The Gross National Debt

Friday, June 26, 2015

A dark side of the SCOTUS opinion

The Supreme Court's decision declaring that two consenting adults can marry each other, regardless of their chromosomal status is something I both cheer and fear.

Cheer because it is none of government's business what two or more consenting adults do to and with each other. Marriage should be none of government's business. Have said that for years and gonna keep saying it.

However, SCOTUS has repeatedly ruled that government has a vested interest in what two or more consenting adults do with each other. This makes me want to build a fortified bunker.

Me bud TC offered this observation, "Sadly, many think this is a victory. Now that it's precedent that government can determine very personal, private circumstances, you can be assured they will again. Next time, though, it may not be so trendy."

Big Brother is definitely watching.

Rebel fired back with, "Sorry TC but this is a victory. The government was already doing that by defining marriage as between a man and a woman. Equal treatment for all is not trendy, it's the right."
Big Brother has been watching for a long time.

In case you missed, I see them as both being correct. That bothers me.

This decision is an unwarranted, unnecessary, unneeded & etc. intrusion into the rights as outlined in the Declaration of Independence. I realize the Declaration does not have the same force of law as the Constitution, but the Constitution is based on the Declaration.

"We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness."

Why does one adult need government permission to spend time with and share with another adult?

That is exactly, no ambiguity and no dissembling involved, what a marriage license is.

TC is right. If government has the right to license and govern what we do with another consenting adult, then more oversight is on the way. If you do not think a license is government dictating what you can and cannot do, governing, then you are sadly mistaken.

Some people are asking what is my opinion on the decision. Simple. I object to the whole idea of marriage licenses. What two or more consenting adults do to and with each other is none of my business, none of your business (unless you are part of that group) and absolutely beyond question none of government's business.

I realize that won't satisfy everyone's question. So here ya go.

You wanna be married to someone? You need someone to officiate the ceremony? Call me. I'll be delighted to perform a marriage ceremony for all involved. I'm headed to Canada in spring to perform a marriage and have been asked to do the ceremony, probably in Tennessee, for MacT's two moms. Waiting on them to set a date & time.

Does that explain my view?

I also hugely object to "equal treatment for everybody," as Rebel posted, but that's another post for another day.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Musing on Ralph Ellison

In high school, Margaret Traylor suggested I read The Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison.

I did. Was not impressed.

MT was surprised. She was convinced the book would resonate heavily with me. At the time, owing probably to my being an invincible teenager, it did not. I expected a science fiction novel, not a commentary on society.

More than three decades later, it does resonate. I don't remember a lot of the books I read in high school, but The Invisible Man has stuck with me. Mr. Ellison's unnamed narrator (as I remember him anyway) speaks to me now as never before.

The events of the past week and bit more have drawn me back to Mr. Ellison's work. Plato and Socrates are also knocking hard at my door with King Solomon standing behind them urging me to hurry up and open the door.

Ambrose Bierce, Samuel Clements, Voltaire, Kurt Vonnegut, Jonathan Swift, Robin Williams and a few other writers are not demanding entrance, but are standing by smirking. A few current writing buds, none of whom you know (I will still not identify them because they are yet living) – never mind. 

Plenty of people have weighed in on a couple of subjects this week and given me an incredible amount to think on. Truly I tell you, I WIN! Any time someone makes me think, the victory goes to me. (Any time I can get someone to think, THEY WIN!)

At the same time, I have been dismissed out of hand and subsequently ignored. I've been called an intolerant racist bigoted idiot more full of feces than a constipated blue whale and certainly bound for perdition.

That hurts, a hell of a lot, because it reminds me that I have treated other people the exact same way.

That hurts, because that is not the person I want to be.

That hurts, because some of the people doing this previously called on me to help. I was there for them. Now, I'm less than nothing. Mr. Ellison, I feel your pain. In case you don't wonder, if they call, I'll be there for 'em again. Invisible men can do things visible men can't.

I must tell the humoristas sniggering in the corner to take a hike. Not gonna walk that path. (If you don't get this, I ain't explaining it any further.) I need to open the door to the others.
Most importantly, I need these dismissive people in my life. No snark intended. I need them because they will remind me of what I could easily become. They serve as a reference point, a lighthouse warning me of reefs and rocks I should steer clear of. They remind me that just because I vehemently disagree with someone does not mean I cannot find something in them to respect. I must look harder.

I need them because this world does not need another Invisible Man.

If you are one of those who sees fit to consign me to Mr. Elllison's invisibility, thank you. I'm going to find the other people you've treated this way and the people I've treated this way. You'll never know I'm doing it.

When, not if, someone treats you the same way, I'll come looking for you and welcome you into our group.

You are not the next Inivisble Man. I see you even if no one else will admit to seeing you.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

G'head. Make My Day - Part I

As noted previously I am a proud Son of the South. I fly the Stars & Bars and proclaim my disdain for the overreaching federal government and its attempts to run everyone’s life.

