62

You’ve been gone 4 years and a little less than 3 months.

Still miss you.  Still love you.

Happy birthday in heaven.

Slope, slippery, 1 each

Word comes that Microsoft is (or maybe was) threatening to cut off Gab, which is a Twitter-like social media platform that has been primarily co-opted by folks on the right because of Twitter’s SJW-driven standards committee that’s been shutting down conservative voices while letting some pretty wild shit coming off the keyboards of some pretty wild lefties stand without comment.  To give a recent example, the racist bitch recently hired by the NYT to sit on their editorial board has a history of posting pretty racist stuff — mostly that she hates white people and would like to see lots of them die or at least suffer a lot.  (She’s Korean, not that it particularly matters.)  When conservatives turned one of her recent posts around and inserted “Jews” where she’d said “Whites” (and said, “what would NYT readers say if this is what she’d said”), they in turn got time-outs from Twitter.  She, on the other hand, is still posting racist trash, and even after her Twitter history was exposed, the NYT simply shrugged and said, “So?”

OK, noted.

Anyway, Gab apparently runs on Microsoft Azure servers.  A lot of services run on Microsoft Azure, or Amazon’s AWS hosting, or any number of other cloud hosting services.  The fact is, in these days, most startups can’t simply stand up a small computer room, get a high-speed link, and run their own web show, whatever that “show” might be.  They can’t afford it.  They’re usually dependent on a cloud host to do that, and to be quite honest, it makes a great deal of sense for companies who aren’t heavy in the tech department to let someone else run and maintain the machines for you, leaving you free to spend your technical time developing and extending your company’s offerings instead of replacing hard drives, upgrading memory, worrying about downtime, and so forth.  (The company I work for makes quite a bit of coin on hosted services that run our own, in-house software, but we do have our own computer room and I can attest that we spend a lot of time keeping machines healthy.  Conversely, something like this site is hosted in the cloud and I don’t have to do anything with the hardware and things like backups and such are handled automatically so I don’t have to deal with that, either.)

The problem Gab has is that not just “safe” conservatives hang out there.  Some of the truly nutbag right-wing idiots hang out there, too.  Yes, we do have them, just like the left does.  Although most of the fuckups on our side are so far to the right that they actually curve back around to the left — the neo-Nazis and suchlike.  (As I have explained MANY FUCKING TIMES, Nazis are socialists — it’s in their very name.  Nationalsozialistische Deutsche Arbeiterpartei == National Socialist German Worker’s Party.  Fascists, contrary to left-wing belief, are also men of the left.  Mussolini’s great idol was Woodrow Wilson, the progressives’ sweetheart.  So stick that in your Juul and vape it.)

In this case, Microsoft was aroused by some far-right cocksucker who couldn’t keep his racist shit from dribbling off of his fingers into his keyboard and thus onto Gab.  So they handed Gab an ultimatim:  Shut this guy up or we’ll shut your whole service off.

Now, you have to understand, Gab’s business model is based on the concept that they’re not Twitter.  They don’t have a censorship committee that hands out time-outs or kicks you off the service altogether for being an asshole.  Their attitude is that speech is free and you’re free to block or ignore someone if they offend you, but Gab isn’t going to swing a banhammer on your behalf.

So far, it appears that the cocksucker has removed the offending post and apologized, but Microsoft hasn’t responded to Gab with regard to whether or not they’re going to be persona non grata on Azure.

And that is where I have a problem.

The problem with the Internet is that it depends on large, near-monopolistic entities like Microsoft who provide the basic infrastructure upon which social media applications are built (as already noted). You want a server and a network connection to stand up a new social media app, the easiest and cheapest way to do that is to use a virtual server in someone else’s cloud. The problem is, that “someone” you choose to do business with may decide they don’t want to do business with you because you don’t conform to their worldview.

I’ve seen people comment that this isn’t a First Amendment issue.  That’s correct as far as it goes, but if that’s the case, well, we’ve seen recently that businessmen and women have been forced to bake that cake and take that photograph, regardless of their personal worldview to the contrary.  Courts have told them that they have a duty to treat all comers equally, and if they refuse on religious grounds to create a custom wedding cake for a gay couple, or refuse to photograph a gay wedding, tough shit, their religious objection to doing so is meaningless, shut up and bake the cake and photograph the wedding or we’ll put you out of business.

