Tuesday, July 7, 2020

This man gets paid to write things.

Brett Stephens is a professional opinion-haver. He gets paid to have opinions and he gets paid to type up those opinions for publication. And he is paid really well for typing up his opinions. And his opinions are published in the number one newspaper in America and syndicated all over the country. This would be the equivalent of me getting paid to play basketball in the NBA. And everyone in the NBA and the TV announcers and the fans all agreeing to pretend that I am a very very good basketball player (which I am NOT).

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Anyway, this is Brett Stephens' expert professional opinion about. . . somehting.

Reading Orwell for the Fourth of July

Ah, yes. Orwell. Every dumb guy who wants to have an opinion on politics defaults to having read Orwell and pretending to have understood the message.

As we celebrate freedom, speaking freely is in danger.

Mmmmm, yeah. . .no. No it isn't.

I can already pretty much guess where this is going. "People criticizing me on-line is a level of censorship and oppression not seen since the heyday of the Soviet Union," right?

This Fourth of July, it’s worth taking stock of the state of freedom — and of our attitudes toward it — at home and around the world.
In Russia, Vladimir Putin just won a “plebiscite” ratifying his right to stay in power until the year 2036. In Hong Kong, a new security law came into effect effectively putting an end to the right of peaceful protest. In Poland, a runoff election will decide if the country continues its slide toward illiberalism.

Okay. No argument here.but what has this to do with America and how is it the Democrats' fault?

In the United States, these stories barely make a dent on public consciousness. Conservatives and liberals alike have ceased to care very much about the denial of freedom to others.

What? When the Hell did conservatives ever care about other people's freedom? Other than as something they could use as a pretext to invade or bomb a foreign country or sponsor a coup?

We also have our own problems with freedom.
For once, the main problem isn’t Donald Trump. 

Well, you may have a point. At the moment, the main threat to freedom seems to be coming from local police departments.

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For once, the main problem isn’t Donald Trump. The president may be an instinctual fascist, a wannabe autocrat. But, after nearly four years in power, he’s been unmasked as an incompetent one.

Seth Meyers Lol GIF by Late Night with Seth Meyers - Find & Share on GIPHY

Okay, first of all, "unmasked?" Was there anyone other than the MAGA cult who didn't already know Trump was incompetent long before he took office? It took you almost four years to realize that "oh, maybe the guy who ran every business he's ever had into the ground, who can barely string a sentence together and makes everything about himself and his petty grievances doesn't actually know what the fuck he's doing?"

Secondly, you think that makes it okay? You think the fact that the fascist occupying the Oval Office is not very good at being a fascist = nothing to worry about here?

The more serious problem today comes from the left

Cenk Uygur on Twitter: "Of course!!!… "

Of course it does. Of course. I was wondering what was taking you so long to get there.

The more serious problem today comes from the left: from liberal elites who, when tested, lack the courage of their liberal convictions; from so-called progressives whose core convictions were never liberal to begin with; from administrative types at nonprofits and corporations who, with only vague convictions of their own, don’t want to be on the wrong side of a P.R. headache.

Stop, you're going to give me nightmares! Liberals who lack the courage of their convictions? So much scarier than Proud Boys, gun freaks and Boogaloo Bois!

This has been the great cultural story of the last few years. It is typified by incidents such as The New Yorker’s David Remnick thinking it would be a good idea to interview Steve Bannon for the magazine’s annual festival — until a Twitter mob and some members of his own staff decided otherwise.

Okay, honestly, I've read this paragraph about a half-dozen times now and I'm still not sure whether you're saying the problem was that the New Yorker decided to interview a white supremacist fascist or that people on Twitter and some New Yorker staff objected to publishing an interview with a white nationalist.

 Or by The Washington Post devoting 3,000 words to destroying the life of a private person of no particular note because in 2018 she wore blackface, with ironic intent, at a Halloween party. 

Okay, I read the article you linked to and I see that the lady got fired, but the Post article is only reporting that she got fired. They didn't get her fired. She had already been fired long before the article was written. So I'm not sure how you can say that the Washington Post "devot[ed] 3,000 words to ruining [her] life." I mean, it's not like you're some kind of disingenuous shitweasel, are you?

Or by big corporations pulling ads from Facebook while demanding the company do more to censor forms of speech they deem impermissible.

So. . . companies decide that they don't want to advertise on a platform that allows hate speech, and that's a problem because. . . ?

These stories matter because an idea is at risk. That’s the idea that people who cannot speak freely will not be able to think clearly, and that no society can long flourish when contrarians are treated as heretics.

Yeah, but by "contrarians," you mean "Nazis." You mean "prople who spread dangerous medical misinformation." You mean "incels."  The "idea" that you claim is at risk is racism.

