Current Events

Pete Buttigieg & Structural Change

While it’s important to talk about the issues, they are all just ideas and plans until we have a debate about the structure of our political system – that is what is limiting our ability to make real changes that will stick.

Here’s Mayor Pete from last night’s debate:

[This is] the conversation that we have been having for the last 20 years. Of course we need to get money out of politics, but when I propose the actual structural democratic reforms that might make a difference — end the Electoral College, amend the Constitution if necessary to clear up Citizens United, have DC actually be a state, and depoliticize the Supreme Court with structural reform — people look at me funny, as if this country was incapable of structural reform.

This is a country that once changed its Constitution so you couldn’t drink and changed it back because we changed our minds, and you’re telling me we can’t reform our democracy in our time. We have to or we will be having the same argument 20 years from now.

via Pete Buttigieg had the most important answer at the Democratic debate

The week that was (07-26-19)

In a brilliant stroke of inspiration, the French Army admitted that they lack imagination and hired a team of science fiction writers to dream up future threats so the nation can better prepare to defend against them.

Some shoppers enjoyed quite the bargain on Amazon Prime Day. Due to a configuration error, one part of the site was selling everything for $94.48. This included the $550 camera and even $13,000 lens.

In order to tackle rising stress among students, Delhi University in India is teaching a 6-month course on happiness. This is taught by the School of Happiness in association with the Harvard University’s Centre of Public Health and Happiness

Another government agency got a little frisky with their Facebook live stream again. This time it was the spokesperson for the Royal Canadian Mounties who donned the kitten whiskers.

When a rockslide in northern British Columbia prevented thousands of salmon from swimming upstream to mate and lay eggs, the Canadian government leapt into action and airlifted them to their final destination.

The World Economic Forum published a hopeful piece, Cheese energy could power hundreds of UK homes. We’ll leave it at that and let the curious enjoy.

The normally taciturn residents of New Hampshire are up in arms over the Governor’s choice for the state poet laureate. Instead of choosing from a short list of candidates nominated by the Poetry Society, Gov. Chris Sununu (yes, related to that Sununu) has gone with a relative unknown who is primarily known for dittys such as The Girls of Vancouver 2010 and a saucy limerick involving former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

Photo credit: Reddit user Titors_Time_Machine


The week that was (07-19-19)

Things went from strange to worse during an Oklahoma traffic stop. After pulling over a couple for driving a stolen car with a suspended license, officers found an open bottle of Kentucky Deluxe whiskey, a rattlesnake, a firearm, and a canister of radioactive powdered uranium.

Shares of Philippine’s Cebu Air plunged 38% when a trader mistyped which stock they meant to sell.

Those nervous that machines are out to exterminate us may give pause before trying out the flu vaccine invented by Artificial Intelligence.

Meanwhile, humans invented an electric guitar that shoots flames out of its neck.

Somebody made off with the tax records of nearly every adult in Bulgaria.

Counterfeiters in Brazil were arrested for making fake Ferraris and sham Lamborghinis.

A boat was dragged around the for two miles in San Francisco Bay when one of the fisherman on board hooked a great white shark.

Chicago park officials flew in a professional alligator trapper from Florida to help them capture a 5-foot alligator that had been lurking about in one of their parks. No idea how it got there but some suspect it was a pet. Since catching the animal, Frank Robb has been in no rush to go home, basking in a hero’s welcome.

A hunter responsible for killing 1,300 elephants is now complaining there are not enough left.

As part of an on-going effort to remove gender-specific language from government documents, the Berkeley City Council voted to remove the term, “manhole” from the city’s municipal code and replace it with “maintenance hole.”

Photo credit: KAWS:Holiday @ Mt. Fuji


The week that was

A rooster in France was hauled into court for crowing too loudly during the early morning hours.

An Uber pulled up to a wildlife rehabilitation center in Utah with a single passenger, a baby Lesser Goldfinch bird. Tim Crowley came across the bird when he was drinking with his friends and was too drunk to drive so he sent the bird in its own private car. No word on if it was a Black Car or Pool.

A man fleeing from the police was hidden out of view but then gave away his location when he farted, loudly.

Amazon decided not to charge a restocking fee and will refund a woman whose toddler bought a $400 couch while she was sleeping.

Toyota is working on a car with a solar roof for its electric cars so they can charge themselves while driving. On the other end of the spectrum, the Lexus division is building a 65-foot luxury motor yacht.

The last VW Beetle rolled off the production line in Mexico. Volkswagen announced that there will be no electric Bug. Only the van made the jump.

A store in Texas has deployed police to guard the ice cream from getting licked.

As if he wasn’t already in enough trouble, Elon Musk now has Pablo Escobar’s brother mad at him because he claims Elon stole his flamethrower idea.

Photo credit: Father and son lost in VR while their Tesla recharges.


The week that was

In preparation for all-electric double-decker buses, Transport for London commissioned new sounds that will alert people when these new, much quieter, buses are approaching. Bubbling noises and intermittent bleeps were voted down as “too spaceshippy” in favor of a canned recording of the old Routemaster bus which could be heard “a mile off.”

It was so hot on the California coast that scores of mussels were cooked in their shells. For the first time ever, it hit 90 degrees in Anchorage.

Over 2.3 million gallons of bourbon caught fire at a Jim Beam warehouse in Kentucky.

Scientists took over a year to confirm data that they couldn’t believe was true. An arctic fox, tracked by GPS, walked over 3,500 kms from Norway to Canada over the North Pole in just 76 days clocking an incredible 46 kms/day on average and, on one day, traveling 155km.

Over 100 cars in Denver followed their Google Maps recommended detour around an accident and ended up stuck on a narrow dirt road that had turned to mud.

An elderly man took a cake to a local hospital as a gift for the nurses that cared for his family member. Little did he know that the cake he took was one given to his grandson by his mates and was laced with cannabis. Police reported the staff at the hospital were “off their faces” and “relaxed.”

Instagram Influencer Lori Faith had built her career on her many different hair styles and hair treatments. But she never really went viral until she live-streamed a bleach treatment and lost all her hair.

Organizers of the Straight Pride Parade (motto: “It’s great to be straight”) received unmarked letters that they suspected might be filled with something dangerous. The bomb squad was called, the letters were opened, and authorities discovered glitter and note signed “Happy Pride” in rainbow colors.

A sad commentary of the world we live in, the Chicago Tribune, serving its community with helpful information, ran a column prior to July 4th. Gunshots or fireworks? How to tell the difference

TWTW is a weekly collection of bits and pieces I run across each week while looking after things at SmartNews. Feel free to sign-up to get this via email, follow on Facebook, or forward to a friend.