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Journal: step 1, count your money, step 2, send it in

Journal by Bill Dog

From the they-would've-never-made-this-song-later-in-their-career dept:

Let me tell you how it will be
There's one for you, nineteen for me
Should five percent appear too small
Be thankful I don't take it all

If you drive a car, I'll tax the street
If you try to sit, I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold, I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk, I'll tax your feet

Don't ask me what I want it for
Taxman, Mister Moonbeam (CA-540)
If you don't want to pay some more
Taxman, Mister O (1040)

Now my advice for those who die
Declare the pennies on your eyes
'Cause I'm the Taxman
Yeah, I'm the Taxman
And you're working for no-one but me

Happy Tax Day! :)

User Journal

Journal: Gleichschaltung [LONG] 10

Journal by Bill Dog

Gleichschaltung [LONG]

This started as a response to smitty's latest JE, but got too long. From TFA he sites:

In the old days, the left railed against the eeeevils of Big Business, whether it was Upton Sinclair versus the meatpackers, or demonizing the men who built Americaâ(TM)s network of railroads with the folk Marxist twang of âoeRobber Barons.â But these days, as weâ(TM)ve seen in the past few weeks with Starbucksâ(TM) Howard Schultz and Appleâ(TM)s Tim Cook, American business is almost totally onboard with the leftâ(TM)s social agenda. Comcastâ(TM)s MSNBC channel and Viacomâ(TM)s Daily Show and all three of the broadcast networkâ(TM)s news programs are effectively daily in-kind contributions to the Democrat Party.

But individual small businesses are a lot more random in their thinking, which is why the left hates them, unless they obediently conform to the Gleichschaltung.

And, as a parenthetical, from the linked article for that German word:

Donâ(TM)t miss the rest of Billâ(TM)s essay [on Progressivism], which moves from the Bridge of the Titanic, to the classrooms of the Frankfurt School, the birthplace of âoePolitical Correctnessâ And speaking of which, as Jonah Golberg asks, âoeWhat is political correctness other than the gears of the liberal Gleichschaltung?â

Gleichschaltung is a German word (in case you couldnâ(TM)t have guessed) borrowed from electrical engineering. It means âoecoordination.â The German National Socialists (Nazis) used the concept to get every institution to sing from the same hymnal. If a fraternity or business embraced Nazism, it could stay âoeindependent.â If it rejected Nazism, it was crushed or bent to the stateâ(TM)s ideology. Meanwhile, every branch of government was charged with not merely doing its job but advancing the official state ideology.

This what is looking to be an era of attacks on small business sheds more light on the overall strategy the Left has migrated to.

The "from" of course was the vilification of "big business", and in general (economic) success in America. So for example Slashdotters used to rail against successful, heavy-handed tech company Microsoft. Making a political movement out of the idea of cost-free software with source code included, and inventing the notion of "copyleft" to invert and subvert protection of the individual from the collective as far as software IP, was nerdy Leftists' little microcosm version of what had been the larger plan of the Left, to try to get the people to rise up against and throw out private industry. ("Big business" being just a proxy term for the actual target, capitalism.)

But that wasn't working. Capitalism, along with America's other values and traditions that the Left absolutely hates, would not be defeated in one glorious moment of destruction (and rebirth). The Left realized that our institutions would have to be corrupted and weakened from the inside, and converted to an overall system of what I'll call CINO, or Capitalism In Name Only, rather than explicitly collapsed and rebuilt. (Hence things like Obama's talk about "fundamentally transforming" America. Because the classical Lefty approach and dream was not going to pan out here, because our foundations were at the same time too far from the goal and too deep-rooted, legally and in the peoples' consciousnesses.)

The main information dissemination institutions in America were part of the first phase, and were easily compromised; K-12 and higher education, the entertainment industries (TV, movies, music), and journalism. These strategic captures were instrumental in winning the culture war in America, that, as TFA points out, they've been sore winners about since. Included in this phase was the takeover of science as thought about and practiced in this country, and the installment of policies in public sector employment to transition the bulk of government employees, and even more importantly the powerful leadership of regulating/pseudo law-making government departments, to being their people.

So unwanted turns of events as far as the consequences of democracy -- legislation -- could be undermined via the courts and ignoring by bureacrats. But then what to do about businesses. Well, Microsoft was evil to Leftie nerds because Gates (before he retired to pursue squandering millions of dollars on dumb ways of trying to save the world, and thereby becoming a Leftist himself, only differing in that the squandered millions are his own) and Balmer wanted to make money and crush the competition. Microsoft was evil for being this, until Google came along, that is. Despite being near as successful and heavy-handed, their founders were otherwise on board with Leftism. So it was entirely acceptable, in the new strategy.

Capitalism probably can't be defeated in this county, by vote. At least not until the more recent strategic component of diluting the votership with millions of immigrants from countries south of us where all they've really known and have come to accept is a low standard of living and continuing belief in and constant re-tries of the promises of socialism. So convert it to crony capitalism. Expand government's role from "hands-off until a rule is broken" to "get in bed with us and we'll help you with a leg up on your competitors" (meaning any of them not also in bed with government). Blur the public sector/private sector division with "public/private partnerships", and (sort of) NGO's/quasi-government organizations like Fannie and Freddie. Afterall, "you didn't build that". Tell the banks who they're going to buy and what they're going to do, or government will crush them. "Too big to fail", and also too useful as instruments of government policy to pass up utilizing.