In addition to that, I am a student of Plato and Socrates. A pretty poor student, but I’m trying to get better.

So lemme speak to the Stars & Bars Flag flap.

Some people say the flag needs to be discarded into the landfill of history. Forget it. Erase the memory of it from human kind.

Some people say it’s history and belongs in a museum. Don’t forget, but don’t celebrate either.

Some people say fly it proudly and remember the people who died trying to shed an oppressive federal government.

To all people, no matter their opinion, I say, “Read the history books. A lot of ‘em.”

Now let me speak to the people who are offended by the flag.

What makes your opinion better than someone else’s?

What gives you the right to determine my beliefs?

What gives you the right to decide for me?

Let’s get specific. What gives you the right to decide what flag I can fly, specifically the Stars & Bars?

“Because I find it offensive.”


“Good! Baker, you have lost your mind worse than ever before.”

Good. Glad you think so.

“You are an idiot.”

Don’t believe I have ever denied that. In fact, I take pride in you calling me an idiot.


When you are reduced to insulting me, have to rely on emotion instead of rational thought, then I win.

“No, you don’t.”

Not going to argue that point.

If you are offended by the flag, then what should we do with it?

“Get rid of it.”

Because it offends you?

“Yes. And it offends a lot of other people.”

Should we get rid of everything people find offensive? The US flag offends a LOT of people.

“What? They don’t matter.”

Really? The opinions of U.S.-born citizens don’t matter? What about things that offend me? Can we get rid of them too?

“Like what?”

How about your opinion? What if it offends me? Can we get rid of it?

“No. I have the right to free speech.”

But I don’t?

“I never said that.”

Yes, you did. You said get rid of things that offend you. If what I say offends you, then you say I should not be allowed to say it. If your right to not be offended must be protected, then my right to not be offended must be protected.

“You are an idiot. Besides which, that’s not what I meant.”

Another value-judgment and opinion. Is your opinion more valid than mine? Furthermore, I believe that’s exactly what you meant. If you intend to ban something you find offensive, should I be allowed to do the same?

“Wait a minute…”

Part II is below

G'head. Make My Day - Part II

The problem with opinion is everyone can have one. The BIG problem with opinion is that it can become law when someone (or a group of people) who is strong enough decides to force his opinion on others.

You may disagree. Then you tell me what a law is.

What about things that are offensive which are government-sponsored and government-endorsed? Do we ban those?

“Yeah. Government has no business supporting anything that’s offensive.”

What about government opinions? Should government be allowed to have an opinion? What if that opinion is offensive? What do we do then?

“Government doesn’t have opinions.”

Ever heard of the U.S. Supreme Court? It’s rulings are always called opinions.

“Talking about law, Baker.”

SCOTUS rulings are law. If they weren’t we’d still have segregated schools. SCOTUS has overturned voter-approved term limits.


Furthermore, any government law is an opinion anyway.

“No, it’s not.”

Yes it is. A law is nothing more than an opinion of the ruler (this can be a group of people) which can be enforced by that ruler. Law is nothing more than the strongest person’s (or group’s) opinion backed with enough lethal force to eliminate anyone who disagrees.

“No, it’s not.”

Then you explain it. What is a law?

As I just said, a law is nothing more than an opinion, backed up by sufficient force to make people adhere to the opinion. Without that force, the law is only an opinion and has no weight. The ability to force others to abide by that opinion is what makes it a law.

Might makes right, in other words. Speed limits are an opinion. A government opinion that says “this is as fast as you should go.” Break that law and get caught and government applies force. It takes your money and your liberty against your will. You can argue your opinion in court. Might makes right. Capital punishment is the ultimate expression of opinion in society. Putting someone to death is saying “You are a bad person and do not deserve to live.”

“You’re wrong.”

Then please, explain it to me. 

One picture, not 'shopped.

HK Edgerton. Former NAACP president and current Southern heritage supporter and proponent of flying the Stars & Bars.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Lies, damned lies, and statistics

Perhaps you have seen the Violence Prevention Center By Making Sure Criminals Can Kill You To Death Because You Can't Defend Yourself (or somesuch name) recently released study that shows innocent people approximately the population of New Zealand are killed for every criminal killed in a self-defense shooting.

I may exaggerate slightly. But no moreso than the VPC and it's studies. VPC reports are issued irregardless (that's for me bud Millie Puckett) of the facts.

The study seeks to show that for every self-defense death, several more innocent people are killed. This study absolutely ain't not never shown (der yaggo, Puckett) how many times a firearm is used in self-defense and that instance is never reported.

I speak from experience, several times over. Many times over if you count the times I have seen firearms used to present a show of force to deter criminal activity from happening to begin with.

Enough. MA has said it well. Her swiped commentary below and one more non sequitur at the very end from me.

