Speechless

I couldn’t think of a proper title for this post, so I went with how I feel: speechless. Speechless at the stupidity of people today.

First, let me just say that I have found yet another instance of misusing 911. A women in Florida (why does this keep happening in Florida?) called 911 not once, not twice, but three times because of…well…McDonald’s. Apparently she ordered a ten-pack of everyone’s favorite processed chicken nuggets, and then she was told that they were out, and no, she couldn’t have a refund (all sales final!), but she could have another meal – even a more expensive one – instead. I guess Latreasa L. Goodman really wanted those chicken nuggets, because she absolutely refused to take this deal. Although if I had been her, I would’ve ordered a really big hamburger, with fries, and a large drink, and a McFlurry. Yeah…that’s why I don’t eat at McDonald’s anymore.

The best part is, a McDonald’s spokesperson noted that Goodman should have been issued a refund, and she’s been sent a gift card for a free meal. Along with a citation for misusing 911. You can’t win ’em all, I guess.

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Anyway, onto the real story of the day. There is a website in France where children can enlist the help of older students…to do their homework for them.
For a small fee, of course.
Needless to say, parents and teachers are outraged, and I imagine the students are quite thrilled. Here’s a quote:

On faismesdevoirs.com (domyhomework.com), children will be able to buy answers to simple maths problems for 5 euros (4.40 pounds), while a full end-of-year presentation complete with slides and speaking notes will cost 80 euros.

That’s about $6.30 for math problems, and $100.89 for the other thing, whatever it’s supposed to be.

Teachers are complaining that this website is ignoring the point of education, which is to learn how to add 2+2, not how to lose all your money at the age of six. Which brings to mind the question, “Where the hell are these kids getting this money?” I have no idea.
The founder of the website, Stephane Boukris, is claiming that students will still learn, because the answers come with annotations on how to do the problem. And of course the students will read those annotations, right?
On the other hand, the founder also said, “I realised there was a gap in the market. Add to that a dose of insolence, a zest of arrogance and the internet [sic], and you have faismesdevoirs.com,” which to me seems a bit like he doesn’t care if students actually learn how to do their homework, as long as he can make money.

Hey, in this economy, can you blame him?

It gets better. He also said, “Of course some schoolchildren might use the system to cheat, but they’ll have to learn sooner or later because we won’t be there on exam day.” This statement is not only true, it’s also hilariously evil.

Anyway, his blatant evilness is not what’s grinding my nerves about this. It’s that students are actually paying people to do their homework! Do you know why that’s stupid? I’ll tell you why.
Go to Google. Right now. Type in “What’s the square root of 157,895?”  Here’s what Google has to say:
square root(157 895) = 397.360038

So why are you paying someone to do what you can get for free?!
Now, granted, this is in France, but I can only assume that Google works the same in France as it does in America. If not, please let me know, and my outrage at this matter may disappear.
Until that point, what have we learned? That schoolchildren have the means to get hundreds of dollars to pay for their homework, but they don’t have the means to manipulate the Internet properly. And for that, they deserve to fail their math tests.

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Published in: on March 4, 2009 at 1:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

I Fought the Law, and the Law Won, but the Law was Wasting its Time

I am a delinquent.

Yes, it’s true, I have broken the law. Several times. I have participated in underage drinking…um….vandalized a school bus seat when I was in the sixth grade…let’s see…I smoked cigarettes on and off for three months when I was sixteen…oh! And I have some overdue library books.
Out of all of those, right now I’m thinking that the one that I might have to worry about the most is the theft of library books. Because I have never been “punished” for drinking or smoking, and I was only suspended from the bus for three days for the vandalism incident (whatever, it’s not like those buses are in great condition anyway, what was the harm in a little permanent marker?).
But not returning library books? That can get you arrested.

At least, it can get you arrested in Iowa, possibly because there is nothing else to do in Iowa.

