August 14th, 2009

#1679: What an interesting legal theory.

The Fairness Doctrine was never found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court; therefore it's still in effect.

Uh? What about the fact that it was repealed? Doesn't that count?

To a lefty liberal, no! Especially when he might be able to use it to silence conservatives. Remember, kids: it's only censorship if a liberal has to shut up!

* * *

I can't get away from the health care issue, and the related "town hall" issue, for two reasons: 01) it's all over the conservative blogosphere; 10) it's putting all the liberal Democrat hypocrisy right out in front. (What? Haven't you ever seen someone count in binary?)

Democrat requires photo ID to attend his town hall. Democrats consistently oppose any and all attempts to require a photo ID to vote, because requiring a photo ID might prevent vote fraud. But when it comes to a forum where he might be challenged he wants to ensure that only voters from his district are present.

They complain that requiring a photo ID to vote is just a sneaky "poll tax"...but Democrats don't mind a "town hall tax" if it means keeping out those who disagree with them.

Let any Republican try any of this and see how he fares.

* * *

It wasn't supposed to go this way. Democrats were getting everything they wanted without serious opposition and the press was covering their butts on the stimulus stuff, so obviously now was the time for socializing medicine...except that the people stood up and said, Enough! Who could possibly have expected that?

Many Democrats view this as the last time they'll have the chance to do it; the Baby Boomers aren't getting any younger and the lefty leanings of that generation are all that are enabling the Democrat party to be as liberal as it is and still win elections.

Assume the attempt goes approximately the same way it did in 1993: it ends up being defeated, and the administration quietly ignores the issue until it's voted out of office. (Or term-limits out. Whatever.) The next Democrat president could try it, but when would that be? 2012? 2016? 2020? Following the pattern from the Clinton presidency--following two Democrat terms with two Republican terms--means waiting until after the inauguration in 2025!

People who were 20 in 1974 will be 71 in 2025. "Baby Boomers" were born 1945-1966; the youngest of them will be 59 and the oldest will be 80: lots of them will be dying off as advancing age claims its usual statistics.

Not to mention that the usual models held up by liberals--Canada and Great Britain--are suffering from serious problems which the American media simply ignore, and might look completely different in sixteen years; they might not be useful comparisons at all. ("Useful", that is, for those in favor of socializing medicine here: they might be collapsing or otherwise in bad shape.)

So I can see why the Democrats desperately want to socialize medicine now; it gives them a powerful lever: "If you elect my Republican opponent, he'll vote to take away your health care!" It helps them retain power.

And so they demonize anyone who disagrees with them. This has been a standard in the Democrat playbook for a long time; people who disagree with liberals are stupid-crazy-evil-nazi.

* * *

I'm having trouble figuring out what the problem is, here. Corporations are trying to ensure that whatever the final form of Obamacare, they'll be able to earn a profit. For the moment they're trying to work with Obama and the Democrats. The writer of the article seems to think that this is all well and good so long as the corporations don't change their minds and start opposing the Democrat plan for socializing medicine.

* * *

Sarah Palin releases another salvo.

Sarah Palin's Facebook page, added to blogroll.

* * *

Democrats may bet the farm on socializing medicine.
...[H]aving finally gotten the widespread, passionate grassroots activism that they yearned for over so many years, our political and media elites are shrieking in horror and declaring it an abomination, with Mark Halperin, editor-at-large and senior political analyst for Time magazine, declaring himself “embarrassed about what’s going on as an American.”
Sure, because the liberals expected that "widespread, passionate grassroots activism" would be exclusively liberal. Heh.

The problem is, the Democrat party wants this bill, and if a few foot soldiers have to lose their seats, well--they can always win those seats back later on.

Look at the facts: Obama is going to (unconstitutionally!) control the 2010 census, and it is being set up to ensure that heavily Democrat areas end up with more representation than non-Democrat areas. Lose seats in 2010, but get them back in 2012--where's the problem?

If medicine is socialized in 2010--even if it does cost the Democrat party control of Congress--with the 2010 census set up to favor Democrats, and the medical system under government control, they will be able to hold power indefinitely. Democrats can take or leave the Presidency, and the Senate isn't strictly necessary, but they need control of the House of Representatives: the House is the body that taxes and spends, and that is where all the real power is. If you control the money, you control the country.

It's as I said above: Democrats need only tell people, "The Republicans will take away your health care!"

That's why the Democrats called out the union thugs; that's why the town halls are being closed to the general public: they are going to do this whether we want it or not.

The best thing for the Republicans would be to oppose it. Let the Democrats pass this thing all by themselves. They have the votes; if the Democrat party wants it badly enough to sacrifice seats, let it be purely a Democrat victory and don't help. The best thing the Republican party can do for itself is to let the Democrats own the whole mess.

