Category Archive: General Curmudgeonry

J’accuse

Citizens Energy in Indianapolis is trying to pull a fast one.

For several years, our gas budget payment hasn’t changed.  Gas has only gotten cheaper and cheaper thanks to fracking, if I’m reading the news correctly.  Yeah, last winter was a doozy, and this past April was the coldest April on record in the past 20 years, but the fact is, our gas payment easily sufficed to pay for all the therms we consumed this winter, and right now our balance with them is only about $10 more than the payment for this month.

Yet next month, they are raising our budget rate $26 a month.  Which is a hefty increase, percentage-wise.

Citizens Energy started out as Citizens Gas (well, Citizens Gas and Coke, but nobody has called it that for years) and was established as a public trust owned by the city of Indianapolis as trustee for the citizens of Indianapolis.  Its mission was to provide natural gas at the lowest possible price for its customers.

Somehow, I don’t see that happening right now.

The whole Scouting mess annoys me.

Don’t let the National Council down in Irving fool you.  This whole “girls in Boy Scouts” is less about SJWism than it is about membership numbers, which have been falling rapidly over the past couple of decades despite everything National has tried to stop it.

But I feel like the BSA has finally gone down a road that has a cliff at the end of it.

As a youth, I never felt the need to have girls in the troop; that’s what Girl Scouts were for. As a currently-active adult leader, despite what I’ve grumbled about in earlier posts, I can’t really say much about the whole “girlz” issue, since my current active leadership is in a Venture crew (which has allowed girls since the Venture program began — albeit they have to be at least 14 and they can’t (or couldn’t) participate in regular Scout advancement).

But I’m about ready to retire from active Scouting (again) in a couple more years, as I’ve also mentioned before. The policies coming out of Irving don’t jibe with my concept of the way Scouting ought to be, although I’ve felt that way since they tried to make the program more “urban” in the early 1970’s.  And by “urban” I don’t mean “more black”, because I don’t give a shit what color you are.  By “urban” I mean “less emphasis on camping and fieldcraft”.  And the changes that were made back then to advancement — specifically “skill awards” — were just a sop to the concept of instant gratification.

The entire operation has been numbers-driven for years.  At one point I had several separate registrations (because you have to have a registration for every position you hold) — and they all had different registration numbers.  Not, as you might expect, the same registration number across the board indicating that I was one person holding several positions, but so far as the records showed, I was multiple people holding one position apiece.  I was told that they were counted that way, too, inflating the numbers to make the organization look bigger than it really was.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I can’t imagine any other reason for it.

But the dirty little secret for many years was that we had a lot fewer people than we were claiming.

And that’s the only real reason I can see for letting girls into the program now.  There’s no good SJW reason to do it; there are plenty of male-only organizations in the US (the regular Freemasons haven’t yet admitted women — knowingly — and probably will be the last holdouts) and the whole feminist attack on males is pretty much spent, in my book.

What is truly sad is that the program at both National and local council levels has been aimed for years at numbers and making SJWs happy — and not so much at making boys into men.

No plan. No clue.

Our marketing director is trying to protect her phoney baloney job today. Nothing else really explains the flood of emails from her overnight 🙂 It’s as if we’ve never released software before and have no concept what we’re doing unless she tells us 🙂

The fact is that we have no SOP for a software release, so we roll one fresh every two or three years when we put out updates. Sure would be nice if someone would document this process and keep a record of it for next time.

Oh well.  I can retire in just over four years.  And if I could find something else that paid enough, I could retire sooner.

Snort.

Stormy Daniels — if that is her real name* — is really only in this for the bucks, ya know.

‘Tis a pity she’s a whore.

The complaint alleges that Trump’s tweets mocking Daniels over a forensic sketch of a man she says threatened her to keep quiet about her claims of an affair with the president amount to defamation because they accuse her of fabricating the alleged crime, which would itself be illegal.

To echo the comment I’ve seen all over Facebook since this broke:  Before you can sue for defamation, you have to have a character to defame.

How much is George Soros paying you, babe?  (And I use “babe” only in the derogatory sense…’coz honey, looks to me like y’all been rode hard and put up wet.)

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* Yeah, I know, it’s a nom de porn.  I plead autistic [sic] license.

This is ridiculous.

No bank has the right to tell me how to spend my money.

