Tag: Government

You Don’t Need To Know

While there may be some exceptions, for the most part I don’t believe people in power are inherently evil. I honestly don’t think politicians and CEO’s have malicious intentions. I do think that people in power become so wrapped up in their own bubble and authority they lose sight of the big picture.

For example, take the mayor of my little city. At the beginning of the pandemic, public officials were panicking. For that I don’t blame them. The “experts” were publishing dire information and basically we were all going to die. Our mayor never actually made any tough decisions, only echoed whatever the state and CDC did. Three or so weeks after shutting down all private businesses, the grumblings from the citizenry started. The cities economy was cratering and job loses were huge. On several occasions, via an online forum, I asked the mayor what metrics the city would use to open back up? I received two answers. The first was “the city will follow the guidance of the health district, state, and CDC”. The second was “all our data is posted to the heath district’s web site” (it wasn’t).

Two complete non-answers. So either the mayor had no idea, or she didn’t want to be held to specific numbers in a rapidly shifting scenario. Either way, as a person in a position of authority she decided that as mere citizens we didn’t need to know what the governments plan or thought process was. She single handedly shut down private businesses and then wouldn’t be transparent about when they could open back up again. I think it’s easy for people in positions of power to get all wrapped up in the feeling of we’re doing what’s best for the public, so they don’t really need to know the details. Like parents telling a ten year old “because I said so, that’s why”.

The ultimate example is to watch any president’s press secretary give a briefing. Every single word is parsed and nuanced. Nothing is said that doesn’t advance the political messaging. The people rarely get to see or hear anything resembling reality. Are these people evil? No. But they are so caught up in their power and authority they’ve completely lost sight of the fact that they work for us. Or that’s the theory anyway.

The private sector is no different. I’ve been watching an interesting development with a YouTube channel I subscribe to. This channel has half a million subscribers and suddenly was removed from the partner program, which means it can no longer monetize the videos. No explanation, no warning, nothing. The channel creator has no idea why his channel was removed. The worst part is that once removed from the partner program you also lose all means of contact with YouTube. He has no way to actually contact them to try and find out what he’d done wrong. Now, Google is a private company and they can do whatever they want. But it is certainly the ultimate in power and authority when a company has the opinion they can treat their customers any way they want and feels no obligation to offer any explanation. I’m sure they justify it internally under the guise of “protecting” us vulnerable members of the public from something harmful. (see also, Twitter) Irony in full bloom from the company who’s slogan once was “Don’t be evil”.

I have little point to this other than to remind you that you probably shouldn’t accept anything the government, experts, or most authority figures tell you at face value. Timothy Leary in the ’60’s had it right with his slogan “Question Authority”. As this last year has proven time and time again… they are most likely wrong, lying, obscuring, or hiding the truth. But it’s ok – it’s for your own good.

