Monthly Archives: April 2013

Now this is just nasty.

What do you want to bet he’s not talking about his back? From a real ad:

Middle aged man needs assistance with a shaving service. Please contact me for more details. Needs done every 4-6 weeks. $150.00

Dear Texas,

Even though you like yellow roses, you are (and seem determined to remain) a red state. You know who you are and that’s a bible-thumping, state-flag-waving, big-government hating, free-market-loving, regulation-slashing, secession-minded group of Republican cowboys.

I’m cool with that.

You believe in the second amendment but not the first, think prayers and guns should be let into schools but critical thinking skills kept out, and that businesses don’t need to be regulated because as conscientious citizens they will self-regulate.

Your elected officials believe victims of Hurricane Sandy should fend for themselves because that’s what states’ rights, local control, and personal responsibility are all about. Because real liberty means we all must live with the consequences of our choices and if you choose to live in a godless place like New York or New Jersey, when you get devastated by a hurricane of biblical proportions, that’s just the result of your choice (and possibly ordained by God who hates liberals and anybody who isn’t Texan but most especially the heretics who live in places that let gay people marry) and you should pull up your bootstraps and not expect a handout from honest, hard-working people who don’t believe in handouts.

Unless the victims are god-fearing Texans.

Which happened recently when one of those self-regulated businesses blew up, taking a large part of a small Texas town and its residents with it.

After which two Republicans who voted against federal aid for victims of Hurricane Sandy asked for federal aid for the victims in West, Texas.

A request also made by “Lone Star” state Governor Rick Perry who announced that Texas believes in independence in everything but receiving federal tax dollars.

“But we as a nation can’t turn our backs on such terrible suffering” you might say and you are probably right, even if part of the suffering might be because that same governor made so many “business friendly” decisions and, among other choices, reduced oversight and slashed funding to volunteer fire departments  – while giving hefty tax cuts to private corporations.

And that West Fertilizer Company (which owns the plant that exploded) is a private corporation.

Which had been storing 1,350 times the amount of explosive ammonium nitrate that would normally trigger safety oversight by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS). But which did not report the potentially explosive fertilizer as it was required to do.

Perhaps because it had a “risk management plan” that said “the company did not believe it was storing or handling any flammable substances and didn’t list fire or an explosion as a danger.”

The same plan that listed the “worst-case scenario” as an “accidental release of [gaseous] anhydrous ammonia.”

The same plan that said “there was no risk of fire or explosion.”

The same plan that “did not cite a possible explosion of ammonium nitrate.”

In a plant that had “no sprinklers. No firewalls. No water deluge systems” or any other safety mechanisms installed.

In a plant that hadn’t been inspected by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration since 1985.

The plant that was storing 270 tons of highly volatile ammonium nitrate fertilizer that should have been reported to the Department of Homeland Security but was not.

So that the volunteer firefighters had no idea they were fighting a fire that could – and did – turn into a massive fireball capable of flattening buildings for blocks in every direction. While they were at the epicenter of that explosion instead of a safe distance away.

Which is why, Texas, I have to ask: shouldn’t this be something your fabled “free market” will resolve to everyone’s satisfaction? With the self-regulating company liable for all the damages and loss of life?

Because, in keeping with your dearly beloved GOP principles, when a private company blows up a town, shouldn’t the private company pay for it? And be held personally – maybe even criminally – responsible?

Isn’t that what a big-government hating, free-market-loving, regulation-slashing, secession-minded group of Republican cowboys would really want?

Thank you and I look forward to your prompt response.

Damn good letter

Sometimes I surprise myself by writing something which I think is actually decent. Other times I surprise myself by thinking that and actually being right. Other times I surprise myself by stumbling across an old letter in a stack of papers (those who criticize my filing system don’t understand it) and realizing I need to share it with the world. I may be wrong, but permit me the occasional delusion.

June 27, 2012

The Atlantic
600 New Hampshire Ave, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20037

Dear Sir or Madame,

I had never heard of “Elizabeth Wurtzel” before. Something which – in light of her self-absorbed, self-importance – she would probably consider an impossibility.