The giant companies of Silicon Valley have already been on board with the Left, in its leadership positions. I'm not sure there's any large companies left that haven't liberalized employment benefits by extending them to employees' same-sex live-in lovers (can I as a man shack up with a lady and get her on my company health plan?) or who aren't regularly talking about diversity as one of the business objectives. So really the largest problem remaining in the business world is the SMB's. Big businesses have already shown good progress on and are on track toward becoming directable tools of the state. But SMB's, like still a large part of white male America (and maybe tiny parts of other groupings of Americans), still feel a sense of being independent.

We're all supposed to be in this (pursuit of a centrally planned, based on Leftist values and principles, society and economy) together, so really the biggest problem in America to the Left, as far as not quite yet having a real plan in place to deal with that is already on the path to success, is the existence of people like Tea Partiers and small business owners. The former seems to have pretty much fizzled out on its own, thanks to traditional Americans' tendency towards apathy and the inability to sustain feelings of outrage. So what's left is converting the small business landscape in America. That's where things like raids, high taxation, lawsuits, extortion measures by Left-wing groups, and government-enhanced high barriers to entry come in. Crony capitalism is the new socialism, and these are the hold-outs.

User Journal

Journal: gun garbage [long] 9

Journal by Bill Dog

Someone kind of set me off at work on Friday. Gotta work on that. She was apparently reading something about an idea to arm teachers. Or more specifically, offer concealed carry licenses for the classroom. And indicated that she was appalled by the idea.

I said one of the beauties of concealed carry is that not everyone even has to have a gun, to still have the effect of discouraging bad people.

1) First it was the old "argument" that let a person have a gun and they'll turn into a dangerous lunatic. Teachers will be letting bullets fly all over the place, endangering the children and everyone around them.

I asked, should the police be allowed to carry guns? She apparently knew where I was going with that, and needed a minute on that one, so came back to what I had offered right before, and said well:
2) How is a teacher going to conceal it, and
3) How are they going to whip it out in time?

To the first, understand that only having it on their person is not essentially required. And in fact would be a bad idea, as it was seen recently in the news an older male teacher being overpowered by a single large student. I would suggest small gun safes, installed in the walls, in every classroom. And then the teachers having the key to it, among their other keys, on their person at all times.

But then a student or students could overpower the teacher and get the keys? Yes, but beyond the factor of not necessarily knowing which key is the one (only the teachers should know this, in addition to never giving out their key ring, even temporarily for something, to a student), this is where the "concealed" part comes in. I've just added a level of indirection to it. Student(s) still don't know if the gun safe in their classroom has a gun in it or not. Heck, put a gun lock on the gun so a bad guy student has to go through the exercise of finding which key works again; this is even more time for other students to exit the classroom during the altercation and seek help from other classrooms.

To the second, they are, and they aren't. If someone bursts into your classroom and starts shooting, they've simply got the element of surprise in their favor and you aren't going to stop them. It's about discouraging it from spilling over into other classrooms. It's not about some vain attempt to ensure that absolutely no one gets killed evar, it's about limiting the damage of these, albeit rare, incidents.

Adjoining classrooms, having heard shots fired somewhere near, would proceed to open their gun safes. Those teachers who've volunteered to have guns in their classroom safes and to respond to emergencies would take them and try to track down which classroom the incident was taking place in and end it. So why then a policy of everyone opening their safe in an emergency? I would have doing so trigger [unintentional pun] a special alarm throughout the school, so that even those who couldn't hear the shots fired would be given notice. Such as to prepare to defend their classrooms or to move their students to an armed classroom (the teachers should know who's part of the program and who's not).

(But then after a school shooting then the students (while they're at the school/in those grades, that is) will know who's armed and who isn't? True, but these are rare occurrences. And slight imperfections in any plan in general doesn't overcome its overall benefit.)

4) Then it was the old suggestion that more times than not the gun will be taken away and the victim will be victimized by their own weapon.

Well that's like the argument that we shouldn't fight back against terrorism, because it only angers the terrorists and causes more people to join them. You have to fight evil; you can't just refrain from trying to curtail violence by bad guys because of all the possible side effects. The alternative is ridiculous.

5) Finally, after having offered up this usual array of Left-wing criticisms, it's claimed that she only meant that her objection was that there was no mention of them getting proper training.

So now we're back to my prior posed line of questioning. I agreed that training should go along with the policy, if it's actually implemented (yeah, right; in today's America?!). But the police for example get training, and they still panic and empty their guns shooting up the wrong vehicle or into other houses. It's just ignoring human nature to expect all or most people to not freak out when they think their very lives are in danger. But that's not a reason to disarm the police, or the populace for that matter.

Which segues into my main point on this. A distinction between (mere) citizens, and "the authorities" (which the Left wants all (white) people to obey without question), is an artificial one when it comes to this. You're not imbued with some kind of magical extra-human powers when you're deputized. You're still just a person, susceptible to all the fears and failings of a human being.

