Because every penny counts.

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In which lawyers become strippers…and news becomes tabloid trash.

In the category of weird legal news, we have this: “Lawyer turned stripper to pay the bills.”

(No, we don’t have pictures to prove it, and by “it” I mean that she is a stripper, or a lawyer, either, for that matter…and just like that, 99% of the readers who found this blog while Googling “stripper lawyers” have stopped reading.)

Is the economy that bad? Or is First Coast News trying to roll out the stripper-with-a-heart-of-gold story to bump their ratings?

I’m going to guess the latter. But in any case, you decide. Here’s “Carla,” explaining her dire straights:

“Did I ever think I’d be taking my top off for rent money? No. I was in my mid-30s and had never danced before,” said Carla, who asked that we use her stage name and withhold her identity and some personal details. “As a little girl, I never thought to myself, ‘I just want to grow up and be a stripper,’ or, ‘All I ever wanted to do in life is climb in the lap of sweaty stranger and take my top off.’

“But, with our economy the way it is, especially in smaller cities … you strip or you starve,” she said.

Strip or starve…strip or starve… Well, when you put it that way, it’s obvious!

On the other hand, some people have jobs and have money—otherwise, who is paying to watch you shake it?

Apparently, strip clubs are a recession-proof business.

Even in the middle of a recession, when money is tight for pretty much everyone, managers at Déjà Vu say they are still seeing more than 1,000 customers a week.

“I would say we are doing very well considering what’s been going on with the downfall of other companies,” [Déjà Vu manager] Martinez said.

But I digress. Back to “Carla” and First Coast News:

As her prospects grew dim, she went back to school to earn a master’s degree, hoping to bolster her credentials. But her financial aid came in lower than expected, her credit was battered and she struggled to find part-time work in her new town to keep her afloat.

Can you feel your empathy levels rising? Because First Coast News is piling it on pretty thick.

Everything is happening to her, beyond her control.  She is the victim of less financial aid than she planned,  low credit (due to late payments or no payments to creditors…the only reason credit drops), and not finding a job in a “new” town (which, as she notes in the story, is a “small” town). But none of that is her fault. It’s the economy, it’s the credit agency, it’s the lack of jobs, it’s government, it’s everyone but her!

She was at rock bottom.

“I went around to see if could get a job as cocktail waitress, but there was not a single retail or waitress job.  No one was hiring, except for the topless places,” she said.  “It was an act of desperation.”

She started out serving drinks as a waitress, but moved quickly to dancing “because that’s where the money is, and that’s what I needed.”

Uh, huh. Can you see the gun to her head?

Pardon me if I’m a tad less than sympathetic here. The details of Carla’s practice, her pre-recession spending habits,  and how she put herself in a place where she couldn’t afford her lifestyle are obscured by the pasties limited facts provided.

Even with what is given, I can’t figure out why Carla resorted to a career she finds so objectionable. As an “act of desperation,” I expect dumpster diving, joining the Army, moving to a bigger city, or even declaring bankruptcy so you can start all over.  Between practicing law and working retail there are a lot of employment options, even in this economy.  At least, she could have left the small town for a bigger market. Whether you stay in law or try your luck elsewhere, well, that’s up to you. But to go to something you find as distasteful you find stripping?

“Sometimes it sucks, it’s degrading and I hate it, but it is necessary right now and I’m glad I have the option of doing it,” Carla said.  “My parents and a few friends know and they were horrified at first. But now they are proud of me for sucking it up and doing what I have to do.”

Turning to stripping as an act of desperation? Sounds more like a lack of imagination or effort.

If nothing else, maybe this will end up being a cautionary tale to upcoming law students preparing to take on enough debt to finance a small home. Be careful how much debt you take on, because some day you might end up in an “act of desperation,” and you never know what that might be.

I’m just sayin’: do we really need one more lawyer stripper in this world?

For that matter, do we really need one more sensational story from the news?This isn’t journalism, First Coast News–its salacious tabloid trash.

Despite Carla’s admonition (last paragraph) to never look down on someone in the “industry,” as she calls, it, I’m more embarrassed that someone as educated as her can’t find a better way to make a buck than taking it off.

[VIA]

Twelve Adults and the CBO: How many adults in the room?

The much ballyhooed Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction–aka the “supercommittee”–was supposed to hear a history of the debt crisis today.

You can imagine how well that was going to go over.  Partisans from both sides were prepared, I’m sure, to lay blame for the federal government’s fiscal problems at their opponents feet.

“It was Bush’s fault!”

“Was not. It’s Obama’s fault!”

“Nuh, uh!”

And so one. Fortunately, there was an adult in the room, and he was, contrary to oft-repeated and oft delusional grandeur of parental responsibility, not President Obama.

In fact, it wasn’t even a politician, per se. As NPR tells it

Doug Elmendorf, the man who runs the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO), immediately dispensed with the question of blame and laid out the options for the supercommittee.

