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Monday, December 26, 2011

Comparison: a Prostitute and a TSA agent

What kind of person seeks the kind of job where hassling other people is the job description? I can kind of understand if you just happen to fall into that sort of profession but what kind of person says to themselves: 'I want to audit people for the IRS.' 'I want to be a debt collector' 'I want to give people parking tickets.' 'I want to be a TSA agent.'

You might think to yourself that somebody's got to do it, but while that might be so, I also think, why did they pick it. What does that say about them? Most folks performing these sorts of jobs fall back on the "I'm just doing my job," excuse. What does it say about a person if every day they have to explain to the outraged people that they've just pissed off that they're just doing their job? Well maybe they are just doing their job, but that lame-ass excuse didn't work for the Nazis. I seriously doubt these sorts of people ever give that thought a moment's consideration while they're busy just doing their job. Well, maybe it is their job but I have to wonder why these people picked a job that would make everyone hate their stinking guts?

Take the prostitute by comparison: Now that's a job that is not exactly on the high school guidance councilors approved list... not at all glamorous. There's a job someone'd pretty much just have to fall into. Their job is to make someone happy, to provide sexual relief. Let's face it; if it weren't for all the STDs so many prostitutes carelessly spread, the group as a whole might even seem admirable if you look at it from a certain perspective. In fact, prostitutes who demand their customers use condoms, who are knowledgeable about STDs and skilled in detecting them before sexual relations commence, and who get weekly examinations by licensed professionals could be considered useful members of society performing a necessary service. It's virtually a requirement that a customer enjoy the services prostitutes offer, otherwise they wouldn't ever get any repeat business. Here is an example of an occupation where the customer is happy that the professional is doing her job.

The TSA agent went to school―I assume―to learn whatever it is that he supposedly knows. He's memorized a set of rules which he's required to follow exactly. These rules were written out in committee by an assortment of bureaucrats who had in mind the good of the people as a whole and not the inconvenience that will inevitably be suffered by any particular set of individuals. While it's possible that some intelligence and commonsense went into the design of these rules, it's not very likely. You see, the rule designers are merely the winners of the most recent popularity contest and their ability and proficiency is focused entirely on winning popularity contests―not designing intelligent rules. This seems kind of pointless and stupid when you stop and think about it.

After these rules are designed, they are enforced by a completely different type of individual. This sort doesn't care if a rule is stupid or not. In fact, they will quickly inform you that "Rules are Rules" when questioned. If that amazingly cogent and insightful argument doesn't seem to work, they'll go on to explain that they're "just doing their job." No thinking or decision making is necessary for these people. It's a simple binary yes or no decision. By separating the rulemakers from the rule enforcers almost all common-sense decision making is removed from the equation. Thus incidents like the following ones become not only possible, but inevitable:
One sign the TSA has officially gone overboard: One of its agents deemed a Massachusetts woman's cupcake a security threat. Rebecca Hains says she was moving through security at a Las Vegas airport on Wednesday when a TSA agent took her aside and explained that the cupcake's frosting was "gel-like," violating the TSA's restrictions on liquids and gels and making it a security risk.
Two women in their 80s put the Transportation Security Administration on the defensive this week by going public about their embarrassment during screenings in a private room at Kennedy Airport. One claimed she was forced to lower her pants and underwear in front of an agent so that her back brace could be inspected. Another said agents made her pull down her waistband to show her colostomy bag.
These TSA horror stories are now a part of the American experience. We're told that when we walk through the doors at the airport we've just given up some of our Constitutional rights. Until that particular sentiment is abandoned by the rights-abusers in charge, you will never see me at the airport. When I look at a prostitute I see someone more admirable and a better human being than the kind of person who'd mistreat others in the name of doing their jobs. Both prostitutes and TSA agents screw people for a living, but the screwing given by the TSA is more like a rape.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Sisyphean Tax Laws Grinding Down the Little Guys

The worst job I ever had was as a dish-washer at a Mexican restaurant. When I walked through the door into that blistering hot smoke filled kitchen, the sauna-like steam-heat would hit me like a 100-degree wet blanket and from there it only got worse. A mountain of dishes awaited me along with another entire counter stacked ceiling high with dirty pots and pans covered in baked on cheese and rice and beans. The thing I remember most though, the thing that really made it worthy of true "wake-up-screaming-nightmare" status, was that from the time I walked through the door it just kept getting worse.