So a recap and a filling out the remaining of what the Left would have us believe about people and guns:

* In general, no one should be allowed to have a gun except members of the government. Because only they can handle it, somehow.

* Unless you're a racist cop.

* And unless you're a member of military, really, because people only join the military because they want to kill people (and not at all instead because they want the government benefits).

* If you're a celebrity, then it's also okay if you own a gun.

* Even if you're one who vocally advocates for civilians not being allowed to have a gun.

* In general, "gun owner" = "gun nut".

* If you want a gun (aside from needing it for your job, or needing it because of the possibility of crazed fans or Right-wing detractors), you're a nut.

* Even if you don't start out a nut, having a gun will make you one, somehow.

* Defending yourself (and defenseless associates) against lethal force with lethal force only makes the situation worse. [For who?]

On a personal/full disclosure note, I don't own a gun, never have, maybe never will. I grew up (and probably because I've always lived in California) not knowing anyone personally who has guns, and still don't, except for my sis and her hubby who just got one recently. I shot BB guns *once*, in summer camp, I was never in the military or law enforcement or security, guns aren't in any way a part of my life, I may never own a gun in my life, but I want that right, along with all of the others in the Bill of Rights, in case I do someday wish to have one. (I don't need to wait until I personally want to exercise a right, to care about it.)

User Journal

Journal: fun with CSS 3 I guess 2

Journal by Bill Dog

So go to www.google.com (I just type in the middle part and use the Ctrl-Enter thingie, a lot), presumably in a modern browser, and type in "askew" without hitting Enter.

It probably only works in the mode where upon typing the first character into their home page it automatically jumps to the search box being in the upper left and intermediate results being displayed as you type, so might require JavaScript being enabled.

You can restore things by backspacing all the way and then begin typing say "askance".

Anyone come across any others? I see that "skew" is one of the keywords in the 2D transforms of the CSS 3 spec, but that word doesn't affect Google, as neither do some of the others.

p.s. On a partly unrelated note, what's with Google removing my dang commas. Paste in "275,908.952 watts" and then type " to hor", and it says "Showing results for 275 908.952 watts to horsepower", and only one document in the results listing. Click on the pop-up suggestion of "horsepower" and... you don't get your conversion. Go back and put the damn comma back and you'll get it. (But then notice in the conversion output that it lists the wattage without the comma!)

User Journal

Journal: just think how some conversations could go 7

Journal by Bill Dog

An errant capitalization in a comment triggered a thought: It will be a confusing day when Dodge announces an electric Charger.

"So, what do you do for a charger?"
<points to car> "That."
"No, I mean how do you charge your electric charger?"
"With an electric charger."
"It charges itself?"
"No, I put it in my garage and charge it there."
"So you've got an electric charger in your garage then."
"I just told you I did."
"So what's the power output of your electric charger?"
"About 275,908.952 watts."

User Journal

Journal: I wish we had coalition governing here in the U.S. 14

Journal by Bill Dog

Barb wrote in smitty's journal:

We have it [political polarization] up here [in Canada] too, but it tends to be more muted when we have minority governments, since then you need at least some votes from one of the opposing parties to pass legislation.

We're exceptionally dysfunctional in the U.S. because we have two major parties. It means each can take turns ignoring the will of people, as when one is booted out of power in one election, they'll just get it back next go-around when we punish the other party for screwing us over. They've got us convinced there's only two choices, and so our voting ends up assuring that.

And so there's no need for compromise, if you'll just be given power again the next cycle. I've long thought, for efficiency, and to do their jobs representing the people, why not take all the stuff that both sides agree on, stuff it in a bill and quickly pass it, and then wrangle over the contentious stuff after that. But I think both sides hold the agreeable stuff hostage to get more disagreeable stuff passed.

Or refuse to do a give-and-take on the disagreeable stuff, like this from 8.5 years ago. To better serve their respective constituencies, both parties could do an even swap and let the other side have 3 things to get 3 things for their voters. But neither party needs to worry about serving us well.

And there's no need for restraint, when you'll just be given power again the next cycle. Political litmus tests for judicial appointees, applying the fillibuster (meant for legislative bills) to judicial appointees, the "nuclear option" ("In 2005, Obama opposed [it, when Republicans had control of the Senate] before supporting it in 2013 [when Democrats had control]."), being against usage of a lot of executive orders when your side is not in power and then flipping when it is, declaring by fiat that Congress is in recess to make recess judicial appointments, refusing to pass a budget for 4 years, not allowing legislation to come to floor to be voted on (when there might be enough dissenters in one's own party to pass it), not allowing amendments from the minority party to legislation that is brought up for a vote, skirting debate by passing things via slipping them into funding bills.

The misuse of power keeps escalating giving the minority party at the time even less power. But if the minority party in the Senate is 46% of it like it is now, about half the country wants those values put forth, and not 90% or 100% of the values of the 54%. For example, there's absolutely no excuse for something as significant as Obamacare passing, when it got not a single vote by the minority party. Representation of the political diversity of the country is nowhere close to happening, in the U.S.

