Re-election

Imagine this.

You’re the boss; you own a small company with about 200 employees who are the face of your  business to the public; what they say binds you.

You hire Bob Brightguy, and tell him go forth and do.

Then you go do something else for a while.  Services are rendered and billing works in your name.

When it’s time for contract renewal, you look over the list of employees up for renewal, you say “Oh, I know that name.  Yeah, keep him.” and you go play more golf.

That’s what WE THE PEOPLE seem to be doing with our elected officials.  They’re our employees!

We’re not paying attention to how Bob Brightguy votes on routine issues. Does he go along to get along, doing as the party says?   Does he introduce legislation that’s good for the entire county/state/country?  Does he automatically say “no” to ideas that aren’t part of his list of interests?  Is he swayed by unions, associations, lobbying groups, or individuals with deep pockets?  What other sources of income does he have besides what WE THE PEOPLE pay?

When it’s re-election time, we get bombarded with “look what I did for you” mail, e-mail, and phone calls.  Well, to be even more frank, often we get “look what a scumbag the other guy is” instead, or “Fred Flamelight hates redheads, so vote for me.” communications instead.

Can you name one piece of legislation your State Delegate or Senator introduced?  Do you know how s/he voted on legislation that’s important to you?  Do you look to see whether the legislation s/he votes for is giving power to the government or taking it away, and cast your votes accordingly?

What is your federal representative an expert on?  What Committees does s/he sit on?  How does s/he vote on routine issues?  Is s/he party-line, and does that meet your approval?

I ask all this because I was part of a discussion recently where someone was complaining about a ballot issue on our November ballot, and whining that s/he didn’t know anything about it until s/he got to the polls.  ( I’m leaving alone for now the whole issue of a responsible voter learning BEFORE election day what will be on the ballot.)  The issue was a Constitutional Amendment, which by law our legislature must pass it in identical form two years in a row; then they must pass a bill dictating exactly the wording to appear on a ballot.  So by the time the voters see it in November, it has been through the General Assembly twice.

Confidence in our politicians has dropped to atrocious levels over the past few decades, yet WE THE PEOPLE don’t know what our legislators stand for.  Often we don’t know their real stance on issues of importance to us, we don’t know whether their voting record matches their campaign promises, and sometimes we just vote because s/he has a D, R, L, IG, S, or I after his name.

Wake up, voters.  Pay attention – or you get the government you have now, with an approval rating in the cellar and the power to do just about anything they want because they know you won’t listen to anything but Fox or MSNBC, if that.

Commercials that annoy me

Or, more precisely, that send a message which is most likely not the one the manufacturer intended.

Chevy Volt.

Owner says “I probably go to the gas station such a small amount that I forget how to put gas in my car.”

The message I get is that either it’s a royal pain in the ass to put gas in a Volt, or the owner is too flipping stupid to be driving.  I tend to believe the stupid part, given the grammar of her statement.

So the message I get:  “Stupid people own Volts.”   Do I want to be one of them?  Nope.

“Lies, damn lies, and statistics” Illustrated

The Brady Bunch is touting this article (note – NY Times.  NY City.  Bloomberg.)  Never mind the fact that the article really is about bureaucracy-related issues, using guns as an example (because guns are what they fight) — only the numbers cited.

10 of 2400 felonies in NC were murders; 8 of them used a gun. 8/2400 = 0.003333. HUGE percentage, eh?

200 permit holders were convicted of gun- “or weapon-” related felonies.  Note the addition of all other classes of weapons.  Remember that US courts have upheld that a cup of soda and ice can be a weapon.

900 permit holders were convicted of drunk driving. Of how many drunk-driving convictions total?  Were any of those permit holders actually carrying while intoxicated (BTW, it’s illegal in NC to carry while you have any alcohol in your system)?

—————

*Note the NYTimes has to travel to another state to do investigative reporting that matches the point of view they wish to present.

Published in: on December 27, 2011 at 11:06 am  Leave a Comment  

A tale of two hardware chains

Or are they “home-improvement” chains.

Whatever.