Unfortunately, while paying lip service to the concept of equal protection and public accommodation, it misses the point that these folks’ First Amendment religious rights have been violated — regardless of how the rest of the world may feel, e.g., “That’s not such a big deal, what are you going on about?”  We can argue all day about how “your religious views discriminate against my big gay wedding” and “your gay wedding is an affront to the laws of God, if no longer those of man”, but in the end we find ourselves arguing in circles and we’re just exhausted.  And the arguments are just about as juvenile as “You got peanut butter in my chocolate.”  “You got chocolate in my peanut butter.”  Too bad these arguments aren’t Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups; they’d be a lot more palatable.

So getting back to Gab and Microsoft — What exemption does Microsoft have from that general “bake the cake” rule? I don’t see that they have a leg to stand on, even less of a leg than the cake bakers or the photographers, because they don’t even provide a finished product — just one of the major ingredients for it.  It would be interesting to see a judge’s take on that.*

At this rate, even if you have your own server room running your own machines, eventually your ISP is going to be able to shut you down for something you or one of your customers say, write, or do that someone else finds offensive.  This cannot be right.  It’s like running to your friend’s mom and telling her he hit you, forcing her to punish him, instead of popping the little fucker in the mouth in return and not involving your parents in your little disagreement.  When I was a kid, doing the former got you labeled a tattletale.  Doing the latter got you, if not your way, at least some respect for the fact that you’d stood up for yourself.**

The newspaper here used to have a little cheery quote at the top of the editorial page:  “I may not approve of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”  This is words put into Voltaire’s mouth by an historian, alleging to be close to what he might have said to his buddy Helvetius.  Whether or not Voltaire actually said this is irrelevant — the quote captures the essence of free speech, and more importantly, does not allow for a carve-out called “hate speech”.

I don’t approve of people talking smack about Jews or blacks.  I might ask such people to tone their shit down.  But I would never go to some supposed authority and say, “You need to shut this fucker down,” nor would I support anyone who said, “We need to shut this fucker down.”

Why?  Because if I disagree with someone, but my arguments for the contrary position aren’t more persuasive, I need to come up with better arguments — not with bigger guns.  Sure, eventually there comes a time when diplomacy fails and battle begins.  For instance, I think the Israelis have waited far too long to absolutely wipe Gaza of human (?) life, burn it to the ground, and salt the earth so that nothing can grow there.  On the other hand, I don’t live there, and yeah, I know, Arabs kill a thousand Jews and nobody cares, Jews kill one Arab and it’s all over the evening news.

But in our personal dealings with other people, we can’t go with a scorched-earth policy.  For one thing, the authorities get testy when you get that extreme.  Well, unless you’re the Berkeley Police and antifa is on the rampage, I guess.

So let’s get back to Gab and Microsoft.  Microsoft is saying to Gab, either shut this guy up or we’re going to scorch your earth.  Gab, on the other hand, is not responsible for what its members say on its site — that is all on the member, and people are free to engage him and explain why he’s an asshole, or they can block him and never be bothered by him again.  The latter is the Voltairean solution — “Sure, be an asshole, I won’t stop you, in fact, I’ll tell people you’re completely within your rights to spout off even though I disagree with you,” with the unspoken corollary, “When other people also tell you you’re an asshole, maybe you’ll finally wise up.  Or you’ll just be a sad little hateful person with no friends and lots of enemies.”

In the current case, Microsoft is taking the fascist*** route and telling Gab, “Only that speech which is permitted may be published on your service, and we will be the arbiters of what is permitted on your service.”  Say what?  Fuck you. Take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.  Take a flying fuck at the moon.  It’s not like you’re donating the service, Gab is paying you good coin (and a lot of it, from what I see in your pricing structure for Azure) to provide servers on which to run their service.

This is not, by the way, like Facebook, Apple, Google, and Spotify**** deplatforming Alex Jones (which, even though I think Jones is an idiot, still seems like a violation of his rights).  The Microsoft/Gab situation is as if those services’ ISPs told them to deplatform Alex Jones or they’d shut them off.  Naturally, the big dogs aren’t going to be treated that way by their big dog ISPs — the big dogs hang together because money.  But Gab isn’t one of the big dogs, so Microsoft felt no qualms about going all doberman bully on the little schnauzer barking from its cloud service.

