Tag Archives: Common Sense

Gibbs Rule Number 36?

Rule #36: If you feel like you’re being played, you probably are.

That’s where I’m at now with the house lawsuit. Our lawyer has been waiting for a report from his own hired inspector to detail everything I’ve already gone over in-depth. To a degree, I understand that. As much as I’ve educated myself the last two months, I’m NOT a professional building contractor nor an inspector.

The lawyer has the report now, and is apparently eager to move forward. We got a copy of the report, and TO ME, it looks very weak at best, if not outright torpedoing our case. Worse is that it backpedals on multiple things that I’d discussed with the inspector while he was at the house.

He left out the picture of the extremely shallow foundation slab, and blew off the vertical cracks in the walls, saying that the uneven foundation was just normal settling for a 63 year old house for starters. That’s HUGE, as it’s the biggest expense in repairing the house, and the keystone of the lawsuit.

Only that top grey bit is concrete, that’s a few inches of clay beneath it.

He also said that most of the problems should have been evident during a walkthrough.

Our lawyer is saying that the inspector is talking about a “walkthrough” by the previous inspector. In formal debate and even more so in law however, wording is everything. Buyers do a walkthrough. Inspectors do an inspection. If I’m opposing counsel, I’m going to pounce all over that wording and apply the proper or common meaning. Then I’m going to make it look like the buyers were idiots who didn’t pay the slightest bit of attention and are now crying over their own lack of due diligence.

The reality is, I specifically asked the inspector we first hired about the roof and foundation (among other things), and he LIED his ass off about ALL of it, telling us it was fine. Combine that with the seller having furniture and boxes hiding several issues and it was easier than it should have been to get burned.

That’s getting off track however. The main point is that I’m having a REALLY hard time believing that our lawyer wants to go to court with documentation that makes our case look so weak. I was undefeated in debate in high school and collage and I’d NEVER use that paperwork to support an argument. It plays right into the other side’s hands. My mom, on the other hand says “Trust him, he’s supposed to be working for your benefit”, etc… (and that I always see backstabbers everywhere).

Yeah, well… Guess what? The original inspector was supposed to be working for our benefit, and so was the Realtor that we hired. I think we all know how THAT worked out.

So yes, at this point I am wondering it this lawyer is just setting us up to fail while collecting thousands of dollars in attorney’s fees along the way. Gibb’s Rule #36.

While we’re at it, numbers 3(A), 8, 35, 39 and 40 also seem to apply here. To say nothing of number 13

Available as a mousepad on Etsy… And a coffee cup. Not by me.

OK, yes, it’s just a TV show and Gibbs is just a now retired character from the show. He was a somewhat flawed character also. None the less, many of those rules do indeed make sense. There are occasional nuggets of wisdom in the turd pile that is TV programming philosophizing.

While we’re at it, let’s not forget what Shakespeare had to say about lawyers…

When it Rains…

It definitely pours.

Image via ClarionLedger.com

I’ve been occupied the last week or so with several different events. That’s what’s kept me quiet the last couple of days.

First was trying to get our lawn overseeded to fill in the bare spots. That was a bit time consuming and had to be worked around all the rain we’ve been getting. Not TOO bad though.

A few days later though, the lawn got overrun with wild mushrooms of several different types:

I had other pictures, but the phone ate them; yet another problems I’ve been dealing with for a while. That big mushroom on the right is a good 6 or 7 inches across, and our lawn is getting covered with those and strange small orange ones that as best I can tell are a variety of Russula and some white ones that look like death caps.

As for the phone, since the update before last, it’s locked me out of being able to DL my pics directly, and instead is forcing me to go to iCloud to retrieve them, probably in an effort to embed cookies in my PC. I’ve tried all the methods to fix that and / or reset the phone, but nothing has worked.

Speaking of not working, has anybody else noticed how utterly useless DuckDuckGO has gotten lately? It’s it’s not a cutting edge pop culture reference, DuckDuckGo.com can’t seem to find it at all.

