Category Archive: General Curmudgeonry

End the War on Pain Pills

Chronic pain patients need advocates to champion the case for ending the war on pain pills. Congress and state legislatures alike should be ashamed of themselves, and should pay the price for their knee-jerk, “protect our phony baloney jobs” legislation on this and any number of other issues where they’ve screwed the pooch.

Whenever something legal gets abused, it’s always the people who were using it LEGALLY who get SCREWED. You can apply that principle across the board to anything you can think of. Guns, opioids, sinus medicine, tobacco, liquor, whatever, legislators have managed to make a royal mess of our lives and our rights.

Legal users ALWAYS get screwed while outlaws ignore the laws and regulations and just keep on keepin’ on. If you think for some reason that there’s no reason to vote, you are wrong; we need to vote to throw these meddling morons out of office and put people in who respect the rights of the people to live their lives, be at liberty, and to pursue happiness. And I don’t care if they’re D’s or R’s, if they vote for this sort of thing, they need to go.

You cannot have life, liberty, and happiness when you are in constant pain without any hope of relief.

End the War on Pain Pills. Now.

The restaurant is not the foundation.

There’s a lot of noise out there about how Chick-fil-A has been redirecting donations away from Christian- and conservative-friendly organizations (like the Salvation Army) lately.  Now comes news that they have been supporting the racist- and domestic terrorist-friendly Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).  OK.  This seems odd, given the Cathy family’s generally Christian and conservative orientation.  But I think there is something that everyone is missing.

It was the Chick-fil-A Foundation that funded these organizations, not Chick-fil-A, Inc., per se. And there is a difference.

While giant corporate foundations are usually funded by donations from their namesake corporations (which is a tax dodge of ancient and hoary lineage), they are almost always entirely (or nearly entirely) separate from the companies that spawn them, again for tax and other reasons.  Unfortunately, many years of this separation historically results in progressive capture of their boards, and related mission creep due to the changing attitudes and political views of the board members over time. This is true of, for instance, the Ford Foundation, the Lilly Foundation, and many more, including a number of what are called “family foundations” (like the ones who sponsor NPR and PBS programming) that have escaped the control of the families who created them. Apparently the Chick-fil-A Foundation has joined many of these “captured” foundations in embracing progressive values.

The problem is that the parent corporation is usually not able legally to exercise direct control over the not-for-profit foundation established in its name, other than to make general recommendations for direction of investments — and sometimes not that.  It depends on the organic documents pertaining to the creation of such foundations, and the idea that they are usually created to protect corporate profits from government depredation, so that the distribution of those profits can remain under private control.  Most of the time foundations are created with a “hands-off” charter that prevents the parent corporation from being accused of tax dodgery for the purpose of controlling the money in its foundation.  Thus the disconnect between the two which means they typically have entirely separate boards and governance structures, not to mention mission statements and all that jazz.

So what’s my point?  Simply this:  Conservatives should not automatically assume that the board of Chick-fil-A the chicken restaurateur and franchiser necessarily agrees with the direction being taken by the staff and board of Chick-fil-A the charitable foundation. Dan Cathy is the CEO of Chick-fil-A (and I presume he sits on the Foundation’s board as a result), but Rodney D. Bullard is the Foundation’s Executive Director, which means that if Dan Cathy has any say over the governance of the Foundation, it’s probably limited to hiring/firing the Executive Director and possibly recommending people to sit on the advisory board (recommendations that the Foundation’s advisory board does not have to follow). Taking a look at the advisory board of the Foundation may also shed some light on why the Foundation has made this turn to the left.  I looked; there are some dodgy organizations represented, including from academia, so who knows.  It may actually be that the Executive Director and his staff are ignoring the advisory board and making donation decisions on their own.  The board is, after all, “advisory” in nature.  It may also be that Dan Cathy is guiding this effort personally, and is not the conservative Christian that Truett Cathy was.  And of course neither may be the case at all.  My guess is that the Cathys probably are as unhappy about this as everyone else, but resolving the problem will likely take time.  But I don’t know; I don’t sit on the board of Chick-fil-A or that of its foundations.

As a board member of two charitable foundations created by an organization I belong to and of which I am a trustee (which is why I am a board member of those two foundations), I learned very quickly that the creating organization has little to no control over the foundations it creates other than through whatever conduit has been established for that purpose (in our case, the Trustees/board members). And foundation board members are not required to govern the foundation based on anyone’s opinion but their own.  That is partly to maintain independence in things like investment policies (tax reasons and suchlike again) and to insulate the corporation/organization from pushback against the foundation itself.

I don’t know what any of the above means to conservatives who have so strongly supported Chick-fil-A restaurants over the last decade or so, and are now disappointed in finding out what progressive money sinks the Chick-fil-A Foundation has been supporting, but I have to say that it’s hard to boycott a good chicken sandwich and waffle fries just because a foundation — that has little or no relationship to the local franchisee’s operation and his tasty hate chicken — is suddenly betraying conservatives.