Unfortunately this fits into the general attitude on the left that speech that promotes causes and values that the left doesn’t like can be shut down by means other than persuasive argument.  Look at what New York State is doing to the NRA.  Look what banks and credit card companies are doing to gun shops.  Capture of large financial organizations by the left is resulting in freezing out of small concerns that are pursuing legal business of which lefties don’t approve (and which they make no bones about shutting down completely if they ever regain sufficient power).  Look at the idiot Association for Library Service to Children who renamed their Laura Ingalls Wilder Award because of some innocent racial slur found in one of Wilder’s books — that she herself repudiated when it was shown to her years later.*****

This has to stop.  It’s unAmerican.  It’s anti-freedom.  It empowers one group at the expense of another, and leaves the latter wondering why it bothers to keep its powder dry and be nice.******

And down the slippery slope we go, unless we can somehow find a way to put on the brakes.

How do we stop it?

For corporations, break them the fuck up.  Stop allowing all these mergers that create hypergiant media firms that control (or claim to control) all aspects of speech.  (While the AT&T/Time Warner merger may be legal, the Trump Administration’s position is, at base and in my read, that it’s anti-freedom.  The problem is that the Trump Administration is not expressing that well.)  Prosecute Facebook for its creepy privacy violations.  (Did you hear that Facebook wants banks to give it private information on their clients?  Fuck you, Zuckerjerk.)  Punish companies like Twitter that have been overrun by social justice warriors who want only their version of the truth to be published.  Break up giant newspaper companies, TV and radio networks, giant printing conglomerates that control what books get published.  (In fairness, the traditional book publishing companies and the newspapers are already on their way out.  They’re dead, but the tail hasn’t yet gotten the message from the dinosaur’s tiny brain.)

For government, clean out the swamp and go back to the Federal Government performing its Constitutional duties, devolving everything else back to the states.  Government should be small and be our servant, not huge and our master.  We are not its slaves, we’re its bosses.

For people — give your temper a fucking rest, already.  Turn off the TV, quit reading inflammatory sites on the web, get out and take in the fresh air and the nice view.  Don’t let the other side rile you to the point of feeling like you need to react.  Sooner or later they’ll realize they aren’t getting the reaction they want and they’ll go find someone else to bug, or maybe get a job and settle down.  And for Christ’s sake, stop letting everything you see, hear, and read offend you.  Take a breath.  Relax.  Remember what Voltaire (the philosopher, not the band) allegedly said to his buddy.

This, too, shall pass.  But if we don’t all get a handle on the fucking rage, it’s going to pass in a way none of us really want.  I’ve got grandkids, I’ve got no interest in a civil war.

_______________

* Well, actually, it wouldn’t, because freedom of speech and expression is well-established and isn’t up to any fucking judge to arbitrate.  It just is.  Like the right to bear arms, the right to free speech pre-existed the Constitution and is simply guaranteed in the Bill of Rights.  And to say that the speech being suppressed isn’t political speech is disingenuous at best, because it’s certainly left-wing political activists who are trying to shut it down.

** Be a man, not a mouse who’s a member of the mouse committee that decides to bell the cat but can’t find anyone to do that for them.  This goes for women, too.  Man up, bitches.  Be like my wife, who won’t take shit from anybody.  Love that woman.

*** In its original meaning, not the stupid meaning antifa has attached to it.  Fascists aren’t right-wingers.  They can’t be, by definition.  What antifa really are is a bunch of self-hating losers who are projecting their own fascism onto people they hate on the other end of the political spectrum.  But the left is all about projection.

**** One invites you to consider the acronymic possibilities inherent in this mash-up.

***** The ALSC would be well-advised to read what Paul Fussell had to say about things like that:  “Understanding the past requires pretending that you don’t know the present. It requires feeling its own pressure on your pulses without any ex post facto illumination.”  If the term she used would have been used during the historical period covered by Little House on the Prairie, then Ingalls Wilder was 100% correct in using it to illustrate life and attitudes in those times.