Little did I know that anyone other than George Will could earn a living merely by being sufficiently insufferable.

Then I read 1% Wives Are Helping Kill Feminism and Make the War on Women Possible, which I at first mistook for an ill-advised, deeply flawed attempt at satire before realizing the author was, in fact, taking herself seriously as she made pronouncements on a subject about which she knows little and understands even less.

Here’s what she said (in fewer than fifty words): women only have value if they get paid. Being a mom is not a job. If women don’t have a job because they choose to be a stay-at-home mom, their husbands think all women are dumb. And THAT is the reason for the war on women.

And here are some of the gobsmackingly astounding things she wrote.

Who can possibly take feminism seriously when it allows everything, as long as women choose it? The whole point to begin with was that women were losing their minds pushing mops and strollers all day without a room or a salary of their own.

Wow. Just wow. I mean – the whole point of the feminist movement was allowing women the freedom of being able to choose because women were sick of having no choices, of being treated as inferior beings, denied equal opportunities and treated disparately because of their gender.

And no, it wasn’t that women “were losing their minds” – merely that being treated as property (or children) by a patriarchal society, limited to narrow roles in home, schools, and the workforce was intolerable in a society which pretended to offer liberty and justice for all.

Got pregnant? You’re fired. Got married? You’re fired. Won’t have sex with me? You’re fired. Want sports? Forget it. Want to be a lawyer, a pilot, a doctor, a dentist, a firefighter? Forget it. Want equal pay? Gee, you’re cute when you’re angry.

Let’s please be serious grown-ups: real feminists don’t depend on men. Real feminists earn a living, have money and means of their own.

Whoa! She doesn’t even realize that “real feminists” often are men. And that “real feminists” believe that opportunities and rights should not be denied or abridged on account of sex (which works for both genders – including Mr. Moms.)

This woman claims to be a lawyer – so she should be well acquainted with the established principle recognized by the courts that marriages are economic partnerships and each partner contributes value even if not a paycheck. And that, by law, it’s not “his” paycheck – it’s hers too.

All of which those same courts take into account when dividing assets in divorce proceedings. That male executive who worked his way up the corporate ladder to the multimillion dollar salary? He was able to do so because his worthless stay-at-home wife was his unpaid assistant, entertaining clients at dinner parties, organizing charitable fund-raising events, buying the gifts and sending the cards that resulted in profitable business deals, and taking care of their home so he could focus on business instead of the mundane details of life that drag people down – things like picking up the dry cleaning.

And it is those ladies – those stay-at-home wives in wealthy families (who, after all, don’t get a pay check) – who she uses to condemn all the fairer sex as failures unless they have a real job – you know, one with a real pay check. Without one you just aren’t equal. Because “there really is only one kind of equality … and it’s economic. If you can’t pay your own rent, you are not an adult. You are a dependent.”

[T]hese women are the reason their husbands think all women are dumb … As it happens, fewer than 5 percent of the CEO’s of Fortune 500 companies, 16 percent of corporate executives, and 17 percent of law partners are female. The men, the husbands of the 1 percent, are on trading floors or in office complexes with other men all day, and to the extent that they see anyone who isn’t male it’s pretty much just secretaries and assistants.

There you have it: the reason women earn less than men, the reason women hit a glass ceiling, the reason women are not 51% of CEO’s, corporate executives, law partners – or elected officials – is their own fault. It has nothing to do with discrimination, with centuries of being chattel, of having few to no rights, with living in a society where the power continues to remain vested primarily with white males.

It’s all “because feminism has misread its mission of equality” and “being a mother isn’t really work.”

In other words: being equal means you don’t have the right to choose.

Perhaps you feel controversy might help you sell magazines. At least let the controversy be based on well-informed and well-reasoned (if differing) opinions. Not pretentious, pompous poop like this.

Sincerely,
Wisconsinwit

Poor people using food stamps don’t look poor enough; Republicans propose new rules to address concerns

Continuing his party’s laser-like focus on jobs, (Republican) Wisconsin State Senator Glenn Grothman has decided it’s time to reform the federally-funded Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as the Food Stamp program (called “FoodShare” in Wisconsin).

