Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A couple of questions about Jackie

For those who have been in a media blackout for the last few weeks, Rolling Stone magazine (one of the guiding lights of my adolescence), screwed up and published an unreliable account of a gruesome frat-house rape at the University Of Virginia. 

A young lady named "Jackie" was supposedly gang-raped by seven guys.  For three hours.  During a party.  On a floor covered with shattered glass.  And she refused medical treatment.  And the guy she claims to have gone with might not exist.  And etc., etc., etc.... 

Rolling Stone printed every word of it.  The University prez shut down the entire Greek/Frat system.  No judge, no jury. 

A few media groups are now picking apart the story, but they're concerned about not doing violence to the "larger truth" - that there is a culture of rape in America. 

Horse hockey. 

Considering that Jackie's behavior didn't take place in a vacuum, here are two types of questions that real journalists would be asking:

1)  What classes has "Jackie" been taking?  Victimology 101?  Intro to Grievance Studies?  The Western Canon As A Metaphor For Rape?  Advanced Privilege-Checking?

Has "Jackie" been exposed to classroom instruction that taught her that unless she is oppressed, then she is part of the problem? 

I would love to know.  Considering that a frat house has been vandalized, picketed, shut down and otherwise defamed, and that some guys could've gone to prison, I think we all have a right to know the crap that the University Of Virginia has possibly been pumping into that young lady's head. 

2)  The culture of rape schtick has apparently gone from bug to feature, and I'm wondering what all-female universities do with their evenings (without white straight males to fear, protest against, and warn each other about). 

Does anyone else think that Jackie might have been to one to many of the Rape Culture Seminars?  Did she go to any Take Back The Night marches? 

Did some variety of Victim Envy cause her to do this?  There are no effects without causes, and this fable had some causes. 

***********

It's looking more and more like Jackie made up the entire story.  I'm just curious about why she did it, and I wish that more journalists were. 

 

Friday, December 12, 2014

The group that killed Eric Garner is protesting against the group that killed Eric Garner

Sometime yesterday, Congressional staffers (government employees) walked out on their jobs to the front steps of the House of Representatives to protest the laws (written by themselves) that led to the death (at the hands of other government employees) who were enforcing the will of government employees. Instead of meaningless symbolic gestures, why don't they protest by making it legal to sell "loosies" without a punitive tax that pays their own (government employee) salaries? Lord have mercy, what a pack of doofuses....

 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

WE ONLY HAVE 24 MONTHS TO SAVE THE PLANET!!

Go here. 

Trust me, just hit that link.  I'll be here when you get back. 

(As long as you do it within 24 months, or to be exact, within 630 days, or 15,120 hours of December 10th, 2014.)  We'll all be past the tipping point after that. 

Here's the link again.  I know how you folks are about hitting links. 

If we've passed that horrific date (December of 2016) without taking significant action on Climate Change, we will have passed yet another Tipping Point.

It will be too late to recycle.  It will be too late to stop flying, or to continue sorting through our garbage like raccoons.  It will be waaaay to late to send Al Gore's Kleiner-Perkins Investment Group any money for carbon offsets. 

It will be too late to begin stumbling around in the dark all night like a pack of aboriginal tribesmen just recently down from the trees. 

By December something of 2016, it will be too late to tax the carbon emitters who have made your world an unimaginable paradise (if your grandparents could see you now). 

It will be too late to make governments more powerful. 

I hope you've hit that link by now....

Have you had your giggle?  (I love the sound that Tipping Point deadlines make when we go flying past them.) 

This is like the U.N.'s threat that we'll have fifty million climate refugees by 2010

It's like Al Gore's fake concern that the polar ice caps will be gone by 2013

It will be like all of the other failed climate predictions, and there are a lot of them. 

The climate prediction business (and it's nothing but a business) is much like all the predictions for the return of Christ.  You can be wrong all you want, then just re-arrange the scriptures, come up with a new date, and still not lose very many followers.  And if you drop out altogether, the business will continue without you. 

