Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Pause For Shameless Capitalism

From time to time, part of working in "the biz" in Hollyweird means I have to actually, y'know, work in it. (Eww! Icky, right?) And they have this annoying habit of making pilots (90% crappy by actual tally, but the checks still cash, and the days still count), on days which run every day of several weeks straight, for 12+ hours, plus my drive time. Which means I go into wake up/work/come home/sleep/wake up lather-rinse-repeat mode. For weeks.

Followed by the mailman making it rain paychecks for a couple of weeks, so it's not so bad.
And, mirabile dictu, they feed me. C'est magnifique! (Burp!)

Having been away from it for awhile, I'd rather forgotten how truly godawful boring it is to watch other people work all day. (Doing what I do, it's really good for everyone else when I'm not working at all.) And I actually missed the 12-hour sheen of sweat-under-my-scrubs pace of the ED. Just a little. But I really and truly love the business, the medium, and most of the people who work in it, when they're actually doing what we pay them to do: entertain the hell out of us, when they're doing it right. It really is quietly fascinating. And frequently punctuated by stupidity which cannot be accurately measured with existing instrumentation. Sometimes on the same day, but usually comparing Show A with Show Z.
(Hint to the audience, DO NOT work on Show Z if you have a choice, those people are seriously effed up! Unfortunately, you don't know you're on Show Z until you're on Show Z.
Like having a dream about being on an ocean voyage, you never see the life ring that says RMS Titanic until you're well out to sea. WTF, right?)

It's also concurrently been time for a plethora of annual re-certs in everything from my routine workplace skills to the truly arcane ones, all of which have to be completed, recorded, and proof forwarded to any number of other entities. Who also pay me, so I can feed myself.

So the bank account is getting fattened, as I am, while the blog suffers.

The good news is that it's sunny and 70s to near 80s here every day. And I have a new non-flourescent-light tan, courtesy of Fox, Paramount, Universal, Disney/ABC, and Warner Bros. So I can set about burning off some of this year's prodigious winter fat layer, and get back to something approaching svelte and beach-ready, so that my doctor and my blood pressure like me again.

And yes, as before, any number of things interest me, inspire me, or seriously piss me off, and the world continues apace hellbound and ensconced in a convenient handbasket. My list of potential blog-topics is beyond counting at the moment, while I've been at zero time to actually accomplish any of them.

So normal blogging will resume momentarily. Which, depending on whether you agree with me or not, is either a good thing, or a bad thing.

Even so, I hope anyone who drops by is employed, healthy, and relatively happy.
As for myself, I'm tanned, I'm fit, I'm rested, and I'm financially more or less secure.
So it's probably time to get back to poking some bears. 

Monday, March 21, 2016


At this point in the 2016 presidential race, there are some obvious truths:

John Kasich is only in the race to ensure that the GOP nominee is not a conservative;
Donald Trump is only in the race to ensure that the GOP nominee is not a Republican.

The frightening reality is that both may yet succeed.

Wednesday, March 16, 2016

Imaginary Beasts

"Hi, Senate Judiciary? It's Judge Garland, I'm here...did you move the meeting to a different place?? What? Garland! Gee-Ay-Arr-Ell-Ay-En-Dee. Hello? HELLO??..."

Garland, Merrick: (proper noun) 1. See Bork, Robert  syn.: Bigfoot, Loch Ness Monster, Abominable Snow Man, Easter Bunny

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Drug Legalization 101

This is the first and last time I'll cover this topic, except to point anyone back at it.
It is the rhetorical equivalent of clubbing baby seals, but on this topic, it needs doing.
Lather, rinse, repeat.

The following solution was proposed to solving endemic drug use (in the inner city in the post in question, but by extension, nationwide) on a blog I enjoy, and by a fairly bright guy. But this stands as Reason One why large "L" Libertarianism (i.e. the political platform, which is asinine; as opposed to small "l", the underlying philosophy of minimizing government interventions, which I like) is full of large quantities of severe mental retardation in their schemes vis-a-vis reality.

First I would end the war on drugs. Make them all legal and destroy the incentive for people to buy them from criminals. It would take away the vast majority of their money. Also this would end or greatly decrease all the ancillary crime associated with those criminals protecting their terf, etc. This combined with eliminating a bunch of other stupid laws (basically everything that doesn't directly hurt another person) would end the massive prison industry which we currently have. For a host of reasons this industry targets poor people and minorities most often. This is really a two'fer of undercutting the gangs by taking away their ability to print money and getting people out of the revolving correctional door system we have now.
My response:

So, once you legalize the drugs, you're going to give them away free, by the barrel, to everyone, right? And all kinds too, not just pot. You're going to have to give away heroin, cocaine and crack, meth, uppers, downers, and get rid of prescription narcotic categories too.
Of course if they cost money to buy, addicts are only going to go up at least fourfold, if not ten- or twenty-fold over current patterns. And then, when they've spent all their money, how will they get more money to do more, More, MORE drugs, like they want to?