I will accept that credit cards have limits; that makes good sense, and I accept that the bank can tell me how much money I can spend on their bank=issued credit card.  But what I do with the credit up to that limit is not the bank’s business.

And yet: Banks, Credit-Card Companies Explore Ways to Monitor Gun Purchases

Banks and credit-card companies are discussing ways to identify purchases of guns in their payment systems, a move that could be a prelude to restricting such transactions, according to people familiar with the talks.

Sorry for those of you who don’t subscribe to the WSJ, but that’s where the article is.

I was not aware that banks and credit card companies were branches of BATFE.  To do what they propose looks like a violation of the First, Second, Fourth, and Fifth Amendments, to me.

The more this kind of thing keeps popping up, the sooner the revolution is going to start.  Like I said a few posts down, I sure as hell hope it starts before I’m too old to take an active part.

The media are not the only problem.

Article pointed out by “Shermlock Shomes” on Facebook:

Poll: Half of Republicans think media should be described as enemy of people

That’s for sure. But the Government/Media Complex is a hard combination to beat. Especially when there’s little difference between the two parties, the permanent bureaucracy is fighting for its life, and the traditional media are losing customers at an increasing rate. Even previously-neutral (so far as we knew) players on the Internet are showing their true colors so plainly that nobody can mistake them for honest brokers.

All these recent calls to limit free speech and take guns out of law-abiding citizens’ hands don’t surprise me in the slightest. We just need to keep up the skeer. Oh, I’m sorry, did I just quote Nathan Bedford Forrest? That ought to trigger someone.

The real solution, of course, is to hang every elected official in Congress, regardless of party, by the neck until dead, hold elections for a new Congress, hang them too, and then hold another election.  I figure by the third time around, the folks who get elected will understand that the people they work for are serious about that whole “servant of the people” schtick.

Keep government properly frightened of the people who elected it, and it will be your servant.  Fail to keep up the skeer, and it will become your master.

NYT says the memory of the Holocaust is fading, eh?

That’s what they’re saying today.

This is because of our abysmal schools which no longer actually teach history. The Times knows this, because the Times has been complicit in the Gramscian damage done to our educational establishment since the end of the 2nd World War.

To fix this problem, we need to start teaching history again, not “social studies” and propagandistic crapola about how all cultures are equally wonderful and should be celebrated as such. All cultures are NOT equally wonderful, and quite frankly, some of them should be permanently erased from the face of the planet.  (If you want to know which ones they are, consider which ones get a free pass from most of our shitty media — not the ones that are constantly being beaten up in the UN General Assembly.)

A nation which has forgotten its history will not long endure.  I hope I don’t live long enough to see that denouement.

The bill will come due in due time.

A friend commented this morning on Facebook that he drove through Carmel, Indiana’s downtown.  He noted how lovely the area is and also the fact that he didn’t have to dodge a single pothole, and said how great Carmel’s mayor is and how shitful the mayor of Indianapolis is.  (If you’ve driven through Indianapolis lately on the surface streets, you know what I mean.)

Well, now.  How about that.  Because I think BOTH mayors are shitful, just in different ways.

The mayor of Indianapolis is a typical Democrat, working with a majority Democrat City-County Council.  Nothing substantial is ever going to get done because Dem politicians in this town are too busy looking for ways to line their own pockets at the expense of their constituents.  This is as it has always been when Democrats run the city, and the way the demographics look, they’re going to run the city for a long, long time.  The one good thing Dick Lugar did for this city was also one of the worst things Dick Lugar did for this city, and it was called UniGov.

In 1970, Lugar and the powers that were managed to con the General Assembly into consolidating the city of Indianapolis and Marion County (less 11 “included” towns, e.g., Lawrence, Speedway, Beech Grove, etc.) into a single governmental unit, under the mayor and a new City-County Council.  You can argue the whys and wherefores of this move till you’re blue in the face, but the bottom line result of the change was to breathe new life into the city’s Republican governing majority by bringing GOP voters who had moved into the county outside of the “old” city limits back into the fold.  And this worked for nearly fifty years, even as the city started to turn purple again and then the blue stain started moving up from the southern end of the county.  Sure, there were a couple of Democrat mayors, but they were fairly conservative as such things went, and the city-county council got to where it had only a thin GOP majority but was still presided over by a Republican.