I Need Me Some Ketones

  • Breaking a cycle of behavior is hard. Probably one of the hardest things we face as humans. It doesn’t matter if it’s diet, an abusive relationship, gambling, or wearing jorts with crocs. Making a personal behavior change sucks. Very few of us are actually successful at it. The diet relapse rate after three years is 95%, regardless of diet type. Think about that. It doesn’t matter what type of weight loss plan you choose, only 5% of folks will maintain that weight loss after three years. That’s a pitiful success rate. There’s a reason the diet and fitness business is a gazillion dollar industry. Count me in that statistic. I have been successful multiple times getting down to close to high school weight and being reasonably fit. And then I relapse and things go south in a hurry. I think the key is that as humans, we want instant gratification. I’ll do whatever it takes to see progress now. Seeing any progress fuels a positive reinforcement cycle and you are motivated to continue. Insane workouts, starving yourself, crazy cabbage soup diets, anything to keep seeing some progress. The problem is that most of what we’re doing isn’t sustainable in the long term. Who wants to accept that they’ll never be able to eat a French fry again in their life? Which brings me to ketones. I’m going to do what I just rallied against. A ketogenic diet is what has helped me lose weight in the past. At the moment, I can’t stand myself so I’m going back to what I know. There’s nothing magical about keto. Keto in itself will not make you lose weight any faster than any other diet. For me, I find it so restrictive that it’s hard to exceed a daily calorie budget and therefore I end up losing weight fairly rapidly. I happen to believe that there are a number of other benefits to becoming fat adapted, but most of them are also achievable by simply losing weight – regardless of the diet choice. So for me it’s really about finding something that keeps me on my calorie target. I don’t care what crap you read, weight loss can only occur in the presence of a caloric deficit. Period. So, I started a few days ago and officially entered ketosis (just barely, at 0.9 mmol/L per blood ketone test). I feel good about that and am motivated to keep it going. Knowing me (and most people) if I can sustain this for a couple weeks I’ll be golden. It becomes a routine and I’ll be happily zooming down the weight loss road. Here’s the problem. That last time I went keto it lasted for a little over a year, with no cheating. And then I hit a wall. My craving for bread, pasta, potatoes, and beer went into overdrive. I told myself I’d do a short cycle off of keto, but maintain calorie counts and then go back on keto. A year or so later and I’m eating everything in sight and put all the weight back on. So I’ll have to find something that’s sustainable long term. I don’t know what that is yet, but I can’t let these cycles continue. I’m at an age where it’s just not healthy or achievable. I honestly wish I didn’t like food. I’d like to think I could just pop a few pills (or the tasty wheat scene from the Matrix) and be done. Sigh. Oh, but nachos. Nachos… I’d be very sad if I thought that I’d never have nachos again.
  • Interesting side note for folks interested in keto and becoming fat adapted. I do think your body remembers. The first time I went keto it took weeks to get into ketosis. The next time was quicker. This time, after more than a year off it took only about two days. And this was after a major carb blow out the night before I started. There’s a ton of hype around keto that seems to be highly blown out of proportion. But I do think that a fat adapted eating cycle was what our ancestors were forced into and that somewhere deep down in our DNA, we remember.
  • So nutjob representative Maxine Waters decided to fly to Minneapolis and try to incite violence. Not her first go-round with this tactic. She made several statements… she demanded a guilty verdict for the former officer “or else.” She called for people to “stay in the streets” during the unrest. She on protesters to “get more confrontational” if former cop Derek Chauvin is acquitted of murder charges in George Floyd’s death. At least she’s not inciting an insurrection on the capitol. This will be ignored by most of the press and she’ll happily keep her congressional seat. Anyway, that’s not the story. The best part of this latest stunt? She called for a police escort in and out of the city. It’s hard to fathom the hypocrisy of some of these people.
  • Speaking of hypocrisy, Michigan Gov. Whitmer appears to have travelled to Florida after blaming travelers for a spike in Covid cases in her state. Why is it that elites and the holier than thou folks issuing edicts never seem to follow their own rules? Clearly rules are for the little people.
  • My state has experienced an incredibly windy March and April. I hate the wind. Everyone is talking about it. Even the weather folks are joking to not blame them each day for the continued wind forecasts. I started questioning myself if we’re really getting more wind than usual or is it just a false impression. Yesterday I had a patient’s family member confirm the wind for me. The family member said they work with farmers and are getting many reports that farmers are unable to spray their fields (pesticides, fertilizers, etc…) due to the wind. They’re predicting a disaster growing season. So, not my imagination. Dear <deity of your choice>, please make the wind stop.
  • Twitter can be an incredibly nasty place that will kill any positive energy and make you want to give up on society as a whole. Therefore it’s imperative that you follow an equal number of happy accounts. Please follow Buitengebieden. You won’t be disappointed.

Song of the day: What day is it? Sublime Smoke Two Joints Music Video

It’s Either One, Or The Other

  • The other day Tucker Carlson went on the air and made some crazy, outlandish, QAnon fueled statement about the Covid vaccines. The high priest of Covid, Dr. Fauci, immediately ran to CNN and expressed confusion as to why Tucker would be pushing conspiracy theories like that. CNN offered a helpful headline stating “Carlson suggested Covid-19 vaccines are not effective”. Except that’s not what he said. He asked a very simple question which you should also be asking. Either the vaccine works and we no longer need to wear masks and keep businesses shut down, or the vaccines don’t really work and so why is the government continuing to push them? It’s a pretty simple binary question. They can’t both be true. So which one is it? Most thinking people realize that vaccines do work. So why is Fauci and everyone in the Whitehouse continuing to wear masks? For god’s sake, Fauci and Biden double mask most of the time. Why? I’ve said it before… it’s an easy answer if you think about it. Mask mandates, social distancing, and keeping schools and businesses shut down can’t be enforced if you allow vaccinated people to be free. Anyone can just say they’re vaccinated and not wear a mask and we have no way to prove that. Oh, wait. What if we had some sort of paper people could carry around proving they’ve been vaccinated? Almost like a passport of some sort. Why do we continue to put up with this crap? This is doublespeak in it’s truest form.
  • Also on Tucker last night was one of his best monologs. I’d highly encourage you to watch it. He raises the question of unequal treatment in police shootings. On Jan 6th Ashli Babbitt was shot in the throat, from behind, by a Capital police officer. She died. She clearly wasn’t an imminent threat to anyone and was actually moving away from the officer who shot her. In the video you see a handful of SWAT officers just standing there, so they clearly weren’t concerned about their safety. The person who recorded the video had his door kicked in several days ago, all electronics seized, and he was arrested. The DOJ announced they’ve cleared the officer in the shooting, no charges will be filed. They still won’t release the officers name. Why? Meanwhile in Minnesota, an officer accidently pulls her service weapon rather than her taser and kills a young black man. Her name and picture are instantly plastered all over the news, mobs are at her house, manslaughter charges are filed, and the predictable riots ensue. Why the unequal treatment? Why is the Capital police officer seemingly exempt from the same treatment as the Minnesota officer? Where are the mainstream journalists asking these questions?
  • (Vice) President Harris has been put in charge of the migrant/border problem. Wait, not the actual current problem but the broader long term problem. Whatever. The good news is that she immediately had a press conference to discuss her plans for addressing the issue. Oh wait, no she hasn’t held a press conference since her appointment as long term border crisis mitigation czar. She did announce that she has no plans to visit our border. But Harris did tell reporters Wednesday that she was “looking forward to traveling, hopefully as my first trip, to the Northern Triangle,” with stops in Mexico and Guatemala planned. She said she would go as soon as possible, depending on restrictions put in place for the pandemic. A responsible leader always follows pandemic restrictions. Since she won’t be traveling abroad, she has some time on her schedule which she filled with a trip to a “woman owned yarn store”. I’ll leave you with a quote from the Washington Post, written by an actual reporter. “When Vice President Harris visited a woman-owned yarn shop in Alexandria last month, she mentioned a little-known fact about herself that left the fiber arts community a bit giddy. The new vice president is a crocheter.” Hold me, I’m swooning. I wish I could say this was satire.
  • The new ginormous motorcycle is due for it’s first 600 mile service. On my old bike I did all my own maintenance. But just like with older cars vs newer ones, this bike has more electronics than the space shuttle. I wouldn’t even know where to start. So, it’s off to the dealership for service. Except that the service department is booked out for a month. Sigh. Yet more evidence that my little town is exploding in population exponentially. I know it’s inevitable and you can’t stop it, but it’s still sad to see.
  • This post has been entirely negative, so I may as well keep up with the theme. I present you instructions on how to disable the robotic police dog that is starting to be used by several departments, including NYPD. Robotic police dogs. What could possibly go wrong?