Sometime after December 2016, the proprietors of the 100 Months And Counting website will look around at the ice caps, the snow, and the rest of the typical wintertime weather, and they'll shut down their Tipping Point Apocalypse website. 

Then they'll move on to the next gimmick and the next marketing/scaremongering stunt, never doubting the righteousness of their cause.  There's a sucker born every minute. 



 

Monday, December 8, 2014

On Firing Drunk Temps

The City Of Fort Worth's Human Relations Commission sent me a letter a few days ago.

It marked the end of a long, tiresome, wasteful process that hit on employment law, civil rights, racism, ageism, skinism, alcoholism, paternalism, bureaucracies, and whether or not I should have the right to purchase the labor of whoever I dang well please. 

It also touches on whether I should be able to stop purchasing someone's labor when it suits me.

I've clipped (and redacted) various parts of the letter so as to protect the guilty. 

Here's the cast of characters:

1)  The Charging Party - an employee that a temp service sent us back in freakin' June.  He showed up around 8:00 a.m., and we sent him back before 9:00 a.m.  (It's not unusual for me to send temps back to Their Mother Ship before their shift has ended, BTW.  We're nice about it, we're apologetic, and we wish them best of luck in all future endeavors.  But there's a good reason that some of those folks don't work for NASA or the Nobel Prize Committee.)  The Charging Party is the guy who sued us for discrimination. 

2)  The Temp Service - many employers now use temp or personnel services to screen their potential employees for 3 months before hiring them.  The temp services generally charge twice what the employee gets paid.  Yeah, twice.  But it's worth it to avoid paying Unemployment Compensation, or risk paying big bucks in an Unlawful Discharge lawsuit.  Some temps don't last but a few days, and there's a huge paperwork cost associated with bringing on a new employee, so after 3 months you have a better idea if the employee will work out or not.  Until three months have passed, the temp employee works for the Temp Service, and not for the facility where he is actually doing work. 

3)  Randy Morales - he doesn't exist. 

4)  The White Trainer who was supposedly drunk - he doesn't exist either, despite your sneaking suspicion that he is me. 

5)  The Respondent - my employer, Jukt Micronics.  The organization that had to respond to, deal with, and be burdened by this mess. 

6)  The Assistant Human Resources Director - the lady who is our Assistant Human Resources Director. 

Another group was kept busy determining our percentages of Black, Latino, Asian and White employees.  Then they had to calculate our ratio of employees older and younger than 54.  Try doing that with 700 people.  More on that later....

That's all you need to know to enjoy the following.    Here's part of the letter. 



Sorry for blacking out a lot of the pertinent case numbers, but I don't want the emissions people, the water inspectors, OSHA, or the noise abatement teams of Fort Worth to start swarming me because I picked on one of their bureaucracies. 

Please note that this process started on June 5th, and we got the resolution letter on December 2nd. 
God help the USA if other nations ever discover free market economics.

I gotta make a correction to that 2nd paragraph.  "The Charging Party" wasn't accused of just drinking on the job.  He was freakin' hammered.  Gapped.  Faced.  Blotto.  Some of our notorious alcoholics, guys who spend their weekends with faint traces of blood in their alcohol, they were asking us to send this guy away. 

At this point, if you've been paying attention, you're wondering why I'm involved in this at all, right?  The guy didn't even work for me !!! 

It seems that if you hire a temp employee, then send him away, he can still claim discrimination against you based on "his Race, Black, and his Age", to use the awkward phrase of the City Of Fort Worth's Human Relations Division.  I didn't know that until June. 

The letter refers to a White man who was drinking but was not disciplined or discharged.  It wasn't me.  Swear to God, it wasn't me. 

Back to the letter....



Ok, here's how this thing went down.  Ordinarily when a temp isn't working out, I just tell him that we don't need his services any more, and that he can clock out and go home.  Then I call the temp service and tell them to never, ever send that guy back to us. 

