Fuzzy Curmudgeon

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Date registered: Monday, 22 December 2014 18:31

Latest posts

  1. I don’t give a shit who you are — Thursday, 25 May 2017 22:46
  2. Third anniversary — Saturday, 20 May 2017 10:31
  3. Greed? That’s a funny name for “trying to make one’s investment back.” — Thursday, 18 May 2017 12:59
  4. InComeying! — Wednesday, 10 May 2017 09:19
  5. Oh, look. The government is going to do something for me. — Monday, 8 May 2017 21:00

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I don’t give a shit who you are

but if you are the son of a bitch who leaked information about the Manchester Bomber to the press, we will find you and you will die slowly.  Screaming.  Maybe.  If we leave your tongue intact that long.

Or (and more likely, unfortunately), when you’re caught — and you will be — you will for sure spend a great deal of time as a guest of Uncle Sam in one of his Big Houses, paying for your felonious bullshit.

That is the fuck all.

…no, actually it’s not.

You fuckers out there who are actively working to undermine the President of the United States, legally and fairly elected under our fucking Constitution that none of you actually believe in?

You’re next.

Like Charlie says, this is wrong, it’s evil, and it has to stop.  It has to stop now.  I have GRANDCHILDREN.  They are going to grow up in a world free of terrorist assholes and left-wing morons if I have to die to make that happen.

Grow the fuck up.  Stick your soi-disant antifa bullshit up your fascist asses.  If you can’t do that, then get the fuck out of the way and let the grown-ups deal with this.

Now that is the fuck all.

Third anniversary

Still love you. Still miss you.

Greed? That’s a funny name for “trying to make one’s investment back.”

Yeah, from FacialBook as usual, the Book of a Million Lies:

Wrong.

Greed is not the problem.  Government over-regulation and FDA slow-rolling of drug approval is the problem.  Drug companies pour billions of dollars annually into drug development, most of which is “wasted” when new ideas for drugs don’t pan out, usually after years of expensive trials.  I’ve read that the success rate for drug development is one drug in ten, so for every billion-dollar development program that succeeds, there are nine billion-dollar development programs that fail.  If that rate holds, for every new drug a company develops through FDA approval, they have a $10 billion investment that has to be accounted for and and recovered.  Not much profit there!

Yet people wonder why new drugs cost so much, and agitators like Sachin Patel claim it’s because of greed.  Is it really greedy to want a return on your ten billion dollar investment?  Does Dr. Patel like having new drugs and therapies, or would he prefer to go back to the old days when aspirin and chalk pills was about all a doctor could prescribe?

I’ll agree in a heartbeat that there are companies like Mylan who ought to be ashamed of themselves (and be run of business) for what they charge for basic drugs just because they have a fancy proprietary delivery system.  But by and large, drugs are expensive to buy because they are expensive to develop, and drug companies naturally want to make their money back.

These RealFarmacy people are a real danger to the rest of the world.  Liars, cheats, and swindlers all, they are nothing more than modern Luddites wishing the rest of us back into a medieval world where we all drop dead in our 40’s from preventable disease, or starve to death because there isn’t enough food.  They are the logical heirs of Paul Ehrlich and his ilk.

InComeying!

It’s a beautiful thing. Democrats have been pontificating that they had no confidence in Comey since before the election, claiming he threw it for Trump (doubtful, Hillary was simply a lousy, unlikable candidate who forewent campaigning in states it turned out she really needed), and now they’re all pouty and screaming “Constitutional crisis!” because Trump, who had no confidence in him either, gave Comey the Order of the Boot.

And before you get your panties in a wad, Fucky Chuckie Schumer is on record as saying he lost confidence in him, too. Not that that will save any left-hanging panties from being wadded, but you can’t say I didn’t try to help.