Song of the day: Marilyn Manson – The Beautiful People (Official Video)

Weekend At Bernie’s

Clinton, Bush, Obama, Trump. I don’t care what you thought of them personally. I don’t care what you thought of their policies or political bent. What is undisputable is that all of these men were leaders. Type A CEO’s. When they came into a room it was clear who was in charge. You cannot with a straight face tell me that Grandpa Joe falls into that same category. Yesterday’s press conference was an embarrassment. The few answers he actually gave he read directly from prepared notes given to him. When he tried to speak extemporaneously he wandered off on tangents and lost track of what he was saying or what point he was trying to make. The hand picked press core (complete with a handy dandy cheat sheet. With pictures!) were complicit in this farce by lobbing a few softballs at him. A stark difference from a Trump press conference. I have two thoughts about this disaster.

The first is an observation about the reaction on social media and by the press. I have a fair number of links to fairly liberal folks on social media. The last year (and more) my feeds have been inundated with a non-stop barrage of Orange Man Bad postings. Daily I’d see postings from various friends lamenting the outrage of the day that Trump had committed and dear god will we ever return to a time when we had a “real” president? Well… that time, in theory, is now. And what do I see on my social medias? Nothing. Crickets. Radio silence. I expected to see never ending, nausea inducing, praise of how eloquent, smart, and serious a president Biden is. I was sure I’d see non-stop memes comparing how well Biden is doing vs Trump. There’s nothing. It’s refreshing, but I find it odd the folks so desperate for him to win are so quiet. CNN, as of this morning, did not have a single story about the press conference on the top of their site. I find that strange. Where are all the liberals singing the daily praise of Biden?

My second thought is one I’ve posited before. Given that Grandpa Joe is clearly not in charge, who is? Who’s really running the show at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave? It’s not Kamala, she came to the game late and was selected by whoever’s in charge. Is it Klain the chief of staff? That would make the most sense since he was a long time “senior advisor” during the campaign. Is it Susan Rice? Perhaps it’s a coalition of them plus the DNC brass and Obama in the background? Doesn’t it seem like something the public should know?

Independent of “who’s in charge” I do find in odd that there’s almost zero coverage of the overall White House staff and cabinet. During the Trump administration there was wall to wall coverage of virtually every member of the administration and how evil/incompetent/racist/etc… they were. Many in the administration were household names. Now, I’d wager that many of you had never heard the name Klain or even knew that Susan Rice was part of the administration. I bet, until the China meeting gone bad, you had no idea who the new Secretary of State was. Why is that? The only reporting seems to be around the edges, mostly centered on the diversity aspect of some rarely seen cabinet post.

No, I don’t think it’s some giant conspiracy. I simply think it’s a press corps that’s reluctant to give negative coverage to team Biden. They tread carefully around the edges and don’t press too hard so they can tell themselves they’re providing fair and equal coverage. Maybe that’s for the best. If the majority of the public loses confidence in their government, bad things tend to happen. The most worrisome part of this, in my opinion, is that world leaders respond to strength and confidence. They will take advantage and exploit any signs of weakness, as bullies and strong nations are prone to do. We will be tested. Who is going to make the decisions about how we respond? Two months in and this administration has been already been steamrolled and/or thrown shade by China, Russia, North Korea, and Mexico. We finally wheeled out our President in an attempt to show he’s mentally sharp and in command. What came across is that he’s a confused old man who clearly does not belong there. This does not bode well. The next four years do not fill me with confidence. But hey, at least we will have sorted out the proper pronouns and saved the climate!

