Sometimes the jokes just write themselves

I couldn’t help laughing when I read that a man accidentally shot himself . . . in a rather unfortunate location, in more ways than one. The … incident occurred at around 6:30 p.m. after a semiautomatic handgun that was being held in the man’s waistband began to slip. The gun, which was not in a holster, discharged as he attempted to reposition it, the man told cops.The Arizona Republic reported when police officers responded to the gun shot the man was found in the meat section of the Walmart store with “survivable injuries.” Officers said they filed a report for the

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I think the President has a point about General Motors

Angry over General Motors’ decision to shutter several US and Canadian auto manufacturing plants, President Trump recently tweeted: A lot of left-wing and progressive sources are claiming that this is inaccurate, and that GM has repaid all the loans given to it as part of the auto industry bailout.  However, that ignores the reality that the US taxpayer lost almost $11.4 billion on the overall GM bailout package, as Pro Publica confirms.  Click the image to be taken to a full-size view at the organization’s Web site. There are those who claim that the GM bankruptcy deal cost the US taxpayer a lot more than

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Some crime certainly seems to pay

It seems that the Vancouver housing market has been floating on top of a huge pool of drug money. The stately $17-million mansion owned by a suspected fentanyl importer is at the end of a gated driveway on one of the priciest streets in Shaughnessy, Vancouver’s most exclusive neighbourhood.A block away is a $22-million gabled manor that police have linked to a high-stakes gambler and property developer with suspected ties to the Chinese police services.Both mansions appear on a list of more than $1-billion worth of Vancouver-area property transactions in 2016 that a confidential police intelligence study has linked to Chinese

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Putting health-care costs under the microscope

Pro Publica is publishing a useful series of articles examining the health-care industry in the USA – and how its ultimate “beneficiaries” are not us, the patients, but the companies raking in huge excess profits and violating our privacy.  A selection of the articles so far: 1.  Why Your Health Insurer Doesn’t Care About Your Big Bills.  Patients may think their insurers are fighting on their behalf for the best prices. But saving patients money is often not their top priority.2.  Health Insurers Are Vacuuming Up Details About You — And It Could Raise Your Rates.  Without any public scrutiny, insurers and data brokers

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This may add an entirely new dimension to marine pollution

I haven’t heard the British-English idiom “to cry stinking fish” used in American English much, but it may be very appropriate to this report. Norway’s Hurtigruten, best known for the ships that ferry tourists along the country’s fjords and coastline and up into the Arctic, is investing 7 billion crowns ($826 million) over three years to adapt its 17-strong fleet.Six of its older vessels will be retrofitted to run on a combination of liquefied natural gas (LNG), electric batteries and liquefied bio gas (LBG).“We are talking about an energy source (LBG) from organic waste, which would otherwise have gone up in the

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New toy

Following Mike’s recommendation concerning larger-caliber firearms, I’ve been trying to upgrade my defensive battery.  Ideally, I’d like to replace my .38 Specialsnubnose revolvers with .44 Special equivalents, accepting the slightly larger size and greater weight of the latter in return for greater power and (hopefully) better performance. In the process, I happened to run across this beauty.  (Click the image for a larger view.) It’s a Taurus Model 431, a fixed-sight 5-shot .44 Special revolver.  This example is one of the relatively rare 4″ barrel models (most were made with 3″ or shorter barrels).  It was made during the 1980’s, but is in near-mint condition,

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The party of the rich is . . . ?

I note that the recent mid-term elections have produced one interesting result that hasn’t received much comment. California, New Jersey, New York and Virginia dominated the top 10 wealthiest congressional districts. Out of the wealthiest 50 districts, 13 are located in California; eight are in New York; five in New Jersey; and four in Virginia. Massachusetts, which didn’t make the top 10, still sports four of the nation’s richest congressional districts.Here are the 10 richest congressional districts in the U.S. by median household income:. . .Among the top 10 richest congressional districts, Democrats now represent all 10. Out of the 50 richest

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Hiding MSG

I heard from a friend yesterday.  She was extremely angry because her young child has what appear to be allergic reactions to MSG – monosodium glutamate.  She bought and served some food that did not list MSG as an ingredient under that name, but used another term she didn’t recognize.  As a result, her child became quite ill, and needed urgent medical treatment to deal with the symptoms. There’s a lot of disagreement about whether there is such a thing as an allergy to MSG.  Medical science largely says there isn’t.  However, MSG can produce certain reactions that may be mislabeled an “allergy”, particularly

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Smartphones and what they really cost you

When you add up the cost of smartphones over time, they don’t look very appealing. If you think your family’s smartphone addiction is bleeding you all dry, you don’t know the half of it.Based on typical smartphone costs and usage patterns, your kids will end up spending a staggering $75,000 apiece on their phones over the course of their lives, according to valuation company Flipsy.And even they’re only scratching the surface, because they missed out the biggest cost of all: The opportunity cost of all that money.If you factor that in, the true lifetime cost of your kids’ love affair with their Apple

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First you’re the target market, then you’re the problem

I’m cynically amused by an apparent pull-back in the granting of easy credit to consumers. Capital One Financial Corp. and Discover Financial Services said last week they have become more cautious in how they’re handling credit limits. The two lenders said they don’t currently see signs of deterioration in consumers’ ability to pay their debts but do question how much longer the economic recovery will last.“In so many ways, one can’t help but be struck by…just how good the economy [at] this point is,” Capital One Chief Executive Richard Fairbank said on the company’s earnings call. “And in some ways, it almost

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