“Putting the federal budget on a sustainable path will require significant changes in spending policies, significant changes in tax policies, or both,” Elmendorf said.

That’s a bitter pill, no matter what party you belong to. Elmendorf laid out the work before the committee. You have three issues before it, he said (and I’m quoting NPR, here):

  1. How much money the government is going to save;
  2. How quickly it is going to do it; and
  3. What mix of spending reductions (GOP choice) or tax increases (Democrat choice) it is going to use.

And partisan meat ain’t gonna cut it, alone. When Republican Senator John Kyl of Arizona suggested it could be recouped by stopping Medicare fraud or selling public lands, Elmendorf shut it down.

Neither of those would make up a very large part of the $1.2 trillion that the supercommittee is tasked with saving. (But he’d be glad to discuss those ideas, he said…just not on their own).

His idea, then? Raise spending or cut taxes now, and then later, raise taxes or cut spending. But lock it in now, with legislation in order to prevent future Congresses from waffling when the pressure is off.

Interesting idea, if something of a pipe dream. Check out the story from NPR.

What happens when Gingrich gets his mojo on? The CNN/Tea Party Debate.

They say that you can’t win a debate, but you sure can lose one. Tonight, despite walking in at the front of the pack, Perry sure did his best to prove that true. He’ll stay on top of the polls, for now, but he didn’t do himself any favors tonight. Like any front-runner, he took a beating for his record, and he managed, semi-successfully, to avoid saying anything too damning.

That said, he didn’t sound too articulate, either.

And that’s all I’ll say about that.

Now on to the rest of the pack. Left to right:

1. Huntsman: For a guy who started his campaign calling for civility, he sure has come a long ways. I wonder if it has anything to do with his lead consultant, one John Weaver.

2. Cain: Tonight was his best debate, yet, but I don’t think it will move him much. He still brings a breath of fresh air to the campaign, though, and I like that.

3. Bachmann: She’s an insurgent by nature, and she does best on the attack, which she did, taking on Perry on his 2007 executive order by-passing the Texas legislature to inoculate 12-year old girls against human papillomavirus. She’d make a better VP than a President.

4. Romney: After a sharp back and forth on Perry’s social security comments comparing it to a Ponzi scheme, Romney found a chance to lay out his seven point plan to rebuild the economy. He’ll stay in second place, but he took a few blows. He’s no Tea Party darling.

5. Perry: See above.

6. Paul: With Blitzer in control, Paul was noticeably less vocal than usual. And while he may understand motives for anti-Americanism abroad, he struck the wrong cord with his audience when Rick Santorum took him to task.

7. Gingrich: If a debate could be won, then the trophy would go to Gingrich. Deftly dodging Blitzer’s bait, he took Obama to task, focused on the economy, and slipped in critiques of czars and subsidies to GE. Kudos to Newt.

8. Santorum: Good showing tonight, even if I wish he’d go home. Strong at points, petulant at others.

I’ve been told that debates were not a good indication of who would be a good president. That may be, but they sure show a lot about who shouldn’t sit in that seat.

If nothing else, they are great political theater.

Science Edition: Spongebob is not your friend. Also, wrinkled fingers.

First, don’t miss the CNN/Tea Party debate tonight at 6 PM MST. I’ll be live tweeting here.

Until then, here’s your factoid(s) for the day: Spongebob Squarepants is not your friend. Or your children’s’ either, for that matter.

As if anyone is surprised:

Spongebob is hazardous to your children’s health.

[R}esearchers had three groups of four-year-olds watch Spongebob Squarepants and some boring, educational cartoon on PBS, Caillou, in nine-minute increments, while one group spent the time drawing with no television on. Afterward, tests were conducted on the kids’ executive function, or the ability to remain focused. Guess what! The kids who watched Spongebob Squarepants scored “significantly worse” than the ones who watched Caillou. And the group that spent the entire nine minutes drawing instead did even better. In other words, television really is horrible.

Shocker.  Looking closer, the we should perhaps be careful due to the small sample size (sixty), but still, it’s relevant. We’ve long known that exposure to television could increase propensity for ADD in children, but in such short time increments of 9 minutes?

To those parents out there looking to use the television to calm and baby-sit excitable children, perhaps you ought to look into getting a dog or some crayons, instead. Find the study here

Also, why your fingers wrinkle in the rain:

It’s not because of water absorption. It’s to give you better grip.

In the study, an evolutionary neurobiologist and his co-authors examined 28 fingers wrinkled by water. They found that they all had the same pattern of unconnected channels diverging away from one another as they got more distant from the fingertips.

The wrinkles allow water to drain away as fingertips are pressed to wet surfaces, creating more contact and a better grip.

That’s evolution at work, you know? Read more here.

[Gawker] [Brain, Behavior, and Evolution]

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