Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Spring Cleaning

This is a post inspired by a recent Washington Post series of commentaries called “10 Things to Toss Out”. Among the things that various commentator’s mentioned tossing out were: West Point, NAACP, Tenure, the White House Press Corps, “Muslim World” as a term. See a synopsis of the reasoning below the fold.

Me, I’d throw out the following:
1) Self-serve. Let’s put service back in capitalism and give people honest work to do.
2) Customer loyalty cards and rebates: Give everyone a good deal and they’ll come back. I don’t feel clubby just because I have your loyalty card. I’m not loyal. You either have the best deal in town, or you are the only one in town. I am not interested in saving 2% or getting CVS bucks to spend on your website. And skip rebates. Either give me the sale or don’t. Rebates are a dishonest discount where they company is hoping you will get too busy to put
3) Fox News: Fair and balanced my ass. Nothing more than a propaganda outlet for blowhards.
4) Pharmaceutical advertisements: This is turning what was once considered part of the normal human condition into a disease. If you get heartburn, take Tums or drink vinegar. You don’t need a $50 pill or a 4 hour erection. And if your kid likes to play and move around, she doesn’t have ADD. If your kid has no talent, that doesn’t mean he has a learning disability, maybe he just dumb or you are just too lazy to deal with him.
5) Built In obsolescence. I don’t need to buy a new computer every 2 years, a new stereo every 3 years, or a new TV for every room of my house. And just because you think you have “improved” something doesn’t mean you have.
6) The gun lobby: It’s based on a total misconception of constitutional law, and like most lobby groups, is too ideological and reactionary for its own good.
7) Credit rating agencies. Corrupted thus useless.
8) Wars on anything other than countries: War on Terror, War on Drugs; War on poverty . . . all failures. All never ending. All justifications for very poor pubic policies, and all meant to score political points at the expense of real improvement.
9) Female Genital mutilation and all forms of sexual abuse.
10) Fundraisers for public schools: Public schools are public. Fund them properly. Ensure their quality. Turning our little children into peddlers so they can get a PE teacher is exploitation.

What would the Citizens get rid of? Start your lists!

1:West Point (Thomas Ricks) “After covering the U.S. Military for nearly 2 decades, I’ve concluded that graduates of the Services academies don’t stand out compared to other officers. Yet producing them us more than twice as expensive as taking in graduates of civilian schools.”

2: The NAACP (Jonetta Rose Barras): “The Organization is as anachronistic as colored-only water fountains and white-only bathrooms. It racial focus perpetuates the evils it claims it want to eradicate, and its audiovisual rendering of America as ‘tem vs. Us’ abets the nation’s balkanization . . . it could expand its definition of ‘colored’ to more than just blacks.” Or it could help the black community to address its own self-defeating attitudes.

3.Tenure (Francis Fukuyama:: “The rational for tenure is still valid. But the system has turned the academy into one the most conservative and costly institutions in the country. . . . the system also hamstrings younger untenured professors, making them fearful of taking intellectual risks and causing to write in jargon aimed only at those in their narrow subdiscipline . . .” He goes on to say that there should be some form of mandatory retirement in academia as well as an end to tenure. “Academic freedom can thrive in thiank takes and research institutions.” And he points to the lack of tenure in places like the U.K. and Australia.

4. White House Press Corps (Anna Marie Cox): “too often the White House briefing room is where news goes to die.” She points out that most major stories that have broken as far back as Watergate have come from outside the White House Press Corps. White House Press corp have released the following over the last few months, “Pocket Squares are back! The president is popular in Europe. Vegetable garden! Joe Biden occasionally says things he probably regrets. Puppy!” “Let the beleaguered journalism business prove its worth by providing something you can’t get by watching the White House’s YouTube Channel.”

5: “Muslim World” (Parag Khanna): “Just as there has not been any meaningful ‘Christian World’ since the Holy Roman Empire, there ahs been no unified “Islamic World” since the Middle Ages. . . . By using the term ‘Muslim world’, we only elevate the likes of Mullah Omar or Osama bin laden, whose rhetoric turns archaic Islamist fantasies into self-fulfilling prophecies. Speaking to all Muslims is speaking to none of them.”


The Law Talking Guy said...

