This Silly “Pride” Reaction

One of these things is not like the other.

On Facebook, you have several options to “react” to a post or comment. You can like it, with a smile. You can love it, with a heart. You can be sad, or angry, or laughing, or just “wow.”

And now you can react with a little rainbow “pride” icon.

Note that in all the previous reactions, you are expressing your reaction to the post or comment.

In the new reaction, you are making not reacting to the comment, but you are making an out of context statement about yourself.

It is rather like walking into a discussion of yesterday’s baseball game at the company water cooler, and commenting upon the size of the zucchinis you are growing.

Let’s hope this thing fizzles (it doesn’t seem to be catching on very much), and that no one else thinks it is a bright idea to develop, for example, a “donkey” reaction (for Democrats), or a “crosshairs” (for NRA members), or some other such nonsense.

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A Modest Proposal for the Rioters in DC Protesting Inauguration Day

So, Donald Trump was inaugurated today, and there was much rejoicing. Winners are supposed to celebrate, so that is good.  There was also a lot of wailing and gnashing of teeth.  That’s OK, too.

And then there was this.  (Like idiots, they smashed the windows in a Starbucks.  Starbucks, as a business, is as far left as they come.)

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And this.  (Destroying an unused limo only hurts the driver, if he is inside.  Morons):

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and this:

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There is plenty of video too, of protesters setting fires, smashing windows, and occasionally hurting policemen.  Here is one:

The DC riot police are now Trump’s to command, and he faces some choices.

If the riot police use the force that is needed to end this quickly (which arsonists, rioters, and vandals deserve), we will never hear the end of the complaints about police brutality.  If he lets them get away with it, that is also very bad.  They will just go burn down another city the next time they get mad.  And there are an awful lot of people to arrest and prosecute, so even with their best efforts they will only be able to punish a small number of these criminals.

So here is an idea that should be pursued in aditional to any criminal charges.

The riot police should use their batons and shields and firehoses and teargas to herd these protesters  (or at least a large portion of them) into a confined area, like they were preparing to arrest them.  And then they should wait.

For hours.

In an area where the protesters have no food.

Or water.

Or bathroom facilities.

Just let them stew in their own juices for maybe 12 hours.  Or 24 or even 36 if they are being real jerks.

They won’t be able to complain about brutality, and there won’t be any video generated that will discredit the new administration.  There will just be a bunch of pathetic, cold, filthy, hungry vandals and arsonists.

 

The Consequences of Having Women in Combat

When you are playing a strategy game, it is important to look at the features of the position, and consider what your opponents or teammates might do.  For example, in Settlers of Cataan, you want to place your settlements in a good location, and place your roads going in a good direction, so your opponents don’t cut you off.  In chess, you want to bring your pieces to squares where they work with your other pieces, and where they strike at the opponent’s weakness.  You should never make a move in isolation.

When it comes to government, similar rules apply.  Before making or changing a policy, you need to consider its effect on already existing policies.  One decision, mixed with already existing decisions, can have unintended consequences.

Last week, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that from now on, women would be allowed in combat positions in the armed forces.  The line between combat and non-combat positions has been blurring in the past few years, so this decision is no surprise.  However, there is a consequence of this decision that may be a surprise.

In the 1970s, President Nixon ended the draft.  However, in 1980, when the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, we thought we might eventually need a draft again, so President Carter re-instated Selective Service registration for young men.  Most of my male readers know all about this.

When you have a law, there will always be lawsuits.  So naturally, there was a court case that challenged the constitutionality of Selective Service registration, because it was for men only.  The case was Rostker vs. Goldberg (1981), and the Supreme Court decided 6-3 that male-only draft registration was constitutional.  They reasoned that the purpose of the draft was to raise a combat force, and women were not allowed in combat roles in the armed forces.  Therefore it made sense to draft only men.

Now that women ARE permitted in combat positions, the reasoning behind this Supreme Court case no longer applies.  After all, if women can do anything in the armed forces that men can do, they should also be subject to the draft, right?  In fact, there is a petition on the White House website that argues that for the sake of gender equality, women must now be subject to the draft.  It reads:

With the decision of the Secretary of Defense to end the “combat exclusion,” women are now eligible for combat roles in the military. In 1982, the Supreme Court ruled in Rostker v. Goldberg, that the requirement for males–and only males–to sign up for Selective Service was constitutional precisely because women were excluded from serving in front line combat units.