So, next… We have our roof. I told our landlord before we moved in that it looked sketchy to me. He sent somebody out who rubber stamped it as fine. Well, maybe it’s not so fine:

We’ve got a large area at the far end of the kitchen where the ceiling is water stained and the crappy spray on popcorn is falling off. The landlord gets a guy out to look at the roof, and I swear he made the Beverly Hillbillies look erudite and well dressed. He stunk of pot also. He takes a look, and says he’s going to fix it and notify the landlord. The next thing we hear of it (after the pot-head just vanished) is that the landlord is trying to run the cost of a new roof through his insurance company.

We’ve weathered (pun intended) all of that fairly well. The leak hasn’t damaged anything inside yet, and it’s not OUR roof. The icing on the cake for me came Monday. One of the corporate idiots came to my other half’s job for whatever reason a week ago, and on Monday he notifies the office that he and the eye candy he was apparently traveling with have tested positive for COVID and been quarantined.

One of the other people at that office apparently decided they were too cool and smart to be vaccinated, so they may have caught it and passed it on to their family.

We weren’t TOO worried about it here, having been vaccinated BUT, a day later we both got sick with symptoms that mimicked the reaction we had to the second dose of the vaccine. Nothing’s been severe by any means, but I’m decidedly NOT happy about it all.

We did go to a local testing spot, and the tests came back negative. It MAY be a minor case of the flu (which oddly enough I don’t think I’ve had in 10 years), OR the vaccine might be causing a false negative.

My other half is diabetic, and has minor asthma issues, AND a heart murmur as well. IF this were COVID and we weren’t vaccinated, it could have potentially been VERY serious. Yeah, I’m pissed.

I’m annoyed just having been sick the last few days simply for no other reason than somebody thought they were above the rules and too clever to be vaccinated. Yeah our tests came back negative but I know what the flu feels like and what the vaccine symptoms felt like.

Yes, there’s a literal shit ton of misinformation on both sides of this issue, BUT that doesn’t change the fact that COVID spreads fast and has killed alot of people. Personal freedoms have to be balanced in light of social responsibilities. Both are equally important unless one doesn’t wish to live among their fellow man.

All of the above has left me frustrated with how little control I have over my life also. The roof isn’t the only problem the house has, and ending up homeless, even briefly, doesn’t exactly appeal to me. My back is making SLOW progress, but keeps going out enough to make getting back to real work impractical and improbable. THAT, in turn, means if anything happens to my dingbat spouse who ignored my requests for life insurance until AFTER the heart murmur and blockage were discovered, (and now can’t qualify for any), I’m screwed.

I spent most of my life at the mercy of abusive parents and a manipulative ass of an ex. I HATED it, and I HATE feeling like I’m in the exact same boat now.

Culper Precision Makes Custom Gun That Looks Like Toy

Time for a Rant. Utah based Culper Precision (a firearms manufacturer) decided to customize what I think is a Glock 19 to look like a toy made of Legos.

Image courtesy of Newsweek and MSN

They called it the “Block 19” and that is a VERY real firearm. They were quite proud of the fact that they glued the Legos onto it, and got the gun to keep them in place for over 1500 rounds fired.

Oddly enough, they also don’t understand the outrage this has generated with people.

Stats on how many children are killed with guns are sadly twisted and politicized. Regardless of the actual numbers, children getting ahold of guns and accidentally shooting themselves, a sibling, or shooting people at school are too common, and IMO one is too many because a responsible gun owner keeps their guns properly secured.

I’ve already called for the gun owners to be tried as co-conspirators in such cases unless they can show that they did have their guns locked up. Kids are tempted by the mystique surrounding guns, and if you make it look like a harmless toy, whatever respect they may have for the weapon is going to be lost. This was just completely irresponsible on Culper’s part.

Before any of the Pro-Second Amendment crowd jumps on me here, I *am* a gun owner. I own a CZ-75 Compact 9mm pistol:

Image courtesy of CZ-USA.com

Not only do I own it, I practice regularly and I’m pretty damned good with it:

Image courtesy of me; 20 rounds at a distance of 40 feet or 12.19 meters

Point being that I’m not some extremist activist who has never held a gun nor understands how they work. I’m a responsible gun owner who keeps my gun secured, practices to be accurate so I don’t unnecessarily endanger somebody IF I’m ever forced to defend myself, AND I hope to never, ever have to point it at another human being.

