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Posts Tagged ‘Head Shaking’

In Which I Am Old Enough To Smoke And Corporations Trump Government

May 18th, 2012 No comments

Me: I’d like a pack of Marlboros, please
Cashier: Sure. Do you have any ID?
Me: I have plenty of ID.
Cashier: May I see it?
Me: No.

I will turn 50 soon and though I’ve been told I look younger (“43 at most”), I most certainly don’t look like I’m 18. Or even 28. In Massachusetts, the law says ID must be provided if the consumer appears to be under 27.  But, apparently, corporate rules trump government law so I keep getting carded at CVS.

Big deal, you’re thinking. Just show them your ID and continue sauntering towards your slow , self-inflicted death. This is a big deal, though, on a couple of levels. It’s about common sense, free will and, yes, training people how to subsume both in the service of a corporation. It’s the last part that concerns me.

I do my best to stay away from CVS in general, keeping my purchases to toothpaste and my medication which obviously needs adjusting. When I do buy smokes from there, it’s usually late and every place else is closed. Out of boredom, tiredness or disdain, the cashier pops in some made up date of birth (most likely making me passive-aggressively older than I am), I pay them and, transaction complete, we leave each other alone. This is how it should work.

The daytime is a different matter. During the day, there’s  managers that wants to climb the corporate ladder and so will do everything according to the laws of CVS rather than the state. CVS, I’ve been told, has a card-everyone policy. It doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 80. If you buy cigarettes, you’re suspect. You are too stupid to know if the elderly woman in the Hoveround with the oxygen mask buying Eve 12os truly fits the age criterion. Seriously. I had a CVS manager tell me that. “Yes, she would be carded.”

The problem with this is that it’s stupid and detrimental to society since CVS’s policy, while arguably egalitarian, serves to separate the community rather than encourage interaction and mindfulness. The cashier is trained, in the best corporate tradition, not to think but to become part of an assemblage of if-then statements. That woman in the wheelchair doesn’t need to be remembered. Once she present ID, the cashier can clear cache and go onto the next transaction. Cashiers are encouraged to be goldfish, reacting to every customer as a brand new customer.That concerns me.

What concerns me more can be illustrated by the following interaction:

Me: I’d like a pack of Marlboro, please
Cashier: Sure. Do you have any ID?
Me: I have plenty of ID.
Cashier: May I see it?
Me: No.
Cashier: I need to see ID to sell you cigarettes.
Me: Ok. I will prove that I’m old enough to buy cigarettes after you prove to me you’re old enough and legally allowed to work here.
Cashier: Um…
Me: Seriously. I don’t know how old you are and if you’re a citizen of the US or have a green card. If we’re going to follow rules, let’s follow rules.
Cashier: I don’t have to prove that, sir.
Me: Neither do I. Massachusetts state law says card under 27. I am obviously over 27.
Cashier: Our corporate policy states….
Me: Corporate policy? Are you actually claiming that my right to buy cigarettes is based on your corporate policy as opposed to the laws of the state we’re in? Really?
Cashier: Um…err….(Picking up the phone) Manager to the front!

Perhaps I’m treading a like between valid concern and paranoia but to allow corporate laws to trump government laws makes me squinchy. When a company regulates the behavior of a citizen bad things happen. You can argue that no one should smoke and these checks act as a deterrent. There’s a shame factor. While I support not smoking in the workplace, is it right and proper to penalize someone for a legal action, such as smoking, by pushing them outside into a snow storm and not provide shelter? I’ve had private security guards tell me that I couldn’t smoke on the street in front of their building because of corporate policy.

That’s kind of scary whether you smoke or not.

 

In Which The Key To Credibility Is The Prefix “Ex”

April 4th, 2011 1 comment

Yesterday, I watched a clip of Louie “I Used To Be A Judge” Gohmert embarrassing himself by yelling at Anderson Cooper about Terror Babies. (HT to Beverly Russell)

What are Terror Babies? Generally, the term refers to other people’s children but in this case it refers to the babies of Muslim Extremists who travel to the US for the express purpose of giving birth in the US so that the child gets a US passport. After that, and I’m totally making a guess here since Gohmert doesn’t seem to know either, the proud, evil parents strap a bomb onto the new born and blow up a New Horizons day care center.

How does Gohmert know this? Because an ex-FBI agent told him. Which ex-FBI agent? Apparently, that’s none of our goddamn business. Does the FBI actually believe this? According to a statement given to CNN, no.  But it’s true because an ex-FBI agent to him.  Did Gohmert actually talk to the FBI about it? What’s the point? “On 9/10, the FBI would have said the same thing about an attack on America.” Which is true because the FBI deals mostly with domestic stuff. It’s the CIA that released the “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US” info that bush ignored.