But when the temp is drunker than the Quality Control department at Jack Daniels?  We call the temp service manager in to deal with it. 

When they're that drunk, we let THEM send the dude home.  The Temp Service Manager came in, told the guy he couldn't work drunk, and sent him home. 

Regarding the last sentence in the letter, the one about Randy Morales....  there is no one in our company named Randy Morales.  We've never had a foreman named Randy Morales.  But if anyone named Randy Morales had been around, he would've smelled alcohol on this guy. 


So it was the trainer who smelled of alcohol, but just in case it was the temp smelled of alcohol it was because of his mouthwash and toothpaste.  Lordy. 

Here's a quick summary. 

The drunk temp demanded that the Personnel Service give him a drug and alcohol test.  They refused.  So he went to JPS (John Peter Smith Hospital) in Fort Worth and asked them to give him an alcohol test. 

John Peter Smith is our county hospital.  They treat a lot of low-income, indigent patients, and do a great job of it. 
But you can go in there with an amputated arm and you will still wait for a long, long time before getting treatment. 
This guy got sent home by the temp service, was denied a drug/alcohol test, drove to JPS, waited long enough for small mammals to evolve, and was still feeling a "Buzz".   It had to be hours and hours later!!

To paraphrase Meg Ryan, "I'll have what he's drinking". 

Here comes the part that should make you angry:


Here's why I hope you're angry. 

1)  Yeah, we hire lots of older people.  And we hire Black, Cambodian, Vietnamese, Serbian, Bosnian, Croatian, Mexican, Puerto Rican, El Salvadoran, Laotian, and Mississippi Rednecks.  My shop looks like the United Freakin' Nations.  180 people from...Earth. 
But our office employees had to drop everything else and do some racist nose-counting, just like we were separating the Hutus from the Tutsis, and report our racial makeup to the Fort Worth Freakin' Human Relations Commission. 

2)  The guy doesn't even work for me. 

3)  The process took 6 months. 

4)  We're paying the government to investigate this stuff. 
If you get tired of purchasing burgers from McDonald's and decide to purchase burgers from Wendy's, you don't have to do a verbal warning, a written warning, a 3-day suspension, and then formally terminate McDonald's.  You can just switch.  For reasons that I'll never understand, labor doesn't work that way, and most of us live diminished lives because of it. 

Our employers are expected to withhold and pay our taxes, provide our healthcare, take care of child support payments, our retirement, and our 40 acres and our mule.   Employment Law creates a huge burden for companies, increases the cost of goods without providing a benefit, and creates massive HR Departments which cost a fortune, but that add no value to the products the companies were founded to produce.

Think of how much easier it would be for you to go work someplace else if it weren't so much like changing plantations in 1845.   

5)  Finally, this process, designed to ensure racial fairness, often creates racists. 

Yeah.  It creates racists. 

I employ people from all over the world.  Most of them are awesome, personally and professionally. 

But will I now hesitate to hire someone who is of a different race, or of an advanced age?  Someone who could sue me if it doesn't work out? 

You tell me. 

Oh yeah, here's the end of the letter.  We weren't guilty of anything. 


There are days when I want to resign and turn the whole thing over to Randy Morales. 
 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Selling Loosies vs Stealing Swisher Sweets

About 4 years ago, I advocated something called "The Neighbor In A Cage Test" for new laws. 
In short, would you be willing to put your neighbor in a cage if he refused to obey (or fund) your proposed law?  Because that's exactly what happens when your neighbors don't obey laws, no matter how stupid the laws, no matter how few people voted for them, no matter how corrupt their origins.

We've had two good cases for this in the last few weeks.  Michael Brown and Eric Garner. 

We don't often think of Government this way, but....

1)  Government is force. 
2)  Government also writes laws. 
3)  Government uses force to ensure compliance with all of its laws, including the bad ones.   
4)  If you don't agree to obey the laws, or fund them, you will be locked up....
5)  In a cage. 

