What Can’t Go On


A friend talking to me yesterday asked “is it me or have most institutions, stores and corporations, most large human organizations, gone stone stupid?”

This was after a conversation that involved the fact that our people, including friends and acquaintances are at war with something pretty much universally right now.  Something that they’d never dream of going to war against, something they didn’t want to fight, but have to, because “mistakes were made.”  Usually mistakes are made by the business or organization and they’re large enough that they’re either existential or very, very expensive if not fought back against.

And the one universal on these things is that they’re STUPID.  I mean, rock bottom, bizarrely stupid.

On the last trips to the grocery store, Dan and I, looking over our receipt at the end, have found big enough errors to justify losing half an hour in the customer service line.  We’re talking $50 to $100 errors on bills that were under $300.  (Yeah, we tend to buy meat for a long time and freeze.  NOT actually gold plated nightingale tongues.)  Errors against us, btw.  In one of those, we had to help the clerk with elementary math in order to get our refund right.  And half the time he was erring in our favor, so it wasn’t exactly, you know, a dodge.

It’s gotten so bad Dan and I joke about not needing to go to the ATM.  Since this company can only give refunds in cash, we’re always flush.

I’ve run into the same thing with online companies and various other things.  Even Amazon the unflappable has pulled a couple of strange shipping orders recently, where I look at the box and go “who? Why?”  Now, half the time, it’s true, I did order the thing, and I’m just suffering a Writer Moment (totally a thing) because my brain is in three worlds at once. (BTW if someone sent me the cat pee remover for tile grout and is reading this, thank you kindly.  I tossed the box before reading the gift receipt, because I assumed I’d ordered it.  It was only later going over my orders that I realized it must have been a gift.)

But the other half the time I got an order supposed to go to someone else across the country, something that never used to happen and now does.  Still very rarely for Amazon, more often for other places.  Startlingly often for more “respected” and older places.

Most of my friends have had run ins with employers in the last few years, and the reasons will startle you: they were doing too much and were too competent.

The charges ranged from “showing off” to “Causing trouble by doing too much.”  All of which boiled down to “You’re making other people look bad.

There is a pull towards mediocrity, as it were, pretty much everywhere, including the very strange (and familiar to me, because it’s Portuguese culture) notion that it’s better to be fast than to be accurate in some tasks.  In retail, and other places that are understaffed, the emphasis is on fast, even if sloppy.  Which is why I suspect we keep getting odd charges on our receipts.  (Mostly sales not ringing as sales.)

Sometimes if you’re efficient, and just keep your head down and work, you get accused of not being a team player.  Not socializing with your workmates is somehow suspicious and causes you to be on the outs.

And of course, in some industries — mine — not being vocally left will cause you all sorts of trouble.  I remember the ex-Baen contractor who came at me on FB at the height of Sad Puppies telling me how much she hated working with me and what a horrible person I was.  I checked.  She did copy editing for Draw One In The Dark.  That was it.  If I remember properly — I was concussed at the time, but I have the email trail — she sent the copyeditted manuscript, I looked over it, and didn’t stet hardly anything, because concussed and didn’t trust myself, and I sent it back.  That was the extent of our interaction.

Also at the time, I was politically in the closet, and the book — as most of you know, and if you don’t it’s free on Amazon and the Baen Free Library — is not even remotely political, though some people have found penumbras and emanations in the Great Sky Dragon.  (Mostly because they’re nuts.  Seriously, guys, the curtains are blue.  Or in this case, the Great Sky Dragon came about because at the time of writing I’d been reading a pile of Chinese mythology.)

However, apparently, just minimal interaction with someone who later turned out not to be hard left caused this woman to burn.  BURN I tell you.

So why are the wheels coming off?  Why is doing well sometimes considered a sin? Why is “social fitting in” more important than doing your job?

Well… there is the fact that no one knows what good is, anymore.  We’ve lost track of what we’re working for.

No, seriously.  What is the aim of civilization?

It used to be, in the age of empires, that everyone knew that: to take over all the world, bring it all to “civilization” and live better.

We used to build big things, like canals and bridges and refineries and large ships because no one doubted that was good.  We used to extinguish illnesses because no one doubted that was good.  Ditto with say, wolves in populated areas.

But at some point — I date it from the end of WWI, and you can sort of see it in books of the time and forward — we decided we weren’t sure that was the good of right thing.

Part of it, and I’ll die of saying this, I swear, was Soviet agit prop, softening the west for take over — note they never bought into this bullshit, even as they propagated it — stuff like extreme ecology and the idea we shouldn’t go to space because we were bad and evil and would just propagate our evil.

And part of it was getting comfortable enough that our crazies weren’t immediately shut down as crazy.  To put it bluntly, we had enough wealth and comfort to let even the crazy be heard.

So these days if you aim at something big, something that objectively improves the prosperity of all mankind, like say asteroid mining, you’ll get a chorus of “but what if we’re despoiling????”  And these people have enough pour that nothing much gets done, and very little of importance.

This process goes down, all the way down the line to our stores, our garages, our schools (where students can all do “too well” per CACS in her comment yesterday.)  It’s imbeciles and nincompoops all the way down.

People desperate for some kind of standard, be it in the arts or commerce, often fasten on to the latest politically correct directive as being “good”.  Hence the crazy stuff with companies dropping NRA discounts because they were twitter mobbed.  (Even though the NRA had nothing to do with the shooting, is not the only gun owner organization, and most gun owners don’t belong to ANY organization.  And even though twitter mobs are not known for their calm, sanity or for that matter large numbers.)

The problem is that “progressivism” is not an objective good.  Sure, it might be in a world where history came with an arrow and we knew how “the future would judge us.”  But even there, for it to be an objective good it would have to work.  But like it’s parent, Marxism, it just doesn’t.  It just adds a layer of malice to the incompetence tarnishing the world.

(EDITED to add, because I’m recovering from severe stomach flu and forgot to put it in: We saw this writ large with the Broward Cowards letting children get killed and then jumping on the politically correct gun control bandwagon to cover their (objectively) crime and dereliction of trust.)

The thing is, if a house divided against itself cannot stand, a house penetrated by derp and held down by insane people who have no objective standards and don’t even know what “good” is; people who don’t know if they are for humans or against them; people floundering in the clutches of an ideology that changes day to day to designate a new victim class, crumbles slowly and bizarrely.

In many places, not just my own field, it sounds like the wheels are coming off.  Things still trundle forward, kind of, but there is an accumulation of errors and faults that is starting to gum up everything.

It’s honestly amazing we’ve made it a hundred years or so with this mind set.  If there hadn’t been massive technological improvements, we probably wouldn’t have.  But it got easier to be relatively competent, even as the schools (one of the first taken) turned out less and less competent people.

But what can’t go on, won’t go on.

It’s not like it’s a surprise to any of us, right?

Thing is this won’t devolve into a mad max world, you know, just by stages into closer and closer to a third world nation, till we don’t notice when the inevitable TP shortages hit.

OR we can fight it.  And I don’t mean just going to war with city hall, though some of us are crazy enough to do that (and with their employers, and with retailers and service providers.  I once fought the post office.  Won too.  Let’s face it. Some Huns just like to fight.  I know you’re shocked.)

I mean BUILD.  Under, around, over.  So that when she cuts lose and the weight rests more and more on us, we can carry on.

For some fields that’s impossible, and it’s going to become very difficult, particularly where those fields impact every one.  For others… like mine, which is not terribly essential, we’re already managing.

It’s horrible, but the hope of civilization rests on the shoulders of the Odds, the Goats, the odd man out.

Because when collective madness sets in, our saving grace is that we don’t DO collective well.

When things get weird, the weird go pro.

Be not afraid.




590 thoughts on “What Can’t Go On

  1. BTW if someone sent me the cat pee remover for tile grout and is reading this, thank you kindly. I tossed the box before reading the gift receipt, because I assumed I’d ordered it. It was only later going over my orders that I realized it must have been a gift.

    It probably wouldn’t say who sent it, anyways.

    Even with gift receipts, and actually “merry Christmas from X and Y” type papers SUPPOSEDLY in the boxes, we had a heck of a time figuring out who sent what this Christmas.

    A year or two back we got a really freaky package of tiny, black garbage bags, no indication who bought it….turned out that Father In Law forgot to change a shipping address, and that was for his car. But it spooked us for a good week.

      1. We had to remove all carpets and redoing all the floors when we moved in our present house. The previous owner and her cats had been living in the Charleston area when Hurricane Hugo made landfall there. As a result the cat had an unfortunate habit of peeing anywhere whenever thunder and lighting storms hit.

        1. One of our dogs sleeps in a crate at night. When she was a puppy, I was on a fire department and would get called out at night. She’d pee in the crate when she woke up in the middle of the night, and the habit caught. She’s 13, and it’s a weekly ritual to launder the stinky bedding.

          Fortunately, the younger (11) border collie won’t pee inside, but she’ll wake up everybody at night because reasons.

              1. I did that more than once while welding…in fact if I don’t burn myself I doubt it’ll pass xray (yes, a superstition).

                Then there was that time with flash cotton at a demo but that’s another story (wish I’d volunteered for a later part…not that the flash cotton wasn’t fun but some later stuff was more yummy).

        2. You have my sympathies.
          We learned the previous owner’s female dog had neither been spayed nor housebroken when our male St. Bernard hit puberty.
          It was not happyfuntimes.

          1. Before our current dogs, we adopted two older Italian Greyhounds (13 pounds). Knight felt any vertical surface was an appropriate target, and Mary was a bit casual about pee control. We got the Lab-Aussie and Border Collie as puppies, and did as well as we could, considering the circumstances.

            So far the dogs are OK if we go to town for the day. When I’m going over the mountains for medical followups. (leave 7:30-8AM, return just before 5), $SPOUSE stays home to dogsit.

        3. I do want to thank whoever brought up Nature’s Miracle in the previous thread. That stopped the cat from repeatedly peeing on the mattress (it happened once, and was presumably stopped by the sheets, but it wasn’t until we used the enzyme cleaner that repeat occurrences stopped.)

  2. Random thought: Somebody ought to step up, like the Wool Guild in Florence, and just build the most beautiful, gigantic churches money and human art can produce.

    Why? Because mediocracy reigns when there are no counter examples of people doing daring, beautiful things, and a church building would be wildly counterculture and difficult to ignore. Especially if you stick it someplace people walk by a million times a day. You know, like in the middle of a big city. A big beautiful church is about as public, in the sense of accessible to everybody, as a work of art can be. It stands silently mocking all the crap art.

    Bouguereau had to be denounced and ignored to make room for Picasso; an ancient and beautiful tradition had to be ignored and denigrated so that the cathedrals in LA and SF could be built as monuments to ugly & stupid. This story is Legion in many different area of what used to be art.

    If you’d like, view this as an allegory: we need to build big, beautiful things right out in the open.

    1. While not art or a church, I thought SpaceX launch, re-landing, and sending an old car to Mars a few weeks ago was a thing of beauty.

      1. And some SJW was complaining that space colonization was a sign of eeeeevil white patriarchy. (They were also complaining about launching his old car. I don’t care much for Musk and the Tesla, but it was seriously cool. I once had a motorcycle that deserved to be launched into space.)

      2. That was indeed glorious. And we have more to come.

        But for my own tangent: Another recent shining jewel of artistry is NieR: Automata. The mechanical aspects of the game are honed to a diamond’s edge, and despite the relatively low budget the developers clearly spent their resources exactly where needed. For example: the mere act of running from one side of the world to the other is enjoyable. No. Not because 2B is hot (although those legs…….), but because there are always variations in movement and, um, I don’t fully understand what they did right yet.

        But the real jewel is the story: Automata’s world is drenched in nihilism and endless trauma. Over and over we see characters we love or hate succumb to insanity when they discover that what they value most is irrelevant. Or sacrifice themselves to achieve something they didn’t know was a lie.

        But all of that is to set the stage for the final ending when a character who’s sentience has been increasing throughout the story receives the final order. An order that would condemn what is left of the major characters to non-existence. And finally, for the first time in the story someone looks at their prime directives and says No. What follows after that is one of the finest moments in videogame history, and arguably the history of art in general. Yes, I will go that far.

        I can’t imagine why Gamergate became one of the major counterattacks against the SJWs. /s

        I could rattle on about other games and their relation to art, but I have bored y’all enough.

    2. I’d like to see them in places where they’ll never be surrounded and vanished by skyscrapers. Top of a hill, bend of a river, anywhere they’re unlikely to be built around so heavily as to mar the soaring architecture. (I’m not even a believer, but I still think the great cathedrals are among our finest works.)

      Consider that we puny humans built those fantastic cathedrals (and castles, and other great works) in an era where clever use of muscle was all we had. No power equipment to lug that two-ton stone block a hundred feet overhead; just human ingenuity. Perhaps it’s not coincidental that as heavy equipment began substituting for brains and brawn, the beauty largely went out of the architectural universe.

      1. Chartres cathedral, in France. I drove across France on secondary roads, in the early autumn of 1985, and because the cathedral is built on a low hill in the center of town, and the town is on lower-lying ground by the river, it appeared first, looking as if it were surrounded by harvested fields – nothing else of the town to be seen at a distance. It looked like a stone ship in a golden sea. I’ve looked on googlemaps to see if I can find that road again – because it was such a beautiful image – but no luck.

        1. Refer to your Tom Wolfe on both Modern Art and Architecture. Creating Beauty requires skill and is thus discriminatory. Therefore it is to be discouraged in favor of the works of Jackson Pollack, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, all artists whose contributions can only be validly assessed by credentialed experts who have been fully inoculated against such mundane criteria as skill, talent and compositional aesthetic.

          1. Yep, I am up to date on Wolfe. Before I read “From Bauhaus to Our House” I only knew that I hated modern architecture with the white-hot passion of a thousand burning suns. After I read that, I knew why I hated it.

            1. You might also like the Not So Big House series by architect Sarah Susanka. The first one goes into detail about her having a client who had just had a very large house built and they were basically having to start from scratch because it felt unliveable. As in “more like a bank than a home.” She goes into why certain styles of building work more than others, and also gives a useful set of terms for people looking to describe what they want (instead of what the builder’s pushing.)

              IOW, architecture on a personal scale instead of a public scale. McMansion Hell is also fun for that.

              1. I’ve got the Susanka book as well … sigh. Yes, architecture is one of my interests, strictly as a consumer, though – not as a producer. And McMansion Hell is bookmarked.

              2. Bless you for mentioning McMansion Hell. I’m going to have to tell my architectural drafting students about it.

                1. All this is interesting. The Old Boss evaluated it in terms of wasted space and cost. Later I added maintenance. HS drafting had us looking at floor plans and traffic flow, and things like roofs that pour rain on you when you’re standing on the stoop. My guess is that this is something different than what’s come up here.

                  For instance was the decision on where to place the master bedroom. There was a tendency to separate it from the kids’ rooms for peace and quiet, but that meant you couldn’t hear if something went wrong, and a lot of traffic through central living areas. That was from drafting. Cathedral ceilings in the Great Room could look good, but added to heating and cooling costs, and such. And the older I get, the more I loath stairs.

                  1. Susanka’s contentions are that rooms that people don’t feel comfortable in don’t get used, and are therefore the biggest wastes of space out there. In one of the later books, she brings up Universal Access, which is the concept of basically future-proofing your build by making sure that it’s wheelchair-navigable. (As a counter-example, my house has a step-up entry that immediately steps down into the rest of the house. Utterly unnecessary, and the reason it hasn’t been removed yet is that it would require rebuilding walls and the front entry.) She also talks about why things are welcoming or unwelcoming, and certain human needs (like a place to retreat.)

                    McMansion Hell goes into crazy rooflines a lot, as well as snap-together design elements.

                    Personally, if I were a builder, I would make some plans that were Universal Access, and if it were two floors, there would be a possibility for a master suite setup on the main floor. The population is aging and a lot more people are going to be looking for ease of use.

                    1. House-shopping with a broken leg brought it to my attention that for long-term use, among other things, I did in fact want at minimum one full bath on the ground floor. Whether in preparation for old age, limited-mobility guests, or short-term injury.

                    2. I know, right? I have several friends with permanent mobility impairments, and it bothers me that almost every new build I see seems to be deliberately designed to be a problem. Like the house being several feet higher than the street, and they have a nice sloped sidewalk up to the front door, and then a totally unnecessary front stoop step up. Even a few inches is a wheelchair screen. And then multi-level main floors, just to look cool or something.

          2. I am willing to defend Pollack with two stipulations:

            1. Pollack’s value is to painters and related artists much more than to the general public.
            2. Once Pollack did it there was not point in doing it again.

            I see him very much a parallel to Cage in music and probably because they are contemporaries.

            With that in place this is my defense of Pollack. Contrary to popular belief and many of his successors Pollack did not randomly distribute paint. He spent painstaking hours putting paint exactly where he wanted it by specific methods. Pollack is painterliness without subject; he took the idea of controlling brush strokes, palette knife work, etc to their ultimate end.

            That is something worthwhile for a painter to have done to get other painters to think just as Cage’s odd works (4’33” I’m really looking at you). I find Cage, as a musician, to lead me to new thinking about music. When someone explained painterliness to me and how Pollack embraced it I finally “got” Pollack as much as a non-painter ever will.

    3. Don’t know if it’s beautiful, but it isn’t ugly. There’s a humongous church 10 miles from my house. Things are bigger in TX! Also, despite being a large city DFW is church going.

  3. Lost a great position once. Reason why? I was making my superior look bad. How? By doing what we needed to do and doing it efficiently. Got demoted and assigned to a hell hole. Managed to work my way up to another great position by being competent and efficient and had to give up the job because reasons.
    Far too often I hear complaints from people where they were told in other jobs that they were making the rest of the workers look bad by being too “gung-ho”. Interestingly enough, it seems to come from union shops and the people eventually moved on and became self employed. Think that’s going to be the trend. Doers and getters will be going more and more self employed or finding a business that appreciates their skills and attitudes.

    1. I’ve heard several stories like this, and they are strange to me. One would hope that the subordinate’s great performance would reflect positively on their boss, and this has been my own experience in both directions.

      I was having coffee with a young guy and his mom, who I used to work with. Young guy remarked that his boss (this at a very-well-known company, considered quite elite) had been taking credit for his ideas as having been her own. The mom and I both responded that in our own experience, a manager who could proudly point to the ideas her subordinates had developed would be far better thought of than one who was always saying “I thought of this”…the latter would have been branded as having an “Individual Contributor” mentality and finding her management career growth stifled.

      To the extent this kind of thing is common, I can only conclude that we have a serious problem with management and leadership in American companies.

      1. We DO have a serious problem, but it’s not new. Grabbing credit for your subordinate’s work is a hallmark of second-rate managers.

      2. Here’s the thing about your first paragraph: that’s true, if your manager has a history of improving mediocrity into greatness. If not, if they do have somebody outshining all the rest of their subordinates, they actually look bad.

    2. I’m in that spot right now. I got hired 20 years ago to do tech support and training, started doing technical sales because I could, eventually was put I change of sales, tripled the size of the company in the course of building a nearly bullet proof milking machine for the cash cow.

      Now, the owner/boss is trying to force me out. It would be insane from a business POV, but from a ‘showed him up as a clueless geek’ it makes perfect sense.

      Wonder exactly what kind of company I should start when I’m forced out? Choose your competitors well, as the old saying goes.

      1. building a nearly bullet proof milking machine for the cash cow
        I’m assuming that’s a metaphor. And it’s a great one. 🙂

        1. Thanks. Yea, metaphor. The problem, recognized too late, is that it will keep running long after I’m gone unless someone screws it up somehow.

      2. Depends on what kind of non-compete the boss has you sign, and your estimation of his ability to enforce it.

        1. Not a lawyer. But been in the position of non-compete; this is what I got from a lawyer. Learned (essentially) if employee quits, then (generally) enforceable, with limits. If involuntary severed, then not usually enforceable. But then I live in a state that frowns on non-compete clauses especially for professionals where their profession is their skill.

          Ex. as a programmer & designer I can’t be told I can’t go program or design for someone else or myself, & the tools I used or created can’t be recreated. Heck most the simple process I would have brought to whatever programs code in the first place. The employer may own the specific implementation for a specific application’s code, but not in general.

          Apparently I have a specific noticeable style. Just spent some time chatting with former coworkers (FWIW I’m retired so above no longer is applicable in any shape or form), & after 2 years they, & newer employees who had never met me, can tell my code without checking comment section. I was there for 12 years & a prolific coder, there is a LOT of code. They say they miss me. They say they don’t take my name in vain when changing my code. But they might have been just being nice/polite.

  4. (where students can all do “too well” per CACS in her comment yesterday.)
    May I clarify.  

    As stated, the computer was issued to The Daughter because of her dysgraphia, which meant that in part of her school work she was seriously under-performing, i.e., anything that was written. (She also had a severe speech impediment, so communication with her and for her could be frustrating…)  

    The district’s resources are limited and therefore aid is only given if the student is identified as being unable to perform at grade level.  As the rules were written aid was available until the student was able to perform at grade level.  Since the policies were written to cover a wide range of aids and before the availability of personal computers it probably made sense at the time.  Unfortunately, in this case it was only through the use of the person computer that The Daughter was able to perform at grade level.

    This was a rather remarkable situation in the first place, as The Daughter was in the profoundly gifted program at the time.  It had taken some real hoop jumping on the part of her teacher and the school for us to get her that computer in the first place.  Some people, even in education, do not seem to grasp that being extremely intelligent does not preclude having handicaps or being learning disabled — in fact often come hand in hand. 