Speaking of the CIA – Now another ex, this time an ex-CIA agent, the vaguely foreign sounding Kent Clizbe, has written a hard-hitting article for NewsMax with the damning title of Ex-CIA Operative: Obama Never Properly Vetted. And when I say “article” I mean “poorly written and reasoned piece of shit”. BUT. He’s an ex-CIA agent so it’s gotta be true.

This power of this kind of PWARPOS rests in the presumption that the reader a) believes the premise and b) won’t actually read the PWARPOS since if they did they’d dismiss it immediately. The outline goes like this

  1. Trust me, I’m an ex-CIA guy and I can sneak up on ninjas.
  2. I have vetted people in the past. EXECUTIVE people. In the private sector.
  3. I vetted a tea party candidate and found out he was a scumbag. Hm. Maybe I shouldn’t have said that.
  4. A lying, thieving scumbag in the private sector isn’t the same thing as having a president who’s a lying, thieving scumbag like we have now.
  5. The media went NUTS vetting everything about John McCain.
  6. Obama was not vetted properly because he got elected.
  7. We need a professional vetter to make sure Obama never gets elected again.
  8. Commies are evil.

The slight of hand happens in these two back to back paragraphs:

In the 2008 presidential election, candidates were vetted by the press in varying degrees. The media examined, analyzed, and publicly evaluated them. They explored in detail John McCain’s personal wealth, marriage, place of birth, mental stability, and other important issues. McCain cooperated, provided documents, and answered questions.

On the other hand, Barack Obama’s background remains nearly a blank slate. His school records, from kindergarten to law school, remain hidden. The story of his financial support is hidden — his private elementary and high school in Hawaii, his international travel, his graduate and undergraduate tuition and living expenses, and more. And these are just the beginning of the Barack Obama vetting failure.

Who vetted McCain? The media. Who vetted Obama? I’m not going to tell you that but they didn’t do a very good job. What criteria did the media use to vet McCain? Everything. What criteria did this non-existent vetting organization use to vet Obama? A completely different set of criteria. Did McCain cooperate? Yes. Did Obama cooperate? Obviously not because the lying thieving scumbag get elected.

How does someone who wrote an autobiography qualify as a blank slate? How, when you use the information he provided in the autobiography against him, does he qualify as a blank slate? And who the hell would want to read an autobiography that included a chapter “My Kindergarten Records” or “Filling Out My Financial Aid Forms For Harvard”?

The most disturbing aspect of attempts to vet the mystery candidate was the Obama camp’s vigorous response. Their stereotypical response is nearly as damning as any information that could be revealed: Admitting nothing, denying everything, and making counteraccusations, the vetting of candidate Obama continues.

Good point. bush still hasn’t properly addressed his military service or the issues of his drug use. Obama did. In writing.

In the end, Clizbe believes we need a professional vetter. Who is this person? Do we create another layer of federal bureaucracy, increasing the size of government and bilking the tax payer out of his paycheck? Or do we subcontract the job out to some non-partisan company like Blackwater/Xi.

Oh! I get it. We should hire Kent Clizbe!

In Which Citizens United Agreed With Everything I Said

May 22nd, 2010 2 comments

So I just got a call from Citizens United asking me to listen to a message from Dick “Dick” Morris and then respond to a  “critically important” 1 question survey. Why not?

“Dick” came on the line and pimped the book he’s writing about how to take back America. Blah, blah, blah socialist…blah blah blah disarm the military…blah blah blah…WHUH?? Death panels? Did he really just say death panels? Why, yes. Yes, he did say death panels. That’s sooo 2009.

I knew I was going to wait for the survey, but the question was: How to respond? Should I talk to the little wingnut fucktard rationally? Should I say “fuck you” and hang up? Or…

[Rough transcript]

Sheila: Hi, Mr. Day? Did you hear the message all right?

Me: Yup.

Sheila: That’s great. So we have just one question to ask you. Do you agree with Barack Obama when it comes to socializing medicine, disarming the troops and promoting socialism in America?

Me: All in one question?

Sheila: [laughs uncomfortably] Would you like to take them one at a time?

Me: Yeah.

Sheila: Ok. What about socializing medicine?

Me: I think those death panels are disgusting.

Sheila: They are.

Me: I’ve heard from people that they can send someone over to my grandma’s house in the middle of the night, yank her out of bed by the hair, throw her in a van and then shoot her.

Sheila: They can.

Me: How can anyone DO that? I mean…how can you be the kind of person who -

Sheila: Well, his little….his…um…his…ya know…um…”small circle of friends” up there in Washington -

Me: Do you think they’ll shoot her themselves??