Here's how it works in theory.  This is from noted Yale Law Professor Stephen Carter:


On the opening day of law school, I always counsel my first-year students never to support a law they are not willing to kill to enforce. Usually they greet this advice with something between skepticism and puzzlement, until I remind them that the police go armed to enforce the will of the state, and if you resist, they might kill you.
I wish this caution were only theoretical. It isn’t. Whatever your view on the refusal of a New York City grand jury to indict the police officer whose chokehold apparently led to the death of Eric Garner, it’s useful to remember the crime that Garner is alleged to have committed: He was selling individual cigarettes, or loosies, in violation of New York law…..
The problem is actually broader. It’s not just cigarette tax laws that can lead to the death of those the police seek to arrest. It’s every law. Libertarians argue that we have far too many laws, and the Garner case offers evidence that they’re right. I often tell my students that there will never be a perfect technology of law enforcement, and therefore it is unavoidable that there will be situations where police err on the side of too much violence rather than too little. Better training won’t lead to perfection. But fewer laws would mean fewer opportunities for official violence to get out of hand.
BTW, a "loosie" is a single cigarette.  The New York Police Department had an "opportunity for official violence to get out of hand" (in Professor Carter's words), and supposedly choked Eric Garner to death.



Garner had been selling loosies.  (The rationale for selling these single cigarettes is that retailers have to charge an ungodly tax on packs of cigarettes.  Those who are willing to sell individual cigs usually don't send additional inflated cut to the IRS.  Hence the illegality, even though the tax was already paid by the first purchaser of the "broken" pack.) 



But that's the theoretical part of it.  Here's an interview with a NYC police officer, explaining the difficulty of enforcing bullshit laws:

What do you think about all this? I mean, honestly — that video. Eric Garner looked so scared.
Well, Garner was in bad health, and Pantaleo said it wasn’t a chokehold; he was just trying to take him down so they could arrest him. The thing that nobody hears about in the media is that Garner had been arrested for this before. The store owners, they had been … saying he was taking away their business. These people pay their taxes; they pay for tobacco licenses. They wanted him gone.

Right, but he wasn’t fighting the cops. He was just standing there with his hands up.
Yeah, but he’s a big guy. He could have been holding up his hands, or he could have been threatening them. All I’m saying is that cop needed to arrest him. Once that was decided on, they had to take him in one way or the other, and he didn’t want to go … but maybe there was excessive force used. I won’t say there wasn’t.

So you don’t think this is a race thing?
No, it’s not a race thing. It’s a Ray Kelly thing. (Ray Kelly was a veteran NYC Police Commissioner.)  That man singlehandedly ruined this department. When I came up as a rookie, you were assigned an older cop who had been around and knew what they were doing. We were taught that you catch more flies with honey. Basically, if you let the small things go — like the guy selling loosies or weed or whatever on the corner — then when the big shit happens, like homicide or burglary, those are the same guys who will tell you all about it. If they hate you, they won’t tell you shit.

But this is happening everywhere. I mean, Ferguson — there have been so many of these cases for so long.
All I know is New York City. Nowadays, since Kelly’s Operation Impact, rookies are taught one thing: Write tickets, do searches, make money. They’ll have a quota they have to fill. They’re not supposed to, but they do. They come up not knowing their asses from their elbows. These rookies don’t understand how to let the small stuff go. They'll be on your back for a bag of grass.  So when things happen they overreact.   
There you have it....
The theoretical problem from Yale's Stephen Carter. 
The practical problem from a NYC cop. 
Which leaves the rest of us with a problem. 
Would you be willing to have someone strangled to death for selling loosies?  If not, then don't ask someone else to do your dirty work.

How would that work out?  Where does one draw the line? 

Well, take the case of Michael Brown. 

(If you've been living under a rock, Michael Brown, a black teenager, supposedly did a strong-arm robbery of a convenience store, walked out with some Swisher Sweets, was stopped by a white cop, then something happened that we'll never, ever, ever figure out, and Michael Brown got shot.  Dead.) 



