Just a few tidbits; things overhead, phrases which amused me.
To start, a rumor has reached mine ears that starting in January, all domestic commercial flights will require passports. A brief search led to:
Beginning in January, Louisiana will join 26 other states that will require a passport for entry into federal buildings and all commercial flights, no matter their destination. The change stems from the 2005 “Real ID” law, which went into effect in 2008. The bill paved the way for a universal identification system across the country, but several states including Louisiana opted out of the program.
I’m beginning to think the end of the Mayan calendar may be the best-case scenario. So depressing. Let’s fix that.
Trying to pick my favorite politician is like trying to pick which STD is just right for me.
America used to be a country which instinctively understood there was no such thing as a free lunch. Now, we believe the consumption of free lunches to be revenue-generating economic activity.
“Political tags – such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth – are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire.” - Heinlein
Caddo Parish commissioners have voted 8-3 for a resolution encouraging businesses to adopt dress codes that would prohibit patrons from wearing pajamas.
The difference between Republicans and Democrats is Republicans argue 2+2=5 while Democrats argue 2+2=6. The problem with the American electorate is that they are convinced one of them is right.
Incidentally, if anyone is wondering who my pick is for the presidency… I am voting for Cthulu.
A write-in vote, clearly.
The Libertarian party has struggled towards relevance for years. Surprising, considering one in five Americans identifies with libertarian politics. One would hope, with all the ire from voters at decades of being forced to choose between the lesser of two evils, that Gary Johnson could at minimum rally the libertarian base. Polls continuously show him pulling low single-digits – or less – and we are left agape that Johnson and the Libertarian party can’t even get their own voters on board.
Ron Paul – a thin, elderly statesman from a quiet Texas district – burst from obscurity to a radical notoriety ill-suited to his conservative vanilla roots in a short few years. The “Ron Paul revolution” rolled across the nation like amber waves of grain, if grain gave record-setting donations in “money bombs” and had hysterics at political rallies. Just as quickly, Paul left the political presidential arena and people started asking, “Who now?” For Paul had struck a fire in the belly of voters, by saying things a predominantly center-right public felt themselves but couldn’t hear from either left or right extremists; by voting exactly as he talked on campaign trails; by at least pretending he was not so far above the common voter that Homeland Security needed to keep the unwashed proles from violating his anointed presence. Who now, indeed? Gary Johnson would have you believe he and the Libertarian Party are the answer to that question. I say that’s a crock, and that not only is he not the answer, but that he doesn’t even qualify as “libertarian”.
The kid tries, I’ll concede that readily. His stances and quotes at first blush look quite appetizing to this solidly Constitution-minded voter. Cynic that I am, it was only when I began to scrape away the slick political-talk crap that I found the real Johnson lurking underneath, as damp and warty as any other politician.
On to the evidence!
Stance: Prostitution should be legal… and regulated by the government.
Lolwut? And this is a stance based on libertarianism? Methinks not.
I can’t speak for the rest of you ladies, but the current government position that the same action by the same woman is a heinous crime or a beautiful natural expression of one’s body based on whether the government has given a woman a piece of paper saying it’s okay to profit is, in a word, crazy. Altering that position just so slightly does not make me feel my vagina is being recognized as my own to do with as I damned well choose. Vaginas are not big enough for the government to get in, ergo it should stay strictly out of tender areas.
Johnson falls at the first fence.
Claim: As the governor of New Mexico, Johnson claims to have drastically reduced state spending, cut the size of big government, and left the state with a hefty budget surplus.
Fact: Johnson took office in 1995, and New Mexico’s state spending for that year was $8.1 billion. The state’s deficit was $4.9 billion, and the population was 1.7 million. In 2003, when Johnson left office, the state’s budget had ballooned nearly 70%, to $13.4 billion, and the deficit was $8.8 billion – almost doubled. However, the state’s population had grown by less than ten percent, to only 1.9 million people.
This is the guy who will reign in our federal government’s spending problem? Strike two! Now do excuse me whilst I have the vapors in re: a politician lying to the voters. It’s such a shock, you know.
Stance: Health care should be reformed through price transparency, monopoly-busting and federal grants to states for low-income patients.
Yes, yes, and y- wait, what?