That finally blew up in the GOP’s face during Ballard’s second term and now we have a thin-majority Democrat Council and a Democrat mayor.  And as GOPers continue to flee the city, you’ll see that Council turn more and more blue.  (This is one of the reasons why I’m less and less opposed to my wife’s idea of retiring to Florida — specifically, Collier County, Florida, the reddest of the red SW Florida counties.)

Now, frankly, as much as I rail about UniGov and yearn for the good old days when we were serviced by the county out here in the sticks, the fact is that that’s my old curmudgeon yelling at clouds.  While I believe the snow plowing service is pretty horrible compared to what it was when I was a kid, a lot of things have improved as services were consolidated and the county no longer had a big doughnut hole in the middle where the city ran things.  I don’t even have a problem with the consolidated police force at this point; it’s proven (other than the occasional drunken cop) that it can do a pretty decent job, for much the same reason (no more doughnut hole for the county sheriff to drive around).  The downtown area, which was a hole when Hudnut took over as mayor, is a pretty sweet place to be, at least during the daylight hours (and that’s a policing problem, not a civic one — although a crackdown on all the panhandlers is long overdue, and in my opinion there is a large swath of the East Side that ought to be surrounded and gone through house-by-house to take out the drug gangs.  But that’s my opinion).

The problem today is that our Democrat mayor can’t keep his promises.  At least, he can’t keep his promises about fixing the potholes.  You can look back in this blog and find a couple of mentions of a four-day assault on potholes.  Well, that failed utterly.  And weeks later, after they had finally filled holes in our street that you could lose a Smart car or a Mini in, we had more snow, the plows came out, and voila, the crappy patches all got yanked out of the holes and we had bigger holes.

This is what happens in a city that places big spending on sports venues and 10-year tax abatements to lure large companies to relocate here, rather than keeping up with infrastructure maintenance.  Face it:  Paving roads isn’t as sexy as building big stadiums and putting lipstick on the pig that’s downtown.*  And frankly, I blame every mayor and every city councilperson we’ve had for the past 50 years for this mess, regardless of party.  But the guy in the hot seat right now is the target of everybody’s ire, so we’ll just go with that.  We’re looking at millions of dollars of infrastructure repairs that are needed just to fix the damn roads.  But we’re spending those millions of dollars enriching the owners of sports teams and subsidizing community development in areas that we’ve already dumped millions of dollars into over the years.  Oh, and the fucking worthless Red Line.

The hell of it is, Marion County can afford that kind of thing, at least at the moment, because it has a huge tax base.

Carmel, Indiana, however, is a different story.

Carmel is a small city in a large county.  Granted it has a high-income component to its tax base.  But there are a lot of common middle-class folks who live within the city limits of Carmel, too.  Carmel used to be a sleepy bedroom community inhabited by a lot of families of privilege.  Then, 20 years or so ago (I can’t arse myself to look it up), a guy named Jim Brainard carpetbagged into town from Ohio, and ran for mayor under the GOP banner.  (Which is interesting, because by all reports, he was a Democrat in Ohio.)

Since then, Carmel has spent millions of dollars on a revamped downtown that includes a new city hall, a performing arts center, shitloads of roundabouts that most people hate (even if only secretly), and outside of the downtown it’s taken over responsibility for at least one road corridor that used to be a state highway and turned it into an expensive parkway with roundabout exits that nobody can figure out how to use.  Carmel has also annexed (over the protests of the wealthy folks who moved out there to get away from Carmel) areas to its west to help pay for this, under the aegis of “you use Carmel services like sewers and first responders, so you can help pay for them.”  Well…maybe.  Because the real story is probably more along the line of, “we need to expand the tax base so we can service all the debt we’re going to have to pay back when the bonds we floated for all this work come due in less than 10 years.”

So sure, Carmel has great roads and always has the snow off of them quickly, and it’s a beautiful place to drive through if you can negotiate all the fucking roundabouts.  But I’ll bet on paper it’s practically bankrupt.  I know people who have served on its city council over the last decade or so, and they all think the mayor is nuts, and skirting the law in the bargain.  And if you talk to the general public up there, they all think the mayor is nuts.

But he keeps winning re-election.  He’s in like his fourth or fifth term.  And the same people who complain about him keep voting for him; I have no idea why.  You’d think they’d throw him out in the primary, or hold their noses and vote Democrat in the general, just to get rid of him.  I mean, you could always vote the Democrat back out in four years.