As he announced in his recently released public statement, “Time to Reform Food Stamps,” the primary reason behind reform is that the people receiving assistance just don’t look poor enough to be getting help.

“Observations of people who work in food stores indicate that many people who use food stamps do not act as if they are genuinely poor. Routinely top brand names are purchased instead of generics. Some people claiming to be ‘poor’ might even buy cigarettes – or worse – a beer.

One not-poor person even told me that her cousin’s next-door neighbor’s best friend’s husband can tell who is on food stamps and who is not by what’s in their shopping cart: the ‘poor’ people always buy steak and lobster.

I’ve interviewed people who check out people who pay with food stamps and all felt people on food stamps ate better – or at least more costly – than they did. Food stamp recipients must be getting unreported income, or living with someone with income who social services is unaware of, because it’s apparent that something is wrong. Obviously the average monthly benefit of 116.50 for one person – $26.88 a week! – is far in excess of the amount of assistance actually needed.

And then there’s the issue of appearance. These so-called ‘poor’ people redeem their food stamps with hair that’s been washed and combed and while wearing clothing like you or me instead of rags. While I’m not an anti-poor person fanatic, I’ve always felt that if you can spend money on shampoo and new underwear, you’re not poor.

Another big consideration is weight. Lots of people claiming to be ‘poor’ are fat. Just look at them! In America, unlike other countries, the poor are heavier than the population at large. Poor children are twice as likely to be obese as children who are not poor. Obviously if someone is overweight they get enough to eat – why would they need our financial help to buy more food?

The legislature is always under pressure to increase subsidies for dental care for the poor. It would be doing them a favor to reduce help in that area as well. If they have no teeth, they can’t chew. If they can’t chew, they’ll eat less and thus be able to lose some of those extra pounds – so we could cut back on food stamps and dental care, saving precious tax dollars paid by hardworking taxpayers who aren’t sitting around on their keisters all day feeding at the public trough.

Finally, any program conditioned on lack of income has a certain amount of moral hazard connected with it. Insofar as anything goes in these programs it discourages work. It also encourages cheating to get into the program. We all know that a lack of morals is the cause of a lack of money.

As structured, these programs encourage bad dietary choices, encourage sloth, and insult the hard working because we all know the poor don’t work hard. It’s time for a change.

The easiest way to help poor people to higher income levels is to encourage them to look for better-paying jobs by cutting off their assistance. They’ll be better off in the long run.

Please let me know what you think on this issue. Contact me here in Madison 1-888-534-0058, or in any of the following ways:

Madison Address: P.O. Box 8952, Madison, WI 53708-8952
Home Number: 262-338-8061
E-Mail: rep.grothman@legis.state.wi.us”

Do you want fries with that?

That defender of free enterprise, that bastion of corporate capitalism, the esteemed  Wall Street Journal, just published an article detailing a longtime challenge facing McDonald’s: getting its workforce to provide service with a smile.

You read it first at the WSJ: breaking news none of the customers had ever suspected. No one who patronizes the restaurant chain could have known the dark truth that the employees might be “rude or unprofessional.”

The riveting exposé blows the lid off what’s happening behind the counter at McDonald’s: “service is broken.”

In a comprehensive industry comparison of customer service at fast-food chains, McDonald’s consistently tanked.

And of course it has nothing to do with keeping workers part-time, paying minimum wage and offering no benefits. People love jobs like that – especially when it means their skin is permanently saturated with the aroma of eau de fries and they get to wear greasy uniforms.

And of course management understands the problem is completely unrelated to lousy pay.

Nope, highly-paid upper management knows everyone is born with the passionate career goal of “Order Taker” under the bright yellow arches at the home of the revered “Big Mac.”

“The fast-food giant, whose restaurant sales in the U.S. began to slip last year, is pushing franchisees to improve staffing and service amid mounting complaints about rude employees.” Corporate HQ was shocked – shocked! – to learn that “customers find service ‘chaotic.’ “

“But achieving speed and friendliness of service across the chain has been a particularly elusive goal, at least in part because about 90% of McDonald’s restaurants in the U.S. are owned by independent operators.”