1. Fundraising activities that involve sponsoring people to walk or run when I would prefer to give money - or not - rather than ask them to do something so silly (also I endorse USWest's abhorrence of turning our children into peddlers and will never allow it).
2. ATM Fees.
3. California Redemption Value. Come on now - either pay people a dime for a can or stop pretending you're doing anything of value.
4. Low speed limits and overzealous traffic enforcement for non-reckless driving. Make the roads free again and tell small towns to get their funding fairly from their own citizens.
5. "Heirloom" vegetables that are actually new varieties bred for the market.
7. "Have a blessed day."
8. Facetime.
9. American Idol. It's not good music. Simon what's-his-face isn't American.
10. The filibuster as an ordinary tool of the Senate.

Dr. Strangelove said...

[I will try not to copy anyone else's ideas here, although if I were starting my list from scratch, I would definitely have included things like credit rating agencies and stupid fundraising activities.]

1. Separate branches of military service. We should have a unified, joint force instead.
2. People who cheerfully say, "God bless you!" when what they actually mean is, "F--- you."
3. Pennies.
4. Local television "news" programs. They are so unprofessional and exploitative--and provide so little of substance--that they are just painful to watch.
5. Twitter.
6. The distinction between "local" and "long distance" rates. It's not like calling someone in another county really costs more than calling someone next door.
7. Suits and ties. If businesses truly want happy and productive employees, they should let them dress comfortably rather than wrapping them in ridiculous, archaic costumes.
8. Those ubiquitous plastic "clam shell" packages that require gardening shears to open.
9. Policy "Czars." If the bureaucracy is broken, fix it for real--don't just kludge it.
10. Religious schools.

Raised By Republicans said...

As Dr. S. pointed out, I would have picked some of the same things already mentioned so I will try to be original: In no particular order...

1. my trick knee (intelligent design my ass)
2. Swine flu panic/media driven fear mongering in general
3. Lou Dobbs/populist jingoism on 24 hour TV news
4. Non-spiritual Religion (i.e. religion that focusses on social rules and identity)
5. People who want to run colleges or government "like a business"
6. Corporatism passed off as "free market capitalism"
7. racism/identity intolerance
8. Frat boys
9. USC
10. combustible fuels (fossil and bio)

Valar Morghulis said...

That's the world I want to live in, every single one of those ideas executed would make a much better world to live in

Anonymous said...

1. The term "attachment parenting" and the self-righteous drivel that immediately follows thereafter.
2. The philosophical exemption to vaccination under California law.
3. The following traditional female activities - shower games (both baby and wedding), sending cards to relatives and friends for their birthdays, and scrapbooking parties.
3. The wearing of skirt suits without tights or hose. At federal appeals court.
4. The use of the word "multicultural" to describe a preschool potluck. What am I supposed to bring? Jell-O salad? It's hardly the United Nations anyway.
5. The expression "it is what it is."
6. The use of the title "doctor" by talk show hosts who are not medical doctors.
7. The reporting of child abductions without mentioning that the chief suspect is the noncustodial parent, or the relative rarity of stranger abductions.
8. Female characters on television dramas that are really good at their jobs but have failure-filled personal lives.
9. No Child Left Behind.
10. New versions of itunes to upload every time you sync your ipod.

-Seventh Sister

The Law Talking Guy said...

11. "Would you like Internet Explorer to be your default browser."
12. The billable hour.
13. The designated hitter rule.
14. Telemarketing.
15. The use of "guest" for "customer" at retail establishments (e.g., "Next guest in line, please.") Guests don't pay; customers do.
16. Overuse of the word "myself" as in "If you have any problems, come talk to Janey and myself." You mean "and me."
17. The need to confirm all social engagements by email, text, or cellphone the day of the engagement. We didn't do that 20 years ago; we just showed up.
18. The inability to use a turn signal.
19. Use of handicapped parking stickers by people who really aren't disabled.
20. Sequels

Pombat said...

LTG #15 - yes! That irritates the bejeesus out of me. Airlines are doing it now too, and if there's any company who can guarantee to *never* make me feel like a guest, it's airlines!

I'll see if I can think up my own list soon, although I'm going to start with:

1. Motorists who think cyclists shouldn't be on the roads, mostly because "motorists pay for roads" (motorists in Aus have to pay rego, which is mostly insurance charges; roads are paid for by the usual taxes etc that everyone pays), and make this clear by attempting to kill said cyclists (or so it feels).

USwest said...

LTG- # 19, this was high on my boyfriend's list. He thinks the number of handicapped spaces is excessive. "You'd think we were a nation of amputees. And if you don't have limbs or your can't walk you probably should drive." I pointed out that considering the aging boomer class (of which he is a part), I didn't think we'd see a decline anytime soon. I also pointed out that this was a rather mean spirited approach. But, yes, they do hand those stickers out like candy.

