20110427

Arizona Senate Bill 1070: A failure

As seen on the Arizona Republic 23 April 2011

A year later, SB 1070 looks like a big, expensive con. It brought us boycotts, lost business, a sullied reputation, another court battle and a betrayal of Arizona's heritage.



Oh, yes. And it did nothing to make the border safer or reduce illegal immigration.



The national spotlight made Arizona look like a place where extremism is the norm. International media lapped up each outrageous statement from SB 1070 supporters. Comedians ripped a hole in the state's dignity bigger than the Grand Canyon.



Yet SB 1070 initially got good poll numbers. It was popular for two reasons. 1) The leaders who sold it to the state were that convincing. 2) People were frustrated with federal inaction. Some saw SB 1070 as a wake-up call to Washington. A year later, Congress is still sleeping.



Recent discussions from the White House about comprehensive immigration reform were the result of President Barack Obama's need to woo Latino voters before the 2012 election. Not SB 1070.


The measure widely described as Arizona's "Papers, please" law, provided a distraction from discussions about real reform. It gave cover to politicians who prefer to dodge the criticism that comes with standing up for complete solutions.



When GOP Rep. Jeff Flake decided to run for Senate, this long-time supporter of comprehensive immigration reform had a sudden conversion.



He jumped on the enforcement-first wagon.



Was that just because of SB 1070? Of course not. Arizona Sens. Jon Kyl and John McCain long ago abandoned their support for a complete solution. But SB 1070's popularity gave them no reason to reconsider.



The law helped drive the debate further to the extreme edge, giving Flake no political advantage sticking to his previous position. It eroded what was left of the middle ground.



Illegal immigration is a national problem this state law could not begin to address. SB 1070 was so clearly an intrusion into federal jurisdiction that key provisions were halted by federal District Court Judge Susan Bolton before they took effect. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals upheld that injunction, with noted conservative Judge John Noonan agreeing that provisions of SB 1070 are unconstitutional.



More legal battles lie ahead. They will sap state resources and keep Arizona in an unflattering spotlight.


Arizona's sense of unity also took a beating because of SB 1070.



Latinos make up nearly a third of the state's population. They are part of Arizona's heritage and its future. But SB 1070 made even third-generation Arizona Latinos feel like targets for enhanced law-enforcement scrutiny.



The law created an atmosphere so ugly that Republican state Sen. Lori Klein felt justified in reading a letter full of anti-Latino slurs on the floor of the Senate.



This is where SB 1070 brought us.



Sixty executives from major state business interests successfully called on lawmakers to reject a new round of immigration bills this year.



This is where the horrible experience of SB 1070 should take us. Arizonans have to continue to speak out against the SB 1070 approach.



Lessons are being learned elsewhere.


The wave of copycat bills in other states has largely fizzled - even in Kansas, where SB 1070 architect Kris Kobach is secretary of state. He couldn't sell his state this poison.



Meanwhile, Utah took a look at what Arizona did and crafted a comprehensive approach that includes a state guest-worker program. It acknowledges the complexity of illegal immigration and makes a humane commitment to family values and children. Arizona considered - and rejected - a similar approach several years ago.



Instead, the state bought into a false promise that remains a colossal mistake a year later.

20110426

Arizona Senate Bill 1070: A year later

From the Arizona Republic 23 April 2011



The neighbors pointed at a small green house on the west side of Phoenix and said the man who cut off part of his finger lived inside. Sure enough, a man came out with toilet paper wound around the index finger of his left hand.



He said he had been cutting meat at a restaurant around the corner when he accidently sliced off a hunk of his flesh. More than 24 hours later, blood kept soaking through the toilet paper, and his finger still throbbed. This raised an obvious question: Why didn't he go to the hospital?



"Because I don't have papers," said the man, who would give only his first name, Ramon.



Ramon, 35, an undocumented immigrant from Hermosillo, Mexico, is just one example of how many of the estimated 400,000 illegal immigrants in Arizona have gone deeper underground to avoid contact with the authorities since Gov. Jan Brewer signed the toughest immigration law in the nation one year ago today.



The law, known as Senate Bill 1070, never took full effect. A federal judge blocked key parts of it, including a controversial provision that would have required police to determine the immigration status of people they encountered during police stops if they suspected them of being illegal immigrants.