It’s like Mark Twain using the N word throughout Huckleberry Finn.  Well, damn it, it’s what Huck and Tom and most of the whites in the South would have called them.  Huck is not Huck without his casual racism, which was pretty standard for that day and age.  Does it jar us today when we read it?  Yes, and it should!  But that’s what Fussell is trying to tell us…you can’t insert your preconceived notions into things you read about history.  You can only take history for what it is.  You are upset because George Washington was a slave owner?  How quaint.  So were most if not all Virginia plantation owners in that day and age.  You can’t judge Washington or anyone else by today’s standards.  You can only judge them within the constraints of their historical milieu.  Period.  End of subject.

****** To wit, the antifa types boasting about how they’re going to start a civil war, and the sane types nodding and saying, “Just bring that on, because we’ve got all the guns.”

Hugo away now (part 2)

I’ve written before about my attitude regarding WorldCon and the Hugos — short synopsis, overrun by progs and no longer worth the dime.

SJWs being SJWs, it’s only gotten worse.

A panelist’s bio on the WorldCon site, apparently lifted from another website (and we’ll not go into the ethics and general laziness of that; the con should have required each panelist to provide their own picture and bio) was edited to “normalize” the odd gender pronouns the panelist preferred — apparently because whoever was formatting it for the WorldCon website thought they were typos.  Not going into that insanity either; it’s been well covered by Mad Mike and crew on Facebook.*  Bottom line is that this “triggered” the panelist, who got all huffy and opined that it would not feel safe at WorldCon.  (In other words, the usual snowflake response of someone who doesn’t understand that the world doesn’t give a fuck about its pretentious bullshit.)

So now, the whole LGBTQwhateverthefuck community is up in arms and the WorldCon committee is finding itself bombarded by demands and general pissyness from said community.  It was gigglesome to start with and now it’s completely off-the-rails insanely hilarious.  This sad person has decided to form a so-called “Queer Rapid Response Team” for WorldCon.  Now, given that I’ve never heard of this person and never read any of their work, their authority to do something like this escapes me; but there you have it.  Apparently due to the preferred pronoun “gaffe”, the queer community has decided that they are going to be suppressed at WorldCon (the opposite is more likely true, since most of WorldCon these days is SJWs), so this “team’s” brief is “about making sure [they’re] allowed to operate within the convention itself.”  Give me a fucking break.  Have you never BEEN to a convention?  Nobody fucking cares about your quirks.

I submit to you that this is another self-inflicted wound in the entirely-avoidable Death of a Thousand Cuts being suffered by WorldCon over the past half-decade or so, which are entirely due to its Gramscian capture by nutbags on the left.  When Mad Mike says on Facebook, “When you watch WorldCon self-immolate”, followed by

it’s pretty clear that the non-unhinged contingent is just sitting back watching the world burn at this point.  Well, and snarking about it, of course.  Because it is entirely snarkalicious.

My advice?  Fuck it, support and attend LibertyCon and/or DragonCon, or one of the other ‘cons where normal, rational people organize and attend.  Nominate and vote in the Dragon Awards, screw the Hugos.  They’re toast.

Heinlein was right, although the progs ruling WorldCon would never admit it:  These are indeed the Crazy Years.

________________

* I’m surprised this hasn’t shown up on his blog yet.  I suppose he’s been busy 🙂

Effing Microsoft

I’ve been having trouble for months with .NET 4.7.x updates on my Windows 7 main machine.  I managed to get 4.7 to install last year, but 4.7.1 and 4.7.2 absolutely refused to install, throwing “error 643” which is about as non-specific as you can get.

Story goes that in order to fix this problem, you uninstall .NET and reinstall it.  So I uninstalled .NET 4.7.  Bad move, because that dumped me back to .NET 3.5 and a whole bunchatonastuff relies on .NET 4.x anymore, so when I rebooted a whole bunchatonastuff failed to start.  And at that point, I was screwed, because even .NET 4.0 wouldn’t install.

Digging around on the net, I finally found the answer that worked:

Looks like the easiest fix to try is to rename C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA\S-1-5-18 to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Crypto\RSA\S-1-5-18_old and re-install. If that doesn’t work that link has other possible fixes.

Sure enough, that fixed it.  So I’m making a note for myself, for when .NET 4.7.3 will probably refuse to install.