* * *

The owner of "Hippie Mart"--er, Whole Foods--is against Obamacare. The hippies are only now getting hep to the facts. Bravo, Mr. John Mackey, for speaking your mind about Obamacare and not worrying what your customers think. Dennis says:
What's funny about the outrage over Mackey's comments - at least to me - is the fact that if any of those assholes had been paying attention, they'd have known that Mackey has a long history as one of the most serious anti-union businessmen in the nation. They would have known that John Mackey wasn't selling an ideal, he was selling food. To morons. At really high prices. They would have known John Mackey sure as shit was not one of them...
It's pretty damn funny, really.

* * *

Charles Krauthammer thinks the Obamacare debate is essentially over. I'd like to believe him, but the Democrats need Obamacare like a heroin addict needs his fix; it's the only way for the liberal elite to retain power.

Still, Krauthammer makes a good point about "preventative care".

* * *

Some lefty liberals, says Dennis, have decided that Obama's presidency has failed. What, already?

The text Dennis quotes is notable for this:
Obama ... [is] viewing the world from the prejudicial perspective of the high and mighty while neglecting his duty to the citizenry and those who put their trust in him. The question: 'who really is Barack Obama?' is more compelling than ever. The answer looks to be more and more disheartening.
The fact is, conservatives were asking "Who really is Barack Obama?" during the election, and then we were told we were RAAACIST! for wanting to know particulars. The press didn't ask him any hard questions and no one was allowed to mention his radical leftist connections. (We weren't even supposed to mention his actual middle name.)

Now even some lefties are upset because Barack Hussein Obama isn't the person they thought he was. Well, you didn't really ask, did you? You just assumed that--because he had a (D) next to his name, and seemed hip and cool--that he was just like you. Instead you're now finding that they guy is Just Another Liberal Politician, someone who's more interested in his own welfare than that of America's poor.

...wait, that's Just Another Liberal Politician, too, come to think of it. But we're not supposed to notice that.

* * *

Speaking of Just Another Liberal Politician, DNA testing has revealed that John Edwards is indeed the father of Rielle Hunter's love child.

Scum: your wife was struggling with cancer while you were having that affair. If Barack Hussein hadn't been the press' nominee you might have successfully covered that up, but at least this way you've permanently torpedoed any chance you might have had of being President.

Thanks.

* * *

Three stories the media didn't cover. One: the Department of Homeland Security report which labeled returning GIs as "potential terrorists". Two: the schism developing within the membership of AARP over things like socialized medicine. Three: Eric Holder's dismissal of a voter intimidation case, the one where members of the New Black Panthers were intimidating voters.

All three stories are politically inconvenient for liberals. No surprises they're not being reported.

* * *

We have just four months to save the Earth from global warming! FOUR MONTHS!

...there's a global warming summit in Copenhagen in four months, and the world must come to some kind of agreement on what to do about it before then.

You know, in 1989 we were told that if nothing was done about global warming, it would mean the end of the world by 2000.

Nothing was done; the world did not end. Take from this what you will.

* * *

When I saw the headline for this piece I knew it was talking about IPv4. Yes, TCP/IP version 4 doesn't have enough addresses for a rapidly expanding information network.

I love how reporters know nothing about technology:
IPv6 is the evolution of IPv4, which is a commonly-used 32 bits IP address (e.g., 167.982.0.0) and can support up to 232 addresses. IPv6 is 128 bits, which means it can support up to 2128 addresses to fulfil the rapid expansion of the internet.
"232 addresses"? And that example is full of beans; "167.982.0.0" is impossible, as each number is an eight-bit number; the maximum for any position is 255. In any case, IPv4 provides for a hell of a lot more than "232 addresses". IPv6, similarly, can support a hell of a lot more than "2128" addresses.

But I know what they did wrong there; they missed the exponent. I don't suppose journalism schools can squeeze basic mathematics in around all the liberalism and "interpreting news" classes. (Besides, math is hard. You have to evaluate expressions using established rules; you can't "interpret" an equation and pass the class.) I have to wonder what the reporter thought about the exponents? "Boy, someone screwed up the typography here. Why are those numbers small and up high?" *sigh*)

IPv4 can theoretically provide 232 addresses. That's two to the thirty-second power, or 4,294,967,296 addresses. IPv6 can theoretically provide 2128 addresses, which is:

3,402,823,669,209,384,634,633,746,074,317,700,000,000

...addresses, more or less.

In fact, the IPv4 limit of 4 billion addresses is itself a bit wrong, because you can't actually use every last permutation. Some values for each field are reserved, so in fact you end up having a lot fewer than 4 billion. The problem lay in how the IP addresses are allocated; whole blocks of IPv4 addresses are unused and cannot be reallocated.

This isn't really a problem, though. Most of the machinery which connects to the Internet is periodically replaced, anyway, so the upgrade to IPv6 will sort of happen by osmosis.

* * *

So it's mid-August. I've been unemployed for two weeks and I finally got my (meager) last paycheck.

"Bargaining" is one of the five stages of mourning, and I realized that "bargaining" can include the vain hope that "it's all a big mistake".

I actually caught myself thinking, "What if the boss just told me I was fired so that I'd rack up a couple of 'no-call-no-shows', giving them cause to fire me?" (Heck, if that were so, my leaving at 10:30 without permission would have been enough: "You walked off the job.")