On the one hand, Home Depot, whose customer service has become atrocious lately, has stood up for its beliefs.

The hate group “American Family Association” *  has been pressuring Home Depot not to speak out in favor of human rights.  Apparently, it’s okay to favor human rights; you just can’t say so and stay on AFA’s good side.

On the other hand, Lowe’s chose to pull its advertising from the TLC Show “All-American Muslim”.  All-American Muslim follows families in Dearborn, Michigan.  Yet the primary hate group opposing it is the Florida Family Association (*).  Lowe’s comment:  “We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.”   Apparently they’ll defer to communities far removed from the one portrayed.

I haven’t watched All-American Muslim.  It’s not in a time slot I pay a lot of attention to; I know a number of American Muslim families; and I’m not a big fan of TLC.   I  cannot comprehend, though, a company pulling advertising based on opposition from a hate group.  When verifying the information on the Florida group’s web page, I note they’re pissed that neither Hershey’s and Campbell’s Soup has bent.

Excuse me.  I’m off  to buy Hershey’s cocoa, Hershey’s chocolate, and a few dozen cans of Campbell’s soup.   Then I’ll stop at Home Depot for my DIY needs.

Hurricane Irene

I’m not much concerned about Hurricane Irene.

As an advocate of personal responsibility, I’m all for preparation and knowledge.  I’ve been watching the storm track for Irene since it became a hurricane, checking every so often (not every hour) for status.  Thursday I learned we had a 40% chance of tropical storm-force winds by today.  Those in the Outer Banks had greater probability of stronger winds.

So why on the planet of the gods is news not able to lead in to a story with “those most likely to see damaging winds and rain should …” or “most of you don’t need to …”?

Oh, for the record, many of us do need to be prepared for power outages; it seems power companies in this area have a hard enough time dealing with average rainstorms, much less anything that might drop a limb onto one of their lines.

And individuals fall into one of three categories.  Fortunately, some say “I’m prepared for the likely eventuality, and know what I’ll do should stuff hit the fan.”  Others prepare to make laxative french toast, buying up milk, bread, eggs, and toilet paper.  A third faction fails to make any preparation at all, and expects the government to take care of them if they’re wrong.  That’s not personal responsibility at all.

The media enables the second group, adding to traffic congestion, short tempers, and empty store shelves.  Seems the media assumes everyone is too stupid to make any personal-responsibility decisions for themselves, and must be told what to do and when.  Sort of like most politicians.

 

Edited to add this link to a YouTube video showing the storm not strongly formed at all.

What is a right?

Someone hand me a copy of the new Constitution, please?  The one I haven’t seen yet.  I didn’t get the memo it had been changed, but I’m seeing pieces of evidence.

Apparently, there’s a right to own a house.

Apparently, there’s a right to television reception.

And a right to broadband internet service.

And now, some say a right is being abridged if a student group isn’t recognized on a campus.  If the school doesn’t give them perks, like access to mass e-mail lists, or meeting rooms, or money.

What?????

So, a group isn’t recognized.  Free choice.  There are sound, valid reasons for not admitting everyone to every group.  (I know; I joined a sorority in college.  I don’t now, as a matter of principle, join all-female groups, but I took an oath back then, and I believe in the organization.  For some known-only-to-the-gods reason, fraternities and sororities are exempted, by law.  Another issue altogether, for another time.)  Of course, Young Republican groups don’t want a fervent group of Democrats to join, take over, and re-focus the organization (replace titles as you choose, the point is the same).  And religious groups want their leaders to be followers of that religion (silly as that may be, but again, another topic for another time).

But schools insist to get recognition as a student group — with the perks — you must accept everyone who chooses to join as a member.

Where’s the beef?

This is not a case of the group’s rights being trampled.  There are no rights being trampled.  The group is free to form, organize, meet, whatever.  It is not entitled to perks.  Perhaps the students should focus on learning logic; they might then be able to see the difference.

Hello, Uncle Sam? I’m over 21. Adult. I vote. I pay taxes….

LOTS of taxes.

