The Gross National Debt

Monday, September 26, 2016

Life in prison, death or starvation?

Those of us old enough to remember the wacky movie The Gods Must Be Crazy, recall the little bushman sitting in a cell staring at the window. The movie would have us believe he would have died, staring at the window and the freedom he lost.

I happen to believe orcas resent being kept in giant fish bowls. Not a fan of bird liver, but if you are, note pate can be made without force feeding. This kinda thing goes on and on. Which brings me to the Rant du Jour.

Because of well-meaning ninnyhammers, a preserve in Africa is gonna shoot some lions.

Don't take my word for it.

Please note preserve said they are willing to MOVE the lions IF suitable territory can be found for 'em.

• No human conflict.

• Won't get beaten up by existing prides.

• Can get money to effect the move.

These lions will be shot by the preserve owners. All right, they HIRE someone. Same difference. The government there will NOT collect the huge licensing and trophy fees associated with a lion hunt. The animals, probably, will be donated to area tribes. That's where the meat from these hunts go.

But trackers, bushmen, porters and guides won't get paid. Won't get tips. Won't earn much needed money.

All because a bunch of yappers who do not know what they are talking about got too excited because someone shot a lion with a radio collar.

If you yapped, please note: You are directly responsible for this lion cull. If there's a murderer anywhere in this, it's you. You yapped. People lost jobs. You yapped. Lions, being lions, overpopulated the preserve. You yapped. People lost money.

You gonna replace that money? You gonna send checks?

Didn't think so.

You gonna save the lions? How? Where? The preserve laid down the conditions.

'Cept there's another one. Zoos, if they can find a zoo to take some lions.

Wild animals, sentenced to life behind bars. Wonder if they'd rather die than be stuck in a tiny enclosure the rest of their life.

Some yapper is going to ask "Well what happened when free range lions overpopulated?"

They starved to death.

Someone is gonna say those lions were raised to be hunted. And? Any idea how many animals die daily to provide even the most devout vegans with food? If you eat any kind of meat, STFU now.

So lemme hit you upside yo haid with one more Clue X 4.

Would you prefer to starve to death, be locked in a tiny enclosure for the rest of your life and separated from everything you knew or be killed quickly?

C'mon keyboard warriors. Hit me with your best shot. Then, think about what you did to those lions.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Random observationings

The is not universal, but it is common.

The same groups that want to ban my AR-15 and other guns believe the police are enough to protect me. Then, they rip the police apart for a handful of cop-committed murders.

Pick one. Either the police can protect me or they are corrupt.

I pick neither. LEA (law enforcement agencies) are a reactive force the great majority of the time. They cannot protect me 24/7. Do I need that protection? No. I have a gun. I still believe this is the reason I'm intact today.

The person accused of this attack is serving life w/o parole for murder in another community.

•••

If you have a major infection in your leg, do not worry about a hangnail on a toe.



•••

Colds suck. The rhino virus family ONLY exists to irritate people.

•••

I appreciate my haters. They inspire me to work that much harder to make this world a better place while all they do is complain. If you are a hater, thank you.

•••

I need a nap.

•••

If you hunt and kill deer or hogs and do not want them, the food bank does. Get aholt to me and between us, we'll figure some way to gettem to my house for processing for the food bank.

•••

This week was too rough. Far too many people believe they cannot get by without me. Far too many people believe they can arrange my schedule.

If you demand I lead, then do not complain about the direction and the decisions. You probably can do better than me. Ready to take these reins? Then either take 'em, get out of the way or pitch in. Otherwise, yeah, I may run over you.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Time to get over it

If this story is correct, that the US gummint intends to round up wild horses and turn the land over to cattle production, then... Well, a lot of people are quite excited about this.

There's a simple solution that costs taxpayers nothing and actually generate revenue.

Eat more horse.

It is legal in the US. I ordered some horse jerky from Great Britain. It was good, but so is beef, coon, buffalo, elk, gator and other animal jerky. Pretty much the only reason I ordered horse jerky from GB was so I could put horse on the list of animals I've eaten. I plan to add kangaroo, lion, ostrich and rhea to the list soon as I get money.

France has horse farms. Canada has processing plants.

Two ways to do this:

1) Let ranchers out west round up the horses.

2) Let hunters thin the herd.

Hunters will gladly pay for the privilege of hunting horses. You say no? Hunters pay mondo bucks to go to Africa to shoot zebras. What's the difference? Hunters in the US are already paying to hunt wild and feral sheep, wild and feral goats and Watusi.

The idea of eating horse is probably causing bile to rise in the throats of some reading this. I tell you that some people find the idea of eating cheese to be as disgusting as you find eating horse.

Before you technicolor yawn, lemme point out you are eating bugs pretty regularly. Alcoholic beverages, and medicines containing alcohol, are made from rotted fruit, grain and vegetables. The antibiotic Penicillin is a product of bread mold.