    1. Story of my educational life- I was in both the gifted and the Special Learning Disability programs at the same time.

      1. One of the most frustrating things The Spouse and I heard time and again was, “Some kids really need help, but the bright kids will get it anyway.”

      2. Joe, I’ve got one better than that. My school didn’t have a gifted program at the time I was in grade school, and the administration didn’t want to jump me a grade because that might cause “social dislocation.” So they “helped” me instead by putting me in Special Ed. Sigh. Oh well: At least I didn’t have much homework because I was able to get most of it done during my daily hour or two of purgatory . . .

  5. Unrelated rant spurred by the title and my current anthology for a Bradbury Challenge.

    What can’t go on is naming O. Henry prize winners short stories without a point…without an actual story. Sure, the first one was well written and pulled me in then had an utterly pointless ending that resolved nothing and answered nothing. The best I can make of it is the author wanted to parallyl the man the protagonist had been chasing since the opening with the protagonist’s action at the end but if that was the intent it was dumb because it ignores the key difference in that the missing man knew who the protagonist was when he left the note that started the action while the protagonists never knew or found him.

    The one today was a lovely set of memories of the death of a sibling. It was well written and had nice imagery yet after the time to read it my only response was, “And the point of this is?” I mean, if the idea, again my only possible conclusion on reflection, was the narrator’s train ride was her death it was too attenuated and would have been more solid if the woman inviting her to the party in the bar car had at least been given a description resembling her sister.

    These cannot continue to be lauded because they are pointless. O. Henry was the master of the surprise ending which means he actually resolved his stories. Quit giving prizes name after him to stories without a point. At least require they have a conventional ending.

    Rant off.

  6. Most of my friends have had run ins with employers in the last few years, and the reasons will startle you: they were doing too much and were too competent.

    Thanks for this. I thought I was an isolated case. At my current job, I was verbally reprimanded for ‘working too fast’ by getting projects completed faster than management apparently wanted me to– when compared to my last job, I was taking 4-10 times as long as I would have there due to red tape constraints. Most days I have somewhere between a half-dozen and a dozen projects all on hold waiting for another person somewhere.

    At the time I got the warning, I started joking about bringing in an Xbox one day a week to eat up time so that I work slower.

    I just chalked it up to working for government (contractor, not employee) and the usual jokes about government workers never doing any real work. It’s interesting to hear that it’s more endemic than just here. Although I wonder if government employment or union employment (or both) could be the source of the malaise and it’s just spreading out into the world now. Seeing what a lot of the employees around here do and what they earn matches up pretty well with the old Soviet saw of “they pretend to pay us and we pretend to work”.

    1. What you failed to recognize is that the primary purpose of union (and government in particular) jobs is to create more jobs. They are patronage machines and anything interfering with that primary purpose is due t be stamped.

      1. And yet whenever I’ve been a government contractor (vs working in the private sector) I’ve always found that the employees do almost no work while the contractors are the only reason any work gets done at all.

        It’s also interesting that government managers tend to promote incompetent people to get them out of their departments, since they can’t fire them.

        1. I’m an evil government drone and I’m experiencing this first hand with someone in my department. The individual is question is good at the technical aspects of his job…when he wants to be. He’s also this weird combination of narcissist and victim-mentality that makes him exhausting to work with on a regular basis. He got passed to me because he made so many complaints about his last department that he was required by regulation to be moved to a different department by regulation. My alcohol consumption has gone up significantly because of him.

          1. You might try a punching bag, weight lifting, or racket-ball instead of alcohol, if the situation gets any worse. I found racket-ball to be a wonderful stress release in college. A bit like the gals who brought admissions and financial-aid forms to pin to the butts in archery class.*

            *The financial aid people had massively fouled up the federal stuff that year, and we were showing up to register and being informed, “You can’t get your schedule until you pay us $$$$ to $$,$$$ before six this evening.”

            1. Pinning your forms to your butt might get bureaucrats to sign them more quickly. At least if you’re a young, fit co-ed.

            2. I saved my sanity with computer games. Specifically the old ASCII game Angband (this was the early 90’s). After a day of dealing with idiot boss who wanted me to simultaneously enforce policy and avoid upsetting anyone, I’d go home and have my level-40 priest character clear a few levels full of ancient dragons. Once my anger and frustration was burned out I could finally go to bed and get some sleep.

              1. Angband is still in active development and went truly open source about 10 years ago. They tracked down EVERY contributor to the vanilla codebase (instead of variants) and got them to agree to the GPL. Amazing job and example of connectedness of the world tracking down decades worth

                They did a 18 month long refactoring of the codebase a couple years ago cleaning up the spaghetti code and moving as many variables out to text files to make a lot of programming (for variants or new ideas for vanilla) easier for even the casual player since you can do so much with just notepad and no compiler

                Main page at rephial.org and the fairly active forums linked from there.

        2. “And yet whenever I’ve been a government contractor (vs working in the private sector) I’ve always found that the employees do almost no work while the contractors are the only reason any work gets done at all.

          It’s also interesting that government managers tend to promote incompetent people to get them out of their departments, since they can’t fire them.”

          Worked as government contractor providing services to the employee (worked on writing the software they used, smaller departments) usually the clients we worked with (appeared, was never actually in any of their offices) to be understaffed. Ran into all sorts, very good to very unskilled, who took forever to train, especially since doing it over the phone. Technically clients were suppose to pay for someone to go down & train in person, & they did, the company did not have a habit of placing a team in house for a solid 4 to 6+ months of staff training (unlike some software vendors).

          Company works with primarily very rural government entities with very limited employee options & computing from out of area is not an option. Some incompetent employees I swear they had to work at being incompetent. The unskilled got tiring but you knew eventually they’d get it, if they were around long enough. Had a clients where the supervisor was incompetent, so as soon as the unskilled started getting skilled, the skilled went away & it started all over again. That was irritating. Also ran it into problems with client IT, but that ran from non-bending “rules” to idiots. Yes, we understood the rules just we were the kind that needed some bend in the hard line (as in access). IT idiots constantly got in the way, all the time.

    2. A cousin of mine was working in a social worker type of position, and got reprimanded for underperforming. It turned out performance was based on the number of client visits a worker had. She made a point of getting all the information she needed for the forms together at once, so she wasn’t calling clients in for repeat visits.

      1. … she wasn’t calling clients in for repeat visits.

        But that might allow the clients to focus on improving their lives and eliminating their reliance upon social workers.

        You see where that could lead: total social collapse!

    3. Although I wonder if government employment or union employment (or both) could be the source of the malaise
      While they have their place, it starts with entitlement. And that is something our culture (but, especially our schools) has been teaching for some time now.

    4. I worked at a bank in Upstate New York as a teller. Worked in multiple branches and each of the three branches I was assigned to had issues with lazy, entitled workers. I got a transfer from one branch because one day, the main office called for some reason and the person started chatting with me before asking for the person they were after. I’d recently transferred because the old branch had closed. She was asking how things were going. I told her it was a three bus transfer trip to get there and she asked for locations that might work better for me. When the transfer came through, the head teller yelled at me for going over her head and for not discussing things with her. Um. I didn’t even ask to move. The next location was worse in ways. I asked for things to do to help during the copious down time and the manager looked at me like I was an alien for wanting to work and improve my area. I started going through old files to find dead, closed ones that could be sent on to the archives or shredded or make sure all the paperwork was there. Hadn’t been touched in years and was out of order and all sorts of stuff. Not sure how that bank survived.

    5. I have been fortunate. My adult career has been with people who worked hard and usually brilliantly. Folks without a strong work ethic dropped out before long. The pay isn’t as good as in the private sector, so I suppose you have to love physics research to stay in academia–that probably makes a difference. (Professors do OK, but I’m not one.)

  7. A major news outlet just featured a long tirade by a feminist on how the ‘patriarchal’ race to colonize Mars was ‘male entitlement’

    1. Don’t forget it was also a midlife crisis that was driving Musk et al…apparently his midlife crisis started in his teen years.

      I was so tempted to point the author to one of the studies arguing it is their partner’s dwindling fertility that signals men to have a midlife crisis, ie start signaling wealth to attract a fertile mate.

        1. Ah, so she’s a Russian Bot. Makes sense then: Putin certainly does not want active American colonization of any celestial bodies.

            1. That’s why you let said heavenly body get up first and get dressed so you can watch her standing at the dresser (along the wall across from the foot of the bed). Then you just need to make sure to put your glasses on.

              She still doesn’t “get” it she admits but she doesn’t complain…just doesn’t understand why it is often the best part of those days.

  8. latest derp from my department: someone suggested getting a bunch Alexa Dots and place them around the police department to improve communication. Apparently picking up the phone, or the radio, is now too difficult and we need an electronic spy sitting in all the rooms…

    1. Oh, we do. Absolutely. Published to the blockchain in near-real time. EVERY room.

      1. Back… maybe a couple of decades ago, LAPD was freaking out because someone found hidden cameras and microphones in one of its meeting rooms. Apparently they were found by a tech who was… installing hidden bugs… I think two or three sets of “unauthorized” bugs were found.

        Mostly, the PD bureaucrats were freaked because they didn’t know who was doing it. Finger-pointing seemed to be split between City Hall, Internal Affairs, and the police union…

        That was ancient technology.

    2. “Apparently picking up the phone, or the radio, is now too difficult.”

      Depends on the police department. I could easily believe that was true for the Boulder Police, and based on what’s coming out of Florida at the moment, it sounds like the Broward County Sheriffs might also be a wee bit too intellectually challenged to handle such devices as telephones or CBs.

      1. We have way too much secret squirrel stuff going on for such a small department. But that wouldn’t change with the new toys. “I’ve been working on this under the table for awhile now, can you take a look at, but don’t tell anyone.” Or “don’t put anything in an email, and for God’s sake don’t transmit anything over the radio. We don’t want the media to get wind of this.”

        My favorite is the Captain is in his vehicle every once in awhile and calls out, “Can someone meet me over in such and such lot for a minute?” Patrol officer arrives and a minute later the Captain is on the radio again, “He was wearing a white jacket and he went around that corner with the bushes when he saw me.” Then the officer calls out, “Put me on a Suspicious Person call by X-building. Male wearing a white coat.” It would be funny if it was just the once, but it’s every. single. time. he gets on the radio.

        We had to turn one of our very few outside cameras to look at a garage door because ‘something’ (never did find out what because no one wants to actually file a report) went missing from there. There’s already a camera dedicated to that particular door, but it was turned off at the time of the disappearance because ‘somebody’ didn’t want a bunch of cameras recording every time he came/went. Oh, and there is now a trail camera up in a tree looking at that garage door, too. But we still can’t turn that other camera back.

        Can you guess how the Captain attained his current position? Hint: It wasn’t through great police work.

      2. The more I read, the more it seems the Boward County Sherrif’s Dept frontline Deputies are flailing about because their entire leadership structure has been really, really busy, for years, not actually delivering any actual leadership.

        Since the hiding-School-Safety-Officer has lawyered up and his lawyer is making carefully worded public statements, I’m betting that he personally decided to not risk his pension-qualified skin and make an entry when he got back to the school from his nicotine break within a minute after the first shots (since no matter where the shots “sounded” like they were coming from to him, inside the school is where the kids, the kids his one job is to protect, actually were physically located).

        But I’d bet a box of donuts that the reason all the subsequently arriving Sherrif’s Deputies who showed up were hiding behind their cars when the local PD arrived is that they were ordered to establish a perimeter and not go in to make sure someone in the Sherrif management’s backside was covered for some bureaucratic reason.

        And given the ubiquity of scanners tied to the internet, I’m astonished that no recordings have come out of any of the radio traffic at all.

        1. You really need to look at the school.


          Which of those nine or ten buildings should he have gone in to?

          The shooting was in the top right building on that map, per the NYTimes, meaning there are four or five that would have easily echoed the shots back if you were in the right place to hear them relatively close-up. Hallway is in the middle of the building. Assuming he didn’t just switch buildings, like you would if you were going for big numbers. He entered on the right, and fled to the left. Was captured down and to the left, below that big curve in the Sawgrass Expressway.

          I can’t find any details on which parking lot the SRO was in– I don’t even know if he was on the correct side of the high school campus.

          Can’t even find any later than day-after timelines about which floor he attacked first, which is…odd. Initial reports say he went 1, 2, then 3, and then went down the stairs.

          I can’t even find details on where where Peter Wang died. Which floor? I am guessing interior door, fire escape– which means he may have been killed to keep him from countering the shooter, and so the shooter could fake being a fleeing student.


          The reduction in details, while it becomes more and more obvious that the sheriff and the school were massively screwed up, makes it look like they’re obfuscating to shift blame.

          1. Hm.

            I appreciate you a lot. I swallowed the “waiting outside” thing — I guess because one more horrifically negligent screwup seemed like par for the course — despite the sheriff’s notable lack of credibility at this point.

            1. It MIGHT still be true that the SRO will turn up on video to obviously know exactly where the shooter is, and do nothing, and even that the other cops manage to make it there so dang quick that THEY are sitting there while the guy finishes off the JROTC kid and escapes– but the lack of details starting after things started to look bad makes me get really suspicious.

          2. > Which of those nine or ten buildings should he have gone in to?

            I would expect him to use his phone or radio, call the office, and ask whoever is watching the live security cam feed where the shooter is.

            And then go there and take care of it.

              1. Yeah. The claim of a “delay” of 20, 26, 27, or “nearly 30” minutes needs a whole lot of explaining. Until then, it’s just sitting there like a roach on a countertop, a convenient excuse out of nowhere, making no sense.

                1. *grimace* It makes perfect sense if you are the kind of evil SOB that will expel the geek for trying not to die when beaten up by the local gang.

                  Gotta destroy the evidence.

            1. The school, for reasons known only to them, had all their cameras on a 20 minute hard-locked delay.

              1. I’m not finding any DVRs with a “delay” function for sale anywhere.

                I’m calling BS on the “delay” claim.

                1. I can think of several ways to do it with a video server and batabase; it won’t be COTS, but then again, that’s a specialized market.

                  1. …aaaand… exactly why would you want to do that?

                    This is a school. Besides “due diligence”, the cameras are so they can detect fights or other trouble in real time.

                    A time-delay video system is little better than no system at all. If, indeed, that’s what it actually was. I’m having an even harder time believing a school would spring for a custom system that was crippled in such a way.

                    1. And there, you’ve moved the goalposts. You presented this as a technical question, which I’ve answered. Now, you’re asking for telepathy on motives. I’m not sure why they would have wanted it, and I suspect it would take someone who knows FL / Federal privacy laws and school policies to answer that with any accuracy.

                  2. When my wallet was stolen, the minimart system had a thing where you could set it back to a point and watch from there. I’d texted my mom, so we had a starting point, and were able to spot the guy picking it up. The manager was able to go to that same camera and time with a few button-pushes until he was identified, too, and it would run from that point.

                    Only three or four cameras there, and there were only two or three folks who knew the system shortcuts, though.

                    1. The simplest way I can think of to achieve the twenty minute delay would be for the live-feed to record directly to disk, with the monitor feed reading from twenty minutes prior.

                      You can get the same effect by starting Record for a program (say, for example, Tucker Carlson) on your home DVR, hitting Pause once it starts, putting the kids to bed and returning to the program twenty minutes later to take it off Pause and watching the program from its beginning.

                      The question, of course, is why this school would want to monitor in this way.

                    2. All the reasons I can think of to do that are *really* not nice.

                      About the most non-malicious is that you can “freeze” the playback and someone had paused it to get some detail written down, and they hadn’t told anybody.

          3. Which building? Go towards the gunfire, speed is of the essence. Repeat until you make contact. Then, destroy the shooter.

            Current LE doctrine, based on recent examples, emphasizes speed of assault. The “school shooter” is rarely skilled, seldom even uses rudimentary cover, and almost always stops when confronted. (Suicide or surrender)

            It works. It wasn’t done in Florida. A bunch of kids likely died as a result.

            1. Again: which building?

              They’re made of nice, flat rock-type surfaces. At best, if the guy is shooting A LOT from a single location, you should be able to narrow it down to the right courtyard…and then you can’t know which building.

              Las Vegas shooting: folks thought there were multiple shooters, because that’s how it sounded.

              Dallas sniper attack on police guarding BLM protest, obviously lots of very interested cops– they thought there were multiple shooters, because that’s what it sounded like, and it took a half hour for them to figure out that the guy who had a gun in the protest was not a shooter and in fact handed over his gun to a cop as soon as the shooting started, just before 9. 9:05, they report active shooter. 9:35, they’re frantically looking for multiple suspects. If the guy hadn’t started pot-shotting cops from the parking garage after 11pm, he mightn’t have been caught.

              1. It’s his job to figure out which building. If he guesses wrong, then nothing happens. But if he guesses right, he might just be able to stop the shooting.

                The one thing that’s guaranteed is that standing outside is not going to lead to a correct guess.

                1. No, if he guesses wrong, he’s clearing a shooter-free building while the shooter moves on to the next one, and you get two, three, four buildings full of dead kids.

                  If he guesses right, he’s got a 50/50 chance of completely missing the shooter anyways, because there isn’t only one possible route.

                  If, as the standard is, the shooter was going for raw numbers. It looks like he had a hit list and left after he killed who he wanted dead, but we can’t use hind-sight to figure that out.

                  Standing outside, if everyone was actually sheltering in place, would have made it so he was there to confront the shooter when he left the building; waiting, trying to figure out which building– which is NOT as easy as folks seem to assume– until there are at least two people so he doesn’t run up the stairs on one end while the shooter goes down the stairs on the other.

                  The correct answer goes much further back, to “why the hell is there a building with unsecured entries and exits that is disarmed.” It’s like trying to not crash when you’re doing 90 on black ice with bald tires– the time to FIX the problem is before you’re skidding.

                  1. If you choose not to decide. You still have made a choice.
                    While you refuse to make the 50/50 choice, the 100% choice is innocent kids definitely dying.
                    A lot depends on what’s happening around you, yes. How far away is backup? How many people do you need vs how many do you have? What don’t you know about the shooter?
                    But those are all considerations for making your decision, not reasons to avoid a decision. Which, of course, still is a decision. But it’s a decision which has no upside.

                    Absolutely I agree that there were bigger problems with layout, security and policy that it was much too late to fix that day. But, you seldom get to choose the battlefield on which you have to fight.

                    1. Of the three results, they all involve innocent children dying.

                      Both of the “go in now” bad results involve more innocent children dying. Entire buildings full of them.

                      The unusual difference of the shooter not keeping shooting until he was stopped made the wait outside to stop him when he goes for the next building option worse than the usual calculation.

                      That’s why the situation is so jacked up. We’ve been pointing out for decades now that there is flatly no good way to respond to a school shooter– and most of those tactical discussions were assuming a single building!

                      The simplified setup was stay in your class room, which leaves the hallways clear for the first responders to get the shooter as he is going from classroom to classroom, killing kids.
                      Not that they usually put too fine of a point on that part, it takes parents like Sarah and my own going “…no, sitting there to DIE is freaking stupid” to connect those dots about what taking shelter means.

                  2. No, if he guesses wrong, he’s clearing a shooter-free building while the shooter moves on to the next one, and you get two, three, four buildings full of dead kids.

                    And how is this any different than standing around outside with your weapon drawn “setting up a perimeter”?

                    Reports (which admittedly may prove to be incorrect) are that the shooter had a rather large number of ten round magazines. Reports are also that the shooter stopped shooting because his gun jammed. In short, the reason why we didn’t have “two, three, four buildings full of dead kids” is apparently because the shooter’s gun stopped working, and the shooter didn’t know how to fix it.

                    Meanwhile, the SRO and the first three Broward County Deputies to arrive on the scene all “set up a perimeter” outside the school, and that was how the first Coral Springs PD officers found them when the CSPD people arrived. Those CSPD officers promptly started clearing the school. But of course by that time, it was too late.

                    1. And how is this any different than standing around outside with your weapon drawn “setting up a perimeter”?

                      How many buildings full of kids die.

                      Same as the hide-in-the-classroom rule is about making the fewest number of classrooms full of kids die…but it does involve making it so that those classrooms are RIGHT where the killer goes, and will be full.

                      See why I foam at the mount about the whole “gun free” school idea?


                      There is no way that the Coral Springs PD managed to get to the school that quickly, although seeing as they thought that they were watching the shooter live, it is understandable there’d be confusion on that point.

                      My husband says that the off duty officer was the one who did the first call according to the only instances giving details; that means that two minutes in to the seven minute window, they got the first 911 call. This also means that the call was *extremely* good quality information, if they passed it on– that it was a verified shooting, with a rifle, in which building and who the shooter was.

                      The SRO was in another building at the time, got the call on the radio, went to the stairwell to get this information. Assume a highly effective one minute to convey all the information, and one minute to get it to the SRO.

                      That puts it at 2:25 for the earliest the SRO could have headed to the building.

                      Assume only one minute to get there, since he’d be looking at the students coming out of the building to see if they matched the shooter, possibly getting information on where he is.

                      2:26, if he’s spoken to students he’s heard that the shooter has been on at least two stories of the building, on two different stairwells. Stands where he can maybe see the shooter coming out.

                      2:28 totally misses the shooter, who doesn’t have the rifle anymore, and runs out with a pack of kids.

                      2:30 someone else arrives, if the claim of four minutes on video standing in the parking lot alone are correct.


