Balko: "[I]f you’re a shoplifter in California [$950 misdemeanor ceiling] who wants to steal a lot more stuff without worrying about a felony charge, you might consider moving to Texas [$2,500 misdemeanor ceiling]."

And since the 2023 cost of living index for TX (92.1) is less than two-thirds that for CA (142.2) (US avg index is normalized to 100), TX could give you more bucks for the bang than CA



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Personally, I think streaming will go away in the next couple of years. It was a product that peaked when everyone was stuck at home for 2 years. Now that people are out and about, there is not much point to most of the streaming platforms from a business sense. For all the top notch products like "Picard" Season 3 and "The Great" on Hulu (WICKEDLY funny), you get a lot of tripe such as the Bridgerton products, The Morning Show, and that God-awful KA-KA casserole that Nicole Kidman did where she had that bizarre semi0Eastern European accent.

There is a market for classic television (as Hulu and the Roku Channel have shown), but for original programming, streaming really is not fit for purpose. Why should a writer sign up for a season that is only 6-9 episodes? "Seasons" on streaming make no sense. That explains why the storylines frequently

come off as threadbare or badly stitched or agressively rushed (As Marvelous Mrs Maisel has been at some points here in their final season). Unless they are getting a substantial payment upfront, there is no financial incentive for them to write for streaming unless their name is Amy Sherman-Palladino (who both EP's Mrs Maisel and writes for it).

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"Say less. Some of the greatest, funniest, most memorable things I’ve ever seen on social media were only a few words long. Make your point as economically as possible."


Well, yes, making your point as economically as possible is a good writing skill, but the idea that you need to distill complex ideas/thoughts/arguments down to 120 (240) characters is what (one of) has caused modern America to have the attention span of a gnat.

God forbid anyone have to read paragraphs - let alone chapters, or a book...the horror! - to understand the nuance involved in a concept or idea. Best to have it bumper sticker length, because you should strive to be pithy not accurate.

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May 14, 2023·edited May 14, 2023

Listen in good faith--meaning actually listen--to the 9/11 families whose activism created the 9/11 Commission. The chaos of disinformation surrounding the attacks, alongside our two decades long inept response, is drowning out the very people who can help us the most. "Consider the possibility of other perspectives. You’ll be stunned at what you might learn if you’re just willing to listen and keep an open mind...."

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I don't agree with Hines' advice. If you want to be better on the Internet, learn to read more closely, and pretend--at least-- you are listening to what others say. Then others may listen to you.

Demand that unedited AI identify itself as such--legally required. The charge is "impersonating a human". It's just a misdemeanor to violate, per instance, but if it's sent to a million, the fine is billions.

And clamor for better coding--these websites mostly suck.

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May 14, 2023·edited May 14, 2023

The Progressives insist that people shoplift because they are deperately poor.

That is malarky. Shoplifting is the way organized crime feeds its fencing opertions. And it kills the very kind of businesses that provide jobs for the pepole they pretend to care about. And (1) most poor people never commit any crime, and (2) some of the poorest parts of America are almost crime free. Saying that poverty causes crime is saying that poor people don't have morals and ethics.

A very small number of shoplifters are responsible for a very large fraction of shoplifting arrests.


The refusal to deal with this problem is one reason why people vote Republican even in the MAGA era. You are a hypocrite when you whine about Trump's crimes and ignore other organized crime activity.

(FWIW the cutoff in NY is $1,000 before it is a felony.)

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#3 hit hard. I was not my best and brightest in a comment I made on yesterday’s triad. I do stand by it , though. I do not like Boebert, and I would like to slap some sense into her. Saying that relieved a little stress, but slapping anyone is not a good thing. And, yet…

I realized recently that I learn a lot more if I pay attention to what is written by the Bulwark crew, and what is said in the comments. I like a lot of comments, and I often go back to figure out why I liked them, or to find the book or source recommended. Sometimes I try to figure where I *actually* stand, because I like opposing views. And very frequently I’ll like a whole string of comments, because you all are hilarious! A lot of you are way more informed and intelligent than I will ever be, and I really love mulling over what you’ve said while I am pulling weeds.

So this is me, being succinct.

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Sucks to realize that Adam Corolla might have lost his shit, too. I'll have to peek around and see how he's turned out over the last several years.

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Migrants crossing the border without documentation dropped on Friday, the first day after Title 42 was lifted,

Just read this, now what are republicans going to screech about?