Here's a video supposedly showing some of the last moments of Brown's life.  If you're in a hurry, the last 20 seconds are the key moments. 



Would I be willing to shoot someone to keep Swisher Sweets from being stolen?  I don't know, and I hope I never have to find out. 

Would I be willing to outsource that job? 

I can only answer with a very reluctant.... Yes. 

That's one of the Big 3 legitimate functions of the state.  (Protect the borders, provide a courts system, and protect property rights.)  Even if the property in question is a $40.00 box of cheap cigars. 

But would I willingly pay someone to shoot the people who sell loosies?  Heck no. 

Libertarianism in a nutshell is "Don't hit people and don't take their stuff."  Hitting people (except in defense) and taking their stuff is a job reserved for the state.  Michael Brown took a convenience store's stuff and hit the clerk. 

Eric Garner didn't take anyone's stuff, and it doesn't look like he hit anybody. 

Brown and Garner are both dead. 

Another Libertarian clutch-phrase is "If there is no victim, there was no crime". 

Who was the victim in these two cases?  Brown?  Garner?  The convenience store clerk?  The IRS? 

Please discuss. 

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Karl Rove, You Magnificent Bastard !!

For legal, personal, ethical, campaign finance, and ridicule-protection reasons, most 2016 presidential candidates are not yet saying that they are a 2016 presidential candidate. 

But political operatives are already producing attack videos cleverly designed to hurt the other side. 

The actor in this video is a guy named Jason Tobias.  Nobody knows who really did the singing, but it wasn't Tobias.  I don't know who had the idea to produce this thing.  I don't know who gathered the background shots.  Whoever did it was a genius. 

Republicans will be playing this thing at parties and rallies for decades.  Hell, I might start a Libertarian PAC to have it aired during the Super Bowl. 

She Whose Name Is Not Spoken will never, ever recover from this.  This is the dirtiest trick I've ever seen. 

Behold: The redneck, white trash, Ford F-150, bulldozer, soccer mom-country, flies on the baby, ticks on the dog, "Stand With Hillary" campaign video. 

 

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

The Best Libertarian Movies

One of the things that I like about being a "small l" libertarian and a "large L" Libertarian is the consistency of the belief system. 

It's almost like being Jewish.... an ethnicity and a religion, should one choose both. 

You can be a libertarian without ever voting Libertarian.  It's all the same package.  Mindset and political party, should you choose both. 

Our political platform changes very little, unlike those of the Rethuglicans or the Demoblicans.   Our message boils down to "Don't hit people and don't take their stuff".   Add a sprinkling of "Leave others alone just as you want to be left alone", and you've got it. 

Therefore, it's fairly easy to come up with great lists of libertarian books.  (More on these later.) 

And libertarian music.  (Ditto.) 

Just for grins and giggles sometime, Google the terms "Liberal Books" or "Democrat Books".  You'll come generally come up with volumes of Hero Worship rather than ideology or philosophy.  Hit this for a typical example.  Lots of stuff about Kennedys who you would never leave your daughter alone with. 

The Republican lists are a little better, but are generally laden with the bi-annual offerings of Fox News hosts, or they co-opt authors who could only be described as libertarian. 

I'll post more on the book lists later, though. 

The point of all this is movies.  If you go here, you can see the best Liberty movie list EVER. 

V For Vendetta,
Braveheart
Hunger Games
Thank You For Smoking
Shenandoah
Wag The Dog

And a special category of my own for:

Idiocracy, and
Team America, World Police 

And a few dozen others that reward repeat viewing. 

Good stuff.  Here's the immortal "Chancellor's Speech" from "V For Vendetta", which I've probably posted a dozen times already.  Think of this every time you here a Political Beauty Contest Winner claim that we need a war, a stimulus, a healthcare plan, a retirement system, or increased regulations on something. 