                      All of this assuming that it took only one minute to convey that it was a school shooting, with a rifle, injured students, and either the shooter’s name or “tall, skinny, curly dark hair, big nose, wearing X, Y, Z;” since they won’t release the freaking tapes, we can’t tell if they didn’t even call the SRO until the shooter was already out of the building.

                    2. So the SRO goes outside and does, what, exactly? The video feed from the school was on a 20 minute delay, so there was no way that he was going to get information from that on the shooter’s location in a reasonable amount of time. You’ve already claimed that the sound of the gunshots wasn’t enough to figure out which building the shooter was in. So how is he going to figure out which building the shooter is in without personally investigating the buildings?

                      Additionally, the first three LEOs to arrive were Broward County Deputies who also “maintained the perimeter”, and didn’t go inside. At this point, they should have had enough to send one deputy to each of the suspected buildings. But again, they didn’t. It wasn’t until the Coral Springs PD arrived and started clearing on their own initiative that anyone went back in. From what I understand, they met up with the off-duty cop (who was also CSPD) at this point.

                      Again, given all that happened, there is no reasonable excuse for the SRO to not have started checking buildings out under his own initiative. There was no other way for him to determine the shooter’s location in anything remotely resembling a timely fashion. Worst comes to worst, he goes into the wrong building, hears the (very muffled) shooter, realizes that he’s in the wrong building, and leaves. The shooter shoots up another classroom full of kids while the SRO changes buildings… which is the exact same thing that he would have done under the alternative in which the SRO was outside “maintaining the perimeter”.

                    3. So the SRO goes outside and does, what, exactly? The video feed from the school was on a 20 minute delay, so there was no way that he was going to get information from that on the shooter’s location in a reasonable amount of time.

                      What does the video have to do with the guy being outside?

                      The shots aren’t enough to figure out what building the shooter is in– that is why the 911 call is relevant, and since the 911 call seems to have been how he found out about the shooting in the first place, and the off-duty officer who happened to be in the field and ran into a shooting victim coming out is the source.

                      He’s still one person who cannot clear two stairwells at the same time.

                      Additionally, the first three LEOs to arrive were Broward County Deputies who also “maintained the perimeter”, and didn’t go inside.

                      According to the details we’ve been given– and if I can find anything sourced, I’m accepting it, until we catch Sheriff Israel telling an objective lie in his details– with the four minutes standing alone in the parking lot, that means that when the non-SRO LEOs got there, 911 had already been told the shooter had left the building, and then that he was running across the football field in a pack of other students.

                      The biggest question for timing is if the SRO managed to make it to the building before 911 knew he was gone, and then however long it took for them to convey it, and then how much they trusted it.

                      Obviously they didn’t trust it entirely, because the second department who got there didn’t instantly think that the tape was delayed; the behavior is outside of expectations for a school shooter, though….

              2. Again: which building?
                OK, I *have* to call baloney on this complaint. The best answer is “The one from which the alert arose.” The SRO didn’t wander over there because he had a nice view of the running track. He didn’t respond to a generic call about a shooter “on campus”. The alert came from someone who was there. It might not be a precise location. But you knew from the original “help! shooter!” call where he was.

                Paying attention to all the reports, and reading between the lines, it’s pretty clear that everyone (like that Coral Springs off-duty officer who went into the building and carried out a victim) knew which building the gunman was shooting in. Yes, he might flush and go into another building or into the community, but in the meantime he definitely is killing people.

                Sorry, but the indications are he had no confusion about which building. The only possible confusion is whether he should have entered immediately (by training/policy). The Coral Springs officer (unarmed, off-duty) didn’t appear to have that confusion.

                I appreciate your POV (and your other arguments on this), but this argument doesn’t even rise to the level of “weak”, unless there’s a LOT of bad information out in the current timeline.

                1. Problem: we still don’t have any information on how the SRO found out about the shooting. The options I can think of, off the top of my head, are that he heard shots, that he was radioed from the school office, or that he was contacted by dispatch.

                  The most information we’ve gotten about the 911 calls was right after the event, and they consisted of “we were going out for our second fire alarm of the day, and then we heard shots, ran back into the room and called 911.” Usually there are multiple reports of people shot when they actually heard the shots and hit the ground, but the person who realized “That’s a shot!” assumes they were shot.

                  The school office would be using a video that was not showing current events, so they’d be going off calls to the office. (hopefully, a lesser priority than calling 911)

                  Him hearing the shots…well, I already pointed out how accurate that is for Dallas.

                  So which of the 911 calls about hearing shots in X building do you listen to?

                  There is a lot of bad information, in that it’s flatly not been offered– we know that initial reports are often wrong, but we don’t have corrections, we haven’t gotten details, and hell I had to page through five or six different resources to find out which freaking building the guy went into, and the very possibly false information about which place he went first! Some of the later information says he went to the top of the building first, but the stuff with more detail that is older says he started shooting on the ground floor.

              3. Okay, I’m tired of your apples to oranges comparison. You’ve made up your mind and you aren’t going to consider the differences in circumstances or other facts that you are flat ignoring. Fact, the shots in downtown Dallas would have sounded different from those in Parkland because they were coming from above and bouncing off the skyscrapers. There were over 1,000 people, iirc, present at the time with the attendant noise. That alone would make it difficult to pinpoint where the shots were coming from. Fact, it was a distance shot in Vegas with many more people gathered and the noise of a concert. Those circumstances would impact the way and ability an officer had of locating the shooter. Fact, there was an off-duty police officer (not a deputy), working at one of the athletic fields. He heard the shots and responded. Fact, there are multiple reports of first responders being told to stand down by the deputies on the scene. Fact, this sheriff’s office, and the sheriff in particular, have a sketchy history at best. And let’s not forget about the calls coming in from inside the school, identifying not only that there was a shooter but his approximate location. If Dispatch didn’t give over that information, that’s on them. If the deputy/deputies stood down instead of going in, that is on them.

                Do I expect you to pay any attention to what I’ve said? No. Your mind is made up. But as someone from Dallas, I’ll say this. It pisses me off to see you using the assassination of our officers to support your argument. They deserve better.

                1. There were 900 people in that single building, according to the school district.
                  There wouldn’t have been less than that in each of the other buildings, so a minimum of several thousand people in just that group of buildings, who were in the process of leaving for a fire alarm for extra noise.

                  They are not sky scrapers, but three story tall buildings do a very good job of reflecting noise.

                  I have given links, the most specific times I can find, etc– if you’ve got good links to information on calls from outside of the school, with time, with details, I am sitting here waiting for it.

                  It pisses me off to see you using the assassination of our officers to support your argument. They deserve better.

                  So ignore data that doesn’t support your conclusion, due to your emotional reaction to evidence from an instance where there were a lot of experts on site.

                  You’d probably get pissed from links to reports from soldiers in urban combat saying the exact same thing– shots are hard to locate when there are multiple buildings around.

                  You being pissed is not evidence. You want to try changing minds? Try using information.

                  1. Okay, you want data and links, let’s start with a few comments. 900 students inside a building will not make the same noise and sort of distraction that thousands of people attending a concert will make. Nor will they make the same noise and distractions as a march through downtown at night will make. Can we agree upon that?

                    Now, can we also agree that the sounds of gunfire coming from the upper floors of a tall building in a downtown setting will sound different from shots coming from inside a three-story building? Or how about from a distance shot from a tall hotel?

                    So, if we can agree upon that, we have to agree that you are comparing apples and oranges or, at the very least, different types of apples.

                    As for the rest of it, here are some links you might want to look at. The off-duty cop heard the shots and ran in the direction of the shots. Upon encountering an injured student, he helped that kid and then did something that not only helped identify the shooter but identify where the shooter was — he called someone he knew in the building. In other words, he did more than sit there waiting for back-up. This is also an officer who prevented a school shooting in 2016. So, yeah, I trust him to know what he is doing. http://people.com/crime/florida-school-shooting-off-duty-cop-helps-student/

                    There are other links out there are well, including one from the Federalist that discusses the problems with the approach of holding defensive positions in mass shootings. Have you taken time to read it? http://thefederalist.com/2018/02/23/parkland-officers-hesitation-stop-shooting-pattern-police-cowardice/

                    There are others as well but I don’t want this comment caught in moderation. Besides, I have a paying job to get back to and this isn’t making me money – yes, I’m an evil capitalist.

                    I want to make one more comment before I go. Whether you like what I say or not, you are the one who refuses to listen to any other point of view on what happened. You take issue with everything everyone else has said in this sub-thread. You accuse me of being emotional — and I am, I’ll admit it. You bringing in what happened in Dallas to prove your point set off one of my hot buttons because it was a very different situation. But when you accuse me, a military mom, of probably being “pissed from links to reports from soldiers in urban combat saying the exact same thing,” you don’t do yourself any favors. First, I never said it wasn’t difficult to locate the source of gunfire when there are multiple buildings present. What I did was point out the fallacy in you trying to use vastly different situations to prove your point. Second, I am a military mom and proud of it. I come from a military family. That means I would not be “pissed” by such links — but it does mean I would read those links and apply the information from them to each situation as a unique situation until there could be more than general commonalities found.

                    Finally, I suggest you ask yourself this: if the deputy in question did follow procedure and did nothing wrong, why did he resign/retire when disciplined instead of taking advantage of his right to appeal the disciplinary action?

                    1. deputy in question did follow procedure and did nothing wrong, why did he resign/retire when disciplined instead of taking advantage of his right to appeal the disciplinary action?

                      Because it’s freaking obvious that the Sheriff had picked him as the scapegoat for years of ignoring a violent crazy? Suspended without pay for “investigation”– like there’s any question how that “investigation” is going to go, after the attempt to stir up a gun-grabbing mob didn’t pay off for the Sheriff?

                      Thank you for the links; the details of the off-duty officer getting a kid who’d been shot away from the building, treated and details to 911 is helpful; previous mentions made it sound like he’d run into the building(s).

                      There are unfortunately no times mentioned (about the only well measured one would be the call to 911) although running from the field towards the “fireworks” sounds should mean it was extremely quick, depending on how much noise the fire alarm was making.


                      The second article you link is arguing against waiting for SWAT, and since you’re so fixated on apples to oranges I would hope you realize that a single police officer who is in a gun battle with a guy who goes into a night club is rather different from a single officer who is on a multi-building campus and finds out– we’ve still not been told how– that there is a reported active shooter.

                    2. Ah well, as I said, you aren’t willing to consider anyone might be right if they don’t agree with you. Yes, I know what the article said — funny how you won’t step back from your own demand we look at three very disparate shootings as pretty much the same and yet you want me to do that with this article. Shrug. As I said before, you aren’t so much interested in discussing the issue as making sure we all agree with you.

                      I will simply say this: in a situation like the one in Parkland, it isn’t unusual at all for a cop to be suspended without pay during the investigation. Was he set up as the scapegoat? Very likely. But he still had the right to appeal the punishment. He would have, one suspects, the SO’s guidelines and rules about how to handle such situations. There are the dispatch and 911 recordings. It seems reasonable to wonder why he didn’t even take time to have his union rep or his attorney review those items before resigning.

                    3. “Finally, I suggest you ask yourself this: if the deputy in question did follow procedure and did nothing wrong, why did he resign/retire when disciplined instead of taking advantage of his right to appeal the disciplinary action?”

                      That one’s easy: If he appeals and loses, he loses his pension. If he retires, he’s outside the process and they can’t take it away.

                    4. Ugh, I hadn’t thought of that one, as well– but fired for cause does usually at least screw up your pension, you’re right.

                    5. When you can see them building a scaffold with no other possible GoH in sight it can be a smart move to jump before they get that rope about your neck. I’m sure he’s been in the department long enough to know that Sheriff Israel wouldn’t be taking the drop.

                      “Following protocol? That yellow skunk was screwing the pooch and we need to be making him an example to encourage the others!”

                    6. Agree. If he appeals & looses he looses everything. It looks like he is going to be the fall guy. Plus, who do they put on school patrol? The best & brightest? Yea, pull the other leg. He was parked there to finish out till best retirement time. Not surprised that he retired immediately.

              4. There were student eyewitnesses who saw Peterson standing around outside, with his gun pointed at nothing, while the shots were clearly coming from the building they were actually coming from. They were quite close to him, and they said there was no way to mistake the direction of the shots. The Coral Springs police guys said the same thing.

                Yes, I initially would have given him the benefit of the doubt. But not after the eyewitnesses had weighed in.

                1. Can you remember links or anything that might help me find that source or those sources?
                  Even if it’s just phrasing, I know how hard it can be to find stuff that you KNOW you looked at on the computer you’re on, but it doesn’t seem to show up anymore.

                  All that will show up when I try to find reports fro witnesses in multiple search engines is sheriff Israel saying the video showed the SRO in the parking lot for four minutes, in relation to an “investigation” for why the second responding police group thought they were at an active shooter when the shooter had been gone for a minimum of a quarter of an hour–
                  and one unsourced report of a witness saying that they saw the deputy in an entirely different building, in the stairwell, talking into his phone strike radio. This, during the time of the shooting, which (if it’s accurate, since there were the tweets and texts from half an hour after the shooter left where the students said the shooting was still going on.) would conflict with the sheriff’s statements about what the video said.

                  Still, that is more information on the SRO’s location than before– was inside of a building, and found out at least there were gunshots by radio.


                  Lots and lots of “officials say” type results, but an extreme lack of anybody who hasn’t gone through the Sheriff– which is frankly shocking, given how much CNN and similar are willing to get students talking about “what to do,” WHERE is the collection of “what I saw” stories? The sheriff apparently at one point said that the SRO was in another building, “resolving an issue,” but there’s no mention of what other building, or…argh! The basic “Who, what, when, why” is a dang near blank.

                  It’s freaking depressing that here has gotten more information than is showing up in normal media– looks like the currently probable thing right now is the SRO was in another building, doing something or other, maybe dealing with the guy who’d pulled the fire alarm earlier that day. Then he gets an alert on his radio– that would most likely be from dispatch, which would put it at 23 after, if the sheriff’s timeline is accurate.
                  He disengages, goes to the stairwell and probably yells at the radio a lot; unknown amount of time eaten.
                  In this time, the off-duty cop who was in the field heard the shots, ran towards the school blob, ran into a wounded student coming out and got him into another building, a secured room; no idea how badly the student was shot, so no way to figure out how long first aid took, but they get a description and can tell 911 where the shooter started, at least. We can probably assume that someone had a cellphone and saw the student get shot, hard to know if they would know where the shooter went next, but they likely called 911 as soon as they were hidden as well as they could figure; the first call was at 23 after, so the absolute fastest the off-duty cop could have managed to make sure the kid he had wouldn’t die and call 911 would be two minutes after the earliest possible shooting.

                  The security footage should be able to show us at the very least how long the SRO was on his radio in that first ladderwell, and presumably they’re synchronized so that would let there be a side-by-side until there’s some event where there’s a known time, and build an accurate timeline that way.
                  If they ever release any video.

                2. As far as benefit of the doubt– absolute best case scenario, they were involved in a definitely immoral, possibly illegal, years long conspiracy to cover up criminal activity. Depending on how much they benefited from not being the place with the highest rate of minority student arrests, there’s the “for personal gain” part.

                  When that policy had a really obvious result of laws against murdering people being ignored, the officers then held silent while one of the ring-leaders tried to scapegoat the NRA, then the FBI, and so on.

                  That doesn’t have anything to do with not trusting a media which also tried to make use of this tragic outcome, nor of distrusting the latest claims out of one of the ringleaders who actively organized the initial conspiracy.

            2. And one of the teachers (or students, for that matter) had a phone with them? The school intercom system was down? Every school I went to, in five states, from the mid-1960s onward had an intercom.

              The video would have been nice, but it wasn’t necessary.

              Not buying any of this “didn’t know where the shooter was.”

        2. Encrypted radio, and/or they were using their cell phones instead of the radio. Because no records = less problems in court.

    3. The most likely reason is somebody in IT saw an opportunity to boost a departmental budget while giving the pointy-haired bosses new toys.

    4. not to mention having the amazon cloud storing potentially sensitive information…

      1. Saw a two panel comic a month or so ago.

        The first panel was labeled “Spying in the ’50s”, and had someone complaining about the government and communists trying to listen in on what was happening in the home. The second panel was labeled “Spying in the 2010s”, and had a housewife asking Google Home how to make pancakes.

  9. I homeschool my niece and nephew when they come to my house after their day of public school indoctrination . My sister has gotten multiple requests from school that she stop allowing me educate her children because it was not fair to other children.

    Most heated conversations were about how I was rote teaching them basic math and they were doing much better than kids who were learning discovery math and it was boggling their young brains.

    I think teachers were complaining because it was illustrating how awful discovery math system is and they didn’t like cognitive dissonance they were experiencing.

    1. Discovery math is whole-word-recognition for numbers. ‘Nuff said!!

      The reason I still have my times tables 55 years after learning ’em is because they engraved in my brain by rote recital. The reason grammar is effortless as I write fiction is because it too got roted (new word) into my brain by 12 years of quality repetition.

      Yeah, sometimes rote learning is boring. Often it’s not fun. Sometimes it’s downright tedious. But for the majority of students, it works much better than the alternatives; witness the current generation of dunces, whose brains are not only empty of basic knowledge, but *also never learned how to store it*.


      Carry on!!

        1. I can still hear my grade 3 class, led by no-nonsense elderly stout woman, reciting multiplication table over and over and over.

            1. Kids complain about memorization, but they are also good at it and enjoy it. Ask kids of the correct age to name the first 100 Pokemon, for example, and they will rattle them out.

      1. If you read Archimedes on the area of a circle you realize he came within striking distance of integral calculus. It would take two millenia for someone who was as much, if not more, of a genius than Archimedes to take the final leap (admittedly two geniuses did at roughly the same time).

        Yet we expect average school students to take leaps in inventing mathematics in only a few years.

        1. When I was in high school, I noticed that I understood math based on previously-learned theory; I didn’t work well from example to theory (which seems to be what’s asked of kids nowadays). Since at the time we learned theory first, application second, math came easily to me (in fact, it was unusual for any student to struggle with it, and most of my high school took at least two years of math)… tho I still hated “story problems”. Then I hit college calculus, where it was all practice and no theory, and I was instantly lost.

          I still remember fondly my high school’s chosen math texts… without digging in boxes to find the couple I’ve managed to acquire, I think they were from Houghton Mifflin, and had a distinctive cover theme (half the cover was black, half some other color, with an abstract image illustrating the subject). Homeschoolers, if you see ’em at a book sale — scarf ’em up!

          1. Most story problems are poorly written, in no small part because you have no idea why someone would want to know something.

            When was the last time a question was something like:
            “The three pound box costs $7.95; the 12 ounce box is $2.99. What is the price per ounce of each, and which is the least expensive?”

            “To the right is a train schedule. If you get out of school at 3pm and have a five minute walk, what is the best set of trains to take to make it to X in the shortest amount of time?”

            1. Frazz is doing a series where the kids object to sock story problems because socks aren’t sold like that.

            2. My highschool geometry teacher who had literally written much of the textbook but hated the problem set written by the guy the publisher chose to do that bit for the end of each chapter. So he wrote his own homework sheets and many were seemingly practical uses for geometry. Made it a lot more interesting.

          2. I had the opposite problem with differential equations; without a concrete example, I couldn’t get the approach (It didn’t help that the diffy-q book was so theoretical the real-world examples barely registered.). After I had real applications (electrical engineering, RC and LRC), it finally clicked. I passed the course, but didn’t understand it until the next semester.

            Last year as an undergrad, I took a complex variables course, to prove to myself I really could do it. It had just enough practicality (realistic boundary conditions) that I could do it.

          3. > I still hated “story problems”.

            In all of the math textbooks I had, across many school systems across the country, most of those problems were unsolveable. As in, “A train the eastbound track is headed east at 80mph. A train on the westbound track is headed west at 60mph. How many cars are waiting at the crossing?”

            I am absolutely farking serious. Some were worse than that.

            1. Theoretical and Applied Mechanics was required for EE students when I took the course (they dropped the requirement early in the semester, but I was getting it, and getting an A, so continued.)

              The trick with those problems is that they appeared to have more variables than independent equations. You had to think a bit to figure out where there were dependencies between variables, so you could reduce it to a solvable set. It was fun, kind of like a burr puzzle.

        2. If I remember correctly, Greeks didn’t have zero or negative numbers and that limited their math ability.

          1. I think Archimedes main limitation was mathematically they lacked the concept of change which is the essence of real analysis and thus calculus.

            Although he lacked zero he was able to argue the area (and get a really solid value for pi) by a taking the limit as a value got closer to zero. However, the idea of limits, approaching a value, did not fall out of that argument for him.

          2. Heck, you had to do first-grade math just to figure out what the number WAS!

            Did “Roman Numbers” with the Princess the other day, and while she was impressed an caught on to the whole “V is five, small stuff to the left is subtract, smaller stuff to the right is add” thing fairly quickly, it was a lot of work to write just a basic math problem.

            1. Yes, Base 10 is vital to doing math in a non-painful fashion.

              (I once created a race with different numbers of digits on their hands (and more than two hands). IIRC, their “ones” digit was Base 3, their “tens” digit was Base 4, then back to 3, then all 4 above that. It actually ended up rather elegant – if you had a spreadsheet to convert.)

              1. Base 10 is useful, but not vital – it is only non-painful because it is what we’re used to. We learn ten digits (0-9) and base 10 so that’s what were used to. There’s no reason if we only had digits 0-7 that people couldn’t learn octal just as easily. On the other hand, I believe the digit concept as opposed to Roman numerals really is vital.

