Brief Commercial Announcement for a Friend.

Please indulge me for a moment.
An old friend of mine needs some help and I need to use this blog to give him a hand.
His name is Charles S. Couraud. And I’ll let him tell you what’s going on.

Help my son pay for his first year of college…
There was a woman earlier this (school) year who went through the school to specifically find and help a transgender student do their college transition prep work and organization. She was put together with my son Corbin, and as I am a single dad and busy busy with work at the top of the year I was grateful for the help and confident that the school was well informed. I stepped back and let the two of them work on all of his paperwork with my blessing and all my information. Little did I know, the ball was totally dropped after the information left my son’s hands. NOTHING was done. I did help my son get all of his info to University of Oregon where he was accepted and plans to go in the fall with his boyfriend. Unfortunately, though, The financial aid end ( the part she seemed really knowledgeable about) never happened. No January FAFSA, no scholarship forms.
I just found out when I went to check Corbin’s FAFSA online today. I got info in, but state deadlines have passed and the federal help is far from even half of what we need. To top all of this off, his mom defaulted on her student loans a few months back (loans that apparently my name is still attached to) effectively destroying any chance that either of us can co-sign loans for Corbin.
Corbin is a great kid. He is active in the community and with other LGBT students. He fights for social justice and equality. He regularly puts everyone else in front of his own needs and interests. Often to a fault.
So….. I am looking for help. This is just one place of many that I’m am working on. I am trying to find any scholarships still available to him, contacting organizations inside and out of the LGBT community, and pooling my few assets, too. Any help is appreciated greatly.
I know 15,000 is a huge goal, but anything helps and I will try to cover the rest in other ways. Feel free to ask me any questions you might have, and thank you in advance.


So that’s the shot.  His GoFundMe page is here. Chuck and Corbin are good people and they do not deserve the raw deal they’ve gotten.
If you can throw them something, I’d be very grateful.

Posted in Education, Student Loans | Tagged , | Leave a comment

State of myself: April 13, 2014.

Okay, here’s how things stand right now.

The bad news is I’ve been neglecting both this and the official book blog. Not good.
The good news is that I’ve written five pages of a possible feature script.  I wouldn’t get too excited though, my hard drive is littered with script fragments that never developed into anything. But the fact that I wrote five pages of something AND the quality of the writing doesn’t make me want to drive a fork into my upper thigh makes this a win.

Also this week, the money from my mom’s estate came through. Most of which is no sitting in a moneymaker account at Rogue Federal.  It’s not enough to pay off my student loans in one fell swoop but at least I now have some breathing room. (The reason for that breathing room righteously sucks though.  And if I had the choice, I’d rather be floundering if it meant mom was still alive.  But clearly, I’m not the one who gets to make that call.)
It also means I have enough money to treat myself to a little bit of a vacation.
Right now, the plan is in early May to head down to Disneyland. It has been years since I’ve been there and frankly, I’m due.
And honestly, it’s been a tough month here at Chez Jensen. Aside from the aforementioned writer’s block issues, I just discovered that one close friend has been diagnosed with skin cancer and another with congestive heart failure. And you factor in the recent unrest in the Ukraine AND the recent NASA report about climate change…
Well, let’s just say that there are rosebuds out there just begging to be gathered.

So, while I plan out the trip, I will still continue to try to tap out some words.  Bloggy or other wise.

More later.

Posted in Personal Stuff | Leave a comment

Things I’ve learned while blocked.

-Apparently, the less you write, the worse your writer’s block gets.

-When you say that you are going to write a post a day, it would be a good idea to actually do that.

-Video games are fun once in a while. Also “Once in a while” should not be defined as “Four Hours a Day”.

-Watching the news while having writer’s block is like watching porn while having your dick encased in lucite.

-All the hours and manpower CNN has devoted to reporting on a missing plane would have been better spent building a replacement.

-If you are a news anchor and you suggest that maybe the plane disappeared into a black hole, Neal DeGrasse Tyson should get to punch you on camera.

-If you live in a state that mines coal, you may want to experiment with dehydration as a lifestyle choice.

-If you are a U.S. Senator and you say on camera that Putin is a stronger leader then Obama, you may have to entertain the possibility that you have deep seated daddy issues.

-(To expand on my last comment, when I hear Lindsey Graham try to blame Putin’s actions on Benghazi, I begin to wonder how much of his childhood was like “The Great Santini”. You know at some point in his life, Graham’s daddy bounced a basketball on his head while yelling “Who’s my pretty girl?”. )

-Justice Roberts believes “Spending large sums of money in connection with elections, but not in connection with an effort to control the exercise of an officeholder’s official duties, does not give rise to such quid pro quo corruption. Nor does the possibility that an individual who spends large sums may garner ‘influence over or access to’ elected officials or political parties.”   
Somewhere, a Chicago Alderman is either laughing hysterically or jerking off to Justice Roberts photo.