Sheila: Noooo…I doubt it. They’ll probably hire hitmen but they won’t call them that. They’ll cal them something nicer.

Me: That’s right!

Sheila: Uh huh.

Me: Can I ask you a question?

Sheila: Sure!

Me: Do you think they’ll have sex with the dead corpse of my grandma?

Sheila: I really don’t know

Me: I bet they will.

Sheila: Uh huh. What about disarming the military?

Me: I’ve heard that the whole reason they’re using GPS for the census is because when Obama lets the UN forces invade America that won’t be able to speak English so they’ll need to use GPS co-ordinates in order to find the house of Christians in order to kill them.

Sheila: Uh huh. I don’t doubt it. What about the troops?

Me: What’s Obama done for the troops, anyway? NOTHING.

Sheila: That’s right. All he’s done is ship more of them out!

Me: That’s right! And with what? NOTHING! He’s shipping out unarmed soldiers and putting them into harm’s way without any way to defend themselves.

Sheila: Uh huh.

Me: He’s disgusting! How are we supposed to win the war on terror if he’s sending MORE troops over to Iraq and Afghanistan? THAT DOESN’T MAKE SENSE.

Sheila: (starting to catch on) Um….

Me: And how will they fight the Taliban when they’re unarmed? Huh? How?

Sheila: Uh….Yeah. I’d like to thank you for your feedback and

Me: Go fuck yourself, asshole.

In Which Bryan Fischer Illustrates Everything That Is Wrong With Xtians

February 4th, 2010 No comments

Let’s say that I believe so strongly that jaywalking presents such an imminent threat to society that draconian enforcement policies must be put in place or America will be destroyed. I come to the table and present my evidence showing that jaywalking increases the number of pedestrians hit by cars, which increases the number of broken bones, which increase ER visits, which increases the number of people who get addicted to oxycontin, which increases crime, which increases…well, you get the idea. I present my case passionately. I show myself to be a true believer and I will not back down until I single-handedly save America…with, of course the help of the lobbies for the companies that paint crosswalk lines.

Many boring hours later, I wrap up the presentation and open the floor for questions. A gentlemen stands up and asks, “what do you think should be done to jaywalkers?”

“Whatever you think is best,” I answer.

“No. I’m asking what YOU would do,” he responds.

“I’m saying that I’m comfortable with the penalty that you would impose,” I say politley.

“So, you don’t have an answer to the question,” he frowns.

“I’ve GIVEN you and answer to the question,” I tartly reply.

“No, you haven’t at all.  Let me ask again: what do you think should be done to jaywalkers?”

“And I told you, simply and directly, that I would do whatever you thought was best. Are you pro-jaywalking? Do you think people should be allowed to cross the street wherever they want when the overwhelming evidence shows that it could lead to the destruction of America?”

“Look,” he sputters, “I…”

“YOU’RE the one not answering the question! What do YOU think should be done?! When you can tell me what YOU think would be done with jaywalkers then you will know MY answer, but instead, you stand there refusing to talk civilly about this issue instead, preferring to berate ME and…”

This goes on for twenty minutes until the man finally walks away. And I declared victory.

This is exactly what happened on the Alan Colmes show when American Family Association fucktard, Bryan Fischer, came on to ostensibly defend his statement that

It might be worth noting that what I actually suggested is that we impose the same sanctions on those who engage in homosexual behavior as we do on those who engage in intravenous drug abuse, since both pose the same kind of risk of contracting HIV/AIDS. I’d be curious to know what you think should be done with IV drug abusers, because whatever it is, I think the same response should be made to those who engage in homosexual behavior.

(NOTE: Right Wing Watch has the audio with this segment)

I must insist that you listen to the whole thing. Everything you need to know about how completely fucked up xtians are gets wrapped up in one tidy package. Fischer lies and then refuses to listen to the refutation of those lies. Fischer, as Colmes points out to him, makes grand statements and then lacks the courage of his conviction to back those statements up. He plays circular logic games like the one above and, of course, talks over Colmes while Colmes tries to get through to him that they are coming up on break…which is even funnier because Fischer chides Colmes for doing that exact same thing at the top of the segment…and THEN demands respect “as a guest on your show.”

If you’re a student of the rhetorical tricks and semantic games that wingnuts (and sometimes liberals) use to avoid having to back up what they, this piece of audio is really all you’ll ever need to listen to. I despise the word “primer”, but that’s what it is.

In any other context, this might be the funniest Bob and Ray sketch ever written. Sadly, though, Fischer, though playing games, is deadly serious.