Culper made a gun that looks like a child’s toy, and then defended it by saying they were doing it to protect the second amendment (I can’t make this stuff up):

What’s all the more scary is that Instagram post got 2900+ likes.

Then, when they started getting TONS of hate, they doubled down on stupid, saying the reason people didn’t like it was because they gave their children unlimited access to guns or were a bunch of ignorant anti-second amendment nuts. See the story I linked above. I’m paraphrasing but NOT exaggerating.

THIS is the kind of irresponsible idiocy that makes others question the mindset of gun owners.

FINAL THOUGHTS:

My OPINION on this; Why does it matter? First of all, as previously stated, it LOOKS like a toy. That’s going to give a child a false sense of safety with it. Ideally, children in a gun owning household are taught to respect guns, that they’re extremely dangerous, and not a toy. Even such children would likely be tempted by this however. It only has to be put down for a moment for a kid to snatch it up too.

Second, and equally important, it shows that the ADULTS are viewing guns in an irresponsible manner.

A gun can be used as sporting equipment; for competitive target shooting or hunting, as well as for lethal self defense. Regardless of use however, it is a DEADLY WEAPON and should ALWAYS be treated with the respect and caution that comes with that.

Things like this, and the stupid gun tricks videos on YouTube reflect poorly on ALL gun owners. It does NOT protect the Second Amendment. It instead shows that it’s followers are too stupid to respect that rights come with equal amounts of responsibility.

As a responsible gun owner who values the ability to defend my home as a LAST resort, I’m extremely offended here, both by the infantalizing of guns, and the gaslighting of people who had the common sense to object to this stupidity.

If you need your gun to look like a toy, or be a pretty color (ie it’s pink);

then, to be blunt, you don’t have the right mindset to own a firearm.

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream

Before anybody panics, I’m taking the words literally, NOT metaphorically as Hamlet did. 🙂

image from thetalko.com

I’ve been meaning to get back to writing here for over a week, but lack of sleep… or quality sleep rather, was doing a number on me. I didn’t realize how bad the problem was, or how much it was contributing to my brain fog until our Sleep Number bed broke for the second time in a few months.

The air pressure was unstable on my side of the bed, resulting in it going from too firm to too soft and back multiple times a night. I’m going to do a separate post detailing the workings of a Sleep Number bed, and why they’re a bad buy in my opinion. For the moment, suffice it to say we got fed up and went shopping for a new bed over the Fourth of July weekend. Yay for sales that commercialize and monetize a holiday celebrating freedom. Sarcasm duly noted, I hope.

We tried different manufacturers and models, and ALL of them felt better than our old bed, which convinced us we were making the right choice to replace vs repair. We decided on a Purple brand Model 4 mattress, with Tempurpedic coming in a close second. The Purple brand had better lower back support, although the Tempurpedic with the new cooling technology was a bit cooler (I sleep HOT).

Purple 4 mattress deconstructed. Image from Sleepsherpa.com

We got the new bed yesterday afternoon, and last night was probably the best night’s sleep I’ve had in YEARS, if not my life. I’m not ready to outright endorse the mattress YET. It’s expensive, and I want to see how it’s going to do over time. I’ll keep reporting on it occasionally however.

Quality, REM sleep time was off the charts for me though, and I awakened feeling mentally and physically recharged. I expect to be doing a good deal more writing in immediate future if I keep getting this level of rest. 🙂

Those of you who think that you’re managing some sort of life hack by cheating yourself on sleep, especially quality REM sleep… You’d be amazed how much better you feel with REAL sleep. A saw has to be sharpened regularly to work at it’s best (as Stephen Covey liked to point out). Your mind and body are exactly the same in that regard.

Sito Privato

OK, time for a “Things that Make You Go Hmmm” post…

Now for those who don’t speak Italian or can’t guess based on the phrase’s similarity to English, the title means Private Site. I bring it up because there’s a blog I follow that’s in Italy, and the gal who runs it has a bad habit of locking most of her followers out of some of her posts. Since just about all of her posts are romantic poetry, thoughts and songs, I assume she’s younger. I likewise assume that given the rest of her posts are about romance and sensuality that the private posts are also.

Every time I hit that private site screen, I can’t help but wonder what’s being posted that she feels the need to keep it hidden from most people.

