The Gross National Debt

Thursday, October 29, 2015

What, you egg! Young fry of treachery!

Me bud Paul had an interesting post today on FB. I share it here without his permission, but expecting he will not mind, especially since I link to some of his clan's products for sale.

Ennyhoo, the subject du jour is insults. Here's Paul's take:

Humans are really stupid about insults. Have you noticed how often those that are not scatological are based on sex? Specifically, on feminizing the recipient in an attempt to belittle them.
Screw you! You Suck!
While crude and crass and not very creative, the entire point is that one is implying the other is weaker, to be subjugated, somehow broken and inferior because this is possible, even if willing. This is not cool anymore.
Notice that we have culturally adopted these offensive platitudes so habitually that we now use them against women, implying either threat or that the woman is morally inferior because she might be willing to do these things.
Again, archaic and foolish. Even today in a world where almost no one really expects their spouses to be macho-manly or obedient and virginal, I see both men and women use these terms in the same paragraph with comments that imply attraction and flirting.
It's colloquial, informal, even humorous...but seriously?
On the other hand, I mentioned my wife's soap in a post, and friends were conversing about it. One told the other "her soap is the tits".
Now THAT I understand. That's a compliment I can support - no pun intended.

He's right in part. That correct part is the origins of such insults. He's not right in that it is not cool any more. It may not be cool in his world, but Paul's world is not all of reality. 
For the record, I'm with Paul's implied opinion. Using female-based insults to attack someone is wrong because it degrades the distaff. Come on. Get creative.
However, the bigger reality says it is cool, it is normal and it is the way it should. Our entertainment industry objectifies women in a way hard core porn rarely manages. Need proof? Here's a totally safe for work videoIn much of hardcore porn, women are in control, at least according to women in the industry who are interviewed
The same could be argued about this beard video, music videos et al. I won't dispute that.
Just saying our entertainment industry and even our elected leaders relegate women to being a bit less than men.
Furthermore, women are actively participating in their own reduction to being considered less than a man.
Maybe it's not a majority of our society. But the most vocal segments of our society do say it is entirely fine to consider women a bit less than men. This makes it cool, whether we like it or not. Paul even comes close to saying as much. "...see both men and women use these terms in the same paragraph with comments that imply attraction and flirting."
I appreciate a well-chosen insult. I particularly like G-rated insults that deliver with serious gravitas. Recently had a gent insult me on FB. I was amused so I fired back and called him a "suppurating feces-crusted boil on an elephant's anus." Yeah, it has the scat reference as Paul will point out. Nonetheless I think it's rather clever. It also doesn't denigrate women.
(I also appreciate properly timed profanity, which SCIENCE! says is good for us.)
If you are interested in getting some classic, witty, intelligent and, well, simply amazing insults for personal use, Have at thee!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Right this way to see the great egress!

Dunno how true it is, but a famous sideshow barker once encouraged crowds to leave his tent by telling them to go see the great egress.

If you don't know what the egress is, I shan't tell you.

Side shows are famous for giving the customer a lot less than what he paid for. I remember going to one many years ago and a carny was sitting in a box with a few red-knee tarantulas. Yeah.

Today's side show is online, especially with "reviews."

Amazon is suing people who write fake reviews through a freelancer site called Fiverr. Fiverr, reportedly, is cooperating.

Full disclaimer: I have a Fiverr account where I sell work and buy press release distribution. I do write reviews; posted one this morning to Ebay for a Lem Meat cuber I bought. Have a few up on Yelp as well for places I have visited.

Here's the problem.

The First Amendment. This protects free speech. So, you can write any kind of review you want to about any place, product or service. You can post it.

It doesn't matter if you actually used the service, visited the place or bought the product. The First Amendment gives you the right to sound off.

But. In this case, people are buying "faked" reviews on Fiverr. Commercial speech, advertising, does not have the same First Amendment protections as non-commercial speech.

