May 3rd, 2016

#5179: It's pathetic and annoying

People who are otherwise able-bodied who claim to be disabled and do nothing but fap around on the government's dime--and then buy $500 cell phones and complain that they don't have the money to pay for them because they're disabled.

Had an idiot like that today. Holy crap, what a douchebag. "I'm disabled! I'm on a fixed income!" Then why the hell did you spend $500 on a frickin' cell phone? If you're actually disabled and on a fixed income, you shouldn't be spending that kind of money for something whose functions can be adequately supplied by a $100 device.

One thing I've noticed is how people who claim to be disabled--who apparently are perfectly able to do a lot of things except hold down a job--cling to their "disability" because it is the only thing keeping them from having to get their lazy asses out of bed and go to work.

One psychological theory, Transactional Analysis, calls this the "wooden leg game". People who do this get validation from people trying to help them, and will do anything they possibly can to avoid fixing the problem so they can continue to get validation. People who play the wooden leg game get, from it, "Sympathy, [and] avoidance of responsibility".

Until the other people around them twig to the game being played, at which point they give up and stop bothering. At this point, the person playing the wooden leg game tries to up the ante. They don't realize that others are onto you, buddy and no one cares about your wooden leg. That ship has sailed.

...and it's annoying and pathetic.

* * *

Mexicans protesting against Trump, who's promising to end the gravy train. The very fact that leftists are rioting over the possibility of a Trump Presidency is enough to convince me we have to elect Trump soonest.

* * *

Under Obama, the US public debt has "necessarily skyrocketed". Thanks, Obama! Thanks, Democrats! Thanks, Republicans!
Here is the real kicker, though. In 2014, the Federal Government spent $3.5 Trillion which was equivalent to 20% of the nation’s entire GDP. Of that total spending, $3.15 Trillion was financed by Federal revenues and $485 billion was financed through debt. In other words, it took almost all of the revenue received by the Government just to cover social welfare and service interest on the debt. In the financial markets, when you borrow from others to pay obligations you can’t afford it is known as a "Ponzi scheme."
Okay, so let's break that down. $3,635 billion divided by 525,600 minutes (in a year) comes to...

$6,915,906 per minute. 75% of which is social spending. That means that our government is spending $5,186,930 a minute on social spending.

$5,186,930 a minute.

$5,186,930 a minute.

* * *

Asshole cop needs not to be a cop any longer.

* * *

Denninger gets it.
Tuesday Indiana votes and we shall see how that comes out. There's a lot of noise there in terms of the polls and the state is both an open primary and notoriously thin and hard to read. The latest poll shows Trump with a 15 point lead, one that has grown materially in the last couple of week as the Cruz "dirty tricks" machine has picked up speed.

The voters are not happy about this sort of crap -- at all -- with two thirds of the Republicans in the latest polls stating that if nobody has 1237 going into the convention the candidate with the PLURALITY should be nominated.

The GOP ought to pay damn good attention to that figure because if two thirds of registered Republicans stay home after the nomination is stolen not only will Hillary be President the party will be destroyed both in terms of vote-getting and fundraising. The GOP will quite-literally go from being a contender to a tiny minority party with no more chance of winning a Presidential contest in the future than the Libertarian party has since only electoral votes count in a Presidential contest and you will win exactly zero electoral votes with 25% of the electorate supporting you.
I am not the only person who thinks so. I knew it.

* * *

Yesterday I handled a call from an idiot who apparently doesn't realize that if your monthly charges approximate $340 and you only pay $170 a month, your bill will rapidly get very large. When I tried to explain this to him he simply said, "That's not right! I paid my bills! That's not right!"

The third or fourth time he did that, I merely said, "Well, I am open to an alternate interpretation." His response was that he didn't know what was going on, but that I was wrong. Uh huh.

The fact is, I can see the payments you've made. They're all listed right there. If you pay half your bill for months on end, your service won't be cut off--at least not right away--but you will see your "past due balance" line item get ever larger. There's no way around it. Simply denying the fact is not going to help, either.

All of this is painfully simple. If you don't like getting late fees and reconnect fees pay your fucking phone bill on time and you won't incur the fees. #Major_Telecom will bend over backwards to help you keep your service turned on but you have to make an effort, and if you don't, it's on you.

When I see that someone has multiple nonpay disconnects, and has recently had their reconnect fees waived, I almost never give them additional waivers. You had your chance already. This time it's not a mystery what is going to happen if you haven't paid your bill, and you already got your fees waived once.

Gah. People are idiots, and I hate them.

#5180: Damn these taste good

First bag of wasabi-ginger potato chips in quite a few months--dang, they are so good it makes you want to punch yourself in the face. I could eat the entire bag at one sitting; they taste that good.