I wish we had more "sides" than just two. It's really bad for voters who are, for example, fiscally Conservative but socially Liberal. They don't get represented no matter what. We should have at least 4 major parties, one for each side of both axes. And then we should get 2 votes to cast, one for each axis. Then Congress should be made up of the winning proportions of each. Then we'd get things like 35 Senators who ran on socially Liberal positions, 30 who ran on fiscally Conservative positions, 20 who ran on fiscally Liberal positions, and 15 who ran on socially Conservative positions.

Then we might see things like those who think social issues are the most important be willing to compromise on fiscal things to let one side or the other win on fiscal issues, in exchange for compromise on social issues by those who don't consider those to be of upmost importance. Where it's not a simple "us versus them", because it's more complicated than that. Where it's about constantly building temporary coalitions between strange bedfellows, and expecting to give something up to get something. And then if for example the fiscally Liberal party just refused to work with the other three, the voters could punish just that one party and not expect the remainder to go hog wild in abuses, because there'd still be divisions left to keep them somewhat in check.

With only two parties, it's too easy to get people thinking in black-and-white terms about things, as if there are only two sides to every issue, the right one and the wrong one. It dumbs us down. With only two parties, it's too easy to make it not about the issues, but about the parties; people think "I'll never vote for a Republican" instead of "I'll never vote for anyone who differs from me on my top 3 issues of x, y, and z". Maybe I'm for gun rights but some people in both parties uphold that. Maybe I'm for private ownership of certain guns but not others. Only two major parties means we tend to only get to choose from extremes. More major parties would better reflect and remind us that there are nuances, and that there's a lot more to things than to just remember that Republicans are racist and to vote Democrat if you're brown.

User Journal

Journal: I'm a trendlagger [LONG] 5

Journal by Bill Dog

When people complain about Facebook, for example, I have basically no idea what they're talking about, because I've never been on it. I avoided Myspace, and Linkedin, and whatever else. The good thing about being very late to jump on trends is that you can avoid some entirely. I'm glad I'm not on any of those services because I've heard (later on that) they're sleazy.

FASHION

I still have a CRT (non-digital) television set. That's my only one. I still get non-digital, standard-def cable TV. I still record all my desired stuff on a VCR. The thing is, all that stuff still works, so I'm loathe to chuck it just because it's comically out of touch. Still, it's 2015 and the thought's crossed my mind, I might move it all to the bedroom and buy myself an HD screen for downstairs, and then figure out if a DVR is something you buy in a store or if it's something you can only rent via your cable co. or if it's something that's not a box in your home but a service you stream from you cable co.

At least then I wouldn't sound like an idiot talking with coworkers sometimes. Many of my adoptions of trends have been based on that. I was the last of my friends to get an answering machine. Remember those? I still have one. No not the tapes kind; I didn't jump on these until they were all non-mechanical by then. You might remember them associated with those old land line things, that we all used to have. Still have a land line. And still pay for long distance service, now that I think about it, and not sure why.

I was the last of my cohorts to get a cell phone, a small Nokia brickphone that everyone had (for a year or better) at the time. Then I was last to have that, and even though it worked fine, I spent $99 to move to a basic flipphone, only because everyone had those by then, and I was starting a new job, and didn't want to look like an idiot. What a reason to spend $100!

I plan on looking for a new job this spring, so just a few weeks ago I got my first ever smartphone. (Which one? Let's just say that I've now joined all the iDiots, I'm sorry to say.) The flipphone isn't broken, it's just unfashionable! So now I've gone from a $100 phone to a $650 one, and a little more than doubled my monthly service payment for it, just to learn about the smartphone world so I don't say something and reveal myself to be too far behind the times at a next job.

I got a netbook at the very end of that trend. But short-sightedly, I got one with Windows XP instead of Vista Home, for performance reasons, and now while it works just fine, I can't use it for anything serious because it's unsecured. And now that I have a smartphone, which boots to being able to check something on the web even faster, dunno what I'll use a perfectly good netbook for. It did get a fair amount of use for note-taking in classes (it's a Sammy 12" with a near-laptop-sized keyboard, which I needed to be able to touch type on it), so maybe I got my money's worth. (But how will I get my money's worth on the smartphone?)

AHEAD

I have been ahead of trends a couple of times in my life. In college I bought myself a Hayes 1200 baud modem (around $400 at the time; a *lot* for a ramen-eating [I miss those] starving college student back then) and was one of only a few at my college who did their homework on their home computer and then dialed in to upload it and, re-run it already developed and debugged on the school's system, and print it on the campus main printer. The only time I was in computer labs after my freshman year was to work (paid) in them. (Okay and for late-night study/party sesssions with my homies if I had been scheduled for some closing shifts and it was nearish the end of the semester.)

I also got the idea from a coworker at my first job back in the early 90's to fax one's resume to places. I know for a fact that that technique got me one of my jobs, as after I started there I found out the lady who placed the ad, with her company email address, promptly left, and no one was checking that account for resumes! But faxing resumes may not have ever gotten wildly popular, so what it was I was ahead of might not qualify as a trend I guess.

INVISIBLE

The good thing about not having gotten caught up in the social media trend is that I'm invisible on the interwebs. I use a robots meta tag with noindex/nofollow in my personal web space, that I only remove for the duration of looking for another job. I may be getting dinged in a job search by not being findable on social media, but at least then I can have *some* (controlled) web presence. Hopefully that's okay going forward.

