March 27th, 2014

#4177: Ass-deep in hypocrisy

Anti-gun Democrat gets busted for running guns.
California Bay Area State Senator Leland Yee, D, a huge proponent of gun control and ferocious critic of the NRA (and yes, the image above is actually from his website), is accused of taking cash in exchange for helping an Italian mobster (actually an undercover FBI agent) smuggle weapons — including missile launchers — from Mindanao in the Philippines, in addition to a number of other, more pedestrian violations.
Yeah, because while individual US citizens are too stupid and inept to be allowed to own firearms, a CALIFORNIA STATE SENATOR is entitled to illegally import missile launchers in order to arm criminal gangs.

...

So: here we have someone who is all about making guns illegal breaking the federal fireamrs laws. How do you justify that? I mean, how can you be a proponent of draconian gun control on the one hand, and then on the other work to import missile launchers for criminal gangs, without once thinking to yourself, "Gee, maybe if I am not deterred by the laws against this kind of thing, others might not be deterred by the laws I want to pass"?

This merely expands my view of the possible. And not in a good way.

* * *

So GM gets another benefit of the big bailout. See, there's "old GM": GM before the big bailout/bankruptcy thing that was managed by the Obama administration instead of bankruptcy court, because the UAW would have (rightly) taken it in the ass if the thing had been handled by a court. And there is also "new GM", which is GM afterwards.

OGM made millions of cars with faulty ignition switches. NGM's liability for this is apparently limited to replacing said switches under the recall; if you suffered a tort because of a faulty ignition switch that was in a car assembled by OGM, you are out of luck. You can't sue NGM for a failure of OGM's engineering.

However, if you bought a car from OGM using GM financing, and you owe money on it, you are still obliged to pay NGM for that car.

Sweetheart deal, isn't it? Why would anyone want to buy a GM car?

* * *

When seconds count, the police are minutes--or hours, and four phone calls--away. The people who tell you that you don't need a gun to protect yourself because you can always call 911 never seem to mention that the police are not legally obligated to protect you--or even to show up when you call. Legally speaking, if a woman is being raped and the cops think it's too dangerous to them to try to stop the rape, they can stand there, watch it happen, and make ribald comments. The victim can sue, of course, but the case files are full of precedents where the court decided that the police were unable to stop a crime without risking serious injury or death, and therefore their actions were justified.

But yeah, give up your guns and rely on police who don't have to lift a finger to save your life. Sure!

* * *

National Labor Relations Board contorts legal theory out of recognizable shape in order to let college football players unionize. The theory is that since students receiving scholarships are "employees" of the university, they can unionize if they so desire.

I'm of two minds, here. Dennginer makes a good argument--the universities deserve this--but the contortion of law to make it happen is outrageous, and the only reason it's happening is due to the NLRB being decidedly pro-union right now.

It'd be interesting to see this thing run to its logical conclusion, though.

Union dues--are they figured by the value of the scholarship? Union dues traditionally come out of the wages of the employee, so the students must now take a portion of their scholarship and give it to their union, right?

Benefits--since the "wages" of the students are their scholarships, and a full ride covers tuition, room, and board, the union will probably end up fighting for better benefits. Or will they insist that the scholarships increase in size such that there's a surplus remaining after tuition, room, board, and union dues are paid? And that the surplus be given to the student as personal cash?

Taxes--if scholarships are "wages" then they should be considered taxable income, shouldn't they? I mean, if the scholarship is payment to an employee for services rendered (the theory which the NLRB subscribes to in order to allow student players to unionize) then it for damned sure sounds like taxable income, dunnit? (And a sizable one. Have you seen what tuition looks like?)

Of course, these folks will be shielded from the consequences of their actions. Contorting the law to make them "employees" only runs as far as that, and no farther; it won't extend as far as the points I've raised above (except maybe the "benefits" part) because if there's a downside to unionizing people won't want to do it, and the NLRB is highly pro-union.

College athletics (particularly football) is big business, though, and the players get none of the revenue because they're students. "I've never understood what football or any other sport has to do with learning a trade and becoming educated, [and] still don't,..." Dennginer says, and I agree with him.

* * *

I find it rather distressing, but of late I've come to realize that I actually have the chaotic temperament of an artist.

I don't have it to a fault (I don't think) but it's there, and mainly it seems to impede--rather than enhance--my ability to work on my writing. I could stand it if it made my output better, but it really doesn't seem to do me any good whatsoever. It just makes everything in my life more difficult.

Today's big issue is the low-frequency hum that seems to exist only at the computer. If I go anywhere else in the house, it's absent (or less noticeable) but when I'm sitting here-- And even worse, it's just at the threshold of hearing, barely audible, which makes it even more annoying.

I simply cannot work under these conditions!

*sigh*

* * *

I wonder how my brother's vacation in Arizona is going?

The day of the funeral my wife sent my sister-in-law a text telling them that the flowers they'd sent looked very nice, and that the funeral had been about as good as it could be, considering. Apparently my brother's family had spent the day riding motorcycles in the desert, which sounds like a ton of fun to me, and it reminds me that I really need to find a set of piston rings for the dirt bike.

* * *

Last night my wife watched Frozen and 12 Years a Slave, two movies I had negative interest in seeing. I'm glad I skipped Frozen; it has far too much damned singing in it, and the songs didn't sound like they were any good. The slavery movie I caught glimpses of as I made something to eat, but wasn't notably impressed with it, either.

* * *

Dreary day today, but at least it's not snowing.