Make up your minds, people. You can’t have it both ways. You already tried that with 43 — either he was dumber than a box of rocks and Cheney was really the power behind the Resolute Desk, or he graduated from Yale and HBS, and flew fighter jets in the Air National Guard. It’s either one or the other, can’t be both.  And signs point to the latter a lot more than they do the former, even if I ended up disgusted with the end game of his administration.

Oh, look. The government is going to do something for me.

So, many, many months (it is actually several years) after the people across the street got their fancy 96-gallon automated trash carts (automated in the sense that the truck is supposed to be able to pull up, grab them, and dump them without human contact — unless perhaps the human is supposed to get out and hook it up; this is unclear and I’ve never seen the process work), we finally were told that we’re supposed to get ours during the second half of this month.

Dear Indianapolis Resident,

The Indianapolis Department of Public Works has partnered with Waste Management to provide residents in your area with a 96-gallon trash cart.  The new cart provides a uniform look to the City’s streets, decreases litter, and makes disposal of trash easier than ever before.

OK, so let’s address the BS here.

The new cart provides a uniform look to the City’s streets,

This is ridiculous.  The carts are on the streets one day per week.  Meanwhile, the City can’t legislate what everyone’s mailbox looks like, or what the front of their house or their front yard looks like, and (around here, anyway) has let the street go so far to shit that so what if we all have the same trash cart.  If that’s a prime reason for doing this, they need to find a better one.

decreases litter,

Really.  They could do that just by telling the fucking garbageman to pick up the shit he drops.

But anyway.

and makes disposal of trash easier than ever before.

Well…probably not.  Because “before” (now), we can dump trash in the can any way we please, bagged or unbagged.  But after we get the new carts (from the DPW FAQ on their website),

Residents must place all trash in a [sic] 10-15 gallon kitchen size bags before placing them in the cart.

Given that we currently throw all of our trash into a 34-gallon bag-lined trash container in the back hall, that’s going to be a major change for us, and we’ll have to buy more bags, at our own expense of course.

Since we’re making it easier for Waste Management to collect trash, I fully expect a decrease in our property taxes, since I’m sure it will cost the city less to pay Waste Management to collect our trash.  (BAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA…just kidding.)

Oh, and check this out (again, from the FAQ):

Loads of trash that exceed the capacity of the 96-gallon trash cart may be disposed of at the Marion County Citizens Transfer Station located at 2324 S Belmont Avenue. The transfer station is open every Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The cost is $2 per car load and $5  per truck load.

Fuck you.  I am like hell driving all the way to the south side to dump household trash, and pay for it to boot.  Oh, and you can get a second cart, but it will cost you $65.

And get this:

Residents can place bags of leaves in their cart with their regular trash or set out 2 bags of leaves/yard waste per month as part of the heavy trash program.

Good thing I stopped bagging my grass, because there’s no way that would be enough space.  At least they are still doing the fall leaf program.

City services aren’t really services anymore.  They force you to do more of the city’s work yourself, pay more property and sales taxes for the privilege, and smile while they take you in the ass again.

It’s not a human right just because you say it is.

Health care is not a human right.

Nope.  Not even close.

Freedoms enumerated and enshrined in the Constitution?  Human rights.  The right to free speech, the right to worship as you please, the right to bear arms in defense of yourself, your family, and the nation, the right to be free of the government quartering its soldiers in your home, yeah, all those things are human rights, built into the bedrock of human experience.  That they have been violated more often than upheld is part of what makes them so precious, and worthy of defending.  But these freedoms and rights require nothing more than our eternal vigilance to maintain.  (Which is cheap at twice the price, considering the totality of human history.)

Health care is not a human right because it depends on so many other people doing things for your benefit.  If I were a doctor, I would not agree that you had a human right to demand my services for less than I believe they are worth.  (And if I priced my services too high, I’d probably go hungry a lot while my competitors lived off the fat of the land.  But that’s my right and privilege to determine for myself.)  If I were a nurse, I would not agree that just because your tummy hurts, you have a human right to force me to turn away from the cardiac patient who is coding in the next room and give you an antacid.  If I were a dentist, I would not say that you had a human right to barge into my office and demand that I immediately pull the tooth that’s been bothering you because you don’t have enough sense to take care of your own teeth, when I already have a waiting room full of patients who made appointments and also have dental issues.