Even so, many illegal immigrants, who have lived in the shadows for years to avoid detection, say they are more afraid than ever of being deported. Ramon feared hospital officials might discover he is undocumented and report him to federal immigration officials. Other illegal immigrants randomly interviewed said they now drive as little as possible to reduce the chances of being stopped and questioned by the police. Others said they won't report crimes to avoid unwanted scrutiny.




Brewer, who was in the midst of a tough primary race for the GOP nomination for governor, signed SB 1070 under intense political pressure that stemmed from years of mounting public frustration over illegal immigration and drug smuggling in Arizona, as well as Congress' failure to fix the problems.



The bill cemented Arizona's reputation as the toughest immigration state in the nation and instantly propelled the issue of illegal immigration back into the national spotlight.



The law also whipped up anti-illegal-immigration fervor that spurred lawmakers in several states to introduce similar legislation. But it also generated a powerful backlash from immigrant, Latino and civil-rights groups, which led to lawsuits and economic boycotts that damaged Arizona's image and cost the state millions of dollars in lost tourism and convention revenue.



There is no hard data on how the law has affected the state's economy because undocumented immigrants often work off the books for cash and those employed in the "aboveground" economy often get jobs using fake papers, which makes it difficult to distinguish them from legal workers.



However, the law did spur hundreds, and perhaps thousands, of immigrant families to leave Arizona. While the initial wave seems to have subsided, many immigrants say they are still planning to leave, either because they are afraid of being deported or because they can't find jobs due to the economy and tougher immigration enforcement.



Supporters of SB 1070 are claiming a victory, saying preventing illegal immigrants from coming to Arizona and scaring away those already here is the intention of the law.



"I think the greatest effect of 1070 is its deterrent effect," said state Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, a main sponsor of the bill. "And the credit for its strong deterrent effect must be shared by its authors and supporters like myself, with its detractors who so grossly misinterpreted that law that it probably scared a lot of illegal immigrants from coming here in the first place or staying if they were here."



Fear of the police



Daniel Chamizo manages a mobile-home park and apartment complex near 31st Avenue and Van Buren Street. Many of the families who live there are immigrants, legal and illegal, from Mexico.



He said many no longer want to report crimes, afraid police will start asking immigration questions and they will end up being deported. So they call him instead.



"They come to me and say a lot of things. They tell me about people coming to sell drugs or consume drugs," said Chamizo, 48, sitting behind a cluttered desk in his office. "I tell them, 'I am just the manager. I can't really do anything. Call the police.' But they are afraid."



A few days earlier, Chamizo said, someone came to his office to tell him there was a dead dog in a nearby park. Chamizo suggested they call an animal-control officer, but they wouldn't.



"They are afraid of any kind of law enforcement," he said.



Illegal immigrants have always been afraid to call the police, said Sgt. Steve Martos, a spokesman for the Phoenix Police Department. It's hard to tell if the problem has gotten worse, he said, because police don't know when people are not reporting crimes if they aren't calling. But he acknowledged that "there is a perception that it has."



Carlos Garcia, an organizer with Phoenix-based immigrant-rights group Puente Arizona, said SB 1070 has driven a wedge between immigrants and the police even though the law never took full effect.



"It created the fear, and I think it's continued," Garcia said. "It created more space, more distance between the community and the police."




Those fears have been intensified, Garcia said, by other ongoing crackdowns, among them federal programs that enlist the help of local police to identify and deport illegal immigrants.



Earlier this year, state Sen. Russell Pearce, R-Mesa, the main sponsor of SB 1070, also pushed for a new round of immigration legislation that sought, among other things, to require hospital personnel to notify immigration authorities of patients they suspected of being in the country illegally and also sought to end birthright citizenship for the children of illegal immigrants.



Those proposals were voted down by the Senate, but they added to the fears, Garcia said.



"It just made life more difficult for folks," he said. "But because there are so many ties to the community, most people didn't leave (the state). But they kind of prepared themselves. Now, they are just not leaving their house. A lot of the community we talk to, they leave to take their kids to school, they will go to work, and then they will just stay home. They are afraid to go out, and they are afraid to have any contact with police or any sort of authority."



