Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A pair of pennies regarding Shirley Sherrod

First and foremost, I don't think Shirley Sherrod is a racist.  I don't know her personally, I have never worked with her, the only information I have about her is second or third hand knowledge.  But even from that filtered point of view, she seems like a decent enough person and, as far as I can tell, isn't a racist in the pejorative sense of the word, which is pretty much the common way the accusation is bandied about.

That's not to say, however, that she didn't do a racist thing.  She did.

But she also corrected her action and made right by her victim.  And to her victim's credit, he didn't let her get away with the racial discrimination and insisted that she help him in his situation.  He helped her see a bigger world and realize that she was doing a racist thing and she seems to have corrected her actions and, probably, her attitude as well.  As she said, it's not about black and white, it's about have versus have not.  And while historically some with power have worked to discriminate along racial lines, it is not the case that white equals "have" and black equals "have not".

Ok, so she did a racist thing but checked her actions and redeemed herself.  Does that make her a racist?  No, I don't think so.  But what if she had been a white man who had done the same thing?  What if she was, oh, say a senator who made a stupid, off handed, and quite public remark that was of the racist variety?

Ahhhh, well in that case Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton and all the other race baiting idiots would have been calling for his job!  PUT HIS HEAD ON A PIKE AND MAKE AN EXAMPLE OF HIM!!!  And what of the nodding zombies noting their affirmation of the actions in the audience?  Is anybody demanding their heads be put on a pike and their jobs be rescinded?  No, of course not.  They're black.  They can't be racists.

Well, the truth is that even black people can be racists.  Even civil rights so called "leaders" can be racist.  In fact, it's extremely hard to advocate for a particular racial group and campaign for fairness in the face of historic inequality without, at the very least, sounding like a fire breathing racist or, at worst, actually becoming a fire breathing racist.

For example...

How long before "black farmers lost their farms in droves because they simply could not get loans due to unfair lending practices at the time" becomes "whites refused to grant loans to black farmers".  The first accurately, albeit clinically, describes the situation.  
Unjust lending practices kept needed capital out of the hands of black farmers and they went bankrupt, unable to feed their families.  
No doubt those same farms were bought by white neighbors who were able to get loans from the very same banks that refused loans to the black farmers because "ain't no nigger gonna get even a dollar from this bank".
Yup, that was the case in the 50s, 60s, 70s, and probably even into the 80s.  My suspicion is that the general level of racism had cooled significantly both culturally and legally by the end of the 70s.  I could be wrong, I was just a young pup back then, but the US had come a long way culturally from the 50s to the 80s.  But I digress.
The second description above, however, starkly paints "whites", not merely bankers (who were almost universally white 25 years ago), with a broad brush stroke and assumes all black farmers would have gotten a loan, except for the refusal from all "whites".  Statements like that are either the start of or the fruit of a racist attitude.  And it's hard to guess from just a phrase, or a speech, which it is.

Which is why Shirley Sherrod shouldn't have been fired.
But only if Don Imus shouldn't have been fired, either.

Friday, July 23, 2010


So, I was wondering the other day if zombies are merely mindless beasts, bound by merely instinct, or if they were actually capable of strategic thought.
You know, this matters, because if they're merely bound by instinct, then defense is a simple matter of building a big enough divide between your territory and the "outside"--which could be a static defense.  But if they're actually capable of strategic thought, then you need a much, much more significant and robust defense network.  Think about it.  You could grow your own food and raise your own meat, but if the zombies are capable of strategic thought they would eventually figure out that they don't actually have to catch YOU, they just need to tear out the crops and destroy the livestock.  Then you have to go hunt, which means venturing outside of the compound, which means their dinner comes to them.

I'm kind of thinking that they're probably not so much capable of strategic thought, since they're basically rotting undead corpses that hunger for protein in order to replace the flesh that is slowly withering away from their ruined bodies.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

All is not lost

The Obama Presidency is failing.
He is losing support in droves.
More people are becoming dissatisfied with how he's managing things.
In fact, more people are dissatisfied with his performance than are satisfied with his performance.

And this after successful reforms of health care and financial regulations.  What gives?

It's because he's a political lightweight and he's holding on for dear life while Mamma Nancy and Pappa Harry run the store.  The problem is that we didn't elect those idiots to do his job, we elected him to do his job.  Unfortunately, because he has no political gravitas on the Hill, Nancy and Harry don't have to listen to him.  They can try and enact their own agenda--which is far different from the center left agenda he campaigned on, even though some of us warned that with Nancy and Harry at the tiller and him with no keel the agenda would lurch far too far to the left--and he can't do much to stop it, because if he stands up to THEM, he has absolutely nothing.

Or so he thinks.

Hopefully, in a little over 3 months' time the stooges in Congress will be bounced into the unemployment lines where Nancy can pick up her "stimulus" check (such an absurd comment as "unemployment money is stimulus money" is one I thought I'd never hear, but anyway).  The good news is that the leftist stooges we have will be gone.  The bad news is that they're still being replaced with stooges.  The silver lining with the new batch of stooges will be that the legislative agenda will no longer lurch far, far to the left, but will likely be pegged somewhere between center left and center right--the sweet spot where most Americans' ideological mindsets live.