If someone says "I think the Senate's proposed bill is a bad idea and someone else says "No, I think it's good," then yes. Both points opf view deserve a hearing. But when one person is saying "Black Lives Matter," and the other is saying "No they don't," there is no legitimate reason to hear out the "contrarion." He's just a racist piece of shit.

That idea, old as Socrates, formerly had powerful institutional defenders, especially in the form of universities, news media, book publishers, free-speech groups and major philanthropies.But those defenders are, on account of one excuse or another, capitulating to people who claim free speech for themselves (but not for others)

Oh my God.

Facepalm GIFs | Tenor

Do we really have to go over this again?
Freedom of speech means that the government can not prevent you from speaking or punish you for your speech. It does not mean that no matter what you say people aren't allowed to criticize you, to call you out, to condemn you. And it doesn't mean that your employer can't decide that you've become an embarassment to the organization and fire you.

. . .  and who demand cringing public apologies from those who have sinned against an ever-more radical ideological standard (while those apologies won’t save them from being fired).

This would be the radical ideological standard of . . . don't say racist, misogynistic or homophobic shit in public and expect to not get any pushback? That honestly doesn't sound that difficult. I'm 53 years old and I'm pretty sure I haven't done that. And I'm just some normal average guy.

As in so much else, George Orwell was here before us. . . 
“What is sinister,” he wrote, “is that the conscious enemies of liberty are those to whom liberty ought to mean most.” He was particularly calling out Western scientists who admired the Soviet Union for its technical prowess and were utterly indifferent to Stalin’s persecution of writers and artists. “They do not see that any attack on intellectual liberty, and on the concept of objective truth, threatens in the long run every department of thought.”

Yeah, that's certainly analagous to the current situation. The Soviets were an authoritarian dictatorship who had the power to restrict writing and speech and brutally punish anyone who violated their strictures. Being sent to the gulag for voicing an opinion is really, when you think about it, the equivalent of being told on Twitter that you've been "cancelled."

So to sum up, Trump - who recently demanded that protestors be given long prison terms, who has encouraged groups of heavily-armed thugs and whire supremacisits and who has threatened to unleash the military on American cities if governors do not heed his calls to utilize the National Guard, is not the problem.

Police who beat, knock down, pepper spray and tear-gas people exercising their First Amendment rights are not the problem.

Gangs of conspiracxy-theory-addled rage-fueled agreived white racists with sub-machine guns are not the problem.

The problem is that sometimes when someone gets racist on Twitter, people get angry and then sometimes that person gets fired. That's the problem. If you can type up some version of this opinion twice a week for the foreseeable future, you too can be a professional opinion-haver and writer. Apparently, that's all there us to it.

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Shit you couldn't make up

Lately I've been seeing way more than the usual amount of news stories that, were a writer to include them in a movie script, would be considered too unrealistic.

Take this for example:


Okay, first of all, there is no such thing as "Cancel Culture." Cancelled is just an expression, a slang term if you will. When you find out that someone you used to be a fan of has done something awful and tou can no longer watch or enjoy their work, it's just easier to say "Loius CK is cancelled" than to say "I always enjoyed Louis CK's stand-up comedy and I liked his TV show and he's very talented, but now that I know he's a sex creep, I can't watch him anymore."

Anyway, I get why the revanchists at FOXwould be annoyed by people "cancelling" a cartoon about puppy cops, or a very good but very racist movie, but the Confederacy?
First of all, the Confederacy was cancelled 150 years ago by Ulysses S. Grant

Ulysses S. Grant | American Battlefield Trust

You're Goddamm right!

Secondly, The Confederacxy?
Were you under the impression that before Milenials got on Twitter everyone was pretty okay with the fucking Confederacy?

An Award-Winning Sand Sculpture by Damon Langlois Captures a Crumbling  Abraham Lincoln | Colossal

Or look at this story:

NYC detectives union to file lawsuit against George Floyd protesters

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What? How. . . I mean. . . WHAT?

The head of the NYPD detectives’ union said that they plan to sue protestors who injure police officers.
“If you assault a New York City Detective and there are no consequences from the criminal justice system, we have to have other means to protect our detectives,” said Paul DiGiacomo, president of the Detectives Endowment Association.

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Oh my God. First of all, if a civilian injures a New York City Detective, there are absolutely going to be consequences from the criminal justice system. Of course there will be. I know cops are really wedded to this whole "everyone's against us" narrative, but what do you think happens when someone injures a cop? Do you think that the DA just shrugs and says "boys will be boys?" Do you think they get a half-assed grand jury procedure that miraculously results in no charges being filed? It's ridiculous and disingenuous and frankly a bit dangerous to imply that people get away with assaulting police officers. There are always consequences for assaulting a cop. There are also consequences for being rude to a cop, being in the way of a cop, or walking on the sidewalk too close to a cop.