With that in mind, I wanted to offer some advice to the young women out there: NOTHING, and I mean ABSOLUTELY NOTHING on the internet is private. No matter what you do, there are people with ways around it. Anything from outright hackers to sites that index (and clone) other sites, to “social engineering” and a dozen other possibilities.

Keeping it simple, the aspect of social engineering that we’re talking about here is that whole thing your parents or friends hopefully warned you about with not sharing racy pictures of yourself with somebody you have a crush on. They’ll share with one friend, no matter what they promise, and then it gets passed around more and more until suddenly everybody in the neighborhood, at school and / or at work knows what your bare boobs look like.

My point is this; if your piece of erotica or sensual poetry is that sexual, or you don’t feel comfortable sharing that pic (nude or not), putting it behind a “private” page or site is really NO protection at all. You have two realistic choices here:

DON’T DO IT. Use discretion and common sense levels of caution and don’t post that written material or picture. You’re very likely saving yourself a good deal of drama later on down the road. Won’t happen to you? That’s what EVERY girl that ended up with nude pictures passed around school, or the star of a revenge porn video on the internet said. None of them set out to be publicly humiliated.

The other option is to accept it’s VERY likely going to happen to you also at some point. Webpage passwords are minimal protection. They might be better than just “owning it” and putting it out on display for everybody but the end result is probably going to be the same. That pic, video or story could resurface at the worst possible time too.

Hypocritical, given that I write erotica? Superficially, BUT I’m only warning you of the likely fallout. I’m also careful to disclose minimal personal information and NO pictures of myself. I’d do follow those last two steps regardless. The world has too many weird people in it.

Use wisely your power of choice.

Calling BS on “Draconian Business Closure Edicts”

This will end up being a prelude to a post I had already planned on doing about finally getting out on the town on Tuesday night; coming soon (like later tonight).

However, I once again saw a story, (this time a blog post), exploiting the whole situation with COVID-19. While I frequently call BS on the Far Left, (because they have a much wider voice / reach), I’ll certainly pick on the Right also when they’re wrong. Such is the case here. The blog post talked about how Nashville had monkeyed with COVID statistics and used that as an excuse to implement “Dracnoian Business Closure Edicts”.

The trouble here is that I just was there two days ago. We went to go grab a pizza on Broadway; Nashville’s version of Music Row, and then try a milkshake place that was shown on the Food Network’s ‘Best Thing I Ever Ate’.

local rule; as long as you’re at your table, you don’t need a mask.

Truth? Everything was open. Every joint on the strip had live music, social distancing was actually at a bare minimum, and I saw next to nothing closed. The Ryman Auditorium was open, etc… The only thing I really saw closed at all was the civic center. We parked near there since it was the one parking spot we knew, and walked a good mile or so. We passed the hockey arena and the Country Music Hall of Fame along the way too.

Everyone in LA is an Actor, and everyone in Nashville is a singer, lol

In fact, I was actually a little annoyed at the number of people walking around without masks at all. Police were out also but not enforcing the masks in public rule.

For those who haven’t read my previous posts, I’m very middle of the road on COVID-19. It CAN be quite dangerous but often isn’t, and it’s spread about twice as much as a bad flu season. I advocate using a mask in public, a little common sense, and NOT listening to the hysteria on BOTH sides of the issue. It is NOT the end of civilization, nor is it a completely fake story drummed up to scare people. It sickens me also that people on both sides of this mess are trying to exploit it for personal and political gain.

And both sides wonder why the public doesn’t trust anything they say on the issue, or anything else.

They want MY trust, they’re going to have to earn it via accurately informing, NOT manipulation and fear mongering.

The Height of Stupidity

Yes, a brief bit of social commentary today.

Despite trying to minimize such posts anymore, sometimes something comes along that’s so blatantly idiotic that it HAS to be called out.

Aeon published an article with the following headline: “A Belief in Meritocracy is Not Only False: It’s Bad For You”, and then followed up with this subtitle: “It encourages selfishness and discrimination yet it continues to be instilled in the minds of many.”

No, I’m not providing a link either. I refuse to give them any clicks for something so banal and completely devoid of even the most elementary logic.

