Thursday, February 13, 2014

lobbying, yeah man

If you remember from a few weeks back, I mentioned me heading down to the state capitol for some legislative action.

Well, as promised, here is that wrap-up.

It all started when the CEO of my company asked me to attend the Rally in the Valley, put on by three (3) neighboring chambers of commerce here in northwestern Wisconsin. Not being able to attend, she requested my presence in her stead.

I thought it would be more informational, listening to legislators talk about issues, with us having the opportunity to pose questions. Really the only time that scenario played out was when the Governor spoke to us at lunch. And that was sans the cr00sh question and answer sesh. Note that the lunch food was absolutely horrible.

But the rest of the day - the almost three hour bus ride down, the introduction, the legislator meetings, the breakout sessions, and the reception were all mostly great.

Let's take it from the top.

Got there at about ten, met with the two other members of my group, and got debriefed on the issues we would be covering at each of the five preset appointments with state politicians. All agreed that dividing up the issues so that each of us would be covering the same thing for each meeting would be a good idea. And this is when we realized it was going to be straight up lobbying.

Anyway, the issue left for me was fracking, obviously a hot button issue. My position was supposed to be, and is, when done carefully and right, it's a boon for the area. My experience with area companies of this ilk has been overwhelmingly positive. Whether that is due to necessity or high character doesn't really matter.

Both legislators that were actually there (Jerry Petrowski and Thomas Larson) were receptive and engaged, as were the aids/staff of the other three. A lot of questions on all of the issues, ranging from education/lowering the skills gap, keep the environment clean(er), and regulation reform.

It was cool to meet my group - one is the CEO of a neighboring city chamber of commerce,  and the other is a dean at the local technical college. Both very nice, very bright people. While they may have been put off by my unfancy title, they didn't show it.

After the meetings was a breakout session, hosted by a WI economic council of sorts. Basically they just introduced the new employees and had each explain their roles. Total snoozer. One of them was smiling at me the whole time, and when she introduced herself, instead of chatting, I advised her to stop by the reception cause I needed to run and get a crink. She was kinda good looking, but what pleased me most is a fellow Wisconsinite appreciating a well-dressed dude with a great haircut. It doesn't happen that much around here.

The reception was great, and very surprisingly so was the food. What a great spread though. Free beers may have made things taste better. Met a couple cool dudes, talked to a few lawmakers, kind of funny to hear them drop the occasional f-bomb.

By 7pm we were loading up the bus, and somebody popped in 42, the movie about Jackie Robinson. Not a lot offends me, but in the context of the movie, the n-bomb droppage was disgusting. Dude just wants to play baseball.

Got home by 10:30, had some whiskey and called it a night.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


In drinking my morning coffee and truly enjoying it, savoring every sip, I had a fleeting thought of drinking coffee exclusively, forgoing whiskey, and becoming a straightedge warrior. Hell, I even tweeted Cameron's Coffee about it.

But then I remembered that caffeine is a drug too. And ain't no way in hell Ima drink that decaf.

Whatever, in that fleeting moment, I had the good sense to CRANK ON some Path of Resistance jams. I even facebooked about it. Then I thought it better to make it official: HUMP DAY PUMP UP.

Just remember, I can't blame you for your utter weakness, but you can't blame me FOR MY DISGUST.


Snow is falling today. Gonna have to shovel when I get home. Nature is an unstoppable force, and like nature, YOU CAN'T STOP THE TRUTH.

Are you in the market for a new anthem? Of the straightedge variety? Well look no further, because your friends at HYM International care about your militant vegan straightedge well-being. As such, we have the following song to get you PUMPED and through the foggy haze of drugs.

And oh my, what a nice little treat, a generic hardcore band covers THE ABOVE STRAIGHTEDGE ANTHEM!