Edit to add:  Why this was abysmally bad was that it actually had me considering an upgrade to Windows 10.

Edit 15 Aug 2018 to add:  Why does Microsoft make it so FUCKING HARD TO FIND OUT WHAT VERSION OF THE .NET FRAMEWORK YOU HAVE INSTALLED????? This should be exposed somewhere sensible, like, shit, I dunno, the Control Panel/System and Security/System page in Windows 7? Jesus wept.

Gun haters gonna hate guns

Here we go again. Per the NRA:

On July 16th, Councillor La Keisha Jackson of the City-County Council of Marion County and Indianapolis introduced Proposal No. 275, 2018, which will call for a resolution to declare “gun violence” as a “public health crisis.” While there are no specific gun control actions to be debated, this proposal is potentially filled with misinformation.

Such misguided attempts to only focus on the violent crime they deem “gun violence” and to declare it a “public health” issue do not address the causative factors that lead to violence or the criminals responsible, but instead seek policies that would only impact law-abiding gun owners.

Plus, they are completely meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Why doesn’t the City of Indianapolis start clearing the panhandlers off of city street medians, instead? Or concentrate on fixing its century-old infrastructure that’s steadily collapsing into the ground? Or figure out how to start making some actual coin on properties it owns but doesn’t control? (Lucas Oil Stadium, Bankers Life Fieldhouse)

And on reading this piece of crap, it becomes clear that she’s relied on the biased Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence (AKA “Brady Bunch”) for her statistics.  Sigh.

Public health crisis? Bah. I’ll bet you have armed security, Councillor. So stuff your hatred of guns where the sun don’t shine and do some actual good for the City.  Or get the hell out of public office.

Fuck Facebook and their fucking community “standards”.

This is exactly (with two word changes because it’s nobody’s business where I work) what I posted on Facebook earlier today, which was deleted because “it looks like spam and doesn’t follow our Community Standards.”

It is astounding how many so-called operations people have no idea how mail flows through their enterprise and have to ask us to hold their hand and explain it…usually over the phone.

The fact is, we have no idea how your mail routing works. Our software expects you to have that figured out already…and expects you to know how to fix it if it breaks.

It’s like when we tell people, “you need to set up an MX record in DNS pointing to server.yourdomain.com”, and instead of doing that, they set up an MX for their entire domain that points to our application server. (Yes…this happens several times a year.)

I yearn for the days of yesteryear when all those guys and gals who came up through mainframe shops actually knew what they were doing. 23 years is all it took for all that knowledge to retire and go away, leaving in their place over-promoted interns who spent most of their time reading USENET until someone said, “You! Yeah, you, geek! We need a new ops manager and you’re it.”

1440 days and a wakeup.

I see a lot worse posted by antifa and the Democrats, so I have to wonder a) what made this look like spam and b) how exactly did it violate Facebook’s precious Community Standards?

So, fuck Facebook.  Fuck Zuckerberg.  Fuck everyone who works for Facebook.  May Facebook be infested with the fleas of a thousand camels and be buggered by swarthy Middle Eastern men wearing robes and funny hats.

And I can say that here because FACEBOOK DOESN’T OWN THIS BLOG.

Drug control is as bad as gun control

There.  I said it.  I didn’t wholeheartedly believe in drug deregulation until the last several years.  Things change.

Tamara Keel is currently healing up from a broken clavicle.  She’s having trouble getting decent painkillers, thanks to the stupidity inherent in the system, and she’s in a lot of pain.

I hate it that Tam is in pain. And she’s not the only person I know who’s in this predicament.  I have a brother from another mother who has been in horrific, chronic pain since they cracked him open to take out an esophageal tumor a number of years back. If I am recalling his situation correctly, he was on two big Oxycontin tablets daily (and living pretty much in an opioid fog as a result) till just a couple of years ago, when he finally found a pain management specialist who got him down to one tab a day, and got him back to living a relatively normal life.)  But he still has to fight the system to get his 30-day scripts filled. And if the doc is on vacation (as has happened) when it comes time to write him a new script (which by law has to be on paper, no electronic Rx allowed), he’s screwed. But those are the rules: You can have one 30-day script once every 30 days, period, no exceptions, even if you’re planning to travel during an overlap.  And don’t even think about asking for your script a day early.  And now they’re talking about making that 30 days only two weeks, I think.

