Missouri's New Debtor Prison

map of Mike Brown shooting location with apartments highlighted

I accidentally stumbled on to a new landlord/tenant bill introduced into the current Missouri legislation session. It's HB 1982. Among other things, it would actually criminalize non-payment of rent. Yes, if you're thinking "debtor prison" you got it in one.

The bill would also allow landlords to collect three months rent as security deposit. Tell me something: how many low-income folk can afford three months security deposit? Heck, how many middle-income folk can afford three months security deposit, and pay the first month's rent? As it is, the amount a landlord can collect now is two months rent.

Torture and Learned Helplessness

image from Seligman's research

I have degrees in computer science and psychology. My senior psychology research project was about "learned helplessness", based on the work by Martin E. P. Seligman. He saw it as the underlying basis for depression, while I was interested in its effect on workers.

I had thousands of pages of research, and the concept was behind my senior class experiment (on College sophomores, of course). I have written about learned helplessness in the past. Oddly enough, one of the writings is titled, Learned Terrorism, posted in 2002. Others are The Value of Anger, and What's the Use?

Shrewsbury: Landlord Retaliation in the Land of Ferguson

photo of smoker

Received this letter yesterday:

Georgetown Apartments will not be renewing your lease, which expires on February 28, 2015. You are still responsible for rent and utilities through the end of your lease agreement.

We are asking you please vacate your apartment by February 28, 2015 to avoid eviction procedures. There is no exception you must vacate the apartment by February 28, 2015.


Katie Scott

And so ends our 14 year tenure at Georgetown Apartments in Shrewsbury, Missouri. Shrewsbury is another of the 62 inner loop towns that plague the St. Louis area.

Ferguson: Media, You Are Hurting Us

screenshot of Jon Stewart on Crossfire

The story read that the FBI had arrested two New Black Panther members for buying explosives to bomb Ferguson protests. Not long after, though, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch posted a story that what really happened is the FBI arrested two men for providing false information when buying guns. And that New Black Panther association? Well, that's implied because a "police source" made the connection. Not the men. Not officially from the FBI. A "police source".

Ferguson: STFU

Hands Up Don't Shoot

Our Governor Jay Nixon has decided to roll out the troops by declaring a state of emergency before the Ferguson Grand Jury decision. As LOLGOP tweeted:

Healthcare Sign Up: New and Improved

sunny days photo

updated and corrected

Teach me to not pay more attention: the income verification Healthcare.gov asked for was actual income from 2014, not projected for 2015. Well that makes a lot more sense. My income tax return and/or 1099 statements will both work, so piece of cake. And I can upload documents, so...piece of cake.

Really, the system works really well now. And I already have my health insurance card for 2015.


I signed up for healthcare coverage for 2015 at Healthcare.gov. Unlike last year, absolutely no problems with the system. The only hiccup occurred with United Healthcare when I tried to review its provider network—that system seems to be unable to stand the load. The government site, though, was a piece of cake.

Before you Sign that Petition

harvesting potatoes

The USDA has been busy approving genetically modified crops for cultivation, including a potato and alfalfa. I'll have much more to say on GMO later, but I wanted to focus on one aspect of the approval process—the submittal of public comments.

Ferguson: A Benefit of the Doubt

Ferguson protestor

My father was a cop. A Washington state patrolman. I like to think he was a good cop, and have never received any indication otherwise.

When Mike Brown was shot in Ferguson, less than 25 minutes from where I live, I wanted to give the policeman who shot him the benefit of the doubt. Even when I heard that Mike Brown was not armed. Even when I heard they left his body in the street for close to five hours. After all, my Dad was a cop, and if it had been my father who did the shooting, I'd like everyone to give him the benefit of the doubt.

Not Voting is Not an Option

vote hell yeah

It's going to rain on Tuesday. It's going to rain all day long. This means water backing up because of all the leaves not collected and blocking storm sewer intakes, wet kids waiting for the bus, a run on hot coffee and chocolate, and a dismal showing at the voting booth. Of course, that last holds true even if the sun is shining, and rainbows sparkle overhead.


old photo of posse

I was disappointed to see Kathy Sierra leave Twitter, but respect her decision to do so. I read her writing about why she left, but I also dug through past Twitter postings with the individual she references, Rob Graham. Twitter is not the best of places for thoughtful discussion when parties agree, but it is especially bad when two people have views that are diametrically opposed.


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