Let’s start by defining the term. Meritocracy is the idea that those who work harder and do best get bigger rewards and advance. That’s my definition. Wikipedia has an interesting version and I’m going to post it also:

“Meritocracy is a political system in which economic goods and/or political power are vested in individual people on the basis of talent, effort, and achievement, rather than wealth or social class. Advancement in such a system is based on performance, as measured through examination or demonstrated achievement.

The main problem with that definition is that meritocracy is not a political system. It’s a general belief in how advancement within ANY system or organization should work.

Both definitions are completely free of any inherent selfishness or discrimination. Wealth, class and race are completely ignored in a true meritocracy. It would be reasonable to argue that meritocracy encourages competition, but not selfishness.

The author seems to be incapable of distinguishing between elitism and meritocracy however. So many of today’s false issues are caused by an inability or unwillingness to simply define terms properly.

Elitism (as opposed to meritocracy) is the belief that somebody got to the top because they’re inherently superior and therefore entitled to look down on others.

By comparison, somebody can work hard and achieve via a meritocracy and still have the understanding that somebody else may need a little help to reach their full potential. These are the leaders in every field that mentor others, give to charities, help the homeless, etc…

I would hope that I don’t need to list the numerous examples there of people who do those exact things either.

The trouble with attacks on meritocracy is that they always seem to come from people who want to blame others for their situation in life instead of working to improve it, or simply think they’re entitled to everything without having to work for it.

Reality is, life doesn’t work that way. If you want to be LeBron James or Michael Jordan, you have to be willing to put in the eight or nine hours of work every day just like they did, to get to that pinnacle.

Sports is actually one of the best validations of a meritocracy. Would anybody want to watch a team full of average or worse schmucks play at ANY sport, just because it wasn’t fair that overweight, out of shape people can’t be a professional athlete?

How about music? How many songs are you going to listen to from somebody who completely bombed American Idol or some other show? You know; the type whose audition makes it onto the first episode just to show how bad some people are?

Another thing I hear regularly anymore is that meritocracy is inherently racist. Those saying it can never explain why people from Asia and India come to the West and get ahead though. In my opinion, it’s the critics who are inherently racist. They’re implying that Black and Hispanic people aren’t capable of achievement, and thus inherently inferior. That’s crap. More can be done to level the playing field for them, such as better educational opportunities and making sure there is no racial discrimination at an employer. If there is though, by definition that workplace is no longer a meritocracy.

So yes, I believe in the concept of meritocracy, with the caveat that the ideal way to do things is make sure that the playing field is indeed kept level to start with. Equal educational opportunity for all, etc… as I mentioned above.

COVID-19’s Biggest Kill?

Some of the things I’m reading out there are getting outright scary. I keep a balanced approach here regarding the pandemic. Treating it as a joke gets my scorn, but so does treating it as the end of the world.

Sadly, it seems many people are buying into scare tactics that are COMPLETELY unjustified. Because of that, the coronavirus’s biggest casualty may end up being personal liberty.

I’ve seen a father get arrested for playing catch with his daughter in an empty park. I’ve heard of another old couple being chased out a park for sitting quietly together. I read several blogs where people say anybody outdoors for something “non-essential” should be arrested. Ironically some of them consider running and walking the dog to be “essential”.

People are calling 911 over people coughing. Government agencies here and abroad are setting up tip lines to report neighbors… Yeah, I’m starting to be able to imagine what it must have been like to live under Hitler’s brown shirts or the East German Stasi.

What all of these good little spies are missing is that this virus still hasn’t come close to a bad year of flu deaths, much less the top ten killers worldwide:

TB kills 1.5 million people a year. Diabetes nearly 2 million. Are we going to declare war on cupcakes and call the police on anybody eating cake? Car crashes are another 1.5 million plus per year. Ban anything with wheels?

Where does it end??? Seriously, where?

The trouble with this current pandemic is that it’s an unknown. Is it that weak, OR did the shelter in place stop it? We CAN’T say for sure how much either possibility was a factor. Anybody who tells you otherwise is a liar. Only extensive testing to determine how far and wide this virus spread will give us a real picture.

Treating it as a joke is a bad idea. Italy tried that at first. Throwing away all our civil liberties and turning into a police state though… Even more of a bad idea. The reality is this virus barely impacts the vast majority of a given population.

