August 25, 2019

*Facial-Recognition Software Mistook One in Five California Lawmakers for Convicts:

One in five California lawmakers were mistaken for convicted criminals in an experiment testing the reliability of facial-recognition software in identifying potentially dangerous suspects. Local assemblyman Phil Ting called for the experiment as part of a bill to ban the use of such technology by police and law-enforcement agencies. The experiment incorrectly matched his face to a convicted felon, which he argues could put innocent people in jeopardy if police mistakenly identify them as dangerous criminals.

“The software clearly is not ready for use in a law-enforcement capacity,” Ting said. “These mistakes, we can kind of chuckle at it, but if you get arrested and it’s on your record, it can be hard to get housing, get a job. It has real impacts.” Proponents of the technology argue that it is useful in searching for lost children or elderly people in large group situations.

*Bernie Sanders’ ‘Prisoner Bill of Rights’ Guarantees Free Phone Calls, Video Chats, ‘Living Wage’:

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has unveiled a “Prisoner Bill of Rights” he plans to enact, if elected president, guaranteeing unlimited, free phone calls and video chats for inmates. The “Prisoner Bill of Rights” is detailed as one element of Sanders’ comprehensive “Justice and Safety for All” criminal justice reform plan. In the “End Profiteering in Our Criminal Justice System” section of his overall plan, Sanders argues that, since the prison phone industry is a billion-dollar-a-year business, taxpayers – and not inmates – should foot the bill: ‘The prison phone industry, for example, is a monopoly business worth more than $1 billion a year, with companies charging sky-high fees for telephone calls that many families can’t afford to pay to keep in touch with their loved ones. Today, 1 in 28 children has an incarcerated parent — a fifth of which are under four years old. Children with incarcerated parents tend to do worse in school, experience anxiety and depression, and develop behavioral issues.”

“As president, Bernie will: Make prison phone calls and other communications such as video chats free of charge.” In the “Prisoner Bill of Rights” section, Sanders “guarantees” that inmates will have “Access to their families — including unlimited visits, phone calls, and video calls.” The list of prisoner “rights” also includes a guarantee that prisoners will be paid “living wages”: “Living wages and safe working conditions, including maximum work hours, for all incarcerated people for their labor.”

 *$240,000 – The Amount Each
American Owns of US Debt and Unfunded Obligations:

As Americans, we are greatly indebted not only to the men and women who have fought and died for our country, but also to the thinkers, statesmen, innovators, and ordinary people who gave us our founding principles. This debt is paid back not with money, but with a commitment to the active and vigilant self-government of our republic in keeping with the principles and virtues of our forefathers. Yet, our forefathers would shudder at our current $22 trillion in gross national debt. By the end of 2019, the debt will be close to $23 trillion. That amounts to a credit card bill of $69,200 for every man, woman, and child in America.

But that’s only the money that the government has explicitly borrowed. It doesn’t include any measure of “unfunded obligations”—money the government doesn’t have, but nonetheless promised to spend. Unfunded obligations are often considered problems for future citizens, but with Medicare and Social Security both running cash flow deficits and running out of money in 2026 and 2035, respectively, these future obligations have become a current burden.

Social Security’s unfunded obligations alone amount to $13.9 trillion. This means that, over the next 75 years, the government has promised to pay out $13.9 trillion more than it expects to collect in payroll taxes. At $42,200 per person, Social Security’s shortfall alone is about as much as the average person earns in a year. It’s enough to buy a new sedan and pay for a year’s rent in a median-rent two-bedroom apartment. If Social Security’s shortfall wasn’t bad enough, it pales in comparison to Medicare’s $42.3 trillion in unfunded obligations. At $128,500 per person—a whopping $514,000 for a family of four—America’s runaway Great Society program, lauded by socialists as a model for the future of health care, is already breaking America’s bank.

All combined, each American effectively owns $240,000 worth of U.S. debt and unfunded obligations—an amount equal to the average home price in the U.S. Just imagine having to pay two mortgages instead of one just to cover past government excesses.