-An enterprising craft store chain could crush Hobby Lobby by offering free IUD’s with a $25.00 purchase.

-By having Sarah Palin on his show, Jimmy Fallon has truely become the new Jay Leno.  
That is not a compliment.  

-When you say that you are going to write a post a day, it would be a good idea to actually do that.
I know I already wrote that.
I just thought it bore repeating. 

Posted in CNN, media whoring, Personal Stuff, Politics, President Barack Obama, Russia, The Senate, Uncategorized, Us putting the shiv to Mother Nature, Video Games, Vladimir Putin | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

The wrongheadedness of #CancelColbert.

(The important part is at 5:06.)

So let’s review.
Stephen Colbert plays a character on the “Colbert Report” described by Colbert himself  as a “well-intentioned, poorly informed high-status idiot”.
Said “well-intentioned, poorly informed high-status idiot” uses part of his show to “Defend” (i.e. Make fun of.) Washington Redskin’s owner Dan Synder’s refusal to change to the name of his team and subsequent forming of the Washington Redskins Original Americans Foundation. (Which has already been described by one tribal leader as “somewhere between a PR assault and bribery,”)
An out of context line from the piece gets tweeted by the Comedy Central account and before you can say “Race War”, The internet loses it’s shit.

The #CancelColbert hashtag was started by Suey Park (previously of #NotYourAsianSidekick) on Thursday night in response to the comedic misfire. “#CancelColbert because white liberals are just as complicit in making Asian Americans into punchlines and we aren’t amused,” Park tweeted.

Colbert himself weighed in with a tweet: “#CancelColbert – I agree! Just saw @ColbertReport tweet. I share your rage. Who is that, though?”

Whether the joke was offensive or not is really up to personal taste, but the line isn’t particularly surprising. Colbert’s entire schtick is playing a more overt caricature of conservative talking heads, making their implicit racism explicit in what is now an extended, decade-long bit. That one line — when divorced from context — appeared to just be a racist quip possibly illustrates the point. It’s cranking offensiveness up so far as to be inherently unbelievable. Again, react however you choose, but this sort of thing is Colbert’s bread and butter.

Exactly.  The whole point of the piece was not “Asians are so kooky” but “Look how clueless rich white guys are about race”. This is not Daniel Tosh making bad rape jokes or even The Onion screwing up a tweet. Hell, it’s not even Rush Limbaugh making a joke about Sandra Fluke allegedly being a “Slut”. (Because as I’ve said before, the premise behind it didn’t even work!) Colbert was working the right side of the power equation by using “Stephen Colbert’s” cluelessness to point up Synder’s cluelessness.  A fact that seems lost on Ms. Park. Who also tried to make her case at today.

If comedians want to protest the racist name of the Redskins football team and to ban racist mascots, as the comedian’s defenders claim is his goal, there are a variety of ways to organize and to highlight this issue. But this isn’t about white liberals wanting to change the name, or their devotion to destroying settler-colonialism: It’s about their feeling entitled to make jokes about “The Other” in the name of “progress.” This does nothing to alleviate the burden of people of color; it simply perpetuates a part of the entertainment industry in which our marginalization remains profitable.

Again, the joke was not about Orientals being “The Other”. It was about dumb white guys being dumb white guys.
Also, just a reminder.  Stephen Colbert is not an activist.  He is a comedian.  It is not his job to pick up the flag for your cause.  It’s his job to get laughs.  By any means necessary.

We are proud to be what Sara Ahmed defines as Feminist Killjoys — meaning we “Will not laugh at jokes designed to cause offense.” (Bold type mine. RJ.)  We refuse to believe we have created racism by pointing to it and naming it. As Dave Zirin tweeted in our defense: “if Suey Park pointed at a burning building, then she must be an arsonist.” We don’t accept such silly logic.

Two things. One, technically Colbert was the one pointing at the burning building by making fun of Dan Synder.  If anyone is erroneously calling any one a fire bug, it’s Ms. Park.
Two. (And this is the part that really pisses me off.) Will not laugh at jokes designed to cause offense?
Well, Ms. Park.  Then I guess you should stay the hell away from Richard Pryor, George Carlin, Lenny Bruce, Bill Hicks, Patton Oswalt, Monty Python, David Cross, Dennis Leary, and Larry, The Cable Guy.  Because if you thought Colbert was offensive, these guys would make your eardrums bleed. (Although, seriously, you should stay away from Larry, the Cable Guy because…yikes!)
Anybody can be offended by any form of comedy at anytime. Offense is the natural byproduct any art with a strong point of view. The question anytime it happens should not be “Is this offensive” but “What is the offensiveness in service of?”.
In this case, it was Colbert using his persona of “Entitled Idiot White Guy” to make fun of an Entitled Idiot White Guy.
Racism is a social illness that needs to be addressed. But going after the people mocking it instead of enabling it is a waste of energy.