I don't use my real name here, and have never revealed any personally identifiable info, such as things that would give away what city I live in or where I work. Since [goes and looks it up] 2004 the Slashdot journal system has enabled me to say what I really think (I mean politically; I'm a not necrophiliac or some other kind of societally-shunned weirdo besides being Conservative), without it possibly affecting hiring decisions. Just have to exercise a little care, and think before hitting Submit.

Actually I can be found, with some political/religious views exposed, in Usenet archives. At least in the programming forums on Usenet, back then, if you used a pseudonym you weren't taken seriously.

But it's near impossible to get that far in a web search, because, luckily, there's someone with my name and middle initial, in my region, who's a prolific writer. And later hits show someone who has their own business. So I got lucky in having a shadow for my name that seems to go on and on in the search results.

Who knows how exposed I am on Monster and Dice. They don't let you actually delete your account, just flag that you're not actively looking, as I recall. Some of my spam may be from any schlub with a few bucks creating a faux employer's account and trawling for victims. Same if I decide to try one or more dating sites this year. I'll have to really think hard about what I want to put out there (but to still make it hopefully worthwhile). Not that I think Monster and Dice and eHarmony and Match would sell me directly, like I've heard Facebook and Linkedin have, but that they'd not worry about being too careful about who they sell privileges to view my account to.

Beyond that Amazon knows tons about me. Probably Google as well, as I had to sign up for Google Groups once for a class, which tied my name to my IP address at the time. Probably browser fingerprinting, in my IP block, continues to identify me after my ISP issues me a new dynamic address. So I started using Bing last year, but I don't always remember to.

THE BAD

Being late to trends means, well, when I had hair on my head to really speak of, I was usually behind in hairstyles. In elementary school I just had a mop head of hair, but then in jr high I noticed everyone had moved to a center part. Who knows how long before that had happened. Then in high school a side part came in, so before I went off to college I figured I'd better finally lose my center parting.

Until last year when I said eff it and am now buzzing the top of my head, my side part had turned into a comb-over, without me noticing it, as my hair gradually thinned on top. So I had the side part for almost 30 years, completely skipping the moussed front sticking up thing. And of course then the Justin Bieber swirlie thing, although which I guess no one my age ever went to.

And I've skipped the goatee thing, retaining the moustache that my face started growing in 7th grade. So I've looked like a 70's porn star all this time (I would imagine!). No bit of fuzz growing under the bottom lip. Thought that may have been a short and/or non-widespread trend.

No tattoos or piercings. I think that makes me really behind the times. After watching a few seasons of Naked and Afraid, it's occurred to me that basically *everyone* now has a tattoo.

Clothing styles don't permeate my brain until they've been around long enough that they're just about to die off. I still wear polos to work. I still wear very light blue jeans and white tennis shoes on Fridays, even though I think that pristine look went out long ago. Everything's dark colors now. I'm so sick of black (especially in car interiors). I need to wear light, bright things half the time or it's depressing. And my dark colors load gets too big and the light colors cold load too small.

And finally another bad thing about being late to trends is, I hate pop songs when they first come out, and I don't give popular TV shows a chance. Their overwhelming popularity overwhelms me and makes me revulse. But then years later I get in to a show in re-runs, and then no one gets my references! Or I hear a song from a prior era, that's pathetically locked style-wise in that era, and it's stuck in my head and I hum it and people think I'm dangerous.

User Journal

Journal: how to get to all the prefs here? 3

Journal by Bill Dog

I noticed I was asked to meta-moderate. I thought I had turned both M1 and M2 off. Anyone remember how to get to that screen?

For that matter, anyone remember how to get to the screen where you can adjust +/- modifiers on posts, based on various criteria?

I had saved some links in the old URL format (/x.pl?op=y), but apparently not these.

User Journal

Journal: I guess that's where we are 12

Journal by Bill Dog

So I'm waiting in the Wendy's drive-thru after work tonight, and there's an ad on the radio I guess from the BSA. It said software piracy is not only wrong, it's illegal.

Doesn't "not only x, but also y" mean "as if x wasn't bad enough, there's also y"? When you use that rhetorical structure, aren't you going in increasing badness about something? Saving the worst for last, for the most dramatic effect and hopefully to seal the persuasion deal?

So now something being against the law carries more convincing force than something being wrong. I guess the needles of the moral compasses of most these days spin wildly instead of track steady. And without the force of government we'd be ethically lost.

Reminds of seeing on Cops a few weeks ago, teen gets arrested for taking a gun to an argument, luckily the cops stop things before anyone gets hurt, and dad is at the station talking to the young lad, very disappointed, and says son, don't you know you could get tried as an adult for killing someone? WTF? Because that's worse than ending another human being's life?!? That's why you shouldn't murder people?!?

p.s. Also heard on the radio tonight some announcer pronounce the TLD of that web site as oh arr gee. Made me think, I want a .OMG site!

User Journal

Journal: x is bad for x? (Continuation) 3

Journal by Bill Dog

Rights are distributive (with our Freedom of Association).