And so forth.

What I’m really getting at is that the labor of another human being (either singularly or plurally) is not yours to demand as a human right, simply because you didn’t have the sense to buy insurance before you started having major health issues.  And that’s what you’re doing when you insist that health care is a human right.  You’re also demanding that my labor is yours to demand by proxy, since my tax money and my insurance premiums go to fund the abortion known as Obamacare.

We do not fight wars to restore human rights to people in other parts of the world in order that they can demand that we continue to prop them up after we’ve thrown the dictatorial and oppressive bastards out (which was the mistake we made in both Iraq and Afghanistan).  Human rights and the exercise of them are what lay down the base of a free and civilized society.  They do not provide services nor do they demand revenue.  They simply “are”.

When I write posts on this blog, they are my freely-expressed opinions.  I do not demand that someone else pay for my web hosting or domain registration, or my time and effort keeping the blogging software and the rest of the site up to date.  I don’t even ask for donations, because I don’t think my writing is worth your money 🙂  But to take the “health care is a human right” to another level, what if I and other bloggers started to take the attitude that the provision of the soapbox upon which we exercise our right to free speech should also be a human right, that all of you taxpayers out there should be forced to subsidize?

That’s a horse of a different color, isn’t it?

The argument that insurance should cover pre-existing conditions completely ignores the point of insurance.  Insurance is a gamble between you and the house (the insurance company) that you either will (your bet) or won’t (their bet) become gravely ill at some point.  Insurance generally pays for health maintenance like doctor visits and immunizations and colonoscopies and mammograms because those things are inexpensive (by comparison) hedges on their bet.  In other words, they pick up the tab because it’s like putting their thumb on the roulette wheel or using a marked deck — you’re more likely to stay healthy if you have those things, and not cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars over your lifetime for major medical expenses.

By definition, if you do not have insurance and you get some dread disease like cancer or lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, and then you demand that you should have insurance coverage to pay for it, you are holding up the house and trying to make off with something you did not pay for.  And that ends up making my annual bets on my own health cost more.

The running gag about the lottery is that you can’t win if you don’t play.  (In actuality, you can’t win no matter what you do; winning is a fluke, the rules and the odds are stacked against you.)  Translated to the casino metaphor I’ve used above, you can’t win if you don’t lay down a bet.  The casinos take a very dim view of that.  I would imagine sitting down at the table and placing a bet on 13 red without actually laying down a chip would get you hustled right back out to the street.

The uninsured do not have a human right to barge into my insurance company and demand that it pay for their dread disease.  Period.  I don’t care what Congress says and I don’t care what the Supreme Court or the President say, either.  Insurance is a pay-for-play deal.

Closer to home, the uninsured also do not have a human right to demand that the federal or state government care for them and levy the cost of that care onto the taxpayers.  While I would feel responsible for the health care of my own immediate family (as any civilized man or woman should), I frankly don’t have the money to waste on yours.  And it is a waste — it is money I will never see again (and never saw to begin with, because the government hoovers it out of my paycheck before I ever see it, to the tune of about two grand a month once everyone gets their cut).  That is money that I, as a responsible ant, should be putting away for my retirement and other future costs, not handing out to grasshoppers who can’t think past their young and healthy years and don’t even consider buying insurance until it’s too late — or just live on hope, that is, “I sure hope I don’t get sick or hit by a car or a falling meteor.”*

That said, I have at least one very close friend who has been buying his own health insurance for years and has had massive hospital and health care bills over the last six years.  Of course his premiums under Obamacare have skyrocketed.  And of course he’s not employed with what most of us would consider a regular job — he’s a writer and speaker.  And you cheap grasshoppers out there are part of why he’s hemorrhaging cash.