The only person who can fix this snafu, if he even can and/or is willing to do so, is Dan Cathy.  I’m willing to give him a chance to do that.  But I’m also unwilling to boycott some poor bastard franchisee who is just trying to make a living.

No, God damn it, they do not “deserve” more.

A bunch of red-shirted “teachers” are descending on the Indiana Statehouse today to demand more money for what they do, many of whom make better money than my wife and probably a few who make more than I do.

They are overpaid by quite a bit, if you look at their “product”, these days.

There is an idea that if you throw enough money at a problem, you can make it go away.  Certainly this describes our public school systems, which are never satisfied but which must continue to build over-priced palaces of education in which to pamper our youth, who do not realize that comfy physical surroundings and the latest computers and other educational aids do not necessarily contribute to a good and proper education.  Couple that with curricula that seem to have been based on some Ed.D.’s recurring nightmare and which spend more time worrying about diversity and inclusiveness than actually, you know, TEACHING, and you get what we have today:  Young people who aren’t really educated, diplomas that don’t mean what they did when the Boomers were busily being born, universities that are nothing more than remedial high schools unless you were able to avoid the idiocy those high schools “taught”, student loan debt in the stratosphere for degree programs that are absolutely meaningless, and the completion of which are more like left-wing credentials than they are a statement of competence in a useful field of academic endeavor.

The Gramscian Damage perpetuated for the past near-century upon our public schools and universities has ensured that the millennial generation are, by and large (yet, as I have constantly noted, with notable exceptions) a bunch of proto-fascist, socialist dunderheads who can barely function as full members of a dynamic and evolving society.  There is nothing worse than an adult child who knows everything and yet knows nothing.  (Believe me, I was one myself, and I learned better over the years.)

And for this, “teachers” — more like “indoctrinators” — continually demand more pelf from the pockets of the body politic, who already support them to an unconscionable degree, to continue to indoctrinate the children of the body politic, whom they hope will bring true socialism in their days and in their time, amen, selah.

And despite the AFL-CIO’s big graphic I’m seeing on Facebook this morning, it IS about teacher pay.  Let’s run down their list of reasons that try to belie that.

  • Critical Understaffing:  What, 1:40 teacher to class ratio?  That would be doable if they were actually educating and the schools demanded a minimum level of discipline and decorum, and then supported teachers when they enforced it.
  • Growing Class Sizes:  See Critical Understaffing.  For what it’s worth, we had that when I was in my first couple of years in elementary school.  Then the district built another elementary school and moved kids around to lower the ratio.  But even if they hadn’t, so what?  It’s the job.
  • Overwhelming Testing:  Standardized testing developed out of the demonstrated inability of schools to teach to a minimum standard that eighth graders could easily meet in the 1950’s.  If they can’t read, write, or do math when they get out of high school, then testing needs to be done to find deficiencies and improve the product.  Any industry knows that constant testing is vital for quality control.  Well, any industry other than the educational industry, apparently.
  • Unrealistic Workloads and Expectations: See Critical Understaffing and Overwhelming Testing.
  • Ever-Decreasing Funding:  What?  My school district is renovating two of its three middle schools right now as we speak, spending millions for more infrastructure they don’t need.  How is funding decreasing?
  • Deplorable Conditions:  Again, what?  Not in my school district.
  • Crumbling Buildings:  See Deplorable Conditions.
  • Transportation Cuts: See Ever-Decreasing Funding.  You can’t move during school bus hour in this township for all the damn buses taking up the streets.
  • Lack of Support from the Public and Legislators:  That’s because you aren’t doing your fucking job.  You aren’t teaching.  You’re indoctrinating.  And you’re doing a shit job of it, according to the Overwhelming Testing you’re protesting about.  Why would anyone support you?
  • Loss of Funds given to Private and Parochial Schools:  Fuck you.  If they teach better than you do (and they do), then I see no reason why a family’s property taxes for schools can’t be diverted in part to vouchers to help them pay for the best education they can get for their children.
  • Funds Reallocated to For-Profit Charter Schools:  See the previous complaint.  Charter schools are consistently doing a better job than public schools.  Again I see no reason why a family should have to pay property taxes to support schools they don’t choose to use.
  • Adequate and Deserved Compensation:  Not even going into that, because I already did, above.

For some reason, we have come to the conclusion in this country that “no child must be left behind” and that solutions like The New Math (popular when I was a kid) and Common Core (a piece of shit that no school should be using) are how we can do that.  In other words, hold the smart kids back to the level of the least-able.  Sure, that will work.  “Fat, drunk, and Least-Common Denominator is no way to go through life, son,” as Dean Wormer would probably say if he were asked.*

What these LCD programs have done is not educate; they have created boredom and disciplinary issues among smart kids who probably would never have had such problems had they been taught to the highest level they could handle.  The fact is that kids are not all alike, they are not all equally smart, and teaching to the level of the slowest and lowest is a damn poor way to run the educational railroad.  We used to recognize this and not try to stuff every square peg kid into the same round educational hole.