Right on the heels of stating the feds need to get off states’ backs with their federal healthcare mandates, Johnson claims the way to provide for poor patients’ care is federal money. Well, the former is certainly possible. Federal mandates only have power if you accept federal funding. So tell the feds to take a short jump off a tall bridge and do as you like! But Johnson doesn’t want that. He wants federal cash infusions with no strings attached.
So, I, as a resident of Colorado, need to give money to New Mexico to do with as they please. No. Just… no. I thought we already fought this “taxation without representation” issue, y’know, a few years back?
There is no such thing as free money, Johnson. It comes from a taxpayer somewhere, and at the point of a gun (if you doubt, then don’t pay taxes and see what happens.) To advocate sticking a gun up the nose of people from one state so another can do as it pleases with the tax money absent representation is beyond silly – it’s statist. Can you say “statist”, boys and girls?
The Libertarian party continues to make the same mistakes, and with every presidential election in which in the populace is asked to choose between Dumb and Dumber, these mistakes become ever more frustrating. American voters are looking for that one politician who will be the adult in the room; who will fire them up with a platform based on logic and math and what the public actually thinks; who will listen to the constituency, and make the hard choices. Ron Paul sold this platform, love him or hate him. Gary Johnson can’t even sell libertarianism, instead favoring an airy-fairy conglomerate of the worst of Romney and Obama together and hence appearing to be a pandering, clueless also-ran. What the Libertarian party keeps giving us is vague will-o-the-wisp crap, and pot. Unfortunately, the number of single-issue voters who only care about marijuana will never give them 5%, let alone the presidency.
Pull it together, Johnson. Potheads can also be concerned about deficits and sustainable government. Until you figure this out, you’re sunk.
In this modern mobile, global economy, few workers can honestly show a full curriculum vitae without admitting to being fired at least once. Sacrifices must be made - for the profit margins not being ample enough, a client’s displeasure, a supervisor’s ego, occasionally even someone is fired who deserves it - and we have all had our turn as the fatted ram on the altar of the pagan gods of business. I might not have the best tale, but it ranks up there fairly high. I became untouchable to mainstream editors by telling the truth.
The last article I ever attempted to publish via mainstream media was on public pensions. The pension of a public employee - teacher, firefighter, police officer – is ostensibly the biggest reason to pick public over private sector, as public pensions are generous, offer earlier retirement ages and double-dipping, and are protected by state Constitutions in some locations. In 2010, I put together facts to show that these pensions were being woefully – deliberately – underfunded.
The scam is a simple one. Like all cons, it relies on the naivety of the mark. Public pension funds are invested in the markets. The income produced through this investment portfolio is rolled back into the pension fund to pay future obligations, and the state or municipal pays forth whatever the difference is between actual portfolio earnings and total projected pension costs.
Or, that’s how most people think it works. In reality, the pension fund managers estimate “projected earnings”, and the state funds the rest (sometimes, unless something really important comes up in the budget, in which case they’ll get back to you next year… promise). Two years ago, my eye caught what appeared to be a discrepancy. Pension managers were posting projected earnings of seven, eight, even nine percent in a market experiencing a years-long meltdown. Anyone in the market already knows what I spotted then – those projected returns were laughably unrealistic.
The briefest search proves just how unrealistic. Calpers – the California public pension system – showed a return as low as 1%. This year, Colorado’s pension fund earned 1.9%. Due to the miracle of compounded returns, a DPD beat cop has had 21% of his pension evaporated by fuzzy math over the last four years. Aaaannd… it’s gone. Poof!
Wonder who Denver’s police call when they get robbed by the very people who employ them?
We might not know for years, actually, as this topic has been verboten to mainstream media outlets until very recently. Journalism has long been known as the “fourth estate” – a reference to the three branches of government, and the ultimate check-and-balance being a voting populace kept well-informed by the press. This system fails when all four branches collude to keep voters in the dark.
My working relationship with editors slowly eroded as the economy imploded. My calls on the housing market’s imminent collapse, predicting student loans as the next bubble, articles on HFTs turning our markets into casinos and regulatory agency capture… Sometimes, it is better to be wrong than to be correct when no one wants you to be. That what I wrote was true, didn’t matter nearly as much as whether editors perceived their readers as being capable of handling the truth.