Impact on economy



Angela Castro, 39, and her husband, Miguel Yanez, 42, are undocumented immigrants from the state of Mexico. The Phoenix residents have lived in Arizona for more than 10 years.



Castro said she and her husband now drive as little as possible, especially at night, to avoid police.



"We are afraid that if we get stopped, they are going to ask about our papers," Castro said.




Castro was standing on the shoulder of 31st Avenue in west Phoenix, selling used clothing, electronic equipment, toys and other items.



At one point, she reached down, pulled a 4-week-old puppy out of a box and handed it to a customer. The box contained two more puppies, and Castro said she was selling the poodles for $70 each.



The street was lined on both sides with other immigrants selling items at yard sales.



Castro said it was one way for her family to earn money after her husband lost his construction job a year ago. While she is manning the yard sale, he is out scouring the neighborhood for old soda cans and scrap metal to turn in to a recycling center for cash.



"We don't sell a lot," she said. "Some days, we might make $50. Others, it's $30. Some days, we don't sell anything."



Kavanagh, a sponsor of SB 1070, said it is difficult to tell whether illegal immigrants are being driven underground by the economic downturn or the immigration law.



Tom Rex, who studies the state's economy for the Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business, said immigration crackdowns, notably the state's employer-sanctions law, have driven more undocumented workers from the aboveground economy into the underground cash economy.



The sanctions law, which took effect in 2008, requires all employers to electronically verify whether employees are legally eligible to work. That has made it harder for undocumented workers to use fake documents to get legitimate jobs, as many did in the past.




It also means less revenue for the state, since undocumented workers employed in the aboveground economy typically pay income taxes, unlike those working for cash.



On top of that, the state has lost sales-tax and other revenue from the thousands of illegal immigrants who have left due to the immigration crackdowns, further hurting the state's sagging economy, Rex said.



The Pew Hispanic Center recently estimated that the state's undocumented population shrunk by 100,000 people in the past three years, dropping from 500,000 to 400,000.



Such a large and sudden loss of people dealt a severe blow to the state's economy, even when costs such as education and other services are factored in, Rex said.



As evidence, he pointed to retail sales, which plummeted 9 percent in 2008 and 10 percent in 2009. Rex called the drop unprecedented and said it likely resulted from an overall decrease in spending during the recession and immigrants leaving the state.



"Nothing remotely close to that has ever happened in this state," Rex said.



Still, Kavanagh said the loss of more than 100,000 illegal immigrants opened job opportunities for U.S. citizens and legal immigrants at a time when the state's unemployment rate is 9.5 percent.



"So losing 100,000 or 200,000 workers who were undercutting legal workers and depressing wages is a big plus, as far as I am concerned," he said. "Good riddance."




Clint Hickman, vice president of sales and marketing for Hickman's Family Farms, the largest egg producer in Arizona, said sales to supermarkets and grocery stores that cater to Latinos dropped 20 percent in the wake of SB 1070.



"Eggs are not easily substituted, so it wasn't that there was some other foodstuff that was being substituted," he said. "It was a real loss of consumption because the people aren't here any more."



Kavanagh said the drop in sales suggests SB 1070 was a "very effective deterrent."



"It makes me feel good," Kavanagh said. "Mr. Hickman (will have to) have less hens. You don't overproduce. I am not going to maintain a large population of illegal immigrants who drain our economy and cost us in benefits just so that Mr. Hickman can sell 20 percent more in eggs."



Shifts in lifestyle



On a recent afternoon, a heavyset man named Mario pulled a tray of cheesecakes from an oven in the back of his house and put them on a rack to cool. In an adjoining room, other Mexican cakes and breads were cooling on racks.



Mario, 58, said he came to Phoenix 15 years ago from Chiapas, Mexico, and is a legal permanent resident. He asked that his full name not be used because he didn't have a permit for the bakery and wasn't paying taxes for the bread and pastries he sells.



Mario said he had been working at a Mexican bakery full time but was laid off six months ago. He blamed SB 1070, which he said forced many of the bakery's customers to leave the state. Sales dropped.



To earn money, Mario bought a commercial oven. He has been baking bread in the back of his house ever since, selling door to door in his neighborhood.