It was recently brought to my attention that the "Paleo Diet" is nothing of the sort. It does not include insects, grubs, wild bird eggs and carrion.

Some people are aghast at the horse roundup. The Humane Society of the United States says something else should be done, like birth control. Any time the HSUS wants to start horse birth control at its expense, have at it. Just don't use taxpayer dollars.

I'm also opposed to spending tax dollars to round up the horses.

If you are one who opposes this, on whatever grounds, then put your money where you mouth is. Pony up the bucks to do something else with these horses. Me? I'd pay to go on a horse hunt and gladly bring home meat to eat.

If you are not willing to drop some cash to support something you believe in, then you are not serious about it. If you are not serious, get out of the way of the people who are serious.

Monday, September 12, 2016

KNEEL THIS!

I don't give a compost heap what professional sports players do on the sidelines when the national anthem is played. I really don't. If every professional sport in the world ceased to be played, I'd likely never notice the difference.

However.

I am quite irked over the current furor over some pro athletes who choose to kneel instead of stand when the national anthem is played.

KNEEL - v. - be in or assume a position in which the body is supported by a knee or the knees, as when praying or showing submission.

Wikipedia - Kneeling is a basic human position where one or both knees touch the ground. It is used as a resting position, during childbirth and as an expression of reverence and submission. It is possible to kneel with one leg and assume another position (such as squatting) with the other leg. 

When does one kneel? When showing respect to a superior. To show submission.  Players in HS football "take a knee" when a player is injured on the field.

And one last thing for all you "CHRISTIANS" out there whining about players kneeling during the national anthem:

Christians kneel in church.

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Whackin', stackin', yakkin' and put up or shut up


Back when "Cecil" the lion was killed, I said I supported the hunt. As expected, I was vilified.

Several people even said killing the lion was murder.

So, what do you think about THIS? http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2016/02/23/cecil-the-lion-zimbabwe-200-lions-overpopulation_n_9297298.html

Yes, Zimbabwe later said it won't cull lions. Backtrack much? Negative publicity has made African governments back up more than once. When the keyboard warriors move on to the next Cause du Jour, the African governments quietly go back to what they originally planned.


SAVE THE LIONS


How? Where?

Try this. http://voices.nationalgeographic.com/2016/02/25/culling-to-conserve-a-hard-truth-for-lion-conservation/  "There is basically no more space left in Africa for a new viable population of lions."

The outcry over the lion hunt is condemning far more of these beasts to death without the financial remuneration which comes from a paid hunt. If you are one of those who bitched and screamed and whined, then YOU are responsible for these critters' deaths. And more of 'em too boot.

So. How does it feel to be a murderer? Keep reading, I splain. Call it huntersplaining if you will.

While I'm on the subject, read these (except you won't because they directly and with evidence aforethought contradict your weltanschauung)


PUT YO MONEY WHERE YO MOUF IS


“Whenever I donate a hunting trip for the Children's Leukemia Foundation, Ronald McDonald Cancer House, all these children's charities, I offer the anti-hunters an opportunity: if you donate more to the children's charity than the hunters donate we won't go hunting.”
Ted Nugent

How much have you contributed?

This is, bluntly, economics. Are the animals worth more alive or dead? The qualified answer, I 'splain below, is they are worth more when they are hunted.


http://conservationmagazine.org/2015/10/what-if-we-banned-trophy-hunting-in-africa/ "And in other places, the fees derived from legalized trophy hunting can fund important conservation efforts on the ground. As WWF researcher Robin Naidoo points out in a new paper in the journal Conservation Biology, the Western opposition to trophy hunting is a bit ironic given how much funding legal hunting generates for wildlife management and conservation in North America."

And "The results suggest that most conservancies need both hunting and ecotourism to benefit from their wildlife. Between 2003 and 2010, ecotourism benefits were larger than those from hunting, while hunting overshadowed ecotourism from 2010 onward. Hunting allowed payments and non-financial benefits (i.e. meat) to accumulate faster than ecotourism did, though ecotourism-related salaries have grown ten times faster than have those from hunting-related jobs."

And "Of 52 conservancies that had any sort of financial benefit from wildlife (that is, their income was higher than their expenses), more than half derived all or almost all those benefits from hunting. Just six were wholly or mostly reliant on ecotourism, while 18 conservancies benefited equally from both activities."



http://www.nytimes.com/2015/08/10/travel/big-game-hunting-cecil-lion.html Again, few hard numbers, but this piece contradicts the NPR article.

So, if you object to trophy hunting, how much are you sending these African communities? Cash. Hard dollars. Money. Moral support does not feed hungry children. Lion and elephant steaks feed hungry children.

YOU ARE THE PROBLEM


You. Are. The. Problem. You are the reason lions, elephants and other animals are killed.