                  1. The final for the digital electronics course (the Intel 8008 was big news) had as it’s last question: “Here’s a number in base 7. Convert to base 3.”
                    I ran short of time; forgot to convert the number to base 10 and then to base 3. Lesson learned: elegance is fine an good, but brute force can work, too.

                  2. I have never programmed a PDP or variant, but I have dealt with files in formats created by software whose legacy stretches back to the heyday of those machines. The documentation available for the format had many values expressed in octal, a mix of 8-bit ASCII and Radix-50 character encodings, and non-IEEE754 floating point numbers. Joy!

                    1. “Joy.”? Sarcastic much. FYI. Agree. Always “oh, jeez.” I can work with the files, & once am using math required regularly, goes fairly quickly, but never did it enough that I’d retain that speed, so always had to start over.

                      Got so on one program I actually wrote a small paper as comments on file & indexing structure & math so I quit having to relearn every 4 to 6 months. Which just meant I cemented it so comments weren’t 100% required. Been 20 years & I still remember the generalities, if not the specifics. Company went into restructuring due to bankruptcy & I got caught in the reduction. Staff that took over that software support called in a panic. They had the code, they had the comments, they wanted the 10 second summary without going through the comments. Gave it to them. The 10 second summary was read the comments!

                1. I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve been told that the Babylonians used base-12 maths and that is where the concept of a dozen and a gross came into use. You can count to 12 on one hand by using your thumb to count the finger bones in your 4 fingers.

                  1. I’ve largely forgotten how to do it, but yes, and using wrists and elbows (IIRC) allows you to get up to sixty, as in sixty seconds in a minute, sixty minutes in an hour … and even the 360 degrees in a circle.

                    1. You can also do two digit decimal with both hands.

                      Right hand is fingers are each 1 and the thumb is 5.

                      Left hand is the same times 10.

                    2. In flying tight formation, you commonly use visual signals, but you can only use one hand. So, the first five numerals (1-5) are with fingers vertical, and the next four (6-9) are horizontal (a closed fist is 0).

                  2. Yep. 12 is an anti-prime, so base-12 is ideal. If only we’d had one more digit on each hand, we’d be interstellar by now : /

                2. I think the key is notation. Each column serves like a counter. Doesn’t matter if it’s 0 – 9 or 0 – F; when you fill the column, you add one to the adjacent column, zero out that column, and go again. Each column increases by the power of the base. Rather than counters, we have symbols representing number of items, which makes things more compact.

                  So, to add 5 and 6 in base 10, we go:

                  + 6
                  = 11
                  That means, of course, we have one group of ten with an additional item.

                  Someone’s bound to go “Well duh! That’s obvious.” But try to add these:

                  You practically have to have something like an abacus for calculations. Our notation system is essentially an abacus on paper.

                  1. And, actually, your Roman numeral example is a bad one, since it looks very much like a Base 5/10 digit addition. V+V = X, and the I carries down.

                    Try, instead:

                    Yeah, goofy.
                    But it is definitely much easier to actually figure out a number than remembering what 9 IX different digits mean. 😉

                    1. Thanks. I want to compare this to the Roman abacus. They only had four or five counters, with a marker at the top to denote if it was from 0 to 4 or 5 (from hazy memory), and then the rest of the numbers to 9 or 10.

                3. When I was in high-school, I recall trying to work out fractional basis number systems when I learned logarithms. I don’t think I was too successful, but the idea was stuck in my head for a while. I was also trying to use the properties of logarithms to work out a “sub-addition” operator, where repeated application would result in addition, the same way repeated addition results in multiplication. Also no luck there.


                  I would work on these things while eating a nice healthy lunch of mountain dew. Skipping the lunch line let me eke out some time in the day.

                  1. Now that I’ve recalled it, neither of these ideas seems too crazy. Maybe I just couldn’t do it because I didn’t know enough or have enough time in highschool.

                    If so, race you to publication.

              2. It was easy to determine that 10 was the perfect number of pulses in the coffee grinder. The hard part was figuring out which base. Base-12 (even with the lagniappe) was a bit course. Base-16 works well.

            2. Reading a portal fantasy in which a 16-year-old shattered a guild in every kingdom by introducing Roman numerals, double-entry bookkeeping, and the abacus. (The last she just barely remembered; the first one was really crude, but people more competent than she in the matter took the notion and ran with it).

              1. Weber’s Safehold Series does something similar with the introduction of Arabic numerals.

                1. …which outside the Latin world were called Hindu numerals because the Arabs got them from… actually not the Hindus, but the Syriac Christians, who got them from the Hindus. Bishop Severus Sebokht discusses them in the early seventh century, before the Arabs got there. The first mention by an Arabic author, I think, is 10th century.

                  1. An awful lot of the “Islamic contributions to science” turn out to be more along the lines of who spread it.

                    Giving the devil his due, spreading information is nothing to sneeze at, and they are fairly consistent about using that definition–it’s how they can justify calling Christianity an European religion, when it was started in the Middle East by a Middle Easterner as a branching off of a Middle Eastern religion, because that is who spread the biggest surviving chunk of it.

              2. Oooh, the Japan/Joan of Arc advantage– is it any good otherwise? Someone who thought about that is likely to think about other interesting stuff…..

                1. It’s Schooled in Magic by Christopher G. Nuttall, though the effect of her actions increase throughout the series.

    2. Have you so soon forgotten the hue and cry about “reading to your kids is privilege”?

      1. Evidently some want a “fair fight” intellectually. And parents (not simply ‘people who happen to have kids’) want THEIR kids to have an intellectual toolkit of virtual knife, gun, bomb, flamethrower, grenade launcher, nuke, etc. And a jetpack, too. “Fair fight? F— that, I want Johnny to WIN!”

        1. A favorite scene from Fairy Tail.
          First, background; guy is an ice magician. Lots of quasi-kung-fu, some stuff that’s rather standard “ice make: wall!” and “ice make, giant frakin’ row of spikes at the target!” and such.

          Big fight, target is in the air.

          “Ice make: BAZOOKA!”

    3. Sounds a bit like the lady who was saying that you ought to feel bad about reading to your kids because that gave them an unfair advantage over the kids who didn’t get read to. Of course, even that lady wasn’t advising that you stop reading to your kids, just that you feel guilty for doing so. (Maybe each bedtime story required a penance of 5 “Hail, Mao”s and an “Our, Lenin” or something).

      1. I find it telling that teachers want kids to be less smart instead of making effort to raise classroom’s intelligence.

        1. Of course. If the kids know more than the teachers, they’re a threat to their cushy union jobs.

        2. Of course. There’s money in stupid kids – extra teacher certs and pay, special programs to administer and teach. Ordinary kids are of less value to the school than the dummies.

          1. More importantly, there’s money for the staff. As in more of them, and more silly degrees required to get the jobs.

            1. … if you’re not, why would you ever become a teacher?

              Ummmmm … summers off, unparalleled job security (in union states), significant job benefits (health insurance & pensions) and, most particularly, the perceived moral authority it grants you along with the opportunity to exercise power over those incapable of asserting their rights?

              1. And possibly the sort of grades and test scores that wouldn’t get you into any place OTHER than a school of education.

              2. Don’t forget the joy of being a petty tyrant over a priso… classroom.

                The better teachers are the ones who are simply marking time and don’t care. It’s the pocket Hitlers that make life miserable for the kids.

                1. There are times I wonder how things would have gone had I known of and cited Tinker v. Des Moines Independent School District (1969) every time some teacher proclaimed that student had no rights.

              3. This. I knew a SJW who washed out as a teacher. Yes, she was that bad, but had the “everybody must be forced to do/have X” mentality, along with utter ignorance of facts. When confronted with reality, she’d take off in a huff.

    4. My wife, 4th Grade teacher, was complaining the other day about how our local curriculum has been tanking the last few years. They keep upping the grade levels that don’t use letter grades, using a numbers based system. But the two systems don’t correspond at all.

      And they keep putting 1st and 2nd year teachers on the Curriculum Committee. For the third time in 7(?) years they will be implementing a new textbook & way to engage the students using it for English Language Arts and Social Studies. I think she’s one of two people on the committee with more than 5 years of experience, and she’s not planning on being on it again next year. She’s given up banging her head against the wall over it.

      1. I have two good friends who are public school teachers and they report similar experience as your wife.

      2. You do realize they consider this a feature, not a bug?

        New curriculum always require new books and materials, which help keep budget high and which make impossible comparison of school performance across school years.

        Those running the system are no more concerned with kids’ educational development than a parking valet is concerned with the state of your car upon its return.

        1. Actually less concerned. If he does enough damage a valet can wind up unemployed. The more damage teachers do the bigger their budget gets.

        2. Richard Feynman wrote a pretty good screed about the awfulness of textbooks and the selection process in his “Surely You’re Joking, Mr. Feynman!”

          1. That was the one where the committee approved text books that hadn’t even been written yet?

      3. Elementary and junior HS used a 1-7 scoring system. I started there in 3rd grade. I think the other school district used conference for K-2.

        High school reverted to letters, though I think flunking got you an “E”. College was quasi normal, but the GPAs were skewed up by 1; a perfect semester got you a 5.0. (Huge state university. Go figure.)

  10. Even those of us who don’t Prep have come to look at purchases and say, “In an extreme situation, would I need this?” and adjust our buying accordingly. My automatic response is to NOT buy. I’m paying down bills, looking at ways to bring in extra income, and generally preparing for the worst.
    Which, may, indeed, come in my time.

    1. Oh yes, he’s a leftist. That’s been apparent all along. (He is a Hillary supporter.)

      I’ve seen a meme that shows Israel and Clinton together and states:
      “I don’t always stand down and let Americans get slaughtered…
      But I did learn how to from the best!”

      1. Saw somewhere that he’s also the local CAIR liaison.

        My cynical little voice is making some snide remark about him not wanting to interrupt a junior ISIS in progress.

  11. Draw One in the Dark as political? Haw! Having read the three (so far) Shifters books the only things that seemed even remotely political were a couple exchanges (one per book or less!) about gov’t interference in business… something anybody with even remote experience in some small business would be utterly unsurprised by. And this by… the couple who owned/ran… a business! No screed, no lecture, no chapter-length speech, just a line or two and that’s all. Nearly subliminal.

        1. He was a Chinese Crimelord and that links into some older Chinese stereotypes.

          Thus Sarah was “racist” for making her villain Chinese.

          Note, I think anybody who sees racism in Sarah’s books is an idiot.

          1. It has come to my attention that there is no shortage in the supply of idiots, nor does idiocy appear to impede its practitioners rising to positions of authority.

      1. Excuse me while I find my jaw as it bounced away when it hit the floor on reading that.

        I assumed he WAS Chinese. It seemed pretty obvious from multiple directions.

        1. Yes, He is a Chinese Dragon.

          Once upon a time, a stock villain in pulp fiction was the “evil China-man” who control a Chinese Secret Society and the hero has to deal with the Chinese Secret Society.

          Of course, the “modern” Anti-Racism mind-set insists that the “Bad Guys” can’t be no-Whites as “only Whites are evil”.

          Of course, if you’re writing about Dragons actually existing in the Real Word, you can’t ignore the Chinese Dragons. 😉

          Then of course, he’s a very old Chinese Dragon and is operating according to his cultural upbringing which is much different than Western Culture.

          So the idiot who accused Sarah of racism is showing her cultural insensitivity by expecting a Chinese Dragon to NOT act according to Ancient Chinese Culture. 😈 😈 😈 😈

          1. Oh, I know Yellow Peril…I love Dr. Fu Manchu and even used him as a villain in an RPG campaign. I had him be the creator of the Spanish Flu which not only killed but turned those who died from it into zombies under his control. Was great fun.

            Guess I’m a racist or something.

            As for very old dragons, Chinese or otherwise, I expect their ways to be inscrutable to men (although isn’t inscrutable Chinaman also an evil stereotype?).

            1. Those fools don’t understand that it is wise to be inscrutable.

              That way, your enemies can’t predict what you are going to do…. until it is too late to stop you. 👿

                1. The Honorable Trump isn’t inscrutable per se.

                  He merely hides his true intentions under bluff and noise. 😈 😈 😈 😈

              1. Also, because wisdom requires that you know and/or understand more than others, it will make you inscrutable, because their scrutiny can not understand what you understand and act on.

                1. Hmm. No, you could also be wise because you act upon knowledge and understanding that other people share but don’t act on. It still may seem inscrutable why you gave up going to parties where people drank to a stupor.

              2. Obnoxious, since not showing emotion is basically polite for that culture in dealing with strangers—heck, English do it, too.

          2. The thing that annoys me is that it became a trope for a dang good reason– just the “secret society” is more modernly, and accurately, known as organized crime.

            Next up, Italian were-dracos with mafia ties are raaaaaacist.

              1. It is incredibly funny to me to notice that our kids came out darker (Sicilian) than some of the “black” kids.

                Although I did have an experience I’ve never had before yesterday– met a central-casting Irish looking dude who was Mexican. Classic curly red hair, put him in a cable-knit sweater and drop him by the harbor type guy.
                Very, very Mexican, including flailing his arms and hollering in (polite!
                At least, I didn’t recognize most of the words I know, which is mostly rude ones!) Mexican-Spanish to try to get me to zip around to the far side of the lady who was ten seconds from finishing pumping her gas.
                (He wasn’t even in our line, and there was exactly one person behind me, but it was Incredibly Important that I rush to save no time and make that gal’s day a little longer.)

                Makes me wonder what his story is– the Irish “solid” build does look like the lower-class Mexican one, but Mexico is…well, pretty dang racist, and he was definitely not the same build/look as the really high class, lots of Spanish ancestry Mexicans, and I am not aware of any naturally red haired Spanish folks.

                Y’all are bad for me, my imagination didn’t need any help! (Although I guess it’s better than the traditional “make up stories about the neighbors” shtick.)

                1. Best guess is expat Irishman? And managed to marry the right genetic combination of woman so that his recessive red hair/pasty freckled skin genes came out in their kid?

                2. Went to a restaurant named Carlos Murphy’s. Seems a number of Irish moved down to Mexico. Don’t recall when, or why, but there was a short explanation on the menu.

                  1. A lot of Irish without kinfolk moved down to Mexico during the Mexican War — often by deserting the US army as a protest against anti-Catholic activities, or because they met really nice senoritas. The same thing happened a fair amount of times during the Old West, except without the desertion part.

                    I don’t think there was a lot of direct immigration from Ireland to Mexico, mostly because the Mexican government kept going atheist and anti-Catholic. (Lot of direct German and French immigration, though.) But Central and South America tended to get a fair amount of Irish immigration, particularly to English-heavy countries like Argentina or Belize.

                3. > naturally red haired Spanish folks.

                  A friend’s wife was from Spain, and had red hair. And plenty of the Conquistadors were redheads.

                  [granted, various cultures and times didn’t distinguish much between “blond” and “red.”]

                  1. I’m familiar with the strawberry blonde or the “red highlights in the sun” sorts, but not gosh-oh-patrick red.

                  2. There are redheads in the North of Portugal, because there is trade with Ireland and England and has been since the 4th century BC. Its inconceivable that wouldn’t propagate to Spain.
                    Some people who sat in front of us in church when I was little had four dark haired little girls and a CARROTS little boy. facially, it was obvious he was their son.

            1. because the (inevitably) white upper middle class English majors think that Tongs and the La Cosa Nostra are either made up for movies or don’t exist anymore….

          3. the `Bad Guys` can’t be no-Whites as `only Whites are evil`.

            This seems an apt placement for this report from the New Frontiers of Idiocy:

            Student newspaper editorial: White feminists ‘should call themselves sexist, racist, and homophobic’
            A new opinion piece in the Louisiana State University student newspaper tells white women that their brand of feminism is “not inclusive.”

            “White feminists should not call themselves feminists, but instead should call themselves sexist, racist and homophobic,” student Ashlon Lusk writes in the Daily Reveille.

            “If you do not support bisexual Muslim women, you are not a feminist. If you do not support non-binary Latino men, you are not a feminist,” Lusk explains. “If you do not support women who get abortions, you are not a feminist. If you do not support immigrants, you are not a feminist.”

            According to Lusk’s editorial, feminism goes beyond merely supporting women. True feminists must also support every gender identity and sexual preference, as well as abortion and mass immigration.

            Lusk goes on to inform Caucasian individuals of a certain privilege that they possess merely for being white, and informs her readers that it is impossible to be racist or sexist towards a straight white man. In her opinion, since feminism must be inclusive, white men and women should always be mindful of their privilege because they are responsible for racism and sexism.

            “Straight white men have the most privilege of any group in the entire world. They never have to endure bigotry. You can dislike a straight white man, but you cannot affect them by being racist or sexist,” writes Lusk. “Racism and sexism are institutions built by white men to bring down other races and genders to better themselves and keep themselves at the top of the ‘food chain.’”

            Lusk concludes by complaining that feminists tend to focus too much on sexual equality, which she believes leads to too much emphasis on straight sexual equality, rather than other issues. Specifically, she believes feminists should focus more on issues like Black Lives Matter, and less on issues like Free the Nipple.

            “White feminists tend to focus on things that either only help them or don’t include every group of people. They are usually advocating for sexual equality, which is still important, but not inclusive,” writes Lusk. “Sexual equality, in theory, is very important, but straight sexual equality is usually the only thing being talked about. ‘Free the Nipple’ is an important movement, but there are bigger movements to fight for, like Black Lives Matter.”

            In case there was any question as to whether a white, pro-life woman would be welcomed by ultra-left feminists at a movement such as the Women’s March, Lusk has given us an answer. And of course, that answer is no.

            1. These sorts of people use to get a 5×8 padded room and lots of lithium, along with a nice new coat with reallllly long sleeves.
              Now they go to college.

            2. Virtue Signaling is always about self promotion. And what a better way to gain Diversity Points then by Virtue Shaming your fellow proggies?

              1. I used to call progressives Miltonic Satanists…given how often they eat their own they are Cannibal Miltonic Satanists.

                1. Screwtape’s Hell works in pretty much the same fashion. If human souls aren’t available for dinner, demonic souls will suffice.
                  In fact, much of the Left functions in the same way CS Lewis described Hell in the Screwtape Letters: “We must picture Hell as a state where everyone is perpetually concerned about his own dignity and advancement, where everyone has a grievance, and where everyone lives the deadly serious passions of envy, self-importance, and resentment.”

              1. We have ‘whitesplaining’ and ‘mansplaining’ (whatever the heck those are <i<today; is this an example of ‘progsplaining;?

      2. *headdesk*

        Yeah, because it’s not a totally freaking obvious “hidden world” type thing when you aren’t going to stick to Exactly One Mythology Is Realistic.

        The various Asian groups acting like, y’know, real Asian groups is probably raaaaacist, too, huh?


        1. The real white privilege (and male privilege and straight privilege and ablist privilege and cis privilege and whatever I missed that has been added) is being allowed to actually have the full range of human emotions, thoughts, and actions, both good and bad.

          If you aren’t privileged your thoughts, goals, feelings, and such are assigned to you by progressives, mostly white women and a few white men, and woe be you to try and seize the privilege of thinking and acting for yourself.

        2. Next you’ll be saying that Roma characters should never be accused of petty larceny and fortune telling, or that no German woman of a Certain Age would be a house-cleaning fanatic.

          And heaven forefend that an Italian or Irish person be *gasp* Catholic!

            1. Hah! Tell that to Farrakhan!

              Jews are the Ur-white man of the world and thus may be attacked with impunity.

              Louis Farrakhan: ‘Jews are my enemy,’ ‘white folks are going down’
              Rev. Louis Farrakhan gave a Saviours’ Day 2018 Address on Sunday in which he declared that “the powerful Jews are my enemy,” and “white folks are going down.”

              The Chicago speech went widely unnoticed at first, but garnered more traction on Wednesday when excerpts were tweeted out. CNN anchor Jake Tapper, for example, tweeted out a thread of the keynote speech with some of his quotes, and said Farrakhan was more dangerous than other “alt-reich” leaders because he “has a much larger following and elected officials meet with him openly.”
              * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
              Remember, to criticize Farrakhan is racissssss.

              1. Well, he is Islamic, isn’t he?

                In that case, as the Perfect Man was Jewish, and in as much as He was not black, He was “white,” the guy does have a point. Totally backwards on the whole correlation between being the ultimate white guy and being the ultimate expression of humanity, but eh, the guy is old and bonkers…..

    1. Sky Dragon is racist? I’m SUPER racist then, my dragon is Shen Lun. I also named somebody in not one but two different traditions, ancient Sumerian and Chinese. She’s been calling her husband Monkey King.

      Take me to re-education, bailiff. >:D

  12. Sarah, I agree with everything except your last three words. Gavin Becker says you’re wrong on that one. But definitely “don’t give up!”.

  13. And even though twitter mobs are not known for their calm, sanity or for that matter large numbers.

    It’s not the twitmobs they’re really playing to, it’s the CEO-tables at Davos next year that they are trying to impress. Even if their actions tank their company’s standing in the real world and bottom line results, next year at Davos they and their significant others will all get mad props from the C-suite Elite.

    1. I’ve also seen in multiple examples; the founder of a successful enterprise is well focused on that business, ignoring trivialities. As leadership passes to further generations (either family owned or corporate; see Hewlett-Packard), the focus drifts away from the enterprise at hand, and more to external factors. Go long enough and rolling left is considered a viable option. They tend to forget it’s “roll left and die”.

      OTOH, this means the small furry critters can take over when the dinosaurs go extinct.