The faster I washed and scrubbed, the faster they seemed to bring dirty dishes back on trays and carts. Dishes and pots and pans! They kept rolling in on me like a slow motion greasy avalanche. The steam from that hot-water pressure sprayer just roiled around in the air surrounding me with a miasma of fog and smoke from burnt tortillas and the continual grease fires which kept springing up and kept being squirted down. And they kept urging me to go faster! I was always falling behind, further behind as that mountain of dishes only got bigger and bigger! It was my fourteenth summer and my first job.

I tell you this personal history so that you'll understand that when I say I'm getting overwhelmed you'll know I'm not exaggerating. I'm fairly pragmatic and pride myself on my unrelenting efficiency. I no longer wash dishes at a Mexican restaurant but that same feeling of facing a monstrous and Sisyphean task meets me today just like it did so many years ago.

I don't have a team of accountants to help me prepare payroll, and just one facet of my job working for a less-than-gigantic company is keeping up with the income tax regulations for the various states where my company employs workers. Every state in this country has their own ass-hat- bureaucrat-designed way of calculating how taxes should be deducted and their own assorted and various rules and exceptions along with their own special assortment of tables and formulas. If you think you understand it this year, just wait. It's not just the Federal Government and Congress who keep changing the rules every two months, the legislatures of various states play the same insane three-card-monty taxation game. And I can't keep up!
Many payroll systems may not be able to make all the needed changes in January, the NPRC believes. And some may even struggle to get the job done by February.

There are two reasons why: The first pertains to high-income workers -- those who earn more than $110,100 a year. Since many of them will earn more than $18,350 in the first two months of the year, payroll systems will need to be programmed to withhold their Social Security taxes first at 4.2%, then at 6.2% for earnings above the $18,350 limit.

The second reason concerns the quarterly forms that payroll processors have to fill out for the IRS. A quarter is three months, but the extension would be for two months. So those forms would need to be redesigned and the systems would need to be programmed to reflect those adjustments. If all that can't be done by March 31, companies may later have to amend their returns.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Is Newt Gingrich going Senile?

I would have voted for Newt. I like what he's been saying, but he just jumped the shark with his latest "judicial activism" interview. Yes, it's true. The Federal Courts―especially insanely liberal ones like the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals―have made a number of absolutely horrible decisions lately. Yes, activist judges are not just making decisions, they're making laws. Conservatives like me, who desire a strict literal interpretation of the constitution, are known as strict constructionists. I feel the same way Newt does about activist judges. I hate them. I want very bad things to happen to them. I also feel like they should be held accountable for their over-the-top activist renderings of anything but justice. But I'm not running for president. I'm not calling for Federal Marshalls to go arrest Federal Judges because of a decision that they made. I might think it, but only a crazy person would say it. And only a bat-shit crazy lunatic would say it if he happened to be running for President of the United States of America.

There are things that you might think, that you'd never say. That fine line is one that only crazy people cross on a consistent basis. Newt crossed it once with his comments about children working as school janitors.
“You have a very poor neighborhood. You have students that are required to go to school. They have no money, no habit of work,” Gingrich said. “What if you paid them in the afternoon to work in the clerical office or as the assistant librarian? And let me get into the janitor thing. What if they became assistant janitors, and their job was to mop the floor and clean the bathroom?”
Even though in some respects I agree with Newt that children have a poor work ethic, I disagree wholeheartedly on the specific methods that Newt is espousing. There's a very definite conflict of interest in employing children at the same school that they attend as a student. That's just the tip of the iceberg regarding this idea of Newt's. An employee-employer relationship is a completely different one from a student-teacher one. When you start crossing these lines you'll inevitably find abuses beginning to crop up that are very hard to address because of the complicated multi-boundary relationship that's been created by a student employee.