* * *

Stephen Colbert is tanking and he's doing it because he is not funny.
Before he came to CBS, The Colbert Report on Comedy Central was little more than an extended bit of performance art that did little but caricature conservatives and did so in a way that wasn't nearly as clever as the New York Times's newsroom thought. Where Rutenberg talks of Colbert's "integrity, grace and wicked intelligence," he's glossing over the fact that much of his potential audience saw what he was doing as unbridled sanctimony in the service of a narrow political agenda.
And Colbert did as well as he did there for that reason--that and his show's proximity to Daily Show, another staple in the prog-lib media diet.

Stephen Colbert got where he is by being Archie Bunker 2.0; his caricature of conservatism resonated with a different audience than Carroll O'Connor's Archie Bunker did in the 1970s, and for a different reason, but nonetheless the popularity of the two shows rests squarely on the fact that both actors were presenting caricatures of conservatism.

Thus I am not surprised that Colbert is bombing on late night TV. He's not funny, and shorn of his faux-conservative schtick he hasn't got anything to draw people into watching his show.

* * *

TSA queues miss the point: terrorism is the object, not getting hands on aircraft. Sure, you can screen everyone entering the terminal right down to their skivvies and make sure no one brings bombs or rockets or guns or grenades inside the concourse...but of course now you have a mass of people outside the secure perimeter, all bunched up, and it only takes one or two ragheads with suicide vests to rack up a huge body count. (Warning, link to NYT.)

Look at that first picture. One person in a nail-studded suicide vest could kill or maim everyone in that picture if he detonated it at the right time. Close to the center of that picture is a woman in a red coat. Imagine if there was a vest made of C-4 under it--maybe with a layer of nails and screws atop the explosive--and shortly after the photo was snapped she set it off. How many people in that picture would be dead?

What we're doing now--what we've been doing since 9/11/01--is security theater. It doesn't make anyone safer; it merely moves the focus of the next attack. Hell, a couple of guys with machine guns could stroll in there and shoot a lot of the (guaranteed to be disarmed!) people standing in that line before they were taken out by airport security...if they were.

Either method would put a huge damper on air travel for months afterwards, if not longer.

* * *

Gas keeps going up, oil keeps hanging around $45 a barrel. One commentor gets it right: "It's not rising because of demand......and that should bring out the pitchforks and AR-15s."

Demand has not changed and neither have the other fundamentals of the oil market. There's still just as much of a glut now as there was in February. So why is gas costing nearly a dollar more per gallon than it did then?

* * *

Coming soon to a Democrat stronghold near you! Detroit is broke--past broke--and its educational "system" is out of money, having squandered a $48 million emergency bailout from Michigan.

The part I like, though, is the moving goalposts. The school board having secured enough funding to pay salaries through "the end of the school year", now the union is pushing to get more emergency funding to pay salaries through the end of the calendar year.

Michigan, to its credit, seems reluctant to continue to dump money down the hole. Like many metropolitan school boards, the Detroit board underfunded pension funds and spent money on a bunch of stupid crap, leaving them with a shortfall--to the tune of some $515 million--and now they want to stick the bill to the Michigan taxpayer. The union in particular wants the Michigan legislature to pass a bailout bill totaling three quarters of a billion dollars.

Chicago is heading this way.

I desperately want to see the voters of Illinois say, "Uh, no," to this kind of crap...but it's likely that they won't. *sigh*

* * *

Notice how this Hack-a-Day column neatly avoids talking about who commissioned Ferdinand Porsche to develop the Volkswagen Type 1.
Built by Ferdinand Porsche in 1930’s Germany, the Beetle was designed to be a car for anyone and everyone. Its leader at the time wanted a true "people’s car" (i.e. "Volkswagen") that was affordable for a German family, could reliably travel at sustained highway speeds on the new German autobahns, and easily be repaired by its owners.
Emphasis mine.

The fact that Adolf Hitler asked Porsche to do this does not taint the Type 1 "Beetle" as a "nazi-mobile". Why dance around the history? It's true, we have the Beetle because Hitler asked Porsche to build it; but we have interstate highways because Hitler had the Autobahn system built and Eisenhower saw how useful such roads are. All Hitler did was say, "Build a car!" Porsche did all the heavy lifting.

Oh well.

* * *

Yesterday was not really a bad day, all told. Today I've got some errands to run, little things, and then I'm going to see what can be done about the water heater. One of my errands to to Harbor Freight, where I'm going to pick up an electric impact wrench and see if that can do anything about the anode. It's a thrill a minute!