In protests against police brutality, videos capture more alleged police  brutality - The Washington Post

And with or without the backing of the criminal justice system, y'all don't seem to have any trouble finding "other means" of dealing with people who piss you off.

Chief responds to Vallejo police brutality accusations in light of video -  ABC7 San FranciscoPhilly police commander seen beating protesters faces aggravated assault  charges -WHYY

But the irony that seems to escape the NYPD is that it is the police who, time and time again, have killed, beaten, and injured civilians with "no consequences from the criminal justice system." That's the whole problem. That's how we got here. If it were even a little bit true that civilians were injurung cops with impunity, I would have to say "now you know how every black person probably feels." But it isn't. It's not true. Not even a little nit. If you wrote an episode of Law and Order with a cop character who was this big a crybaby, the producers would tell you it was too unrealistic. Yet here we are.

Also, no TV show or movie would let a writer get away with a character as batshit crazy as Michael Flynn:

Exclusive from Gen. Flynn: Forces of Evil Want To Steal Our Freedom in the Dark of Night, But God Stands with Us

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The idea or notion of a heaven on Earth is the very real sense of being free. Freedom is oxygen. Like the air we breathe that keeps our lungs full and our hearts beating, the celestial feeling of freedom brings a sense of peace to our souls.

Freedom is oxygen. Which is why every citizen of the Soviet Union suffocated in the 1950's.

Freedom must never be taken for granted. Securing our freedom demands a high price — and that price requires hard work and sacrifice. Both will bind us all by the value they produce, but only if we are willing to seek new opportunities and new ideas.

Jesus Christ, this is gibberish!

I don't think I can read any more of this drivel. It's not even funny.

What else has been in the news lately? Oh, this:

NYPD lieutenant apologizes

Well, good. That's a start at least.
Oh wait. There's more?

NYPD lieutenant apologizes for kneeling alongside George Floyd protesters

for gods sake (With images) | Intj personality, Intj problems, Intj

Of course. I should've known. Of course he's apologizing for the one decent thing he did.

A Manhattan NYPD lieutenant has apologized to his fellow department members for taking a knee alongside George Floyd protesters — telling them that “the cop in me wants to kick my own ass.”

Of course. Because that's the natural cop reaction to anything he doesn't like. Kick someone's ass.

In a June 3 email obtained by The Post, Lt. Robert Cattani of the Midtown South Precinct wrote that he lost sleep over the “horrible decision to give into a crowd of protesters’ demands.”

Right, why should you give into the demands of the crowd? I mean, it's not like you're some kind of public servant or something. You certainly wouldn't want the ordinary people of New York to think that the police are on their side.

Police sources expressed relief that Cattani had apologized — but questioned what he was thinking in the first place.
“I’m glad he took it back, because your officers are out here battling with these guys and that’s what you do to show appreciation? Never show your weakness,” one insider said.

Right, The citizenry is the enemy. You are at war with the people of your city. Do you people listen to yourselves? You're not in Fallujah.

I swear to God, you couldn't make this shit up!

Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Democrats are not coming to save us.

Let me begin by stating for the record that I, Professor Chaos, will be voting for Joe Biden or for whomever they replace him with at the convention because no matter how many problems I have with Biden, the alternative is much much worse.

That being said, Joe Biden and the Democratic leadership are not coming to save us.

Yes, they are better than the Republicans. Much better. Or much less awful, if you prefer. But no positive change is going to come from these people.

At a time in our hiustory when the people are demanding radical change to way our citizenry is ploiced, the Democratic leadership gives us performative posturing.

Kente Cloth Is Beloved In Ghana. Why Did Democrats Wear It ...

The people cried out "Defund the Police!" and Pelosi and the Dems respomded "Got it!  Kneel for 8 minutes! While wearing African cloth for some reason no one can really explain."

"No, seriously" the people said. "We rreally want to defund the police!" And Biden gave us this headline:

Biden Walks a Cautious Line as He Opposes Defunding the Police

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In the face of continuing protest marches calling to “defund the police” nationwide in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, Mr. Biden’s campaign said in a statement that he “hears and shares the deep grief and frustration of those calling out for change” and that he “supports the urgent need for reform.” But a campaign spokesman, Andrew Bates, said flatly that Mr. Biden was opposed to cutting police funding and believed more spending was necessary to help improve law enforcement and community policing.

