June 22, 2015

FOD

Living in a democratic society is supposed to be about choices.  We choose representatives to be our voice in government.  We choose our religion, careers, number of children, hometowns, etc.

The growth of government has meant erosion of those freedoms, though most in power would claim that the rules in place that limit our choices are meant to protect us from harm.  Which, IMHO, detracts from our ability to choose.

I shouldn't feel like a criminal when I purchase tamales from the lovely woman who stops by our office once a month.  I am fully aware that she is preparing her food in a kitchen that is not inspected by the health department, that she has no permit or license to sell her wares.  That she likely has no food safety training or certifications.  But her tamales are delicious.  I am willing to make the choice to accept the risks of eating non-government regulated Mexican food.  I also acknowledge that my tamale lady isn't collecting or paying any sales or income taxes.  And I. Do. Not. Care.  Her immigration status is also suspect, but here she stands, working, making a living, and, as far as I can see, the only people who she might displacing in the work force, are those who perform all of the above regulatory tasks that I mentioned.  Boo hoo.

Last week, the new Agriculture Commissioner for the great state of Texas, Sid Miller, repealed the ban on deep-fryers and soda machines in Texas schools.  His comment being that Texas schools should teach children to make good decisions about their nutrition - he was re-instilling a choice to our schools.  

Unfortunately, the bigger government restricts calories, fat content, and controls the purse strings on lunch money for families who can't pay.  None of these things, coupled with the deep-fryer restriction and soda machine ban, have done anything to curb obesity.  Miller offered an interesting example of how government restrictions don't consider all the circumstances:
"You got a boy that goes to Anson High School — he plays in football, he plays both (offense and defense) — he can't make it on 870 calories. That boy burns 3,500 calories a day," Miller said. "He gets home, he hauls hay and milks cow and moves irrigation pipe. Then there's another child that's not active athletically. They may be into academics or band or some other extracurricular. Eight-hundred-seventy calories may be fine for that kid."
Miller says critics are missing the point that Texas is simply giving schools the option of reinstalling deep fryers if they want starting July 1.He conceded that his decision is mostly symbolic and that few schools might take advantage of the relaxed rules — since the state won't be the one buying new fryers for cash-strapped schools. Like practically all Texas Republicans last year, Miller partly ran on fighting what the GOP candidates call federal overreach.

But he believes fried foods are OK in moderation and says it would be nice to grab a carbonated drink from a vending machine during a basketball game.
Choices and moderation...not a new or foreign concept.

June 18, 2015

Which would Caitlyn use?

I work in a male dominated industry.  In a male dominated office.  There are two females, counting me, in our building.  Which kinda explains the chauvinistic, yet humorous, bathroom layout at our offices.  In our main foyer, there is a pair of restrooms:

Since you had a little bit of a build up, you might have noticed right off the bat that both are marked "Men".  Thing is, most people don't notice.  I can't tell you how many female visitors to our office use one of these restrooms.  I suppose it is a conditioned response; look up and see the sign that says "Men" and automatically enter the opposite door, without checking the sign.  We try, really we do, to stop people.  When we have hosted events at our office we have tried making announcements, putting up additional signage, etc.  Some people just don't pay attention.
For the record, we have a lovely women's restroom, back by the kitchen.  I know, I know, that is yet another little chauvinistic jab.  But, it is lovely, and not industrial-looking like the metal-stalled and brightly lit men's rooms.  And, in the interest of fairness, our ancillary building next door houses a mostly female workforce, where there are two women's rooms and one men's.  They don't have quite the same entertainment value, but it evens things out.

June 15, 2015

FOD

I'm surprised anyone is surprised by this Rachel Dolezal story.

The current president ran his first campaign on a consistent, and insistent, theme of his mixed-race heritage.  We were told every day of his campaign that he was half-white.  The minute he was elected, he magically became the first black president.  I don't know why it took so long for society to realize that this Dolezal-sort of thing was happening, as the president has already perpetrated a racial shift to serve his own purposes.  

I have to say, I am a little excited by what Rachel has perpetrated.  Even more so since, at first blush, the NAACP has stood behind her, at least her local chapter.  This is FANTASTIC!  Someone coined the term "transracial", and I am slapping that title on my kids effective immediately.