Speaking of which, I noticed that Ms Park received a tweet of support from of all people, Michelle Malkin.

It should be noted that this is the same Ms. Malkin who once wrote a book defending WWII Japanese Internment Camps. 
Take a moment to chew on that irony, campers.

EDIT: 03/29/14 6:41 P.M. Corrected the timing on the Hulu Embed.

Posted in comedy, Politics, Racism | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

John Boehner: Cheaters never starve.

Via The New York Daily News:

WASHINGTON — New York Democrats lashed out at House Speaker John Boehner Thursday after he accused New York and four other states of “cheating” and “fraud” for sidestepping billions of dollars in federal food stamp cuts.

“Whoever thinks feeding the hungry and the poor is cheating and fraud must have no heart,” said Rep. Charles Rangel (D-Harlem).

At issue are efforts by New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Oregon to continue tapping what critics call a “loophole” in food stamp laws that Congress tried to close in a farm bill last month.

The rebellion against the cuts has enraged Republicans who watched the savings they hoped to wring from the food stamp program shrink.

On Thursday, Boehner (R-Ohio) spoke out.

“Since the passage of the farm bill, states have found ways to cheat once again on signing up people for food stamps,” he complained.
“And so I would hope that the House would act to try to stop this cheating and this fraud from continuing.”

Democrats said the states had to step in to prevent residents from going hungry. The farm bill’s continuation of subsidies for wealthy farmers and business interests only added to the need to act, they said.

“It is not up for dispute that Gov. Cuomo correctly stepped up to stop devastating cuts to low-income families within both the letter and spirit of the law,” said Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.).

“Not only did Speaker Boehner prioritize saving every dollar for crop insurance companies over hungry families, he is making an argument that would be laughable if it weren’t so sad,” she said

So, let’s review.
The GOP is able to shove cuts to the Food Stamp program into the Farm Bill.
Several Senators who realize that many of their constituents will go hungry proceed to exploit a loophole to make sure those people get fed.
John Boehner reacts to this news using language usually reserved for polite Southern Gentlemen in White Suits who have extra aces hidden in their cuffs.
I understand having issues with the Democrats but if you make under fifty thousand dollars a year and vote straight ticket Republican, you are a Goddamn sap.

Let me tell you a couple of quick things about myself.

After my parents got divorced, my mom had to apply for the food stamp program. She wasn’t crazy about it. But she did it because she had two kids who needed feeding. (One of them who could shovel back food in a way that would make Marimba Army Ants tilt their heads back and say “DAMN!”.)  And soon as things stabilized, she quit the program.
The other thing is that when I was a teen-ager, I worked as a clerk at the family grocery store, we would get people who would buy a stick of beef jerky for something like ten cents and then use the change for other stuff like beer or cigarettes. (I remember getting into an argument with one guy about this and it got so heated that he almost threw an un-opened can of soda in my face.  I’m going to take a moment and play my judgmental asshole card and assume that he’s now dead from his own stupidity.)
So yeah, I’ve been on both sides of this issue.  And I kind of get why conservatives aren’t crazy about about the program. No one like to be played for a sap.
But the fact is that fraud in the program is far lower then the GOP says it is. Via U.S. News and World Reports.

Conservative critics of SNAP and other federal social programs like to portray them as turning the United States into an “entitlement society” by undermining the work ethic and creating a class of people dependent on government programs. That’s not true of SNAP and it’s not true of other federal health and income security programs. CBPP analysis finds that more than 90 percent of the benefit dollars that these programs spend go to assist people who are elderly, seriously disabled or members of working households – not to able-bodied, working-age Americans who choose not to work.

The “entitlement society” myth is often paired with similarly discredited arguments that SNAP and other federal social programs are poorly run or have high administrative costs. In fact, SNAP has a strong record of efficiency. It has one of the most rigorous quality control systems of any public benefit program. SNAP error rates (benefit overpayments and underpayments) are at an all-time low; just 3 percent of benefits went to ineligible households or exceeded the allowable benefit for eligible households. Moreover, honest mistakes by recipients, eligibility workers, data entry clerks or computer programmers – not fraud – account for an overwhelming majority of such overpayments. 

Conservative critics who want to cut SNAP sharply or radically restructure the program say such “reforms” are necessary because the number of people claiming benefits and benefit costs are spinning out of control, the program is discouraging work and creating dependency, and it’s rife with waste, fraud, and abuse.

The facts, however, say otherwise.

Here in Oregon, the SNAP funds are distributed by using a EBT card.  It works like a debit card and is only good for approved food items. Here, the using a stamp for penny candy dodge is a thing of the past.
You want to cut fraud, you make fraud harder to execute.  Cutting the program just hurts the people who need it the most.