Brilliant.  Go here for the link to all the movies
Go here to sign up for Netflix.  Start watching !!

 

Monday, December 1, 2014

On PHF's (Potentially Hazardous Foods)

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving! 
I know that I did....   6 parties/meals/events, and I gained about 5 pounds. 

Now it's time for a rant. 

My employer, Jukt Micronics, threw a Thanksgiving meal/party for the employees in each shop.  Several of the employees brought additional food from home. 


The main course was something called "Carnitas", which Bing defines as "a dish of Mexican cuisine. Carnitas are made by braising or simmering pork meat in oil or preferably lard until tender. The process takes three or four hours and the result is very tender and juicy pork meat, which is then typically served with chopped coriander leaves and diced onion, salsa, guacamole, tortillas, and refried beans."

Heck yes.  These were some authentic old-school Carnitas.  No one was injured. 


Later on in the week, we had a Supervisor's Lunch.  All food was brought from home by the Supervisors or their spouses. 
Everyone who brought something brought enough to feed about 5 other people. 
It was awesome. 
No one was injured. 


A few days later, I went to Gainesville TX, for the legit Thanksgiving meal with my youngest sister, her husband, and his extended family. 
They cooked almost all of the food.  My mother (that's her with the whitish hair and blue sweater in the Supervisor Lunch picture) did the rest.  That's her again, in the next pic, on the far left at my sister's house. 
She has taught me a deep and abiding love of food, groceries, meals, cooking, plants, animals, spices, and anything else that's edible. 
Once again, no one was harmed....


Thanksgiving night, some friends of mine from a local bar threw something that they call "Friendsgiving". 
It was awesome.  100% of the food was prepared by my friends and their families. 
No one was harmed, although I DID overindulge in bourbon, and have sworn off it for several weeks. 


There was one other event centered around a west-side bar....,
And then another friend of mine threw another party Saturday night. 
Both occasions featured plenty of food from homes. 
No one had his stomach pumped.  (That's a total of 6 Thanksgiving parties, in case you're keeping score....)

So what's my point in all this? 

Here's a letter that my shop received several months ago from the Consumer Health Division of the City of Fort Worth.  It's totally unrelated to Thanksgiving.  We got the letter back in April. 
I've hung onto it for occasions when I'm in a bad mood and want to make it worse.

To: The Woodshop Manager

"Spoke with production manager (Blank Blank) and he stated that female employees do sell sandwiches, Barbacoa (that's Messican BQ) and hot dogs."

"Complaint Confirmed.  Warning issued to all 3 employees.  There was no sign of any PHF's onsite (Potentially Hazardous Foods - prepared from home)."

"One employee admitted they sell about 5 burritos a day."

"Explained to each employee that it was illegal of prepare foods @ home and sell them to the public.  If another complaint happens, a citation will be issued to the individuals selling prepared foods."

Signed - Consumer Health Specialist 

Let me rewrite that letter for you, ok? 

To: The Woodshop Manager, who at this point is now my bitch,

It's painfully obvious to anyone who thinks about it for more than a few seconds that people are quite capable of making good choices about what to eat, what to buy, and whose cooking they trust.   

However, my job gives me the right, and the responsibility, to hassle people about what foods they sell. 

Tens of millions of people consume PHF's (Potentially Hazardous Foods) prepared from home without giving the City Of Fort Worth's Consumer Health Division a kickback money for a food-handler's permit or a license to sell burritos. 

The quality and safety of the food doesn't improve at all as a result of my job, or the kickbacks licenses and permits. 

But if you complain about this visit, my buddies in other City Hall departments will hassle you about your water runoff quality, your factory's air emissions, your habit of parking in the vacant lot next door that's not zoned for parking, or any of the thousands of other niggling little things we could use to make your life miserable. 

So get out of the burrito and barbacoa business, or give me some money. 

Signed - One Of Your Many Lords And Masters

I hope all of you had a great Thanksgiving!!