Mob Justice

  • I’m sure Minneapolis is a lovely place. I know nothing about it other than what I saw in Fargo. What I do know is that in about a month it will devolve into anarchy. Portions of Minneapolis will burn, people will be hurt, and it wouldn’t be a surprise if someone is killed. The degree of pending violence will depend on what verdict the jury in the Chauvin case returns. Anything that doesn’t have the word “murder” in the jury decision and the city will implode. Realistically, even if he’s found guilty of murder in the first degree the city will still erupt in “celebration”. At least one prospective juror backed out, citing fear of violence towards his family if the “right” verdict wasn’t reached. This is the true definition of mob justice. Do what we say or there will be violence, rioting, and burning. I am not passing judgement on Chauvin’s guilt or innocence. Personally I think he’s certainly guilty of something, I just don’t know what the right charge is. There was zero need to keep a knee on him for that long. Did it contribute to his death? Maybe. The significant amounts of meth, fentanyl, and cannabis in his system combined with heart disease and blocked arteries in a highly psychotic state of mind probably was a much bigger contributor. Drug use that day and then committing a crime, fighting and resisting the police is what put Mr. Floyd in that position. It’s a terrible when anyone dies. But Mr. Floyd made multiple bad choices that day that sent him on that trajectory. And now the mob has made him a martyr and mob justice will be served one way or another. I don’t envy the city leaders. What do you do? You know the violence and riots are coming. The George Floyd “memorial” area is already an autonomous zone where police (or white folks) are not allowed. Do you let it happen and hope it blows over quickly? Do you crack down with an iron fist and risk further resistance and on-going violence? It’s a no-win scenario. What I do know is that you cannot tolerate mob justice. Look no further than the lynching’s that happened in America or the unspeakable horrors of many regions of Africa to see what unchecked mob rule is capable of. I’m very glad I’m not making those decisions. The authorities will be wrong no matter what they do. You may want to put off those vacation plans to Minneapolis for a little bit.
  • Speaking of insurrection, the boogaloo bois and MAGA white nationalists jumped out of the bushes and set fire to the Portland federal courthouse last night. Biden and Pelosi ordered in the national guard and set up a green zone, surrounded by razor wire, similar to Washington DC. Just kidding. It was those whacky Antifa kids. Move along, nothing to see here.
  • Biden had his first address to the nation last night. Two things struck me. The first was a review of the various news sites this morning showed virtually no reaction. For the most part all I saw was a few passing mentions of the speech. No fawning rhetoric about how inspirational it was or how substantive the speech was. Crickets. The man is truly a puppet, wheeled out once in a while to read from the teleprompter, then sent back to his room. The second thought I had was that they need better speechwriters. I don’t know what tone they were hoping for, but it came across as dark and not terribly inspirational. Take that with a grain of salt because I realize I’m predisposed to view it harshly. Maybe some folks did see it as a ray of hope? But I’m sorry, when the “ray of hope” that was put forth is “If we do our part… by July 4, there’s a good chance you, your families, and friends will be able to get together in your backyard or in your neighborhood and have a cookout or a barbecue and celebrate Independence Day… Small groups will be able to get together”. Really? By July 4th maybe, just maybe if we all behave and follow the rules, the government will “allow” us to get together in small groups? I’m reminded of the great movie Argo. There’s a line that was one of the central themes that seems appropriate in this situation – “Argo Fuck Yourself”.
  • Went on another ride of the ginormous motorcycle. I think I sorted out the Android Auto issue. It seems like it shuts off if it isn’t in use, e.g. either in navigation mode or playing music. I just had it on the map but not actually navigating to a destination. I need to do more investigation. It’s interesting, I’ve ridden motorcycles for a long time but I find my confidence is very low with this bike. Probably due to the size and weight. Plus that fact that it’s brand new and I’m petrified I’m going to drop it. I’ve had a few shaky moments at intersections that have gotten in my head. I mentioned it to Mrs. Troutdog and she grinned and said, “so now you know what it’s like to be a beginner”. Touché.