That’s right, folks, in a stunning tour de force of insightful analysis, the blame lies not with the company, but with the franchisees!

If only the corporation owned all the restaurants! Then lousy service would never be a problem!

McDonald’s declined to make executives available for interviews, and won’t publicly say what it will do to “address complaints,” other than giving top management more big increases in their compensation packages.

When learning that the reason behind the rise in customer complaints could be because customers now have ways to complain, including the email address on food packaging, the CEO immediately demanded who was the meathead who came up with that bright idea.

According to a memo sent to franchisees, the company is doing several things to improve service, such as providing electric shocks for employees who fail to smile and releasing flying monkeys to attack workers who forget to include ketchup packets in orders.

Under a new “dual point” ordering system that is being rolled out nationwide, the customer places an order at one end of the counter. When the order is ready, a “runner” will dash across a bed of hot coals to deliver it, thanking customers and begging them to come again because otherwise workers get an extra beating at the end of their shift.

“Dual point provides personalized one-on-one service. To the customer, we appear friendlier and better organized.”

Mythical Creatures

Tooth Fairy. Bigfoot. Hassle-free rebates.

Proctor and Gamble, that sexist Satan worshipping corporate alter-ego for the devil incarnate, offers rebates. Lots of rebates. They suck you into buying their stuff by offering you stuff in return. Good stuff like money and cookware.

And you believe it. (Cue evil laugh.)

It starts so innocently. And it’s so easy! Just buy an electron microscope, read the fine print on the rebate form, mail the completed form and required proofs of purchase to the P.O. box in Strongsville Ohio and, in a few short weeks, a set of highly desirable and exceedingly valuable cookware will be yours, free!

And you believe it.

Two weeks later, my envelope was returned to me marked “return to sender – no such address.”

I got out the microscope so I could read the contact number on the form. I called. The people at Proctor and Gamble said that was impossible.

After I explained I was Satan’s niece and could sniff out whoever had stamped “return to sender” on the envelope, they said I could fax or email it to them.

I faxed it, within minutes, writing “Attn: Karen” on it with my phone number, as I was directed.

A few days later, I found a message on my answering machine from Theresa telling me that she understood I wanted to submit my rebate via fax so call her back to arrange it.

Which of course I already had done.  And of course the only way Theresa could have my number was if she had received my fax.

I decided, despite possessing Satanic powers, to just scan all the rebate materials and email them.

The next day, I received an email from “Sade” at P&G Promotions, addressed to “Dear Minnesota Wit.”

Yes, you are correct. My name – which is clearly written on everything – is not Minnesota Wit.

Sade promised she had received my “information and will send it over to Special Handling. This process will take 3-5 weeks to get the rebate sent out to you.”

Thirteen weeks later, I started to wonder where it was.

Phone call #1: We have no record of you submitting anything.

Phone call #2: We received your submission, but it was never processed. No, we don’t know why and we have no way of ever learning why someone stuck your submission in a drawer and never processed it. We’ve never heard of “Sade.” Or “Karen.” Or “Theresa.” And we ran out of cookware in December, no sets are available, so we are sending $50 gift cards.

The next day, they sent me this email:

Thank you for participating in the P&G Breast Cancer Awareness Program. Your submission has been received and is currently being processed. Your FREE Pink Cookware set will arrive in 10 – 12 weeks.

The next day, they sent me this email:

Your submission was processed and shipped Fedex smart Post three days ago. You should receive it shortly.

Phone call #3: What does “shortly” mean? Because it’s not happening.

Phone call #4: The last time I called, you said “shortly” actually means 6-10 days but that would mean already here and it’s not.

Phone call #5: The last time I called, you said that 6-10 days actually means 6-10 business days but that would mean here by last Friday and it’s not.

Phone call #6: The last time I called, you said it actually didn’t get shipped until Friday and that it would be here today and it’s not.

Phone call #7: The last time I called, you said it actually shipped on Thursday and that it would be here today and it’s not.

And that’s when they said they were sending me a gift card in addition to the cookware and it should be here tomorrow. Via special delivery by Santa and his team of unicorns.

Another NRA WTF Moment

Gun owner shoots Chihuahua.