While I thought it was a bad idea and an even worse talking point for an aspiring president, I thought, okay everybody has a few hare-brained schemes and his advisors will bring him around before this goes too far. So, no big deal. However, at another interview just the other day, he started talking about how he would arrest sitting Federal judges for decisions that he disagrees with.
During an appearance on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Gingrich suggested the president could send federal law enforcement authorities to arrest judges who make controversial rulings in order to compel them to justify their decisions before congressional hearings.

When host Bob Schieffer asked how he would force federal judges to comply with congressional subpoenas, Gingrich said he would send the U.S. Capitol Police or U.S. Marshals to arrest the judges and force them to testify.
Aside from whether these ideas of Newt's are good or bad, I think that because Newt is running for President, discussing them with journalists and television commentators was an incredibly bad―perhaps even insane idea.

I no longer have faith that Newt would be a good President. He's proven he lacks the kind of fundamental judgment and wisdom that is a mandatory requirement for the man who'll lead our great nation. Further, there is in my opinion a reasonable doubt that he is even sane. There are numerous types of dementia that disproportionally afflict the elderly and in my opinion it's possible that he's suffering from some form of dementia right now.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Total Cell-phone Ban while Driving?

If you've ever tried to give a message to a person who's on a phone call with someone else, you must know how incredibly difficult it can be. They've got that phone pressed against their ear while their mouth is running ninety miles a minute. You wait for a chance when they're not busy talking to tell them something―usually it's something fairly important or you wouldn't be bothering them while they're on a phone call. Maybe they look at you and grimace with some horribly exaggerated frown or maybe they wave their hands in some primitive sign-language gesture which essentially means, Can't you see that I'm on a phone call? Whatever it is that they do to make you stop bothering them, you should have learned by now that they didn't receive a single word that you just said.

Okay, maybe you doubt what I say. Maybe you're thinking, I'm on the phone a lot and I hear what people say all the time. Sorry, denial ain't just a river in Egypt as they say. If you've never noticed the almost complete absorption into the phone call of someone talking on a phone then I bet you're on the phone yourself way too much.

Everybody changes their personality when they're on the phone. Most of us don't even realize it. I can't explain why our personalities change but I know they do because I'm an observer. I pride myself on noticing things that everyone else just kind of ignores or takes for granted. For instance, did you ever notice that a lot of people become very loud talkers when they're on the phone? If you never noticed that, you're probably one of the loud talkers. Other people become gigglers; they laugh at least once in every sentence. It couldn't possibly be that funny. Then there are the braggers. These self-absorbed types love to walk around in places with lots of other people while they loudly explain to someone on the other end of the phone how incredibly awesome they are.

People on phones all have one thing in common: they're all busy putting on a show. So whose bright idea was it to put a steering wheel into the hands of these preening starlets, these closet prima donnas and budding thespians of every stripe? Not smart at all. While cell phone talkers are driving they're also trying to be entertainers. I would put cell phone use while driving into the same category as alcohol. Both alcohol and cell phone use impair driving ability. The level of impairment varies from one person to the next but there is no doubt that everyone is impaired by both to a certain extent.

Now I'll address the standard objections: What about having a conversation with a passenger? Doesn't that impair driving? Of course it does, however in this case there are four eyes watching the road instead of just two. If you've ever driven with a passenger in the car, then it's almost certain you were having a conversation of some kind when the passenger yelled: "LOOK OUT!" The person on the other end of the cell phone can't alert you like that.

What about fiddling with the radio or the CD player; isn't that a distraction? What about juggling a Big Mac and a super-size order of fries, while balancing an extra large diet Coke between your thighs and trying to drive with your knees. Isn't that a distraction? YES! And YES!

Listen, this isn't rocket science. Anything you do while driving that isn't driving, is a distraction and will impair your driving ability. The good drivers already know this and the crappy ones don't care. Making more laws to try and force crappy drivers into becoming good drivers is completely pointless, since it's just not possible. As concern over cell phone use while driving grows, I expect a fringe element to demand that devices which block cell phone signals be factory installed. This is yet another case of a few inconsiderate people ruining it for everybody else. Here again is another reason why it's too bad there's no more frontier to go settle, leaving behind the smothering web of restrictions and laws intended to somehow impossibly force a motley crowd of angry savages to be kind to each other.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Common sense solution to IEDs in Afghanistan