I might have paid full price for my oldest white kid to go to college, but you can bet your sweet ass that the next three are getting some of those minority scholarships.  Bang might be a hard sell - he has no rhythm or street cred.  Crash, well, he is a pretty gifted athlete, so maybe we can pad his college fund with some sport scholarships.  The Princess takes a hip-hop dance class and loves the music that goes with it, and she does a spot on Sweet Brown imitation...all she needs now is a bad perm and some spray tan.

June 10, 2015

Fire up the DeLorean

I want to go back in time, to a place where I don't have to explain things like this to my children:

From the Denton Record-Chronicle, "Yesterday's news, tomorrow."
I really, really, really don't care what people want to do in their lives and with their bodies as long as it doesn't harm anyone (other than themselves) and it doesn't intrude on any of my freedoms.  I do not appreciate the current attitude that I have to alter my beliefs and values and put people who make these sorts of choices on a pedestal.  I subscribe to the belief that we should love one another, and within that, I believe we are entitled to our own set of opinions, many of which we should quietly keep to ourselves.

What bothers me is this rather sudden shift in what the media thinks is acceptable, and how society is swallowing it.  We can't pretend that personal pronouns don't exist to distinguish gender.  A journalist is supposed to lay out facts, and write articles that make things clear, not ambiguous or unnecessarily intriguing because no one will address what every reader is wondering.  Why would the writer ignore the lipsticked elephant in the room and write an entire article about a MAN that ignores the fact that the picture provided begs for an explanation?  The writer uses neutral terms and the victim's last name in all but one sentence, and that near the end of the article. And why run the photo at all, knowing it is a red herring?  It is as if some switch was flipped with the Trans-Jenner story, and newspapers are rushing to show how fashion-forward they are in their treatment of what was once referred to as 'alternative lifestyles'.

June 9, 2015

Raising Victims

My friend Kerrcarto used to have a profile picture in which he had photo-shopped steam coming out of his ears.  I often think of that photo when I read crap like this:
Trinecia Blacklock needs wheels to get around but that's never kept a smile off her face, until last Tuesday.
"We were just extremely excited," said Tonisha McCowan, Trinecia's mother. "We were waiting to see her graduate everybody was there to yell, scream, but we got shut down completely."
At Blacklock's fifth grade graduation ceremony, administrators at Link Elementary forgot she was there.
"They closed up the ceremony and then forgot to call my name," said Blacklock.
While her classmates walked up to get their certificates, Blacklock didn't.
"How they missed her sitting there by herself down there in a wheelchair, I don't know," said McCowan.
Only after her parents alerted administrators did the principal call her name. She never got a chance to cross the stage like everyone else.
"I wish I would have gone across the stage, but they have no ramp, nothing but stairs," said Blacklock.
Now she has her certificate. Her family even bought her a cake and had her pose for photos but the memories tied to that day she can't forget.
"It was just all very humiliating," said McCowan. "Her joy from that day was stripped from right under her."
No, I am not mad that they accidentally skipped this child at her fifth grade graduation ceremony, I am incensed at parents, media, and a society that ignores the dozens of things they could have done to preempt little Trinecia's presumed humiliation.  Sure, the school screwed up, but, why in the hell didn't someone else try to head it off?
Last week I sat through an ass numbing award ceremony at my children's school.  The ceremony began with the awarding of various cords that the seniors had earned to wear with their graduation robes.  They announced what a cord was, and then read off the list of seniors that had earned the privilege of wearing it.  Halfway through the ceremony I observed a student quietly pulling aside a teacher, whispering back and forth for a few seconds, and after the next round of cord announcing was complete, they backtracked and announced an award they had apparently missed earlier. That is how utterly simple it is to make sure someone's feelings don't get hurt when their name is skipped.