Song of the day: Cake – Short Skirt / Long Jacket

Long Way Down And An Emu Museum

  • Normally I love winter. I downhill ski, cross-country, skate ski, or snowshoe at least three to four days a week. You might ask why I’m still getting fatter then, but that’s a topic for another post. This winter I’ve been busy preparing for my “Summer of George” moment. New motorcycle purchased, new riding suit, tools, updated video gear, endless hours of motorcycle travel videos consumed, and many late nights pouring over maps planning routes. I’m almost ready to hit the road. Except motorcycles, snow, and ice don’t mix very well. I’m probably a tiny bit more rugged than the average guy, but not Long Way Down rugged. If you haven’t watched this motorcycle travel documentary you should. It’s interesting to see the effort it took to film something before the GoPro existed. Anyway, the point is that it’s another month in my part of the world before road-tripping becomes enjoyable weather-wise. I’ve never looked forward to winter ending before. So, I’m forced to spend my time pursuing maps and travel websites to build my list of must-see destinations. I’ve been mostly focusing on unrealistic epic trips across the west, so I hadn’t looked much at what’s close to me. This morning I stumbled upon the motherload of interesting small town America just a few hours from me. I found a little town perched on the Snake River that hosts what they bill as “Lawson’s Emu-Z-Um”. It was an emu ranch that has become a museum full of artifacts and dwellings from the 1800s early settlers and early small town America memorabilia. Looking at the map more, within 40-50 miles of that town are deep canyon overlooks, sand dunes, birds of prey conservation areas, and a ghost town. Plus a couple of promising looking BBQ and burger places. This is the perfect day trip to kick off the Summer of George! Another month of quick rides around town in-between storms to get used to the new bike, and then it begins. Because I love winter, I’ve never looked at the weather report before and cursed when I see another week of storms coming. It’s a strange feeling. Sigh. Back to the maps for now I suppose.
  • A California democratic representative, during an interview on CNN, stated that those businesses that cannot afford to pay their employees $15 an hour are essentially not worth preserving. This simple statement encompasses everything wrong with mostly liberal, big government-centric thinking. The thought that some mindless bureaucrat gets to pick and choose what businesses are worthy of keeping is appalling. And naturally it’s a statement from someone who’s been primarily an academic/lawyer/politician his entire career. A thirty second investigation into the representative (a.k.a. Wikipedia) shows a bit of a contradiction – he has a degree in economics, wrote a book titled “Entrepreneurial Nation: Why Manufacturing is Still Key to America’s Future“, yet still makes statements like the one he did. My interest is piqued enough to read more about his philosophy. Maybe there’s something I’m missing? At the moment, in regards to the $15 minimum wage, I still feel if people are resorting to entry level jobs to feed a family then it seems like the government focus should be on enabling creation of middle income opportunities instead of simply raising the bottom wage. Otherwise, let’s just adopt Andrew Yang’s proposal and give everyone a universal basic income. We’re already printing money, what’s a few hundred trillion more?
  • There’s been so much global warming, Niagara Falls froze over this week. Of course polar vortexes are cyclical events that happen from time to time and shouldn’t be counted as climate. Climate is measured in decades. Interestingly, in the cult of global warming, a cold event like this doesn’t get much press but an El Nino warming event causing a hot summer will be treated as non-stop climate Armageddon. It’s all about the narrative baby.
  • Speaking of printing money, the Federal Reserve expanded its record holdings of US Treasuries in the fourth quarter of 2020 as it continued monetizing the massive federal debt. I don’t understand much of this, but it does seem like they’re trying to push inflation. Most of this is way over my head, but it certainly feels like if we continue to simply toggle the levers… at some point it’s going to collapse. I guess as long as it’s not on my watch we’re all good.
  • I know that there is no actual censorship or purging happening on the part of Twitter towards folks who don’t tow the woke orthodoxy, but they just suspended Steven Crowder for simply saying he can confirm that people voted at address that do not exist. That is some serious insurrectionist talk. Thank god we’re being protected from outrageous statements like that.
  • I don’t know if this is real or staged, but it’s pretty funny regardless. You need to watch to the end.