As you have pointed out, Ben, you don't have to kill someone to defend yourself. As a matter of fact, it rarely happens. Most people defend themselves by chasing off the criminal, wounding them, or holding them until the police get there.

Even if you assume that every time people defend themselves, someone gets killed, how many people were being defended vs the one that got killed? Did we save 3 lives, 4, 10?

Likely every one of the people being defended were just as innocent as those innocent people that died. At least in some cases, they were likely more innocent, since at least some of those "innocent" people were idiots playing with guns that they should never have touched.

When someone decides to point a gun to their head and pull the trigger as a joke, only to find out that it wasn't as "unloaded" as they believed it to be, I don't consider them innocent.

I also don't count suicides as innocent victims. If they were competent and of age at the time, they have every right to kill themselves if they want to, and if they really want to, taking away their access to guns isn't going to stop them. I, of all people, know that.

The fact that I will likely never have to use my gun for self defense doesn't mean that giving it up would save a single one of those innocent people. What will prevent innocent people from dying from my gun is handling it and controlling it responsibly. I can only be responsible for my gun. Don't get me wrong. I do believe that there should be reasonable restrictions on gun ownership. But this is a stupid and meaningless statistic.

And just for me bud Puckett, alot is a word because I used it here and I am a professional writer.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Just gimme those Stars & Bars

Born in the back woods
Raised by a bear
Double set of jaw teeth
Triple coat of hair

Beer gut belly

Cast iron bod
Born in the South
I'm a Rebel by God!

(Hush, Doc. I don't care that it's verse.)

Fire this up while you read the rest of this blog. MOLLY HATCHET!

Some of the ideals the Confederacy fought for, I wholly support, mainly the concept of a much more limited federal government. Some of the goals the South fought for in the War of Northern Aggression, I cannot support, mainly the idea that certain people are less human because of their appearance

I also fly the Stars & Bars. Proudly. If this offends you, please let me know so I can mark your name off my list.

To me the St. Andrew's Cross in blue and bordered with white and 13 stars all rampant on red is a matter or honor, pride, heritage, preservation, an acknowledgement of the sacrifices of men, women, children of many different groups. It speaks of a willingness to die for what is important. It is a rallying point of resistance against those who seek to impose their will on me and those who think like me.

To me, it represents freedom.

To some people is an icon of racism, repression, hate and slavery.

The ideals of the Confederacy, which I support are supported also in part by the Sons of Confederate Veterans. I don't back everything the SCV supports.

As of right now, nine states in the Union have SCV state license plates. Here y'ar:
The SCV petitioned Texas to do the same thing. Texas said no. The SCV sued. The matter went to the Supreme Court which handed down a split 5-4 decision which said Texas can say no. Nina Totenberg may be surprised that Clarence Thomas voted with the majority, but I ain't.

On the other side of the South, S. Carolina still waves the Stars & Bars over the capital and capitol. It was not long ago, to me anyway, that my home state of Georgia was embroiled in a controversy over having the Stars & Bars on the state flag. This issue was a major factor in the governor's race and led in part to that governor at the time losing his bid for another term in office.

Some people still buy and fly the Georgia State flag with a Confederate emblem on it. I am one. I do not have a current State of Georgia flag.

This is me. My decision. No one forced it on me.

Brace yourself.

All the above is why I side with SCOTUS's decision this week and why I say the Stars & Bars needs to come down from the state flag pole in Columbia, S.C.

The SCV is a political organization, It may argue otherwise. This one sentence puts the SCV squarely into the political realm, "The SCV rejects any group whose actions tarnish or distort the image of the Confederate soldier or his reasons for fighting."

The War and the repercussions are still a major political issue in this nation. The 13 Southern States and a few other HIGHLY select locations around the nation are subject to the provisions of the 1965 Civil Rights Act which no other state or region must follow.

S. Carolina flies this flag political reasons. There is no other reason to have any kind of banner on a state flag pole. The state is thumbing its collective nose at the federal government. As much as I appreciate the gesture, it is inappropriate for the state government to give voice to this kind of political speech.

Texas almost did it. The other nine states, and S. Carolina twice are putting an official seal of approval on a political ideology, a personal philosophy, a way of life. This is wrong. Government has no business in telling people how they should live (yes, Paul, there are some limits, but I beg off here for the sake of brevity).

If we allow the Stars & Bars to have an official stamp of approval, we must also allow this same seal to be applied to every other political ideology, way of life and personal philosophy. Shall we also hang Buddhist prayer flags? Do we mount Jainism idols on the capitol steps? Do we carve a swastika on the doors to the General Assembly hall? Must we plant flowers in the flower beds to make a rainbow of blooms? Does every meal served in the cafeteria have to have bacon? (I support this idea). Do the Masons get to have the compass, square and eye as an official stamp for approving documents?