A x C + B x C = (A + B) x C

A = me
B = you
C = the right of Free Speech, in this example

Us speaking together is the same as you and I speaking separately, as far as the government should be concerned. To remove the C factor from the rhs, is to also remove it from the left.

An AC posted to my last JE, a kind of user I don't normally read posts from, but I was convinced he is someone who is on my Friends list. Because my response got long, and by posting AC he might not see it and notice the opportunity to say how I'm wrong about something, I've just made a new JE out of it.

If an entity doesn't get to vote in the ballot, that entity has no business influencing votes.

But the entities we're talking about here are not some kind of disembodied mysteries. They're us. It's a violation of my rights to have to shut up because I formed a business with someone or joined a union or a church or whatever. I as a legal citizen of the U.S. have the God-given right to free speech, of which political speech is especially "sacred" (in a democracy), no matter my associations.

Okay, that is, except in the capacity of an agent of the government. Our rights (are designed to) protect us from government, so if you take a job with the government, that's voluntary, and you don't have free speech on the job. So cops can't proselytize while they're writing you a ticket, and teachers, well, shouldn't be allowed to brainwash kids with their Leftist garbage. But if I want to run a grocery store where the check-out people try to convert you, or tell you who to vote for, that's my right. (And then you can decide whether to shop there or not.)

I'm okay with politicians being beholden to corporations. Or unions. Or environmental groups. Or the NRA. Or the Mormon Church (I'm not Mormon). As long as that makes them also aligned with their constituents. And if it's not, then bad on the voters. How can we expect accountability for politicians when we won't hold ourselves accountable?

A politician comes into office with (hopefully) some dead-set beliefs, and some that they haven't gotten all the information on yet and are potentially swayable (or are issues they just don't care about either way). The most concerned about an issue raise it with their representative, and attempt to persuade him/her. Those that aren't really concerned about an issue, don't. So the politician decides based on which side of the issue seems the most important to his/her constituents.

Lobbying is pure, wholesome Americana. You can pay someone to do it, or do it yourself(s). On an FNC special one weekend during one of the more recent times the EPA or whatever was trying to make life hard for a rancher, members of the family flew to D.C. to speak to someone to state their case. I personally think it's ridiculous that they couldn't get time while their rep was in town, and that legislators should be part-timers somehow, but I haven't thought that completely through and it's a separate issue.

But special interests, despite thinking certain ones are okay and others are not, is what we all are, and is not a reason to shut people up in violation of their rights. I for example am a walking set of special interests like, as a male I would like to see equality in reproductive rights among others, as a programmer I want the importation of competing slave labor stopped, etc. If I form a software business with some people, I would want those who would apply progressively more and more costly regulations on that venture with my life's savings at risk to not be elected. Denying me free speech, in whichever of my private capacities I'm engaging in, is immoral.

Without knowing the person, if someone says free speech is okay only except for corporations, to me that's not so much a position on speech as it is on corporations. If someone thinks corporations are evil and therefore should be excluded from x (among others), well, to me that's not a reason. I don't like the vast millions that the unions donate or that George Soros' various front groups donate, but I believe they have the right.

p.s. On a much less serious note, in case anyone reading this missed it, a couple of funnies (well of course I think the first one was funny): http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=6180957&cid=48459463

User Journal

Journal: x is bad for x? 11

Journal by Bill Dog

I saw on another tech news site the following:

"Despite the obvious corrupting effects of money in political campaigns, ..."

Huh? That's saying "despite the obvious corrupting effect of political speech on political speech, ..."

How is that obviously corrupting? Is grass roots organizing corrupting campaigns too? Do debates corrupt them as well?

I thought a political campaign was a candidate getting his/her message out. Getting your message to as many ears as possible requires, like most things in life, time and money.

With money you can buy mailers and slots on the airwaves. With time you can canvas. Contributions of money let you buy more distributions of your message, and contributions of time let other people call and canvas for you. In campaigns, donated time and money are multipliers.

Maybe the poster meant opposition money. That's doubtful because that's mainly a tactic of the Left (to funnel money in from all over the country, to squash a local candidate or proposition), and most people who speak up, well, anywhere, are Lefties.

But even so, unless debates are corruption, then opposing messages are just as valid in the arena of ideas.

Even attack/smear messages are valid. I don't like deceptive tactics, but if there's stuff that's true about a candidate that also reflects poorly on him/her, then it's fair game. I want to know if a candidate recently flip-flopped on an issue, or has a history of it, such that they might not really be passionate about a certain position.

I want to know if they groped women or diddled interns. What the Left does in timing revelations about such things, for maximum impact, is distasteful. The truth should be disclosed when it's known. But Leftists are distasteful. (Because gaining power to them is infinitely more important than acting tastefully. Shame, embarassment, bald-faced lying, none of these are anywhere near enough of a deterrent, as is constantly seen. Power at any and all costs is so important because the issues are so important to them.)

I don't need to know so much who's supporting a candidate, because that only matters if I already know that they don't have solid beliefs themselves and are primarily just doing what their supporters want. Because if they don't have principles they stick to, they're already disqualified in my mind, so who's pulling their strings is immaterial at that point.

A principled candidate is naturally going to attract support from like-minded causes. This is so obvious it shouldn't need to be said, except the Left has probably convinced most people that no politician would be for something if there wasn't the demonized "special interest"* backing for it.