You. The person reading this. Me, the person writing this. All those hungry children in Africa. There's the problem.

Larry and Andy Wachowski nailed this one in The Matrix. "'I'd like to share a revelation I've had during my time here. It came to me when I tried to classify your species. I realized that you're not actually mammals. Every mammal on this planet instinctively develops a natural equilibrium with their surrounding environment, but you humans do not. You move to another area, and you multiply, and you multiply, until every natural resource is consumed. The only way you can survive is to spread to another area. There is another organism on this planet that follows the same pattern. Do you know what it is? A virus. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. You are a plague, and we are the cure."

Not a new statement. Scott Westerfeld said the same thing, "...humanity is a disease, a cancer on the body of the world.” Similar statements appear in Red Dwarf, by Dave Foreman and many others. http://thetruthwins.com/archives/30-population-control-quotes-that-show-that-the-elite-truly-believe-that-humans-are-a-plague-upon-the-earth

There's a harsh truth for you.

The NGS article puts this slightly less plainly.  "Culling is a management tool that may be used for many species. That includes: elephants, lions, kangaroos, and deer, basically animals that have very little natural control mechanisms other than disease and starvation, and that are now bounded by human settlements and live in smaller areas than they did historically."


In other words, PEOPLE are pushing animals. We shove them into ever more tiny habitats. They are not free to roam, hunt and naturally control their own numbers. Animals move. When they move, they bring their diseases, habits and ability to reproduce with them. They ruin crops grown to feed you and me. They attack people and pets.

http://tchester.org/sgm/lists/lion_attacks.html "Mountain lion attacks on people apparently increased dramatically since 1986."

Animals behave like animals. They do not respect man's boundaries.

More people means less room for animals. When animals run out of room, they run out of food, be that other animals or vegetation. They move to find more food. Food is highly concentrated around people.




Because I like simple things, and like to make things simple, I tell you there is a simple solution to this. You can support the people, which means killing the animals that threaten the people or you can support the animals, which means the people have got to go. I'm seriously leaning toward fewer people.

Compromise? On a large scale it does not work. Micro scale, it can and does work. Wildlife does not operate on a microscope, neither does humanity as a whole.

REVISE YOUR THINKING

I say revise your thinking. Many will not. In the face of empirical evidence, people will double-down and entrench deeper. 

Reality is under no obligation to conform to your beliefs. Reject it and get run over. Let Darwin rule. Which solves some problems mentioned above.

Trophy hunting is NOT the problem. http://www.globalanimal.org/2016/07/07/an-africa-without-lions-angry-tweets-wont-help-african-lions/  "However, impoverished Africans are killing lions at a rate estimated at five to 10 times the number of lions killed from trophy hunting, and the hunts take place almost entirely within national parks and other 'protected' areas."

http://africanindaba.com/2014/03/kenya-wildlife-loved-to-death-march-2014-volume-12-2/ "Kenya’s much-praised ban on hunting, in fact, has had an impact opposite to its intent: wild animals are disappearing at an accelerating rate."

Botswana has a hunting ban, about 2.5 years old now. Many are asking the bank be lifted. http://africageographic.com/blog/botswanan-communities-want-exemptions-to-hunting-ban/

The third option is to starve, people and animals. Elephants starve to death naturally. Their teeth wear down and they cannot eat. Many other critters also starve to death.

I'm told by some anti-hunters and animal rights activists, this is natural. Let nature run its course.

Lemme axe you this: Which is more cruel? Starving to death or being killed by a hunter? Careful how you answer because whatever you say may be used as a Clue x 4 on you.

MAKING IT SIMPLE

Cut out the extraneous parts. Let's get right down to it.

"If you want to save a species, simply decide to eat it. Then it will be managed - like chickens, like turkeys, like deer, like Canadian geese."
Ted Nugent

That is the reality. When people are trying to make a living and protect what is theirs, animals have an economic value. The highest economic value will be protected. If animals are worth the most as trophies, the community will guard them for licensed hunters. If the animals are worth the most as parts on the black market, poachers will kill every one they can find. If the animals are worth the most as a tourist attraction, then hunting of all kinds won't be allowed.

It's money. Period.

Free-roaming animals may bring in tourist dollars, but if that does not offset the crop, livestock and other damage created by the free-roaming critters, they will be killed. 

Your call. Your wallet. You decide.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Where for art thou rights?

This one covers a lot of different ground. 

http://qz.com/767163/naruto-monkey-selfie-peta/

At issue is this monkey and whether or not he holds the copyright to the images. The author of this Quartz piece is "a law professor at the University of Denver Sturm College of Law. He is an expert in constitutional law and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School." He also believes animals have rights.

A Constitution expert (as many people claim the current POTUS is) believes animals have rights. This scares me immensely. It scares me more than the gun grabbers. Yes huh.