This is because the federal and state government think that everyone who takes opioids is, by default, a fucking drug addict.  It’s like they think that you take one pill and you’re hooked for life.  Which is total and complete bullshit.

The current drug control regime is just as stupid as the current gun control regime. It penalizes legitimate users/owners while scofflaws do whatever the hell they want.  Criminals get guns in back alleys just like meth-heads buy their packets of white crystals on street corners.  They are completely outside the system and they are laughing at the cops and the bureaucrats who think that they’re going to obey some stupid law that only the law-abiding will follow.

And that’s the bottom line, really.  The problem is that the system is geared to the idea that if something bad is happening, a law to prevent it will solve the problem.  This completely ignores the fact that laws are for the law-abiding.  If everyone recognized and followed the laws, we would not have prisons.  But we do have prisons, and by all accounts they are full to overflowing, because we have laws on the books that some people refuse to follow.

I mean, let’s face it.  Murder is a felony.  Indeed, it’s possibly the most ancient felony about which there are laws on books.  “לא תרצח” wrote the ancient Hebrews, right at the top of the lists of the “thou shalt nots”.  Doesn’t matter how you kill someone, with a gun, with a knife, with a vehicle, with your bare hands.  It’s a felony and you deserve to spend time in stir or be strung up from a gallows for committing it.  Granted that there are grades of punishment based on various conditions of the murder (premeditated, heat of the moment, etc.).  And there are things like manslaughter, which cover accidental murder — still a damn serious charge with a damn serious penalty, but not at the level of cold-blooded murder.  The penalties for murder in any form are damn tough.  But people murder other people every day.  Why?  Because they think they’ll get away with it (even if that thought is informed by drink or pharmaceuticals or just plain madness).  That’s kind of an extreme form of “stupid law that only the law-abiding will follow”, but that’s what murderers generally think or they wouldn’t be murderers.

Rape is generally a felony.  Doesn’t matter to some guys.  Women are just there for the rapin’, as far as they’re concerned.  And all the fuckups with DNA testing haven’t made it easier to convict them, either.  They just figure they won’t be caught.  Like the swim coach up in Carmel who got nailed last week for screwing around with one of his 17-year-old students.  And that was a guy, for a change…most of the child rape/molestation cases coming out of schools are woman on boy, again, mostly because the teacher figures she’ll never get caught because the kid will never rat them out.*  (If you don’t believe that it’s mostly female teachers molesting their young charges these days, Instapundit’s got news for you.)

Vehicular homicide coupled with a DUI is also a couple of felonies tied together.  Doesn’t stop people from drinking and driving, particularly when cops do it and get off with a slap on the hand.**

The point of all this is to show that sometimes a law just isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on, if someone is damn well disposed to violate it.  And generally such people violate the law because they don’t think they’ll get caught.

Thus it has been throughout the history of mankind.  Most of the Old Testament is laws because even back then people couldn’t be trusted to behave in a civilized manner.  And laws governing human behavior go back even farther than that.

So at what point do we throw laws out and let nature take its course?  Well, in my opinion, when laws are so ridiculous that they literally penalize those who are law-abiding.  Laws preluding murder, rape, and drunken behavior — not to mention theft and suchlike — don’t penalize the law-abiding, because by default, they won’t do such things.  Frankly, even laws against prostitution don’t penalize the law-abiding, because they’re likely home in bed with their spouse.

I don’t believe in gun control (other than insofar as it results in a nice, tight grouping on the target), not only because I am a supporter of the Second Amendment, but also because there is generally a Darwinian component to bad guys who have guns, viz., they tend to shoot each other up a lot, and when they try to start trouble in places where they shouldn’t, they often (sadly, not often enough) end up on the wrong end of someone else’s firearm — where “someone else” is usually a legal carrier.

Back when the drug and gang problem was in full swing in the fair city of Indianapolis (not that it still isn’t, but it’s cut down to a dull roar in comparison), my solution to the problem was, “fuck it, cordon off the major trouble area with National Guard troops and let them kill each other off.”  And it sort of still is, other than the fact that I know there are plenty of innocents living in that area.  To me, though, the problem is one that could be solved if we as a civilized society were willing to do what’s necessary to root out the bad apples.  But until we’re ready to do that, fuck it, let them kill each other, I don’t care.