Let’s look again at Italy. It keeps getting held up as the worst case scenario. As of Saturday the 11th (when I’m actually writing this – early) – there have been 18,849 deaths RELATED TO the Coronavirus. That’s in a country with a total population of 60,300,000 people roughly. That’s a total of .003 percent of the population of Italy.

Hell, there’s 2,879,728 people in Rome alone. The death total for all of Italy isn’t even enough to erase 1% of that single city’s population (6 tenths of 1 percent actually).

Furthermore, out of the entire number of cases in Italy, you have 147,577 cases total (2 tenths of one percent of the population), and of those cases 94,776 are considered MILD, with another 30,455 recovered. Only 3,497 open cases are considered serious or critical in Italy.

Then you look at some place like Northern Ireland where they’ve had 92 deaths out of 1,891,100 people… You’re talking 5 thousandths of 1 percent (.0005%) of the total population.

CLEARLY, the differences in numbers between Italy and Northern Ireland shows that sheltering in place is making SOME difference. Is .003% vs .0005% worth destroying all our civil liberties over though?

Beware the power you give politicians. Power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely. Even if they set aside their police state powers, rest assured they’ll both keep the ability to access them again, AND do so at the first flimsy excuse.

Do I want people to die? Absolutely not. I’m a realist though. What I *am* saying is that we need to get past the fairy tale delusion that everything bad that can ever happen to a person, including death is absolutely preventable. It never has been, and it never will be. Creating dictators and becoming brown shirts will NOT provide you with security, only chains.

Did you also hear that there’s a theory being investigated at Stanford University that California actually has such low death rates because COVID-19 got here earlier than believed (during flu season) and we all developed a herd immunity to it?

Coronavirus: The California Herd

What Am I Advocating?

The same simple, common sense middle of the road approach I have been since the beginning. Self Isolate as much as practical, wear a mask if available, etc… But let go of this blind panic and need for the government to protect you at all costs!!!

California, believe it or not, has pretty loose shelter in place laws. Darn near everything is considered “essential”, even nail salons and dry cleaners! With the exception of a handful of municipalities though, we’ve been trusted to use good judgment and act like adults. Many businesses have closed down temporarily, all the others are running shortened hours, 1 in and 1 out entry policies with social distancing at registers and the line to enter, etc… The bigger and more essential stores are also running special seniors only shopping hours to help protect them.

People are allowed to go out running or walk around the park etc… as long as they stay in groups of 2 or 3 only.

You know what? It’s worked too, even with the extreme number of nanny state nutcases we have here.

Last Note:

Keep in mind those fatality numbers are any death where the person also had COVD-19. Occasionally it does kill (formerly) healthy people. Much of the time, they were already somehow sick anyway. Total cases is a true mystery also. I’ve heard speculation that as much as 75% of the population may have contracted it and never even known. If (And that’s a big if) 3 out of every 4 people really have had this thing by now, how silly does a police state look?

My First Solutions Saturday

Time to start delivering on my proposed once a week look at solutions to problems. No telling how long this will be able to run, but I’m going to give it some serious effort, and my best insight. So, let’s start with two BIG underlying problems that very few people want to address. They’re common to all the situations that we’re facing nowadays.

The BIG Common Denominator:

No games; let’s just say it. The one contributing factor to every problem out there is simply a lack of morals. There, I said it. Probably lost half my readers right there also. Morals are old fashioned. Morals are oppressive. Yadda yadda… I call BS! Read on if you want to see why.

First, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not talking about religion. I’m talking about the basic values that are common to almost every religion and spiritual belief system or philosophy though. Things like don’t lie, don’t steal, don’t murder, and treat others the way you want to be treated. Basic concepts that act as a glue to a civilized society.

Religion helps reinforce the idea of treating others kindly, BUT this SHOULD be such a common sense idea that it can stand on it’s own merit. Same is true with other “old fashioned” ideas like honesty and not stealing.

Too much of the world has developed a “I want what I want NOW and you have no right to tell me I can’t have it” or (more simply) win at all costs mentality. And if you can’t get what you want, have the government steal it for you. Who cares about the other person?

