“A Free Market Economy” Is a Terrible Excuse 

Thursday, December 30th, 2021

Recently, a reporter asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi if she’d support a prohibition on members of Congress trading stocks:

“No. We’re a free market economy,” Pelosi said. “They should be able to participate in that.”

Frankly? No, no, they shouldn’t. It’s very clear that Congresspeople have used knowledge the general public doesn’t have to acrue wealth, particularly during the COVID-19 pandemic. This may or may not be illegal, but it is most certainly distasteful. It ought to be beneath us all, and we shouldn’t accept it as reasonable.

Serving as a member of Congress is an honor and a privilege. It would be completely reasonable to enact a law that prevents those holding these positions of power from trading stocks. Upon entering Congress, assets could be placed in a blind trust and invested in index funds. If the country did well, those assets would increase in value in kind. We can find 535 competent people willing to forgo the ability to daytrade while they have their hands on the levers of power.

Meanwhile, in a related story, the folks at Insider did some incredible work. Dealing with shockingly terrible computer systems, they were able to determine how Congresspeople and congressional aides are failing to comply with financial conflict-of-interest laws.

Cosmo the Talking Crow 

Wednesday, December 29th, 2021

At an Oregon elementary school, a crow recently took up temporary residence:

The bird could say, “What’s up?” and “I’m fine” and “a lot of swear words.”

Crows are very cool, and many of them are disturbingly smart.

Alexa the Psychopath 

Tuesday, December 28th, 2021

I rip on Apple’s voice assistant Siri with some regularity. At times, I fear it might get repetitive. In my defense, however, Siri is frequently very, very bad, in amazing and amusing new ways. It’s not the only system with problems, however. Thanks to friend-of-the-site Colin T., it’s clear just how well crowdsourcing and user-generated content is working for Amazon’s Alexa.

An Imaginary Enemy, Defeated Once Again 

Monday, December 27th, 2021

Now that 25th of December has passed, the fictitious war on Christmas is over for another 11 months. Over at Salon, evangelical pastor Nathaniel Manderson wrote about the ridiculousness.

A Community of Christmas Light Stringers 

Friday, December 24th, 2021

In one Baltimore County neighborhood, a single string of Christmas lights led to an organic neighborhood revolution.

Outdoor lights strung across houses

Merry whatevs, y’all.

Sleep With a View 

Thursday, December 23rd, 2021

If you’re eating at a restaurant in Times Square, you deserve whatever comes your way. Even if that means someone opening a window from their hotel room out onto your table.

Looking at photos of Cassa Times Square and Tempura NY, it appears that the hotel built out the restaurant on an outdoor patio space. Looking at interiors of the restaurant, the window to Baker’s room appears to be right in the corner of the dining room.

Space in New York City is at an extreme premium. Still, it’s amazing and ridiculous to leave openable windows in this situation.

They’re Still Going to Want Your Phone Number 

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2021

This week on “Our Terrible Future”, RadioShack is coming back to sell you cryptocurrency.

A Well-Reviewed Hitman Is a Happy Hitman 

Tuesday, December 21st, 2021

Perhaps this positive review was an attempt at avoiding winding up on their bad side.

Bravo, Andy Corren 

Monday, December 20th, 2021

Renay Mandel Corren’s obituary is amazing, and I love it to death.

Logic Saves Lives 

Friday, December 17th, 2021

Back in 2017, rapper Logic released a song called ”1-800-273-8255”. That’s the number for America’s National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, and the song was written to encourage those in need of help to call. With over a billion plays on Spotify, it’s no stretch to assume this song has saved lives, but a new study confirms it.

If you or someone you know needs help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (Lifeline) at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text the Crisis Text Line (text HELLO to 741741). Both services are free and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. All calls are confidential.