Song of the day: Red Hot Chili Peppers – Higher Ground – Live at La Cigale

News Of The Weird

  • When I was a kid, every once in a while my friends and I would pick up a copy of the Weekly World News. They bill themselves as “The worlds only reliable news”. As kids we knew it was just a silly tabloid with articles containing headlines like “5 things to avoid during an alien abduction“. But also as a kid, something in the back of your brain would wonder if maybe, just maybe, it was true? Reporters couldn’t just make stuff up could they? As a so called “adult” I’ve always been firmly in the skeptical bigfoot camp when it comes to UFO’s. Billions of people on this planet… if aliens have visited we’d know about it. Government isn’t competent enough to keep a secret like that. So imagine my surprise when I saw this article – “Pentagon admits it has been testing wreckage from UFO crashes & findings may ‘change our lives forever”. This comes from 154 pages released by the Defense Intelligence Agency after a three year FOIA request by researcher Anthony Bragalia. Could this be real? I honestly don’t know what to think. If it is, what other secrets has the government managed to keep? It is odd the Kennedy assassination still hasn’t been declassified after all these years. Maybe we really are holding the bodies of aliens from the Roswell UFO crash at Area 51? Could there actually be a Bigfoot type creature running around the pacific northwest? My skeptical roots have been shaken a bit today.
  • Speaking of journalism, I saw an image this morning of the giant 1st Amendment plates being taken down from the former Newseum in Washington DC. It’s an interesting image given the current dissenting speech purge and cancel culture of today. When we visited DC a few years ago I had never heard of the Newseum and only went as an afterthought on the recommendation of a friend. It ended up being in the top three things we saw. Interestingly, the thing I was most looking forward to was the Smithsonian Air and Space museum. That ended up being the most disappointing attraction. Meanwhile a little museum about journalism I’d never heard of became one of my favorites. Sadly it closed down at the end of 2019.
  • Meanwhile, it appears Sen Ted Cruz left with his family to Cancun while the state he represents freezes over because of their decision not to join the East and West power grids. While I don’t begrudge anyone going on a planned vacation with their family, how do you not have any political awareness of how this would look? Not that he could actually do anything about it, but still. More proof that politicians from both sides of the aisle really don’t care about you.
  • The other day former MMA star turned actress Gina Carano was cancelled by Disney for sharing a dissenting opinion from that of woke Hollywood. She’s probably one of those domestic insurrectionists we’ve been hearing about. Anyway, despite the clumsiness of her tweet, there are some parallels to today and 1930’s Germany. This post is worth a read.
  • I broke the law yesterday. Despite being a contrarian, I am a rule follower so this was definitely out of character for me. I’d run an errand and on the way back home I realized the streets were mostly dry. I have not been able to test drive the new motorcycle due to large amounts of fluffy white global warming that have been falling from the sky lately. The bike has not been registered, titled, and does not yet have a license plate. All that went out the window when I saw an opportunity to go for a quick ride. I’m in love. It’s smooth, powerful, and rides like a dream. Super agile for such a big bike. It exceeded all my expectations. It does however have more buttons and switches than the space shuttle. I can easily see myself riding off a cliff as I try to navigate the touch screen display to change riding modes or turn on the heated grips. It’s so complicated, Honda created an online simulator so you can practice while not on the bike. I don’t care. The sound that engine makes when you twist the throttle makes my heart skip a beat. It was worth being a lawbreaker. Spring can’t come soon enough.

Song of the day: George Thorogood – Bad To The Bone – 7/5/1984 – Capitol Theatre (Official)

What Is Your Time Worth?

  • In 1938 Roosevelt signed the Fair Labor Standards Act into law, setting the first minimum wage at $0.25 an hour. That’s about $4.63 in today’s dollars. The current federal minimum wage is $7.25. The minimum wage discussion is a difficult one because its intent and the reality of what we’ve morphed into today are very different. I don’t have any problem setting a minimum wage because left to its own devices business, in the absence of competition, will take advantage of people. The horrible child labor conditions of the 30’s, which was the impetus for FLSA, are a prime example. So what does a minimum wage mean? It’s the minimum amount you can pay someone who has no skills. As you acquire more skills, your time is now worth more. Here’s another crucial point that gets lost. The wage an employer pays is ascribed to what they value the job, not the person. I need someone to pack widgets into a box. I do not need someone with any prior skills or training. I value that position as being worth a minimum wage. (again, this is in the absence of competition) When I’ve hired multiple widget packers I may now need someone to be the chief widget packer, a position with more responsibility and skills needed. I value that position as worth a higher wage. And on it goes. The presumption is that people will continue to rise up the wage ladder commensurate with their newly acquired skills and motivation. Here’s where the conversation gets difficult and is worth an independent discussion. Our middle class jobs are being wiped away, and will continue to be erased. Large numbers of people are being forced back down the wage ladder due to lack of opportunity at their acquired skill level. This forces out the true minimum wage earner and spawns the discussion about how does a former (or potential) middle class earner support themselves only on a minimum wage? And the related side of this is immigration, legal and otherwise. Large numbers of people are arriving with no skills and limited English, and have no other option than minimum wage work. Many of these folks are attempting to support large families on these wages. While the right conversation to be had is how do we best build back our middle class jobs and addressing immigration, the government solution is to simply pay these folks a “living wage”. Sounds great, but the US is a very diverse place. $15 an hour may be sustainable by a business owner in a high wage area like LA or a company like Amazon, but what does the owner of a diner in rural America do? Can they really afford to pay a high school kid $15 an hour to wash dishes or stock shelves at the local hardware store? It’s not an easy discussion. Unfortunately it’s not a discussion we’ll ever have because it will be demagogued to death. Which will only make starting a small business even more difficult, which worsens the middle class job market. Which is a recipe to invite government subsidies to “help”. It’s not a winning trajectory to be on.
  • Apparently we suddenly have a domestic terrorist crisis. The formation of a federal domestic spy agency is well underway. Just like the Patriot Act, we’ll happily sign away more of our freedoms because the state run media tells us there’s racists hiding under every rock. Clearly the rioting and looting all summer don’t count as domestic terrorism because those are approved “woke” causes. During yesterdays crowning of Biden, Antifa ran amuck in Portland and Seattle doing all sorts of shenanigans. Silly Antifa. Why doesn’t that make the news? They even smashed up the original Starbucks. You’d think hipsters everywhere would be outraged. This must be a very confusing time for woke Starbucks baristas.
  • Biden immediately violated the Federal mask mandate he had just signed, appearing at the Lincoln Memorial just a few feet away from reporters… without a mask. The media will call him out on his hypocrisy, right?
  • This last year, we implemented a world-wide lockdown more severe than any climate alarmist could have dreamed for. Vehicle and air travel limited beyond what could ever be realistically proposed, even by the climate guru Greta Thurberg. It was the perfect experiment to see if models would match reality. And… it made no difference in the growth of atmospheric CO2. I suspect we’ll just ignore this inconvenient truth and march forward with a new and improved Paris Climate Treaty 2.0.
  • When Sen Tom Cotton wrote an op-ed suggesting we deploy the National Guard to help quell the rioting and looting this summer, the journalists at the New York Times were so triggered that two editors lost their jobs for allowing such an opinion to be printed. 25,000 troops deployed to protect Washington from a supposed insurrection of white supremacists and racists… and not a peep. The hive mind of the media is an interesting thing.
  • I had to take my dog, a.k.a The Troutdog, to get his nails trimmed yesterday. I wish I could capture the look on his face when he jumps out of the truck and realizes where he is. It’s the look of complete betrayal. “Dude, I thought we were going for a ski…” He then quivers and violently shakes like he’s waiting for a cattle prod up the rear end. I wonder what goes through his little brain that he thinks this is so terrible? Mrs Troutdog refuses to take him because she doesn’t want him mad at her. LOL.

