Category Archive: General Curmudgeonry

Trump, savior? Give me a break.

Donald Trump is not an angel or a savior. He is simply a leader of men and women, flawed and imperfect, but with that golden vision of a shining city on a hill. Whether he has selfish motives in leading us there is immaterial. He wants America, and Americans, to be free.  He believes in America.  He is a true patriot.

We are taught that even Moses had his faults, yet he was G-d’s chosen instrument to lead the Children of Israel out of Egypt and to the very gateways of the Promised Land.  So beloved of G-d was this flawed man that He closed Moses’ eyes with His own Hand, and likewise buried him; “and no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.”

Are we humans, then, so perfect that we cannot accept this flawed man, Donald Trump, as our leader?  I think not.

I, too, was against Trump before I was for him. I held my nose in 2016 when I entered the voting booth and cast a vote for him. I shan’t be holding my nose this time; as in 2016, the choice is clear.

“I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse; therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed.”

Trump wants us to live in freedom.  The Democrats promise nothing but chains and hardship.

Therefore, choose life.

Choose Trump.

Status update

Fuzzy Curmudgeon

“Well, under the provisions of this bill, we would snatch a Supreme Court seat from the Democrats, which we have deemed unsuitable for their use at this time. They’re such children.”

— With apologies to Mel Brooks

Satya and Jaime have no idea, really.

NPR runs an article entitled “Time To Ditch Those Awful Zoom Calls, CEOs Say”.

I agree, Zoom calls are horrific (as are all conference calls), but the idea that telecommuting is bad for business is, like an old turd, surfacing once again at the top of the septic tank called “Bad CEO Second Thoughts”.

Satya Nadella, he of Microsoft Teams, says (according to the article), “What we as human beings need, want, seek … is human contact.”

Jamie Dimon, CEO of my own bank, JPMorgan Chase, “is particularly worried about how working from home has affected JPMorgan’s younger employees.  He told analysts that productivity had dipped, especially on Mondays and Fridays.  Dimon says bringing people back to the office is paramount to fostering creativity.”

NPR adds, editorially, “The bloom is clearly off this rose.”

Well, now.  Is it really?  I ask, because I’ve been telecommuting happily and successfully for 25 years, come December 29.  Long before the WuFlu, and frankly, before (but not terribly so) the advent of high-speed residential Internet.  Until November 2002, I dialed up every day to my local ISP with a 56k modem.  Had a second line in the house for that purpose.  Remote Desktop was not a thing, back then; I got my mail off of an IBM mainframe (the company traded a software license for accounts on the customer’s 4381), using a 3270 terminal emulator.

Satya hasn’t got a lot of room to talk about Zoom, since he’s the CEO of a company that has several competing technologies (Teams, Skype, Skype for Business), none of which were really ready for prime time like Zoom was when everybody shifted home in March.  (One could argue, uncharitably, that Zoom might have had advance warning from the PRC.)  What Satya really wishes is that you were using Teams or SFB right now instead of Zoom. Since you aren’t (well, some are, we’re not), the whole thing has just made Satya a sourpuss and down on telework.  He probably doesn’t want actual human contact any more than I do.  He’s a geek, we’re all introverts to one level or another.

Jamie Dimon has been in the C-Suite too long to know how things work down on the floors where the peons work.  Productivity has always suffered on Monday mornings and Friday afternoons.  I’ve been watching that phenomenon for 25 years.  Support mail on Monday mornings is usually the frantic communications from over the weekend when something broke (usually the Internet), and other than that, it doesn’t really get started up till around 10 or 11 AM, after everyone’s had their coffee and doughnut, and yakked with the guy in the next cube about how the local team did over the weekend, yada yada yada.  Then it gets busy, and stays busy till right after noontime on Friday, when everybody sits back with a latte or a soft drink, and a snack, and starts to unwind for the weekend.  Jamie should try this.  Life is much less stressful that way.

Back to NPR:

As for the employees, who sit in front of a computer every day in the same spot of their homes, often on video chat, they found the experience “draining.” They missed being able to connect face to face with colleagues and had trouble setting boundaries for when work started or ended.

Um…25 years?  The only draining days are the ones that are slow because nothing’s happening.  And we don’t use video chat.  WTF for?  We email constantly.  We have one (1) (ONE) department meeting per week, using Skype for Business (because that’s what we have — we’ve been using it since it was called “Lync”), voice only, and if it lasts more than 20 minutes, it’s lasted too long (or we’ve got a particularly knotty problem we have to work out).

I will admit that for about the first four years, I had a problem “setting boundaries for when work started or ended”.  But that’s because I lived alone.  I got married after four years of telecommuting, and having a wife who had to get up in the morning and go to work, and who came back every evening at around 6PM, did actually help me set those boundaries.

So, NPR goes on and quotes a survey which

found that workers didn’t feel like they needed to behave during virtual meetings when no one was looking. Most of them admitted to “questionable behavior” during virtual brainstorm meetings, including 1 in 10 who admitted using the bathroom while on a call.

