Writing on the Double Yellow Line

Militant moderate, unwilling to concede any longer the terms of debate to the strident ideologues on the fringe. If you are a Democrat or a Republican, you're an ideologue. If you're a "moderate" who votes a nearly straight party-ticket, you're still an ideologue, but you at least have the decency to be ashamed of your ideology. ...and you're lying in the meantime.

Location: Illinois, United States

Friday, December 02, 2011

Stupid Is as Stupid Does

Stuck on Stupid
©2011 Ross Williams

Headline: Seattle Reverses Ban on ‘Buy American’

Article Synopsis:
Mulligan! Do-over! Take-back!

The Past Prologue: Seattle’s Metro public transportation system – read: city buses – sell advertising space on their sides. They rejected an ad earlier this week reading, in totum: “December is Buy American Month, Shop Locally, Join Seattle’s TAPamerica.org.” TAP is a non-profit group promoting Tolerance, Americanism, Patriotism – all extremely divisive, politically saturated sentiments to be sure.

Because tolerance is such a political position, King County rejected the ad as a reasonable extension of their policy created in the wake of previous ads – and the lawsuits that followed – touting “Israeli War Crimes” had been rejected, hopefully [but not likely] for being factually false and slanderous. TAP was willing to spend $8,000 to buy ad space on 45 Seattle buses for 4 weeks. Seattle is still an American city.

The ad was rejected because “’Buy American’ is an issue of both political and economic debate” explained Metro spokes-dunce Linda Thielke in an email to the Seattle Times. Perhaps Ms Thielke could point someone in the direction of the debate over Americans buying American-made goods, because I don’t ever recall seeing it take place. ...and I tend to look for things like that.

Thielke’s boss reversed the decision she so convincingly explained to the public, saying that “upon further evaluation” there is no expression of opinion on a public issue in the ad. The word “further” was not really appropriate to include.

Conclusion: Forgetting for just a moment that all ads are, by their very nature, economic, and that Metro has ads by and about the Mormon Church on the sides of their buses, how about biting the bullet and acknowledge that banning this ad was simply retarded.

Headline: Amnesty International Demands Bush Arrest

Article Synopsis:
Amnesty International has issued another call for the arrest of ex-President Bush as he makes a foreign trip on behalf of various charities; the group claims he committed “crimes under International Law” including torture. Amnesty made a similar call in October when he visited Canada for the charities. Current and past officials in the Justice and State Departments have claimed that Amnesty is, at a minimum, harassing a former head of state, and may even be threatening him. Calling for his arrest may also jeopardize Amnesty’s tax-exempt status in the US. Obama praised Bush for his post-presidential charity work.

...So Quote the Law: It’s a well-established fact that Amnesty International is a group of idealistic sympathy junkies quick with a tear when the situation calls for it, and just as quick to wet their panties when their bawling and blubbering don’t have the desired effect. Despite my unease with anti-intellectual emotional appeals insinuating themselves into world politics, there is a legitimate place for tear-jerking jerks.

This, though, exceeds mere emotional appeal by several orders of prevarication.

Their continued panty-wetting is once again predicated upon their displeasure with US policies during the Bush Administration, of which water boarding was only one of their several complaints. Amnesty International claims water boarding is torture, and cites the Geneva Conventions’ prohibition of torture, and thereupon leaps to the conclusion that the GenCons prohibit water boarding.

What they, and countless others like them, are missing is that nowhere in any treaty to which the US is a participating member is “torture” defined – to include water boarding or otherwise; the Geneva Conventions are absolutely silent upon the subject of what actually constitutes torture – though it very clearly prohibits it. Water boarding is defined as torture only by groups such as Amnesty International which do not have the standing to create international law. What they create instead is confined to international caterwauling.

The process of international law, particularly in the area of war, is that each nation creates their own definition of torture ... and then it follows its own rules. At the time the US was water boarding Sheik Khalid, water boarding was not among the prohibited actions during war for the US to use on captured foreign combatants. In 2007, Congress prohibited it, and the US stopped water boarding.