A woman in Iowa (obviously) was arrested for “stealing” a library book (obviously). The book is valued at $13.95, but she had to pay $250 to get out of jail. It’s not as though the arrest was entirely random; she checked the book out in April, was contacted repeatedly by mail and phone, and a police officer visited her home last September. All to no avail. This terrible criminal insisted on continuing with her evil ways, and clearly she got what she deserved.
Don’t worry, though, because this was only a fifth degree theft charge. See?

The theft of property not exceeding two hundred dollars in value is theft in the fifth degree. Theft in the fifth degree is a simple misdemeanor.

Yeah. That’s straight from Iowa law.

Let’s be serious for a moment. What aggravates me about this entirely idiotic course of action is how serious the theft of a library book was taken.
In my opinion, America does not deal with most of its criminals nearly harshly enough. I’ve heard of countries that take away your license after your first D.U.I., which seems entirely reasonable to me. And I’m pretty sure most other prisons don’t allow their inmates access to cable TV, pornography, and the Internet.
God forbid, however, that a woman who fails to return a library book go unpunished.

Is it just me, or is this a serious waste of taxpayers’ dollars?

Okay, I don’t have a problem with them sending the woman to jail. She wasted the time and resources of the library workers as well as the police. She could have simply paid the late fees/paid for a new book. Not that hard. She may have deprived other library patrons of the book. Clearly, this was theft. So I don’t mind that part. Except I still have library books that were due…oh….at least seven years ago.
My problem is that while police should be cracking down on people with slightly more pressing criminal issues, the only area I’ve seen a crackdown in is in library matters.
Ridiculous.

What have we learned?
Absolutely nothing, apparently.

~~~

In Georgia, the statute of limitations for simple misdemeanors is two years. So I’m a thief, but there’s nothing you can do about it.

Published in: on January 26, 2009 at 4:28 pm  Comments (2)  
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In my day, you had to actually SEE the doctor to get billed

I guess that’s simply not true anymore.

A Dallas woman waited 19 hours in the emergency room, never saw a doctor – and still was billed for $162.

She broke a bone in her leg while playing volleyball, but became fed up with waiting for so long, so she went home. However, while she was waiting in line, a nurse checked her vital signs in order to assess her place in line. This only lasted a few minutes, but evidently 5 minutes equals $162. That hospital must be good, because that’s $32.40 per minute.
Okay, okay, I don’t know if the assessment literally lasted 5 minutes, but how long does it take to check someone’s vital signs? Particularly when they’ve only broken a bone?

Anyway, the hospital’s vice president, whose in charge of billing, insists she’s paying for the assessment, not for waiting in line. The woman, who has no insurance, says she doesn’t plan to pay. I wouldn’t either.

A few days before her visit, a 58-year-old man went to the ER with stomach pains, waited for 19 hours, and then died of cardiac arrest. Possibly at the same hospital, although the article doesn’t specifically say.

But that means you must be doing something wrong, right? I understand that hospitals aren’t big enough or well-staffed enough to get everyone in and out in a reasonable matter, but c’mon. It’s one thing to charge someone after you check their vitals, but then somebody dies AFTER you do this really expensive check? That’s just ridiculous.

 Other Texas hospitals also charge for assessments, but not all do, like Baylor University Medical Center. So what have we learned? If you’re in Texas and you get hurt, go there instead.

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 9:20 am  Leave a Comment  
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If you’re looking for confusion, please continue reading

So, I was talking to my mom the other day and ranting about how prostitution should be legalized. I thought it would make a great blog entry.
I try to do a fair amount of research before publishing each blog post, which means that some of my blog posts are actually days old before they hit the press.

In this case, what began as a blog entry for prostitution is now a blog entry very confused about prostitution.

Prostitution is kind of a broad topic. To narrow it down, I was planning on responding, point by point, to this NY Times articles by Nicholas D. Kristof, possibly one of the greatest news columnists of all time. (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/03/13/opinion/13kristof.html?_r=1&oref=slogin)

~~~

Kristof is a persuasive writer, enjoyable to read and easy to understand. I agree with many of his writings; I didn’t agree with all of Kristof’s reasoning, however, on this particle article. For instance, according to Kristof there is an abundance of evidence stating that almost half of all (US?) prostitutes have attempted suicide.

