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Generic Confusion

When you leave, my blog just fades to grey
Nu ma nu ma iei, nu ma nu ma nu ma iei

News? Check. Politics? Check. Music? Check. Random thoughts about life? Check. Readership? Ummm.... let me get back to you on that. Updated when I feel like I have something to say, and remember to post it.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Time for a change

There's a hot topic in the media that even a cynical person like me never thought would be an issue, bathrooms.  What was twenty years ago a throwaway gag on Ally McBeal is now the latest life and death issue for the wealthy, overeducated, urban white liberals setting policy for the Democrats.  The current focus is on North Carolina, where the city of Charlotte passed a law allowing anyone to use any bathroom, based on their identity, and the state legislature passed a law that overruled the local law.

The response is the typical one.  Celebrities who haven't been relevant for 20, 30, or 40 or more years are cancelling events.  Elites are calling for boycotts.  And with the general degradation of political discussion thanks to social media, 90% of the debate is pictures with slogans on them.  Of course, they're full of oversimplifications.

There's one that goes like "If you're worried about assault, then don't assault."  That's not particularly relevant.  No matter whether you have the Charlotte law or the North Carolina law, assault, from groping up through rape, is still a crime.

There's one that shows (claims to show) pictures of people who were born one sex, transitioned, and now look like the other sex.  This is posted as a criticism of the North Carolina law, saying these people would be forced into the bathroom that looks wrong for them.  But no one would notice someone like that, unless they pull down their pants and show off their surgical scars.  (See the above about laws staying the same.)  Even if the transition doesn't look that good, if you've completed the process, and have a reissued birth certificate showing your legal sex is not the one that matches your chromosomes, no one is going to complain.

The problem comes with the terrible people who would abuse a law like the Charlotte law.  Take something that isn't a clear-cut crime.  A man uses a women's bathroom or locker room, and the women there find that creepy.  Maybe he (who claims to be she) seems to be looking far too long, and gazing at places when instead he should be averting his eyes.  Before this law, the management has an easy solution.  "This is the women's locker room.  Get out!"  Now, the only way to deal with this isn't so easy.  "We request that you leave because you're making the other guests uncomfortable."

In this case, the management is forced to make a call.  "Is this person an actual creep?  Or does he legitimately identify as a woman?  What should I say?  And what if he's looking to attain fame by becoming a victim, and then filing a lawsuit against me, which would lead the charge of public opinion against me?"  And if this is the owner, not just the manager, only one of these responses creates an existential risk for his business.

Sorry, women, you just have to accept the creeps.

You don't think people want to get rid of creeps?  A few years ago, I posted a link to a story about an older man who was kicked out of a Barnes & Noble because a female customer complained he was in the children's book section.  That was a situation where a person was doing nothing, but someone else became uncomfortable thanks to making multiple leaps of logic, assuming the worst of that first person.

Monday, May 11, 2015

White Knights

The only White Knights I want to see at a Magic: the Gathering tournament are the ones with first strike and protection from black.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Public assistance and optics

At notalwaysright.com or one of its related sites, I read a story that's familiar. The submitter, a woman buying foods using food stamps or another public assistance program, recounted how she was challenged by the person behind her in line because she bought an Oprah magazine at the same time. She recounted how she responded, one of those "Who are you to judge?" responses.

First of all, I think we can all agree that buying an Oprah magazine is a serious lapse of judgment.

I'm not the kind of person to debate a random person in line, but if I were, the story wouldn't end there.

Her: "Is it your job to tell me how to live my life?"
Me: "Let me ask this, are you a registered voter?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "Do you follow the issues and vote regularly?"
Her: "Yes."
Me: "I'm glad to hear that. Now, you are absolutely correct that it isn't my job to control what you buy when you're on public assistance. However, it is the job of our elected officials to set the terms for public assistance programs, including what one can and can't buy. And it is the job of registered voters like us to elect these officials.

"Now, what you need to consider is the optics of your purchase here. Were your benefits to be cut by $20 a year, you no doubt would protest, saying that you can't afford it, that people like you are least able to afford it. But this purchase here indicates you could afford it; you'd save enough by cutting one luxury purchase like this each month. A magazine isn't a luxury, normally, but by being on a public assistance program where you state that you can't afford necessities, that makes everything else a luxury.