Any minute now, I’ll be a great-grandmother – wtf Am I On ...

Seriously? How is Biden's strategy always to come out in opposition to whatever Democratic voters want? Medicare For All polls at around 65-70% among all voters and obviously higher among the Democratic base.

So what does Biden have to say?

Dk logo med
Biden says he'll veto Medicare For All. Says he always knew Iraq had no WMDs, was bamboozled by Bush
Tuesday March 10, 2020

unveiling my 750iL twin turbo e32

Oh that's great.
You know, if you're going to come out against a highly popular policy proposal, it helps to toss in the fact that you knew the bloody quagmire you supported was begun on false pretenses and that you were outsmarted by a dimwit.

So now the Dems have come out with their police "reform" proposal.

Al Jazeera English
Democrats to unveil sweeping US police reform plan. Proposal expected to ban: • chokeholds • racial profiling • require nationwide body cameras

Oh,, they're going to ban chokeholds! Like we don't know that chokeholds are already banned in a lot of jurisdictions but somehow still keep being applied. For instance, the chokehold was banned in New York in 1993, but somehow still managed to kill Eric Garner and the officer apoplying that chokehold was never charged with a crime or faced any actual consequnences. But the Democrats have a solution! They're going to. . . ban the chokehold even more, I guess?

And ban racial profiling. How is that going to work? Racial profiling is such a stupid term. It sounds like it's some kind of academic formula that police departments ude to identify suspects, something really complex whose use could be discontinued, when it's really just the cops saying "hey, look. A black guy. Let's stop-and-frisk him!" How are you going to end the use of "racial profiling?" No cop is ever going to admit that he pulled ovewr a driver or stopped a pedestrian because of his race. He's going to say that the car was speeding, or the black guy walking down the street was behaving suspiciously, or the black guy he killed was "resisiting arrest." And how would you prove that he's lying? You can't.So your ban is meaningless. It's like if my wife says I'm not allowed to choose movies on Netflix on the basis of how much nudity they have. And then I choose some movie with lots of naked boobies in it. And she says "hey, I thought we agreed that you wouldn't choose boobie movies," and I say "Gosh, I didn't know that 9-1/2 Weeks had nudity! How was I to know?" She can't really prove that I knew. I can claim that I heard it was a thought-provoking relationship drama and she can't really say for sure that I'm NOT dumb enough to have thought that. In fact, after 25 years of marriage, she probably assumes that I am.

And they're going to require nationwide bidy cams? You mean like the ones that are already required by departments all over the country? That always seem to malfunction right at the time when something bad happens? . Isn't it always the way that the time you forget to turn your body cam on is the one time that you have to fire your weapon to defend yourself against an unarmed black teenager? Murphy's law, I guess

So they're going to push these aesthetic "reforms," the bill will die in the Senate, and cops will continue to run roughshod over the rights of minority communities, but the Dems will pat themselves on the back for being "woke" and continue to not understand why more people don't show up to vote for them.

And eventually Trump will leave office and everyone will want to pretend that the problem is solved. I can't tell you hoiw many Tweets I've seen these last few weeks with video clips of cops beating, teargassing and firing at protestors with some line about "this is Trump's America!" As if police brutality was something that began in January 2017.
As if Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Keith Lamont Scott, Terence Crutcher and many more unarmed black men weren't killed by cops just in the last year of the Obama administration.

Or as if the militarization of police departments was some new development spurred by Cheeto Mussolini. Police departments have been militarizing since at least the 1980's in response to the crack epidemic. And at first it was just big cities with lots of gang activity like Los Angeles and Miami, but over the last several administrations it has spread to small and medium-sized towns across the country. It's not like this wasn't happening under Barack Obama and it's not like it's going to stop under Joe Biden.
Don't forget,this was Biden's response to the Rodney King beating in 1991:

Biden proposed 'Police Officer's Bill of Rights' two months after Rodney King beating

Sensing upcoming unrest, lawmakers in Washington began to act. In May 1991, Biden authored a Senate bill that would have provided greater protections to cops accused of misconduct. The " Police Officer's Bill of Rights Act" aimed at strengthening protections when law enforcement officers were accused of misconduct. 
And his response to the current unrest:

“Instead of standing there and teaching a cop, when there’s an unarmed person coming at them with a knife or something, you shoot them in the leg instead of in the heart is a very different thing. There’s a lot of different things that could change,” 

Judge Judy Facepalm Gif By Agent M Loves Gif - Find ...

You know, I used to jokingly make the analogy about voting blue as the lesser of two evils that it was like if you are offered a choice between a slap in the face and a kick to the crotch, you would be crazy not to opt for the slap. Now it seems voters are being offered a choice between one party that wants to shoot you in the heart and one that just wants to shoot you in the leg. So of course, you gotta choose the leg. But it's hard to generatemuch enthusiasm for that choice.

