September 27th, 2013

#3984: 1,000,000,001 links

In binary that's...a number I don't care about.

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There is so much fail in Obamacare!

Big Labor has decided they do not, after all, love Obamacare more than life itself. See, the unions thought they would be exempt from Obamacare because they're a major Democrat power bloc, and Obama's unwillingness to exempt unions from Obamacare makes union babies unhappy that they are going to have to pay the full freight FOR A LAW THEY ENTHUSIASTICALLY SUPPORTED.

I can't feel sorry for people who are super-gung-ho for passage of a law that subjects 1/6th of the US economy to government control, who accuse me of being a racist for opposing the law, and who then discover I was right all along and complain that the law they wanted is going to tax them out the wazoo.

Now, suddenly, union leaders are saying exactly what we were saying all along about Obamacare: "The law as it stands will hurt millions of Americans."

Congress, of course, is exempt from Obamacare. Congress is always exempt from these kinds of laws.

Nebraskans are seeing huge rate increases.

Every bit of bad news associated with Obamacare--all of it--was predicted by me and my fellows on the right. None of this comes as a surprise to us, because we said this would happen. All of it was as predictable as the tides.

You know why? Because the US is not the first country to fool around with socialized medicine, that's why. We have dozens of examples of socialized medicine not working, and we have no examples of the contrary. Socialized medicine always leads to higher costs, rationing, and decreased quality of care, no matter who runs it or writes the laws, because it is founded on principles which are anathema to human nature.

Anyone who believed Obama when he said, "If you like your plan, you can keep it...." is a fool. When he said that, I immediately seized on the part he left out: while the law certainly wouldn't force you to give up your plan, you would find yourself giving it up simply because of how life works. Maybe you'd change jobs, or move, or do any of a hundred other things that require a change in your health insurance...and once that happened, bam, your new plan would be an Obamacare plan that sucked canal water compared to your previous one. In fact, all it would take for that to happen was changing your deductible to compensate for the inevitable, meteoric rise in premiums that would result from Obamacare becoming law.

Turns out that it was more insidious than I thought, though. The price increases have exceeded my expectations--yeah, I'll admit that I wasn't pessimistic enough. I expected the labor unions to get their carve-out and remain quiet; though I should not be surprised that Obama betrayed them, I find that I am. They may still get their carve-out, one way or another, because Obama doesn't care about the Constitution. There's no constitutional mechanism for the one-year implementation delay Obama's planning; the law says "2014" and there's no language in it to allow leeway, yet that delay is going to happen regardless.

So I don't have any sympathy for people who are now saying, "ZOMBWTFBBQ, Obama lied to us!" What did you expect him to do? Tell the truth? Because the truth of socialized medicine is that it always makes health care more expensive, less available, and much less effective, all while giving total control of an entire industry to the government, and no one is going to vote for that.

No one's going to vote for it if the politicians get up and tell them, "Hey--we've seen how this kind of system works in England and Canada--and Russia and Poland and France and Germany and...--but if you let us do it here we promise it will work just fine, because we're smarter than those other guys and the US is so much richer. Once the system is completely socialized we promise you'll only have to wait a week for an ultrasound, for example, and our experts have assured us that a cancer diagnosis won't take much longer than two or three months, unlike countries such as Canada where it can take six months to a year, because we are so much smarter and better than the old fools who set up their system, back in the Long-Long-Ago. You just need to cede total control of your health care to us, and we'll take good care of you!"

This whole thing was sold to the people on the notion that it was going to make things better, but there is no way it could ever have done that. People who (correctly) opined otherwise were called racists. And now the reality is coming to light, even for the perilously stupid who are incapable of looking at every other socialized system that was ever tried and realizing that they are cautionary tales, not examples to be followed.

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Doomsday movies and how Malthus et al relate.
Ehrlich’s conclusion from all this was that the world had “too many people.” But just below the surface of his description is the idea that the problem is not just too many people, but too many of the wrong kind of people. It’s not a coincidence that concern about overpopulation really got going after birth rates had fallen in the developed world. P.J. O’Rourke summed up this thinking behind the population control movement aptly: “Just enough of me, way too much of you.”

There’s a parallel dynamic involved when it comes to Hollywood. The gulf between the lifestyle of a Hollywood superstar and, say, a grocery clerk in Wichita, might not be as great as that between Paul Ehrlich and an Indian beggar, but it’s still pretty big. For Hollywood superstars, living high on the hills above and away from the mass of ordinary people might not quite be living on an orbital space station, but it might feel that way.
I disagree: I think the gulf between Hollywood superstars and this hypothetical grocery clerk is as large as, if not bigger than, the gulf between that clerk and an Indian beggar.