If I was in political office and the NRA for example supported me, that wouldn't make me bought and paid for, I already believe in gun rights, and would vote that way anyways. Same for abortion and a whole host of other issues.

I suppose there are things I don't really care about, or that I think don't make a difference either way, like the minimum wage, that I could potentially be bought off on. But then that's up to the voters, to decide if they want to elect someone who really cares about a, b, and c, and not so much x, y, and z.

But if one side or campaign raises more money, or more volunteers, or writes a smarter big data program suite, this is not corruption. It's by definition the process.

So what it's really saying is that one doesn't like and would like to radically transform or throw out and replace the process. Not liking certain kinds of political speech means you don't like a political process which speech has a significant say over. You'd prefer a much less, or completely un-, democratic process. Which does afterall jibe with the Left's view that people are too stupid to make the right decisions, in general.

So that's what's meant by things like the quote above; the translation of that (dishonest) Leftie speak is "there really shouldn't be any speech involved in the political process". (Dictators are best. (Which is true, just not by humans/in this life.))

And that's why, despite popular belief, it's not safe to vote Democrat. It's often times not a safe vote to vote for the Republican, as they often are detrimental to the country. But it's basically never safe to vote for a Democrat, because they're almost all Lefties, and Leftism is an opposition to the main things that distinguish Americanism. Like democracy and free speech.

*Calling special interests bad is calling freedom of association bad. If I have a right of political speech, and a right to group together with like-minded people, but then I lose the right to speak as a member of that group, then I don't really have those two rights.

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Journal: it's a good time for TV (part 3 of 3) 1

Journal by Bill Dog

p.s. on part 1: So on FU Garage earlier in the week they located and haggled over and bought a 1970 Torino 429 Cobra Jet, of which they said not a whole lot were made. (And with an engine that size, would be highly desirable.) They had no project car to work on at the time, so the wrench monkeys were idle. And the possibly head partner guy flipped it for only $2500 profit. WhyTF not fix it all up and sell it for a $25K profit?!?

3) Zombies

It's a good time for TV these days because there's so much zombie stuff. I've been a zombie nut since being a kid, although I didn't get around to seeing the original ("They're coming for you Bar'bra!") until later in life. Before having to work summers I'd rent marathon sessions of Day of the Dead, Dawn of the Dead (prior to the Ving Rhames remake), Return of the Living Dead Parts I, II, III. All great fun. (Still remember a great scene in one of those: One house occupant notices the other has obviously become very sick (a zombie), so calls for an ambulance. Paramedics arrive, and are overtaken in their van by zombies. Then more paramedics are called, as one of the zombies gets on its radio and says "Send more braaaaaaiiiinnnns!")

Then later Shaun of the Dead (first half comedy, second half serious), Flight of the Living Dead (subtitled "Zombies on a Plane", after Laurence Fishburne's "Snakes on a Plane" was a fad at the time), the 30 Days of Night stuff (SyFy did a few sequels I think), 28 [unit of time]'s Later, and of course Martin Lawrence's I Am Legend. And countless SyFy channel variations in their Saturday night originals. I didn't care that much for Romero's final zombie film, as the zombies were somehow smart in that one, and could swim. (I like 'em dumb and feeble! Like all good dead people should be!)

So I was really surprised when AMC of all networks came out with The Walking Dead. Gosh I wanted to like that, but I gave up on it several times/for chunks of several seasons because half the episodes were written for women or something. There was more crying and emoting going in some of those than in Seventh Heaven probably. Thankfully the existence of Z Nation, which is a lot more up my alley -- zombie kills and jokes -- may be causing TWD to keep its edge going, hopefully.

I also gave Helix a chance (they're doing a season 1 marathon on Black Friday). The variation where they're not dead, but infected with something that makes them zombie-ish. But an interesting setting, in a remote research facility in the arctic. I think they blew that up at the end of the first season, so when it starts up again I think in January they'll have to be somewhere else. But good conspiracy angles mixed in. Just didn't like the couple (only, thank goodness) of episodes with an over-acting Seven of Nine.

And I guess not zombies but vampires, but still, FX's (and Guillermo del Toro's) The Strain is bloody good just to even have on the tube. I don't watch sitcoms, cop dramas, or hospital dramas, which have in my lifetime seemed to be the big three in television programming (until so-called reality shows came along (and infomercials; yes Virginia, they really did used to show movies late at night on TV)), so having all this apocolyptic creature serieses is quite nice.

Moar creatures! (I do watch a bit off Face Off, and other misc. stuff sometimes I guess like House Hunters and Top Chef, but my preference is for a creative story over contests or (scripted) "reality".)

User Journal

Journal: it's a good time for TV (part 2 of 3) 3

Journal by Bill Dog

2) Survivalism

No I've never watch Survivor! (And the band sucks too.)

I've passed on Bear, and I think some British guy who was also doing solo survival demonstrations. Dude You're Screwed is going solo, but there's the other guys at basecamp interjecting things and keeping it interesting. Otherwise I guess I need at least pairs, so Dual Survival and Naked & Afraid with their sometimes complimentary and sometimes clashing aspects of the personalities involved are what keeps my interest.