The question is: Are these Fiverr reviews advertising or non-commercial speech?

You say, "Well, they got paid to write it. It has to be commercial speech."

I get paid to write stories for the newspaper I run. This is clearly not commercial speech. I also write press releases announcing all kinds of things. I get paid for this. This is also clearly not commercial speech.

Is writing a review commercial speech? No. Is writing a faked review and getting paid for it commercial speech? I say no.

In the past when people have gone after commercial speech and won, they went after the company making false or misleading claims.

These Fiverr writers are hired to write. Free speech. They hand over ALL rights of the work to the company purchasing the work. They have no control over how the work is used.

Add to this, Amazon will have to prove, review by review, that each of these writers actually wrote a fake review. How will Amazon prove these people never used the things reviewed?

And, if they are going after faked reviews, then what about the Unicorn Meat reviews?

You could say that is libel, but libel standards do not apply to groups of more than 25 people.

The courts have already ruled that review websites are free speech. Places like Yelp don't have to follow the same rules of commercial speech, an appellate court ruled.

Amazon has a serious fight ahead, one I think it will lose.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Discrimination YES! but only on your terms

Simple enough question-

Should businesses be allowed to discriminate? In other words, should a business owner be allowed to pick and choose customers? Should a business be allowed to say "Nope, not doing business with you."?

Liarberals scream "NO!" at the top of their lungs. At least until it's discrimination they support.

Cantservatives scream "YES!" at least until they are the ones being discriminated against.

The truth is, both of these idiotological camps fully and completely support letting business pick and choose their customers. In fact, they absolutely demand it. They take their belief so far it's law.

Don't believe me? Of course you don't. So, let's take a look at the reality.

1) Journalism. I start here because this is what I know best. The press absolutely can discriminate. That's in the First Amendment. The media under no obligation to publish anything. A lot of media outlets strive to be fair, but many throw parity in a fire and celebrate as it burns.

Newspapers are free to publish, or not publish, same-gender wedding announcements. Don't like it? Start your own newspaper.

2) Firearms. Another area I know something about because I have a federal firearms license (FFL). According to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (which should be a convenience store), an FFL holder can refuse to sell a gun or ammo to anyone. No explanation needed.  Don't like it? Get yer own FFL.

3) Want to buy a house by taking out a loan? Better have credit good enough to qualify. That is absolutely discrimination. The Federal government even sets a minimum score. For that matter, your credit has to be good enough to qualify for any kind of legal loan. Don't like it? Open a loan company.

4) Wanna buy a beer at the juke joint down the road? Better be 21. Never mind the fact you can sign up to defend this country and die in a foreign land, vote, smoke, buy a house (with good credit), etc etc etc. Don't like it? Wait until you're 21.

5) Wanna run for president? Be at least 35 and be a natural US citizen. One of your parents can be a US citizen and you can be born anywhere on the planet and that's OK. (Yanno, the Obama birthers suddenly shut up when Ted Cruz announced his run for POTUS). Don't like it? Run for POTUS.

6) Wanna buy gasoline? Some states require a licensed driver be at the pump when gas is dispensed. Some states also allow people under 16 years old to drive golf carts on public roads. No license needed, but topping the tank, better have someone with a license. Some gasoline companies also have this as policy. Don't like it? Open your own gas station.

7) Wanna buy a pouch of Levi Garrett (my preferred chew when I partook)? Be at least 18. Don't like it? Grow yer own.

8) Need vehicle insurance? The older you get and the better the driver you are, the lower your rate will be. Don't like it? Open your own insurance company.

9) Wanna rent a place to live? Weeeeelllllll, depending on what and where you wanna rent, you MUST have an income no more than pre-set amount. Make more? Tough. You can't live there. Some places you must be at least 55 or older to rent an apartment. Don't like it? Become a landlord.

10) Wanna rent a car? Better have a credit card. Better be 25. No card, no wheels. Don't like it? Open yer own car rental agency.