Move that beggar to the US and give him whatever documentation he needs to collect welfare. He'll end up living in an apartment with heat and air conditioning, eating well, talking on an iPhone and watching cable TV on a big-screen TV and thinking about what kind of rims he wants to put on his hoopty; his standard of living will not be appreciably different from the clerk's.

Meanwhile, in his native land, his brother is living hand-to-mouth--not starving, not exactly, and the basic necessities of life are not easily obtained. If his brother sends him just fifty dollars a month, though, he is set and no longer has to worry about food and clothing.

Compare that to the Hollywood star and the clerk.

Let's say our clerk makes $25,000 per year. That's not a lot of money but let's say the clerk lives on it quite handily. He's got an older car, and he eats common food--maybe going out to eat once in a while--and while he can't save anything he lives in a modest but comfortable apartment in a reasonably safe part of town. He has a handgun for personal protection but worries about those late nights at the store, where he's not allowed to carry his gun because of his employer's policies. Travel is by car or the cheapest flight available.

Our Hollywood star, though--

His last film netted him almost fifty million dollars, raising his net worth to over $200 million. He lives in a luxurious mansion and has a handful of servants to keep the place clean for him; they also cook and do his laundry, among other things. This year his car is a BMW 735i, bought because his agent advised him that the Lamborghini was too ostentatious and might hurt his image "in the hinterlands, where they're all unemployed rednecks". But generally speaking he doesn't drive himself, because when he's working the production pays for a driver, and when he's not, he can conduct nearly all his business from home. His handyman keeps the car clean and maintained for him.

His food is cooked for him by a personal chef. He eats only at the finest restaurants and would never be caught dead eating an actual McDonald's hamburger (if you see him pretending to eat one in a movie, bear in mind that there's a spit bucket just off camera, and the burger probably was not cooked by an actual McDonald's employee).

He has armed guards keeping him safe, no matter where he is; the only question is who's paying for it. At home, he does; at work, the production does.

When he travels? Chartered jets all the way, assuming he's not someone like John Travolta who flies his own aircraft.

His annual clothing budget is more than the store clerk earns in a year, and he never buys his clothes off the rack. He pays someone to shop for him and ensure he looks good, and all his clothing is tailored for him.

If there is something he wants to buy, generally he buys it without worrying about the price, particularly if it's something costing less than $10,000 because he spends more than that in a year on cleaning supplies for the house, for crying out loud.

...I can only go so far on imagination, damn it. All I know is that I'm never going to be super-rich like a Hollywood superstar, and that my most lucrative year was far closer to that Indian beggar than it was to the Hollywood star, by just about every practical measure imaginable.

* * *

This is a worthy read titled, "Six Lies Most People Believe About U.S. Schools". Most of the time, when there is a list like this, I take exception to one or more of the items in it.

Not this time. These are all correct.

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Global warmenating!

NYT admits that the hockey stick was "flawed", but the rest of global warming is real happening now and man-made You Guys.

Ace says, "...[G]iven the [at least] 15 year long hiatus in temperature change, certain proofs that the Science Is Settled You Guys have to be tossed out in order to save the rest of it."

Apparently Man is "likely" the cause of the global warming that has not been taking place for the last 15-17 years. IPCC says so.

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Geopolitics!

Step Three on the Greek Disaster Express is a military junta. Gee, where did we see this kind of thing before? Somewhere east of France, in the 1930s...I'm drawing a blank. Anyone?

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Iranian moderates are the key to salvation! ...the key to the salvation of Obama's legacy, that is. Krauthammer predicts Obama will fail, and for the reason all past attempts to reason with THOSE FUCKING LUNATICS has failed.

Just guess what that reason is.

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Unemployment is somewhere around 7.8% because the labor force participation rate is at a historical low. Almost anyone can get disability, regardless of need, if they hire the right lawyer. Hell, most of the people who actually need disability get rejected the first time and have to hire lawyers, unless it's something blatantly obvious; but the people who administer that program want there to be a demand for it, because that means a bigger budget next year, which means more power...so they don't raise the bar too high. They set it just high enough that it's a royal pain for a person to get on disability; then they ensure that a person can only be involuntarily removed from the disability dole if he displays extreme laziness in filing paperwork, abysmal stupidity, or a complete lack of metabolism. (And that last is not a sure-fire way of stopping the checks from coming, either.)