Afore we get any further, let's get this clear. There is a gulf of distance between "rights" and "welfare." I happen to be bang up against animal welfare. Don't be cruel. Don't mistreat 'em. Abuse animals, and I say we rub you down with a cheese grater and roll you in salt on second offense. First offense, a good caning suffices. Hunting is not abuse, unless the same rule is applied to animals. (I 'splain, keep reading).

Rights goes (go?) much further. Rights requires the entity having the rights to be able to understand right from wrong, make decisions based on right and wrong and know that actions have consequences, even if those consequences are delayed. Self-awareness figures heavily into this. Reason is the other major part.

ASIDE - Someone is gonna bring up people with diminished mental capacity. I cover this in a moment.

So what about all this and animals? SCIENCE! once said "no way hoser boy!" In the continuing pursuit of determining how little we actually know, SCIENCE! now says "Uh yeah. Well, we've got this evidence..."

Some critters are self-aware. http://www.world-of-lucid-dreaming.com/10-animals-with-self-awareness.html

Reason? http://www.livescience.com/22178-parrots-reason-three-year-olds.html
https://brocku.ca/MeadProject/Morgan/Morgan_1903/Morgan_1903_16.html

Here's a great way to put this into perspective. Are animals altruistic to other animals, especially other species? Other species is the key here. Doing it for your own family group or species doesn't fit my definition of altruistic (see people of diminshed capacity). That's self-preservation.
https://www.theguardian.com/science/2015/jan/26/rationing-ravens-merciful-monkeys-can-animals-be-altruistic
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/2016/08/humpback-whales-save-animals-killer-whales-explained/
http://www.livescience.com/19987-altruism-animals-varies-based-environment.html

Animals certainly have emotion. Recent events at Sea World shows the orcas may be able to resent their confinement. Yow.

Talk about making muddy waters even more murky!

But do animals have rights?

This Quartz author and parasite of the human condition (my affectionate term for lawyers) says yes. He writes a decision for the monkey will "...pave the way for future litigation that will afford non-human animals the fundamental rights they deserve." This scares me massively, as I stated above. He scares me too.

Here's why. The other side of having rights is understanding consequences for affecting another's rights. As humans, we execute people for murder. We jail people for rape. We detain, fine and restrict a person's rights for other offenses.

If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions.


Try these: http://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-29237276

Remember, animals also kill each other for food. Cats come to mind. Cats must eat meat because they do not have the ability to make a protein from the food they eat. Obligate predator,, Humans and most other omnivores can. But do cats have to kill? Could they eat animals which die naturally? Carrion eaters do and are pretty successful at it. If some carnivores can make do with naturally dead critters, then every carnivore should be held to this standard.

A lot of people told me the guy who killed that collared lion in Africa committed murder. When the lion killed a warthog, was that murder? If lions have rights, then I say yes.

Someone is going to say I am being totally ridiculous. "Animals don't think that way," someone will say. Then explain the above altruism and the ability to reason and self-awareness. Explain an animal's thought process.

"Baker, you are an idiot. You won't understand."

Either I don't and probably lack the ability to understand (likely) or I understand a lot more than my critics (equally likely). Take your pick.


Bottom line. If animals have rights, then they must be held accountable for their actions. When squirrels are charged with murder for eating baby birds, then I'm willing to talk about animal rights.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Aiming to offend - caution, contains profanity

It is impossible to not cause offense. Impossible.

No matter what you do, someone will be offended. 30+ years as a word slinger have taught me that I can write "a black cat crossed the road" and someone will call me a racist.

Sticks and stones may break my bones but whips and chwoops.

Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words cannot harm me. Harm. Not hurt. I see a real difference there.

You may disagree. Tellya whut monkeybutt,

You write 10+ books, contribute to 40-something history books, edit & publish a series of history books, produce a dozen or so books for other people, edit book manuscripts and have 10,000+ articles (and counting) published around the world, be physically attacked for what you write, be threatened repeatedly with lawsuits for what you write AND survive an assassination attempt (or be killed by an assassin) for what you write THEN you can come talk to me about words and hurt and harm.

I generally object to using profanity in public settings and in places where kids happen to be, but today I do not care. Some things must be said. If it causes offense, then offense needs to be caused. This world is not fair and does not care that you suffer butthurt. Get over it. Move along.

I ask, is it fair for you to lash out because of your butthurt? Is it fair for you to offend others because you were offended? If the offense was incidental, who is really at fault?

#HumanUp

Had one person, who was offended, tell me it is not the intent that matters, but the result. Monkeybutt, you're right when you are dealing with things that cause actual measurable harm. Butthurt is not a measurable harm by my standards. YMMV. Yes, tort does allow for butthurt. I can agree with that ONLY when there is measurable other damage.

Understand this world will not conform to your expectations and you have two basic choices:

Live with it.

Exit stage whatever comes next.