Even though I didn't need a PUMP today, one just happened to appear right when I least expected it. That's the sensation I'm hoping to share with you today, friends.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

oh slate, you funny

In Slate's never ending quest to blame reality on the absurd, a recent piece puts the onus for Atlanta's total shutdown not on the weather, but on racism. Yep, those mean cracker-jack assholes hated blacks so hard that Atlanta got iced da fugg up.

Note that this is a real article, not satire, written in 2014, in a mainstream (though awful) "news" site.

Obviously Atlanta is in the south, where it's hot, where they don't generally deal with blizzards and ice storms. They don't have the resources to deal with such infrequent occurrences, so when they do happen, it is a huge pain in the ass. Totally understandable. Not ideal, but makes sense.

What you may not know though, is that the underlying, insidious reason they don't have those resources is because racism.

Following are a couple quotes from the article, completely undoctored, but obviously taken out of context, but, uh, still.

First sentence of the "piece", they say:

This week’s weather fiasco in Atlanta, which stranded thousands of commuters on glassy-slick roads and gridlocked the entire metro region for the better part of 24 hours, was caused by a freak snowstorm, they say.

On the push for Atlanta to raise taxes to build mass transit in Atlanta being based on racism rather than uh, higher taxes:

Plain and simple, it was white folks’ fear of black folks that explained the failure of a sales-tax hike to fund rapid rail in three of the then five counties making up the metro Atlanta area.

On the reason for racial income inequality, and more importantly, possible solutions:


On the reason for huge suburban sprawl and why it's bad:


What did we learn here? 

All I'm getting from this article is that if I had more blacks in my neighborhood, the weather would be better. Okay, okay, and Atlanta is unique in that the city is split up between a bunch of different counties, and yeah, that makes getting things done, city-wide, difficult. 

Sad truth is that when a neighborhood is predominately black, it's probably going to be crime-ridden and poor. Oddly, those are two qualities not on my neighborhood desirability checklist. Because I don't want to live in a poor, crime-ridden part of town, does that make me racist? Depends who you ask, but if you ask a reasonable person, aside from a dismissive chuckle, you'd probably get a no. 

Does it make me mad? Not really. 

But what does make me angry is the blame placed on the general idea of white people. Ok, and the two most popular proposed solutions - blaming white people and more handouts - that does piss me off.

Instead of giving these poor people enough handouts to live right at the poverty level, with no accountability, what about giving handouts that contribute to their betterment? And I'm a Libertarian, I hate the idea of giving people free shit, but it seems as Americans, we demand it. If handouts can actually contribute to a better environment, chances are very high that things would be better. Look at Richard Sherman, some might think he is the exception, rather than the rule, rising to success from literally shit.

But I would say it's the opposite; he's the rule. Coming from Compton, he was driven, had great parents that wanted their son to succeed, and the dude wound up doing well for himself. As far as success, he's a stud NFLer, so that may be the exception.

Anyway, whether receptive or not, these people need a hand; we need to say we tried. But like full-on tried, not like half-assed tried. 

Start with education - how to not have kids at 13, how to not get addicted to drugs, how to be a better and active parent, how to apply yourself in school, help with middle and high school, help with picking a career, help with interviewing, help with the first two years of college*, if qualified, help with a bachelors degree, help with getting healthy food on the table, help with being healthy, etc.

Yep, I'm talking about full on robbery - redistribution of wealth. If the money is going to be taken from me anyway, it would be much better spent helping people here instead of funding wars.

Oh, and then we have this asshole clamoring for a dictatorship in Atlanta.

*Across the country, skilled labor - taught at technical colleges - is in much demand. The focus on everybody needing a bachelors degree is insane for many reasons, and another conversation for another time. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

lost in translation

“The particular problem between French and English derives from the meager quantity of insults in French and the abundance of them in English,”

Take that at face value, eh.

Shout out to tywkiwdbi for the heads up on this, who shouted out Harper's for the original article.