But no, the Democrats are not coming to save us. Joe Biden is not coming to save us.
 Nancy Pelosi is not coming to save us. They will rip up a speech or give a sarcastic clap, then turn around and authorize billions of dollars to put children in concentration camps. They aren't going to make anything better. But the alternative is worse.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

How is this even possible?

I don't understand how any of this is possible.

Why is a private person or entity allowed to own a dam?
It's not just my natural lefty tendancy to think of a dam as a public good that should be operated in the public interest, it also seems like an insanely dangerous idea to let one person have control over something that could wipe out thousands of lives and destroy millions of dollars worth of property.

Where I come from, there are four dams, the Pilarcitos, the Upper and Lower Crystal Springs, and the San Andreas. (Funny story, the San Andreas Fault was actually named after the San Andreas Dam after it was discovered that a seismic fault line ran under the ground where they had just built a new earthen dam. Heh heh heh, nothing to worry about, folks. Everything's fine! heh heh heh. . .

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Anyway, the dams in San Mateo County are owned by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (long story, you can read about it here if you're interested). So every time there's an earthquake (and probably at other times as well), the SFPUC  sends engineers to inspect the dams to ensure their structural iintegrity. Because if the Pilarcitos dam was to give way, billions of gallons of water would flood the city of San Mateo nearly instantaneously killing a whole lot of people.

I assumed that's how it was everywhere. The dams around here all seem to be owned and operated by the Army Corps of Engineers. Who in holy Hell thought it was a good idea to leave something this vital to public safety in the hands of some sociopathic millionaire?

The Simpsons: Tapped Out - Road To Riches | CECIL RETURNS WITH NEW ...

I don't know, there's a Mr Burns / Sideshow Cecil joke in there somewhere.

Anyway, this story just gets worse from here:

Feds revoked dam’s license over safety issues. Then Michigan deemed it safe.

MIDLAND — Nine days after federal regulators revoked a license of the Edenville Dam over years of failing to fix “structural instability,” Michigan inspectors ruled it was in “fair” condition and allowed it to continue operating, records show.

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Sighhhhhh. . . Okay, first of all, Federal regulators just let him go for years not making repairs? No one MADE him make repairs? They just kept saying "hey, you know, you really oughta maybe think about not letting your dam get all decrepit and run down. Please?"

Then when they finally had enough, their solution was to revoke his license to operate the dam. So the dam is still there, holding back tons of water and falling further and further into dis-repair, it's just no longer generating electricity. And someone thought "problem solved! No need to worry any more about the dam breaking!" How did they think this was helping? It's like a restaurant is on fire and the answer is to revoke the owner's business license. The fire is still burning. The neighboring businesses are still in danger.

Then, as if this wasn't cement-head stupid enough, the Snyder Administration steps in and says"Nah, you go ahead and keep running your dam, we're sure that, as a private for-profit business you know what is best!"

And in the 19 months since that 2018 inspection, Michigan regulators didn’t  demand any repairs to the dam that failed Tuesday

Oh For GIF - Oh For Fucks GIFs

This is INSANE!

They said the dam was in FAIR condition. There is no FAIR condition for a dam. There is good condition and there is not good enough condition. It's not a used car. You can't look at a dam and say "yeah, she's probably got another couple hundred good miles in her." Someone needs to make these repairs. And since the owner has shown no interest in doing so, the dam needs to be taken away from him by the state or the feds and they can make the repairs and then operate it safely. Or the relevant state or federal agency could make the repairs themselves and bill the owner. If he doesn't pay, you foreclose on the dam. Or jail the son of a bitch. Or both.

Since at least 2004, federal regulators have demanded repairs to the dam, writing its owners “failed for many years to comply with significant license and safety requirements.” 

The Luong Road Ahead: "There are things I've done that nobody knows"

God DAMN IT ~ 2004? This shit has been going on since TWO THOUSAND AND FOUR?!?!
They have "failed to comply with . . .safety requirements?" Do you. . .do you understand what the word "requirements" means? You don't have the option to comply or not comply with fucking REQUIREMENTS! How was this allowed to go on for 16 fucking years? I mean, could Jon Dillinger have just said "I believe I will decline to comply with the requirement that I not rob banks?" Why do we even have laws?

Michigan regulators “had strong concerns the dam did not have enough spillway capacity” in the event of heavy rains and “expressed those concerns,” said Nick Assendelft, a state energy spokesperson.