  • Many junior high students have attempted suicide. Therefore, junior high should be illegal.

Yeah, you see the problem.

Kristof also mentions the mortality rate is awful, women fear for their lives at times, 89% of prostitutes apparently want to find a 9-5 job, and a lot of prostitutes have drug dependencies/mental illnesses.
Yes, that’s right; you’re sleeping with a crazy chick, but she’s the one getting paid. Sounds like she’s not the one needing medication & therapy, but okay.

Still, all of Kristof’s reasoning at this point wasn’t impressing me. Of course prostitutes are going to fear for their lives, of course their mortality rate is obscenely high; they can’t go to the police or other authorities without revealing that they are breaking the law. If you’re a prostitute who trusts the cops, chances are it’s your first day.
But Kristof is nothing if not thorough, so his next point caught my attention: he brought up my argument, the idea that if prostitution is legalized, then we can regulate it.
Then he mentioned the Netherlands. Just about everyone knows that the Netherlands legalized prostitution. Any pro-prostitution activist will cite that info. What most won’t do, however, is talk about what’s happened since then.

According to Kristof, “Legalization nurtured a large sex industry and criminal gangs that trafficked underage girls, and so trafficking, violence and child prostitution flourished rather than dying out.”
Uh, what? Had to Google that one.
Unfortunately, although I browsed Google, Google Scholar, WorldCat, JSTOR, and more, I couldn’t find any evidence to back up Kristof’s claims. The evidence must be out there; he’s not exactly the type to put a blatant lie in print. Maybe I was using the wrong string of search words, so if anyone has more information, I would love to see it.
Of course, this wild goose chase wouldn’t be a problem if Kristof had cited his information on his article or on his blog. Maybe journalists don’t often tell their readers where they obtained their information when they’re writing articles for the New York Times; however, there was no reason not to do so on his blog. It makes the whole thing seem kind of sketch.

Well, no matter. Kristof then wrote of Sweden. Evidently Sweden put into practice an entirely different law: prostitution is legal, but it’s illegal to buy sex.
I’ve read that statement, like, 50 times over the past 24 hours, and I still don’t understand the logic behind that law. Prostitutes are safe, but not their customers, which is…odd. For one thing, if I was a prostitute, I would appreciate it if my customers could keep returning to me. Apparently, however, this policy has reduced sex trafficking (again, Kristof doesn’t say how he found this out).

On his blog entry (http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/03/10/) Kristof suggests experimenting with the Swedish way of doing things, which doesn’t sound like a bad idea, but who can know for sure?

I don’t know about you, but the whole thing thoroughly confuses me. I have gone from knowing exactly what I believed about prostitution to being immersed in doubt. I think that might be a good thing.

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To sum it all up, here’s what we’ve learned today:

  1. Cons of not legalizing prostitution: prostitutes are less likely to go to authorities if they suffer any type of violence. The government has no way of making (legit) money off the practice. And I suspect prostitutes are less likely to wear condoms if nobody’s making them. Ah, and there’s the double standard of allowing women to get paid to have sex, so long as they’re on camera (yes, I’m referring to porn).
  2. Cons of legalizing prostitution like they did in the Netherlands: sex trafficking, violence, and child prostitution might go up.
  3. Cons legalizing prostitution like they did in Sweden: some Swedish prostitutes complained that demand was reduced (which makes sense). Also…I really, really, really don’t get how it can be totally legal to sell sex, but not buy it. Could somebody please explain this concept to me?

I hope you’re feeling just as confused as I am.

Published in: on September 18, 2008 at 6:47 pm  Leave a Comment  
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