marching in, onward Christian soldiers over how Our Risen Lord Jesus Christ the Redeemer wants the Constitution to prohibit gay marriage and God thinks abortion should be a crime and “one nation under God” and “in God we trust” and Ten Commandments on the courthouse lawn and a nativity in the elementary school lobby and “this is a Christian nation” and hurgle burgle herp derp blarf at the same time it argues vociferously against the same government – THE SAME GOVERNMENT – helping the least of these.

Modern American Christianity (according to a perception based on public lobbying, policy initiatives, Fox News onanism, and shared Facebook memes) looks at police throwing gays in jail for getting married and says, “Praise Jesus.” When it comes to using every dirty policy trick in the book to shut down access to abortions and contraception, Christianity says, “Amen!” Whenever an old man with blood under his fingernails and a gold cross lapel pin gets on the television to say that Jesus wants us to clusterbomb an Afghani wedding, a single tear rolls down the cheek of American Christianity and we all say, “God bless the USA!”

When a timorous, quavering voice says, “Maybe government should feed the hungry, clothe the poor, and heal the sick?” What does Christianity say? The followers of Jesus look at the ground and stuff our hands in our pockets. The cock crows three times. Christianity nervously shuffles its feet and says, “Uh… well… ya know… Jesus never said that was the gub’mint’s job.”

Stop trying to have it both ways.

More here: http://feedingamerica.org/how-we-fight-hunger/programs-and-services/public-assistance-programs/supplemental-nutrition-assistance-program/snap-myths-realities.aspx#

 

Apps for iThings

I have found a couple of neat apps that I think are worth sharing.

The first is an exercise app called “Zombies, Run!” that plays an audio story in your headphones as you run.

Zombies, RUN!You are cast in the role of Runner 5, a survivor making your way through the typical post-zombie world. An outside observer watches you run, updating your progress and guiding you with radio broadcasts. He also warns you of approaching zombie attacks, which you can avoid by running 20% faster for one minute. The game uses the phone’s GPS or accelerometer functions to track how far and fast you run, and keeps a log of your runs. As you run, you automatically pick up gear and supplies that can be used to upgrade your town.

I’ve only used it once, on a short run, but I really enjoyed it. The voice acting is fun, and the story is (so far) pretty compelling. The app also integrates with your iTunes playlists, so you hear the story broadcasts between songs on your track list. Pretty fun stuff, so far.

The other app that I want to plug is an iPad game called “The Room.” It’s a puzzle game, similar to Myst, but it takes full advantage of the iPad’s touch screen interface.

The Room

You use the iPad to touch, swipe, rotate, twist, and occasionally balance your way through a series of mechanical and visual puzzles, attempting to crack the secrets of a contraption looks and acts like a cross between a dollhouse and the Hellraiser puzzle box.

The game is atmospheric bordering on creepy, with great visuals. The music is subtle and appropriate, and the sound design is really well done. The puzzles are challenging but not frustrating, and there were only a couple of parts where confusion about the interface got in the way of solving part of the puzzle. The game is pretty short, only three levels, but worth it.

One of the puzzle boxes in The Room.