English has no single word to describe the concept I'm after here. Rebel suggested we use term daffodils. I'm good with that.

Before you ask for daffodils, make absolutely sure you're willing to receive them in turn, because you will.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

All in favor, fire!

I firmly believe my friends ask me questions just to see what wild tangent I'll go tearing off down. They get a political treatise to their reply and then compliment my work. I get more suspicious. Still, they continue to ask.

So for this one, thank or blame PH. He asked I comment on this article.

My take, after a brief thought that may need even more thought application of cranial energy is multifaceted.

In the case of Loving v. Virginia, government has no business being involved in marriage of two or more adults. Said that for decades. No one's business but theirs. Move along, Benjamin.

This article poses the question, should we vote on civil rights?

This falls short of the real question.

What is a civil right?

Voting? Ayup. But with that "ayup" comes other questions: At what age do we allow someone to vote? Do we allow someone with an IQ of 35 to vote? The person is alive, aware, can mark up a piece of paper, but has no understanding of the voting process, no understanding of why a mark is being made on a piece of paper. Do we allow someone with advanced Alzheimer's to vote?

Is religion a civil right? On this one, my firm and solid opinion is no. If your religion involves the sacrifice of live chickens, then by all means do so, but you do not have the right to do this on the courthouse steps. This is a simple matter of hygiene. Chicken blood is extremely caustic, for blood anyway, and the birds carry salmonella. I can give you other instances.

Let's run this back to the OP question.

The unqualified answer is yes. We do this each and every time we go to the ballot box. It's done every time government does anything, absolutely anything. The Constitution, on which this whole "civil rights" question hangs was voted on. Amendments were voted on. Even SCOTUS takes votes, referred to as a decision, when ruling on a case. SCOTUS votes to overturn previous decisions.

Amendments may overturn SCOTUS decisions. In at least one case, a later Amendment overturned an Amendment.

We must vote on civil rights. Must. We absolutely HAVE to decide which rights are allowed in what measure. If we do not, then, the result becomes Somalia. In this case, rule of the strongest is the law and the weakest are dead. 

My anarchist friends argue that Somalia is not anarchy, but rather a failed state. They cannot explain the difference without engaging in tautology.

Terry Pratchett's Discworld had the city-state of Anhk-Morpork ruled by The Patrician. He operated under the one man, one vote rule. He was the man and he had the vote. Wanna live there? Some nations in this world do operate that way.

One more thought. This very nation was formed by voting. The voting was done in part with lead balls fired from muskets, knives across throats and ropes around necks, but make no mistake this was voting. It was an army of volunteers, each man electing to join the cause. Each man deciding. This is voting at its primal and basic level, one man deciding what he believes in is worth dying for. That is the ultimate civil right. Later, more votes were cast in actual ballot boxes.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Better than no comment

Wanna make a point today about your right "keep yo damfool mouf shut."

Rachel Dolezal has got this concept firmly secured to whatever holdfast she is using.

Her just-released statement to the Spokane branch of the NAACP says this about the controversy swirling around her: "I have waited in deference while others expressed their feelings, beliefs, confusions and even conclusions - absent the full story."

That's it. That's all she has to say about the matter. Everything else in her statement deals with human rights & etc.

Lemme refresh yer memory: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

That's the 1st Amendment. There are other parts of the Constitution, the 5th Amendment in particular, that preserve your right to Not. Say. A. Thing.

Under the law, no one can force you to say anything (grand juries excepted). People are gonna try. People are gonna put words in your mouth. That won't make those words your. People will take what you say and twist it, distort it, pervert it, change it and it will eventually get so turned around that it's the exact opposite of what you said, meant, intended and etc.

Let 'em.

Say nothing.

Don't even say "no comment." Just look at them, Walk away if you want to.

Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent. Proverbs 17:28

Ehhhh, not really. People are going to accuse you of having something to hide. Let 'em accuse. Without anything to back 'em up, they are just warming the room by blowing hot air. Of course, some people will believe the blowhards. Let 'em.

Do not feed the fire.

Serious criminals will tell you when the police show up, don't say anything. Nervous blabber will get you into more trouble than you can get out of.

"A closed mouth gathers no foot."

If you MUST speak, then do so as Dolezal said. Get a written statement out. Make sure it is posted publicly and completely. Let others do as they will. When more questions come, point to the statement. Point as in indicate a direction with your finger. Say, nothing. Hand out printed copies of the original statement.

If you still feel the need to say more, find a print journalist you trust. Find a journalist who will print your entire comments, unedited, unchanged and complete. Talk to him (her) and get your side out that way. Do NOT expect a broadcast journalist to give you a complete and impartial airing. Larry King at CNN used to do that, but he's retired. There are a few more broadcast journalists who'll let you have your uninterrupted and unmodified say (Phil Streetman at Channel 51 is one), but they are more rare than an honest politician. Print, for all the complaints, is solid, permanent and trusted (yes huh, just look at what's in your news feed.)