IEDs (Improvised Explosive Device) are the biggest killer of US troops in Afghanistan. While there are various systems in place to identity and diffuse these IEDs, when a Jeep is traveling 40 to 50 miles per hour down some road, it's a little hard to use a metal detector. Simple common sense dictates that the solution is to make it harder for the terrorists to obtain the necessary ingredients for their bombs. I don't know very much about bombs, and I hesitate to do my normal Google research about this subject for quite obvious reasons. What put me on to this topic was the following story:
A Congressional panel has frozen $700 million in aid to Pakistan until it gives assurances it is helping fight the spread of homemade bombs in the region, a move one Pakistani senator called unwise and likely to strain ties further.
I'm no genius but the solution is so simple that at the first read of this news article about the continuous smuggling of Ammonium Nitrate across the porous Afghanistan/Pakistan border I understood that we must stop those factories from manufacturing Ammonium Nitrate. Trying to beef up security at the border is a Sisyphean waste of time. It just can't be done; because we're dealing with people who don't like Americans anyway and the idea that some of our troops might be blown up with that truckload of smuggled fertilizer probably doesn't fill the average border guard with too much concern.

The solution is obviously to just stop those two factories from manufacturing the Ammonium Nitrate in the first place.
One businessman explained how easy it is to get through security. "We pay a 1,200-rupee ($13) bribe to the Pakistani Frontiers Corps on the border for every car carrying fertilizer," said Kamal Khan in the border town of Chaman. "Fertilizer is smuggled on trucks, pickup trucks, motorcycles, bicycles and donkey carts."

Pakistan's fragile economy is heavily dependent on agriculture, so cutting down on fertilizer output would hurt the sector.
In a nutshell, the solution to stopping IEDs in Afghanistan is to stop the production of a key IED ingredient in neighboring Pakistan. That ingredient is an important and vital fertilizer for the primarily agrarian based economy of Pakistan. Since they need fertilizer the answer is to create a version of that same fertilizer that is non-explosive. So even though it made me very nervous Googling Ammonium Nitrate and words like Nonexplosive, I went ahead and took one for the Gipper.

In only a few seconds I found this article dated September 22, 2008―three years ago! The solution to the IED menace in Afghanistan is to use that $700,000,000.00 we aren't giving to Pakistan to help the two factories in Pakistan retool to produce a non-explosive fertilizer:
A major chemical company will announce Tuesday that it has found a way to render nitrogen fertilizer useless as an explosive, and improve its value to some crops.

The company, Honeywell, of Morris Township, N.J., has patented a method for combining ammonium nitrate fertilizer with a second type of fertilizer, ammonium sulfate. Ammonium nitrate can be soaked in diesel fuel to produce a powerful bomb and is a favorite of terrorists, but when chemically tied to the ammonium sulfate, its chemical structure is changed so that it is no longer explosive.

Chemists had been looking for ways to render ammonium nitrate nonexplosive since the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was destroyed by a truck bomb in 1995, killing 168.

In 2006, Canadian authorities arrested 17 people who they said were planning to use such bombs in Ontario.

The Department of Homeland Security has certified the new fertilizer, which Honeywell calls ammonium sulfate nitrate, under a federal program devised to encourage such innovations by offering the manufacturers immunity from liability, according to Honeywell.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Election 2012 or the Blair Witch Project Revisited

They are disappearing one by one. The pressure, the terror, the sense that every direction is the wrong one and the giant echo chamber that seems to catch only the mistakes and the missteps, the verbal fumbles and foibles, and the past history thought forgotten. The candidates have discovered that they are all alone in the dark scary woods and the mainstream media―The Blair Witch―has been successfully dispatching them one by one.