"These are bad laws," Mario said. "This was a great state. When I arrived, it was easy to make a living, and life was very peaceful."

20110421

Unauthorized Immigrants Pay Taxes, Too

Estimates of the State and Local Taxes Paid by Unauthorized Immigrant Households



Tax Day is an appropriate time to underscore the often-overlooked fact that unauthorized immigrants pay taxes.  The unauthorized, like everyone else in the United States, pay sales taxes.  They also pay property taxes—even if they rent.  At least half of unauthorized immigrants pay income taxes.  Add this all up and it amounts to billions in revenue to state and local governments.  The Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) has estimated the state and local taxes paid in 2010 by households that are headed by unauthorized immigrants. These households may include members who are U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.  Collectively, these households paid $11.2 billion in state and local taxes.  That included $1.2 billion in personal income taxes, $1.6 billion in property taxes, and $8.4 billion in sales taxes.  The states receiving the most tax revenue from households headed by unauthorized immigrants were California ($2.7 billion), Texas ($1.6 billion), Florida ($806.8 million), New York ($662.4 million), and Illinois ($499.2 million) {See Figure 1 and Table 1}.  These figures should be kept in mind as politicians and commentators continue with the seemingly endless debate over what to do with unauthorized immigrants already living in the United States.  In spite of the fact that they lack legal status, these immigrants—and their family members—are adding value to the U.S. economy; not only as taxpayers, but as workers, consumers, and entrepreneurs as well.





 





Methodology





These estimates are based on a model developed by the Institute for Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP).  The ITEP methodology relies on three pieces of data: 1) an estimate of each state’s unauthorized population; 2) the average family income for unauthorized immigrants; and 3) state-specific tax payments.  Of course, it is difficult to know precisely how much these families pay in taxes, because the spending and income behavior of these families is not as well documented as is the case for U.S. citizens.  But these estimates represent a sensible best approximation of the taxes these families likely pay.






Estimates of each state’s unauthorized population are from the Pew Hispanic Center and based on 2010 Census data.  There were an estimated 11.2 million unauthorized immigrants in the U.S. as of 2010.  Pew has also estimated the unauthorized population for each state.  Pew has found that unauthorized immigrants are likely to be less educated than native-born U.S. citizens and legal immigrants, and they tend to work in low-wage jobs.  Thus the average family income of the unauthorized population is lower than the average family income for U.S. citizens or legal immigrants.  The average income of a household headed by an unauthorized immigrant is estimated to be $36,000; 10 percent of which goes towards remittances to family members in countries of origin.





ITEP maintains detailed tax information for each state, and models how tax structures affect different income groups in each state.  ITEP has estimated the amount of sales, income, and property tax the average unauthorized family pays.





  • Sales tax is automatic, so it is assumed that unauthorized residents would pay sales tax at similar rates to U.S. citizens and legal immigrants with similar income levels.
  • Similar to sales tax, property taxes are hard to avoid, and unauthorized immigrants are assumed to pay the same property taxes as others with the same income level.  ITEP assumes that most unauthorized immigrants are renters, and only calculates the taxes paid by renters.
  • Income tax contributions by the unauthorized population are less comparable to other populations because many unauthorized immigrants work “off the books” and income taxes are not automatically withheld from their paychecks.  ITEP conservatively estimates that 50 percent of unauthorized immigrants are paying income taxes.


Originally seen at: Immigration Policy Center

If you liked this, you may find this book interesting; find it on Amazon:


Take the Rich off Welfare

20110418

House Approves Republican 2012 Budget Plan

Washington, DC, 18 April 2011 – The House of Representatives passed a Republican budget plan that seeks deep spending cuts for fiscal year 2012 and calls for an overhaul of Medicare. The fiscal year 2012 budget resolution, H Con Res 34, ($1.019 trillion) allocates less discretionary funding than provided for in fiscal year 2010 ($1.091 trillion) and in the President’s budget request ($1.121 trillion).



Passed by a largely party line vote of 235-193 with not a single Democratic vote in support and four Republicans – Reps. Denny Rehberg, R-MT, Walter Jones, R-NC, David McKinley, R-WVA, and Ron Paul, R-TX, joining in opposition.