That exclusion no longer exists–to ensure a just and equal society the Obama administration must implement Selective Service registration for women when they reach the age of 18, as well as require all women under the age of 30 to register for Selective Service as well–under the same penalties for non-compliance that apply to men.

This is an important issue for fairness and equality.

Now I don’t expect that this will reach the 100,000 vote threshold any time soon.  Most conservatives believe the slippery slope is leading this way, but they will not sign it because they don’t think that women should be drafted.  Most liberals will not sign it because they don’t think that anyone should be drafted.  And even if this petition gets to 100,000 signatures, Barack Obama won’t want to consider it because he doesn’t want Sasha and Malia to be drafted.

But logically, this petition is consistent.  Secretary Panetta has, unintentionally (or perhaps not), opened up a can of worms.  It is only a matter of time before the consequences of his decision work themselves out.

It could be amusing to watch all the young women who voted for Obama because of free birth control find themselves registering for the draft.  If that was the only effect of this decision, it would be pure entertainment.

However, there is the question of what my daughters (and my friends’ daughters) would do.  As members of the Presbyterian Church in America, our church has made a statement against women in combat, so my daughters should be entitled to Conscientious Objector status.  However, the Obama administration has tried to limit religious freedom in other areas.  For example, they have argued that private business owners cannot exercise their pro-life convictions when it comes to choosing an insurance plan, and that Catholic colleges and ministries, because they are not actual churches, have to cover birth control, regardless of their religious convictions.  So they might argue against Conscientious Objector status for women who simply believe that warfare is a man’s job.

In that case, I could see some of the kindest and gentlest young ladies I know transformed into 60’s style anti-draft protesters.  Except that they will have fewer drugs.  And a better vocabulary.  And better music.  And, we hope, a large number of their middle-aged dads backing them.

A Pardon for Billy the Kid?

Apparently, New Mexico is very easy to govern.  So much so that Governor Bill Richardson (D-New Mexico) is considering a pardon of Billy the Kid. 

It is a bit late for the pardon to do Billy any good, since he was shot on July 14, 1881, after breaking out of jail (having been recently sentenced to death by hanging) and killing two deputies.  Billy’s last real hope was that Territorial Governor Lew Wallace  was supposed to grant him clemency in return for testimony against other outlaws, but the deal fell through.  Perhaps Governor Wallace was too busy finishing Ben Hur to attend to the details of clemency agreements.  (Hint to the Governor:  Make it shorter.  About 300 pages shorter.)

Public opinion appears to be against the pardon.  Billy the Kid left no family to plead for him, but his victims, and the sheriff who shot him, do have descendants, and they are not pleased.

So why would Gov. Richardson want to pardon a notorious outlaw?  We know Democrats are soft on crime, but this is excessive.  He killed between 4 and 21 people, depending on who you believe.

Politicians can be dumb, but he is probably not dumb enough to think Billy the Kid was a juvenile just because he has “The Kid” in his name.  People keep names like that even after they outgrow the names, which is why you have never heard of “Eric the Gray” or “Whitebeard.”

Maybe, just maybe, he figured that since our politicians are trying to give amnesty to milions of illegal Mexican immigrants, that we should have some diversity and pardon a real American.

The Nanny State Strikes Again

I had to prove I was 18 at Wal-Mart today.  That wasn’t too hard.  I had my 11-year-old daughter and my 9-year-old son with me.  Even at the Ghetto-Mart, that proves I am at least 25.  Also, I was rather grumpy about being questioned.  I could have said “when I was your age….” and then told a story to the checkout clerk, and if that didn’t work I could have produced my driver’s license.  But I digress…

I was trying to buy a substance that you have to be 18 to buy.  No, it wasn’t a BB Gun, or ammunition, or even a Swiss Army knife.  The drinking age is 21, so it wasn’t liquor, although I could use a drink about now.  The controlled substance is…..

