Tag Archives: This So-Called American Life

Judge, Jury & Executioner

We’re a nation of laws, unless you have a CCW permit. Then you get to be cop, judge, jury and executioner:

Man with concealed weapon permit fatally shoots Waffle House robber

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — Authorities say a man attempting to rob a South Carolina Waffle House was fatally shot by a customer who intervened.

North Charleston Police Lt. Angela Johnson told multiple media outlets that shortly before 5 a.m. Saturday the armed suspect tried to rob the Waffle House. Johnson said the customer interrupted the robbery attempt, wounding the suspect.

Officers who arrived on scene found the man injured. Authorities say the 19-year-old suspect later died at a hospital.

Plenty of yahoos are just fine with that. “Hang’em high, that’s what they get for robbing the Waffle House,” they say.

Oh, really?

This is called vigilanteism. And your CCW permit doesn’t give you the right to use deadly force unless there is threat of bodily harm. Waaay too many of these CCW yahoos don’t seem to know that. They must have slept through their CCW class, or else maybe these classes aren’t all they’re advertised to be.

We have the nice lady in suburban Detroit, who fired at shoplifters in the Home Depot parking lot. They got away, but she’s been charged. And then we have the guy in Elkhart, Indiana, who fired at a shoplifter in the parking lot of Big R Farm Supply. That shoplifter also got away.

This is astonishingly stupid. The fact that we’ve had three such incidents in the space of one week should alarm even the “responsible gun owners.” If you don’t know when to use your weapon you shouldn’t have a concealed-carry permit. End of discussion.

I expect we’ll be seeing a whole lot more of this stupidity as more people join the ranks of our Safest, Most Responsible Citizens Evah.


Filed under gun control, Guns

Maybe It’s Time To Try Something New

Hmmm…. Something ain’t adding up.

The number of concealed carry permits in the U.S. has skyrocketed. The United States is the most heavily armed nation in the world. States have liberalized where one can carry in the past few years — in Tennessee, we now have guns-in-cars, guns-in-restaurants, guns-in-bars, guns-in-parks. We’ve also seen guns-in-churches and guns-on-campus movements (Oregon being one of several U.S. states where CCW holders can, and do, legally carry.)

All of this because “I need to protect myself and my family.” Okie dokie, but then how come we’re having more mass shootings? Clearly more guns isn’t working.

Maybe it’s time to try something new?


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

It’s A Wonderful Miserable Life

There’s been a lot of discussion about the New York Times’s expose on the miserable work life at Amazon.com’s corporate HQ. We’ve long known that working at one of Amazon’s warehouses sucks, but it appears their white collar workers are also overworked, driven to exhaustion, and subjected to sadistic “Hunger Games”-style culling exercises, all of which makes working for Amazon HQ a dehumanizing, demeaning experience:

At Amazon, workers are encouraged to tear apart one another’s ideas in meetings, toil long and late (emails arrive past midnight, followed by text messages asking why they were not answered), and held to standards that the company boasts are “unreasonably high.” The internal phone directory instructs colleagues on how to send secret feedback to one another’s bosses. Employees say it is frequently used to sabotage others. (The tool offers sample texts, including this: “I felt concerned about his inflexibility and openly complaining about minor tasks.”)


Even many Amazonians who have worked on Wall Street and at start-ups say the workloads at the new South Lake Union campus can be extreme: marathon conference calls on Easter Sunday and Thanksgiving, criticism from bosses for spotty Internet access on vacation, and hours spent working at home most nights or weekends.

This is the kind of stuff that gives Libertarian types such massive hard-ons. It fulfills all of their narcissistic fantasies about success being the undeniable product of hard work and rugged individualism, that everyone gets where they are by these virtues, no one gets a handout from anyone, certainly not the government, yada yada. Except, of course, that this impossible standard a) isn’t true and b) makes for a miserable life.

“One time I didn’t sleep for four days straight,” said Dina Vaccari, who joined in 2008 to sell Amazon gift cards to other companies and once used her own money, without asking for approval, to pay a freelancer in India to enter data so she could get more done. “These businesses were my babies, and I did whatever I could to make them successful.”

Umm, no, honey. These businesses weren’t your babies. They were Jeff Bezos’ babies, you fool. They were Amazon shareholders’ babies. If they were your babies you’d reap 100% of the reward for all of this effort. Instead you spent your personal money to hire someone in India, fer crissakes, to “get more done.” You, my friend, are a class A sucker.

There are numerous horror stories: an employee with thyroid cancer who got a low performance rating after returning from treatment because,

[…] her manager explained that while she was out, her peers were accomplishing a great deal. Another employee who miscarried twins left for a business trip the day after she had surgery. “I’m sorry, the work is still going to need to get done,” she said her boss told her. “From where you are in life, trying to start a family, I don’t know if this is the right place for you.”

A woman who had breast cancer was told that she was put on a “performance improvement plan” — Amazon code for “you’re in danger of being fired” — because “difficulties” in her “personal life” had interfered with fulfilling her work goals. Their accounts echoed others from workers who had suffered health crises and felt they had also been judged harshly instead of being given time to recover.