So, the truth about pensions was not published. For your own good, I’m sure. Consider this story – of how one freelancer was fired from mainstream publishing for telling too much truth – when you read your daily dose of “news”.
Contributed by Jo Newton
The Great Depression was a period in American history rife with a rich poverty culture; hobo sign, Hoosiervilles, flour sack dresses, “move along” laws. Novels and iconic photographs
documented for future generations the devastation wreaked by hard economic times on ordinary hard-working Americans, and the vivid stories from our grandparents keep this bit of history alive. We read, see and hear tales of families run out of town because the homeless were not allowed within city limits after nightfall, trains full of children of poor families being shuttled across the country as ‘orphans’ in need of adoption, the carefully accumulated life savings of seniors evaporated instantly as more than 10,000 banks failed and left the majority of America’s elderly completely and unexpected dependent on charity.
Fortunately, in this enlightened era, we have left such abominable behaviour in the past. After years of crafting a culture of tolerance and respect for all mankind, and not merely those who look, talk and shop exactly as we ourselves do, we can look upon the barbaric actions of our predecessors with a discerning eye and the knowledge that such things no longer happen in modern times.
Denver city councilman Albus Brooks has proposed a highly controversial bill outlawing “urban camping”. Though proponents of the bill point to needed tourism dollars from the downtown area and revenue from the popular 16th St Mall, the bill institutes a ban not merely on those specific areas but throughout the entire city limits.
Much of the controversy stems from the bill’s attempt to either change or ignore reality. In the
summer autumn winter spring of our recovery, homelessness is on the rise. The most recent study on Denver’s homeless population puts their ranks at more than eleven thousand people; 62% being families with children. The U.S. Conference of Mayors determined that homelessness increased by 12% in one year alone.
Compounding this problem is the lack of funding to effectively handle it. Denver, with its fatally cold winters, has struggled for years to carve funds away from stadiums and tourism to sufficiently staff adequate shelter beds for women and children. The situation will grow more dire almost immediately, as many shelters are closing or reducing the number of beds available by this summer.
Yet, the sole nod to the essential facts of the situation from Councilman Brooks are that Denver will try to find a safe place for Denver’s poor to sleep at night, and if that doesn’t materialize, well then, the DPD can always house the poor in jail.
If you are not moved, dear readers, by compassion and the knowledge that in this economy there but for the grace of God go you, then you should still be incensed by the sharp demand on the taxpayer wallet – fully expected when a city makes poverty a misdemeanor.
Occupy Denver met at Lincoln Park on Friday to discuss the proposed law, and brainstorm alternatives which might actually do something productive to address the stand-off between wealthy downtown businesses and poor Denver citizens who stubbornly refuse to cease existing. It was suggested that the first priority should be determining a safe place for people to sleep at night, away from those who just want to shop for expensive consumer goods in peace. The Denver jail was dismissed out of hand, as not only a violation of citizens’ constitutional rights but also an undue burden on Denver’s taxpayers. Constructive arguments were raised that, since all citizens fall under the definition of “the public”, then public parks would be the best place to allow people to sleep in a place which was safe and out from underfoot.
Also touched on was the strain this would put on the DPD, an agency not known for the sort of kind and gentle touch required when dealing with mentally fragile individuals or women
The sheer inadequacy of this bill to fix the problem of Denver homelessness is astounding, and yet Councilman Brooks already has nine votes; enough to pass it into law. If anyone is surprised that nine council members are willing to commit to a new law before hearings or public testimony, please submit pictures of your shocked face to firstname.lastname@example.org. These pictures will be artistically assembled into a decorative collage to be presented to Denver city council upon passage of the bill into law.
A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people. ~ John F. Kennedy
America stands at a crossroads, although the exact nature of that fork in the road is widely debated. Many feel that it is the choice between violent revolution or peaceful civil renaissance. Those on the left tend towards the opinion that this is the brink between a capitalist or socialist economic system. Those on the right lean more towards this being the epochal decision between Constitutional freedoms and a nanny state. All of these opinions are correct. Much like a patient who feels the fever without understanding the underlying disease, people are united in voicing their unease that our current conditions can or should continue as is, and fill their uncertainty as to root causes with whatever seems to make sense from their limited biases. This is a case of thinking too hard. The answer is actually quite simple. The choice facing America today is to continue in the direction our leaders have set for us, or to plot a change of course.