#HumanUp

You do have the right to express your butthurt. I will support your right to whine with everything that is within me. I will also laugh about it.

Why today's rant? I login to FB, the source of all butthurt in the world, and one of me buds has posted this.

"I am tired of trying to figure out just what the hell is going to offend people and then trying to avoid posting that shit. It's too much work. Maybe, MAYBE if I had a complete list of what's going to offend everyone...
It was an image of Elmer Fudd, a cartoon I identify with, shooting an idiotic female cartoon who was taking a selfie of herself doing that godawfully stupid duckface pose. It was an obvious play on the Elmer/Bugs/Daffy rabbit season/duck season storyline.
Judging by the 15 or so private convos that were aimed my way, this image is offensive.
I am fucking lost here. I grew up with those cartoons. They're what led to my nickname and interest in opera. But all I'm hearing is "gun violence against women isn't cool." Well no shit!
*sigh*
I need a nap..."

Not telling you who posted it as I don't have permission to reprint. However, as a journalist and in the interest of telling news, current topics and journalist commentary, I am sharing it. This is copacetic under copyright law. Further, I invoke the same First Amendment rights to reprint the offending toon.

Those taking offense saw this as violence against women. Lemme state categorically - Violence against humans is flat wrong. Period. However, those taking offense at this toon need to take a chill pill. Those taking offense will, I can guarantee this, laugh their collective ass off at things other people find offensive. 

I can find plenty of other things far more offensive. I shan't include them. Yet. – Bugger it. Here's one that offends me so much ...


The picture is not offensive. What it represents drives me into an incoherent rage. If the cartoon offends you and but what this child went through does not offend you, your priorities are seriously f'd up. If you support bombing children (past presidents, current POTUS, Trump & Clinton do), please never speak to me again.

Anyway, the people who are offended by the cartoon...

It is absolutely NOT cool for them to be offended, but entirely appropriate for them to find humor in something that offends others. Hypocrite much?

Just for the record, me bud who posted this is quite possibly the most gentle, forgiving and wonderful person I've ever met who had an IQ over 100. Well, he and Grandma are in a dead heat for that title. He goes well out of his way to avoid causing offense, but admits he can't do it anymore. He will read this. To him I say - You do you. Maybe those who suffer extreme butthurt need to be excised like a festering boil.


"To criticise a person for their race is manifestly irrational and ridiculous but to criticise their religion - that is a right. That is a freedom," he said.
"The freedom to criticise ideas - any ideas even if they are sincerely held beliefs - is one of the fundamental freedoms of society.
"And the law which attempts to say you can criticise or ridicule ideas as long as they are not religious ideas is a very peculiar law indeed.
"It all points to the promotion of the idea that there should be a right not to be offended. But in my view the right to offend is far more important than any right not to be offended.
"The right to ridicule is far more important to society than any right not to be ridiculed because one in my view represents openness - and the other represents oppression."

No doubt this post is going to offend people. Excellent. If you are offended, please send me your name so I can mark it off my list. It is my goal to reach out and offend every person on the planet. (This goal does have some arcane rules, which I will not explain here.) If you'd care to tell me how you are offended, I will be glad to laugh at that as well.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

One size fits all


Artie is gone. At least from this life.

I met Artie years ago when the HandiMart didn't have gas tanks. He asked me to come take a picture of the huge holes in the ground. Michael and Courtney were barely knee high.

That began a friendship that lasted for years.

Art Eld, the Voice of the Rebels. A DamnYankee for sure. But one of the good ones. A yankee is someone from north of the Mason Dixon Line. A DamnYankee is one who comes to the South and stays. Artie even admitted to be a DamnYankee and loved to joke about it. He loved to joke about his accent, about himself.

Artie loved his kids, his grandkids and of course sports. He loved the Rebels and really enjoyed being in the press box to call the games. But if you knew Artie, you knew that.

If you did not know Artie, then you did not know a truly fine man. You did not know a man who put his community first. You did not know a man who worked hard to make things better for other people. You did not know a man with a booming voice, a massive smile and a firm handshake. You did not know a man who was an immediate friend to everyone until he was given cause to be otherwise.

You don't know that your world was a little less bright for not knowing Artie Eld.

You don't know that our world, here in this little community, is a little less bright today.

Artie is gone from this realm of existence. What's left goes into one-size-fits-all container. That's makes me even more sad.

How can one simple box hold everything that Artie Eld was? How can it really reflect who Artie was and the impact he had on so many people? How can that be fair?

How can the hole left in so many lives be filled now?

We shall, as Artie insisted, continue. But it just won't be the same.

Got ghosts?

At the recent free ghost hunt tour at the Jail Museum in Ashburn, a picture was knocked off a display cabinet.

Here's the video. https://www.facebook.com/Jessie1983/videos/10208717686932886/.