BWAH HA HA HA…oh, sorry, my mic was still on.

I have in fact gone to the bathroom while on a Zoom call with a certain group that had to shift to Zoom calls during the stricter lockdown phases over the summer.  As long as your mic is off, so what?  (Number 1 only, not Number 2.)

On the work calls, I have gotten up to get a soda out of the fridge about twenty feet from where I sit…I’ve run to the back of the house to check on the laundry when the washing machine got out of balance and was going BANG BANG BANG…I’ve walked down to the street and gotten my tenant’s rent check out of the mailbox…dealt with the curiosity of cats, who just have to know what I’m doing at that particular instant…

I wouldn’t call that questionable behavior because it’s no different than what I do all day long anyway.  I’ll take a two-minute break to go to the laundry room and switch the wet clothes into the dryer and more dirty clothes into the washer.  I’ll answer the phone when my doctor calls to confirm an appointment.  Or when a fellow trustee calls to tell me we’ve got a problem down where we both sit on the board of trustees and he wanted to get my opinion on it.  I mean, there are things you can do that don’t take much time and can almost be considered multi-tasking…but you have to get used to doing things that way, and it does take more than just a few months to be comfortable about it.

Another C-Suite denizen opines:

Nathan Rawlins, the chief marketing officer at Lucid, said that’s because virtual meetings are often a series of monologues where people are often checked out and feel “this meeting is the sort of thing where I could lift weights.”

Yeah, well…the fact is, even before WuFlu, MOST MEETINGS COULD HAVE BEEN AN EMAIL.  There’s a reason why this sort of thing exists:

And that’s why they think that.  And have the opportunity to actually go lift weights because they have a fitness machine in the living room, and a wireless headset, and hey, Zoom works on my iPad, and…why not multitask?

So NPR gets all the way to the end of the article, and all of a sudden they get all upbeat and shit:

Still, there is a recognition by workers and employers alike that more is possible with virtual settings than before.

“A lot of people have learned that they can work at home, or that there’s other methods of conducting their business than they might have thought from what they were doing a couple of years ago,” the legendary investor Warren Buffett said at the Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting in May. “When change happens in the world, you adjust to it.”

And despite all the misgivings, Microsoft itself announced just last week that its staff will have the option of working from home permanently. It’s what many other companies are — from Facebook and Twitter to Zillow and Nationwide Insurance — are doing.

I think (as if you give a damn what I think, but hey, I’ve been telecommuting for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS, and that’s more than likely A METRIC FUCKLOAD LONGER THAN YOU HAVE) what is going to evolve is a system where those who want to work from home — and can hack it — will in many cases be allowed to do so.  Those who want to go back to the office will go back to the office.  Some companies may enjoy the cost savings they’ve reaped by not having to have the lights on or the A/C running all summer, and may well shift to something like a 2-day telework, 3-day office work schedule.  Say Mondays and Fridays at home (despite the productivity issues — which might disappear under a mixed-work regime) and T-W-T in the office.  Or even telework unless you need to have a meeting, and you go in to the office for the meeting.  Which, if you’re smart, you’ll have on Wednesdays.  (Note that I couldn’t go in for a meeting if I wanted to, since the office is 600 miles away.)

The fact is, “ditching those awful Zoom calls” is not going to happen because CEOs want it to happen.  Theyr’e going to need buy-in from the peons.  Pandora’s Box-O’-Telecommuting-Freedom is open for business, baby, and from what the article says, something like 3 in 4 of them like it.  So don’t be surprised it it turns out to be difficult to yank that freedom back.  It might behoove the C-Suiters to think on how to make the telework experience better, rather than cut it off entirely.

But nah, bro, don’t listen to me.  I’ve only been doing it for TWENTY-FIVE YEARS. 🙂

People should hang for this.

Literally.  Hang.  Lampposts, rope, Tree of Liberty, etc., the whole business.

From the full PDF: COVID-19 Data Collection, Comorbidity & Federal Law: A Historical Retrospective

There are many lampposts in this country that need decorating with hemp rope and traitors.  Consider decorating one in your neighborhood today.  Spirit of the Halloween season, and all that, don’t’cha know.

It’s all over, folks. You can put your masks away now.

If this is the way it’s going to be, it’s clearly over, and clearly never meant a damn thing other than turning us all into dutiful little slaves of the state.  (But we already knew that.)

Fuck you, Eric Holcomb.  I hope the good citizens of the State of Indiana see fit to award you the Order of the Boot on November 3.



Boston University exempts Black Lives Matter events from COVID size limits


Status update

Fuzzy Curmudgeon

Hunter Biden had some mail
(Electronic as it happens)
It put his daddy on the spot
(Will Hillary send assassins?)

Status update

Fuzzy Curmudgeon

Hunter Biden is a jerk,
His father is senile.
Twitter frets it’s just fake news,
While Facebook’s in denial.

Thanks; I’ll be here all week.  Try the veal.