Even worse is the modern-day “company store”-coercion Amazon has created to keep what employees do stay on:

Amazon retains new workers in part by requiring them to repay a part of their signing bonus if they leave within a year, and a portion of their hefty relocation fees if they leave within two years. Several fathers said they left or were considering quitting because of pressure from bosses or peers to spend less time with their families. (Many tech companies are racing to top one another’s family leave policies — Netflix just began offering up to a year of paid parental leave. Amazon, though, offers no paid paternity leave.)

This is not an attractive work environment for anyone who is not a masochist, and a stupid masochist, at that. Because while we Americans pride ourselves on our hard work, it’s hard to imagine anyone subjecting themselves to this kind of abuse for someone else’s company. And let’s be clear: nobody is curing cancer here. Or as the Times brutally noted,

For all of the employees who are edged out, many others flee, exhausted or unwilling to further endure the hardships for the cause of delivering swim goggles and rolls of Scotch tape to customers just a little quicker.


I like to compare this with the Danish work culture’s arbejdsglaede (literally, “happiness at work”), as detailed in Helen Russell’s fascinating book, The Year of Living Danishly: Uncovering the Secrets of the World’s Happiest Country. British journalist Russell relocated to rural Denmark when her husband got a job at toymaker Lego, based in Jutland. In Chapter 2, she tells of her surprise when her husband came home from work at 3:30 pm — and earlier on Fridays:

‘Most people with kids had cleared their desks to go and pick them up from school or daycare by 3pm.’
‘Everyone just leaves work really early? No one competes to be the last one at their desk? Or gets takeout to pull an all-nighter?’
He shrugs: ‘Not that I’ve seen.’

In fact, showy displays of an aggressive work ethic are actually frowned upon. Too many late-night or weekend emails and your boss might worry that things aren’t okay at home. Or you’ll be reprimanded for fostering an uncooperative work environment, focusing too much on your own ego and not thinking about the needs of the group. It’s a complete reverse of Amazon’s corporate culture, even if some of the outer trappings look the same (sustainable buildings, healthy cafeteria menu offerings, stand-up desks, etc.) But Danes are a family-oriented people: time spent with children and family is as valued in the Danish culture as time spent at work.

And there it is. The difference is in what you value. If your culture only values material things like profits and high salaries, then Amazon will seem like a great place to emulate. If your culture values things like time spent with family and balancing work with personal life, then Lego is a work culture worth copying.

I used to work in a high-stress corporate job. It wasn’t as cut-throat as Amazon but it was almost as bad. Vacations were seen as a personal weakness. Weekends were for wusses. I remember my boss yelling at me because I couldn’t make it to Clarksville during the February 1994 ice storm because I-24 was closed. I left that job a few months later.

As one gets older they realize that life’s too short for sadistic workplace bullshit. The hypercompetitive self-flagellation places like Amazon demand of their employees might be fine for a recent college grad, but anyone over a certain age has to wonder what’s the point of all these long hours and lack of a personal life. In the service of what — Jeff Bezos’ dream of getting the latest Elsa doll somewhere in 20 minutes? There’s definitely more to life than that.


Filed under corporations

Take Down That Racist Flag, South Carolina


The Confederate flag flying at the Statehouse in Columbia became part of the Charleston church shooting story Thursday after the U.S. and South Carolina flags were lowered in mourning but the rebel banner was left flying at its full height.


Officials said the reason why the flag has not been touched is that its status is outlined, by law, as being under the protected purview of the full S.C. Legislature, which controls if and when it comes down.

Gov. Nikki Haley ordered that the state and American flags be lowered, but the Confederate flag flies at full staff over the state capitol. And that, in a nutshell, tells you everything you need to know about this symbol of racism and white supremacy.

Fuck you, South Carolina.


Filed under racism

NOW Is It Time To Have A Conversation About Gun Control?

Horrible news out of Charleston, S.C.:

CHARLESTON, S.C. — A white gunman opened fire Wednesday night at a historic black church in this city’s downtown, killing nine people before fleeing and setting off an overnight manhunt, the police said.

South Carolina has the most liberal gun laws in the country, thanks to “reform” recently passed by wingnut Gov. Nikki Haley. And this is the result. The Boston Globe’s Michael Cohen sums up the laws thusly:

globe gun

Gov. Haley and South Carolina politicians who endorse the NRA’s agenda have blood on their hands today. Yes, there is a causal relationship between easy access to firearms and gun violence.

The idea that simple gun control measures wouldn’t have prevented this and thousands of other tragedies across the country every year is ludicrous. The idea that there’s absolutely nothing we can do about this bloodbath is insane. The idea that we have to live with this violence in our communities because Freedom and the Constitution is pure bullshit.

Enough. We do not have to put up with this. This is not how a free people live. This is how free people die.