Change is the only thing that stays the same, and yet we resist it. Change takes us outside of our comfort zone, into the unknown, and perhaps out of the fat and into the fire. We may understand inherently that things never stay the same, and also that our current path is not one destined for a good resolution, and yet mankind has this tendency to sit back and take the path of least resistance. Wise words were once spoken on this very subject.
… All experience hath shown that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed.
You may recognize the quote. It was written at another time in human history when we faced the choice of taking our destiny and our citizenship into our own hands, or acquiescence to the usurpations of uncaring leaders. It’s part of the Declaration of Independence.
The time is ripe for an alteration from our current disastrous course. In the most recent poll, taken a mere three days ago, Obama had an approval rating of 24%. Congress is even worse, scoring just 9% three months ago. Voter turnout has been declining for decades as Americans become disenfranchised with an unresponsive political system and no palatable options. Americans are adamant that they are fed up. Change will happen; the only question is whether it will come at the hands of leaders America professes to hate and distrust, or via the citizens.
Citizens disgusted with the system – which, by all polls, are the vast majority of you – continue to take up their constitutionally-protected rights to agitate for a change of course. People in power also don’t like change, especially anything that involves losing some of that carefully hoarded power. These power elites have taken up an assault on constitutionally-protected rights in order to protect their non-existent ‘right’ to rule. Your first amendment rights, formally acknowledged in the Constitution to be an absolute right not ruled by government whim, has been corralled into “Free Speech Zones” the government selects for you, during hours of the day the government decides are appropriate to its purposes, and only with a permission slip you paid the government to receive.
And if you object to this too loudly? Government-subsidized men with court-approved low IQs and psychological exams designed to weed out men with sympathy will beat and shoot you.
Tell me again about these rights you have. They no longer exist. You let them be taken away.
Another quote from John F. Kennedy is, “Do not pray for easier lives. Pray to be stronger men.” We cannot stop this collision course between that classic conundrum of the unstoppable force – an arrogant leadership – and the immovable object – America’s distrust in their own system. It is not possible to beat American distrust until all is well again. Neither is it possible to ignore power-mad leaders until they become more interested in the common welfare. Action will be taken, the only question is which action.
Many would love Occupy Denver to go home. Change is uncomfortable, and they’re still hopeful that if they hide their heads in the sand and ignore the problem long enough, it will magically disappear on its own. In truth, the best case scenario is that Occupy Denver never goes home, never gives up.
The worst thing that could happen is that Occupy Denver goes home and goes away. Then, citizens of Denver would be left with politicians and their police who have learned well that their citizens do not truly care about their rights as Americans. That is a lesson they will use again, and it will not be only against people the corporate media tells you are unlikeable. No, this is one lesson repeated many times throughout the course of history and the outcome was always the same.
It will be used against you.
The decorations are packed back into the attic, the Christmas tree is out at the curb and most of the New Year’s hangover has worn off. Now that all that important holiday consumption is out of the way, we can turn ourselves to the great game of Match.com that is our political elections. Come and view the profiles of men dolled up to look their best, and listen to their tales of how caring and successful they are. They’ll introduce you to their mothers, because you are important to them. They each promise to respect you in the morning. Honest, they really will, if you just give them this one little thing.
Here we go again. Happy Election Year! Let the madcap hilarity ensue.
Barack Obama – Democrat
Promises: Obama ran his original campaign on a platform of transparency, a focus on the needs of lower and middle classes and an end to failed Bush-era policies.
Track Record: To say that relations between the Obama administration and the press have been contentious is to say Noah built a boat and then it rained some. Obama accepted an award for transparency – which the press was not allowed to attend – and held a workshop on transparency – which the press was not allowed to attend. He has currently broken all Bush 2.0 records on longest time without fielding a full press conference and fewest press conferences. The corporate media has run pieces on hysterical shrieking press secretaries, nasty emails and being barred from the press room if they dare print anything Obama doesn’t like.
Obama remains the biggest recipient of campaign donations from Wall Street banks – you doubt? Read here and weep – and while middle class America has foundered, Wall Street has enjoyed greater profits than ever under Obama. Conversely, the HAMP program intended to help families stay in their homes, has seen just 4% of those who applied receiving a successful permanent modification of their mortgage. Percentage of banks who applied for and received intensely favorable emergency loans at the Fed window – 100%.
