Category Archives: Institutional Incompetence

Political Software

I’m on a continuing quest to get as far away from Microsoft products as possible. Since I don’t fiddle around with i-Anythings and my telephone is a cuss-worthy box o’parts, getting away from the corporate octopus isn’t easy. Much of the world is managing, however, so there’s hope for humanity.

What I have been able to do is find good, lightweight, and functional programs that do exactly what I need them to do without arguing about it. When I want to defragment my hard-drive in a hurry, MyDefrag does the job. I do most of my writing on OpenOffice software. When Windows Media Player balked at playing what I wanted to watch, I got this.

But the title of this article promised politics, and I’m about to deliver. I look at government programs in a way similar to my take on computers. We citizens don’t exist to serve government. Government exists to work for us.

My favorite example of good government is NASA. Said agency has never had even five percent of the Federal budget, but look at all that it has achieved. And it has done this without preventing others from operating in space. Look at SpaceX and Virgin Galactic for examples. The former of those is now delivering cargo to the International Space Station.

Take in contrast the Microsoft-esque attempt at healthcare reform. That massive piece of political software is being rolled out over a period of years. The beta testing has so far given mixed results. And soon, lots of Americans are going to face the bureaucratic equivalent of a pop-up that asks, Are you sure?

I have no objection to government being helpful. But that help should be genuine. It should be effective. And most importantly, it should come with no compulsion.

What I’d like to see, for example, would be a government insurance program such as what I discussed here–in other words, a lightweight program that does only what it claims to do and does that well and without argument.

The problem is that political software developers so often are afflicted with big visions while at the same time lacking in the quality that the best engineers are blessed with–a love of simplicity. Politicians so often operate under the fear that the voters are coming, so they’d better look busy. Many of them have a heartfelt desire to do good and confuse the nature of their desires with the nature of their ideas.

The principle that I’m suggesting here is that when considering the creation or expansion of a government program, we must ask what is the smallest number of actions that will accomplish a worthy goal.

Gun Control Beliefs

1. The same government that can’t keep illegal immigrants and drugs from crossing our borders could stop firearms from doing the same.

2. The 300,000,000 + guns in America will either disappear or be turned in if the dreams of gun banners become reality.

3. The 100,000,000 gun owners will quietly accept their guns becoming illegal or will acquiesce to licensing and registration.

4. The same government that can’t make the Department of Motor Vehicles operate efficiently could make the Department of Firearms Control do so.

5. The rights of the individual are only what the government grants.

6. People who can be trusted to choose their leaders can’t be trusted to own firearms.

7. The actions of a few veto the rights of the many.

8. Signs that ban guns from the premises will stop someone from committing a Class A felony.

9. Mechanical devices have wills of their own and exercise powers over human beings.

10. Safety is more important than freedom, even when the former is illusory.

I could go on, but do we notice a pattern here?

Psst–Want Some Sugar?

Michael Bloomberg, the man who changed New York City’s term limits to buy himself a third time as mayor (because billionaires just know what’s best for us, you know) and who can’t stand the idea of good citizens owning or carrying firearms, has had a new subject gain his attention: sugary drinks.

Yup, Bloomingidiot wants to ban any drink in a restaurant, theater, or sports venue of more than sixteen ounces if it’s sweetened with sugar.

Those of us who care about gun rights have known that Hizzonor the Mayor is a control freak, but now the nation as a whole is getting to see that once you take power with the purpose of running the lives of others, there are no limits–no limits, that is, beyond what the people can apply.

New Yorkers, why did you elect this man for a third term? You are responsible for what he does to you, at least until he finds a way to ban elections.

But if you’re ready to see the foolishness of his ways, America awaits. Here in Arkansas, for example, you can buy and carry a Big Gulp and a .44 Magnum most anywhere you want. The majority of other states are the same.

To Bloomingbutt specifically, you, sir, have no need to worry. As things stand, I have no interest in visiting your city. Feel free to enjoy your fiefdom until the peasants rise up.

The Facts Matter!

This image comes from the Brady Campaign to Prevent Handgun Violence, located here. On the map, red represents states that do not require a permit to carry a concealed handgun (the free states, in other words). Pink states issue permits to anyone who passes a background check. Pale green states have discretion in issuance (if you donate to a politician’s campaign, you get a permit). The dark green state of Illinois refuses to allow good citizens to carry.

Now the free states in this country are Alaska, Arizona, Wyoming, and Vermont.

Wait for it…

Do you see the problem?

The map shows Colorado and New Hampshire as states that require no permit. I do realize that we all make errors from time to time, but the Brady Bunch make factual claims in an effort to take away our gun rights. We can demand that they, at least, give genuine facts.

Light Up Your Bill!

We received our electric bill yesterday.  We’re hardly spindthrifts here.  We like wearing sweaters during the winter, and we don’t leave on lights when no one is using them.  We certainly aren’t growing anything in the basement, unless the cats have projects of their own that they haven’t told me about.  This being the case, we expect a power bill of X dollars a month.

The actual bill was some 6X this time.  Understandably, we were annoyed by this.  Sharie, the love of my life, called the company and took her telephone out to the meter box.  It seems that the reader saw a 2 in the thousands place, but wrote down a 7.  From this experience, we can draw several observations:

1.  Institutions don’t care about individuals.  What’s a few thousand extra kilowatt hours?  The institution won’t hurt when it screws up the lives of the people it is supposed to serve.

2.  When the results are out of the norm, check the details.  Most of the time, everything’s correct, but sometimes pieces go astray.

3.  The big point, though, is that what happens to us has to be our own responsibility, since few others will care.  If something is wrong, raise a righteous stink about it.

As the old flag said, Don’t Tread On Me!