Oh, they "expressed concerns?" Oh well why didn't you say so? Well that's a horse of a different color! If I had known that they not only had concerns, but had, in fact, expressed those concerns, well I guess there's no need for me to be upset. I mean, it sounds like they did everything they could possibly think of!

Tried Nothing GIF - Tried Nothing Flanders - Discover & Share GIFs

But regulators did not move beyond “continued conversations” about repairs, he said.  Instead, the state was focused on what it called illegal efforts by Boyce to lower water levels the past two years.

God Damn It GIF by Hitman's Bodyguard | Gfycat

Continued Conversations?

About his "illegal efforts to lower water levels?"
Do you not uinderstand what the word "illegal" means? It means arrest the motherfucker and take his fucking dam away before he gets someone killed.

Boyce generates power to sell to Consumers Energy, so regulation of its dam initially fell to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission rather than state inspectors.
In court documents, federal regulators wrote Boyce repeatedly failed to improve its capacity to handle big floods, revealing “a pattern of delay and indifference to the potential consequences.” Fixing the dam was necessary “in order to protect life, limb, and property,” lawyers for the FERC wrote in January 2018. 

Yeah, no fucking kidding. So why didn't you do something about it?

I really don't understand why if you or I commit a crime, we get arrested. If a company commits a crime, the government's lawyers have to argue in front of a judge to try to be allowed to introduce some cionsequences which, if there are any, are negotiated with the company like it was some kind of a business deal. You always see these stories about how "Indiscriminate Deathcorp has agreed to pay 10 million dollars for dumping planeloads of flaming napalm onto residential neighborhoods. . ." I would love to commit crimes and then say to the police, "okay, here's what I'm willing to do: I'll ay a small fine and pick up trash on the weekend. Jail time? Ha! You must be joking, I definitely do not agree to that!"

For years, the FERC had told Boyce the dam didn’t meet design standards and could only drain about half of the expected “probable maximum flood” — the amount of water expected in the most severe storm that’s reasonably possible in the region.
Federal regulators told Boyce Hydro it needed to build two spillways to accommodate potential flooding,` and the company agreed.
But over the next 13 years, Boyce missed numerous deadlines to add the spillways, arguing it didn’t have enough money to finish the projects and couldn’t borrow more

Jesus Christ! Have these people never heard of eminent domain? You can't afford to run your dam in a way that doesn't endanger thousands of people? Well here's a check for the fair market value, minus all the fines that should be levied plus interest and penalties. It's our dam now. Oh, and you'll find that fair market value is gonna be quite a bit lower than you might have hoped because this dam is in a disgraceful state of disrepair.

All right, well now they've learned the hard way. Now there's a flood and they are having to come to grips with the failures of their laissez faire approach to public safety. Things are obviously going to be different now.

Federal regulators order Sanford Dam’s owner to investigate after flood
Wait, what?

MIDLAND COUNTY, MI – The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has ordered the owner of the Sanford Dam to establish an independent investigation team to determine why floodwaters overflowed the structure.

The company

The company is to establish a team

                                                   to investigate


The agency in charge of regulating the dams
                              wants the owner of the dam

                                         to investigate what went wrong

                                                      with the dam they own.

This is what we're doing? "Hey, Tony Soprano, would you and your guys look into why there's so much corruption in New Jersey? See if you can figure out who's responsible for all this crime and graft, would you?"

In a 2018 filing, regulators characterized dam owner Boyce Hydro as chronically non-compliant with regulatory requests to upgrade the dam. 

They didn't comply with REQUESTS!

Thanks Internet: Here's Another God Damn Supercut Of All The God ...

Why? Why were there requests? Why were there not orders? Why was there not enforcement? Why is no one looking out for us? They just get to do whatever they want and normal people just have to suffer the consequences. When do we take up our torches and pitchforks?

Monday, May 18, 2020

Putting things into perspective

Sometimes when things are tough, when it seems like life is just unfair, when you're living in trying times and you're worried and stressed out, it's nice to have someone with some understanding of history who can help you put things into perspective:

Like this guy:

Rep. Ben Carpenter, R-Nikiski, speaks on the floor of the Alaska House of Representatives on March 18, 2020. (James Brooks / ADN)

Alaska legislator compares pandemic safety measures at Capitol to Nazi treatment of Jews

9 løgner alle jenter bruker for å slippe å ha sex med menn!

When lawmakers return to Juneau on Monday, they will be required to undergo a health screening. Those who pass the screening will be asked to wear a sticker.

Oh, shit! That is totally how the Jews were treated by the Nazis. They were given medical checkups and then those who were healthy were asked if they wouldn't mind maybe wearing a yellow star on their clothing so that people would know it was safe to interact with them. And then I think there was some other stuff, but really it was being screened to make sure they weren't infected with a deadly disease that was the real horror of the Holocaust.