      1. Re dinosaurs: Yep. It would have been actually easy for IBM to lock up the PC market, and the PC OS market, as a sole-source monopoly for decades if they had been just a little more flexible and forward-looking. No Microsoft, no Apple, and all IBM PC all the time. And with Apple strangled in the cradle (or acquired), I’d argue no smart phones.

        IBM being stupid had an amazingly huge downstream positive impact on eth world today.

        1. I recall an article on Microsoft’s rise to dominance which reported that Gates, strapped for capital back in the Eighties, had offered to essentially give MS to Big Blue.

          IBM said they had no interest in “toys” and that their “minor” investment in MS was largely charitable.

        2. When their “personal computer” line took off, the old line mainframers took it as a threat to their corporate supremacy and did their best to crush it. They finally managed to persuade the executives to dump the whole product line, which is why they sold it all to Lenovo for peanuts.

          1. well, at that point the consumer end of their PC market was dead, and Dell and HP were covering the business machines better than them, too. Their workstations and working laptops were good, and are still decent.

    2. They are also playing to the CEOs of the NRA and GOA…I had let both memberships lapse but given they started this crap during bonus season I’m not a lifetime member of both.

      1. I seriously considering rejoining the NRA. I let my membership lapse decades ago when we were in a financial tight, was already PO’d at how they didn’t listen to members, and then angered at the incessant hounding to return. I could imagine my wife getting it after I died, and didn’t like it at all.

        I’ve never heard of the GOA until the last few days, and looking into it. I’m a bit careful of who I join.

  14. …the hope of civilization rests on the shoulders of the Odds, the Goats, the odd man out.

    Oh, the folks who invented the stuff that made it?

  15. It’s not you, those institutions, stores, corporations, and most large human organizations have gone stone cold stupid. Mostly because they are staffed and managed by second and third generation products of our virtually mandatory public indoctrination school system.

    Daily math problems. Sometimes I have to laugh my butt off at myself. Give me a problem, and my mind spits out the right number, but without placing the decimal. I have to go back, look at it, and then remember where it goes. Ditto the unit of measure.
    “How many miles is it between here and Market Basket?”
    “About 5 dollars.”
    “Sorry, I mean 5 miles.”
    Usually because I’m thinking about too many different things at the same time.

    Messed up Amazon orders. I just have this picture of shoals of lonely lost quadcopter drones aimlessly milling around the Great Plains until they run out of power. Queue the M.T.A. Song:

    “Well, did he ever return?
    No he never returned and his fate is still unlearned (what a pity)
    He may ride forever ‘neath the streets of Boston
    He’s the man who never returned…”

    “Stop working so hard.” Oh yeah, been there, heard that. Only part that applies to is if I’m working so hard I’m neglecting my own health. Making everyone else look like lazy slugs? Too bad.

    I stopped most socializing with my workmates when I had kids. Sorry guys, need to take the kids to scouts, or go camping, or watch a play. Had to buy sport equipment so can’t buy you all a round this time. Of course current job I’m surrounded by female nurses and being the only guy at a social event means I’m the odd ball, and if wife isn’t invited and available, I’m going to take the Mike Pence defensive measures.

    What is good? How about moral behavior to start with? And yes, I adhere to the RAH philosophy on what constitutes moral behavior. It promotes family and human survival. Nothing in the universe has value unless it somehow promotes survival of your family, your group, or the human race. And sometimes you have to destroy something of low value to build something of greater value – like running a pipeline across the open tundra or prairie for a few decades, or chopping off a mountain top that nobody ever used except a couple of bear, turkeys and deer to get at a couple cubic miles of coal. You can replace the material afterwards. Despoiling the Moon, the asteroids, Mars? LOL! Those have no value without us!

    Yes, build under, over, around, through. But be prepared for the mindless government and the busybodies who like to use it to enforce their biases on the rest of us.
    “I say him digging in that wetland without a permit! You have to arrest him and fine him!”
    “You mean the swamp he owns, where he shoveled out a wheelbarrow load to put in his garden?”
    Like it never occurs to them that the sediment in the marsh came from 300 years of erosion from bad farming practices. /sigh

    1. Messed up Amazon orders. I just have this picture of shoals of lonely lost quadcopter drones aimlessly milling around the Great Plains until they run out of power.

      Last issue of last year Analog had a cute short about an automated house troubleshooter called in for bad drone deliveries that were annoying the neighbors. Turned out the owner was traveling more for work and the cat had figured out how to one click things to get the drones to deliver so it could swat the drones.

      I’m not sure how much longer that will be fiction.

      1. SNORT!! Oh heavens I can see one of my cats doing just that.
        Although he’d probably order cat toys for his sibling (He’s a giver that way…).

        1. It was really funny. I hadn’t bought an issue and I was pleasantly surprised by the relative lack of politics and gray goo. A couple of the shortest stories annoyed as they were clearly just to make a leftist point (about exploited labor and unions) but even they at least kinda tied it to some tech advance. One story featured a long broken up gay couple but didn’t call attention to them so I’m willing to assume the author just saw them that way.

          Even the environmental apocalypse story was non-leftists…the disaster was earth made at least as much as not, the back to nature cult was nearly wiped out, and the survivors when contacted by the tech survivors actually wanted to trade even if they wanted to maintain some of their ways.

          One author, in particular, I want to track down based on the story.

      2. This year at Christmas, for the first time, we had an Amazon messup. Not to us, specifically–we got a package that was someone else’s. And, of course, no way to figure out who it was originally supposed to go to (our name/address was on the box), and no options for giving it back. :/

        1. I had a $$$ medical textbook appear. I ended up sending photos of the paperwork to Amazon and the sender, and they took it back. No idea if the person who needed it ever got a copy. Neither the ‘Zon nor the book store had any idea how the foul-up happened.

          1. I recently had an order go awry. A Blu-ray disk I had bought went to the address of a friend for whom I had previously purchased a gift through Amazon. All I can surmise is that the One-Click order had dropped down an option menu without my noticing it. When the arrival was several days overdue I checked the order, detected the addressing error and sent friend a note of explanation, then re-ordered the movie for myself.

            All reasonable and I’ve taken steps to avoid Amazon “prompting” such gifts again.

            Still, unnecessary and should not have happened.

            Amazon ought not be blamed for items properly addressed yet gone awry — that is clearly on their shippers and blame should be directed there. Still, Amazon holds the big stick and should apply it lavishly given their dependence on said shippers. I wonder whether they’ve calculated a break point of such errors when their business model collapses?

            1. that is clearly on their shippers
              Not entirely. Some of their shipping is done by Amazon employees now.

              And all of this might be explained by whatever glitch it is in their system (or some mischievous gremlin) that keeps sending sex toys to certain people.

              1. One ought not discard too readily the possibility that such glitches are the work of competitors and/or disgruntled employees (of which I gather Amazon has no fewer than any other large employer.) Certainly it seems incumbent upon them to review security protocols and other prophylactics against such malicious intervention.

            2. We order Amazon Prime Pantry stuff for my mother, still living in Midwestern Metro Area. A lot of the stuff she needs is either unnecessary or an allergen to us, so I’ve resisted the One-Click system.

              The pantry box is fun. The algorithm says 9 pieces of $ITEM fit in a pantry box, but in reality, only 8 do. They’ll charge us for the rate for one box, and ship two (always 8 pcs in one, and a single in another). The two boxes don’t necessarily come from the same warehouse, and it’s random as to how it gets shipped; USPS, UPS, or Amazon. Never saw FedEx ship Pantry, though.

    2. Despoiling the Moon, the asteroids, Mars? LOL! Those have no value without us!
      Ummm, well, there’s that whole “orbital mechanics” thing. It’s kinda important. But we gotta do a LOT of mining to change that much.

      And then there’s that whole Titan Europa thing. Don’t touch!

      1. Along those lines, and adding in the “by then we’ll have come up with an answer”……
        What if we launch our garbage into space, and make asteroids/comets out of it, to replace the ones we pull out of the orbital mechanics equation by mining?

      2. Nope. Orbital mechanics are absolute valueless without humans to benefit from them. In fact, call be homocentric, there’s no value to the universe without us; unless some other allegedly intelligent species is out there. I kind of hope there are, if only to teach us a bit of humility.

  16. Most of my friends have had run ins with employers in the last few years, and the reasons will startle you: they were doing too much and were too competent.

    The charges ranged from “showing off” to “Causing trouble by doing too much.” All of which boiled down to “You’re making other people look bad.

    This is common enough that there’s a running joke about it, with folks making mock-complaints when someone is doing a good job.

    You’ll love the punchline, here:
    the places I’ve heard of this were all Federal service jobs. 😀
    Folks get complemented for working hard and doing a good job, by co-workers that it might make look bad, in a federal job. (They do get more work, too, but it also helps on work reviews and such.)

    1. I will confirm from my 25 years of Federal civil service that the standard reward for doing good work is even more work. But then I came to my gubmint position after 15 years in the private sector, so most assuredly a hexagonal peg in a round hole.

      1. The gov’t folks I know are uniformly, well, prior uniform-wearers in well suited jobs, too.

        I can easily see the unemployment office, or the DoE, doing the BS stuff. The “stop the bad guys” groups, OTOH, not so much.

        1. Yup. And thank you for noticing the difference. I put in some very hard 16-hour days at times. Flight test is a nasty, hard business.

        2. Sometimes. Sometimes not. Notwithstanding the glory the fibs and sheriff Dept have covered themselves in, the reason I threatened to quit if I wasn’t pulled back internal as opposed to contracted to govt was that in 8 hrs they only had about 3 of work.

      2. I learned that doing extra in the workplace invariably resulted in my co-workers doing less. Then complaining bitterly when I quit doing extra stuff.

    2. I was once startled at the negative reaction I got to mentioning how great the 1980’s eventually were, especially coming after the utterly abysmal dismal 1970’s. The person said I had that completely backwards. This was bewildering as it was against my direct experience… until the reveal… public sector employee. That explained it all, alas.

      More recently another said I was heartless for the desire of public sector employees to need to *perform* and show utility, just like those in the private sector. I suspect there are good many that would have no problem (the local license bureau, for example, is almost the exact opposite of the usual DMV jokes.) but those that would… sure get vocal about being having to descend to equality.

      1. There are always individuals who want to shine, do the job well, and make things happen.

        The question is, how much power does the entrenched system exert to kill off those disruptive impulses toward efficiency and capability so as to preserve and expand positions for unfireable time-servers.

      2. This is one of the things that makes me feel like I’m nuts. Economically this is probably one of the most aggressive years I have seen since college. More hiring in last 6 months than previous two years. But that’s all evil and a lie according to gestalt.

  17. I believe it’s Harvard Business School that teaches the best managers hire people as smart or smarter then them, then manage them to utilize their skills to make the organization succeed. The worst managers prefer people dumber then them so they always look good in comparison, and any missteps can be blamed on poor performing subordinates.There’s a lot of the second type in state employment.

    There’s another type that I don’t remember being covered, that I’ve seen all too often in my field. Alcoholics and heavy drinkers prefer to hire and promote other alcoholics and heavy drinkers regardless of qualifications and abilities.

    1. I’d make that last a more general rule, since nutjobs of all stripes prefer to hire similar nutjobs — basically, tribalism applies all the way down.

      1. I’d swear we had 8 years of incompetent communists. Malice and incompetence; might have to do a tweak to Heinlein’s variation on Hanlon’s Razor.

        1. Thank God they weren’t competent communists! The death toll would be much higher.

        2. Nine years and six weeks ago, Obama and his administration brought forth to this continent much incompetence. With malice toward many, and charity (extracted from the many) toward some…

    2. “I believe it’s Harvard Business School that teaches the best managers hire people as smart or smarter then them, then manage them to utilize their skills to make the organization succeed. “

      *waggles hand* Smarter, maybe. Competence on the other hand? At the specific job to-be-done? That’s an instant hire.

      I’ve had some *very* smart people working with me/for me on occasion. They weren’t always the best workers. Not bad people, mind you just… very distractible, in one case, and in another, the kind of smart that can create the stupidest problems, if that makes any sense.

      Work ethic, competence, anticipation of what’s needed next, that kind of thing will always get hired. And promoted. With the right person in the right place, you can get a spirit of emulation that will get most folks moving (there are always some that won’t no matter what).

        1. Well that would definitely make more sense than how I looked at it in the first place. *chuckle* I’ve had to teach a lot of skills over the years to folks who ended up better than me at those tasks (several thousand repetitions and you tend to find out the most efficient way to do things right), and while I can still *train* anyone to do the things I can do, folks who do them every day will always be my betters.

  18. I fear we will never hit Peak Derp – the universe’s supply is simply too great. And it reproduces too quickly, like a common household mold.

    1. Not sure if the quote is apocryphal or not, but it seems too good to not to use here:

      “There are only two things that are infinite: the universe and human stupidity. And I’m not sure about the universe.”
      – Einstein

    2. The real problem is bogosity, the physical manifestation of derp at the atomic level, behaves in an opposite manner from properties like heat.

      It concentrates instead of spreading. Once something has more bogosity, or is more bogus to use the technical term, than its environment it sucks surrounding bogosity to it making it even more bogus.

      Once you hit the bogosity horizon there is no coming back although others who are less bogus will often stand near you to allow you to absorb their bogosity and pushing you further past the horizon.

          1. And increase my exposure?!
            I am almost certainly outclassed by pretty much everyone at LibertyCon, but at least I’m ‘bathed’ in cluon radiation for a change.

            1. I am internally forced to compliment you on that post. “Cluon radiation”!! The smile hurts my face. “But it’s a GOOD hurt.”

      1. You’ve been contemplating Climate “Science” again, haven’t you? You know how cranky that makes you …

        1. Actually, I originated that theory in the Navy to explain why bad commands got worse while good ones got better.

          And climate science doesn’t make me cranky, climate pseudo-science does.

        2. And actually, I’ve been winning the 2015 O. Henry Prize stories which has made me very cranky. I put a comment on this thread about it early on but WordPress appears to have eaten it.

            1. WP has yet to email my notification of the posting of today’s blog entry. I am additionally aware of comments that qualify as normal being held in moderation vile. I second the WPDE sentiment.

              1. I now perceive that several posts on this thread have yet to arrive in my inbox even though it has been ninety minutes or more since their time stamp on the posted blog comment. WTF,WP?

              2. Update: WP has delivered this to my email inbox, time stamped as of March 03, 8:06 AM.

                Maybe it’s just my email server, but I still believe WPDE.

  19. I quit an IT support position in the early oughts (various reasons). I was buying lunch a ½ year later near my old job, and ran into a buddy from the department. He told me they’d eventually hired three people to fill my [single] position, and the three still weren’t able to do everything I’d been doing. (Will was PO’d about it because he had to take up the slack.)

    …I’ve got to the point where I just don’t respond to obvious vapidity anymore. I mean, sometimes I *know* the person I’m talking to isn’t stupid, but their ignorance is so deeply stubborn that it’s simply not worth the effort.

    1. But it can be so much fun. Just ask a clerk if they’ll take Hawaiian currency, or tell someone you’ll have to write a prescription for their computer virus.

      1. I always enjoy the look of befuddlement on a clerk’s face when I point out a register error in my favor. Or in a cash transaction when I hand them a bill and odd collection of coins. Apparently it must be pure chance that my change winds up being two quarters instead of a handful of pennies.

        1. There once was a clerk who had to be told by the manager to ring up the bill and coins

        2. And the fact we can do the odd change to get quarters thing in our heads blows their poor little maleducated minds.

          You know I just realized there seems to be a direct correlation between the age of the cashier and their ability to quickly make change at most places. Did they stop teaching it in school? I remember our plastic coins and funny money we used to practice in grade school back in the 80s

          1. Choking hazard.

            Not joking.

            I learned because my mom let us help run the 4-H booth.

            Kept in practice because everything is a teaching opportunity and I hate pennies.
            A lot of places won’t let you make change for $5.14 if you already typed in $5; it’s an anti-theft system, since some thieves kept making “mistakes” that incidentally always ended up in the penny jar to their right, then vanished at the end of shift. (Probably other methods, but I didn’t learn them.)

      2. More fun if you ask if they take Guamanian currency. And yes, I’ve done it…

        1. Never done that, but I have asked if they take Federal Reserve Notes.

          Oh, if you don’t “get it”, look at a dollar bill. 😉

        2. Eh, be nice to the clerks. You never know if they’ve been burnt by the “that is so stupid, it HAS to be a joke” thing by guessing wrong.

      3. Somewhat related- but not quite the same thing, when I lived in El Cajon in the People’s Republic of California, I lived on Via Hacienda. I had the following conversation verbatim many many times:
        “Is that a street or a road?”
        “It’s a via.”

    2. Retired from my last job. They replaced me with 3 people, 2 years ago, & the replacements still aren’t close to making up for my leaving. Yes, they miss me. No, not looking to go back. Miss what I did. But when the urge comes I take a nap & get over it. Would I have retired if certain changes had been made that I requested? Probably not, would not have been the ultimately the right decision, so I guess not getting what I wanted was a good thing.

  20. We’re seeing what happens when Theory and Reality collide.

    Reality always wins.

  21. This was once known as “Getting above your raising,” and has enougth cross-cultural aspects in various places and times to suspiciously look like it’s hardwired. You can find what happens next in various places all across the United States: They are either dying, or aren’t there anymore.

    The anti-industrial streak isn’t new. I know of places that went that route in the late 19th Century. Usually the root cause is upsetting the status quo. The end result is that towns wither and die. Meanwhile, the torch gets passed to places who did go after new industry, to people who want to prosper.

    As it is with towns, so is it with businesses. Perhaps MBAs do so poorly with innovation is because the last think you want in a business are things like creative accounting. But what I find troubling is the deficit in common knowledge. Walmart boasts that it hasn’t sold automatic weapons since 2015. A true enough statement, but it means some idiot in management doesn’t comprehend the difference between semi-automatic and automatic, or that this means Walmart has never sold automatic weapons.

    Of course, there doesn’t always have to be a Walmart, just as there doesn’t always have to be a Sears or Woolworths, just as you don’t have to fly Delta or rent from Avis or go with MetLife, and I’d stopped recommending Symantic for technical and business reasons years ago. And likely there won’t be. The rule seems that the stupid wither and fade away.

    That’s why, other than living in a blighted area (and my years are considerably less now), I don’t have much concern. Oh, it’s going to mean misery for those remaining in blighted areas and employees who loose their jobs when their company folds, but things go on – just they go on elsewhere.

    1. Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.

      This is known as “bad luck.

      We live in a society determined to create a lot of bad luck.

    2. The problem comes in when those failures are so big and pervasive, and protected. So, a company grows big enough to be the industry (by virtue of protective regulation), then it goes stupid, rolls left and dies.

      But you can’t walk away to the innovative small company over there.
      Because the big guy killed it. And its siblings.

      And the new innovative companies can’t arise until the behemoth is not only dead, but the carcass has decayed and allowed some breathing room.

      1. True – in the same business as the dying behemouth. We get ghost towns when the main industry dies and nothing replaces it. Doesn’t matter if it’s gold or cotton.

        That’s no comfort to those who remain, and yet because one place and one industry dies does not mean that all places and all industries die.

  22. About the NRA, it’s become the villain because gun-controllers don’t want to admit the truth that the reason no politician is going to vote for gun control legislation is because his constituents would camp out in front of the polls to vote him out and the next election. To the extent that the NRA has power, it’s because the NRA announcing that you’re unreliable on gun rights is the kiss of death in any district outside of the deep, deep blue cities. But to admit that means that the job of the controllers is to convince millions of gun owners and millions of other gun rights supporters that no, 2nd Amendment isn’t important. It’s much easier to just fight against some shadowy cabal secretly forcing politicians to vote as they want, and the NRA is probably the best known choice for that cabal.

    1. The assault weapon ban of 1994 had one and only one positive effect. Its passage cost the Democrats congress in the following midterm elections, thus convincing them that national gun control was too toxic a topic to address. But now 24 years later that lesson seems to have aged off. Must be time for a refresher course.
      Interestingly, I read that the NRA spent something like $30 million on the 2016 campaign while the labor unions spent $1.5 billion. It’s not really so much the money the NRA spends on lobbying politicians, it’s that its 5 million members tend to be single issue voters with no shyness about writing letters or making phone calls.

      1. Targeted spending, like targeted munitions, can provide a much more desirable result at less cost than carpet bombing the entire theater.

      2. The NRA spent $5 million (see comment below) in 2017, of their own money, not money extorted under threat of loss of job. Of course, that means they don’t have to spend billions lobbying politicians to keep those financial taps open.

      3. It’s also oft-forgotten these days that the assault-weapon ban of 1994 was still in effect in 1999, and didn’t stop the Columbine shooting.

        1. I, and several other folks my age and background, have been making that point a LOT.

          “They already tried an assault weapon ban. 94-04. Columbine was in 99.”

          1. They also tend to overlook forget that there is no legally supportable definition of “assault weapon” — “looks scary” is not a standard readily definable in court (although I’ve scant doubts there are many judges who presume to do so.”

            1. YEah, but that’s a little in the weeds for most folks– they will be saying “we should ban assault rifles!” because that is what folks they trust are saying, and so responding as if it must’ve just been accidentally over-looked or forgotten that it’s been tried can get through, if they’re reachable.