The resolution sets up discretionary funding levels at pre-fiscal year 2008 levels, which if set for individual programs as opposed to overall caps could be potentially damaging. At this point, it is too early to appreciate which way appropriators may lean.



Adoption of the House Republican plan sets up the likelihood of conflict with both the White House and the Democratic-controlled Senate over spending priorities for the coming fiscal year.



Senate Democrats are expected to unveil their 2012 budget plan after returning from the two-week Easter/Passover spring recess in May.



The budget resolution does not have the force of law, but sets guidelines for other legislation, including spending bills and tax or income bills. A critical function of the resolution is to set parameters for the House Appropriations Committee and its Subcommittees as they plan their fiscal year 2012 spending bills.



Additionally, the resolution includes a number of policy provisions, including plans to shift future Medicare coverage to the private market and a call for a 10 percent reduction in the top individual and corporate tax rates.



Beginning in 2022, under the Republican budget plan, senior citizens and the disabled would receive an annual stipend that would be used to buy private insurance plans of their choice, with stipend funding increasing based on the rate of inflation. President Obama has rejected that proposal indicating that the government could honor commitments and control costs by expanding the authority of a panel of outside experts created under the health care law, depoliticizing payment decisions.



House Democrats offered an alternative proposal that would have continued Medicare without creating a voucher program, set a freeze in non-security discretionary spending for five years and balanced the budget by fiscal year 2018 that was rejected by a largely party-line vote of 166-259.

Just Dance

This video shows us how a catchy song and a free spirited dancer equal a dance party:





The question of the day is:


Which of these fellows was the true leader?



Was it the free spirit that danced for the pure joy of dancing?



Or was it the second and third "free spirit" that joined in and showed everyone else that it was indeed okay to dance their little hearts out? Tough question.



Ask yourself this:

If you dance, at what point would you have joined in?



If you liked this you may like this book by Derek Sivers. Find it on Amazon:



20110417

To use the electroshock weapon or not?

It isn't very often that the use of an electroshock weapon (i.e. Taser) is warranted. This may not have been one of those times. The question to ask is, if it is a police officer's duty to protect and serve, at what point do you whip out the taser?



Police at Coachella music show amazing restraint


for three minutes until they shock the drunk naked guy. Did he have it coming? You be the judge?





New Mexico police use the electroshock weapon on a 14 year old child


If you thought that use of the electroshock weapon was warranted in the situation above, what about in the following situation? 14 year old child flees at the site of the non-lethal weapon. Officers respond by using the taser. Interestingly enough, they were aiming for her back.




Electroshock weapons

An electroshock weapon is an incapacitant weapon used for subduing a person by administering electric shock aimed at disrupting superficial muscle functions. One type is a conductive energy device (CED), an electroshock gun popularly known by the brand name "Taser", which fires projectiles that administer the shock through a thin, flexible wire. Other electroshock weapons such as stun guns, stun batons, and electroshock belts administer an electric shock by direct contact. A shockround is a piezo-electric tip for a projectile that generates and releases electric charge on impact.

20110415

Call to action: Oppose the budget proposal - Schweikert's response

See the original post here



A Message from David

Dear Friend,



This past week was the battle of the budgets. We started off the week by finishing a budget for the rest of FY2011 and ended today by passing the FY2012 budget in the House of Representatives.



On Thursday, I voted against a short-term continuing resolution that will fund the federal government through the end of FY2011. I did not believe that the mere $39 billion in spending cuts brought us close enough to the fiscal responsibility we need to get our economy back on the path to prosperity.



This was also the first continuing resolution brought to the House floor this year that did not achieve the $100 billion level of spending reductions that Republicans had pledged.



I believe we have a duty to be unwavering in our commitment to get Washington back on the right track, but unfortunately, I could not vote for the continuing resolution because it did not go far enough to accomplish these goals.



However, a huge victory was gained this week when President Obama was brought into this adult conversation. I applaud Republican leadership who finally forced the president to the negotiating table during this debate.



President Obama broke an Administration taboo this week by admitting we have a problem with the size and cost of government. He also was forced to walk back his previous positions on spending cuts and address entitlements. President Obama can no longer sit on the sidelines and ignore a problem that he bears major responsibility for causing.