(You couldn't be suggesting that when they spend all they have, and want more drugs, they'll go cold turkey and wait for next month's supply, are you? Like they don't do now???)
Take your time coming up with that answer, I'll wait for you to catch up.

{And we'll postpone for another day what you'll do when 10, 20, 30 percent of the entire country is stoned regularly, and the resultant skyrocketing number of traffic fatalities, workplace injuries, medical, legal, and prison costs, and relegating the nation to not merely tolerate, but embrace millions and millions of daily addicts, including the explosion that'll take place among those under age, because drug addicts are so circumspect with keeping their drugs away from their kids. The net effect would be to set off a hydrogen bomb in the Superbowl, once a week, forever. And probably worse. Not to mention the cost to grow, produce, distribute, and administer it all, and the salaries and benefits to the government workers involved.}
So, getting back to the question, when they run out of money, do you suppose they might >gasp!< rob and steal to get more drugs??
Sh'yeah, and now with only 5000% more criminals, except now violent offenders, and bonus, hopped up on drugs! What could go wrong there?

And what if the drug dealers cut their prices? To below the government's price? Think capitalism works with drugs just like it does with every good and service in history? D'ya think cartels might know this better than Thomas Sowell or Adam Smith?

So once again, you're back to giving them away by the metric fuckton, absolutely free.

The idea of legalizing drugs is frankly as asinine as giving away unlimited free Lotto tickets for the asking: the cost of printing the tickets approaches infinity, as the money spent to purchase them and pay the winnings approaches zero. So, what's the winning ticket pay off when there are 40,000,000 of them, and there are $0 in the receipt till? That's "legalized drugs" in a nutshell. An idea for people who suck at math.
The only way to say it worse would be to go with the TSA approach: offer to put the cartels and drug dealers on government payroll, forever.
That's exactly how we "solved" the airline security "problem" after 9/11. We put all the private fat stupid incompetent rent-a-cops onto the government payroll, so now we have fat, stupid incompetent government rent-a-cops.
Tell me how THAT has worked out. Last I looked, they only failed to spot simulated bombs and weapons 95% of the time, and only about 20% of them have been fired for stealing from luggage and cargo. So far.

It is like Wile E. Coyote logic on how to walk across a chasm: everything works fine until you look down, and then the laws of the physical universe kick your ass.

Legalizing drugs might unfund drug dealers (might, because who can say whether they'd undercut the government price if there was one, and make it up by volume - exactly as they do now with untaxed cigarettes) unless you're prepared to have the government produce and distribute virtually unlimited quantities of everything, and give it away to everyone absolutely FREE. Forever.

And even then, you'll only be stuck with a medical system overrun with millions of addicts, forever, and courtesy of HopeyDopey, that's all coming out of your taxes and insurance premiums, forever. Isn't government healthcare wonderful?

At least if you'd gone the other way, and suggested shooting drug addicts in the head for a first offense, the costs would be manageable, and mainly only impact ammunition supply, sanitation needs, and the mortuary industry's ability to cope with the increased traffic. It would also have the virtues of being both more morally laudable and more compassionate and humane towards the addicts than the current system, with the bonus that the addict pool would shrink to microscopic numbers over time, because bullet in the head.

Anyone suggesting any legalization scheme is throwing juvenile magical thinking of the worst sort at the subject, and giving it far beneath the usual time you devote to thinking things through.

I thus urge you to please reconsider the idea.

Drug legalization as suggested, is thus equivalent to shoving a hand grenade up your ass with the pin pulled, as a therapy for cancer. It'll work, after a fashion, but probably not quite in the way you imagined.

It's funny in a cartoon, but in real life, not so much.

And it's a handy topic to separate the serious people from those who've only dabbled in actually thinking about this stuff. If you've got a serious idea, bring it on.
If all you've got is the plot outline for a Saturday morning cartoon sketch, maybe keep it to yourself.

Election Year Bonus: see if you can figure which candidate(s) for US president as of this moment are most likely to seriously suggest legalization as a solution, or in whose mouth(s) you'd be least shocked to hear the original suggestion. Or may already have.

Monday, March 7, 2016

You Can See It Coming

So, working forward from the previous post, and noting this excellent essay (h/t WRSA), try a little mental experiment:

You're in Rome as the Visigoths march in.
Or you wake up on the RMS Titanic the day after it's sailed from England.
Or it's today, except in 1939, and you're in France.

For the purposes of this game, you aren't allowed to leave. You cannot, for example, steal a lifeboat early and set yourself adrift the evening before Titanic goes down. Nor leave France, nor build a boat and sail to North America at the dawn of the Middle Ages. Those options are right out.

You're stuck, where you are.