I take the same attitude about drug addicts, particularly the problem children down along the Ohio River.  Let them OD and kill themselves.  Stop bringing them back to life so they can shoot up or snort again.  I have a paramedic niece in Cincinnati whose personal best was (if I recall correctly) Narcanning the same OD’d dopehead three times in the same week.  (They could have made appointments.)  But fuck that.  Let the guy die if he’s that intent on killing himself (or at least, that intent on behavior that is likely to kill him).

Our distant ancestors used to kill defective children to improve the breed.  In our own time, genocide has been practiced on people who belonged to the “wrong” community.  We used to think that people of one race were superior to people of other races, and vice versa.  But that isn’t the problem here.  Drug addiction cuts across all races and genders and all walks of life.  It affects everyone, even non-addicts, because of the anti-social behavior usually practiced by addicts.  Drug addiction is a very bad thing and whether you agree with me or not regarding how to solve the problem (or at least the worst expressions of it), the facts point to an inescapable conclusion about government drug control that is absolutely no different than the one many of us already draw regarding government gun control:

It doesn’t work because the only people who care are the people who abide by the law to begin with.

Joe Random Gangbanger and Jane Random Methhead aren’t going to stop what they’re doing because some stupid law inconveniences them.  The last count was something like 400 million guns on the streets in America.  And who knows how many kilotons of recreational drugs are making their way through the pipelines from Central America and China.

You can’t stop either one of them because the people who are already predisposed to tell you to fuck off don’t care about your efforts.  All you can do is penalize the people who need the pain killers or who want to exercise their God-given right to self-defense by legally carrying a weapon.

Nope.  It’s time to take the restrictions off.  Any and all restrictions in law that effectively penalize the law-abiding but do nothing to stop the scofflaws needs to go.

I’m a Fuzzy Curmudgeon and I endorse this message.

_________________

* As a former teenage boy who had the hots for a couple of his high-school teachers, I can fully understand why they might think that, too.  But the problem with teenage boys is they can’t keep their mouths shut about that sort of thing…eventually they have to brag.  Luckily, back when I was in high school, female teachers had a better-developed sense of morality and ethics, so if you ever heard about something like this, it was the exception, not the rule.

** And then the stupid shit can’t keep from getting ANOTHER DUI when he’s out on bail for the first one.

Sound check

*tap tap* *SQUEAL* *tap tap*

Is this thing on?

Posting will resume shortly.  Vacation was nice.  Back to frickin’ work.

Gone fishing

It’s time for a vacation, so I won’t be posting regularly for a couple of weeks.

What?

Oh…well…yeah, how is that different from when I’m not on vacation?  Not much.

Although I HAVE done pretty well at doing two posts a week for the last few weeks.

So PHBBBBBBBBT.

Anyway, posting will be (as we say in the amateur radio community) “holiday style” till the end of the month, meaning, I’ll post when I damn well please and about what I damn well please.  Even if it’s just beach and sunset pictures.

Aloha, baby.

Turnabout is fair play, except when it isn’t

At work, we recently had a customer who wanted to partake in the training courses for our software.  Training is generally done by one of our consultants, who (these days, anyway) does a GoToMeeting or Skype screen-sharing session for that purpose.

It will probably not surprise anyone that I work with a bunch of left-wing progressive types.  That seems to be common in IT anymore.  But our product is purchased by companies and organizations that span the political spectrum.  And as a result, for many, many years, I have had to deal with certain customers whose ideology I considered (and still consider) repugnant. But by and large, the people I dealt with were gracious, intelligent, and kept ideology and politics out of the relationship.

