Since February, I’ve found consistent employment

Being ‘between jobs’ is of course a euphemism for unemployment, but the wonderfulness about having no job is having no master, too.

If you’ve got the time, and you’ve got the resources, financial and otherwise, you can do pretty amazing things once you’ve got no other distractions for your passions. But passions don’t keep the electricity on.

Well, I’ve got distractions now, and my avocations no longer can be my vocation, so attempts to find out, for example, the number of active cranes in Seattle, and where they’re at over time, are no longer a feasible enterprise. When you’re a reporter at a newspaper, again for example, your job full-time is to pester people into telling you the things you want to know or else getting to print the dreaded ‘did not return multiple calls by press time’ statement.

That is not the case now, and while I’m paying rent, I can’t even let the threat of consistent nagging motivate the put-upon civil servants tasked with responding to so many public information requests. This is a shame, although perhaps I never could have turned the information turned over to me into something immediately useful and graspable, and therefore viral in the shallowest, most social immediate sense, but whatever.

Ubi pus, ibi evacua.

There’s always unpleasant things that need brought out into the open, and while numbers are the most trustworthy, smells are the most evocative.

(Fear not, and carry a big stick.)

Kanye West was absolutely right about that thing he didn’t really say at the Grammys

It’s been almost a week since Kanye West did Kanye West things, pretending to interrupt Beck’s acceptance of the 2015 Grammy for Best Album, and then making some comments afterward critical of the Grammys and its respect of “artistry”. Continue reading “Kanye West was absolutely right about that thing he didn’t really say at the Grammys”

Less than 1 woman in 200 is in an occupation that earns more than her male counterpart

An analysis of Silicon Valley’s 2015 economy released this week by the think tank Joint Venture found that on average, women in the San Mateo and Santa Clara counties earned far less than men even when comparing similar educational attainment.

This wasn’t a surprising result, but the extent was: men in Silicon valley are paid 61 percent, or $34,000 more per year, than women when both have bachelor’s degrees, versus San Francisco proper (men are paid 20% more), California (41% more), and the U.S. as a whole (48% more), by the index authors’ measure.

Continue reading “Less than 1 woman in 200 is in an occupation that earns more than her male counterpart”

Who is America’s deadliest Predator Drone pilot?

I’m not sure if that’s a question anyone knows the answer to, considering that no one knows how many people total have been killed in drone strikes, although it seems the Obama administration has used them more.

But it’s a cheeky title that goes to what director Michael Moore said about sniping in reference to Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper film about deceased Navy SEAL Chris Kyle.

That got negative attention, but strictly speaking, it’s true. Snipers didn’t used to be considered ‘real’ soldiers. According to the U.S. Army itself in 2002:

Continue reading “Who is America’s deadliest Predator Drone pilot?”

How often are prison guards killed transporting prisoners?

Eight prisoners and two correctional officers died in an accident near my hometown last week when their bus went off the side of an overpass, onto a moving train. It made national news, and my former coworkers did a great job all day letting people know what was going on as information came out, and putting it all into context by day’s end.

When hearing about a fatal train/prison bus collision, many people made the obvious connection, because that’s how we expect things to work, but the culprit seems to be icy conditions and very bad luck.

I can’t explain why the eight prisoner deaths seem so much more tragic than the two guards. Continue reading “How often are prison guards killed transporting prisoners?”

Odessa police have reported inaccurate crime statistics to the FBI for at least a decade.

An Odessa American investigation into the Odessa Police Department’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) numbers discovered police had misreported their own crime data in terms of incidents, clearances and arrests. Although generally making their results appear far worse than they should have been, police were unaware of the problem before the OA’s inquiry.

The investigation also uncovered the unsolved 2008 homicide of an infant, never publically reported, not only through the UCR but also to the media.

More than a month after discovering the errors, the software company, city technicians and Odessa police are still working to sort everything out in the massive, convoluted world of thousands of pieces of data and federal guidelines.

“For us, the headache is just starting,” Police Chief Tim Burton said last week, more than a month after starting to delve into why the numbers were off.

Continue reading

Wreckage of WWII sub found

Now, most World War II veterans are battling bad knees and fading hearing, but almost 70 years ago they faced German tanks and Italian bullets and Japanese mines.

Many U.S. servicemen were not able to grow old enough to experience arthritis, and some weren’t even able to be properly laid to rest.

Although Jarrold Clovis Taylor’s family had a memorial in September 1944 and a plaque with his name is in the Ector County Cemetery, his body was never there, and for almost 66 years, no one knew where he or any of the other 77 sailors from the USS Flier had gone to rest.

Continue reading “Wreckage of WWII sub found”

Teens say it’s OK to wait

When she goes to school or turns on the television, 16-year-old Permian student Sandra Chavez is often exposed to a culture that celebrates premarital sex.

“From all of the pressure, it’s really hard to save yourself for marriage,” she said.

But Thursday night at CrossRoads Fellowship, she and about 800 other students were able to hear that it’s OK to wait.

Continue reading “Teens say it’s OK to wait”