Gitmo is still open. The foreign wars continue, and Obama added in another undeclared war with Libya. The Bush-era tax cuts everyone froths at the mouth over? After three years of being continued under Obama, it’s questionable whether we can still call them “Bush tax cuts” with any intellectual honesty. Obama signed the Patriot Act renewal, and upped the ante with NDAA and indefinite detention. Every poll ever taken showed a majority of Americans did not support Obamacare, and he pushed it through anyway (Show me what democracy looks like!). The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has a court order attached which Obama still has to fight in court.
Conclusion: His campaign slogan this time around should be, ‘Hope and Change – This Time, I Really Mean It‘.
Rick Perry – Republican
Promises: Depends. Donate enough, and you can have whatever you want, baby.
Track Record: Texas hates him, and a common meme going around is that if we inflict him on D.C., at least he’s out of our state. Perry’s track record is as difficult to nail down as the breeze, which blows him hither and yon as he strives to convince all people that he is all things. The only thing one can state with absolute certainly is that he is widely detested by Texans outside of Austin, and the reasons the man has managed to maintain any relevance are idiocy and voter apathy.
Forget John Kerry. This man has ‘flip-flop’ engraved on his check book. He makes Hispanic-friendly and pro-immigrant speeches, points to his state’s high Latino population with the assumption that they all must LOVE him, and then bashes Romney for making healthcare available to illegal immigrants (not even true). He preaches fiscal responsibility, while his administration can’t figure out whether the Texas state budget is $15 or $27 billion in the red. He pats himself on the back over Texas job creation, while Texas leads the nation in McJobs and one of the largest Texas job sectors to grow in the last four years were government jobs – unfunded government jobs.
And then there’s the rental mansion. In 2008, the Texas governor’s mansion was damaged by arson. Since then Perry, his family and vital staff have been living in posh rented digs at taxpayer expense, billing items such as a $1000 emergency repair to an ice maker and $1500 per month in cleaning supplies. It is not wise for such a person to then take potshots about fat cats living it up at taxpayer expense. Which he did.
Score: Dunno. Is “fucking asshole” a score?
Conclusion: Everything about Governor Goodhair is facepalm-inducing. A plethora of fail. A veritable buffet of fail. It pains me that we are even discussing him. Texas doesn’t want him – why would you?
Mitt Romney – Republican
Promises: To be the conservative Obama, only better and with extra hope sprinkles on top.
Track Record: Magical underwear and mandated purchase of health insurance are not designed to win the hearts and minds of the American public. He needs to fire his PR guy. Although, it must be said that if you won’t vote for him only because he’s a Mormon, you deserve what you get.
Seriously, who is this guy and why should we give a fuck? He’s pretty, he’s got nice hair, he’s rich, he’s a Mormon. … Nope, still no fucks given. The highlights of his political career are one term in office as governor, a failed presidential run in 2008 and Romneycare, a Massachusetts approach to fixing health care by forcing everyone to buy it or, if you can’t afford that, to give the state a hefty sum of money you also can’t afford. This
insurance cronyism healthcare reform is widely recognized as a disastrous failure.
Frankly, if that’s his idea of appealing to both Republicans and Democrats, it sucks. As does everything else about him (except the hair – he has very nice hair). He’s been accused of flip-flopping, although that may be because no one cared enough to remember what he said the first time around. He was heckled by Iowan voters for arguing with them that corporation were people, and one has to ponder whether telling people they’re wrong and stupid and please vote for me tomorrow is a well-planned strategy.
Score: 1 Well, we have to give him that if he wants to be the conservative Obama, the trouble is that Americans aren’t terribly fond of Obama.
Conclusion: Governor Goodhair Lite. He’s a rich nobody who wants to play politics by being everything anyone wants, and nothing anyone needs. I suspect he’s an asshole, I’m just not sure why. It would be better for everyone if he became a spokesmodel for L’Oreal.
Ron Paul – Republican
Promises: Fiscal policy sanity, end to American imperialism, restore the Constitution, end the Federal Reserve
Track Record: People think he’s crazy, mostly because they want to see all the failed policies to date continued in the hopes that these policies will start working one of these days. Ron Paul is probably not crazy. In fact, he’s probably right. That doesn’t mean he’ll do anything about it, as that is his track record to date. A big fat nothing.