"And given there's a public library in this town with a reading room with dozens of magazines, with rather generous hours of operation, buying a magazine indicates you either place a high value on convenience, or are subject to impulse purchases. Neither option reflects well on you.

"For voters who not only have to pay for their own necessities, but also the necessities of others, they are understandably upset by behavior like this. Upset voters vote for candidates that will be less generous with public assistance.

"Now, is your sense of self-righteousness worth that?"

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

A humorous analysis of the marriage debate

Humorist Iowahawk manages to reference Gilligan's Island while bringing up the only reasonable solution to the debate over what should constitute a marriage:

The problem, I think, is that marriage uniquely represents a religious sacrament that doubles as an official secular legal status. We don't have laws, for example, that recognize someone's baptism or confirmation. Because of that duality of marriage, attempts to expand its definition naturally are seen as an attack on religion, while attempt to restrict its definition are seen as the imposition of religion on society. Everybody gets mad and yells.

The solution? Maybe it's time for government to get out of the whole marriage business altogether. Or at least to treat it as a standard civil contract between adults conferring certain privileges (wills, powers of attorney, co-ownership) and obligations (say hello to alimony and the marriage tax penalty, Bert and Ernie). Don't want to call it "marriage"? Fine, call it a civil union, domestic partnership, blancmange, whatever, leave it open to any pair of consenting adults. Leave the holy sacrament business to churches, and if First Lutheran or Immaculate Conception or Temple Beth-El don't want to bestow the title of "married" on a same sex couple, that ought to be their own business. You get married at a church, you get blancmanged at the county courthouse.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Easy Mode

John Scalzi's most trafficked blog post of 2012 was a bold assertion that being a straight white male was life's easy mode. The term is borrowed from modern video games.

Understandably, it got some reaction.

Here's my response.

Imagine that you play the Powerball lottery. For those unfamiliar with this lottery game, you win by matching five numbers drawn from a pool of 59 balls, plus one ball (the Powerball) drawn from a separate pool of 35 balls. Now imagine that some segment of the population starts by being told that one of the five white balls that will be drawn is numbered 1.

That's easy mode for sure. In fact, knowing that information, you could buy every combination with 1, ignoring the larger number of combinations without a 1, and reap a huge profit when you win a prize much larger than what you spent.

However, in this case, you can only buy one ticket, for this one drawing.

Your chances of winning are considerably higher, but your chances of losing are almost the same.

Some of the reaction to Scalzi's post must have been because of the use of the word easy. When you're told your life is played on easy mode, yet you can easily name a hundred different struggles, then that's like saying your struggles are meaningless. They're not meaningless to you.

Even for those who understand the term perfectly, in its gaming context, just how meaningful is the easy mode for the world's hardest game? There's no instruction manual, no cheat guide, no tutorial. Even on easy mode, you'll be a failure most of the time.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012


Some incredible lines today at Chick-Fil-A. We're talking a line wrapping around the building at the location near me, and that was at 8 PM.

What strikes me as ironic about the issue is that the people who fight Chick-Fil-A because they don't support what they call equality of marriage (really, the loosening of restrictions that will still be applied equally) expressed no reservation about leftist politicians applying the laws surrounding business licenses unequally. I'm convinced that this issue is what's driving the fervent support for Chick-Fil-A today. Saying you have to agree with the party line to do business is something out of a Communist or National Socialist government, not the United States government.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

You didn't build that

A particularly odious statement from the president:

"If you've got a business, you didn't build that. Somebody else made that happen."

That's rich, coming from someone who literally built nothing, created nothing, did nothing that relied on his own resources.

It echoes the hateful statements of the Democrats' hand-picked Massachusetts Senate candidate, Elizabeth Warren.

Let's state the obvious. Government functions such as the military and police, protecting personal and intellectual property rights, help in allowing people to profit from what they build. But these functions help everyone, and are available to everyone's benefit, yet not everyone builds something.

Take, for example, this funny website, You Didn't Build That. Barack Obama is the spiritual godfather of this site, but he didn't build it. Clever individuals adapted pictures and memes to make an enjoyable read.