Speeding and zig-zagging in and out of traffic? Sure I caused an accident, and nearly caused four others, but *I* wasn’t in it and I got home one and a half minutes sooner! Same thing with cellphone use while driving. MY text or latest Facebook like is more important than your life! How dare you tell me to put the phone down and focus on driving!?!

Oh yeah, you can drive fine while texting. Tell that to my other half who is still having back pain after getting hit by some braindead twit. If we didn’t own a Subaru, the injuries would have been much worse. Twit didn’t care though. It was just one of those things.

Weeks back there was an 86 year old lady with dementia in Brooklyn who was shoved down over social distancing rules. She suffered internal injuries from the fall and DIED. Coronavirus be damned. Where’s the humanity for our fellow human beings? ME ME ME.

This “the ends justify the means” crap extends to the social justice and political realms too. Remember Jessie Smollet in January of 2019? He paid two Jamaican guys to beat him up and then went to the police filing a false report. He claimed it was white supremacists wearing clothes supporting Trump that beat him up. Oh and screaming that SOUTH CHICAGO(!!!) was MAGA country. And the DA was going to let him get away with it too!

It’s striking at racism, and more importantly TRUMP, so EVERYTHING is justified (right Doug?). More like it hurt the cause of equal rights for black people and damaged the credibility of the political Left.

If we’re going to survive as a species much longer, we HAVE TO get to a point where TRUTH is more important than petty ambition and vanity. Where treating others how we want to be treated is valued more than arrogance and greed.

We have to realize “the easy way” isn’t easier. It’s not gaming the system either. It’s faster, more seductive, but ultimately only hurts yourself, those around you and society in general. It also typically damages your self respect because you know you took shortcuts instead of accomplishing something honestly.

That last part is why you have people trying to tear down the whole concept of morals. It helps them justify the crappy things they do. It numbs their conscience. Even more so if they can start getting others to act the same way.

The whole trouble there is that what you have if everybody can do anything as long as they can get away with it is textbook ANARCHY. It’s might makes right. You’re either the big dog, or you’re ground down under their heel. Is that the kind of world any of you want, for yourself or your children?

Think about it. Everything from predatory capitalism, to communist dictators… from lying reporters to crooked politicians could be solved, at least in large part, if people simply valued basic, universal morals and treated others the way they wanted to be treated.

Can we get there?

I’m up and down on this like a yo-yo. There are days I’m convinced that the majority of humanity is lower than knuckle dragging neanderthals and savages. Then there are other days where I see people rising up to show the very best humanity has to offer. Construction workers and local residents digging people out of the Loma Prietta earthquake here in California decades ago. Relief efforts after Malasyia was ravaged by earthquakes. The way people have come together in the midst of this pandemic. Soooo… I just don’t know.

What does concern me is how the shrill voices out there are trying to turn even the most well intended act into an utter evil if it benefits them to do so. If we can shut them down, we MAY just have a prayer of accomplishing the rest of it and surviving as a species.

OH, and that second big issue… Next post. 😉

This one is long enough.

Beware Media Hysteria & Manipulation

It’s Tuesday! Time to take out the trash again. LOL

The coronavirus mess has done a lot to highlight media sensationalism and manipulation IF you’re paying attention and looking for facts. I’ve gone over the statistics in recent blog posts. This virus should be taken seriously. Sheltering in place and social distancing is a good idea. Is it the end of the world though? No.

If you paid attention to most media outlets, either we’re all going to die and it’s going to be worse than the Spanish Flu of 1918, OR we should all go out and lick shopping carts because it’s a hoax.

Ironic that the last proponent of “it’s all a fraud” that I heard was Rand Paul. He was on the radio a little under a week ago howling that it was all just an attack on civil liberties. No word on if he’s changed his tune since coming down with the virus. O_o

On the hysteria side, the best example I’ve seen was media sources quoting Emily Landon, MD, Executive Director Infection Prevention and Control, University of Chicago Medical Center in saying this was the Spanish Flu of 1918 all over again.

She (and the media quoting her) completely neglect to mention that the Spanish Flu killed somewhere between 17 and 50 million people. Some say as many as 100 million. She also fails to mention that the Spanish Flu was much more dangerous to younger people with stronger immune systems than COVID-19 is. There were also other secondary factors like areas still physically recovering from World War 1 getting hit extra hard.