Esp. Naked & Afraid can be somewhat boring though, if the particular two can't find any real food and basically just spend the 21 days starving and suffering and trying to keep themselves together mentally. I like success stories, although in Dual Survival it seemed like they were helped along sometimes, circumstance-wise (like happening upon a group of fisherman or something, so the episode could eventually end).

Not learning as much as I thought I would, though. I've learned that even if you're a hotshot at making fire, you're going to fail in an actual survival situation. I've learned that snakes are, at least on land, your best bet for decent protein. Everything else is too fast/elusive, but venomous snakes will stand their ground, stupidly. (And I've learned that venonous snakes have vertical slit eyes like cats, and non- have round eyes. So that's something, I guess.)

And I've learned not to do what they do. Everyone seems to think making shelter is the number one priority. And then they proceed to walk around in an area where the ground is covered in thorns, destroying their feet and critically affecting their mobility, instead of making shoes first. Or building their shelter in a downpour, letting all that fresh water slip by them, to then spend the next several days parched and looking for fresh water!

Speaking of which, the number thing I've learned not to do, is drink unboiled water. Esp. on N & A (T & A?) those people again and again make a dumb decision to risk drinking water running off a rock or sitting in a puddle, and then they're shitting their brains out for the next few days (or carted off to the hospital with some jungle bug), getting even more dehydrated then they'd have been without it.

Dude You're Screwed is the funner show as, besides the ambush the next victim for the next episode schtick, there's the aspects of the weird stuff that they give them, that they then use in suprising ways, and also the stuff that they steal on the way out of the plane or that they have hidden on their persons that gets by the guys as they search them before dumping them.

If you're going on Naked and Afraid, you each get one item, bring a big multi-purpose knife, no matter what, for chopping wood for fires, and skinning anything you might be lucky enough to catch. Then, if it's a wet clime, bring a firestarter (and then don't break it; they're not impervious), else bring a metal pot. Boil your water in the pot, or bamboo tubes you might be able to find.

Some worthless people have opted for, as one of their team's only two items, a pair of swimming googles, a magnifying glass, and duct tape.

I wonder why no one has brought any kind of real weaponry. Unless you're lucky enough trap something in its burrow, you would need some kind of projectile weapon to catch most meat. In re-cuts of the show they show some things that didn't make it on to the main episode, and they do cobble together grubs and miscellaneous things to eat, but not much calories, and nowhere near what they need to keep chopping up firewood, and to make their journey on the last day to be picked up. It's like no one ever thinks about how they're going to get enough protein, so at the end of the 21 days the women lose around 20 pounds and the guys can lose up to 40. And who knows what that kind of malnutrition (and the dehydration) is doing to them in the long term.

p.s. I also watched a few of those... um, maybe specials rather than a series, on how rich people purchase the services of survival bunker builders. Like taking a cargo container and outfitting it for n people to survive the apocalypse for m days. (Last night's SyFy movie reminds me. And leads into part 3.)

[Edit: Just thought of the third unusual, worthless item that's been chosen to be brought along, that I couldn't think of a few minutes ago.]

User Journal

Journal: it's a good time for TV (part 1 of 3) 2

Journal by Bill Dog

Apparently the stuff I've been watching on TV in recent times have mostly fallen into three categories.

1) Cars

I'm not so much into the fix-em-up part of those kinds of shows. Maybe partly because I'm oblivious to what they're doing or why. So I used to watch some of the block of car shows (I forget what they nicknamed it) that I think was mid-day Saturday on Spike (or maybe its prior incarnation, TNN), for a while there hosted by Danica Patrick, just as she was starting to get famous.

So I like the primetime shows a lot better because there's less grease-monkeying and in-show ads for stuff and more monkeying around and getting to the final outcome quicker. And the searching for new and interesting project cars. So I watch a little Count. I used to watch Ass Monkey a lot, but they really pissed me off when they fired a couple of the mechanics that I liked, and suddenly featured new faces that we were just supposed to accept I guess. Happily, those two partnered with some others and started up a competing business, that's now on the same network (as Misfits Garage).

I don't know WTF is PBS's problem. I used to watch Motorweek every week at college in Northern California. Down in SoCal, the station in one area used to run it at 2am or some shit, and where I'm at now doesn't run it all. Since they've stopped running that, and old Mr. Bean and Whose Line reruns, they're completely worthless to me.

Top Gear went from bad to worse. The British version was at least a fairly interesting show, you just had to accept that America and Americans were going to be the butt of literally every single joke, and that like Slashdotters, they never tire of the same old ones. (It's the element of mean-spiritedness and the feeling that gives to the tellers that keeps them from getting bored of it.) I've tried to watch the American version, I've wanted to like it, but it's just sooo boring! I don't know how I could find a car show boring. It seems there's not much about cars, just three guys screwing around. And they're not my kind of guys I guess.

I think Motor Trend or Car & Driver had a show on for a couple of years that I used to watch, but not anything that lasted.

My cable company used to advertise some new car shopping network, but that was one of the digital channels, and I'm still on analog cable TV. (And I felt a little funny about the idea anyways, as to me a separate organization talking about new cars is a show, but the manufacturers doing it is an ad.)

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