And that’s fine with me.  In my opinion, we’re not doing business with their ideology. They are paying us a significant chunk of change for our product (and additional coin for the training), which in and of itself is non-ideological. What they do with it after they purchase it is their business, not ours (so long as they’re not spamming with it — we’re death on spammers). I’ve been dealing with people in business for a long, long time, and frankly all I care about is that their money is good.  Everyone with a message is free to distribute that message in any media they choose.*

Therefore it should come as no surprise that refusing to deal with a customer for ideological reasons is not a viable excuse in my book.  But we had two of our engineers who refused on principle to provide the training for this customer.  One said flatly that he did not know if he could control himself if he were required to train them.  The other made wishy-washy mouth noises about how he did not feel he could train well on this subject and asked to be excused — but I know what his political philosophy is, and I know he knows the product better than that.

We did end up providing the training, but we had to pull in one of the product developers to do it.  Which was interesting, but not optimal — he has other things to do and training is not his bailiwick.

So let’s think about that for a moment.

This really is not the same thing as the wedding photographer or the baker who is forced against his or her religious beliefs to use their creativity in support of events that go against the grain of those religious beliefs.**  Naturally, the left will claim that training a right-wing organization to use the company’s sofware is a violation of the personal beliefs of the engineers who refused to do that training, but hang on a sec.

The wedding photographer and baker are (more than likely, and in all cases to date I think they were) sole proprietors or, at most, partners in a family business — that is, working for themselves.  They are perfectly able to determine for themselves what jobs they want to take on, and what jobs they do not want to take on.  The fact that their religious ideology precludes them creating art for gay couples is what has gotten them in trouble.  Being honest about that didn’t help.  On the other hand, the people who entered their shops and offices and asked for their services more than likely did so for the specific purpose of landing them in court and forcing them to do things that they believed violated their religious freedoms.***

In our case, without a word being said by the organization in question other than “We’d like to pay for training,” our two brave engineers said “We’re not playing that” — and they did so strictly because of the ideological bent of the customer in question.

However.

The two engineers aren’t the company.  They don’t own the company, they don’t call the shots.  But they got away with it anyway, because the boss isn’t the kind of guy to fire someone for that sort of thing.  And frankly, at least one of them would probably sue him if he did.

Nevertheless, they got away with something that a number of folks on the other side of the political spectrum got called on the legal carpet for.  The company didn’t suffer because we found someone else to provide the training.  But our engineers hid behind the corporate monolith and none of that got out to the customer, who was just happy to be trained.

Because I know the makeup and history of the customer, I have exactly zero doubt that, had either of our engineers been independent consultants who had refused to service the customer’s request for training and said it was because of the customer’s ideology, they would have wound up in court answering a judge’s questions as to why not.  Turnabout is fair play, and the customer would not have hesitated to file that sort of legal grievance.

Hiding behind the corporate wall, though, these two got away with it.

And that irritates the hell out of me.  Because I’m absolutely certain both of them think — no, they firmly believe — the wedding photographer and the cake baker were wrong.  That they don’t see their own situation the same way only proves once again that progressives don’t give a fuck about you — it’s all about them and their feelings.

______________

* Recipients of the message, however, are also just as free to dump it straight into the trash.

** Which is my round-about way of saying, “in support of gay weddings”.

*** Frankly, they would have been better off saying, “Sorry, our schedule is full up and we simply can’t take any new orders/jobs right now.”  And I’ll make the point that it seems like refusing to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple due to strongly-held religious beliefs about homosexuality doesn’t sound all that different from refusing to serve blacks or Irish or Jews because of the color of their skin or their national origin or their non-Christian religion.  If you start saying you won’t do X for person Y because of Z, when Z has something to do with the other person’s beliefs and prejudices, it’s a goddamned slippery slope back to the back of the bus or separate drinking fountains or simply refusing to serve someone because you don’t like their ancestors back in the old country.  And it’s VERY hard to reconcile the fact that on one hand, we have the concept of freedom of association and freedom of religion, while on the other hand, we have the 14th Amendment and the Civil Rights Acts which say we’re supposed to treat everyone the same.

And yeah, this is a footnote rather than a full-on philosophical post of its own, because I am fucking confused about the whole thing myself.  It’s why I won’t take a real stand on the subject, other than to note that the only time anyone seems to care is when it’s a left-winger trying to force a right-winger to do something the right-winger doesn’t want to do, and never the other way around.  That’s the unfair part, and it’s the part I tend to focus on rather than worrying about people’s religious or ideological stances.

Either apply the law indiscriminately, or fuck the goddamn law.  And that’s my bottom line.

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