The top of the pix is not visible in this clip. Could someone have knocked it off? Yes. But the nearest person was a long arm stretch away from the photo. I'm not seeing evidence in the torso and the shirt that the person's arm was moving. I could be wrong.

Here's a still taken from the vid.



The shadow does have an odd angle. Is that an arm shadow?

I can't tell.

Like a lot of video of the "things that go bump in the night" there's just enough that's not quite in frame to give full proof in either direction, at least for me. It is enough for many to say that the paranormal does exist. Others say there's too much missing or other ways in which this picture could have gone flying.

There's a telling point. It did not slip. It was struck with enough force to make it clear the display case, not just fall off.

Me? I dunno.

Here's a story about the museum.

If you'd like to tour the old jail during the day, please visit the Chamber of Commerce across the street and they'll hustle up a guide for you. $6 adults. Kids and students less. If you'd like a ghost tour led by experts, please contact Jeffery Vaughan. Ghost hunts run by Jeffery are $35 a person and go from about 8 p.m. to 2-4 a.m.

If you are part of an estbalished paranormal group and want to do your own investigation, contact me. Donations accepted, publicity requested.

Friday, August 19, 2016

They can hold back time

As the late Austin Saxon wrote, God has not made a perfect basketball referee. He hasn't had enough time.

Being a ref is tough. Very tough. You get abuse from all quarters. You are expected to watch every player on the field  all the time. You are expected to be completely impartial.

Refs are also human.

That sentence, just above, stopped me cold. This blog started as a rant on referees (and I will do that), but still.

#HumanUp.

I sit here writing this blog exhausted from too little sleep. A part of this lack of sleep was due to a Thursday night high school football game. I got home at 12:20 a.m. and was in bed around 1 a.m., back up at 6 a.m. to head to work.

The game was entirely too long. I am not certain how many penalties were thrown on my community's team, but I will also not be surprised if it set a new record. It seemed like every other play drew a flag. Several major plays were called back.

I've seen bad calls. I watched one bad call in Florida hand a victory to the opposition. The video of that game was used in Florida to teach referees what NOT to do.

Sitting on the sidelines muttering invectives, I wondered about calling Moody AFB and asking for a bombing run of yellow bandanas over the stadium to help the refs out. I seriously wondered if the players were actually breaking that many rules. Some I saw. Legit. Some I did not see and so cannot comment.

What bothered me more than the massive number of penalties was the constant delays. The refs were stopping the clock way too often and way too much and for way too long.

Bad calls are one thing. Good calls are one thing. Stopping the clock, like those refs did in Hugh Mills Stadium, no. It was a school night. Kids got home after midnight. That is inexcusable and I put the bulk of the fault on the refs because they kept stopping the clock! For the record, I have long objected to weekday high school sports games when the players get home after 10 p.m.

Being a ref is a hard job and I salute the men and women who are willing to do this. But after events like Thursday night, it's hard to support them 100 percent.

Monday, August 15, 2016

Ready. Aim. Poot.

Some years agone, I published a guest column in the newspaper I run. Me bud Ang wrote it. It was about raising boys. She used the word "poot."

Poot.

One reader was so upset by this word, she called my boss and raised hell for a while. End result, Ang was not allowed to write any more columns.

W. T. F.

Kids cartoons use the word poot. Most evening sitcoms use words a WHOLE lot more harsh. I'm standing out on a limb here (a limb big enough to park a truck on) when I say this woman who complained is a Baptist. Possibly a Methodist. Regardless, I'm willing to walk further out on the limb and say this woman has a KJV Bible in her possession.

1 Kings 16:11 - And it came to pass, when he began to reign, as soon as he sat on his throne, that he slew all the house of Baasha: he left him not one that pisseth against a wall, neither of his kinsfolks, nor of his friends.

She was mad enough to try to get me fired over the word "poot" but "pisseth against a wall" wouldn't cause her even a minor heart palpitation. Why? In the Bible of course!

Poot.

Had another reader call last year and vent hellfire and brimstone on me over a picture. The high school cheerleaders, for Breast Cancer Awareness, made banners. A published pix had the words "Save the TaTas."

Really? Yes, really.

Poot & TaTas then!

In this vein of offense, I am reading Lewis Grizzard's book, "I Haven't Understood Anything Since 1962 and other nekkid truths." When he wrote it, the late Lewis knew it would offend people. He wrote as much in the book. He wrote that several times. He also said he didn't care.

If Grizzard tried to publish this book today, he'd be more hated that Clinton and Trump combined.

It's making me laugh out loud nearly every page. One, maybe two other books have managed to do this. Some people would demand the book be burned.

Here's the truth, as explained by Rowan "Mr. Bean" and "Black Adder" Atkinson himself. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/law-and-order/9616750/Rowan-Atkinson-we-must-be-allowed-to-insult-each-other.html

Indeed, we absolutely MUST be allowed to offend each other. Or, at least try to. (I'm certainly trying massively hard to offend every person on the planet, but some people are making it damn near impossible).