If you decide to speak to journalists, throw this requirement: You get 100 percent full right of approval of the entire story before it airs. No approval, no story. The only place you're gonna get this is on live broadcast journalism and print journalism.

Your best bet remains, keeping your mouth shut.

Remember, this too comes with consequences. Dolezal resigned from her post at the NAACP. Likely her college teaching post is under scrutiny too. This probably was going to happen even if she said nothing. But this way, she has a lot more control over what does happen and how.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

GROK THIS! The shoes are never an exact fit

Walk a mile in someone's shoes.

If you're good enough, they won't notice until yer at least a mile away and then you have their shoes! ARHARHAR! Ok, joking aside.

The idea is that after you walk a mile in someone's shoes, you have learned about them. As a metaphor, it's a pretty good one.

Pretty good ain't perfect.

Short of a Vulcan Mind Meld or becoming Rogue or Leech, you can never tell exactly what another person is thinking. You cannot know why they do something. You cannot comprehend their motives. You cannot grok them.

You can get close.

Close counts in horseshoes, grenades and nuclear war.

How close you can get depends on what you do. Just for example, let's take garbage collector. Pretty much everyone knows what a garbage man does. He picks up trash and hauls it off.

But what else? How about flat tires? How about sliding into the ditch on a clay road after a monsoon rain? How about getting in and out of the truck all day to get roll out cans that aren't by the road side? How about getting out, walking around back of the house to get a can for a person who physically can't get the cart to the curb? How about a jammed mechanism that has to be cleared before making the next pick up?

How about dealing with the refuse of thousands of people on a weekly basis? How about dealing, daily, with the stench of the garbage?

How about dealing with pissed off people who got their cart to the curb after the truck had gone by?

You may be very close to someone who has a garbage collection route. If so, you have a much better idea of what the garbageman goes through than the rest of us. Howsomeever, you don't, you can't know everything. You can't grok.

(Personally, I think using the excuse "Well, I'm married to - living with sibling/child/parent of - related to..." is a major cop-out. if you wish to offer their opinion, statement, observation, etc, do so. Just because you have a close relationship with that person doesn't mean you grok them.)

You may run a garbage route. If so, you very well may grok garbage collection. Only you can say that. However, you do not, can not know what another garbage man is going through. You do not know his entire life, his thoughts, dreams, desires, fantasies. You cannot be him. You can't grok him.

So the next time you decide to criticize someone for something they did, remember, You. Can. Not. Grok. Him.

You can second-guess, armchair quarterback and throw on a set of 20/20 Hindsight Glasses. You can criticize from your self-appointed post as the High and Mighty Arbiter of Garbage Collection and All Things Solid Waste. You can also be an Ass. You can also have both titles at the same time. Canya grok that? Maybe.

You can't grok another person.

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

You must do this, but you must not do this!

For purposes of this blog "this" as it appears in quotes is legal, ethical, responsible and all the rest in that line.

Imagine your boss walks in and demands you do "this." No worries.

Imagine your boss quite literally turns around in front of you. He does a physical 360. Nothing unusual, no worries.

Now, imagine after this brief spin, your boss demands that you do NOT do "this." He also demands you do "this" at the same time.

We gots worries. We gots worries on top of worries on top of worries about "this."

"This" is the position local law enforcement across the state of Georgia is in.

The General Assembly, as it is known in this state (it should be called The Generally Asses), has passed laws establishing speeding limits across the state. No worries.

Now this same legislative body in its infinite pure damn stupidity is ordering local law enforcement to NOT ENFORCE SPEED LIMITS!


Fair warning. I am trying to avoid profanity, but it is hard when referring to that... group of Neanderthals in Atlanta.

Anyway, The Generally Asses passed a law limiting how many speeding tickets local law enforcement may write.

See? We have a law that the Thin Blue Line is supposed to enforce but cannot enforce. See the problem with "this?"

The... entities in Atlanta got an earful from people who got speeding tickets. So, the... yeah, well, them things in the Big Peach passed a law saying "speeding fines may not account for more than 40 percent of a police department’s budget." The new law lowered that percentage even more.

In other words, law enforcement may NOT enforce the law.

"Baker, police departments are not revenue generators. Police are created to promote safety, not raise money."

Yep. In case you think speeding is not a safety problem, check here, here, here, here, here and if you ain't got the idea by now, I can't help you. I can explain the problem to you, but I cannot understand it for you.

This article and many like it are driving (HAR! see what I did there?) the demand to make police stop writing speeding tickets. However, that AJC article also provides a VERY limited view. The Augusta Chronicle took a much closer look and Hey! Hey! Hey! they found Super Speeders (who are not affected by the state-ordered maximum quota law) are the real source of all that money.