I can’t tell whether John Boehner actually believes his hogwash about the Governors being cheaters or if he’s just tossing red meat.  But at this point, it doesn’t matter.
What matters is that we can’t let him get away with this nonsense.
This is one of those moments when Bullshit needs to be yelled loudly and often.
So let’s get yelling!


Posted in Congress, Great Depression 3.0, Politics, Rep. John Boehner, Republicans shooting themseves in the foot, Right wing Idiots, Speaker John Boehner | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Question for the group mind: Tip Jars.

Okay, here’s the skinny.
If you’ve clicked on the WePay tip jar link, you have seen the following message.

WePay Donations have been discontinued. If you were trying to make a payment, please contact the person you’re trying to pay directly. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.

Which means the only working Tip Jar I have left is Dwolla. And I would like an option that takes Credit Cards AND would prefer it not to be PayPal.

So my question is this. Is there a company I can use in lieu of WePay for a CC friendly tip jar or should I just bite the bullet and open a PayPay account?

Posted in Money issues., Personal Stuff | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

“Captain America: The Winter Solder.” The first ten minutes.

Marvel has them in spades!
Hell, I bet they keep them in a warehouse just outside of Pasadena. And on special occasions, slap them on a flatbed truck and drive them to the DC offices in Los Angeles. Just so they can put them on a winch and teabag their lobby, cackling like maniacs the whole time.
Now I’m not bringing up the idea of a multinational media company having a house sized set of testicles lying around just to be silly and juvenile. (Although, honestly, it’s kind of partially the reason.) But to point out that yesterday, Marvel Studios unleashed the first ten minutes of ‘Captain America: The Winter Solider” upon the Internet. And just as quickly, un-unleashed.  The link to the footage I was going to post expired. However, I did find an excellent summary of the footage on Movieweb from an earlier Marvel press event.

The movie opens with a bit of levity, a serene morning in Washington D.C., with two men out for a run around the National Mall. Although one of these men does not appear to be slow at all, the other is just monumentally faster. At first, we can’t see these men in detail, since the camera is following them from afar, but the speedy man is readily identifiable as Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) when he keeps saying “On your left” to the same man over and over again, who we come to learn is Sam Wilson (Anthony Mackie).
After their run, Rogers has barely broken a sweat when he casually goes to introduce himself to a winded Wilson, a fellow soldier himself. As they chat about Rogers’ acclimation to modern-day society (Rogers talks about the Internet and how it’s great they don’t have to worry about polio anymore), Wilson suggests the 1972 Marvin Gaye album “Trouble Man,” which he claims has “everything you’ve missed on one album.” Rogers literally takes note of this suggestion, adding it to a list of things he needs to catch up on, that includes entries such as Steve Jobs, the Rocky movies, Star Wars movies and many others that I couldn’t catch, because it wasn’t on screen long enough.
Their encounter is cut short when “duty calls,” as Rogers gets an alert on his phone. Moments later, Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) pulls up in a pristine Corvettte, while joking that she needs to know where the Smithsonian is so she can find a “fossil,” as Sam looks on. Before they speed off, Rogers tells Wilson, “You can’t run everywhere.”

This first part does a lot right.  It re-establishes Rogers’ psychical prowess and basic decency.  It shows him still struggling with modern society without resorting to “Frozen Caveman Lawyer” like gags. And it establishes the easy rapport that he’s going to have with the man who will become “The Falcon”.
Also, Wilson’s reccomendation of Marvin Gaye’s “Trouble Man’ is specific enough that you get the sense that it’s going to have  thematic resonance down the line. (Either that or The Russo Brothers are just big Martin Gaye fans.)
(Oh, and by the way, that album is on Spotify. And it is tasty.)

And it looks like the second half of the footage is still on line.

There is a brief moment missing from this clip where it’s revealed that it’s a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship and Rogers expresses his displeasure at being Nick Fury’s janitor. But other than that, it’s the same.
And again, it does a lot right. It shows Rogers coninued pining for Peggy Carter through wisecracks and avoidence.
The glimpse of Agent Stillwell (From “Item 43″ fame.) helps connect the film with the larger Marvel Universe. And it reminds us all that you never, EVER, fuck with a man with a throwable shield.
Seriously, that looked painful.

This is not the act of a studio braying desperatly for your dollars.  They know they have the goods.  Hell, they already hired The Russo’s for “CAIII”. And while DC continues to flounder trying to create a Wonder Woman movie, Marvel’s next film has a talking raccoon and Andy Dryer from “Parks and Recreation” as Han Solo 2.0. And they’re not even breaking a sweat.
Make no mistake. Marvel has balls.
And they’re slapping them on DC’s drum kit.

EDIT: 03/19.  Tagged with categories and fixed  a spelling error.

Posted in Movies, The Geekness | Tagged , | Leave a comment