Of curious note is that Amnesty International considers other actions to be torture as well, and spent much time and ink during the Bush Administration to wet their panties about those as well. Yet only water boarding has been discontinued by the US, and the US – under Obama – is continuing to use the other activities previously considered torture. ...and Amnesty International has been mysteriously silent about them since late January of 2009.

Conclusion: Get the hell over it, you aren’t going to win this and you’re wasting time, effort and money. Besides, with as paranoid as the US government has gotten, do you really want to risk making anything even close to a threat?

Headline: Lawsuit Filed after Arrest for Burping in Class

Article Synopsis:
A 13 year old boy who had been forced to strip to his skivvies after being accused of selling marijuana was arrested in phys ed and sent to juvenile detention after his teacher called the police because he “burped audibly” in class. He is suing the cop, the teacher, and the principal. His attorney is also handling the case of the 7 year old autistic child handcuffed to his desk for being disruptive, and had earlier sued the school for having a girl arrested for saying she didn’t want to sit “next to the stinky boy”. All litigation involves the same school district in Albuquerque. A board member thinks they may be “stuck on zero-tolerance”.

Policy: The Other Brains: Institutions create policy for a number of reasons. The first is to create uniformity across their area of influence. This can be good and bad, both. Uniformity can prevent loss of quality due to laziness, but it also stifles creativity which can increase quality. Policy doesn’t distinguish between policy violations that are lazy and those that are innovative. Over time, “it’s our policy” is the excuse handed out by failed and stagnating bureaucracies.

Another reason for creating policy is to replace countless brains with a rulebook. If the rulebook is silent on a subject – it obviously can’t be done. If the rulebook declares something is prohibited, then it doesn’t matter the circumstances – it also can’t be done. And this is the trap that the “zero-tolerance” philosophy was born in, and will ultimately die in. Zero-tolerance is indistinguishable from zero-brains.

Kindergarteners have been arrested in school for “sexual harassment” for being caught smooching behind the finger paints, first graders for holding hands, and fourth graders for hugging. High school kids who hunt have been arrested for having archery equipment locked in the trunk of their cars in the parking lot. Girls enduring the fickle early years of menstruation have been arrested and charged with possession of drugs – Advil, Tylenol and other over-the-counter analgesics; they’ve been charged with trafficking for sharing with girls who didn’t have their own. Elementary school children have been arrested for drawing pictures of guns including one recently whose assignment was to draw a picture of his father; his father was a soldier in Afghanistan.

The teacher’s facile justification for calling the cops on the phys ed eructation will undoubtedly be that the boy, previously considered “disruptive” by the school, belched deliberately. And ... well, of course he did. He’s 13 fergodsake, and he’s a boy; it’s what they do. Steve Seigel and I weren’t swallowing air in the corner of 8th grade study hall as a flotation device in case of a water landing. We were trying to see how far into the alphabet we could get by belching it before we yakked up the chocolate milk.

If you’re a teacher and the only recourse you can think of in response to a kid belching is to call the cops, you need a new job – and preferably one that won’t infringe upon your fragile sensibilities. I don’t have any clue what that might be as there doesn’t seem to be much call for delicate china dolls these days, but you need to look into it.

If you’re a school administrator and the only recourse you can think of to allow in response to a kid belching is to call the cops, then you live in the wrong country and the wrong century. Try Sparta, circa 500 BC.

Conclusion: I’d like to apologize to Pam Black [nee Glover] for molesting her with her consent [and at her insistence, frankly] behind the bushes in the first grade. Judy Dillenbeck, I apologize for allowing you to vicariously experience puppy love by being our lookout from Mrs Mahr who would have done little more than make us stop – it must have been torturous for you, Judy. You might wish to contact Amnesty International – they’ll take your side. And also to Tracy Germond, for allowing you to kiss me out of the blue and cause me to drop my 3 cents of milk money ... which I then had to borrow from Mrs Mahr and explain to my mother why I owed 3 cents. I would go on to molest Pam exclusively the rest of that year; I was annoyed at you over the 3 cents. I hope your father, the Reverend Germond, can forgive my not taking advantage that way.


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