From Pine View Farm

July, 2013 archive

Stormy Weather 2

A squall line near my brother’s place in Virginia’s Northern Neck:


These days, I believe that squall lines are called “derechos,” which is a foreign-sounding word and therefore ever so much more frightening and important.


Scam Alert 0

Details at the link.

Virginia officials are warning residents about a new email scam promising recipients a big inheritance from a deceased relative.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Practice random acts of politeness.

A 21-year-old Tampa man was driving a 2005 Dodge Avenger south on Shayne Street about 11 p.m. when he noticed a green laser pointed at the car and then heard gunshots, Brooksville Police Chief George Turner said. The driver and an 18-year-old male passenger were not injured. The men did not call for help, but a resident called police after hearing the shots, and officers located the car.


Spill Here, Spill Now 0

Tar sands oil leaking from no one knows where or how in Alberta, Canada.

Do you ever wonder whether the Titans of Industry have a distinct shortage of clues?


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Politeness is a family thing.

A Barrow County restaurant owner is accused of killing his mother-in-law and then turning the gun on himself, authorities say.


Crying “Pension Crisis” 0

Whenever you hear someone complain about a “pension crisis,” remind yourself that employees did not cause a crisis.

Employers did, by not preparing for the pensions they promised.

It’s not the pensioners who should be punished.

It’s the employers who had promises to keep–and didn’t.

But that’s not the way the world works, is it, now?


Ye Regency and Ye Olde Time Medicine Show 0

TPM offers a profile of Jonnie Williams, he of the magickal nicotine pills, who made The Regent discover new meanings for the term, “many happy returns“:

A few days before Christmas in 1980, Jonnie Williams shuttered his shop, Colonial Opticians, in Fredericksburg, Va., and skipped town. Williams was in his mid-20s, and he left behind him tens of thousands of dollars in debt (including the balance on a $45,000 Small Business Administration loan), hundreds of frames and lenses and other optical equipment, and a reputation as a flamboyant “super salesman” with a taste for the good life.

“Jonnie Williams could sell a snowball to an Eskimo,” a former employee of Williams’ told a newspaper reporter a few weeks later, in January 1981. “But when it came to backing up what he was selling, now that was another story. Let’s face it, he was a salesman through and through.”

Can ye sayeth, “Snake oil”?


How To Use the Internet and Not Be a Loser 0

Hadley Freeman offers four easy-to-remember rules.


Gas Acts 0

Our wonderful state legisture recently imposed a special tax on hybrid cars, reasoning that they don’t pay their fair share of the gas tax because they don’t guzzle enough gas. This was considered preferable to (gasp!) raising taxes on people with money and had the added benefit of punishing those uppity better-gas-mileage-thou Prius drivers.

In the Roanoke Times, J. D. Hansard follows this reasoning to find additional strategies for increasing state revenues without actually taxing the people who have all the money.

Thinking about that argument led me to consider other taxes we might impose on tax avoiders. Take, for example, home gardeners.

They plant tomatoes and beans in their back yard and at harvest time, they avoid the sales taxes that the rest of us pay at Kroger when we — like God intended — purchase our tomatoes and beans.

By the tax avoidance argument above, we should tax those gardeners.

More ideas for creative finance at the link.



Walter Lippmann:

The news and the truth are not the same thing.


“Teh Stupid” 0

In case you have ever wondered about the difference between “stupid” and “teh stupid,” Historiann graciously provides a definition.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 0

Be polite to pets.

A Michigan man was being held on Monday after allegedly breaking his girlfriend’s nose, choking her and shooting her dog with a BB gun because he was jealous of the animal.


Driving while Brown 0

Thom takes on the Republican hate and fear machine.

Sadly, hate will continue to outsell truth.


Twits on Twitter 0

Misogynistic twits.


Over the Hill 0

Daniel Ruth and I apparently don’t matter any more.

“That’s wonderful, sir,” the woman said. “Now first I have to ask your age.”

“Sure. I’m 63.”

The woman’s brow furrowed as she scanned a long list on her clipboard from hell. Then she did it again. And then, once more, before sheepishly looking up from the market research equivalent of a black spot.

“Uh, I’m very sorry sir, but we don’t have any surveys for someone your age.”

“Nothing? Perhaps you could ask me about dry martinis? Bogart movies? Prunes? Nothing?”

“No sir, nothing at all.”

Read the rest. It’s a hoot.


America’s Original Sin 0

Frances Thomas has a marvelous letter to the editor of the Philly Daily News about American racism’s historical roots.

I cannot excerpt or summarize and do it justice.

Just read it.


Theft of Services: A Novel Definition of “Accountability” 0

What happens when you try to “monetize” a public trust by betraying it into private hands.

In a widely circulated story Monday, the Associated Press reported that (Florida Education Commissioner Tony–ed.) Bennett scrambled last fall to overhaul Indiana’s school grading system to change a charter school’s grade from a “C” to an “A.” Emails show a behind-the-scenes effort to alter the grade for Christel House Academy, despite questions from Bennett’s staff about whether such a move was legal.

In one email, Bennett wrote, “They need to understand that anything less than an ‘A’ for Christel House compromises all of our accountability work.”

This is “accountability” as defined in Enron-world, where facts don’t matter, income does.


Ticked Off 0

It’s not your imagination – there really are more ticks than there used to be.

Humans have created a perfect tick habitat, Gaff said, by fragmenting forests and inserting houses. Squirrels, raccoons and other small animals love the habitat where woods meet grass, and ticks love animals. The rise in tick numbers also parallels the rise in the white-tailed deer population, she said, which is itself quite large.

The good news is that this excerpt is from a story about a local engineer who is working in a tick-killing robot, sort of a Roomba for the little vampirelets. Large-scale trials are set for next year.

Follow the link for details.



Franklin Pierce Adams:

What this country needs is a good five-cent nickel.


“An Armed Society Is a Polite Society” 1

Remember, gun nuts, those movie cowboy Rambo heroes you fantasize yourselves into were shooting blanks.

A Missouri man is recovering in the hospital with non-life threatening injuries after he shot himself in the groin over the weekend.

The Argus-Press first reported that a pistol tucked into the waistband of a 75-year-old Owosso man discharged, causing a bullet to be fired into his genitals.