Ron Paul is best known for being blatantly ignored by the corporate media, for talking a great deal of absolute sense and, unfortunately, for never doing a damned thing of any importance whatsoever. Many of his supporters cry that one lone man with the right idea can’t get anything done if everyone else in government is a bank-owned asshole. There are two inherent logical fallacies in that argument. The first is that the presidency is still one lone man versus all those assholes in the legislature. The second is that Paul is the chairman for domestic monetary policy, a position tasked with overseeing the Federal Reserve. All those wonderful things he talks about? He took action on none of them. None. Zero. An absence of a positive figure.
Score: None. Zero. An absence of a positive figure.
Conclusion: If I wanted someone who talked a good game and then did sweet fuck-all to fix the problems, I could have voted Obama. Ron Paul is more hope and change, just to a different beat. Politically, my nickname for him is Johnny Bench.
Newt Gingrich – Republican
Promises: To be the next Reagan.
Track Record: Seriously, people? What the fuck. I mean, what the fuck is this shit, I don’t even know. I am not that old – I was wearing hammer pants in middle school the last time they got this guy out of cold storage – and I can still recall two reasons off the top of my head why the man is not only a douchebag, but evil. An evil douchebag. It’s like the American public has the attention span of a three year old.
Gingrich’s first wife was presented with divorce papers while in the hospital recovering from surgery for cancer. The only good news in this is that the woman he was cheating on her with, and went on to marry, he also divorced right after she was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis and later married the woman with whom he’d been cheating on her with. Yeah, that’s a man stable enough to have his finger on the button. I can totally never see him lying to the American public. Because that would be wrong.
Many moons ago, we had a Contract With America. Co-authored by Gingrinch and under his supervision as Speaker for the House, it promised things such as no more baseline budgeting, to do away with the Dept of Education, cut the number of legislative committees and require all laws to apply to Congress as well. How’d that work out for you? (For the brainpan-challenged, we have none of those things in effect.) Ironically, and demonstrating that Gingrich knows exactly how short America’s memory is, his presidential campaign released a new Contract With America. Yes, it’s even called the same thing. Because the evil douchebag is laughing at you.
Score: Pure Evil
Conclusion: AFLKLG:FRTY *keyboard smash of RAGE* Whyyyyy is he a candidate? Make him go away, people. Make him go away NOW. I wouldn’t vote him in as third county dogcatcher, and if I saw him on the street I would protectively usher small children to the other side.
And that wraps it up. Don’t forget to vote, people! Because change only happens when you get involved! Ahahahah!
Love from – oh god, it’s snowing again,
Locke in Socks
Tactics committee held a teach-in today at the camp, titled Urban Camping 101 Part Deaux: Travois, Tacos, Bug-Out Bags and the Art of Escapology. The class was very well-attended, with between fifteen and twenty people turning out to watch the building and demonstration of a travois plus an in-depth discourse on safety tactics and protecting the camp’s gear and supplies during a raid.
Yesterday evening, after hearing Occupy Boulder was under a raid warning, the same Tactics committee mobilized in solidarity for our brother encampment to the west. Vehicles were rounded up and a carpool arranged to leave from the Occupy Denver camp to convoy over to Boulder to offer any assistance desired. At final count, twenty-six Denver Occupiers joined up with the Boulder camp for support. A summit was convened, the Tactics committee held a class for handling a raid to great interest – Boulder will be facing their first – and Occupy Boulder graciously handled the refreshments. Eight members of the Row and Denver supporters stayed the night at the Boulder encampment, and a good time was had by all. Tomorrow night Occupy Boulder is staging a dance party for zero hour – 11PM – which many Occupiers and Denver supporters plan to attend.
Supper at the camp was spaghetti and meatballs, and weather was blissfully warm. Your Occupiers enjoyed the sunshine, wandering around in short sleeves and tidying up the camp to even higher standards of cleanliness. Cole has instituted a rolling garbage truck – a shopping cart reinforced with cardboard and bearing a sign saying, “NO Littering – Max Penalty – Bitchslapping… hard”. It’s a wonder how a brief respite from the cold completely changes the tenor of the camp.