Despite my arguments above, I do not maintain that there should be absolutely no consideration for the uninsured with pre-existing conditions, but only that such consideration should be voluntary on the part of the public who will be paying for it, and not forced upon the public as a human right equivalent to the freedoms enumerated in the Bill of Rights.  Some sort of fund to cover such people’s short-term medical expenses with the caveat that they MUST purchase an insurance policy and show proof that they have maintained it through the “pre-existing condition” period (which used to be a year for most things) is acceptable to me.  But the rules have to be clear, fair, and tough.  One year only, and only once in your life.

But again, the public ants shouldn’t be forced to pay for all those grasshoppers in the long term, and it ought to be hard to get them to pay in the short term.  Let’s face it: Eating, for instance, is not a human right.  Work or starve has been the rule throughout history, at least until modern times when the original meaning of the Constitution has been twisted to support federal welfare programs and more wallet-hoovering by the federal government.  Even the freed slaves after our Civil War were essentially told that freedom was defined as the choice between working and starving.

Housing isn’t a human right, either.  Housing generally requires other people’s labor, for which they expect to be paid.  Or it uses other people’s property, again, for which they expect to be paid.

Clothing?  Not a human right.  Lots of people in the world wear anywhere from nothing to locally-produced homespun to the cast-offs our thrift stores send to them.

The Constitution and the Bill of Rights were written by hard-headed but fair-minded men who understood that a government could not force its citizens to be altruists.  When they wrote about promoting the general welfare, they did not mean handing out money to the indigent so they could eat, house, and clothe themselves.  They meant something more lofty than that — the general welfare of the country as a whole, which, if properly promoted, would mean that few if any people would go hungry, naked, or unroofed.  But not because such was a human right — because “a rising tide [should] float all boats”, as Ronald Reagan was fond of saying.

To claim that the Framers could not know that we would have the level of medical science that we have today and that they really meant to include universal healthcare as a basic right is to ignore the fact that the Framers were smarter than that.  Two hundred and thirty years later, there are only 27 amendments to the original plan, ten of which were ratified immediately as the Bill of Rights, one of which (smart) repealed another (stupid), and two of which (the 16th and 17th) were progressive, radical departures from the Framers’ ideal, and which have come around to bite us in the ass a hundred years later.

Bottom line:  Health care and the fulfillment of other basic human needs aren’t human rights, or the Framers would have included them from the start.

______________

* Dudes, I’ve had major medical insurance, either paid for myself or by my employer, from the time I was 24.  And life insurance, too.

 

InDesign update

It’s not as “indesigh” as it was a week ago Monday.

For one thing, the big new monitors have been a godsend.  Eyestrain is not nearly the problem it was, and the color balance is better, too.  (I have a lot of trouble color-balancing monitors, so it’s nice when they come pretty much perfect from the get-go.)

I also found out that I could, literally, cut and paste documents open in the FrameMaker UI into an open, blank InDesign document.  The only thing that doesn’t come over are the linked images, and that makes perfect sense, since they aren’t in the same directories on my local machine as they are on my work machine. So I had to copy over all of the images my predecessor created and save them locally, then reimport them one by one.  Which is a pain, but there aren’t really that many of them.

(I can’t do this on my work machine because it is severely lobotomized — it has only 4 processors and 4GB RAM, which seems like a reasonable amount until you realize that it’s on a Hyper-V virtual machine and is 600 miles away to boot, producing more latency than I really want to deal with.  So, since I have a Creative Cloud account thanks to my employer, I can actually install InDesign on both machines.)

Another thing I did the other night was boosted the RAM in my 8-processor i7 “desktop replacement” laptop from the 8GB it came with to the 32GB that maxes it out.  Things seem to run faster as a result (much less paging to disk).  Unfortunately that didn’t solve the problem I hoped it would solve — InDesign crashes for no particularly good reason at odd times, usually at a point right before I would be saving the document.  However, this is typical Adobe behavior, and I’ve been dealing with it for years — it happens with Acrobat, it happens with PageMaker, it happens with Photoshop, doesn’t matter.  So while it irks me, it’s not like it’s something I didn’t expect to happen.