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I have an opinion on EVERYTHING. If I didn't I will as soon as you bring it up ;)

Just remember, opinions are like assholes and everyone has one--and a lot of them stink.

Writer's Strike:

I come from a long line of blue collar workers. Worked blue collar jobs into my mid 30s. Member of a union, still (FWIW). I tend to sympathize with the workers.

The thing is, I think the writers are screwed. Mostly because of... wait for it.... AI.

A lot of the writing I have seen over the years for shows was middling good at best. Occasional flashes of brilliance. The reality is that there are only so many stories (that get dressed up various ways). This kind of writing is tailor-made for being automated.

I fully expect my own job (teacher) to become largely automated at the public school level (despite the fact that it is probably a VERY bad idea for a number of reasons). The current generation of teachers could very well be the last,

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Thank you as always.

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May 13, 2023Liked by Jonathan V. Last

JVL, I briefly subscribed to the WS via Nook because I was looking for thoughtful conservative opinion...and I thought Bill Kristol looked like one of my grad school professors, Dr Richard Vedder. I would not have suspected that we'd be here now agreeing on the benefits of organized labor. What a wonderful world!

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Pennsylvania's F/M cutoff for theft is $2,000.00 (with exceptions for certain items like vehicles, firearms, etc.). We also differentiate between "theft" and "fraud," with the latter having a $500.00 threshold for felonies. Those statutes apply to things like identity theft, credit card fraud, check fraud, and so on. However, we have three degrees of misdemeanors, so the higher the value of the goods stolen, the higher the grading. When it comes to shoplifting, or "retail theft" as the statute is labeled, the first offense is a summary (depending on the value), but the third offense, regardless of value, is a felony.

I think we have a generally fair approach to things here and I was quite surprised to see how other states approach it.

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Unfortunately, here in Portland shoplifting is at an all time high. The issue is not misdemeanor v felony. It’s that if you lift in Multnomah County (Portland) there’s a decent chance you won’t be prosecuted. Both REI and the Nike Outlet Portland stores are closing because of theft. Stores have had to add security personnel, but they aren’t law enforcement so can’t do anything as thieves walk out of stores with handfuls of stuff. The news had a video of a shoplifter in Washington Co asking where he was (shoplifting prosecuted in that neighboring county). His response: damn, I thought this was Multnomah County. It’s not a misdemeanor problem, it’s failure to prosecute problem. Businesses are leaving the downtown core: 2nd highest taxes in country, theft, homelessness, vandalism. As lefties, we can’t wish these problems away. Just because the righties like to point out failings, doesn’t mean there aren’t failings.

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RE: #2 The Writers' Strike

When the first troops from the Japanese invasion of "cheap" cars began landing on these shores decades ago, the domestic auto industry's response was a pretty arrogant "We'll drive them back into the sea." Glad those guys weren't in charge of things for our side on D-Day back in '44.

By the time they figured out this wasn't just going to be a skirmish to be crushed by their hefty industrial might, it was far too late to respond in a way that might have mitigated the losses in a significant fashion. So, the unionized troops in the trenches on the shop floors, of which I was one, started lining up at the barber shop. Concessionary contracts became the order of the day, and a new company strategy was born: Whipsawing. That was the art of pitting one local union against another in concessionary competition for new work from the company, practiced under the new company mantra of "Work smarter, not harder."

Well, working smarter - or even harder - doesn't keep your ears from getting chilled in a cold, stiff breeze when enough of your locks have been clipped and the price of hats keeps going up. So, at some point, when you notice management has been to the haberdashery and is keeping their collective ears not only warm but doing so in style, you tend to resist going to the barber.

I don't blame the writers for wanting to keep their ears warm. And I wish them a lot of luck, 'cause they're going to need it. Sounds like management in this case has thrown the windows wide open in the middle of winter.

That not overly loud sound you hear is me cheering for capitalism.

RE: #3 Advice for Social Media

My opinion...good advice. Wait. What was that?

You don't have to have an opinion on everything? Well, crap.

OK. I'll make a concession here...

RE: #1

No opinion.

Not really. But I haven't been to the barber for a while. And summer's coming on pretty soon.

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The studio heads and streaming companies sound just like (billionaire) sports team owners complaining about having to raise the minimum player salaries and insisting that there needs to be a salary cap because they can’t stop handing out ten year $300 million contracts to free agents.

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