As of today, we have 18,605 total deaths worldwide, 2091 just today. That’s enough to merit taking this seriously. It’s a FAR cry from 50 million people in a year though.

Here’s the thing with the shelter in place and other measures we’re all being advised to follow: If they work properly, it’s going to look like they were never needed, or at least were a big overreaction.

Stay calm, realize this will pass, and take anything the media EVER tells you with a grain of salt. Be skeptical. The media thrives on creating fear and anger.

So, let’s look at some of their more common tricks:

“Expert” Opinions:

The two examples above illustrate that the media will ALWAYS be able to find an “expert” to back up whatever opinion they have. Rand Paul and Emily Langston are both doctors, but have COMPLETELY opposite views on this mess. Why? Personal motivations.

Rand Paul was raised by his father to be a huge civil liberties guy. Normally we could use more of them too. Sometimes, common sense has to balance civil liberties with social good.

Emily Langston runs the Infectious Disease Center at the University of Chicago. A) the more noise she makes about this, the more money her center will get from the government and private donors. B) Given her role, she probably sees every new outbreak in terms of an absolute worst case scenario.

“Experts” almost always run off of motivated self interest before anything else. Another example from this pandemic is that it’s being reported that the CDC was actually downplaying how dangerous this outbreak was at the beginning. They supposedly got blindsided by it and didn’t want to look ignorant. I’ve only heard a few unconfirmed reports here, but if true it explains where the White House and others were getting bad info from.

Just hit a search engine if you want to see how many times the CDC has dropped the ball before. Anybody recall they were all for e-cigarettes as a healthy alternative to smoking when that first started?

Partial Truths:

Keep in mind that no matter how bad any media outlet spins a story, there’s always going to be just enough truth to avoid having to admit they bald faced lied. What do I mean?

OK, let’s say there’s a news story about some EVIL person swooping into the local store and buying up their entire inventory of toilet paper. The story takes on a whole different light if that “entire inventory” was the last package they had, doesn’t it? Technically they reported accurately BUT would they have given a true picture in that scenario? I’ve seen the media go this far in other cases to create ratings. I always ask what I’m NOT being told anymore.

Half Quotes:

Another favorite tactic of the media. Politicians on both sides either benefit or suffer from the tactic’s use. It all depends on who is doing the reporting on whom. Reagan used to get misquoted by the media all the time regarding his proposed shutting down the Department of Education. They’d report that he wanted children to suffer. They ignored that what he actually proposed was sending the funding directly to the states instead, believing people closer to the issues knew better how to spend the money than bureaucrats in Washington DC.

Leaving Out Key Facts:

There’s no test kits and medical supplies!!! How often have you heard THAT exaggeration in the news? Well, they’re ALL manufactured in CHINA, right down to every antibiotic that’s sold in the US. Anybody see a problem here? Anybody hear that fact reported, or is it all blaming the government and evil corporations?

Manipulative and Misleading Language:

I’ll finish this up with this one last major tactic. The media, politicians, corporations and PR firms, and some of the more manipulative individuals out there all pull this trick. Manipulative language is everywhere

One story on MSN’s home page talked about how the number of deaths from COVID-19 *SOARED* in the US. It sounds so dramatic doesn’t it? Virus spreading everywhere, no one is safe! If you look at the numbers though, we’re at 600 deaths nationwide. In a population of 330 million, that’s a pretty damned small number.

Again, let’s follow the advice out there and keep that number small. Be kind to your fellow bloggers and human beings too. Even when you know the facts, this is still a kind of scary situation.

BOTTOM LINE:

Be skeptical of anything the media tells you. Displaying personal bias and social engineering are seen as good things in the media today. Strong negative emotions = strong ratings also. No single source is going to get it all correct. It’s not enough to go to a source with a similar outlook also. If you like CNN, you’re only going to get the same info at MSNBC. You have to go to TownHall.com or Fox. The same is true of you flip the coin. Fox and talk radio slant the truth also. I catch them regularly. You have to look at and fact check both sides to find the more complete truth in the middle.

And for the love of humanity, DO NOT get your news from late night comedians or social media! Talk about fountains of misinformation and hysteria…