(It is actually my belief — and has been for years — that the Adobe developers don’t really want to support Windows, so they leave things unfixed that cause the Windows versions to crash, so they can say, well, the Mac version doesn’t crash like that, maybe you should switch to Mac.)

Anyway I have managed to import an entire 285-page document into InDesign.  It’s in multiple chapter files, so I had to create a book for it (and of course, this is the best way to do a large document; I just never could get it to work properly in Word years ago when that was what we used to create the documentation originally), and a separate Table of Contents document, and somehow I need to get all of the styles I had to create to harmonize between all of the chapter documents (why doesn’t Adobe let you define styles at the book level, instead of having you choose one document as the Style Source and then mush-mouth around about “synchronizing” and shit?  Stupid way to run a railroad)…but bottom line, it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be.

And in none of the googling I did over the past year did anyone ever suggest that the best way to convert a FrameMaker document to InDesign was to simply open the FM doc, select all, copy, and then paste it into a new InDesign file.  Probably because of the images not coming over, but geez, people, so you have to fix that.  Big effing deal given what it costs to get a direct FM to ID conversion done.

Anyway, I still hate the software, but I’m finding it’s possible to work with it relatively efficiently.

Just. Wow.

At work, I’ve recently been forced to learn the hell that is Adobe InDesign.*  Which is to say, I started moving stuff from Adobe FrameMaker (another DTP program I don’t know, and have no interest in learning) into InDesign on Monday, and after two days, I had eyestrain trying with my nearly-six-decade-old eyes to read the tiny fucking fonts Adobe’s asshole millennial GUI designers apparently have good enough eyes to see unaided.**

And that was on dual 24″ Asus flatscreens running 1920×1080 each.

So Tuesday, I pulled the plug on a purchase of two new Asus VE278Q 27″ “Full HD” monitors.  This was not as painful as I expected, because the price on 27″ monitors has REALLY dropped like a stone since the last time I looked.  The $20 rebate per monitor helped.  They came today and I waited till after work to install them.

MotherFUCK.***

Three diagonal inches more is A LOT.  Almost an inch and three-quarters wider and taller than the 24’s.

I did not realize how much I must have been squinting to read ANYTHING on this computer.

And yes, goddamn it, I KNOW THAT I’M SHOUTING.  I have Within Temptation cranked right now because I’m fucking pumped.  FUCKING PUMPED.

I may actually ENJOY going to work tomorrow.

_________________

* For what it’s worth, almost every time I type that word, I type “InDesigh”.  I think that is Freudian or some shit.

** Probably on 17″ CRT monitors at 60Hz, the fuckers.

*** And I mean that in a good way.

So horribly true.

When I was in school, I never knew a male who majored in sociology.  There was so much estrogen emanating from that department, one could become emasculated just walking down the hallway.

Or maybe that was the cigarette smoke and the cologne.  Hard telling.

The males who would have gone for sociology were mostly in political science, another made-up discipline.

The conservative males (including myself) were in the history department.  As I look back now, I can see that it was the long dark twilight of the conservative soul in the school of liberal arts.  Most of my professors were gone, retired, within a few years of my graduation, and they were mostly replaced by young leftists.  I think when the military history professor finally retired, they never replaced him.

I never go back.  I prefer my memories of how it was; it was the last happy time, even though we all knew it could never last.

Sic transit gloria mundi.

Taxing my brain

I keep reading that Trump and Congress need to do something about taxes.

This really isn’t difficult.  You’ve got a majority in both houses, put through a flat tax law that removes all deductions and loopholes, assesses a low and fair tax on every dollar earned by every person working in the US (which I’d like to see no more than 10%, but probably should be about 15%), essentially guts the IRS, and cuts us back down to a three-line postcard for a 1040 if you were a good boy or girl and had the tax withheld at the time you were paid.  (How much you earned, how much tax you paid, and the difference (net income).)  And everyone files as an individual — no more joint returns for marrieds, and thus no more marriage penalty.  Got minor kids who have income?  They file their own (or you file it for them, as their guardian).  Do it all online, no more mailed forms, and for God’s sake, up the website and data security so tight that it squeaks.