Song of the day: The Clash – This is Radio Clash (Official Video)

Is Politics A Prisoners Dilemma?

  • I was thinking about the apparent lack of awareness politicians on both sides have of the pulse of the people they’re supposed to represent. They tend to rush to solve the wrong problem because they need to be seen as “doing something” about whatever’s in the news. We just had a large mob of very angry people rally to express their dissatisfaction with something that devolved (as mobs do) into violence. Politicians rush to “fix” the end result of the situation – we need to call in the national guard, they must condemn all violence, we need to put people on no-fly-lists, we need to impeach, etc… While all of that may or may not need to be addressed, I don’t hear anyone on the left asking the real question – what happened to make all those people so angry and what could be done to address that? It reminded me of the Prisoners Dilemma. Two prisoners in solitary confinement, no way to communicate with each other. If one snitches on the other, he goes free and the other serves his sentence. If both snitch, both serve their sentence. If neither snitches (because snitches wind up in ditches), both serve reduced sentences. Politicians (especially today) seem to be wired to always believe politics is a zero sum game. The only way I can win is to ensure someone else loses. We’ve entered the era of scorched earth politics. Tearing up a state of the union speech or driving pointless impeachments to score points is more important than asking what’s more beneficial for everyone. Both sides are guilty of this… Republicans just really suck at it. I wonder if we’ll ever get back to a point where folks recognize if both sides accept a little pain (compromise), everyone benefits in the long run? (Don’t answer that. It’s rhetorical. Never going to happen.)
  • I had to laugh. A couple of days ago Tucker Carlson had a line that made me snort out loud: “Once Donald Trump leaves the scene and it’s time to divvy up the spoils of the United States Treasury to begin the great piñata party of 2021…” And sure enough, yesterday Biden rolls out a $2 trillion dollar stimulus spending plan. This will be followed by another $1.3 – $2 trillion dollar infrastructure plan. It’s gotten absurd to the point there’s no reason to even fight it anymore. We’re printing money out of thin air. Hell, if we’re already printing trillions, we may as well print another four or five. Give every American with a drivers license a brand new car. And pay for their insurance. And create a guaranteed auto buyback program for all the existing vehicles and loans. Can you even imagine the stimulus this would bring to country? It would resurrect the failing auto industries, create new manufacturing jobs for the entire supply chain, improve our air quality, put more money in the pocket of struggling families by getting rid of a car payment, and help the most disenfranchised be able to get a job. I think that’s a damn fine idea. I guess you couldn’t require a drivers license. That would be discriminatory. Anyway, put me down for a Tesla Cybertruck.
  • I was reasonably productive yesterday with planning. I resurrected the Bullet Journal and starting looking into some travel ideas. I agree that putting (figurative) pen to paper does help organize thoughts. Next up will be working on the daily routine and thinking about hobbies.
  • For dinner last night I made a deluxe grill cheese and tomato soup. Thick sourdough, two kinds of cheese, bacon, grilled onions, sliced tomato and avocado. Probably a 2,500 calorie meal, but worth it. Now I just need to go run approximately 50 miles to break even.
  • We watched the History of Swear Words last night. Pretty good. Nicholas Cage was able to poke fun at himself. Nice to see actors who are comfortable enough to do that. It’s said that swearing is a sign of intelligence. If so, I should be a rocket scientist.
  • A list of red flags in job interviews. Reminded me of an answer I got frequently when I was a hiring manager at Microsoft. I’d ask the candidate how they would find out the answer to something and I’d frequently get the response: “I’d Google it”. Uhmm… you’re interviewing at Microsoft, are you really that dense? If you’re going say that, at least make the case why one search engine is better than the other. That I’d respect. This is beside the issue of being so unaware that if all I needed was someone who could “Google” something, I could hire a random street person (or sixth grader) and be just as successful. This of course was back in the day when Microsoft was the Evil Empire and Google’s code of conduct slogan was “Don’t be evil”.