First down, was Michele Bachmann who started out ahead even going on to win the Ames Straw Poll in August 2011. Her star faded when she was eclipsed by spectacular new entry Rick Perry who upon entry took from Bachmann many of her own supporters. As if that weren't enough, she also lost her top two strategists Ed Rollins and his deputy, who both quit at the same time that Rick Perry threw his hat in the ring.
Perry has not just robbed Bachmann of money and momentum, he's caused her to backslide. Between June and August, Bachmann fell from 11 percent to 4 percent in the Fox News poll. She fell 3 to 8 percentage points from July to August in polls conducted by or for NBC-Wall Street Journal, Quinnipiac, CNN, Public Policy Polling and Gallup.
Next down, Rick Perry's own political demise was caused by repeated gaffs and forgetfulness in debates along with the Gardasil controversy which was headline news for weeks until every American had been brainwashed informed by the media that Rick Perry was another slimy crony capitalist who happily put the pursuit of money ahead of his constituency.
The more Texas Gov. Rick Perry tries to defend his decision to sign an executive order in 2007 mandating that all young girls in Texas receive vaccinations against the human papillomavirus (HPV) before being admitted to school, the more he exposes himself as a lying scoundrel that is unfit to govern his own state, let alone lead a nation.
The relentless pace of constant debating combined with the unrelenting media pressure to explain his Gardasil decision is perhaps what led to the mental sluggishness and forgetfulness that was the eventual cause of his recent unpopularity.

Next down, was Herman Cain. This CEO of Godfather's Pizza had no political experience but was a strong and respected Tea Party personality. Of all the candidates this one perhaps had the best shot. His problem was simply that he had no political clout and his naïveté in this arena was quickly demonstrated when scandal was ginned up by The Mainstream Media his political adversaries. Cain at first blamed Rick Perry, then he blamed The Mainstream Media others for causing the unending torrent of tall-tale-telling-women to come forward claiming sexual harassment and various adulterous affairs.

Finally we come to the latest unfortunate to venture cluelessly onto centerstage―Newt Gingrich. The result has been entirely expected―an unending avalanche of hatred. Newt is a flip-flopper a Washington insider, he can't be trusted, etc. Newt Gingrich is the LSM's newest piñata, and they will beat him mercilessly until he finally breaks.

The mainstream media has already decided the candidate that will run against Obama and that candidate is Mitt Romney, the celebrated architect of a universal healthcare program for every resident of Massachusetts.
The Massachusetts plan was supposed to accomplish two things-achieve universal health insurance coverage while controlling costs. As Romney wrote in the Wall Street Journal, "Every uninsured citizen in Massachusetts will soon have affordable health insurance and the costs of health care will be reduced." In reality, the plan has done neither.

Under the new program, about 219,000 previously uninsured residents have signed up for insurance. Of these, 133,000 are receiving subsidized coverage, proving once again that people are all too happy to accept something "for free," and let others pay the bill. That is in addition to 56,000 people who have been signed up for Medicaid. The bigger the subsidy, the faster people are signing up. Of the 133,000 people who have signed up for insurance since the plan was implemented, slightly more than half have received totally free coverage. The subsidies may have increased the number of Massachusetts citizens with insurance, but as many as 400,000 Massachusetts residents by some estimates have failed to buy the required insurance. That includes the overwhelming majority of those with incomes too high to qualify for state subsidies. Fewer than 30,000 unsubsidized residents have signed up as a result of the mandate.

The Massachusetts plan might not have achieved universal coverage, but it has cost taxpayers a great deal of money. Originally, the plan was projected to cost $1.8 billion this year. Now it is expected to exceed those estimates by $150 million. Over the next 10 years, projections suggest that Romney-Care will cost about $2 billion more than was budgeted.
Why on earth do the mainstream media love Mitt Romney so very much? It's not really love, it's simple practicality. When the contest is finally between just Mitt Romney and Barack Obama, the media will make Romney stand in the corner while they sharpen their knives. Meanwhile, as each new front-runner challenges Mitt Romney's supremacy, the media will delight in finding, or perhaps even creating all manner of juicy scandal and then hounding them with it until they at last break and say something inappropriate.

Mitt Romney cannot win against Obama. Here's why: Romney Care. The single most important plank in Obama's platform cannot be attacked by Mitt Romney. The most unpopular thing Obama did as president and Mitt Romney can't say a single word about it. Then there's the economy. The economy runs in cycles and ours is due for an upswing. I predict that this is exactly what we'll see. Unemployment figures are finally starting to drop―in spite of Obama's economic decisions, not because of them.