So going back to what my friend opined about this morning:

I question whether or not having a lovely downtown and no potholes is truly better than having a reasonable downtown and a shitload of potholes that will eventually be fixed (I mean, spring IS coming, it’s just not coming real fast) if you’re sitting on a ton of debt because of it.  Carmel isn’t that big of a city, and it is constrained from growing much larger because it’s surrounded on all sides by other municipalities and/or county lines it can’t cross.  And it’s building up its unimproved areas very fast.  Sooner or later it’s going to grow to its limits and it won’t be able to easily increase its tax base, at least not with the kind of people it can tax at a high rate and expect to keep around to help pay off its bonds.

Stein’s Law informs us that if something cannot go on forever, it will stop.  In that vein, Maggie Thatcher (apocryphally) told us that sooner or later, you run out of other people’s money.**

Well, that’s Carmel, Indiana, in another decade or so.

Indianapolis?  Who knows.  And since I don’t intend to be living here in another decade, I don’t honestly much care.  But we’ve seen what Democrats do to cities, and I don’t see Indianapolis regaining a GOP hegemony any time soon.

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* This is a fair metaphor, because while we have a beautiful downtown on the surface, what’s going on underneath the surface is pretty much a dog’s breakfast.  The work never ends underground at North and Pierson Streets, for instance; I’ve been watching them dig big holes in the road there for the last 10+ years.  And the rest of the downtown infrastructure isn’t much better — remember the vault fires that were blowing manhole covers out of the street, a few years back?  And let’s not discuss the 150 year old sewers and ancient water distribution system.

** Whether she actually said it or not is unimportant; it is simply an illustration of Stein’s Law, and she did say things like it about socialism.

Musings on the GDPR and other insanities

I wonder what would happen if a company that has absolutely no presence in the EU, but which may from time to time service customers who are citizens of the EU, were to basically toss GDPR requests into the trash and refuse to respond to them?

This doesn’t apply to the company I work for, since we do have a presence in the EU, but to me, the GDPR is yet another attempt by a national or multinational entity to make its law hold sway outside of its borders where it has no business poking its nosy legal nose. Consider for instance the Polish law that recently went into effect stating that any person anywhere, regardless of nationality, could be prosecuted under that law for insulting the poor widdle psyches of Polish citizens by asserting that the Poles were responsible in any way for the Holocaust. Which, by ignoring what was going on in their own back yard, they were. If that be a violation of Polish law, so be it. The truth is still the truth. Soylent Green is still people.

Consider, for that matter, the ICC, which the US refuses to ratify, because to do so would, among other things, leave American warfighters open to spurious charges of war crimes to be tried by the ICC.

Consider also the strange tendency of late of our courts, including the Supreme Court, to take the laws of other countries into account when deciding matters of strictly American law. The problem with doing that is that there’s absolutely no basis for applying what foreigners do in their own countries to what Americans do in the US. Our judges are supposed to apply American law to American questions of law, and if some other country’s law conflicts with American law in such a case, it is of exactly zero moment.

It is a strange world we live in. Sometimes I wish we’d have told the world to go police itself after the Second World War. Although I probably would have used a word other than “police”. Probably one that started with “F”.

This. Exactly fucking this.

Nailed it:

That leaves one really effective solution: Eliminating victim disarmament zones. Nothing takes the cachet off your trenchcoat massacre more than being shot in the ear by the pink Kel-Tec .380 of Mrs. Perkins, your remedial grammar/comp teacher.

And that’s the thing! There’s no need to force teachers to play hunter/killer SWAT commando. The training requirements outlined in Florida’s hasty-ass legislation are ridiculous, and I say this as someone with a reasonably extensive firearms training resume.

The shooting problem here is the easiest possible one there is. There’s no need to go in search of anybody; just get all the kids out of sight of the locked classroom door, post yourself up in the blind spot against the wall between the doorway and your young charges, and wait. If the disturbed youth somehow manages to force the door, you send him to the respawn point like a proper camperfag.

This is the kind of snark I despair at creating, and why I read Tam religiously, on Facebook if not on her blog directly.

But besides that, it’s the only real solution to the problem of school shootings.  Or shootings anywhere, for that matter.

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