My community is regularly singled out as one of the worst speed traps in the state. We do get a lot of money off the Interstate. The. Interstate. We get it from people who feel like they can do more than 90 miles per hour. Super speeders. 

I like this. Keeps my taxes down.

If you are one of those people who are upset about the speeding tickets and the fines and so forth, I have two solutions for you:


2) DON'T  %$^^fifl‡°  SPEED!

Simple as that. You don't speed, you don't get a speeding ticket. You wanna break the law, you pay the consequences if you get caught and personally think that is entirely appropriate.

Meantime, if you get a speeding ticket in my community, feel free to call my office and complain. I promise to laugh at you so hard my ribs ache. I'll even trade insults and profanities with you, if that's how you want to play it. I'll also thank you for keeping my taxes down.

Monday, June 8, 2015

It's a word monger's life

I 'scribe to Grammarly, an online outfit that runs a spell and grammar check on stuff I write. I do this because in my freelance writing, I don't have someone to run behind me and proofread. I also have Ginger as a grammar-check overlay on Chrome. It's free (and often annoying so I may be getting rid of it soon). Grammarly is free too (C&P into their website for the check), but I am a believer that if you use a service regularly, you should pay for it, so I ponied up the spare change to get it.

So, sprise, sprise, I get a weekly report from 'em in my email today. Lemme stress this is a WEEKLY report and it covers about half what I wrote last week. About half. It ain't perfect. It missed some errors, but it also caught some I missed.


9765 words written. You were more active than 94% of Grammarly users.
(If you figure that's about half, I knocked down nearly 20,000 words last week. So, write much do you? Factor that and I probably was Grammarly's most prolific writer last week. If not, I want to find that writer and break his fingers.)

146 mistakes made. You were more accurate than 89% of Grammarly users.
 (Analysis below. Actual mistakes 1/4 of this amount)


1173 unique words used. Your vocabulary was more dynamic than 93% of Grammarly users.
(Aha. I need to bump UP my unique word use. Time to take DOWN that 7 percent!)

Here are the top 3 words you overused in your writing last week.
(Not valid. These "overused" words are SEO keywords and mandated by the people who are buying this freelance work.)




1 Passive voice. 66 mistakes
 (I call BS. Passive voice being a mistake is nonsense. Knocks out nearly half the mistakes right there.)

2 Missing article. 41 mistakes
(Somewhat valid. It tried to insert articles where none could be used or were needed. F'r'instance "short sale" is a stand alone phrase that Grammarly sometimes insists needs an article.)

3 Unclear antecedent. 31 mistakes
(Ehhh, about half right. In context with the preceding 'graph, the unclear antecedents were clear. Still, I adjusted most of 'em.)

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Equal rights, just say no

Lemme make this clear from the start. There is a great divide between equal opportunity and equal result. I'm focusing tonight on equal opportunity.

Just say no.

A person much wiser than I said, Just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Lemme throw some ideas at you on this "equal opportunity" thing.

My home state, Georgia, is pretty f'danging easy when it comes to getting a state-approved permit to tool down the highway. Admittedly, it's been a while since I had to get mine done. But the only medical issue I can remember is about eyesight. "Canya see the little numbers and letters? Cool. Look here and don't blink and that'll be $35 please." I have a commercial driver's license with some add-on permits, so mine costs more.

So based on this and based on equal rights, can a person, call him Fred, who has several epileptic seizures a day get a driver's license for a private vehicle? Appears so. Of course, a court order can come down taking away Fred's right to hold a driver's license.

Well, f'dang. We're going to take away a right Fred has because of something he has zero control over.

"Baker, Fred is a danger to others on the road if he drives."

Hang on! We're talking about Fred. Don't be draggin' other people into this. Stick to Fred. No. Stick. To. Fred. We're looking at the rights of an individual.

"Well, Fred could have a wreck and kill himself."

So could you.

"But it's more likely Fred will do that."

So, Fred needs to be protected from himself by taking away one of his rights? Where are you gonna draw the line? How many other rights does Fred have to give up because his brain is literally wired a bit wrong in places?

Fred can't get a commercial license, cause there's a medical exam involved. If the sawbones says no, you don't get the license.

In a thread on my FB page, Rebel brought up the issue of his nephew and my son Jesse. He asked, point blank, if I felt Jesse should not have equal rights.


Lemme make this clear - Jesse should not have equal rights, and by that I mean equal opportunity, the same as the rest of us.

Jesse might be able to pass the driver's license test. Someone would have to read the questions to him. This is allowed under Georgia law. Given some time and lots of time behind the wheel, he could probably pass the driver's part of the test.

He does not need to be behind the wheel.

Some other things? M'kay.

He doesn't need to serve on a jury.

He's got no business holding elected office (albeit he might do better than our current crop of elected reprehensibles at that).

He should not be allowed to use an arc or mig welder, an acetylene torch and so forth.