*rolleyes*

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Vox Day on prophecy:
There has long been an expectation in fundamentalist Christian circles that the various nations of Europe would unify due to the prophecy in Revelation. This was much pooh-poohed even as the Common Market took shape, since the various national politicians all publicly avowed that there was no intention of any political union.

Lo and behold, the European Union was formed.
Hell, Revelation even mentions their symbol, the one on their flag, as being twelve diadems (stars) in a circle. Flee in terror.

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...he just had to say "lo and behold", didn't he? It kept me from using it....

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I would agree that there is a problem with that fence. I saw something much like that the other day, though I don't recall where, exactly. I think it was on my way home from running that errand for Mrs. Fungus; I drove past a house with a big expensive electric remote-operated gate across its driveway...with little four-foot wing fences on either side, and no other barrier.

"Unless there is a sonic barrier or a mine field there," I said to myself, "that isn't going to stop anyone who really wants in."

It was an expensive-looking house, too; I wonder how much they paid for that fancy-ass, utterly useless electric gate.

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To my surprise, I have run out of topics and had only one cut-and-pasted blank link left. I must be getting better at counting!

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So, yesterday I set out to cut the grass.

It's been a really dry summer here in the Fungal Vale, which is why it's been SEVEN WEEKS since I last cut the grass. Depending on how autumn shapes up I may not cut it again this year. That's good, because I think the tractor needs a new battery.

Recall, please, that the tractor was new in May of 2008 and is now 5.5 years old, more or less; the battery is probably nearing the end of its lifecycle. Yesterday, I hauled the thing out of the shedlet, and it would not start. It cranked gamely for a few revolutions and then would do nothing else, so I had to hook it up to the battery charger.

That itself was an adventure.

I got an extension cord from the garage, plugged it in; I had to move the motorcycle to get at the battery charger...and then discovered that I had grabbed the one "outdoor" extension cord that has a two-prong outlet. *sigh* Of course the charger is three-prong, and I couldn't find an adaptor, so I pushed the tractor up to the rear door so I wouldn't need the extension cord.

Now, because the battery is kept under the seat, and because the thing has a sensor that won't let you start it unless you're sitting in the seat, I had to hold the sensor in with one hand while stepping on the brake with one foot and turning the key with the other hand. If I hooked up the clips and sat on the seat, I'd barbeque my ass and ruin my battery charger.

...this led me to discover that if I hold down the brake pedal, it bypasses the seat sensor entirely. With the charger on "boost" the tractor started and ran fine, but I had to let go of the pedal to disconnect the charger and the engine stopped...and would not restart after I put everything to rights and sat in the seat. *sigh*

So I tried again; this time I set things up so I could hold the pedal down with one foot while unplugging and disconnecting the charger, etcetera; and after that I was able to go cut the grass. ("Put a cinder block on the pedal, dumbass!" This way was easier, as the cinder blocks are stored far enough from where I was standing that the walk is more than 100 feet. And anyway, I'm not sure it would work.)

Once the grass was cut, though, I took the battery out of the tractor and hooked it to the trickle charger. That was at 6 PM last night; 21 hours later the damned thing ought to be well-charged.

Well, the battery was fine until this year. Actually, unless I am mistaken, last year I had to charge it after it had sat all winter, but it worked fine for the rest of the summer. For it to go dead after sitting for seven weeks--it is probably about due for replacement, and considering that it's five years old that is not really all that remarkable. I haven't even really looked at it; I don't know if I could add some of that "battery restorer" stuff or not. (It looks like it's permanently sealed, so probably not.) A good commercial-grade battery charger could hit it with a de-sulfating charge and might bring it up to snuff, but I don't have access to one of those, and for the price of one I could buy about a dozen top-line batteries.

It also occurred to me that--in my Hollywood star fantasy world--I could buy a small solar panel from Harbor Freight and hook a pigtail to the tractor, and mount the panel on the top of the shedlet; then the sun would keep the tractor charged. Whee!

...and for that money I can probably buy the next two batteries that the tractor will need, and it needs a new one now regardless. No matter what I decide, it's a project for next spring, when I will have to do a complete maintenance cycle on the tractor anyway.

Assuming I can find the manual.

#3985: Wow.