Song of the day: Meredith Brooks ( Live) Lilith Fair- Bitch 1997

Let’s Go To The Timeline

  • I’ve seen episodes of NCIS and Perry Mason, so I know the importance of a timeline. But first a quick step back in history. The year was 1846 and President Polk wanted war with Mexico. Well, not necessarily war but he wanted the shipping ports of California. War was just a means to an end. The border between Texas and Mexico was highly disputed and Mexico had troops stationed in an area they believed was their territory. Polk ordered General Taylor to take his 4,000 troops and advance to the Rio Grande river. Mexico didn’t take kindly to what they saw was an invasion of their country and the inevitable conflict happened. US troops died. Polk went to congress and declared that Mexico had shed American blood on American soil. Congress and America got appropriately fired up and declared war (interestingly a young representative named Lincoln was one of the few to object. It cost him his seat in congress). My point is that what you see and your impression is very much shaped by how it’s reported. Back to the timeline. On Jan 6th I was at work all day, so my view of what happened was what I saw on the “news” shows when I got home. President Trump apparently called for his angry mob of protesters to march on the capital, resulting in the violence we saw. Trump is an evil maniac and we must impeach, invoke the 25th amendment, make sure he doesn’t have the nuclear codes, and erase all evidence he was ever in office. Maybe history will just show an asterisk like Lance Armstrong’s Tour de France wins? Is that really what happened though? That pesky timeline shows that idiots began breaching the Capital’s security 20 minutes before the end of the President’s speech. Seeing as it’s a 45 minute to hour walk from the speech location to the Capital (the area was shut down to cars), there’s no way these folks could have been inflamed by Trumps rhetoric and rushed to breach the doors. Reporters on the ground said that cell signal was non-existent, so they couldn’t have been listening either. The text of Trumps speech shows that he specifically said let’s “peaceably march” to the capital. Obviously these folks were planning to do this well before Trump said anything. You can argue that he should have known what was going to happen if he held that rally. That’s fair. The rally and speech was a dumb move on many levels. But to declare the President incited violence, is a danger, and needs to be immediately removed from office and erased from social media is beyond stupid. It’s simply the media, democrats and never-Trumpers exacting their final revenge. We certainly didn’t hold any of these officeholders and media to account when they were encouraging and celebrating protest in the street during the mostly peaceful BLM riots. Or when the Hart Senate building was occupied by Kavanagh protesters. Or when there were marches, protests, and rallies at Trump’s inauguration. The notable orator Madonna said that day that she dreamed about blowing up the White House. #notmypresident Ah, but those are woke causes. It’s different. Biden’s ironic inauguration theme is “America United”. Apparently a bunch of people on both sides didn’t get the memo. You have 75 million pissed off, angry voters. Yes, Trump should have kept his narcissistic ego in check and quietly conceded. And the left, media, and big tech should stop poking the bear. Eventually something (more) bad will happen if they don’t. And it will be everyone’s fault.
  • I got my second vaccine on Monday for the virus that must not be named. I had no issues with the first one. I had no issues on Monday with this one. Felt fine on Tuesday when I woke up. By noon, I felt like I got hit by a truck. Headache, body ache, and a serious brain fog. I still don’t feel a hundred percent this morning. Interesting the second shot invokes such a strong reaction. Worth it though. I can now run naked through the Covid ward without fear.
  • To use the irony word twice in one day… Twitter apparently has zero self awareness. Twitter’s Public Policy group posted the following: “Ahead of the Ugandan election, we’re hearing reports that Internet service providers are being ordered to block social media and messaging apps. We strongly condemn internet shutdowns – they are hugely harmful, violate basic human rights and the principles of the #OpenInternet.” Apparently deciding what speech is allowed is only moral if you’re the one doing it.
  • And speaking of the continued purge, Facebook has declared the phrase “stop the steal” as scary, banned words. They stated: “We are now removing content containing the phrase ‘stop the steal’ under our Coordinating Harm policy from Facebook and Instagram.” Well, if you don’t like it go create your own social media app. Just as long as you don’t utilize Google, Apple, or Amazon services.
  • We’ve begun the process of what Mrs Troutdog calls ‘divesting from work’. I changed my hours to part-time. I don’t know what that means yet. Honestly, I’m freaking out a little bit about this. There’s an element of guilt not working full time. The point is to start figuring out what full retirement will eventually look like for us. It’s a very strange feeling. Stay tuned.
  • If you’ve been following along at home, you’ll remember we had a sewer backup that filled our bathtub with some objectionable material. We thought it was fixed, until it wasn’t. Turns out there must be a tree root through the line somewhere catching “stuff” as it flows down. Unfortunately we can’t really do anything about it until spring as everything is covered in feet of snow. Sigh.

Song of the day: Big Audio Dynamite – E=MC2