11) Wanna drive a self-propelled mode of transportation down a public road. Go ahead. But in some cases you must have a state-approved license. In other cases, anyone can do it, even someone 7 years old. Discrimination. If a 7 YOA can drive something worth $25K down a public road and it's OK, why can't he drive something worth $6K down the same road? Don't like it? Stay off the road.

12) Visit your local probate court, or whoever handles wills when someone in your community dies. Once a person dies, a will is probated. This means the will becomes de facto law. Wills are the most common law in this nation. Wills also discriminate. Don't like it? Well, make sure your will doesn't discriminate. Don't know what you will do about the millions and millions of other wills out there.

13) Some cities have policies that require a certain percentage of all public contracts go to minorities. So does the federal gubmint. Don't like it? Become a minority or stop being a minority.

14) Wanna go to college? Better meet the admissions requirements. If your grades aren't good enough, maybe you can get in because of who your parents are. Maybe if you are poor enough. Don't like it? Open your own college.

I could go on, but if you ain't got the idea by now, I can't help you.

Some people will say "but these laws are to protect people." Really? Protect who and protect them from what? You tell me you are willing to let an 18 YOA with the ink not dry on his diploma pick up a true assault rifle and kill people, but you won't let him have a beer?

You tell me an 23 YOA making $30K a year can't rent an apartment but a person 60 YOA make $55K a year can?

I could go on, but see 2 paragraphs above.

My point is you not only support discrimination, you demand it. You demand it so stridently that you insist it be turned into law.

You want discrimination, but on your terms. That is, according to you, the way it should be. It's right and necessary. Someone else wants discrimination, well now. Does it fit what you believe? Then it is OK. If it doesn't fit your preconceived notions of justice et al, then it is wrong. Don't like it? Then quit trying to force your prejudices and beliefs on other people.

One final thought, what makes you right and that other person wrong?

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Buggin' out

Part of the joy of deer hunting is just sitting and watching nature.

Over the years I've watched red tail hawks sit in the tree above me. Wild turkeys have flown in just a bit before dusk, sounding like the whole forest was crashing down. Lizards have leapt across the blind to nab a spider descending on a thread. And OH! the spiders. Catch 'em by the thread and let 'em go outside. Frogs climb around looking for lunch and trying to avoid being lunch.

Coons, bobcats and foxes have all walked past and under me.  Cardinals have toted off my corn, assisted by rats, mice, dove and various other birds. Mostly cardinals. Plenty of deer too.

Armadillos have come out and met doom. (Yes, we hates them we does my precious, we hates them. Kill all the dammits!)

I'm certain a lot of these critters have looked into the stand wondering what was making such an awful racket. Falling asleep in a deer stand is not a problem. It's a privilege.

Today, a first.

Today, a tiny wasp (well, wasp-shaped) zoomed in one window of the blind and out another. Repeatedly. Dozens of times.

It regularly flew up to me, then zoomed up and down, checking me out. I am not kidding. In one window. Up to me and a zoom from shoulder to foot.

"Hey! Ya big lummox, yer in my chair. Get outta here. I'm giving you to the count of buzz  to leave," he said.

(Me anthropomorphisizing? Were you there listening to this wasp? Didn't think so.)

Then he zoomed out. A few minutes later, he was back. In & out. Finally, he perched on the one of the blind windows.

Using his best Georgia State Trooper voice, he cocked a couple of hundred eyes back and me and said "Aaight. I'm lettin' you go this time, boy. But you better not let me catch you back in my chair." And he disappeared.

I outweighed this tiny insect about a squintillion to one. And this thing was threatening me because I was in his chair.

This is one reason why I so enjoy deer hunting.

Here's another reason. About 5:45 a yearling walked out and accepted my 50 cal. 295 grain invitation to come home with me. Took longer to clean my smokepole than it did to clean the deer.