Today, I voted for a commonsense budget proposal for FY2012, proposed by my colleague Paul Ryan, that will go leaps and bounds to cut spending and reform entitlements. After years of double-digit spending growth, we are finally decreasing Washington spending and making the hard decisions necessary to get our country back on the road to prosperity.



We are changing the conversation in Washington from raising taxes and growing government to limiting government and preserving economic freedom.



I will continue to keep up the fight to cut spending at the scale we need. We can do better and we must do better for our children and grandchildren.



This Saturday and Monday, I am hosting two community listening session events. Information on both is on my website http://schweikert.house.gov/. I hope to see you all there!



Sincerely,

David Schweikert
Member of Congress

Call to action: Oppose the budget proposal

Call or E-mail Your US Representative This Morning!



Washington, DC, 15 April 2011 - The House of Representatives will vote today (Friday) on a budget that would radically slash Medicaid, Medicare, SNAP/food stamps, slash funds that cover almost every other domestic human needs program (including possibly WIC), and wreck the promise of the new health care law.



It makes $4.3 trillion in cuts over 10 years. Most of that will pay for $4.2 trillion in tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefit the rich.



Here's why you should call your Rep this morning, no matter what party they're in, and no matter how you think they will vote:



  • There are reports that some Republican Reps are starting to get cold feet over the vastly unpopular cuts in Medicare and Medicaid in the budget coming to the floor. If there are lots of calls, it will reinforce the growing concern that voters will hold them accountable for undermining these essential programs.
  • Some Democrats are concerned that their constituents care mostly about reducing the deficit (even though polls consistently show otherwise). They need to hear that people would be OUTRAGED if the federal government could no longer respond to provide essential health and other services.


We know you have other things to do and have a million reasons why you don't feel like calling. But it's something you really need to do.



Call 1-888-245-0215 now to connect with your Rep and tell him/her to oppose the House budget proposal!



Ask to be directed to your Rep's office and deliver a message like this*:



I am a voting constituent and I strongly urge you to vote NO on the House Budget Committee's Budget Resolution. It would slash Medicaid, Medicare, food stamps, education... in fact, all the investments that help Americans to be economically secure. It denies vital help for low-income and middle class people while giving trillions of dollars in tax cuts to millionaires and big corporations. Please reject these extreme proposals - they would weaken federal protections in a recession and stall economic growth for us all.


*Please note: this budget shrinks funding to such an extent that every human needs program is threatened. If you wish to emphasize other important issues in your call, please be encouraged to do so.



If you cannot call, please consider sending an email to your Rep: Click here:

Background info:



To read a letter
summarizing key concerns about the House Budget Committee's budget, click here:



To read current news and reports about these budget issues and more, visit: http://www.chn.org/issues/budget/



If you can't get through to the Capitol switchboard, click here to find the direct number to your Representative's office (not toll-free): http://clerk.house.gov/member_info/index.aspx



If you don't know who your Representative is, click here and enter your zip code in the upper left hand corner to find out: http://house.gov/



Call 1-888-245-0215 today!




Read Schweikert's response here.

Atheist Football Player

I owe it all to Jesus. Jesus Lozano.



20110414

DIY Roundup



Today we're sharing a few DIY tips, hacks, and mods we found on-line. Enjoy!



Altoid Toolbox



I’ve been wanting to craft with Altoid tins since forever. Have you ever googled all the things you can make with them? It’s mind-blowing. It makes me wonder if Altoid stays in business more for their tins or for their curiously strong mints. I vote for tins. But then I’m not a real big fan of curiously strong mints.



Self-Disinfecting Toilet Brush



What do you do with the toilet brush right after you use it? Hang it up? Lay it in the sink or bathtub to dry first? Or maybe you have one of those brushes with a built-in base that keeps the bristles corralled when not in use. All of these alternatives kinda skeenge me out, honestly, and whether it's realistic or not I have a kind of horror of loose toilet brushes and the germs I imagine growing on them.



Game Controller Management



A relatively simple hack. I was frustrated with the area above my radiator being useless, and due to an awesome sale, I got two SIGNUMS for about 12 dollars CAD total.



5 Tech Ways to re-use an altoids tin



My favorite is the MintyBoost! USB Charger, which can give your electronic device hours more power when you’re in a pinch. Incredibly useful.