Jesse's cognitive ability is such that he should not be allowed to do a bunch of things, even if it is his right.

Let's put this on physical ability too. He should not be allowed to play contact sports. He has a medical condition with the vertebrae of his neck. Get hit hard enough, broken neck. He knows this, because we've told him often enough, but I wonder if he truly grasps the concept. I doubt it.

BUT! As my Libertarian and libertarian friends (and some liarberals and cantservatives are now stomping their feet in indignation) say, adults should be allowed to engage in risky behavior. Yep. I agree.

IF, and on that tiny word can hang a universe of possibilities, if they do so of their own volition. Even Jesse. Should he suddenly develop the urge to try out for the Semi-Pro football team one town south of here and it is 100 percent his own decision...

But we run right back to his cognitive abilities. Jesse doesn't process the same way people without his disability can. To 'splain, he can be too easily led to do things against his best interest and he won't realize it. Could he be convinced to try out for the football team? I think so. Is it illegal to try to convince him to try out for the football team?

Nope. What we have here is a serious case of gray in a world that demands black & white.

Lemme get hypothetical on you, or as Hawgin' says, "Great, He's fixin' to make something up." Jesse is charged with a criminal offense, the Constitution guarantees the right to trial by a jury of his peers. Yes, the Supreme Court has ruled that people to have to be mentally competent enough to stand trial. So much for equal rights!

Does a person need the ability to understand a right in order to exercise it? If you demand equal rights and equal opportunity, you may not vacillate. Yes or no. No maybes here, no fence sitting. Waffling is something done at the Wapple House (as we call it) out by the Interstate. If you demand absolutes, then absolutes you shall be served.

If the person is not competent, they can be confined, against their will anyway. Bye bye equal rights.

Going back to Jesse, I am as certain as I can be of anything that, given enough time, Jesse could be convinced to commit rather heinous deeds. He wouldn't understand the ramifications. Should he still be held accountable for this? Equality and equal rights says, if he does it, he pays the consequences. You can say that the mentally incompetent do not have to stand trial, but I remind you (again) they can still be effectively incarcerated without trial. I also remind you, this is not equal rights (equal opportunity) in the absolute sense of the word.

It can be argued that this actually protects the rights of such an individual.

Depriving a person of the ability to make his own choices protects his rights? Really? How novel a concept.

"Baker, we're not depriving him of that right."

Really? Could have fooled me. But hey, I have been wrong before and could be wrong here.

Certainly, there is something in this Saturday night post I'm missing. I feel it. Serious, missing something important. I can't figure out what it is and it is annoying me. Not sure if it will cement hat I'm saying here or wreck it. Help me out, please.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

If the truth hurts

I sit in my kitchen, supper cooking a few feet away. Covered in sweat from my 30-minute daily workout. Within one body length of where I sit are devices men 100 years ago could not imagine and devices that would be familiar 500 years ago and thousands of years ago.

I sit here penning this missive having spent 30 minutes in real exercise while reading The Way of Men.

The stove is cooking vegetables, vegetables I personally did not grow, but vegetables I learned how to grow as I in turn grew up. In the oven is a modern marvel of convenience, farm raised chicken, purchased at a grocery store.

Packed with that chicken is also meat I got right from the source. I walked into the woods. I found an animal. I killed it. I brought it home and prepared it for long term storage, some of which does not require canning or freezing.

I sit here wondering: What would Jack Donovan think of me if we met?

Donovan's book resonates within me. Everything he's said so far, spot on. Everything he writes, it is truth. Everything he references, this is reality.

He makes it very clear. The Way of Men will offend a lot of people.

This book spells it out in clear, simple, precise language.

Many people will deny this. They buck the weight of history. They rebel against the very world that is just around the corner from their neat, packaged, sanitized and pacific world. They deny, vigorously and with unrealized malice aforethought, exactly what happens within walking distance of where they live.

Yeah. This book epitomizes If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

I received my copy from Mike Moore and, per his instructions, when I am done I must pass it on. It will be a sweat-stained copy, which I think Donovan would appreciate.

I will be buying a copy for my personal library and if I can afford it, some other folks will be getting a copy from me.

I paused just now. I read the Wikipedia entry of Mr. Donovan. I leave it to you look it up.

He still speaks truth to me. His words still resonate.

But his opinion of me? If Wiki is correct, his opinion of me continues to matter, but I no longer care about it.

Pursuant to the rules he's outlined in Way, I'm the one he needs to worry about.

If the truth hurts, yer living wrong.

You keep using that word

I do not think it means what you think it means.

Really. Inigo said it best, albeit he wasn't referring to today's Word du Jour.

Today's vocabulary word is Courage. Say it with me. Courage. I knew you could.

What does this word mean? As with Every. Single. Word. On. The. Planet. everyone who uses it will have a slightly different definition.