Ace has a post up about a runway model punching a feminist protestor, and then he links something that prompted this post: a self-absorbed 26-year-old girl freaks out when a guy dumps her after two dates.
thanks for your consideration about ruining my bday. as a 25 year old with two published books and a condo, the relationship i planned between us after two dates was to be the highlight of my life.
...huh? Is that sarcasm? Somehow I doubt it, given that she said this in her blog about how his breakup affected her:
I was stunned into paralysis. I had no words – this never happens – and I just felt short of breath.

There were many things that pissed me off, but I was so flustered I couldn’t even articulate them. Again, this is a serious problem for a writer and effusive communicator.

I was still so agitated 10 hours later that I had to leave opera rehearsal early.
"This never happens", huh? A guy breaking up with her, that never happened to her before? Really? I find that hard to believe; while she's cute she's not gorgeous, and I wouldn't say that she's really all that pretty. Certainly her obvious character and personality issues override any physical attractiveness she has. I mean, she loses it like this when a guy--after two dates--decides there isn't any chemistry? It's not like he jilted her at the altar or anything; he just said, "Look, this really isn't going to work for me" after two dates. It is a bit weak to do it via text, but by her account he didn't have her phone number and when was he supposed to meet with her?

She was having a birthday party with 125 guests, and his decision not to come ruined it? That's what she said in her text to him--"thanks for your consideration about ruining my bday"--right before that bit about the relationship being a highlight of her life, whatever the hell that means.

Perspective! It's not just for poor people any more!

Another quote, this one from the article about this:
In her blog she claims her actions were a feminist act for ‘you, and your girlfriends, moms, grandmothers, daughters, etc’ because women should ‘never remain silent in the bombastic, outrageously chauvinistic face of an insecure man.’
I think the insecure person here is one Quin Woodward Pu, self-absorbed, entitled, spoiled little rich girl who freaked right the fuck out the first time anyone ever said "boo" to her. He's a chauvinist because he broke up with her after two dates? And in order to legitimize her attempts at revenge she cloaks it in the mantle of feminism, but ends up making herself look even more whiny and pathetic than she did before saying so.

She's in medical school. This is one doctor I wouldn't trust with a popsicle stick, much less a tongue depressor or life-and-death medical decisions. WTF.

#3986: Wow, part 2

I just finished submitting nine applications. I think that's a one-day record.

In fact, one application had me schedule an interview up front. Wednesday of next week I get to go to Pilsen in order to interview for a job driving a Peapod truck. It's an initial interview, not the "ace this and you're hired" kind of thing as it'll be taking place at a job fair, but it's still the fifth interview I've had this year.

...fifth?

1) January, at that non-profit organization that needed another PC technician
2) August, the truck engine disassembly position
3) September, Geek Squad
4) September, Geek Squad

Yeah, that'll be the fifth, all right. And it's in October, which means I'll probably get hired.

I think I must be getting better at my job-hunting as time goes on. Well, if you do something long enough.... But I also think that now that everyone knows what's coming down the pike--Obamacare, taxes, etcetera--and because the holiday season is coming, hiring is beginning to ramp up a bit. I think the quality of the leads is beginning to improve some, too, based on the larger economic picture which--while still amazingly crappy--is hopefully reaching some kind of steady state.

By "quality" I mean that the people posting the leads are looking to hire someone ASAP, without being overly picky about qualifications: "Sorry, but we're really looking for a nearsighted left-handed lesbian of color with arachnodactyly, and you only meet one of those qualifications." "I'm a male lesbian; does that help?" "Get out." They will consider hiring you even if you are not a perfect match for the position.

Also by "quality" I mean "things Ed is qualified for". In fact I look at very few job ads for jobs that I could not do, given a suitable period of acclimation. The few that I'm not a match for require lots of specialized training, or licenses that I don't have (CDL, for example; also things like dental assistant, radiology tech,); or else they're high-end professional jobs, or sales, neither of which I'm any good for.

...or maybe my recent spate of interviews has colored my impression of the job market, and in fact I am still utterly boned. The real problem I face is that I'm in the cursed middle. I am a college graduate and overqualified for jobs like washing dishes or flipping burgers; but I am underqualified for jobs like robotics engineer or Java programmer. There is virtually no market for technical writers, that's for sure.

Regardless, nine applications in one day is a record for me. I've been averaging three to five per week since June, so this is an outlier, but I'll take it. (It bumps September's total past 12, I might add, because September was a dry month until today.)

I persist in asking everyone who reads the Fungus: if you see a job opening somewhere around the south suburbs of Chicago or northwest Indiana, let me know.