Cable Hiding Desk



Using Google SketchUp, $150 in materials, and some wood working gumption, the results are anything but cheap looking.



Custom Silicone Ear Molds for your in ear monitors or headphones



There’s little worse than an amazing set of in-ear monitors that constantly fall out, and without that seal they’re not doing their job right. With some silicone putty, however, you can get a fit that seals right and locks tight.



Iron 7 shirts in less than 15 minutes



I hate ironing.



Build your own house



The more I investigate alternatives to buying cookie-cutter houses that are out of my price range, the more I realize the possibilities are almost endless, from building a home from scratch to purchasing prefabricated kit homes that don't necessarily need a stationary foundation.



5 household fixes to do yourself



You don't have to be a professional handyman to take care of common hiccups. In fact, a little bit of patience and diligence can eliminate repair and maintenance costs and help heal your bottom line.



Ergonomically Optimize Your Workspace



We spend a lot of time sitting at our desks every day, and while it may not look like it, it can wreak havoc with our bodies. Here's how to set up a healthy, ergonomic workspace to keep you comfortable and injury-free.



8 DIY Desks



8 of the most stylish DIY desks we've come across, perfect for providing that DIY home office makeover inspiration.



The $10 $95 flashlight



Just another flashlight mod.



22 Ways to Reuse an Altoid Tin



Altoids have been freshening bad breath since the turn of the 19th century. But while they are touted as “Curiously Strong Mints,” perhaps the real curiosity is not the allure of the mints themselves, but the popularity of turning the tin in which they’re packaged into all sorts of truly handy, and just plain fun, creations.



The Altoids Tin Toolkit



It's a DIYer's pocket-sized toolbelt.



Altoid Survival Kit



This is ideal for anyone who wants to have the essential survival gear along each time they head into the field. Everything fits in the Altoids tin.

20110407

A Cycle of Fences

A look at Shawna Forde, head of the Minutemen American Defence in Arizona.





A cycle of fences
from Sebastien Wielemans on Vimeo.

20110405

Quick, Delicious, Nutritious

Meals you can make in ten minutes!


How big is your restaurant budget? If it is bigger than you would like it to be today we'll be offering a few suggestions to help you save money by preparing more foods at home.



How much time do you have?


Some meals take a long time to prepare. Some don't. If time is short, prepare the quick meals. Here are a select few examples for you to choose from:



  • Put three pounds of washed mussels in a pot with half a cup of white wine, garlic cloves, basil leaves and chopped tomatoes. Steam until mussels open. Serve with bread.
  • Pan-grill a skirt steak for three or four minutes a side. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, slice and serve over romaine or any other green salad, drizzled with olive oil and lemon.
  • Quesadilla: Use a combination of cheeses, like Fontina mixed with grated pecorino. Put on half of a large flour tortilla with pickled jalapenos, chopped onion, shallot or scallion, chopped tomatoes and grated radish. Fold tortilla over and brown on both sides in butter or oil, until cheese is melted.
  • Hot dogs on buns — with beans!
  • Make six-minute eggs: simmer gently, run under cold water until cool, then peel. Serve over steamed asparagus.
  • Open a can of white beans and combine with olive oil, salt, small or chopped shrimp, minced garlic and thyme leaves in a pan. Cook, stirring, until the shrimp are done; garnish with more olive oil.
  • Warm olive oil in a skillet with at least three cloves sliced garlic. When the garlic colors, add at least a teaspoon each of cumin and pimentón. A minute later, add a dozen or so shrimp, salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley, serve with lemon and bread.
  • Put a few slices of chopped prosciutto in a skillet with olive oil, a couple of cloves of crushed garlic and a bit of butter; a minute later, toss in about half a cup bread crumbs and red chili flakes to taste. Serve over pasta with chopped parsley.
  • Call it panini: Grilled cheese with prosciutto, tomatoes, thyme or basil leaves.
  • Make wraps of tuna, warm white beans, a drizzle of olive oil and lettuce and tomato.
  • Fast chile rellenos: Drain canned whole green chilies. Make a slit in each and insert a piece of cheese. Dredge in flour and fry in a skillet, slit side up, until cheese melts.
  • Fried rice: Soften vegetables with oil in a skillet. Add cold takeout rice, chopped onion, garlic, ginger, peas and two beaten eggs. Toss until hot and cooked through. Season with soy sauce and sesame oil.
  • Brown bratwursts with cut-up apples. Serve with coleslaw.
  • Salmon (or just about anything else) teriyaki: Sear salmon steaks on both sides for a couple of minutes; remove. To skillet, add a splash of water, sake, a little sugar and soy sauce; when mixture is thick, return steaks to pan and turn in sauce until done. Serve hot or at room temperature.
  • Rich vegetable soup: Cook asparagus tips and peeled stalks or most any other green vegetable in chicken stock with a little tarragon until tender; reserve a few tips and purée the rest with a little butter (cream or yogurt, too, if you like) adding enough stock to thin the purée. Garnish with the reserved tips. Serve hot or cold.
  • Ketchup-braised tofu: Dredge large tofu cubes in flour. Brown in oil; remove from skillet and wipe skillet clean. Add a little more oil, then a tablespoon minced garlic; 30 seconds later, add one and a half cups ketchup and the tofu. Cook until sauce bubbles and tofu is hot.
  • Cook red lentils in water with a little cumin and chopped bacon until soft. Top with poached or six-minute eggs (run under cold water until cool before peeling) and a little sherry vinegar.