But Uncle Sam wants to regulate how much salt, fat, trans fats, sugar, beef, pork, and who knows what else I eat.  It’s not enough the First Lady is imposing her will on kids, with or without the consent of their parents, but the FDA will regulate what someone (in a “free market economy”, by the way) can sell me.  No wonder Mr. Obama is/was reading The Post-American World by Fareed Zakaria.

So much for choice.

When I was a kid, I used to hear adults say “What???? I’m free, white, and over 21.”  I always wondered why they had to be white.  And when I was a teenager, someone decided we were adults after 18  (unless we want to drink, or buy a gun; then we’re children).

The point is that as every day goes by we’re being treated more and more as children, and we’re not going to the ballot boxes in droves to say “No”.  That’s the part I really don’t understand.

Never thought I’d thank the Washington Post

The Post printed a fabulous editorial piece on Sunday, though.  By Christopher M. Fairman, the piece was headlined “Saying it hurtful.  Banning it is worse.”  The piece presents a thoughtful response to the do-gooder movement to remove the word “retarded” from the English language.

I have such an emotional response to this issue that I have quit supporting the ARC of Northern Virginia (oh, by the way, ARC comes from Association of (for?) Retarded Citizens) and their rabid stance on it.

Yes, I understand.  Being called “retard” hurts,  as does being called “fatso” or “four-eyes”.   But people need to understand sometimes the meaning of a word is separated from a faddish use.  Legislating away the use of the word “retard” may make some feel good, but it will not change the fact that some people have a retarded intellectual, social, emotional, or multi-faceted development.

I sympathize with the effort in the pledge “I pledge and support the elimination of the derogatory use of the r-word from everyday speech and promote the acceptance and inclusion of people with intellectual disabilities.”  (The pledge is from http://www.r-word.org (as if that isn’t patronizing … like I can’t understand what the word might be?)  The kicker is in “… the derogatory use …”.  If you can’t tell the difference, legislation is not going to help you.

As the parent of a retarded son, I feel it important to retain the distinction.  My son is retarded … his intellectual capacity is significantly less than that of most of his peers, and his social development lags.   He is not stupid in any way, though.  No, he can’t read or write.  He doesn’t understand a cold shoulder, or the concept of what most people consider personal space.  He has difficulty with any number of abstract concepts.  But he understands his world, and in a way, is probably much more fortunate than many of us.  He doesn’t question his abilities, or doubt himself, or long for impossibilities.

But as much as I would challenge anyone who derogatorily call him names, I also challenge those who think they’re “doing something” to get over their paternalism and offer a supportive hand instead.

Even the Wall Street Journal tells only half a story …

I’m only partially joking.  The Wall Street Journal pegs the cost of federal government shutdown at $100 million per day in lost productivity.  If you look at the money the government spends when it is “productive”, are we really losing anything?

Those of us who live in the DC area can see that, while the national news may show a snow-covered capitol building, the real story is the 20-30″ of snow the region cannot adequately remove.  The major streets, congested at best on a normal day, are restricted to 2/3, or even 1/3, their normal width — removing a lane.  Add to that lane markers are not visible, and the “me first” mentality of this area, and you can imagine how many lives and how much property was saved by this shutdown.

Imagine the “me firsters” parking in lots that are clogged with snowbanks.  Hell, parking is atrocious enough on the best of days in this area.  (Governments at all levels will “help” us, though, by mandating hi-rise construction near Metro stops so we can pay a corrupt quasi-government entity for poor, unsafe service while sharing oxygen atoms with the neighbors — but that’s another story altogether.)

If only the House and Senate would stay away rather than stay in session, we could probably save that $100M several times over.

Pollsters

Phone rings.

CALLER:  Hello, ma’am … (I’m with xxx research and we’re not selling anything, etc.).  We’re doing a survey to find out what people in your area think about the media.

 

ME:  I don’t know what people in my area think about the media; I only know what I think.

 

CALLER:  Okay, thank you for your time.  CLICK.

Published in: on November 3, 2009 at 7:08 pm  Leave a Comment