              1. Just pointed out recently in a facebook discussion the the AR-15 isn’t an infantry weapon, and that no Army in the entire world issues a semi-automatic weapon as standard issue to infantry. The reply from gun hating liberal’ “Yes, it is, but they call it the M-16!”. So an infantryman then commented with all the parts that were different. Her reply- “They look the same, so they’re the same thing!” His reply, which we here think of as a riposte, “Men and women pretty much look the same, but they’re not. Just a few parts are different.” She never answered that…

                  1. Heck, they can evidently have menstruation. If you define things broadly enough…………..

                    1. Warning: off color to follow…

                      No. That’s lesbian, different part of the rainbow alphabet

                  1. Had the M1 Garand. No longer issued. Limited use during Viet Nam, which saw the first use of the M16.

                    1. yes, but i have had Californians respond with that exact string of logic ” we did during WW2″ and then if you point out bolt actions in WW1….

                    2. You’re thinking of the M-14 which was standard issue from 1959-1964. Based on the M-1 Garand design it it incorporated a detachable box magazine, full automatic capability, and downsized from the .30-06 to the .308 Winchester cartridge. The rifle and ammo were quite heavy, but still powerful enough to make it uncontrollable in full auto fire. Lessons learned from WWII and Korea caused DOD to move from a strategy of aimed fire to one of fire suppression necessitating a lighter more controllable firearm and cartridge resulting in the M-16 and its variants.

                    3. The Navy still had some Garands in early ‘Nam. Mostly 7.62 conversions, but still, they existed.

                    4. In the services you often see weapons long since retired for general issue retained either as a cost savings or because they really are better for certain specific applications. For ex: 1903 Springfield bolt action rifles were used by sniper teams all through WWII, and certain special ops units will still to this day carry .45 caliber 1911 pattern pistols in preference to the standard 9mm issued sidearms.

            2. Well, there is one, based on the first* and most commonly applied use of that term. But it doesn’t fit the bill for these folks. Because those are already basically illegal.

              (* Sturmgewehr. Select fire, medium caliber rifle/carbine.)

            3. This had me passing around a print of the “Hello Kitty” AR-15. After the tip here, added a Kalashnikitty. Then found one of a “Hello Kitty” AR-15 and a regular AR-15. The Pink AR-15 says “I’m better than you.” The regular AR-15 says “It’s because I’m black, isn’t it.”

            4. Yeah, I mean, technically aren’t ALL weapons for assaulting something…? (And since anything can be a weapon, by logical extension ALL things are assault weapons.)

          2. “Well, they didn’t do it right!”
            Same cry as when you point out the numerous failures of socialism/communism.

            1. Yeah, I’m waiting for that one– two shotguns, a hand-gun and a rifle designed to comply with the assault weapons ban.
              (for folks wondering about weapons used for stuff:
              https://www.cga.ct.gov/2013/rpt/2013-R-0057.htm )

              I’d forgotten that some of the weapons were bought by his girlfriend, too– odd, how the whole “had a girlfriend” thing was memoryholed.

              1. And she was not charged for straw purchase. But all these laws are just for safety. Not for creating an unarmed subject class for the elites and tin starred despots to abuse

                1. Combine that with the push for taking away folks’ guns based on stuff like a psychologist saying they might need therapy and it gets into seriously creepy land.

                  (I don’t have a problem with considering psychological risks– I have a problem with it not having legal protections, and with someone who is a known danger having ONE relatively obvious weapon removed. If someone is dangerous enough to take their guns, then you need a due process to remove them from being a threat.)

                  1. Ya. Protective custody does need some modification imo but Tro is not difficult and if the process is actually utilized it works. In a decade of 911 I have seen it used twice. Both times after actual attempts.

                    1. Gets more annoying because it’s state to state– I’ve mentioned before that up in Washington, the family of a guy who chases people around with kitchen knives has been flatly informed that there is nothing mental health services can do until he sends someone to the hospital, and even then it’ll be secondary to the legal system.

                      I can’t get the sheer horror of it out of my head… imagine being someone whose mind is broken, but can be fixed with drugs.

                      You go off the drugs.

                      You slaughter someone you love.

                      You get arrested…and they put you back on the drugs, so your mind works.
                      When you get out, are you going to keep taking the drugs and have to live with that… or hide in insanity, and do it again?

                      It’s the werewolf thing of destroying what you love, but without the protective layer of fiction.

                    2. Ya. Thankfully I’ve just dealt with self injuries and my tendency is to apathy and wanting to not awake rather than hurting others.

                      And ya. One of the aspects of a bestial form and minds that can be extremely interesting to explore. One of the stories in Monster Hunter Files touches on it and I keep coming Back to possibly using same thing on trying to get something together that can be published

                    3. Iirc Newtown family was fighting to get the shooter committed but it’s extremely difficult. This case there were more than enough felonies and assaults that he should have been helped.

                      And like many laws the folks that get hammered are the ones who are no danger. The ones that use wrong verbiage or term in front of wrong person. I know it worries me a lot because I’m trying to figure out how to explain that I’m having trouble following reality. Not because I am hallucinating or similar but because the trains of illogic are hard to comprehend.

                    4. I believe it was only his mom, because his dad split– but yeah, they theorize that’s both why he killed her, and why he went to the school that she use to volunteer at.

                      Because she loved those kids, he wanted them to die.


                      I’m not sure if I understand what you mean on the trains of logic thing– I THINK it’s a scarier version of when people look at me and can’t figure out what on earth I’m talking about, because while we’re looking at the same thing they’re paying attention to different stuff, and using different assumptions.

                      I was thinking in terms of the constant push to make basically “does not play well with others” an actual mental issue.
                      Being an introvert isn’t a mental defect.
                      Neither is not wanting to socialize with who you’re “supposed” to. (Funny how resisting peer pressure is both what they scream at you to do, and what they freak out when you actually do, huh?)

                    5. This shooting was one of the things that set it off. Failure at every level charged to stop this and yet the only people punished will be those that had nothing to do with it.

                      I’ve been dealing the fact that I’ve lost every ounce of trust or pride in the US and this just adds to it. But you say that you fear lynch mobs and you’ll be called a paranoid schizophrenic. I am fully aware I am concerned about something most people consider a small possibility but it’s still there. But identifying as a dragon the size of a house is to be supported and commended. This is where I just get confused and fear.

                    6. *snarl* It’s not that it’s a rare but real thing, it’s that your solutions don’t match their theory, so you must be destroyed.

                      I’ve had folks respond very badly to finding out that lynching was really not that uncommon, and it wasn’t just blacks– and for that matter, some of the folks who were executed outside of the law likely deserved it, and in some studied cases it was in direct response to “if they aren’t executed, they are going to “escape” AGAIN before the legal system can act.”

                      They want to only look at the freaking murderous mobs that bypassed a relatively functional legal system that would have given “justice” of a flavor they didn’t like.

                      …and I think I just walked into why it pissed them off so much. The “justice” is a result that I like thing.

                    7. Heaven forfend they read a book written by a white cis-gender male, but if they would read Owen Wister’s The Virginian they would learn something about the topic, as a non-judicial hanging is a critical turning point in the novel.

                      The history of lynching is far more nuanced than they recognize.

                    8. you’ll be called a paranoid schizophrenic.

                      How dare they attempt to delegitimize your feelings!

                    9. It’s not as much the delegitimize my feelings but the labeling and loss of job and hobbies.

                  2. It seems inevitable that the American Psychology Association will add “desire to own a gun” to their Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders.

                    After all, what sane person would wish to own a gun rather than use one issued to xir by the government (anybody challenging use of appropriate pronouns is also presumptively psychologically disturbed.)

        2. K, I got curious.

          The median age for the US is about 37.

          That means that your average person remembers Columbine as a kid, but unless they were really into politics they don’t remember the end of that gun ban, much less it getting voted in.

    2. It was recently pointed out (at NRO’s gangblog, The Corner) that the NRA gives significantly less political donation money than does Planned Parenthood (which also has far more blood on its hands, but never mind) and the NRA is, unlike Planned Parenthood, both non-partisan and not lobbying for government funds in any way.

      The idea that the NRA buys politicians by its meagre contributions is absurd and if those opposing the NRA truly believed that their answer would be simple: donate more than the NRA gives; it’s only about $5 million a year, a pittance to Harvey Weinstein, George Soros, Tom Steyer or any of the other critics.

      I look forward to the Democrat Party and all its representatives publicly denouncing the NRA, refusing their “blood money” and making fealty to this repudiation as much party writ as support for abortion at will, even unto the forty-eighth month.

      1. Good Grief, Chuck! I barely just finished typing that!

        Democrats to propose weapons ban, gun confiscation powers in bill inspired by Trump
        by Susan Ferrechio | Mar 1, 2018, 2:07 PM
        Senate Democrats said they will introduce a gun control bill that would expand background checks, ban certain weapons, and give the courts the power to temporarily take guns away from people who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others, after President Trump offered support for these goals in a White House discussion Wednesday.

        Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said the only way to advance the measure in the GOP-led Senate is with the endorsement and help from President Trump. He described a scenario in which the Senate could pass Schumer’s proposal with mostly Democratic support and a few Republicans encouraged by Trump.

        “The NRA has had the Republican Party in a headlock for decades,” Schumer said. “Only the president — this president — will have the power to overcome their strength and get his Republican allies on Capitol Hill to move to a place that embraces common sense gun safety policies.”

        Schumer acknowledged GOP leaders aren’t likely to simply bring up the proposal for a vote without pressure from the president. He said he has not yet spoken to Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., about the bill.

        “The president is the first step,” Schumer said, adding that McConnell will not likely bring up the bill “without the president’s persuasion.”

        Trump on Wednesday upended the stalled gun control legislation debate during a televised meeting with lawmakers in which he appeared to side with Democrats. During the meeting, Trump told lawmakers he endorsed universal background checks, raising the age for gun purchases, and said he would even consider supporting a ban on guns like AR-15 style rifles like the one that was used in the high school shooting in Florida last month.

        Trump also called for taking guns away from the mentally ill and worrying about due process issues later.

        Schumer’s proposal would allow family and law enforcement to petition a court for protective orders that “temporarily disarm” people who have demonstrated that they are a threat to themselves or others.

        While many Republicans recoiled at the president’s posture on gun control, elated Democrats are now moving quickly to put down in legislation many of the Trump-endorsed ideas that align with what Democrats have long strived to turn into law.

        Schumer said the specifics of the Democratic bill, including the language for universal background checks and court-ordered gun confiscation, would come later.

        “These comprehensive proposals are designed to plug a wide range of loopholes and deficiencies in our gun safety laws,” Schumer said Thursday.

        The third leg of the Democratic proposal, which would ban what Democrats say are “assault-style” weapons, is a nonstarter with most Republicans.

        Schumer suggested Democrats are willing to give up some parts of the bill. He said he would at least be willing to discuss a provision to arm teachers and school administrators, which Trump has also endorsed, if it is part of a deal to pass the Democratic proposal.

        “To get these things done, I’m not drawing any lines in the sand,” he said.

        Senate Republicans this week tried to quickly pass a bill that would bolster reporting to the National Criminal Instant Background Check System, or NICS.

        It was blocked by Republicans seeking fixes to due process problems in the NICS system. Democrats also opposed quick passage because they wanted to expand it to include at least universal background checks, and as a result, the bill has stalled.

        1. This was always what worried me about Trump. In his heart, he’s a New York Democrat, and the actual New York Democrats appear to be figuring that out.

        2. I still need to follow up on whether Trump actually said that, but if it’s true, he probably just lost the 2020 election.

          Gun owners overlap almost all of the demographic that voted him in, and we never forget and seldom forgive.

          Even if nothing comes of it, *saying* it was enough.

            1. There’s at least a decent chance that if he’s lost gun owners, he might be successfully primaried.

          1. The clip I saw appeared to be him responding to the (false) claim by the local police that the shooter hadn’t done anything worthy of having his guns taken.

            Technically, I believe he hadn’t– he’d done stuff that SHOULD have gotten him locked up, although the guns being taken could have come after he was found guilty. Putting a gun to folks’ heads is rather frowned on.

            But their policy was to ignore that stuff.

            I don’t know who said it, but a responding quote: “Good TV, bad politics.”

      2. Yep, it were at NRO:

        NRA Critics Ignore Political Influence of Planned Parenthood
        Left-wing politicians and activists, along with many in the media, appear convinced that the National Rifle Association represents everything brutal and dangerous about American gun culture.

        Indeed, we’ve been told repeatedly by grim-faced pundits that — even after the recent Parkland school shooting — GOP politicians dare to accept dirty NRA dollars and, simultaneously, to oppose gun-control measures such as the bump-stock and assault-weapons bans so popular on the far left.

        This means, gun-control activists crow, that the NRA is a nasty lobbying group exercising sinister influence over our politics.

        But political lobbying hasn’t always been considered such a high crime. Even now, left-wing action groups coalesce around students from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School as they lobby for increased gun control, and there has been nary a peep in opposition.

        Among those groups is an ever-present progressive specter, a professional lobbying group in its own right: Planned Parenthood. Along with Everytown for Gun Safety, MoveOn.org, and the Women’s March LA, Planned Parenthood has chipped in to help the students strategize for next month’s March for our Lives rally.

        According to a recent Buzzfeed report, Planned Parenthood is “teaching and hosting trainings” for young activists across the U.S., working with gun-control advocate and former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords, and “helping the students with logistics, strategy, and planning for next month’s March for Our Lives rally and beyond.”

        Planned Parenthood did not respond to National Review’s request for clarification regarding the exact nature of its support for the Parkland students.

        But, of course, there have been no charges that these activist groups are exercising improper influence over the political process. Not only are the NRA’s attackers wrong to suggest that the Second Amendment group is somehow responsible for the Parkland shooting, but their outrage over its spending is so obviously selective.

        Newsweek, for example, pushed back against NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch by pointing out that the NRA spent $5 million on lobbying last year. And several outlets — not to mention progressive politicians — have noted the money that GOP politicians accept from the NRA.

        But when Senate Democrats shot down a largely popular 20-week abortion ban last month, there was no Newsweek article noting Planned Parenthood’s lobbying statistics. Nor do mainstream outlets ever point to the campaign contributions that Democratic politicians accept from Planned Parenthood and its close cousin NARAL.

        During the 2016 election cycle alone, Planned Parenthood’s political-action arms shelled out over $38 million to elect Democratic politicians. In its 2016–17 annual report, the group reported spending $40 million on “public policy,” as well as upwards of $175 million in such nebulous categories as “movement building,” “strengthening and securing Planned Parenthood,” and “engaging communities.” Undoubtedly, much of this money is flooding into the pockets of those who will push for policies that benefit Planned Parenthood’s bottom line by protecting abortion on demand.

        Planned Parenthood also — and unlike the NRA — rakes in over half a billion dollars in government funding each year. The group then turns around and spends much of that money not only to fund abortion procedures for low-income women (albeit indirectly), but also to lobby the federal government for additional funding and elect Democratic politicians who will vote to eliminate restrictions on that funding, and on abortion itself.

        If the Left and its friends in the media truly cared about the influence of “dark money,” they would bother to report this information about Planned Parenthood instead of enabling the group’s efforts to masquerade as a non-partisan, run-of-the-mill health-care provider.

        Emphasis added.

      3. They are concerned about those 5 million members, AND the other 95 million gun owners. I recall reading Instapundit this week and some discussion that there are supposed to be 300 million firearms in private hands. Could maybe be up to 600 million firearms…

        1. 600 million? Nyahhhhh … all that flooding along the Ohio and a spate of mysterious boating accidents elsewhere has greatly reduced the number of firearms out there.

  23. Insanity is the exception in individuals. In groups, parties, peoples, and times it is the rule. — Friedrich Nietzsche

    Elsewhere online, I’ve been having a conversation about ethics, in which I referred to ethics as an applied science (and mentioned Aristotle, Aquinas, and Spinoza, who all thought of it that way). That led to a couple of people saying, seemingly as an unquestionable axiom, that ethics was and could only be subjective. This seems to be one of the great dogmas of the twentieth century, but I don’t think it has worked out very well.

    1. A subjective ethic is no ethic at all.

      I somehow doubt their commitment to such an ethical standard would stand up to their being slapped across the mouth and informed that your personal ethics require you to respond so to any expression of stupidity.

    2. That led to a couple of people saying, seemingly as an unquestionable axiom, that ethics was and could only be subjective.

      That’s how it’s taught.

      Basically, they’re using “ethics” to mean “morality where you don’t have to deal with MORALS,” and as part of that they have to assume that there is no objective foundation for ethics.

      Believe it’s called circular logic, if one uses logic….

      1. Yes, well, you know, I have two thoughts about that. One is that they don’t seem to realize that these ideas they believe so strongly have a historical origin (in this case, primarily David Hume, though with a dose of cultural relativism from Friedrich Nietzsche). The other is that they seem to assume that the ideas that are current in their own time are conclusive truths. Now I’ve read enough science fiction to become accustomed to the idea that people in another hundred years may look back at our current beliefs in horror, asking, “How could they possibly have thought that?”—and not just the beliefs people in our time are a little ashamed of, but the beliefs that they’re firmest in and proudest of.

        Or, in sum, lack of historical perspective.

          1. Not to be confused with “the tyranny of the peasant,” in which the Democrats inflict socialism upon the nation after importing enough 3rd worlders to shift the balance come election time.

        1. I’m still working on an essay on that concept, and I’m going to use “eating chocolate” as the horrible thing that the future looks back on with disbelief. Because almost nobody today thinks there’s anything wrong with it, and almost everyone finds it an enjoyable thing.

          1. Chemotherapy!

            though when I describe it as feeding people poison in hopes that the sick parts die faster than the healthy parts, most people do agree it sounds like the modern equivalent of leeches.

            1. I’m so old I remember when they took my temperature by inserting a thin glass vial filled with toxic heavy metal up my butt.

            2. It’s not that novel an idea. Victorian medicine did it for infectious diseases; a lot of medical treatment was based on compounds of antimony, arsenic, and mercury, hoping that the bacteria would die before the patient did. American practice was apparently to dose with calomel (a mercury compound) till overt toxic effects showed up. It was a revolution when the only mildly toxic sulfa drugs were invented.

            3. Ooh, that would be a FUN collection to do… describing modern medicine in a way it sounds crazy.

              Full disclosure, I kinda enjoy freaking people out by pointing out I have been gutted several times, and it was totally worth it. C-section.

              So, vaccination– we expose people to deadly diseases that we hope we weakened enough they’ll learn to fight it.

              Or the dentist thing where to make your teeth look nice, they yank some of them out….

              1. Hubby has had his thigh slashed & thigh bone broken & removed, twice; & was thankful for the pain removal. Hip replacements.

                1. They’ve reassembled my head on at least four occasions I know of, more if you count removing wisdom teeth, root canals and the dental implant.

    3. It’s post-modernism. It’s one of the cornerstones for progressivism.
      So, yes, a great dogma of this century, as well. *smh*

      1. Eh. Post-Modernism is more or less an appendage of Relativism, which idea goes all the way back to Plato. And whoever Plato got some of his ideas from, I suppose (there’s hints).

        The Big ‘R’ is at its root an attack on the ideas of truth and absolutism. The funny thing is, Relativism is the weakest of philosophies. Literally any absolutist with the slightest hint of a spine crushes it utterly. Its children are the Marxist omniology (its a religion, a political system, it makes julienne fries!), the Post-(insert noun here) ideas, Nihilism, and so on. If you’ve ever heard the words “violence never solved anything!” you have heard the echoes of the damned and the doomed across a thousand generations hungering for new souls. Relativism is a death cult.

        It’s been used by a hundred tyrants both petty and far reaching to weaken minds. It is attractive particularly to disaffected youth and guys with a predeliction for eye shadow and bad French. Kant gave it a big kick in the pants, Vonnegut carried a good deal of water for it, Sartre was in it up to his nose hairs, but it was one of the Popes that coined the word as we know it (early 19th century? Can’t recall exactly at the moment).

        It’s another one of those pernicious cultural bacterium that I wish would just die. Perhaps one of the older, if not the oldest ones. Or perhaps to mangle another metaphor, it’s a symptom of cultural senility. Vigorous cultures don’t get confused about whether their enemies, who want to kill them, might have a point after all.

        1. I don’t see how you get Plato being a relativist. He was one of the founders of the idea that there are true values, and that they exist in a higher realm of which our world is an imperfect copy, and can never change—the “Form of the Good” and so on. Some of the people his dialogues have Socrates arguing with seem to have been relativists, but I’m not getting that from Plato. I’m thinking of C.S. Lewis’s humorous “Evolutionary Hymn,” with the lines

          Ask not if it’s God or devil,
          Brethren, lest your words imply
          Static norms of good and evil
          (As in Plato), throned on high. . . .

          1. You are correct, Plato is not a Relativist. But his writings form the rooty tendrils of the idea, way down deep in the past. Protagoras, to be exact (had to look back up the “who he got the ideas from,” and that was a bit of confusion I didn’t mean to imply):

            “Each thing appears to me, so it is for me, and as it appears to you, so it is for you—you and I each being a man. “

            That’s from Theatetus. Plato actually does a bit of the refuting:

            “neither any individual … can claim superior wisdom.”

            This being generally concerning the argument that if everything is “relative” then cutting off your own foot and eating is is as valid as making soup for dinner. This is all fifth century B.C. stuff (well, Protagoras was. Plato came a bit later). But even then, humans being human, there were weirdos and crackpots.

            Today, I’d say that anyone who tells you the U.S. isn’t any better than, say, Iran, North Korea, Russia, Palestinian Terrorists, Hitler, etc., and gets mad when you tell them “yes, we are the better culture, and here are some reasons why: (looooooong list)” is affected (infected?) by Relativism.