Here's why we must be allowed to create offense: 30+ years in journalism have taught me that no matter what you or I say, someone is going to be offended. I can call a cat black and someone will say I'm being racist. Some people simply look for reasons and ways to be offended.

If we are not allowed to offend, we have no free speech.

And frankly, not having freedom of speech offends me more than you can imagine.

If that offends you, please send me your name so I can mark you off my list.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Deconstruction



One of my longtime friends posted this.

Let's take a look at this line by line. Some of this may not apply to you.

Electricity: Yes, it is a monopoly regulated by the feds, state and local. This same monopoly prohibits people from generating their own power in far too many places. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-no-solar-20140810-story.html.

Water: Flint, MI., comes to mind. There's lots more. As a reporter, I've covered plenty of municipalties with water problems. http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/09/us/regulatory-gaps-leave-unsafe-lead-levels-in-water-nationwide.html

TV: Federal Communications Commission regulation of free speech, which is the First Amendment. George's list greatly expanded from his original seven but here ya go: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kyBH5oNQOS0

Satellites: Well, yeah, government did a lot here. But this too is shifting. http://www.sia.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/Mktg15-SSIR-2015-FINAL-Compressed.pdf

USDA & Food Inspection: <snort> http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/meat/evaluating/supremebeef.html. Ok, argue that the fed agencies responsible for food inspection are blocked by the courts. The court system is an arm of the government. http://foodsafety.news21.com/2011/safety/inspection/. Spend some time with "food inspectors" and reach your own conclusions.

FDA: FDA approves bad drugs. http://prescriptiondrugs.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=005528. FDA blocks life-saving drugs. http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/PublicHealthFocus/ucm421168.htmhttp://www.lifeextension.com/magazine/2010/11/FDA-Delay-of-One-Drug-Causes-Lost-Life-Years/Page-01 Most new drugs are developed by private industry. http://csdd.tufts.edu/files/uploads/PubPrivPaper2015.pdf

Time: Time is regulated by Congress. Amazing! Astounding! Can we get Congress to regulate gravity next?

Highway Safety Admin: Well yeah. If you want to sell a car in the US you must meet the federal regulations. Help yourself to the regshttp://www.nhtsa.gov/cars/rules/import/FMVSS/. While we're on this subject, ever heard of Right to Repair? The same gummint that lays all the regs on car makers also prohibits you from doing some work on your car. http://ifixit.org/right.

Road building: Dunno about you, but around here the roads are built by private companies. http://www.dot.ga.gov/PS/Business/Contractors. Yeah, tax dollars pay for it, the work is still done by private companies. In my county if a developer puts in a road, it must be brought to DOT paving standards before it can be deeded to the county or one of the cities.

Government regulated fuel: http://www.fuel-testers.com/list_e10_engine_damage.html http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/hybrid-electric/a6244/e15-gasoline-damage-engine/

Money: http://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/legal-tender.asp. "There is, however, no Federal statute mandating that a private business, a person or an organization must accept currency or coins as for payment for goods and/or services." https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/faqs/Currency/Pages/legal-tender.aspx. Bitcoin anyone?

USPS: Talk to the National Newspaper Association about the Post Office. Talk to the Mayor of Sycamore about the Post Office. http://www.latimes.com/business/hiltzik/la-fi-mh-postal-service-s-problems-20151001-column.html. The PO pays $1,856  a month for a building in my county that would rent for $400 a month on the open market. https://about.usps.com/who-we-are/foia/leased-facilities/report.htm

Public schools: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/07/public-money-private-school_n_3721250.htmlhttp://www.southerneducation.org/Our-Strategies/Research-and-Publications/Publications/Georgia%E2%80%99s-Tax-Dollars-Help-Finance-Private-Schools.aspxhttp://oklahomawatch.org/2016/04/17/a-small-but-growing-diversion-of-public-funds-to-private-schools/

Building codes: This includes flood maps. S. Carolina, some years back, lowered the flood zone on the Augusta River to allow home construction on the river's banks. A state legislature took a vote and lowered the flood zone. http://www.coastalreview.org/2016/08/15920/.  Enforcement is also an issue: http://www.eesi.org/papers/view/the-value-and-impact-of-building-codes. I can provide only anecdotal information from four states on the rampant corruption in building inspections. And some newspaper stories. My opinion is corruption and sheer lack of enforcement is worse in building codes than anything else. Was not aware fire marshals had to inspect a home. New one on me.

Burglaries: https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2010/crime-in-the-u.s.-2010/property-crime/burglarymain?utm_campaign=buffer&utm_content=buffer517d4&utm_medium=social&utm_source=plus.google.comhttps://www.quora.com/What-are-the-best-deterrents-to-potential-burglars. As the survivor of an assassination attempt I tell you LEO advised me to get a gun and a dog.