Status update

Fuzzy Curmudgeon

I caught a 24-hour FB ban yesterday for making the comment “Kansas Dem ought to be hanged in the public square” on a friend’s post.  Whatever.  I won’t be going back to Facebook, other than to handle admin duties in a couple of groups till I can offload them, so if you follow me there, that’s why I’m not posting.  The last 24 hours have been quite peaceful without FB.  So fuck Facebook, and fuck Zuck.  I’ll be on MeWe, and here on the blog.

With regard to court “packing”

I keep having this recurring thought that the existing Supreme Court could simply refuse to seat extraneous justices (i.e., >9) due to budget and space restrictions.  Given that the Supreme Court is an independent Constitutional body, co-equal with the Executive and Legislative branches, I’m not sure Congress can actually legislate new Justice positions, or that the President can actually force them to increase their number simply by nominating extra Justices.  What would the Congress say if the Supreme Court told them they had to double the number of Representatives or Senators?  Or what would the President say if the Supreme Court told him he had to give the Vice President more to do, and make him a co-president rather than a subordinate?  Yet this is precisely what the Democrats think Congress and/or the President can do to the Supreme Court.

That being said, the original reason for there being seven Justices on the original Supreme Court was that each of them was the Chief Judge of one of the seven circuits — and they were theoretically required to ride their circuit when the Supreme Court wasn’t in session. So if we went back to the Framers’ vision, there should be 13 justices today. (12 regional circuit courts plus the Federal Circuit.)

I could see increasing the number of Supreme Court Justices to 13, but then making them each directly responsible  for one of the circuits (i.e., as per the original plan, each Justice is Chief Judge of their assigned circuit) and making them literally sit on that circuit when it is in session. Can you imagine — a circuit court of appeals getting ready to issue a stupid ruling, when the Chief Judge of the Circuit comes down and says, calmly, “You know that opinion will never fly when we hear it in the Supreme Court.  And that’s not an ‘if’ — it’s a ‘when’.”

It would also make sense under such a system to appoint successor Justices based on geography; for instance, if the Justice who serves as Chief Judge for the Ninth Circuit dies or retires, the President is obligated to choose a nominee from the geographical area served by the Ninth Circuit.  Which I suspect would help cut back on the number of Yale and Harvard graduates serving on the Court, and would also create balance rather than perpetuate the “clubby” nature of the existing Supreme Court.

The overriding need, however, is for the country to stop looking at the Supreme Court to protect us from our stupid mistakes in choosing incompetent legislators.  The justices have made it clear for years that they do not want to serve as a “super-legislature” set in place to fix vague and contradictory law made in Congress.  Either Scalia or Alito (I think) said at one point not many years ago that they would prefer the American people simply sent better people to Congress who would write unambiguous law that didn’t leave 90% of its interpretation to the permanent bureaucracy.  Or something along those lines.  The problem is, the Democrats can’t get what they want in Congress, so they’re pushing for the Supreme Court to act as that “super-legislature” in order to interpret the law to say what they want it to say.  But thus has it ever been; it’s no historical secret that FDR wanted to pack the Court for precisely that reason.

ADDENDUM, 14 Oct 2020:  As I have mulled this thing over, I also keep coming back to the idea that the number of justices on the Court shouldn’t be within the purview of either the President or the Congress.  The number of justices on the court should be determined by the Court itself, as a function of workload.  The original Judiciary Act set the number at six in 1789.  In 1807, Congress increased the number to seven (probably to prevent ties).  In 1837 it was raised to 9, and in 1863 it was raised to 10.  The Judicial Circuits Act of 1866 was passed by the Radical Republicans to lower the number of justices to 7, and deny Andrew Johnson any nominees to the Court.  In 1869, with Johnson gone and U.S. Grant firmly ensconced at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, Congress raised the number back to 9, and it has been 9 ever since, despite the attempted depredations threatened by the traitor FDR.  I would think at this point that a 151-year tradition is set in stare decisis stone, and any changes to the makeup of the Supreme Court ought to be at the request of the Court, not instituted by whim of the President or the Congress…but then, I’m an originalist and think we need to be paying more attention to following the Constitution rather than packing the Court to change its Constitutional function into a sort of mini-House of Lords.  I would therefore propose an Amendment to the Constitution whereby the number of Supreme Court Justices would be set permanently at 9, and could be increased (or decreased) only by the Court itself.

The bottom line is that you don’t see Congress thinking its numbers ought to be increased — no, they’re traditionally jealous of their privileges, and would argue the current numbers are historical precedent, and can only be changed if states are added to the Union (and they wouldn’t even do that when Alaska and Hawaii were admitted back in the ’50s).  Whereas one of the few suggestions Jonah Goldberg has made over the years that are actually worth serious consideration is the one he made back in ’09 to increase the House to around 5,000 members. And even he admitted that would be a hard sell in Congress.

Status update

Fuzzy Curmudgeon

Mel Gibson’s upcoming Christmas flick, Fatman, will be either the best Christmas movie since Die Hard, or will crater harder than the asteroid at the end of the Cretaceous. There will be no in-between.  But my G-d, I sure hope it’s the former, because the trailer looks great.


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