The only topic left on the table to argue about will be the monumental deficit and that―the media will explain―was caused by the "super rich who don't pay their fair share" and Wall Street of course. An army of "Occupiers" are already on the march to shove this particular morsel of bullshit down our throats. So there you have it. The LSM wants the contest to be Mitt Romney the rich white-boy vs. media darling and Rock Super Star, Barack Hussein Obama.

One final reason the media wants Romney to be the challenger―and you can write this one down―Mitt rhymes with shit and Romney starts with an "R". Simple rhymes and convenient alliteration will prove to be the last few coffin nails in "Romney the Racist's" political casket.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Cowardice and Appeasement on the Left

The stink of fear rolls off them in a miasmic wave of sweat and funk. The base coward stands on the political left and the object of his wave of hysterical fear is Iran and its goal of nuclear armament. Everyone with any sense at all understands that Iran seeks nuclear weapons with which it plans to destroy Israel. In 2005 when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad became the new President of Iran, he spoke before 4000 students and told them in no uncertain terms his belief that Israel must be obliterated, and that Palestinians would do this.
TEHRAN — Iran's conservative new president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, said Wednesday that Israel must be "wiped off the map" and that attacks by Palestinians would destroy it, the ISNA press agency reported.

Ahmadinejad was speaking to an audience of about 4,000 students at a program called "The World Without Zionism," in preparation for an annual anti-Israel demonstration on the last Friday of the holy month of Ramadan.
This candid opinion was a genuine look into the mind of the evil Iranian leader. Anyone who claims that the Muslim world is not set on destroying Israel is either a complete idiot or a contemptible liar. I give liberals the benefit of the doubt; I don't think they're complete idiots. It makes me wonder why they stand so firmly on the side of evil. After reading the latest ghastly terror-reeking editorial from a left-wing Manchester England newspaper "The Guardian", I finally understand why liberals lie so blatantly, so absurdly, so self-destructively. They're hoping the Muslims won't kill them once they take over the world, or at least that the Muslims will kill them last. Here are some excerpts from that Guardian editorial:
After a decade of blood-drenched failure in Afghanistan and Iraq, violent destabilisation of Pakistan and Yemen, the devastation of Lebanon and slaughter in Libya, you might hope the US and its friends had had their fill of invasion and intervention in the Muslim world.

It seems not. For months the evidence has been growing that a US-Israeli stealth war against Iran has already begun, backed by Britain and France. Covert support for armed opposition groups has spread into a campaign of assassinations of Iranian scientists, cyber warfare, attacks on military and missile installations, and the killing of an Iranian general, among others.

There is in fact no reliable evidence that Iran is engaged in a nuclear weapons programme. The latest International Atomic Energy Agency report once again failed to produce a smoking gun, despite the best efforts of its new director general, Yukiya Amano.
I was amazed that rubbish like this would ever be published, but of course I forgot that all the liberal liars march in lock-step. To me it seems so self-destructive to ignore the looming sword of Damocles that hangs over Jerusalem, but that is exactly what the liberals are doing. It's only a matter of time, perhaps only a couple of years before Iran has its first nuclear weapon. Shortly thereafter that nuclear weapon will be attached to a rocket and launched at Israel―probably by the Palestinians. Cowardly liberals all marching in lock-step chant: "There is in fact no reliable evidence that Iran is engaged in a nuclear weapons programme." This timorous whistling in the dark is nothing but the pathetic camouflage liberals use to try to cloak their abject terror. For liberals, terrorism has succeeded, as the following story illustrates:
On March 11, 2004, Spain suffered its most horrific terrorist attack: 191 people were killed and 1,400 were injured in bombings at Madrid's railway station. The government at first blamed ETA, but soon evidence emerged that al-Qaeda was responsible. When record numbers of voters went to the polls days later, Aznar's Popular Party experienced a stinging defeat, and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero of the Socialist Party became the new prime minister. Many Spaniards blamed Aznar's staunch support of the U.S. and the war in Iraq for making Spain an al-Qaeda target.
When you understand that Israel will soon be "wiped off the face of the map," you will understand why liberals have been so angry and accusatory towards the Jews of late. They want to be able to say: "See we told you so you stupid Jews. We told you to just submit. We told you not to mouth off to the Muslims; you should have just given them what they wanted―all the land from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea, and from Syria through to Egypt.