Internet: Yep. http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/who-invented-the-internet

Overall efficiency: Government can be efficient, when it has to compete. http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2015/03/when-government-competes-against-the-private-sector-everybody-wins/387460/ http://www.forbes.com/sites/jwebb/2015/11/30/dont-just-blame-the-government-private-companies-also-struggle-with-it-technologies/#160bca001ebdhttp://www.huffingtonpost.com/reese-schonfeld/is-the-private-sector-mor_b_2839566.html. Annnnnd https://hbr.org/1991/11/does-privatization-serve-the-public-interest

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Some questions that will be totally ignored

Help me out here.

Take this statement:

If the only reason you do good things is because you are afraid of going to hell, you are not really a good person.

I can accept that. If the only reason you do anything good is to avoid being punished, well yeah, you are not good person. You are a bad person held in check by threats of violence against your person.

Take a slightly different look at that axiom.

If the only reason you do good things is because someone is holding a gun to your head, then you are not a good person.

Pretty much identical, yes?

No.

The first axiom sort of supposes a supernatural being who will pass judgment on humans when we exit this life.

The second posits Person B forces Person A to do good things. A very real threat. If Person A does not do good things, Person B is going to deliver Person A to the afterlife.

If you hold a gun to someone's head to make them do good things, you are not a good person.

Well, maybe you are a good person by your definition. May your definition of good and moral behavior means forcing people to do something against their will.

Does it make a difference if two people are holding guns? Three? A dozen? 10,000? A million?

Where is the breaking point?

I am truly confused. I have close friends who have no problem slinging the first axiom around like it is a scythe. But bring up axiom No. 2 with real life examples and they are not so eager to start a harvest. After the examples, bring up Point 3 and all hell breaks loose with tangents exploding faster than a ton of Tannerite on a redneck 4th of July.

Let's make this personal. If you hold a gun to my head to make me do good things, what does that say about you?

I am genuinely curious.

Monday, August 8, 2016

You want Dr. Moreau's Island?

Because this is how you get Dr. Moreau's Island.

Or, has it already happened?

For those who wonder who Dr. Moreau is.

Should we allow mixing of genetic material? In the interest of preserving some dignity here, I won't go into interspecies relationships with one side being human.

The kind of mixing taking place here is done in labs under controlled conditions. If this goes through, the created whatever won't make it to maturity. Maybe. The NIH proposed guidelines call for destruction at 14 days.

This story is not getting a lot of traction with the public. It is covered, pretty well, by the media so complaints that the story is being buried are nonsense.

I suspect the reason the public is not paying attention is because this is a complicated issue, it is done in a lab and the public at large is more concerned with who the Karcrashians are presently bonking. Should one of TV's first family decide to swing in another tree entirely, maybe that would get some attention.

This is a major matter. This is as important as North Korea's nukes, who will be reviled by the nation for the next four years, Russia, the $400 million bribe the POTUS just paid out and a bunch of other things. It is as important as gene splicing to create RoundUp-immune pigweed. Maybe moreso.

Add this. China is already doing it.

The metaphorical cat is out of the bag. It is running loose. I predict it won't be long until CatWoman is a reality and not some sexy woman dressed in leather or vinyl.

Then what? I'm not sure I can wrap my brain around it.

In the Island of Dr. Moreau, the mad scientist du jour was kicked out of everywhere on the planet. Mr. Wells' novel envisioned a kind of utopia where such research had to be done out of sight, out of mind.

This reality says, t'ain't so. China has already proven it will do whatever it wants to regardless of international pressure. The US government has a long history of ignoring the law and pressing ahead with often vile experiments.

Technology, once discovered, is going to be used. If history teaches us anything, that technology will be used for what I have to call evil.

Sunday, August 7, 2016

Things I wonder about

SCIENCE! tells us there are now 5 states of matter. The usual suspects:

solid, liquid, gas, and plasma

Now, SCIENCE! has come up with yet another state of matter, the "quantum spin liquid."

I seriously doubt that I'm the only person who believes SCIENCE! is missing a few entries in the "States of Matter" entry in Wikipedia.

Here are my top contenders.

E=MC2. If this is true, the matter exists in another state, a state of energy. In my mind this goes a long way to explaining "potential" energy. I have long viewed "potential" energy as a crock of fertilizer that SCIENCE! made up to explain away something the scientists can't otherwise explain.

Neutron star. I suppose this qualifies as a solid, but does it really? From what SCIENCE! says, it is not matter as we understand it.

Black Hole. We now know (coughcough) that things can escape a black hole. But what about the stuff that does not. What happens to it? What state is the matter in a black hole?

Light. Light is a wave and a particle. Light also does a lot more stuff that boggles science. If it is a particle, then it is a substance. Being a substance, what state of matter is it?