 *Beer Still No. 1 Among
American Drinkers:

A new survey shows that beer is the No. 1 preferred alcoholic beverage among American adults who drink while wine and liquor are nearly tied for second place. In the poll, Gallup asked American adults, “Do you most often drink liquor, wine or beer?”

Thirty-eight percent said beer; 30% said wine; and 29 % said liquor. In addition, the survey found that 55% of men prefer beer but 45% of women prefer wine.

The largest percentage of beer drinkers (49%) live in the Midwest. For drinkers with a college degree, 39% said they drink beer most often. For those with no college, 47% said they drink beer most often.  “Adults under 55 are the age groups most likely to prefer beer as well as liquor, while adults over 55 are the most likely to prefer wine,” said Gallup. “Residents of the East and Midwest are most partial to beer. While no particular region is particularly oriented to wine or liquor, the Midwest lags behind the other regions in preferring wine.”

 *Mike Tyson: We Smoke $40K Worth of Pot a Month on Cannabis Farm:

Mike Tyson can add hotboxing champion to his resume. The heavyweight legend revealed on his podcast “Hotboxin’ with Mike Tyson” on Monday that he and his co-host smoke around $40,000 worth of pot each month on his California cannabis farm. “What do we smoke a month?” Tyson asked co-host Eben Britton while smoking a joint. “Is it $40,000 a month? It’s $40, yeah, $40,000 a month.” Britton estimated that they’re toking up a mountain weed a month, admitting, “It’s crazy.”

The retired boxer broke ground in December on Tyson Ranch, a 40-acre plot of land about 60 miles from Death Valley National Park. The compound cultivates premium pot and announced plans for an edible factory, a hydro-feed and supply store, as well as “glamping” campgrounds for stoners.

 *Older Adults Scammed More Often By Relatives Than Strangers, Study Finds:

Between fraudulent phone calls, phishing emails, and various other online schemes, there are plenty of opportunities nowadays for older, not so tech-savvy, adults to become victims of a financial scam. Amazingly, a new study finds that it’s not far-away con artists and strangers who are more likely to prey on vulnerable seniors. Instead, acts of financial elder abuse are committed more frequently by a victim’s own family members.

Researchers at the University of Southern California utilized data collected by the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA) for the study. More specifically, they focused on a NCEA hotline used as a resource for people looking to report, or seek information regarding, elder abuse of any kind. The study’s authors analyzed the collected data from the hotline, identified the most common types of reported elder abuse and profiled the most common perpetrators of such abuse.


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A cat has 230 bones in its body. A human has 206. A cat has no collarbone, so it can fit through any opening the size of its head.


There’s probably nothing more natural to living than contemplating your own death. In South Korea, a trend has emerged called ‘Happy Dying‘ in which participants are invited to write their own eulogies and wills, crawl into their very own coffin and essentially, well, die. After 30 minutes of ‘death’, they crawl out of the coffin and apparently feel much better about their lives.


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Paruresis is a condition that prevents people from urinating in public, sometimes even in their own homes if others are in adjacent rooms. The good news is that this anxiety disorder is highly treatable. The Secret Social Phobia: Shy Bladder Syndrome (Paruresis) offers strategies and easy-to-follow exercises to help you desensitize yourself to fear-producing situations and feel comfortable in public restrooms. Graduated exposure will help get you to the point where you can tolerate the anxiety of relieving yourself in a public washroom or other shared space.

Dr. Soifer also recently presented a TedX Mississippi talk entitled “Do Public Restrooms Make You Nervous,” which can be viewed here:


Comedian Sandra Bernhard – 1997


Welcome to Episode #1 of the “Best of Without Notes,” with Susan Estrich, an American lawyer, professor, and author  – Episode 1:


Presidential candidate Marianne Williamson along with 12 members of the White House staff, 3 Nobel Prize winners, over 100 Academy Award winners, 6 U.S. Senators, and over 300 Grammy Award winners.