But it's not so; since the boss decides what "giving 100%" is, he could make my termination stick without resorting to sophomoric tricks.

The facts of the situation are thus: in May I was given a "counseling" for "poor performance": eight locations in Receiving had unlocated product in them, and since I'd been the last person in there it was my fault. They couldn't tell me which locations were left undone; in fact they presented no evidence that I had even touched the locations in question. The inventory system has the ability to track this, but they didn't need to present proof; they're the bosses and they get to decide what's what.

In early July I was given a final warning for taking two days off in a row. (Both of them Mondays, as they were scheduling me one day per week.) After unloading the truck one night my back had been killing me. The injury was an old one and merely aggravated by the repetitive crouch-and-lift routine. (Even when I lift with my knees, it still hurts after a while.)

My attendance was good but not perfect prior to any of this, but if missing two days in a row is a "pattern" and "poor performance", well, again, they're the bosses; they get to decide that.

So because my boss gets to decide whether I am performing well or not, you see, he has all the cover he needs to fire me without repercussions, even for something as simple as not taking a pallet of paper product to the floor. That's what killed my job: there was a location on the floor which needed a pallet of paper that had come off the truck, and I had backstocked it instead of taking it to the floor. This is the way most people do Receiving, particularly when they feel pressured to get Receiving done quickly.

I don't have any recourse, here. I made the mistakes they cited me for (though I still think the first one was bogus) and I can't honestly say they're lying. The worst they are doing is changing the conditions: work which earned me high praise six months ago--I have never had a bad review there!--was no longer good enough.

It is also true, however, that management is engaging in scapegoating: "The overnight team isn't finishing because of these employees." It's disingenuous to suggest that one person, one team member, can have such a negative effect on the team's overall performance.

One manager can--through incompetence--ensure failure, but one guy down in the trenches can only do his bit. If the success or failure of a particular night rests on one team member, that team member is not being paid enough.

The fact is that it takes a certain number of people to accomplish the task. There must be eight people working on the truck unload. There must be at least three in the back room all night. There must be nine on the floor during the unload, and afterwards the people on the truck unload must go to the floor.

It takes about 22 people. That's the minimum; with 22 team members, you are assured of coming clean by 6 AM.

In a pinch, 20 can handle it. You can do it with 18 team members as long as the team leads and the ETL pitch in all night. Some folks may have to stay a bit over, but it'll get done.

18 people including team leads? No. This is how you get people staying until 8 AM trying to finish, thus taking a messy dump on your payroll planning. It can't be done, not when you're routinely taking 2,000 piece trucks six days a week.

There's the old saw about the farmer and his plough horse, how he cuts the horse's feed and makes it work a full day; and how he keeps cutting the horse's food but the horse gamely soldiers on until the day he drops dead of starvation...and the farmer beats the corpse, calling the horse ungrateful for dying after the farmer spent all that time teaching him how to work on no food!

In an effort to curtail costs, management is limiting the pool of hours available for overnight logistics. It's a false economy, though; you limit the number of hands for the job, which means the hands must work longer hours, which means that you blow through your payroll anyway...and the work doesn't get done.

Cut hours; people stay late to finish the work, thus putting you over budget, so cut hours again.... This is not the route to success. The work is not getting done because there are not enough people present to finish it, but owing to pressures from upper management the people at the store cannot say this. And so someone has to be at fault. Who is keeping us from coming clean? The horse should be able to do two days' worth of work on half a day's worth of food! We've done studies!

Ultimately I think I am a victim of my own work ethic: whenever I was at that store I rarely failed to give 100%, and management didn't understand that raising the bar could not make me work any harder than I already was. It's like taking your car on a race track, putting it in top gear, and mashing the accelerator to the floor: sooner or later you reach top speed and you cannot go any faster.

Some people will cruise along at 80% or so, and then ramp up to 100% when the boss is looking. These people get a pass because there is clearly some improvement in their output when they are being "managed".

But if you routinely give 100% of your maximum output, there is nothing more to give. Managers who ask you to give "more than 100%" think you are doing less than your maximum, and as most people don't routinely work at their peak it's not an unreasonable assumption to make. The problem comes from not understanding that there are always exceptions.

This has always been a problem for me, and you'd think I would have learned by now just to "throttle" my output. When I worked on the Temporary Revision team at Rockwell, I put in a 40-hour week and put out just as much work as the other writers on the team, who put in 45-hour weeks...but when I left at the end of an 8-hour day I was spent; I did not have the mental energy to accomplish anything else useful.

And so, of course, I wasn't as "productive" as the other members of the team...because I only worked 40 hours per week. Even though my output was the same, I wasn't working as many hours, so I wasn't "working as hard as everybody else."

What I should have done was to slow down, to take my time, pad my breaks a bit (no one would have been able to tell) and stay an extra hour every day even if that extra hour was spent with make-work which actually accomplished nothing useful. It would have been dishonest, but if I had done that, I probably would still be working there.

...and I'd probably have three ulcers and a pacemaker by now. *sigh*