Editing Fail

Forget bloggers and the economy; this is why newspapers are going under left and right. Go on; try to count the grammatical errors.  (Try not to be distracted by the incredibly scuzzy Uncle Sam figure or the strange logical errors.)

If the reader has to have a good understanding of a topic to comprehend a news outlet’s garbled reporting, the outlet isn’t reporting – it’s just selling advertising and tangible proof of the failure of our educational institutions.

Edit: This image originally appeared on the NY Post website at http://www.nypost.com/seven/04192009/photos/web_tax.jpg, but is no longer available at that link as of July 2014, per the comments below.

Self-Immolation, 9th Circuit Style

Today featured a classic effort at self-pwnage, presented by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The case is United States v. Beltran-Moreno.

Best quote:

In short, if the Beltrans’ sentences were to be altered, there appears to be only one direction in which they could go, and that is up — by at least five years. Fortunately for the defendants, in a decision issued one year after they filed their notices of appeal, the Supreme Court held in a case with similar facts to this one that an appellate court cannot raise a defendant’s sentence if the government has not appealed, even to raise the sentence to the statutorily required minimum. See Greenlaw v. United States, 128 S. Ct. 2559, 2562 (2008). Here, the government has for some reason — we would like to think out of a sense of justice or mercy — exercised its discretion not to seek on appeal the additional years of incarceration for which the statute provides. This decision alone has saved one of the Beltrans, Abraham, from a higher sentence, despite his counsel’s efforts to the contrary.

The other appeal, Jose’s, is more brazen, and accordingly holds more potential for self-immolation.

Page 7 of the PDF.

When it rains…

Blogging hiatus: over. The last week or so was insane. We got slammed at work all week, went to look at houses – we’re a ways out, but you gotta start early – Saturday, then went to a housewarming party Saturday night. Sunday slowed me down – way down. I got some sort of stomach bug which kept me home from work yesterday, which is unfortunate, because I really needed to bill 16+ hours over Sunday and Monday to dig out from last week.

Today: made it to the office, spent all day working much harder than I felt capable of doing, given how tired and weak I felt, came home… and discovered someone had had loaded my trash can to the brim with unsacked trash. Yes, again. In fact, on those Mondays – in this case, Tuesday, due to the aforementioned stomach bug – when we don’t rescue our trash can after pickup but before work, there is always trash in our can. Some people are just… jerks.

So, I went inside to call the city and plead for another pickup, then relax for a few minutes before going over this memo that occupied my entire last week… and my glasses broke. I was putting them on my nose and they just snapped, with a nice little “bang.” So… first thing in the morning is not work, but a trip to an optometrist. For those who don’t know, I am can’t-read-a-stop-sign-at-five-feet blind without corrective lenses. Literally – I’ve had that happen. I failed a driver’s vision test once for failure to locate the test machine once I had my glasses off. My eyes are that bad.

When it rains, it pours, folks. You can’t work a gazillion hours, or take care of personal affairs, or even get sick or take out the trash, without something else coming up. I am counting my blessings, really – it could be much worse right now, I know. But, I’m still annoyed, and that’s part of why I have a blog.

Thanks for listening, and may your stomach stay healthy, your trash emptied, and your glasses intact.

The Joy of Mondays

Remember last week, when I wondered who puts trash in a neighbor’s trash cans immediately after the garbage truck comes by? The question this week is who manages to fill every trash can in sight to the point of overflowing with wet, stinking, mostly-unsacked garbage immediately after pickup? That’s what happened on our street, yesterday. Fortunately, I was able to get the city to treat it as missed trash and send a truck by.

Really, people, who does that?

Question of the Day

No, it’s not a political one. It’s this: who comes along after trash has been collected on trash day, opens a neighbor’s trash can, and deposits two unsealed bags of foul, stinking, rain-drenched trash? Who does that?

William’s right; I am beseiged by idiocy.

Insult on Top of Injury

Like so many others, Sarah and I studied for the bar via BAR/BRI, though we used the iPod home study course because Chicago’s academic year ran halfway through the BAR/BRI Texas course. So, we got our iPods, diligently studied, and hopefully passed the Texas bar. Then we sent our iPods back for refunds of our $600 deposits (yes, you pay $600 for the iPod course on top of the $$$$ for the regular course, then a $600 deposit, all for a $179.48 iPod nano), which, predictably, is where things got really stupid.

We hadn’t heard from BAR/BRI, at all, despite the fact that UPS delivered our packages some time ago. You see, we very carefully sent them in two separate packages addressed one by each of us, because of the likelihood that somebody would get confused, only record one, and try to stiff us $600. Of course, come to find out, somebody got confused, anyway, by the arrival of two iPods from people with the same address and last name. So, he recorded one of them, put me down for a refund, and put Sarah down for $600 of incompetence fees. When I called to figure out what was going on, the lovely young lady on the other end – after misspelling my name repeatedly, refusing to believe my name is Ed, refusing to listen to which way Sarah spells her name, getting confused, crashing a computer, putting me on hold, dropping my call, and explaining that the status on her computer was irrelevant because all refunds are processed promptly and without fail – insisted to me repeatedly that it was all my fault for sending them in one box and, thanks to the intrepid warehouse staff of BAR/BRI Texas, my incompetence has now been rectified, restoring the perfect record of BAR/BRI’s database.

Sigh.

“Car Free” Days a Wash, At Best

Hilarious. People try to be environmentally friendly by completely and randomly interfering with other people’s lives, and they unsurprisingly make a hash of things:

Only in Seattle could an event touted as a way to help the environment get washed out during what is supposed to be the driest time of the year.

Car-free days is part of Mayor Greg Nickels’ campaign to encourage people to walk, bike or take mass transit.

One neighborhood is closed off to car traffic during selected weekends this summer.

Favorite quote:

“I think it promotes awareness of whatever we’re promoting awareness of,” said resident Thomas Hubbard.

Well, obviously!

Spam of the Day

Subject: “Aliens Abducted By Michael Jackson”

Sometimes, I admit, spammers actually amuse me.

(In case you’re wondering, though, the body of the message was incoherent gibberish.)

Journalism =/= Mathematics

As a math major, law school grad, and economic policy wonk, I’m not sure which aspect of this stupidity by the New York Times horrifies me most. Is it: that people think we do tax at those rates, that some people think we should, that no editor caught the logical flaws before publication, or that this kind of thing happens all the time in other circumstances and goes undetected more often than not?