    4. “that ethics was and could only be subjective.”

      “Let me introduce you to my philosophy professors.” (Jesuits. Almost everywhere else teaches weak sauce.)

      1. I’ve seen Ayn Rand quoted as saying that in philosophy she recommended the “three A’s”: Aristotle, Aquinas, and Ayn. From a certain angle her philosophy looks like an atheistic version of Thomism.

  24. I see a number of other causes driving this;

    1) As the Progressive Left Establishment doubles down on policies that do not work, it gets harder and harder to fire somebody simply because they are a constant f*ck up with a room temperature IQ. After all, the perpetually lazy and catastrophically stupid are vicim classes!

    2) As various Political parasites drive up the minimum wage it becomes imperative to drive down manning house. So there are never enough hours to actually get a job down right. Because something the ’80’s and ’90’s demonstrated was that people will not pay what actually decent service costs, if they can get lousy service elsewhere for a dime less.

    3)The Educational establishment went tits up sometime in the mid-1990’s, and now the corpse is rotting. There are far too many goddamned many people out there convinced that their BA in Humanities or Liberal Arts means that they are too educated to be schlepping boxes. And, thus far, nobody is willing to take the leal risks involved in explaining to them that their BA labels them as oxygen thieves, and they need to bush hump to prove otherwise.

  25. What’s been boggling my mind about the Broward Coward(s), is the lefties jumping up to defend their actions with “Well, *I* wouldn’t want to run in there either! I might get shot!” And then double down when people point out “But, y’know, he was a COP and that’s more than a bit implicit in the job description, that you take those risks…”

    I especially love the ones who claim to be former military. Maybe they were, but…the ones that do so are just making the point even worse. “Well, *I’m* ex military, and I know what those guns can do, and so I totally agree with that guy letting kids die rather than possibly getting himself shot.” And then attacking all comers who then say “Well. Then you’re a coward, too.”

    The other favorite argument is “Well, unless YOU were in that situation, you can’t know that you wouldn’t hide outside too!”

    Thing is, though, I learned long ago that deciding in advance to react a certain way in a certain situation (or not do something, presented with a temptation)…it makes it a good deal easier to do/not do the thing if/when presented with the situation. Maybe not 100% certain…but having made the decision, your brain doesn’t have to lock up going “What do I do here?” It can instead go “Okay, we’ve thought about this before…so…do it or not?”

    1. To paraphrase Mark Steyn, no, I don’t know what I’d do in that situation, but I don’t think we should make cowardice the default.

      1. It’s enforced helplessness. Nobody benefits except the attackers.

    2. There’s a difference between a freeze, and a total refusal to engage at all.
      Sure, you hear a shot, you might stop because you don’t know where it came from. Bad idea. You keep moving because single shots usually never hit a moving target, especially dealing with nutso mass murderers.

      Now if it was full auto, that’s a bit different. You want short quick jumps from one piece of cover to the next as you work your way there. And you want distractions to keep the shooter’s head down and him/her not firing while you move. Too long in the open, and they’ll pop up and hose you. But the main thing is, if they’re trying to shoot you, they are NOT going after the kids or other innocent targets.

      1. There’s also the related issue that you pretty much have to hold still, and get yourself calm, to figure out the echoes for shooting.

        Some of the reports from the police sniping at that big Black Lives Matter mess are freaking priceless.

      2. Makes me wonder how good SuperCop was when he was on patrol. My guess is, he was solidly in the “My first job is to go home safe at night” camp.

        1. There was that whole “refuse to cooperate with Family Services when they asked about Cruz” thing.

    3. The other favorite argument is “Well, unless YOU were in that situation, you can’t know that you wouldn’t hide outside too!”

      Exactly, that is why there is training! Of course you don’t think, most of the time, in a disaster. You do what you’ve trained to do. (Thinking through it isn’t the best training, but it is training, and “the best” training of “run through all the possible vectors for attack in this location” is not feasible as a broad solution.)

      Heck, that’s why I know that you do NOT send a single person in to clear a building, although you might for a room– because Training.

      There’s even training about when you say “f tactics, I think going in RIGHT NOW will save a life and I’m willing to stake my life, job and any case on it”- – that might tickle your memory, it’s the same as for going in without a warrant. Immediately saving a life.

      But FFS, “It’s dangerous, and scary”!? That’s why you think about it when you’re calm.
      “OK, active shooter. I am the only armed person here. Can I see him or them? Do I know where they are? Do I have a line of communication to where they are? Do I have a line of communication to back-up” etc.

      Sometimes I wonder if the folks most willing to do the “I was in the military!” shtick are the same ones that apparently didn’t pay any freaking attention. (Elf and I recently had this rant, too– it’s like folks utterly failed to GET the terrorism/BattleSTations training.)

      1. Exactly, that is why there is training!

        Though I disagree about the tactics of moving in alone – because it’s a bunch of kids. While I might have a longer-term concern about the shooter escaping (and shooting other people elsewhere), I have an IMMEDIATE concern with stopping those kids from being shot. If I can get him to stop shooting the kids right now, then I can be concerned with possibly flushing him out of a contained space. Because that space is a killing ground, even if it goes on lockdown.

        It’s not an absolute, but a huge consideration, imo.

        1. Part of why I didn’t go in for any security stuff is because I know I would get people killed, doing exactly that.

          I would take my best guess and charge in, likely getting brained and providing the shooter with any weapons I had; even during ship’s drills, I tried to make sure I was on stuff like first aid, where I wasn’t going to get anybody killed trying to do something I can’t.


          I hate gun free school zones with a passion specifically because it creates impossible situations. Even in my high school– which held about a third as many people as just the specific building the shooter was in, and mostly on one level rather than three– there is no way for one person to respond EFFECTIVELY. It would be like putting buckets in the place of the fire extinguishers and only having those water-efficient dribbles in the bathroom to fill them, then being shocked when people die in a fire.

          1. On that second bit, I agree wholeheartedly.

            And, I have some minimal training on moving into a hostile/crowd situation. That might affect my choice.

            One of my “mind exercises” is figuring out how I would move tactically (or as the bad guy) through any building I spend much time in. Most of them would be pure hell to try and clear without a large team. Even the ones purpose-built on military installations.

        2. Training. It’s why I head towards loud sounds like reliefs lifting or runaway turbines or high pressure leaks, steam, oil, or air- to find the problem and if not fix it, at least isolate it. Lot’s of other dangerous sounds you can hear when you’re a plant operator. Where approaching the sound is more dangerous then taking cover. But the job is to approach KNOW what to do if there’s a problem. To put it another way, the job is very boring- except when it isn’t!

    4. I especially love the ones who claim to be former military.

      “What was your MOS?”


        1. or claiming to be army and giving a four digit number, or claiming to have been a marine and giving a two digit number followed by a letter (the second is more common)

          1. I’ve never served in the military, and I know it is the other way around. Heck, I even know that for the army, the 11-series are for infantry, 12 for engineers, the high numbers have some pretty esoteric technical stuff mixed in, that the MOS numbers are for enlisted only, and that there’s a different set of designations for officers.

            1. Anything above 20 changes constantly. what used to be my old mos changed as i was getting out and has changed three times since, including splitting up the work to avoid 36 week long advanced training. Army officers use the same two digits plus a number, but they are completely different digits and numbers.

        2. Favorite means of unmasking a fake vet: ask about the MOS or AFSC. If they can’t instantly give out the code number for it …
          We might have to come up with another one, though – likely the savvier fakers are wise to that dodge.

          1. Or for Navy rate AND rank. Most of us also had primary or secondary NECs, and might or might not know them. They were for the most part relatively unimportant.

            1. I’m definitely in the folks who forgets what the heck an MOS is supposed to be, only heard the term NEC a few times total (I think mine had a 67 in it?) but I could tell you my highest rank and what my rating was, and what the job I actually did was.

              That last one would probably be the best route to catch a screwball– ask them to describe what they actually did.

              1. I worked with a guy with a fantasy history of his life in the Army. The department I was in had about a dozen people and one veteran- me – retired Navy. Also had only one person who had ever lived in another state or visited another country, even Canada, 2 hours drive time away. I was a bit of an outsider… But anyway, after working there about 3 years, a new co-worker asked me if X had ever told me about his time as a POW. I looked at him oddly and said no. He asked about a few other tales X apparently peddled, and my answer was no to all of them. (The new co-worker had known X since childhood- as I said- I was an outsider….). Shortly after one of the secretaries there told me I should be nicer to him because of his time in Nam… She looked shocked when I told her he had never served. How could I not believe him? For one- he never talked with the only actual veteran in the department about his time in service. I started hearing stories about his rich fantasy life from others. State job, he retired in his 50’s. Didn’t draw retirement very long. Gun fatality. Suicide. About a year after retiring.

                I suspect most wannabes are as mentally stable as he was.

          2. If they can’t instantly give out the code number for it …

            I will note that the Air Force changed their system since I was in. Used to be 208X3a (with the “X” being a number indicating proficiency level). Now it’s something else that I have to look up to remember.

    5. In the three situations where I’ve had real danger in the area, once I froze, because that was my job – stay put and keep being the bait. [Do NOT try this at home or elsewhere, kids!] The other two times I went toward the sound of trouble, and was needed once, sent elsewhere once.

      Gunshots at Day Job? 1) Get kids OUT if we can. 2) Hide if we can’t and prepare to use whatever is on hand to distract/confuse/disable the attacker if it comes to that, Bog forbid. Kid safety is all and everything.

      1. I mean, yeah, I’ve not ever been in genuine danger (car wrecks don’t really count, because, well, car wreck and it’s over in seconds). I do know that my response upon seeing a man sexually harassing/grabbing a woman next to me is to punch him and scream at him. And then have to go have a sit down until the shaking fury goes away, eh. (I suspect I was not grabbed because I was twice his size.) But active shooter situation? I dunno. I’ve thought about the whole “throw anything at hand at the shooter because it’s awfully hard to hit a target that’s throwing staplers/chairs/printers at you” idea, but not having been there? I don’t know. I might freeze, I might not. But then, I’m not in a job that should ever require me to face anything more dangerous than one of those wheel-turn library shelf thingies. (It can get exciting if someone starts cranking one of those suckers closed when you’re standing in between ’em, but.)

        But…If it’s one’s job to act as a speed bump/bat/distraction/protection for others in danger, and if protocol says he should have gone in (I’m still not 100% clear if it did, or if this guy got thrown under the bus by his boss)…then, well…you knew what you were signing up for. And as Foxfier said: that’s why training. And so yeah, I think most folks’ response to the guy would be ‘coward.’

        1. Based on your prior reactions? You’ll be fine if, Himself forbid, you were in an active shooter situation.

          Maybe dead, but dead as a lion, not a cowering rabbit, and lives saved for your actions.

          1. Heh. I suppose that’s a comfort. (And hey, I believe in an afterlife, so not hugely scared of dying. I mean, I don’t *want* to. And I know that I tolerate pain just fine. Fifteen years of heavy duty orthodontic work does wonders for pain tolerance…)

            I also take comfort in the fact that I’m as tall and as heavy as a goodly number of men, so sitting on someone is also an option. Especially if he is–as many teenage boys who are not related to me or families of giants like me–smaller than me. 😀

      2. *guesses* You’ve got a couple of those nice, solid, metal mechanical pencils, don’t you? The ones that draw blood if you poke the end wrong. (‘s what I packed when I did midnight walks on the military base– the chances of a random crazy were incredibly small, but non-zero, so may as well make it OBVIOUS who the bad guy was)

        1. Hell, even those plastic ones (or an old fashioned wooden one) hurt like hell if applied with enough force. (Like accidentally sitting on one, heh.)

          Keys are good, too. I was a big fan, back in the days when I had to walk to my car late at night from late evening classes, of the keys between my knuckles thing.

          I think one of the most valuable things I ever learned from my brief stint in martial arts was that *anything* can be a weapon, and that attitude (at least when there’s a lone attacker looking for a vulnerable victim) is everything. (Crazies are another matter.)

          1. Rolled up magazine. That one was an eye opener for me (when I was in middle school). Works with newspapers, too. Started me on that path of “anything could be a weapon if you’re desperate enough.”

            The key, of course, is to 1) roll it tightly and 2) don’t swing it like a club, but jab with it (especially directly backward into someone trying to grab you from behind). That @)(^%$@^%@$ hurts!
            And, of course, it’s totally innocuous. Who wouldn’t come out of a theater with a program in their hand? Or out of the store with a magazine?
            It ain’t perfect, but it ain’t nothin’ neither!

            (I don’t recall the name of the book at the moment, but I bought it through the Scholastic book thingy. It was an outstanding education, and a very thin book.)

          2. I’ve heard of a guy who stopped a mugger coming up behind him by whipping around and asking, “Have you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal savior?”

            Mugger fled.

            1. I saw a particularly hilarious story when a woman teaching English in Japan, but of Japanese heritage, once stopped a prospective assault by telling the guy to give back her toilet. Because she’d forgotten the proper phrasing for what she really wanted to say.

              1. Oh, that’s fantastic. Even if it was done by accident. Nothing like a complete, WTF non-sequitur to floor all but the most determined would-be muggers…

        2. Worked for a while at a dot-com. The CTO was a Marine. One day he went through the office, handing out pens stamped with the company name. The pens were large hefty things and he made certain everyone understood that he had selected them because they looked to him like something that would be good for jamming up someone’s nose into their brain.

              1. I looked at the thread and saw the argument that “Disarming works for both criminals and normal people. A burglar will have less reason to arm himself if the risk of getting shot is lower.”

                Apparently this person has not caught on that in Britain the knowledge homeowners aren’t armed has led to burglars changing their modus operandi Now, instead of breaking in when they’re confident nobody is home to threaten them British burglars do their break-ins when they are confident of finding the occupants at home and can be compelled to show the robbers where the valuables are.

                BTW, anybody who thinks a person without a gun is unarmed is invited to meet our friend, the pry bar. Useful for opening recalcitrant windows and balky doors, the pry bar will not only lever open locked cases and drawers but, properly applied to knees, feet, elbows, wrists and even skulls, can even persuade homeowners to provide directions to where household silver is kept. The pry bar, your all purpose tool!

                1. My understanding is that Brits at home will be severely punished for defending themselves from intruders. So I’ve read.

                2. I have an irresistible mental image Hulk with Loki just before the “punny god” l ine, and then cut to a news report about how someone pulled a gun on the “unarmed man”…..

              2. If the guy is a pacifist, I can give points for loyalty to his ideal…mostly I pray that he’s a lying SOB who actually has a gun because “people, you just can’t trust them!” or however he can justify it.

              3. I have no idea where to find the comments again, but while reading a story of how an armed mother and daughter shot a would-be robber of their liquor store–and he did keep fighting, and small caliber guns, so they had to shoot him quite a lot before he gave up–but to sum up it was basically variations on: “Well, if they hadn’t shot him, he would have just taken the money and left them in peace!”

                The stupidity, it burns…

                1. My husband responds to that with a link to the MULTIPLE stories of home invasion and/or store robbery from…I believe it was Tacoma… two where the victims were found dead, after they obviously didn’t resist the armed robbers who were “only” going to take stuff.

                  There’s one with a relatively happy ending, an elderly couple that was tied up in recuperation for the bad guys setting their house on fire; one of them got loose, got to teh gun safe, got it out and managed to shoot the attackers.
                  Not fatally– the injured were finished off and dumped by their “friends”, probably so that they wouldn’t betray them at the hospital.

                  1. I find it utterly impossible to grok the mindset of “If we’re nice/do nothing/talk kindly/give them what they want they won’t hurt us.” I mean, how can one not grasp the basic idea of “wants to take stuff that doesn’t belong to them and is willing to use violence to do so”?? That’s beyond breathtaking naivete.

                    And I’m the kind of person who basically believes in the good in mankind! That people, in general, are/can be good. But those types take it to a whole other level!

                    1. Ditto.

                      I can’t put my head in the mindset of “I will break into that house and kill people to get stuff,” but I likewise can’t get into the mindset of “if I don’t fight them, they won’t do anything but take the stuff.”

                      I don’t understand the desire to hurt people, either, but I know it exists!

                  2. LAPD noticed that so many robberies ended in homicide that they combined the two divisions long ago.

                    When the idiots talk about “give them what they want”, they don’t seem to understand that “your stuff” is likely to be only incidental to the bigger thrill.

                    1. Even if they don’t get a thrill from killing– they probably don’t want to go to jail.

                      Most effective way to avoid that? Get rid of the witnesses.

                    2. I don’t think “doesn’t want to go to jail” really figures much. They don’t look that far ahead, or they’ve always gotten away with bad behavior with no real consequences, or they’ve been in jail before and have no fear of it.

                      You’re a reasonable person. You’re not likely to do something against your own best interests. They are Pod People, and they simply don’t think like that.

                    3. Some of them are off that way– some of them, other people are just between them and what they want.
                      Caught a bit of a local history show this weekend, and they were going over a 100+ year old murder where as best anybody can figure, the buggy-thieves had killed the father, then driven about 15 miles away before deciding the little boy could identify them. And making sure he didn’t.

                      So at least three varieties of goblin….

                2. The ones I saw on Twitter were “Good job, Ladies! Next time though, get at least 9mm!” and similar, plus other congratulatory cheering.

                  The detractors thought they’d missed, or claimed it was staged ‘since the guy kept coming.’ Also said “See? Guns ARE useless!” e_e

              4. Right. Any burglar confronts me and I’m unarmed, I’m going to try to brain them with a chair. Or a broom handle. Or whatever I can lay my hands on.

                I mean, if I get them down safely and can reasonably keep them contained without undue difficulty, I won’t kill them, but the thing about aggressors is that you deal with them until they are no longer a threat. And if I’m the one doing the defending, that may mean “beaten to a pulp” because though I’m big and strong for a woman, I’m still below the average for a man.

                (If my husband were involved—well—he has mentioned that he has gone berserk at least once in his life. He’s carefully avoided that since. Wouldn’t put it past him in that sort of situation.)

    6. The other favorite argument is “Well, unless YOU were in that situation, you can’t know that you wouldn’t hide outside too!”

      Oh that’s right. I don’t know. I have no real combat training, and no experience with danger… and it’s irrelevant since I know I should still try and if I did something like “hide outside” I could never forgive myself.

      1. ^ This. Even if I screwed up and didn’t actually stop the guy and got myself killed…well, I could live with myself (well, be dead with myself, you know what I mean 😀 ) afterwards.

        It’s like Larry Correia says: You might just end up being a speedbump…but that’ll still save some lives.

      2. If you look at the reports from the various disarmed area shootings– there are a lot of instances of people attacking the shooters. Usually injure them, too.

        And the FBI study of active shooters has a pretty dang big percent of the shooters physically stopped by unarmed people who overpower them.

        I am seriously getting the creeps, wondering why the news never seems to mention it unless the person who resisted is either dead, or in a hospital bed.

        1. Priming people to not resist, I expect, since the only result they ever hear about is non-compliant people getting hurt or dead.

          The real question is “Are they doing it deliberately?”

          1. I can think of innocent reasons for it– generally, if the resistance failed it’s one of those times when the body count was more than two or three, which would separate it from more normal gun violence.

            Then there’s the simi-innocent, where it’s just a philosophical blind spot.

            But…yeah, I hate to ask it, but ARE some folks doing it on purpose. For our own good, probably, but “make sure anybody who fights back is reported as injured or dead.”

  26. It’s starting to get to the point where I think we need some new reservations. Wall up a bunch of the coastal cities, since the derp is already so strong there, send the rest of those intent on derp to join them, and then let them run stuff their own way as long as they leave us alone. Provide them with all the ‘green energy’ available and enough food that they don’t starve to death. But they don’t get to move out of their reservations unless they agree to actually get a productive job. If their reservation policies don’t work and they start dying, so be it. Just don’t let the derp out into the real world again.

  27. … if a house divided against itself cannot stand, a house penetrated by derp and held down by insane people who have no objective standards and don’t even know what “good” is; people who don’t know if they are for humans or against them; people floundering in the clutches of an ideology that changes day to day to designate a new victim class, crumbles slowly and bizarrely.

    Bogons were mentioned earlier. And this does look rather like radiation poisoning (alright, I just finished reading Radium Girls and I recall what happened to the ship carrying ‘Canadium’ in Tono Bungay). It’s not a simple single-shock insult to things. Not a burn, a broken bone, a bruise, a pulled whatever, but an ongoing low-grade yet insidious assault at the core of things. Rooting that all out will be… involved, at best.

    As for the weird turning pro when things get weird? Should we not all be already golden?

    1. Radium Girls is a freaky book. Of course, the fact that Grace Fryer (one of the primary movers in the court cases) looks a lot like a friend of mine doesn’t help.

  28. Sarah some Amazon items are sent out by new listers to get reviews. The more aggressive of them will use your name and write the review for you.

        1. Granted, if they did, it would inevitably be stuff I don’t want/would never use. Tacky sex toys, or possibly outdoor gear. (I like the outdoors fine, but don’t generally go there for fun.)

    1. It’s about the shipping numbers, too. “We’ve sold 8 bazillion widgets. Our widget is the most popular on Amazon!”

  29. The funny thing about a lifetime of working for religious and non-profit organizations is that you have to have efficiency. There’s never enough doner support or volunteers to not be efficient.
    Of course, these are not the Clinton Foundation money laundering operations, which spend 80% plus on staff salaries.