WD-40

Now we should all know what WD-40 does.  If you are from another continent, it is a nearly universal lubricant, and I was planning to use it on my kids’ bike chains.

But apparently some idiots like to use aerosol cans to get high, so store policy is not to sell spray paint, or WD-40, or any other product in a spray can, to minors. 

Because we all know that when someone  who is stupid enough to inhale stuff from aerosol cans turns 18, they become smart and won’t do it any more.  We also know that they won’t think to use hairspray or nail polish or whipped cream, because these things are bought by girls and are never abused. 

When I was the checkout clerk’s age, I was buying old bikes, fixing them, and re-selling them.  I guess I couldn’t do that if I were growing up now.

Free Advice For Ebert Beeman

Ebert Beeman, the Erie County Councilman from the rural regions, apparently owes over $2,000,000 to the IRS for 8 years in which he failed to pay taxes.  At least that’s the way they figure it.  I suspect that is mostly penalties, since he is a retired welder and even welders  at GE don’t usually make enough to owe $250,000/year, and he doesn’t look like a guy who has large amounts of money from other sources.

It is likely that the fellow is a certifiable nut case, or perhaps dealing with the IRS has driven him crazy.  He refuses to carry a valid driver’s license, and he refuses to pay taxes.  However, if he will listen to reason, here is some free advice:

1.  If you are a county councilman you have no chance of successfully getting away with tax fraud, once you are caught at it.  You have to be a Secretary of the Treasury or a former Senate Majority leader to get away with not paying your taxes.

2.  You may think you are in the right.  For the sake of argument, let’s say that the IRS was established illegitimately because the 16th Amendment to the Constitution was not properly passed, and it therefore does not have a right to collect taxes from you.  There are a number of semi-respectable people who have made that argument.  If that was true, then the IRS would be like muggers, and they would have no right to collect your money.

In that case, you should do what you would do if 4 armed men surrounded you and demanded your money.  The muggers say “Your money or your life.”  The IRS says “your money or we’ll ruin your life.”

Just stick your hands up and fork over the money.  You might try getting a real attorney to negotiate the penalties and interest down to some reasonable amount, but in the end you WILL pay the taxes just like everyone else who has tried this argument before.

When it comes to dealing with the IRS, you need to follow an important strategy of Star Wars Chess:  LET THE WOOKIEE WIN.  With the IRS, of course, playing the part of the Wookiee.

Just What We Need: A Building at Frontier Park

Pardon me while I rant.

The people of Erie seem to know how to enjoy Frontier Park pretty well.  On a nice day, there may be cross country and track teams of all ages running.  There are bunches of kids on the playgrounds, tennis players, walkers, joggers, and other nature lovers.  In the winter, people go sledding there.  It seems like a nice outdoor park.  In fact, it is so nice that often it is hard to find parking.

So naturally, someone wants to put a building there.  Not just a few restrooms, which would be a big improvement on the port-a-potties that are there now.  Apparently, we also need a classroom, because we can’t just enjoy the outdoors; we have to be “educated” about them, and if kids are having a field trip at the park, they may need to go inside due to bad weather.  The building will also have restrooms and some office space for the L.E.A.F. (Lake Erie Arboretum Foundation).

The $ 1,000,000, as usual, is from state grants, so everyone can claim it is “free” money, and no one has to worry too hard about whether the building is needed, or is just on someone’s wish list.

Does the state really have so much excess money that it should spend another $1 million on something like this?  I thought we had a budget crisis at just about every level of national, state, and local government.  A million here, a million there, and pretty soon you have a substantial amount of money.  Is it just possible that we should wait until tax revenues are meeting expenses before spending money on things we have done perfectly well  without for the last few decades?

Also, is it really a good idea to build an office in the middle of the park?  There is plenty of empty office space in Erie, and it is located in already existing buildings where parking is already available.  On a snowy or icy winter day, the office in the park will be difficult to get to.

Finally, why can’t we just have an outdoor park where people do stuff outside?  Why does there have to be an “educational center?”  Wouldn’t it be better for people to enjoy the outdoors, rather than think they have to learn about it all the time?