Hennyway, translation in question stems from an exchange between French President Nicolas Sarkozy and a French dude. When Sarkozy reached out to shake the man's hand, the man replied, “Casse-toi alors, pauvre con! ”

After some debate and a bunch of boring text about how that translates into English, "Fuck off (or get lost) asshole/dumbass" was kinda decided on.

What I found interesting was, as a typical American-centric asshole, the different subtleties of a phrase, sentence, word that go into translating from one language to another. Something as seemingly simple and black and white as "I crapped on your face" may mean something totally different across the globe. And in Japan, I'm sure it can have hundreds of varied sexualized meanings, and that comes mainly from my experiences streaming porn.

We've probably all taken foreign language classes and it seems we get caught up in learning the foreign equivalent of an exact word or sentiment. I know I have. Yeah, there's usually a direct equivalent for most nouns, and many verbs, but often times we fail to think about the context. A different language is essentially a diff'rent way of thinking.

Anyway, the hyperlinked articles above present those intricacies in an interesting way.

The takeaway here is that America didn't invent thinking, English, language, or communication, but I'm cool with giving us credit for inventing cats.

Monday, February 3, 2014

richard sherman and the super bowl

The Super Bowl happened, and aside from a few funny commercials - the Full House, Puppy Love, and Seinfeld ones all come to mind, it was kind of a snoozer. The game got out of hand pretty quickly, and especially now that it's done, it's obvious that the first snap was the only play you needed to see. Admitedly though, I was cheering for Peyton Manning. And when that quickly became an exercise in futility, I began cheering for myself - in the ping pong tournament that then consumed the Super Bowl party.

Congratulations to the Seahawks though (like they would be anything less than indifferent to my feelings on the game). And holy shit, Bruno Mars killed it.

But on the radio the other day, I heard something kind of funny. During a Super Bowl show of sorts, essentially the host said something along the lines of "we live in a crazy society where people are still talking about Richard Sherman but we seem to have forgotten about Riley Cooper". If it matters to you, radio show host guy, I'm gonna talk about both of them. Right meow.

Couple things: Riley Cooper happened over the summer, and there was a huge hullaballo that went along with him. Widespread condemnation, many interviews with his teammates, friends, family - it was a circus. We aren't talking about it anymore because it was like six months ago, and certainly more interesting things have happened since some relatively unknown hothead wide receiver dropped a drunken n-bomb.

Richard Sherman happened like two weeks ago. And other than now being mentioned in passing or via memes, along with the celebration of HIS TEAM WINNING THE SUPER BOWL, really the coverage of his interview meltdown consisted of:

1) Alarmist pontification about what is wrong with America because a bunch of idiots on twitter are tweeting really stupid things.

2) People coming to Mr. Sherman's defense.

Also, there's the fact that Richard Sherman actually is a great story worth talking about a little. He lived in a shitty part of town, had good parents, crushed high school, killed it at Stanford, and is now one of the best players in the league. Most would agree that his is a great story.

Dude made an awesome game-winning play, got super PUMPED, yelled at a pretty little NFL reporter, and that was that. To be fair, Crabtree does seem to be a little bitch. Who cares that you'd never see Tom Brady or Peyton Manning do anything like that. Sherman isn't getting paid to be a team leader, he's getting paid to be an awesome cornerback on a brutal defense with tons of attitude.

On the flip side, Riley Cooper is pretty athletic, had a solid college career, initially disappointed in the pros, dropped the infamous n-bomb, and now just had a better than average season in 2013. Yeah, I don't really care to hear too much about him anymore either. Except when he's a priority pickup in fantasy.

In summary, Sherman's is an interesting, hope-filled success story lightly marred by an outburst; Cooper's is one of medicrity to kinda above-averageness with a stain of idiocy.

This Martin-Incognito stuff is way more interesting. Now that the Super Bowl is finally done, I don't think we'll have long to wait for this to get really good. Though, credit to Martin for apparently being just as much of a piece of shit/awesome as Incognito, evidenced by the latter's lawyer leaking some text messages last week. Good stuff.