I, myself. (;-0) am opposed to spaces designated as compact. Make them all one size. And quit making cars so big they can't fit into that one size. And for the sake of cinnamon, please don't park your gigantic 16 wheeler in the space that says "Compact!" Can't you fricken read?

I'd appreciate it if the state of California would just ban voter machines outright rather than making me set up one machine in my precinct jus to comply with the law. It takes me all morning to set up largely due to the inordinate number of serial numbers and seals they make me record. Then no one uses it. They like paper. It is stupid.

Pombat said...

Ok, few of my own - a lot of things I would have mentioned have already been taken, so this is probably more like nos.130-140...

1. The whole motorist/cyclist thang I mentioned above, I'd also like to add morons who don't use their mirrors and/or don't signal (this includes people who signal *as* they manoeuvre, rather than *before*).
2. Consumerism, of the rampant "stuff will make us happy, buy more, bigger is better" variety.
3. Laziness. Intellectual, physical, whatever - from people who are just too darned lazy to think something through for themselves to those who have to get in the car to travel two blocks (those things you press the pedals with are called feet, you can 'walk' on them).
4. Politicians. Particularly the spineless hypocritical backflipping kind (I'm looking at you KRudd).
5. Anti-sustainability people who justify their position with "global warming is unproven / the world is cooling / climate change is a con / it would cost jobs to be sustainable". Regardless of whether the climate is changing, and whether this is due to humans, we still only have a limited amount of resources. So let's start using them more sensibly - I'd like to have kids, and like for them to have a nice world to grow up in.
6. Real estate agents' use of the words "entertainers'" and "low maintenance" to try and make something sound good, e.g. "entertainers' kitchen" (small galley style kitchen with insufficient storage and a pathetic stove top - not designed for cooking in), "entertainers' deck" (piece of wood between back door and back wall barely big enough for a table), and "low maintenance courtyard" (tiny paved area between back door and back fence, because they've used up the entire block building a single storey McMansion).
7. People who choose loud and irritating mobile ring tones and then leave said phones on their desks. It's a mobile, take it with you! (yes, I'm at work right now).
8. Ditto RbR's intolerance one, I'd also like to ditch words such as homophobia. It's not a phobia. We do not say blackphobia/brownphobia/nonwhitephobia for racism, or womanphobia/manphobia for sexism, we should not let anti-homosexual bigots lay claim to a phobia. It's not a phobia, deal with it.
9. Inadequate media reporting.
10. Oppression & corrupt governments (they seem to go hand in hand so often). Equality for all please.

I'm sure there's many many more, but that'll do for now - I have work I should be doing.

ps Seventh Sister no.3 (the second one ;-p) - seriously?! I can rant as well as the next person about the inherent sexism in the expected female dress code (or at the very least the higher cost in both cash and time terms), but sometimes you just deal with it!

USwest said...

Pombat, if a guy showed up in court without a tie, all hell would break loose!

Pombat said...

True, but turning up without hose is more akin to turning up without socks, given that there isn't really a female equivalent to the tie. I just get irritated by the assumption that all women have to wear make-up to be taken seriously I guess (and if any man ever makes comment to that effect, I'm asking for his foundation recommendation).

USWest said...

True that! But All things are relative. You can show up in court without makeup. I'm gonna guess that you will still be taken seriously. But I haven't been in court to know.

The Law Talking Guy said...

Court fashion: it depends what court you are in. I have suits I wear for state trial court and two nice dark suits I reserve for federal trial court. Federal court requires all the men to be in dark gray or blue suits with white or light blue shirts and plain, somber ties. Normally everyoen is wearing white shirt, blue suit, striped tie. State court is more anything goes.

Appellate courts are more formal than trial courts in this sense, although state appellate courts still allow things like brown suits or checked shirts. And federal appellate courts are the most formal.

Note, these are not written rules. But I showed up in federal court with a light gray suit (small pinstripes) and a blue shirt and felt like a yokel.

Also, the fashion of US courts is very conservative for suits and ties. The outfit of the London and New York trader with its dark (black) suit and bright pink/purple/green stripey tie is a no-no in federal court.

Seventh Sister is dealing with a different set of rules for women in the courts, the intricacies of which are a mystery to me. Men wear a uniform; women are expected not to.