  30. Tim Newman, who blogs at http://www.desertsun.co.uk/blog/ , has said repeatedly that he thinks a lot of this in the corporate world is driven by the increasing feminization of the workspace and, in particular, HR as well as all those wonderful but nebulous bits of big business like “sustainability” and “governance”. Essentially people worship process as opposed to results.

    He thinks that in the relatively near future we’ll see most large corporations become unable to do most tasks themselves and will end up outsourcing all the stuff to smaller contractors that consist of a dozen blokes who are highly competent and couldn’t stand the big company mediocrity

    1. Stuff like this makes me think I must be a really non-normal woman. I like people to just do their damn jobs and not play games of any kind. You have a problem/want me to change something, tell me what it is, and I’ll either fix it, or tell you why it needs to be the way I did it.

      (Which is probably why I am the latest person in my government field office to be embroiled in a war with the front desk over their petty tyrant power games as regards the typing-up of letters. I’m just glad that most of my other immediate female coworkers appear to be equally nonstandard…which is a change for this particular department.)

        1. Or as a shot at re-enacting high school.

          Most of the problem women I’ve had to work with were either Mean Girls in high school, or are attempting to become them as adults (to make up, I suppose, for not being Mean Girls in high school?)

          I’ve been lucky, though, in that I have still managed to find fellow Odd Women in my last couple of work places, and that has helped greatly. As to the others, well–I do with them what I did in high school: ignore them wherever possible, and refuse to play their games. It helps that I’m not at work looking to make bosom buddies. I like it if I can get along amicably with coworkers, but I ain’t looking to socialize with the vast majority of them. :p

  31. Yes, the amount of Grade-A Stupid seems to have increased over the last few years. I think part of it comes from a hyper-emotional public, part from poor education, part from protection from consequences.

    There will be a reckoning, of course. And I’ll be delighted to walk around with a horsewhip encouraging elected officials to do their jobs properly.

    1. Oh, I’m looking forward to using something more than a horsewhip………………

    2. “Weaponized Stupid? That would explain.. oh no. Are we Hanford or Oak Ridge?”
      “If we’re Hanford, we’re generating Stupid. If we’re Oak Ridge, we’re refining, purifying Stupid.”
      “We might be both. And Los Alamos. Emrace the power of ‘and’.”
      “Then I really fear when things go,.. because we’ll also be Trinity, likely.”

  32. And, then there’s evidence like this of what might be part of the problem:
    My Name is Emma González. I’m 18 years old, Cuban and bisexual. I’m so indecisive that I can’t pick a favorite color, and I’m allergic to 12 things. I draw, paint, crochet, sew, embroider—anything productive I can do with my hands while watching Netflix.
    from Harper’s (h/t Hot Mic @ PJMedia)

    1. …I think what’s boggling me at this is the allergy things. I mean…why do I care about her allergies? Or that there are precisely 12 things?

      (I don’t care about her sexuality either. I wish these people would stop defining themselves entirely by their sexuality, sigh>)

      1. They have to define themselves by sexuality- otherwise they’re pretty much nothing.

        1. Which is actually very, very sad. Because they really ARE more than that, but have been so indoctrinated to believe sex is the only thing that matters about them, they aren’t discovering that there’s a good deal more to life AND them. :/

          1. Not just the only thing about them, but that they must somehow be “edgy” about it (and therefore they can’t be “cis-hetero”).

  33. One public institution I am finding unimaginably incompetent is the post office. The last time I tried to send a letter, it showed up three weeks late and crushed. The time before that, I used the post office to send a book I’d sold to a friend. That package showed up more than a month late, and somehow, it had the wrong book in it. I don’t even understand how that level of incompetence can exist.

    1. It varies. I’ve had little issue with post office, though their tracking system is rather meh. I have heard tales of other’s experiences. One fellow kept getting fold/bent stuff that had been marked DO NOT BEND. When I had to send him something, he got a couple dollar store cookie sheets as well – the item was between them. Evidently that was enough of deterrent that it arrived still flat.

    2. I find that the competence level of the post office is entirely localized. It’s good where I am but the one where I went to college is so bad that I didn’t vote in my first Presidential election because they didn’t get my absentee ballot to me until the week after the election. And the one in my husband’s hometown was nice enough to let him behind the counter to load our own pallet of books since his dad had worked there for decades. (And since my husband was doing warehouse shipping, he knew how to load the thing properly. One small ding on one box and the books inside were fine.)

      (I once made a joke that all of my husband’s siblings resembled their dad, but he resembled the mailman, and freaked someone out until I explained that his mom was married to the mailman…)

      1. (I once made a joke that all of my husband’s siblings resembled their dad, but he resembled the mailman, and freaked someone out until I explained that his mom was married to the mailman…)

        I love logic bombs/mines like that.

        1. I have a best friend who met her husband at a family reunion 😁. That always got some stares. Until we explain that she was a guest of mine at my reunion and met my cousin there.

          1. My niece (my sister’s kid) married my husband’s sister-in-law’s cousin’s son; it was an interesting conversation when I noticed she had the kids engagement announcement link on her Facebook. Her family & mine are long term locals (our husbands, the brothers aren’t), no relation; & no we did not meet our respective husbands at the same time or the same area (unless you count the state as “the area”). Her family has been in this larger town longer than ours (I think). Mine is from a smaller town about an hour south.

  34. Sarah said: “Most of my friends have had run ins with employers in the last few years, and the reasons will startle you: they were doing too much and were too competent.
    The charges ranged from “showing off” to “Causing trouble by doing too much.” All of which boiled down to “You’re making other people look bad.”

    Once upon a time I was hired as a contractor to paint some buildings at a city owned facility. There was of course a UNION painter there, but the speed of his painting was, to put it mildly, glacial. Many buildings needed to be spruced up (and the manager of the place was trying to make a point with the union I think) so the company I worked with was hired.

    Well. You never saw more pouting faces. Those boys freaked when we rolled in. They filed a grievance against -everything- we did. Walking while carrying a ladder type stuff.

    The best thing we did was spray the outside of the worker’s lunch building in the morning and then roll out the inside in the afternoon. The whole thing, one day. Then the next day, another -entire- building, sprayed out in one day. The union painter guy was making a career out of one building, we did two in as many days. We were working at our normal pace, not killing ourselves.

    In other situations I’ve seen union painters take an hour to paint one side of a paneled door. One coat. I paint both sides in half an hour, brush and roller mind you, at 60 years old. But then I got paid by the job, not by the hour.

    Take that experience of guys not-working their jobs as a career, and now extrapolate to the Broward County Sheriff’s Dept. Those guys didn’t go in because they are unionized public employees, no different than the schmuck who takes an hour to paint a fricking door. Their training is “Safety First” because that is what the bureaucracy has decided is most valuable.

    You keep doing that for 20 years, you end up with cops that will absolutely let kids die while they cower behind their cruisers. That’s not to say there are -no- cops that will go in and fight, but they will be going in against their orders and against their training.

    That’s where we are today. To see where we’re going to be in 20 years, look south to Mexico. There’s your model.

    1. There was a construction project at the big boy’s school by Colorado Springs. They had torn a big hole in the terrazzo to do work on extending the cadet chow hall. Finally had it filled back in (mostly), but lots of surface work going on.
      So, I walked by one morning, and there was one man with a shovel, and two piles of gravel (one dirty and one clean). The piles were about thigh high, right next to each other – you couldn’t walk between them without stepping on one or the other.
      Evidently this man had been given the job of making them a single pile*.

      So, he stood on the far side of the pile of clean gravel… shoved his shovel into the pile and got a load… then walked all the way to the other side of the dirty pile and dumped the load… then walked all the way back to the other side of the other pile and got another load.
      After about 4 trips, he would stop, lean on his shovel, and wipe his brow. After a bit, he would start up again…………

      (* I have no idea if he was assigned this job to get him out of the way, or if he just wanted to make a simple task last.)

    2. Their training is “Safety First” because that is what the bureaucracy has decided is most valuable.

      Yeah, well, if the cops go in and get killed, who’s gonna draw those chalk outlines, hunh? HuH???!!! Who will put up the crime scene tape?

      Stupid fricking civilians never give a thought to the important stuff.

    3. My husband retired from a job that was single employer, not hiring hall. Provided a third party evaluation. People assigned to specific contract every day. Hubby was on a job that was 8 hours, rarely overtime, work was steady but what came in could be completed in 8 hours, if you were efficient (since hubby also coached & was a scout leader for kids activities, this worked). When he requested a job with overtime, which were defined as those were the hours worked, regardless of the work that came in, because kid was in HS & we needed money to pad the college fund, he was reassigned to an OT job. The guy who was then assigned to hubby’s former location, milked it, & ultimately turned an 8 hour job into 10 hour one. Hubby just shook his head. FYI. This was a salaried not exempt = OT over 8 hours a day, but if didn’t actually work 8 hours, no deduction. Point is Union is not always the problem.

  35. WRT education, the Dirty Little Secret is that every Education professor is trying to come up with a “New, Improved” way to teach the 3 Rs. Which usually leads to nowhere. I’m old enough to remember the New Math…which made sense IF you were a math major. For a grade school student, it was all nonsense.

    If you compare the major computer language teaching softwares, Rosetta Stone and Fluenz, they work very differently. Rosetta Stone is a simple YES/NO, RIGHT/WRONG system. It presents NO theory. Great for children, but frustrating for an adult. Fluenz is an orthodox language course, it leverages your knowledge of your own language to learn the new language. Great if your English skills are good, lousy for teaching kids.

    The simple truth is that there’s an optimum way to teach elementary school subjects. Arguably one or two alternatives…but not very far from the optimum method. But the Education bureaucracy can’t take a whole lot of credit for executing a known teaching method. “New and Improved” is the path to money and reputation, not “Sound and Solid”.

    1. That’s simply not true. Some education professors are so busy advocating social justice or fighting the patriarchy as part of this committee or that that they have no time for teaching, let alone research. And some aren’t involved in conventional pedagogical research at all.

    2. In some places they get extra money for experimental programs, so even they found one that taught perfectly they would drop it for another.

    3. In Canada the Toronto District School Board has abandoned even the idea of the 3Rs in favor of grooming school age children for future (and in a few cases not-so-future) “relationships.”

      And by “relationships” I mean exactly what your gutter mind thought I meant. Except worse, because the TDSB has fallen (or maybe leaped) out of the gutter and into the sewer.

      Of some interest is the fact that while Christian parents and organizations have been protesting, that has been entirely invisible to the Canadian media. They only cover the Mooselimb protests, which have been loud and extensive. Christians are “racist bigot homophobes” you see, while Mooslimbs are victims of racism and bigotry, and have colourful and interesting beliefs about certain subjects that liberals pretend not to notice.

      Also of interest is that while the protesters loudly protest, TDSB carries on doing exactly what they like. Getting on TV is pretty easy. Making a dent in the Learning Rainbow, less easy.

  36. Hunh! Just spotted come-ons from B&N and Audible touting stories of POWERFUL WOMEN. It took a moment to recall that this is Sexist History Month, and that Racist History Month was passed.

    In salute to the need for powerful women to be heard I doubled my meagre donation to the Buy Greebo Gooshy Food Fund in partial compensation for all the carp he has seen sent my direction.

    I assume the Patreon Account still awaits Good Health and Spare Time & Energy.

    1. I was going to ask about when a month that might apply to me might be, but then realized I should not settle. And every twelfth year is a Year of the Ox already.

          1. Chinese zodiac. Rats, Dragons, Dogs, Monkeys, Goats, Snakes, Horses, Roosters, Pigs, Tigers, Rabbits… so.. what, two drafts (horses, oxen) or maybe 2.5 if you consider goats VERY light draft… Rats are too small (even in NYC), Snakes.. how?, Dogs.. eh.. Roosters, Tigers, Rabbits, Pigs? Riiight. And a Draft Dragon is only imagined by a Daft Person.

            Then… 2 out of 12, 1/6.. or so… is far better than average.

      1. the imaginary weasel peers ’round a nearby corner of reality
        You get only every twelfth year? Well (‹preens›) we imaginary weasels get every year divisible by ⅉ—try and top that.

        What’s that? Your calendars aren’t counted in complex numbers? Hmph.
        heads back to his perfectly normal life at 90° to reality

  37. Sometimes if you’re efficient, and just keep your head down and work, you get accused of not being a team player. Not socializing with your workmates is somehow suspicious and causes you to be on the outs.

    This is apparently my ‘problem.’ I prioritized work over socialization because I was taught to work at the workplace, not socialize; and didn’t socialize afterward because I had a 3-4 or 5-7 hour commute home afterward (depending on traffic). I rather liked coming home before midnight and having more than just 3 hours of sleep.

    And all the people bitching were the mean girls – and some of those were ostensibly male.

  38. I’m wondering if the growth of derp is a natural reaction to population pressures? Kind of like the accumulation of pine needles in a Florida scrub forest, where things get that much more flammable so an inevitable fire can clear the junk away.

  39. “Work smarter, not harder!”

    i.e. don’t spend an hour making sure that you did the job right. Instead, spend forty-five minutes, and skip the part where you double-check everything.

    1. It has long amazed me that some won’t invest a second’s forethought that would save them several minutes of physical labor later. A simple example: Stocking grocery store shelves. A random assortment of stuff arrives on several pallets. These are then broken down by aisle and thence dolly-ed to the aisle. So far, so good. Now let’s look at the individual aisle..

      The simple method is to pile everything together, take to the aisle and drop it off.. somewhere. Which means running back and forth later to get things to the right place. The false upgrade is to take a random stack to the aisle and sort it upon delivery – still running around, but the actual stocking later goes smoother. The sensible approach would be to, say, make a stack of pickles, a stack of peanut butter, a stack of mayo, a stack of ketchup, a stack of barbecue sauces, a stack of salad dressings as the pallets are worked. Then the already area-sorted stack can be take to where it goes and no further run-around required. So simple an ox can do it – and has, yes. But some people… “Simple/easy now!” And if anyone has a short shift it becomes “well, that won’t be MY problem anyway, so…” which is how things that span day-to-day can be screwed up by part-time. “I’m off so.. not MY problem.”

      1. I can’t be the only person who tries to put things on the grocery belt so that I can bag them according to how I put them away. (Most of my shopping is at self-bagging places. One time I didn’t and the bagger put the bread in FIRST. Idiot.)

        1. Our baggers are better than that, but they don’t know where my pantry is, so they’ll put stuff in the “right” bags and six months later I find that can of tomatoes and peppers that I KNEW I bought, but didn’t check the olives etc for.

          1. The reason I use self check out. I put things together where I will put them away from. Frozen only, bread only, canned (not that I get a lot), etc. I’ll have 4 or 5 partly filled “bags” (given we pay for them & I won’t).

            1. i don’t pay for bags anymore! you should see how crummy they pack bags here… its almost like they know they are recyclable and biodegradable.

              1. I won’t pay for bags either. I take mine. They are “heavier” than the self check process wants you to use, but too bad. Machine whines, the checker who oversees the 8 stations makes it quit, & so it goes. Ironically when the machines first started hitting markets, I worked for a company that made them (not that division). The company wanted non-division testers, so I brought in my bags & tested for them. Comment I got. “Nobody will do that!” My answer “Already do.” They didn’t like me helping.

                1. Oh, i stopped paying for bags by moving out of CA. i don’t like the reusable bags… or as i prefer to call them, salmonella bags.

                  1. I go into a store, fail to find what I want, and leave.

                    I figure the bags are to encourage you to buy *something* rather than looking like a tool walking out with an empty bag.

                  2. Don’t live in CA. Our town (the idiots) passed the bag law before CA. No plastic bags, except for meat & fruit, & only paper bags that you pay $.05/bag for (which for the most part are worthless for groceries). FYI, this includes ALL stores within the city limits. Clothing, pet supplies, everything. Except take-out. There are a couple of stores that got their bags certified & don’t have to comply (or they are ignoring the law, YMMV).

                    1. oh, well, we got these semi-reusable plastic bags… thats what everyone was selling

            2. The reason I opt for self-service check-out is that I don’t even have to talk to myself.

              1. “The reason I opt for self-service check-out is that I don’t even have to talk to myself.”
                ^^ Can’t Argue with this. ^^ or Works for me. YMMV

              2. The self-service checkout at the local Wal-Mart has *four* separate input panels, one just above knee height, one on the far side of the belt.

                I spent about fifteen minutes trying to figure it out one night, and eventually realized that it didn’t accept cash.

                I left everything on the belt and walked out.

                    1. I think I’ve seen that in a few lanes at my local Walmart Neighborhood Market (or whatever their grocery/pharmacy only stores are called.) Several of the self-checkout lanes have had posted labels, about 5 X 8 declaring that they neither accept nor dispense cash. Once you’ve run into one they’re easy to spot and side-step. My guess is that the store simply hasn’t filled the cash dispensers on those machines (although I suppose they could still be “exact change only) or have simply turned that function off.

                      There always seems to be sufficient of the full service machines that, should I want cash back on my card or prefer to pay cash at time f purchase the option is reasonably available.

                      Of course, that’s how it always starts, isn’t it?

                    2. Ditto. But have seen ones that don’t take CC (Debit & State Food cards yes), but then the store doesn’t take CC.

                    3. I’ve seen them pretty much everywhere….. but they’re also pretty clearly marked and when you scan your first item they put up a warning screen reminding you they don’t take cash and can’t give any back.

                1. Oooh, a chance to print up signs to leave on them:


                  THIS USELESS PEICE OF SH*T
                  DOESN’T TAKE CASH.
                  FSCK IT. WITH A CHAINSAW.

                  1. I went to cash-only about ten years ago, as part of my system for getting my finances under control. I buy money orders with cash when I need to mail payments.

                    It has been… interesting. Lots of places don’t take cash, and when I looked it up, I found they don’t have to. Okay, they obviously don’t want any of my money…

                    A friend used to say “there will always be cash, otherwise how would you bribe politicians?” Alas, that was the old days. Now we know you do that with fabulous book advances and speaking fees…

        2. The Official Line was that frozen with frozen (naturally), refrigerated with refrigerated, meats alone or at bottom so any leakage would be less problematic, at least 8 items to a bag if possible, light stuff on top. As to how well that is communicated and how well it sticks, especially with some of the younger, is another matter.

          1. We also have the “bring your own bag” law in California, so the baggers don’t know, for example, that the cans go is THAT bag, and the pasta goes in THIS bag, for simple reasons of structural integrity.

            1. ^^ This ^^ Granted I have 3 of the structural type folding box bags. But still … frozen with frozen, do not put my fresh fruit on top of or under … etc. Sigh, I’ll just do self check out.

      2. If stocking is done by departments, each department has a list of the stuff that is supposed to come in. Get your flatbed, grab your stuff off the pallets as you find them. Easy.

        The problem is that there is often a small box secreted in the exact middle of the pallet it’s not supposed to be on. You will not find this box until every other department has disassembled the pallets.

        The other problem is that some pallets appear to be composed exclusively of Extra Stuff that should be stored up in the steel/backroom until later. These pallets are particularly likely to contain small secreted boxes, and these boxes are almost guaranteed to be needed immediately but not found for days.

        1. Anyway, the fastest way to stock is to have all the departments represented at once among those who are disassembling pallets. That’s why most stocking is done at night. (It’s also safer for customers.)j

          Unfortunately, the night folks usually are not allowed to stock things like the deli, the bakery, etc., because there are additional requirements for food safety handling and security. It’s not very efficient; but those departments usually have somebody coming in at the crack of dawn, anyway.

        2. In this case, stuff for the “side departments” (not main grocery) came in on other trucks (generally refrigerated or frozen items so it made sense) at different times. While the grocery pallets were somewhat pre-sorted (most dog food together, most paper products together) much was mixed. And even if a pallet was almost 100% something for an upcoming ad, there always seemed to be that one item, on the very bottom, that required immediate attention.

  40. The Army used the 1903 as a front-line rifle alongside the Garand, and the USMC used the 1903 as general issue at the beginning of the war.

    1. Propaganda pumped the Garand as a marvel of American technology, but most US troops actually carried the Enfield Pattern of 1917. Which was a British design we were originally making under contract.

      The Springfield 1903 had… issues. Plus it was ridiculously hard to manufacture. So hard that when the war went hot, the Army didn’t even try to tool up for more, other than running their existing machinery 24/7. For the same number of hours it took to make the ’03, they could build five P-17s.

      [-from Colvin & Stanley, “US Rifles & Machine Guns”, on the manufacture of the Springfield. As in, Colvin was a rock-star machinist and engineer who actually documented the processes for outside contractors, right down to manufacture and operational lifetime of each piece of tooling]

  41. Re: peak derpitude, I blame sleep deprivation for a lot of it. Also, people playing games and texting rather than paying attention to work, as well as poor math education.

  42. There is at least one battalion at IRS of their phone operators taking a stand to do right by people. It takes time & patience but the accounts get corrected. There are under 300 in that unit but they’re fundamentally good people going crazy taking a stand. A few psychiatrists & therapists are buying boats off this, of course.

    The election of Mr. Trump has been a good thing. Rot has accelerated. Masks are off. We can let the delusion of normalcy fall away.

  43. “The election of Mr. Trump has been a good thing. Rot has accelerated. Masks are off. We can let the delusion of normalcy fall away.”

    One of the things that me that electing Mr. Trump may not have been a bad deal at all is this clip where he gives Congressional testimony on the UN renovation of 2005, basically schooling them all in how not to renovate large buildings (and mentions the well-known story of how he built the NYC ice rink so much faster, cheaper, and better than the previous contractor).

    Which now puts up this message:
    This video is no longer available because the YouTube account associated with this video has been terminated.


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