Why didn't Trinecia's family, teachers, or friends speak up for her?  When the Blacklock family arrived in the school gym and saw the stage set up, did they not see that it might present some difficulty for their wheelchair-bound child?  Why didn't they advocate for their child and pro-actively seek out information that would have alerted someone to the fact that there was no way for a wheelchair to cross the stage?
And, let's assume that this ceremony was like Every Other School Award Ceremony In The World.  They likely called names alphabetically.  Blacklock would have been at the top of the list, and that would have left twenty-four more letter's worth of names, and time, for someone to walk up to an administrator and mention that they skipped over a kid.  Once they had called the kids sitting on either side of her, did no one watching stop and think that maybe they had forgotten her?
If they had indeed "closed up the ceremony" before someone alerted them to the omission, then every single person in that school gymnasium is to blame for not saying something on behalf of that child.  And, quite frankly, someone should teach that child to speak up for herself, or, as it may sometimes be difficult for her, she should also know to ask others to assist her.  Everyone I know that has a mobility issue knows to survey their surroundings and plan for whatever is coming.  Why didn't this girl ask a teacher what the plan was for getting her to the stage to accept her certificate?  
There are thousands of words that could be written about the ridiculousness of a fifth grade graduation ceremony, the artificial inflation of the importance of the day, and the cruelty of a family that is guaranteeing that this child won't ever forget what happened, because they made it a front page story.  None of those words will fix what happened in this situation - but they would highlight the fact that if we didn't make mountains out of molehills, we would all be better for it.  

June 8, 2015

FOD

Obama can't get the minimum wage hike that he wanted, so now he seems likely to try to pass a new overtime threshold that will cripple businesses and result in even more companies reducing employee hours to avoid paying time-and-one-half.

While I would agree that there are businesses, and specific industries that flagrantly abuse the designation of an exempt employee, there will be untold unintended consequences if this administration enacts a blanket adjustment to an overtime rule that has only been updated once since 1975.
One key concern about expanding overtime is that it could prompt employers to reduce the number of hours that individual employees work to avoid paying time-and-a-half. McDonald’s, reportedly, already uses its computer system to record the hours worked by individual fast-food workers, and sends alerts telling franchisees to send this or that worker home when he or she is about to exceed 40 hours. In many instances reducing employees’ hours worked may endanger their eligibility for benefits.
Obamacare was the impetus for the restaurant, and a number of other low-wage service industries, to develop new strategies that strictly limit their number of full-time employees.  Nearly doubling the current overtime threshold will certainly result in job loss, primarily those of middle income workers.
Aloysius Hogan, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute, said it will have a “job killing effect.” Hogan said businesses will be incentivized to lay off higher-paid executives and replace them with lower-paid workers. The National Retail Federation, a likely leader in the battle against expanded overtime, last month issued a study that came to a similar conclusion. On its release NRF senior vice president for Governor Relations David French said the rule would “hollow out middle-management careers and middle-class opportunities for millions of workers.”
In typical Obama/liberal claptrap, the administration has said that this sort of job loss would simply result in more job creation, 'because somebody has to be hired to do the work', and for those companies, like McDonald's, that limit the number of hours worked:
Jared Bernstein, an economic adviser to Vice President Joe Biden during President Barack Obama’s first term, added that for many workers reduced hours would be a plus: “Their salary is the same but they have more time with their families.”
Sweet Jesus, do these people really believe the things that come out of their mouths?

Fisked from here.

June 1, 2015

FOD

Golf count: 230

On average, the man that is often referred to as the leader of the free world has been on a golf course every 10 days.  

Sure, we know that the average was bolstered on those sunny Hawaiian vacations when Obama crammed in a round or more every day, and yet, despite the long, and recently apocalyptic winter months, and the election year respite when Obama rarely played at all, every 10 days is quite an impressive number.  Or depressing number.

I have tried to embrace the optimistic view that some of my friends have taken - that all of those vacations, holidays, and hours spent on the golf course are time that Obama isn't in the Oval screwing up our country.  But, common sense tells me that no matter how bad of a president he is, he should still appear to be doing his job.  He should want the American public to think that he works hard.  Presidential photo ops should be taking place at the White House, reviewing the military, or visiting foreign heads of state.  

Instead, our president is on the golf course.  Our Secretary of State fell off his bike and broke his femur - and while I wish him a speedy recovery, I could do without seeing another single photo of a 71-year old man in Spandex bike couture.  Nor do I need to see the president's wife doing squats in stretchy pants.  

Could these people at least pretend to care about our country, and attempt to look like professionals for the next ~20 months?