Got to get the grass cut--at least the front yard, as I suspect the back is a swamp after five days of rainy/drizzly/wet weather. Especially Sunday evening, when we had torrential rains which (fortunately) did not last long. On I-80 Between LaGrange and I-57 traffic was moving under 40 MPH for most of the way, that's how hard it rained Sunday evening. Dang.

Anyway, I'm going to check, and see what can be done, and do it. Fortuitously it is a nice day out, sunny and in the 60s, so at least I won't be freezing while I do it. And if I can finally get the damned water heater anode dealt with, that would also be very, very good. I am sick of the hot water smelling like rotten eggs.

But of course, "miles to go" and so forth. No time for Q.E.D. right now.

#5181: The first deviation

It's a small one. Trump says we need to fix US economy before we go to Mars. Fortunately, this is the 21st century and we have SpaceX; we no longer need NASA to get us to Mars. So the feds can wank around doing whatever it is they think they can do to fix the US economy (which, it must be said, is merely getting the hell out of the damned way already) and just let SpaceX do its thing.

I don't think Donald Trump is an ideal candidate; far from it. Given my druthers I'd like to have a real statesman running, someone who has as clear a vision as Trump does and is not afraid to articulate it the way Trump has. Someone who's not going to kowtow to the press and the special interest but instead speak to what the voters want and need, yet who has consistently articulated a nationalist or traditionalist platform through the years. But we live in an imperfect world, and Trump is the only person who is talking about doing the important and politically difficult things ("difficult" only because the D.C. establishment stands in the way). I can put up with his peculiarities only because he is focusing on the biggest problems we face right now and has a plan for dealing with them, which is more than anyone in the Republicrat party cares to do. (More than just saying, "Oh, this isn't really the problem you make it out to be," before raising taxes and removing civil liberties.)

On the plus side, "fixing the economy" is at least a reasonably definite goal. When politicians talk about space exploration this way, usually it's in the context of "we have all kinds of problems to fix on Earth, first!" which usually means poverty, war, famine, injustice, inequality, and so on--all the commie-lib-prog bugaboos which never seem to be solved regardless of how much money gets thrown at them, because they cannot be solved, ever. Jesus said it best: "The poor you will have always," He said. We spend five million dollars a minute on welfare yet there are still poor poeple in the US; that poverty is relative rather than absolute considering that an awful lot of poor people have $800 smartphones and big screen TVs.

"Fixing the economy" is a bit more tractable. 5% GDP growth and 5% unemployment--real numbers, that is, not the fake crap ladled out by the D.C. aristocracy--would mean the economy had gone a long way towards being fixed, and if our country is doing that well it would mean having a lot of money to spare for space exploration. Maybe we could then fund useful things at higher rates. (Assume NASA's annual budget is $25 billion; the feds spend that much on welfare in about four days, yet NASA is considered a waste of money by most of our politicians. Primarily because there are no votes to be bought in space.)

This is, therefore, a small deviation. Trump is still the best choice.

#5182: Anode replaced!

So today I went to Harbor Freight and picked up an electric impact gun (price, $42-something with tax) and that was able to get the anode loose from the water heater. Sure enough it was encrusted with smelly stuff, which wasn't so smelly after it dried out, but because the space is so tight I had to bend it double to get it out.

Then I poured a half-cup of bleach into the water heater. Take that, smelly water! Anything that might be in there that thrives on hot water and iron oxide (and excretes hydrogen sulfide) should be dead now.

Once it was out I hied m'self to Home Depot for a flexible anode, because I could not fit the spare in with the space I had; then after stopping at Marnell's for beef sandwiches I got to work in the basement.

Now, some years ago, originally, there was a little 3x3 hole in the wall which gave access to the water heater. When one was replaced (not sure if the original or a later one) someone took a Sawzall to the wall to get it out, because the wall was not load-bearing and there was no reason not to make the hole bigger. Well, I enlarged it a bit more to see if I could get the spare I had on hand into the water heater, but even getting creative with bending it and then unbending it as it went in didn't help, so I discarded that plan and made with the $25 replacement from Home Depot.

Got it in, got it torqued down, repressurized the system--no leaks. I advised Mrs. Fungus not to run any hot water for a while as I want the bleach to have a chance to work, just in case some kind of bacteria is causing the stink. Fortunately, if it is, it's not going to care much for sea-level pressure and room temperature; extremophile bacteria are pretty fussy about their living conditions, just like we are. (This would also explain why the smell went away for about two weeks after the first time I drained it: draining the water heater wiped out most of the colony and it took that long for it to come back.)

Regardless, I can now change the anode with impunity, but I don't expect that I'll need to.

Step 2, cut grass. Got that done like a boss.

Step 3: enjoy the rest of my weekend with the knowledge of a job well done.