“How about an arm band that won’t fall off like a sticker will?” Rep. Ben Carpenter wrote in a message copied to all 40 members of the Alaska House. “If my sticker falls off, do I get a new one or do I get public shaming too? Are the stickers available as a yellow Star of David?”

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Okay, first of all, it was the Nazis who wore armbands. 
Secondly, if you're going in to work when you have the Covid-19 virus, or if you haven't been checked to ensure that you don't have it, then you deserve public shaming. At the least! You're endangering the health and lives of everyone with whom you interact. Why is that such a dificult comcept for some people?

Two Jewish members of the Legislature immediately responded, again copying all members of the House.

“Ben, This is disgusting. Keep your Holocaust jokes to yourself,” wrote Rep. Grier Hopkins, D-Fairbanks.

Rep. Andy Josephson, D-Anchorage, said, “I don’t think a tag that we’re cleared to enter the building is akin to being shipped to a concentration camp. It’s more akin to needing a boarding pass when you get through TSA. This is that.”

Okay, well you may be Jewish, but I think I've got a pretty good handle on what is and isn't akin to the Holocaust! Having someone take my temperature to make sure I'm not sick - That's pretty much like what they did at Auschwitz!

Carpenter received support from fellow Republican Sarah Vance of Homer.
“We should all be concerned about the implications of being labeled as ‘non compliant’ or wearing a badge of ‘compliance,’” she wrote in response to Hopkins.

Exactly! Thank you! She gets it!

It's like when you vote and then they give you that "I voted" sticker. And they expect you to just put that on your lapel. And then if you don't there's zero consequences. Well what if I don't WANT to comply? What if I don't WANT to tell people I voted? It's a slippery slope, people. First they're giving you a sticker that indicates that you've gotten a clean bill of health and ASKING you to wear it, next thing you know, Krystallnacht!

I mean, when I think of the government using their power and authority to try to prevent a good man like Ben Carpenter from getting infected with a deadly contagion. . . oh, it makes me so angry!
And for the government of Alaska, which is supposed to be "of the people by the people FOR THE PEOPLE, to prevent this man from exercising his God-given right to spread a disease to his fellow legislators - - - I mean, the Founding Fathers must be turning over in their graves!

Braveheart GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

By phone, Carpenter said he didn’t intend to “rile somebody."
“I certainly have no ill will toward the Jewish nation and the Jewish people in our country,” he said.

Right, I mean who would think that comparing mild inconveniences to the fucking Holocaust might be upsetting to people from "the Jewish Nation?" Sorry you people are so easily "riled!"

He said he believes public health restrictions in Alaska are far out of proportion to the threat posed by COVID-19. Ten Alaskans have died from the virus, many fewer than the state’s annual death toll from influenza. He agreed that public health guidelines have contributed to that low COVID-19 death toll but said the danger has passed.

Look, the public health guidelines have worked, so the obvious thing to do is stop following them! Does Carpenter have to spell out everything for you dummies? If Carpenter says the danger has passed, that should be good enough for you. I mean who would know better? The CDC? Ha! Ben Carpenter is pretty much the gold standard of expertise when it comes to epidemiology.  I will have you know that Ben Carpenter graduated from. . .  Nisiki High school. . . wait, that can't be it. I mean, surely he went on to college, med school, PhD in virology, right?

(via Wikipedia)
Carpenter graduated from Nikiski High School in 1993. After graduation, he joined the United States Army, serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in Turkey and Kuwait with the United States Air Force.[1]
Afterward, Carpenter joined the Alaska Army National Guard, in which he was a special staff officer in the commanding general’s office. He later retired from the National Guard. Carpenter grows peonies and was president of the Alaska Peony Market Cooperative.[1]

Peonies! His specialty is peonies?

Van Zyverden Peonies Bowl Of Beauty- Roots (3-Set)-83480 ...

These things?

31 Types of Peonies (All Colors, Bloom Types and Varieties)

Okay, I may have to re-evaluate this whole thing. Maybe Ben Carpenter isn't the expert authority I had been led to believe he was. But even though he's not an actual virologist or immunologist or epidemiologist, I bet he knows a lot about the Nazis.

Alaska lawmaker says Hitler was not white supremacist

Oh Come On Bill Hader GIF by Saturday Night Live - Find ...

“Can you or I — can we even say it is totally out of the realm of possibility that covid-19 patients will be rounded up and taken somewhere?” he said later in an interview with the Anchorage Daily News, arguing that officials are overreacting to the virus with limits on people’s liberty. “People want to say Hitler was a white supremacist. No. He was fearful of the Jewish nation, and that drove him into some unfathomable atrocities.”