Learn more by visiting Get Rich Slowly and The New York Times article: Summer Express: 101 Simple Meals Ready in 10 Minutes or Less


20110404

Minimize Spending and Maximize Time

By Modifying your wallet


The wallet is a useful tool in this day and age of consumerism. It enables us to purchase goods and services that we need or want by having our purchasing power at an arm's reach. How did you react when you read that I called a wallet a tool?



The wallet is a tool. Like any other tool it can be optimized and put to better use. A well-equipped wallet can help with your personal finance and to help you remember important things. Your wallet can save you time and money. Continue reading to find out how.



Equip the best credit cards


Credit cards are great for purchasing things and for keeping track of purchases. Unfortunately it is very easy to buy more than what is affordable. Find one good general use credit card. Keep that in the wallet. Freeze the others. Literally. Put them in a plastic cup of water and put that cup in the freezer. They'll still be usable if you need them but the idea is to pay off any balances and then cancel them.



Reconsider your purchase


If over-spending is problematic, wrap a picture of a goal or something inspirational around the credit card in the wallet. This will serve as a reminder of the big financial dreams that using the credit card may hurt.



Store your passwords


Jot down seldom used passwords and user names on an index card and keep that in the wallet. Please don't indicate which site they are for; this is a reminder.



Splurge on a wallet


Buy a good wallet. A good well made wallet can go a long way. If personal finance is important get something that will last and be in service for years.



Visit The Simple Dollar to learn about more wallet hacks that can help save you money.


20110403

Make the most of your mornings

It is important to get cracking!


Mornings are a great time for people to start their day and to start accomplishing things. Today I'm sharing a few tips to help you make the most of your mornings and be more productive. We've got to wake up and smell the roses!



  • Wake up.
    Don't hit the snooze button. Set the alarm for the time you want to wake up and wake up. Be sure to get to bed early enough to make it easier for you.
  • Drink water.
    Now that you're up, drink some water to hydrate your body.
  • Worship the sun.
    Get outside and take a few minutes to appreciate nature take in some of that solar energy.
  • Get some exercise.
    Physical activity is incredibly important. Regular physical activity will improve your quality of life.
  • Journal.
    Journaling is an easy way to reflect and organize your thoughts.

Check out lifehack.org for more tips!

20110402

Suit up

How important is it to present yourself well?

Very important. First impressions are big. That means you have to be wearing your game face nearly all the time. That means you have to suit up.



Here are some tips to help you make a good first impression.

  • Get a good suit.

    A good suit that fits well goes a long way. The best practice is to tailor it so that it looks best.


  • Pay attention to your shoes.

    People notice shoes. Find a comfortable pair that looks good and take care of them.


  • Splurge on a few well made outfits.

    Buying a few well made outfits can take you far. And it may be a better long term strategy than buying many less well made outfits.


If you find these tips to be interesting or helpful check out Penelope Trunk's blog, Advice at the Intersection of Work and Life.