To a 5 year old, "courage" means being able to walk into a dark room and hunt around for the light switch.

To a person dying of an incurable disease, it means looking death in the eye and saying, "bring it."

To a paramedic, it means running into a vehicle that is on fire, grabbing the person inside the car and pulling them out.

To you, it may mean something else. Here, I will give you examples to define what it means to me.

The classical definition of courage can be found here. I like what Omar has to say. Here's another. I like Nelson's quote.

Let me suggest to you that all the people so hepped about Noah Galloway should ask Mr. Galloway what his definition of courage is. I suspect his definition and yours are not the same.

I tell you right now, This. Is. Not. Courage. No sir.

Before someone rips my head off (not that this information will stop them), I salute Veteran Galloway. His achievements are beyond description. This man is a hero, a hero in part because of his drive to compete in athletic events. He is a hero because he stood in my place, in your place, in the place of that guy hiding in the bushes in your back yard. He is a hero because he went to war. Indeed, during his time in the service, he exemplified courage.

Veteran Galloway deserves respect, honor, admiration, accolades, laurels and ... you get the idea.

But saying overcoming and powering through the loss of limbs to become an elite athlete is courage? Hang on to that thought

How about, determination. Drive. Ability. Stick-To-Itiveness. Strength. Character. Zeal. Keep going.

Courage? Mmmm, keep thinking.

Courage is made up of all those things Veteran Galloway embodies. Indeed, in his push to become an elite athlete, he did display courage. He had to. No doubt it helped him to excel.

To say he is the poster boy for courage as displayed by athletes?


Point blank – Courage is overcoming fear. Ayn Rand said the worst possible thing you can do to someone is refusing to admit they exist. You want to know fear? Be abandoned by absolutely everyone. Be rejected by absolutely everyone. There's you some fear. Why is the fear of public speaking ranked higher than a fear of death? Rejection and ridicule.

Veteran Galloway did have to overcome some fear as he worked to become an athlete. What he did NOT have to overcome is the ridicule of a nation, the jeers of the people who once supported him. Galloway did not have to worry about his family being vilified. He didn't have to worry about how his family would support him. He might have suspected there'd be some rejection, but he could not know it for certain.

If you bothered to follow those links, you now know what I am talking about. Whether or not you support Caitlyn/Bruce Jenner, one thing is undeniable. This human being had to overcome a suite of fears that most of us will never have to experience. The Arthur Ashe award is for athletes. Jenner was/is a professional athlete. Veteran Galloway also is, now, but didn't plan to be.

The question is, which took MORE courage? Standing up and making a profound, irreversible change in personal and public identity despite knowing excoriating attacks would follow or regaining what was lost?

Both people made a change. Both people serve as an inspiration to others like them. Only one of the two is going to be attacked for the rest of that person's life, and beyond, for the change that was made.

One person displayed more courage. You should be able to get my opinion on who has more courage. YMMV.

While I'm here, do you really wanna see courage? REAL courage? OK, here you go.

Wanna see more? Visit your fire department. Visit your local law enforcement department. Visit the local ambulance/EMS office.

I know Veteran Galloway will point to these guys and say "There's real courage." I hope Jenner will do the same.

One last thing. The meme is also wrong.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Damnation, Ruination and certified letters

Checked the mail at the driveway box Sunday after church.

A note in the box. A certified letter at the Post Office.

The note did not say whom the letter was from. I knew anyway. The IRS.

Because I expected this, it did not ruin the rest of my Sunday. Being the recipient of all kinds of hate messages, delivered certified mail, in person and at least once with 145 grain copper-jacketed lead, I have grown used to this kind of thing. Sometimes it bothers me.

I suggest that any time someone sends you a message in flying lead, it will bother you.

But this time I expected the letter, so #NoWorries.

At lunch, I walked over to the Post Office and signed for the letter. Yep. IRS. Left the Post Office and headed a block east to Lee Cleghorn's office.

Lee said the letter was what we were expecting, no worries, it was finally confirmed from the IRS that the taxes WE say are owed are OFFICIALLY owed.


The IRS addressed the letter, which makes it official, to a person who cannot exist as stated on the address lines.


My name was on the letter. As expected. No worries.

However, this official document gives me a title and official responsibilities which the IRS says I cannot have.

Either I can, or I can't, except in the world of quantum physics, the spectrum of light and dealing with the federal agency, sometimes known as The Infernal Revenue Service.

I have proof. I have letters from the IRS that contradict each other. How I'd LOVE to haul this one into court, but I won't because I don't have the money and I can't make the IRS pay my attorney bills.

I have yet another series of letters which says I can't exist, according to the IRS. They also say I owe taxes under state of non-existence, which I paid. They sent the money back in the form of a US Treasury check. This means they admit I exist, admit I owed taxes, admit I paid taxes and admit I don't owe those taxes.