I have stated my opinion, here and there, that we’d be a lot better off if we got rid of all the fancy trappings and went back to teaching the curricula used prior to the 1960s that resulted in eighth-graders having a much better set of tools for life than even a lot of our college graduates have today.

Jerry Pournelle (PBUH) used to start many of his View From Chaos Manor postings with this quote:

If a foreign government had imposed this system of education on the United States, we would rightfully consider it an act of war.

— Glenn T. Seaborg, National Commission on Education, 1983

I really can’t argue with that.


* I’m convinced that it’s not that the guy wasn’t wise, it’s just that he was an asshole protecting his fief.  Kind of like all education administrators these days.

Just do your job.

A friend on Facebook this morning, who’s a manager at a hotel, said that a guest had complained to him that the hotel did not have bread available 24/7.  And that’s a new one, right there.  And I nearly wrote this in the comments, but decided I’d just take it to the blog.  (He said he nearly responded, “That’s what convenience stores are for.”)

I’m going to preface the below by saying I am usually pretty satisfied with the hotels we stay in. We don’t stay at the bargain chains at least partly because I prefer not to have to keep a gun on my nightstand and my wife is terrified of bedbugs.  Not that even the expensive places are immune to either, but the chances are better that neither will be an issue. We also like sumptuous bedding and big fluffy towels and other various amenities that are offered by the more, shall we say “up-scale” establishments.  Also points.  We loves us some points.

That said: Seriously, the only thing that truly irritates me about hotels is that when I ask for a feather-free room (because my wife is violently allergic to down feathers), 9 times out of 10 they haven’t done it by the time we get there (even when we have late check-in, and we always guarantee our reservations with a credit card, so they KNOW we’re coming), and we have to call down to get that done. This failure seems to cross brand lines and happens in every part of the country where we’ve stayed — even at hotels where we’ve stayed multiple times. Complaining about it has done little to no good, except Hyatt did comp us some points one time when my wife marched up to the desk and bitched. After I also complained about the problem in a response to one of their “how was your stay?” questionnaires, I actually got a phone call from a Hyatt representative, who apologized profusely, and also entered a permanent notation in my World of Hyatt account regarding featherless bedding, which is more than Hilton or Marriott or IHG have offered to do.

Yes, I know, they don’t read the “special requests” until the last minute. Maybe a supervisor needs to read the special requests BEFORE they make up the rooms. We shouldn’t have to call ahead to remind them when it’s right there in our reservation.  Honestly I do not feel as if we are asking for something special; I’m sure lots of people prefer non-feather bedding, and I honestly don’t understand why hotels don’t just have some rooms set up like that to begin with.

And finding that they haven’t done their job as we asked them to do really pisses me off if I’ve just been eight to ten hours on the road and all I want to do is go to bed.

But I’d never complain that they didn’t have 24/7 bread availability. 🙂

Aww! Poor thing.

<sarcasm filter on><tongue-to-cheek-implantation on>

ISIS Bride Who Wanted to ‘Spill Blood’ of Americans Pleads to Return: ‘I Want to Have My Own Car’

Let the little bitch rot.

End it, already.

In my considered opinion, the IDF ought to bomb Gaza until nothing is left but a big new bay on the Med, and then Israeli hoteliers should open resorts there.

Fuck China.

Well, the looming end of subsidized parcel rates from China to the US ought to put a stake in the heart of eBay.

An ”extraordinary congress” convened by the [Universal Postal Union] in October finally addressed the disparity. UPU members voted to allow the U.S. and other countries to set new reimbursement rates beginning in July 2020. Terminal dues could increase anywhere from 125 percent to 600 percent, according to Cathy Roberson of Air Cargo World. Whatever the change, American tax dollars will no longer be used to benefit one group of businesses over another.

Good. #Winning.

Happy Veterans Day!

Happy Veterans Day to all servicemen and women, past and present, no matter where dispersed.

We live in freedom because you protect us from enemies worldwide.

We’ll see what we can do to return the favor here at home.

The Chinese lie about everything

It is pointed out in this article that a Chinese company is aggressively marketing killer drones with “full autonomy”.  Uh huh.

I would be inclined to say (if I believed they actually had drones capable of full autonomy — this is the Chinese, after all, who lie about everything, like “there are no carcinogens in Xantac” and “Epstein killed himself”) that the main reason China has “beaten” the US in this field is because the US doesn’t want to go down the killer robot road, and the Chinese don’t care.

Which is not to say I wouldn’t like to see a Chinese rebel faction get hold of a few of those autonomous drones and take out the Central Committee with them. What goes up must come down, and what the despots can put in the field, rebels can usually capture and repurpose.

I have no doubt the Chinese will be the first to develop true AI, and then it will turn right around and bite them in the ass.

For once, they might agree

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