Friday, October 01, 2010

A few random bits and pieces

Some things I noticed over the past week or so to which I wasn't going to devote a full post but still deserved to be mentioned, arranged chronologically.

- September 24: Citigroup, which received $45 billion in government bailout money and still holds such large amounts of bad loans and investments that it posted a loss in the third quarter, is giving millions of dollars in raises to top executives by paying them in stock to get around a cap on cash pay.

A couple of weeks ago I had a post called "Everything you need to know in two sentences." Consider this everything you need to know in one sentence.

- September 25: Fred Korematsu, a Japanese-American who refused to enter an internment camp in 1942 and was arrested for it, is to be honored by the state of California. A new law designates January 30 as Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution.

It would have been nice if this had been done while Korematsu was still alive (he died five years ago), but ain't that always the way: The rebels get jailed while they are alive and honored when they are safely dead.

- September 27: Appalachia Rising staged a demonstration of about 2,000 Appalachians and supporters, who marched from the EPA to the White House, demanding an end to mountaintop-removal coal mining. At the White House, about 100 people were arrested in nonviolent civil disobedience, sitting down on the sidewalk and refusing to leave.

I have to say that video of the event, which included the crowd chanting "What do we want? Clean water! When do we want it? Now!" and a speaker crying out "Power to the people!" brought a smile to the face and some cheer (i.e., encouragement) to the heart of this worn-out DFH.

- September 29: A police officer from the town of Monck's Corner, South Carolina, has been fired for violating official policy. Y'see, police there are allowed to take their cruisers home and the unnamed officer thought he'd help out a charity fundraiser carwash for the Shriners Hospital in Georgia. So he had his own car washed there and then brought his cruiser.

But no good deed goes unpunished, so when his superiors heard that the car had been photographed being washed by women in bikinis, they fired him.

That is stupid enough, but when I think of all the cops who have walked after harassing people, beating people, tasering people (often repeatedly), shooting people, killing people, who walked because it was "reasonable" or "appropriate" or "in line with policy," it becomes thoroughly disgusting.

- September 29: A study claims that laws banning texting while driving have not reduced accidents.

This really was a lame study, as it examined accident rates in some states with anti-texting laws, comparing the rate just shortly before the law was passed to shortly after. However, it made no attempt to see if the rate of texting while driving had changed, nor did it consider any issues of how strictly the law was being enforced. What's more, it ignored the fact that behavior related to a change in a law generally does not happen immediately but develops over time. Just lame.

Finally, there is this:

- September 29: Canadian Minister of Justice Rob Nicholson announced that the government will appeal an Ontario court ruling that struck down key provisions of Canada's prostitution laws.

I really just included this because I was amused that my news aggregator filed it under "Business."

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