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H&R Block back on my bad list

The "get your refund in advance" (no, actually get a loan at horrible rates) saturation advertising by H&R Block that I observed on the streets of New York City last year should have been enough to keep me miles away from them permanently.

But my mother had a good experience with them this year (in person in Sears), and they looked as good as *any* of the "free federal filing" (no hint at what state filing will cost) offerings out there.

It was $30 for the state, for the record, but I should have stayed away.

Boston Globe doesn't work

The entire BostonWorks section of this Tuesday's (April 17) Boston Globe is ads. A special advertising section, or somesuch. I guess that's what it its every week, or day, or whatever.

All I know for sure is it's another reason to keep our money away from corporate outlets (especially ones owned by out-of-state war promoters like the New York Times).

Taking the Train to Miami

I'll be taking the train from Boston to Miami instead of flying.

Amtrak uses about half the energy consumption per passenger as domestic flights (54% to be precise). That's according to government figures:

http://www.bts.gov/publications/national_transportation_statistics/html/...

This is despite the low capacity of the horribly slow cross-country trains, and the high capacity of airplanes. Jets are just inefficient and polluting, pouring out tons of fuel per mile. (I've heard that propeller planes would take 25% longer but use only a fraction of the fuel.)

Book review: The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge by Jeremy Narby

This isn't really a book review either, but when I start categorizing things that's what I'll want it to be listed as.

The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge
by Jeremy Narby

It's certainly a good read. I love Narby's political activism.

I don't necessarily agree that DNA can communicate molecular-level biological knowledge to people, but I sure as hell think it's worth getting some molecular biologists to experiment with!

Movie Review: Stranger Than Fiction

There's no point in anybody reading this. All it contains is a spoiler.

Only movie I've watched for quite a while is Stranger Than Fiction, which Jakob had gotten from Hollywood Video and which Mom and I watched sometime after he did.

Fun, great acting, and the only reason I'm writing about it now is because I've spent far too much brain resources since then trying to figure out what "de" could be typed as other than the obvious... finally came up with "dealt a crushing blow."

Vent Tents and World Changing

Connecting plastic bag tents to heating vents, very much one of the coolest things I've seen from a practical, moral, political standpoint. (But I refuse to call it paraSITE, as the creator does.) My comment over there:

I second the request for a how-to on building these things, as I haven't seen one in Boston so there's definitely more opportunity to use this survival and visibility tool.

Global Socially Responsible Investing... with a couple days to the tax deadline for IRA investments

So the dollar and much of the U.S. economy is screwed, and I don't even know what my Pax World Balanced Fund Roth IRA that I put money into each year puts that money into.

I searched for "invest in Venezuela," "socially responsible foreign investment," "Latin America SRI" and such, without much effect.

Words vs. Reality, Firing Imus versus Fighting for Redress

[A post of mine to the Grassroots Radio Coalition listserve.]

A friend of mine suggested that someone had it in for Don Imus. Now, I
think he's right.

I don't care that Imus may be fired; if you're highly paid to say offensive
things and you say something highly offensive and get fired, that's an
occupational risk still far better than the job security most of us have.

My friend's point, which others have made in different contexts, is that you
can listen to any fifteen minutes of any of Imus or dozens of other radio

Feeding the Hungry is a Crime. Respecting laws like these is a Sin.

The law – collectively – has lost its legitimacy with the enforcement of just one law.

Orlando police arrested Eric Montanez for feeding people for free, and confiscated the stew. Orlando is a city that has banned giving food to homeless people.

News items like this make one wish there were take action buttons next to them. Until people who give a damn gets up to speed, there are these things called search engines that work pretty well too:

Counted Votes are Important to Democracy

Hat tip to BradBlog for covering the important issue so constantly.

And of course Black Box Voting (dot ORG) for that as well, and more.

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