Well, he does have a point. It is entirely possible that covid-19 patients may be taken somewhere. They could be taken to hospitals! Where they will be forced to endure, um, having ventilators assist with their breathing and , I don't know, probably getting poked with needles or something. And don't get me started on the spartan conditions they will have to withstand. I mean, my God, those beds!

Relaxing Homer Simpson GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Sheer torture!

Other than that, though, I think he might be just a teensy bit off-base here. Hitler, it may surprise you to learn, was actually something of a white supremacist. He was what the experts refer to as the "dictionary definition" of the term "white supremacist." He absolutely believed in a hierarchy of races with white people at the top rung. He even believed that within the general category of white epeople their was a racial hierarchy with Nordic people at the top and Slavs on the bottom.

Okay, so I guess Ben Carpenter doesn't really know anything about Nazis either. But on the other hand, he does know a lot about peonies! So I think the people of Alaska should probably follow his lead when it comes to balancing out public health and safety with Freedommmmmmm!!!

Seems only sensible.

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Stupid shithead of the day

I have to imagine that when the Founding Fathers established the House of Representatives, they pictured people in small towns across the 13 states getting together and deciding whom they should send to represent them in the Congress.

"I say we send Doc Johnson, he's an educated man!"
"Well if we're sending someone to make laws, we should send Bill Jones. He's a lawyer."
"I'd like to nominate Parson Brown. He's the most honest man in town!"

"well what about Miss Jackson, the schoolmarm?"

"Miss Jackson? Why she's a woman! Probably has boobies and everything. The schoolmarm! Well now I've heard everything!"

And so on.

But somehow we've gotten to the point where in many, if not most, of our congressional districts, the goal seems to be to find the stupidest nastiest shithead in the area to represent the good folks back home.

Case in point: Michigan's Justin Amash,

Justin Amash, a libertarian, seems unaware that he can ...

who had this astute observation re: scientists and Covid-19:

double take gif | Tumblr

Wait, what?

You think that it would be helpful for virologists or epidemiologists to have some knowledge of how a community feels?

What about that conservative motto:

"Facts Don't Care About Your Feelings 5" Art Prints by ...

I mean, is the communicability or the lethality of a virus affected by how people feel? How they eat, shop, work, etc?
Because I'm pretty sure that however you normally work, shop, conduct your business, the prescription for our current situation is the same. Stay the fuck at home, wear a god damn mask, stay at least 6 feet away from other people. It doesn't matter what your shopping habits were like last year. Things are different now.

Yes, because the way to fight a virus differs from one locality to another. Maybe in Detroit, the way to fight it is to stay home, shut non-essential businesses, wear masks and practice social distancing, but in, say, Lansing, the best way might be to STAY THE FUCK HOME, SHUT NON-ESSENTIAL FUCKING BUSINESSES, WEAR YOUR GODDAMM MASKS AND PRACTICE SOCIAL DISTANCING YOU STUPID FUCKING SHITHEAD!!!

Angry Inside Out GIF by Disney Pixar - Find & Share on GIPHY

Oh my God, that is the stupidest thing I have ever heard!
Why in the Hell would you think that a grocery store owner would have a better understanding of how many people can be safely admitted into a building at once, or how far apart those people need to be spaced? And a line out the door is what you're worried about? And you think that the solution would be to take those people who are standing in line outside, potentially spreading the virus, and herd them all INSIDE THE STORE? This makes sense to you?

Have you even seen what businesses are doing with lines of customers? They're having them stand six feet apart until enough people leave the store that more can be allowed in. This isn't something that should be handled differently based on your particular locale. There is just no logic to the idea that a grocery store owner would have a better idea about virus containment than the governor who is advised by the CDC, the NIH, the WHO, the top scientists at Univerity of Michigan, Michigan State, whatever other university she wants to call up and ask for advice.

Oh, yeah. The most important and useful knowledge is that possessed by reg'lar Joes in their small-town neighborhoods. These fancy eggheads who have spent their entire adult lives studying the factors that are in play in this exact scenario don't know nothin'! Not compared to ol' Frank down at the Stuckey's. Why ol' Frank has lived in this here town purt near longer'n anyone can remember. He dropped out of high school after his sophomore year, but he has the kind of local knowledge you just cain't git from books or colleges or laboratories and such!

This is what we've come to. This is the kind of person who we put into positions of responsibility. There's no coming back. America is doomed.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

The Felice Brothers

How on Earth did it take until the Year of Our Lord 2020 for the Felice Brothers to be brought to my attention?

This is my new favorite band!