I’m tired of all the pissing and bitching about this causing a disproportionate impact on lower-income people.  Fuck that, they probably don’t pay any taxes anyway; almost 50% of the American public has no tax liability, anymore, what with EIC and welfare and all that other bullshit nanny-state crap.

The thing that really gets me, though, is that prior to 1913, nobody saw a need for a personal income tax.  The personal income tax started as a Progressive Era grab for more money to fund the expanding Federal government.  The 16th Amendment was required for this purpose because the Constitution did not actually give the Federal government power to tax individual income.

Before 1913, the government was funded by tariffs, customs duties, and fees levied for specific purposes and services as enacted by Congress.  It wasn’t much money.  We struggled to keep a Navy afloat, and usually drew the Regular Army down to ridiculous levels in peacetime.  Civil servants were paid like shit, and even after the income tax was ratified, for many years they had PX privileges on military bases because they barely made starvation wages.*  The federal government was small and the likelihood that a mere citizen would ever draw its attention or need its services was vanishingly small.

Today, the federal government is swollen with pelf stolen from the citizenry with absolutely no attention paid to the parts of the Constitution that are supposed to inform the federal government that it has no damn business doing most of the things it has arrogated unto itself.  It lays down so many rules for citizens that we have little or no choice but to deal with it in some fashion in nearly every activity of our lives.  Its agents are nosy and intrusive and in many cases have the power to make our lives a living hell, when, as the former blogger Velociman once pungently put it, “No public servant should ever be able to threaten a citizen with anything other than a poor shoe shine.”

There are more federal felonies than you can shake a stick at, plus the stick, and certain eminent attorneys and lawyers have long opined that we probably all commit at least three felonies a day and don’t even know it.

And people wonder how a guy like Donald Trump can be elected president.

The fact is, I’m still wondering why his polls are as high as they are.  And I’m wondering what Paul Ryan is still doing holding onto his Speaker’s gavel, since he can’t manage to get major portions of Trump’s agenda past the rock-ribbed conservatives on his side of the aisle — although I also think those rock-ribbed conservatives need to lighten up.

The one thing I’m sure of is that we didn’t get into this mess overnight.  It’s been happening slowly over the past century plus, and sadly, one of my favorite presidents, Teddy Roosevelt, was just as guilty as all the rest in putting the modern bureaucratic federal state on the rails.  Wilson and Teddy’s illiberal cousin Franklin just ran with the ball, and things got even worse under LBJ in the ’60s.

There are a lot of things that need to be reversed, but it’s going to take time to reverse them, just like it took time to put them into place.

But if you want to kill a monster, one way is to starve it to death.  And a flat tax bringing in less revenue (which it would) is one way to put the monster on a diet.

So why don’t Trump, Ryan, and McConnell get the fuck all over that?  Tell me it’s not because Rand Paul is one of its major proponents.  Not that I think Rand Paul is worth even the proverbial bucket of warm spit, but every clock is right two times a day.  And he’s right about the flat tax.

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* FedCo, or “Federal Employees’ Distributing Company”, was originally started in 1948 by 800 Post Office employees to provide lower-cost household goods to Federal employees and their families, for precisely this reason; federal employees were paid, as I said, like shit.  I actually got to visit a FedCo store back in the early ’80s when I was visiting friends in Los Angeles.  At the time, it was a completely new experience to me, as we didn’t have things like Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club, to say nothing of Costco, in Indianapolis until the 1990’s.  (We had Ayr-Way, which was eventually bought by Target, and K-Mart and so forth, but Wal-Mart was a major game-changer for local department stores when it arrived.)

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