The danger in the meantime, though, is the President going out and attacking the right and center right that he's going to absolutely need for the next (probably) 6 years.  If he's going to become a successful President in the mold of Bill Clinton, or even Ronald Reagan (who he spoke kindly of until his party told him not to), he's going to have to learn really, really fast to find solutions rather than pointing fingers.

Friday, July 16, 2010

The growing irrelevance of unions

The Journal is reporting that in order to fully staff picket lines protesting companies that hire non-union workers an pay wages that are below those brokered by unions, unions are hiring non-union workers as mercenary protesters and paying them wages that are below those brokered by unions.
It really is great to see that more and more unions really aren't focused on improving the quality of working conditions for their members, or ensuring a fair wage is being paid for the work that is being done, or ensuring the general fairness of the working environment against cronyism or discrimination, even protecting the jobs of members through business cycles.  Nope, they're about the money.  Money for the workers, and money for the union.
And that makes sense because most of the other issues are regularly addressed through reasonable regulation of the employment environment (and some through ridiculously unreasonable regulation and/or litigation).  Once most of the reason for a union's existence has been addressed, the union has to begin inventing reasons to continue existing.  And rather than extending their mission to workers worldwide, and thus protecting not only jobs of their members back home but also spreading that prosperity to workers around the globe, they decided to fight for every last penny that a corporation could make, and, in many cases, bankrupt those companies--GM and Chrysler being but two examples, Greece and the State of California being two more, and just about every manufacturing concern in the City of Detroit being a catalog of several more.

So, carry on you great enterprise of the American Union!  Continue to demonstrate that your primary concern is your own existence and that the welfare of your members and the companies that employ them is a distant, distant second place.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Dear Mr. Senator...

Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY) wants Apple to fix the hardware "problem" with the iPhone for free.

I'm sure most of the people who bought an iPhone 4 want the "problem" fixed for free, too.
The difference is that most of the people who bought an iPhone are not Senators, nor do they have the personal phone number to President Barak Obamah.

Apple is already offering a full refund for unsatisfied customers now that they've waived the restocking fee.  That's sure as hell sounds like fixing the problem for free.
If you don't like the phone, are dissatisfied with the reception, are having problems with the dropped calls, bring the phone back for a full refund.  Done and done.  If, on the other hand, you're not dissatisfied with the phone, keep it.  And, by the way, if you want to improve reception, there's a very, very affordable accessory you can purchase (considering you can afford a $600 PHONE) that apparently solves the antenna problem.

If you don't like the solutions presented, march with your feet and a fistful of dollars to another phone and carrier.  It's not like the iPhone is the only damn product on the market.

From a simple business standpoint it behooves Apple to make this right, to do so right away, to do so in a way that makes the bad press go away, and to be sure it goes away in such a manner as to ensure that bringing up the issue at a later date seem so...  petty.  That's just the sensible way to cover their own assets.

But that entire matrix changes when a Senator sticks his nose in to the mess.
Because a Senator has the power, and ability, to suggest legislative and regulatory changes.  If it's a Senator in the minority, it's no big deal.  But if the Senator is in the majority, and has a significant majority in both chambers, and has a President in the same party, and that party has had high ranking (even leading) members refer to profits as "immoral", then you have a real reason to take pause.  
No longer is the impetus to fix this problem merely a business problem.  
Oh nonononononono...  
Now, it's a social imperative.  
Now, it's a matter of making the poor customers whole who may have purchased their (outrageously overpriced) phones without knowing that the technology may not be absolutely perfect and operating to the standards of that paragon of operational and executional efficiency, the US Government.
Now, it's a matter of politics.

Because writing a letter urging Apple to fix a perceived problem for free is far more important to the Senator from New York than, oh, say reducing the deficit even a tiny amount.

This is the type of crap you get from these people.  If there was some kind of balance in the halls of power, then this wouldn't even be something to blink at because everyone would know that it's going nowhere.  But when the levers of government are all controlled by one party, and some Senator gets his panties in a wad, then you have to tread lightly.  It does no good to reply to the Senator to keep his nose out of your business, because somewhere down the road there's another lawsuit, or another investigation, or some sort of regulatory issue.  The sort of issue that a phone call can either create or make go away completely...  if that phone call is made by the right Senator.

I'm hoping that Apple does the right thing and gets this thing resolved.  But I'd have rather them done it without the Senator sticking his big fat nose in where it doesn't belong.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Again, I told you so

Barak Obama has zero political clout and Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are running the country.
It's not a Barak Obama Presidency that worries me, it's a Barak Obama Presidency WITH a democratic congress that worries me.
2 years into a horrid, horrid Obama Presidency, the dems are going to lose their majorities in the congress and Obama will, hopefully, become a much, much better President.
Obama isn't as moderate as he sounds on the campaign trail, and with the Pelosi/Reid tug to the left, he's going to lurch hard to the left and most of the country--that is, the centrists--are going to be appalled at what they're seeing come out of Washington.  Yes, we want change, but one thing that is certain, thanks to term limits, is that the President come inauguration day 2008, will be different from the one we had at the time of the election.

All these things I've said at least once in the past, and I'm still right.  And the little socialist Canadian troll has been silent during this slow, sad revelation.