Nothing you do will fundamentally alter history. You can't warn the captain, you can't print anti-Hitler handbills, and you won't be able to stem the tide of barbarians by inventing gunpowder, designing cannon, and crafting Gatling guns. What happened before is going to happen, this time, with you in it up to your neck.

What do you do?

You have what everyone always wishes for on every Top Ten List of Superpowers.
You know the future. In these cases, anyways, and only in the broad strokes.

So, with that knowledge, what do you do to make sure that you don't get washed up in the hereafter, a casualty of bad choice amidst time and space, unlike hordes of people were in these historical examples?

Now apply that to right here, right now.
Everything in the world you think you know is going to crash and burn, for whatever reason.
SMOD, despotism, disaster, a plague of cannibalistic zombies, whatever turns your crank.

Because it is. Not might, IS.

Don't take my word for it. Check the news. Read 3,000,000,000 people on the internet. Check your gut, your spidey sense, your little voice inside.
Unless you've been stoned off your ass for decades, it's probably been screaming for months, if not years. "Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!!"

Of course, everyone else could be wrong. You could be insane. (I certainly could be.)

But you know and I know and half the planet knows, you're not.
The one constant of  human history is everything wonderful going tits up at some point, usually gloriously aflame. Panic, chaos, disorder. War, Famine, Plague, and Death, the same four cavalrymen who've attended pretty much every step of the human race since forever, and nearly always will.

So, you know it. It's coming.

What are you doing about that?
Not tomorrow, not next year when things are easier, but RFN.

If your "Did" list isn't one helluva lot larger than your "To Do" list, you're waaaaay behind the curve on things.

And anything you prepare for (unless you're expecting the world will be overrun by a ravaging horde of rainbow-farting unicorns peeing rivers of gold and crapping strawberries and marshmallows) is something you can leverage into whatever does come, whether it's a greater or lesser magnitude come that day.

We're all gonna die, someday, but shocked, surprised, scared, cold, naked, hungry, bloody, and herded into oblivion because of rampant unpreparedness is a really shitty way to check out, as opposed to fat, old, and happy and dying of natural causes in your bed, with your descendants around the room to see you off.

Your time. Your choice.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

And up ahead...

Rubio, just about to demonstrate that he cannot even deliver his home state in his own party, is toast.
(Thank heavens. No Marco Amnesty in the White House.)

Kasich is probably about to prove the same in Ohio.
If this getting down to Cruz vs. Trump finally proves that the majority of Republicans don't want Trump, or do, it will be illuminating.

I hope Cruz wins, not because he'd be a savior, despite being the only conservative with a track record of opposing the march of insanity when it's counted, but because he'd buy us 4-8 more years to soften the fall, brace for impact, and make the landing survivable to some extent. That's best case.

Trump being a douche of epic proportions, I expect should he lose the nomination that he'll either sabotage the GOP with a scorched-earth third-party run, or return to his former preoccupation before his candidacy, and start palling around with the Democrats, exactly as he's done for forty years.
(Remember, he's a Republican to the exact extent Bloomberg is - utility and expediency, not anything like any bare conviction).

If he prevails instead, the GOP will have the mirror image of HopeyDopey teed up: a deranged assclown of monumental incompetence, blessed with pathological narcissism, a mediocre intellect, and absent any accountability whatsoever to anyone for his actions, both those legal and those flagrantly unconstitutional. Which the army of morons supporting him cheer on with glee, and total uncomprehension of the rocks beneath the cliff from which they're jumping.

How'd that work out for us since 2008?

Obama, being half-black, was supposed to be the racial healer of America.
Sh'yeah. Cities in flames.

And Trump's forte? Capitalism and business acumen.
On the cusp of the most monumentally devastating worldwide recession/depression imaginable, with a national debt in the tens of TRILLIONS.
So if he won, he'd be handed the world's biggest grenade, with the world's shortest fuse already lit and smoking.

THAT will work out well.

Meanwhile, either Shrillary gets indicted mid-election, leaving Bernie to carry the torch for institutional Communism. Or, the Hildebeast beats the rap - or worse, never faces one - thus confirming that all rule of law is dead in this country, we live in the largest banana republic in the Western hemisphere, and Evita has a shot at the big ring.
And out of 300 million people, that's the best we can do...?

So yeah.
Defensible arable land. Permanent water supply. Food. Ammo. Mags & spare parts. Night vision.
And as many like-minded friends and neighbors as you can get.

Add a library, a still, and someone to ride the river with, and you could do a lot worse, looking at the panorama of history.

But improve on your parents' lot?
If you're really lucky, and God or an uncaring Universe really smiles on you and your efforts, your great-grandchildren may get to see that day.

"We have no government armed in power capable of contending with human passions unbridled by morality and religion. Our Constitution was made only for a religious and moral people. It is wholly inadequate for the government of any other." - John Adams