Filed under gun control, gun violence, Guns

What’s Freedom Got To Do With It

This story pretty much sums up what’s behind the ammosexual agenda, IMHO:


Officials said two men stopped in front of the school when the suspect got out of his car and asked the other driver if he “had a problem” while lifting his shirt to show his gun.

I’d say for a good 80% of the carry-everywhere gun loons out there — including this Georgia nutball who paraded around Atlanta’s international airport with a loaded AR-15, then complained about being “harassed” when law enforcement logically wondered what the fuck he was doing — the urge to be armed stems not from any love of the Constitution or Freedom but from a burning desire to just be obeyed for once. It’s Falling Down Syndrome, aka conservative ressentiment , the inability to cope with their cultural irrelevance. It’s losing your shit over America’s slow but enduring shift toward multi-culturism and tolerance while your worldview is stuck in an increasingly remote backwater. But by God you can flash your gun and get that asshole off your bumper, amiright fellas?

Every time one of these incidents happens I’m reminded of the eventual death of cultural conservatism. Because nothing screams “I lost the argument” like having to flash a gun to get your way.


Filed under gun control, Guns

How To Die In America

I am fascinated with this CDC study about “distinctive causes of death” around the country. It’s not the main cause of death, but rather the cause of death that stands out relative to the national average. In Tennessee, the most distinctive cause of death is gun accidents — no shocker there. But I have to wonder about some other states. Hey Utah Nevada, “legal intervention”? Really? Are we talking death by cop and capital punishment here? North Carolina’s is “nutritional deficiencies” and if you think it’s repugnant that anyone would die of malnutrition in modern America, especially a good “Christian” Southern state like North Carolina, then please raise your hand.

cause of death


Filed under weird stuff

Today’s RW Freakout: Obama Is Never, Ever, Ever Going To Leave!


Y’all, Rand Paul is on it!


Oh, Texas. You make me laugh. You make me cry. But mostly, you make me laugh:

For a made-up military mission, Jade Helm 15 is impressively elaborate: The two-month simulation planned for this summer spans much of the Southwest, requiring special forces from four branches of the military to carry out covert operations amid “hostile” territory in Texas, Utah and part of California.

In at least one of those states, hostility toward the operation has begun a few months early. Online and at in-person meetings, many Texans have expressed suspicion and outright opposition to the project. Some are understandably worried about how it’ll affect their daily lives, while conspiracy theorists claim it’s an attempt to institute martial law, possibly in collusion with Wal-Mart.


At an information session in Bastrop on Monday, command spokesman Lt. Col. Mark Lastoria fielded questions about whether Jade Helm 15 will involve bringing foreign fighters from the Islamic State to Texas, whether U.S. troops will confiscate Texans’ guns and whether the Army intends to implement martial law, according to the Austin American-Statesman.

“It’s the same thing that happened in Nazi Germany: You get the people used to the troops on the street, the appearance of uniformed troops and the militarization of the police,” Bastrop resident Bob Wells told the Statesman after the meeting. “They’re gathering intelligence. That’s what they’re doing. And they’re moving logistics in place for martial law. That’s my feeling. Now, I could be wrong. I hope I am wrong. I hope I’m a ‘conspiracy theorist.’”

Is there anything funnier than a bunch of pants-wetting Teanuts, scared that Obummer is never going to leave the White House? Here’s the part I love: it’s all a big fat con-SPEAR-acy and you guys, Wal-mart is in on it!

Multiple Web sites of varying repute also drew a link between the operation and a recent Wal-Mart announcement the chain will be closing five stores, two of them in Texas.

“Are the closed Walmarts being activated as central command for underground operations?” read a headline on IntelliHub, which calls itself the “Civilian Intelligence Agency.”

Two Walmarts in Texas are closing? Well, that just proves it, then! Smoking guns, y’all!

It’s true: when you get to the far reaches of the right wing dial you meet up with the far reaches of the left wing dial. I distinctly remember in 2006 and 2007, far-lefties fearmongered that George W. Bush was going to declare martial law and never leave the White House. I remember some people pointing to the use of Blackwater security forces in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina as “training exercises” for the coming martial law.

There is one huge difference between left wing nutjobs fearmongering about Bush and Teanuts fearmongering about Obama. When the left did it, nobody paid attention. It happened off in some dark corner of the internet where those of us who noticed just laughed; the mainstream of America had no clue it was going on. There weren’t Washington Post and CBS Morning News stories about it. It wasn’t addressed at the daily White House press briefing.

And there certainly wasn’t a response by the governor of one of the country’s largest states. But Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has ordered the Texas National Guard to monitor the exercise. Hilarious.

I find that so interesting. When right-wingers needlessly crap their pants over some ludicrous conspiracy theory, everyone jumps to attention. When left-wingers do the same thing, no one even notices it. I don’t think it’s because right-wing freakouts are more legitimate than left-wing ones, I just think it’s a sign of how the Republican Party in general has been completely co-opted by the crazy train known as the Tea Party. Gov. Abbott is a Teanut, so of course when the Alex Jones set starts donning their tinfoil hats, he’s going to follow suit. And that gets the attention of the national news media.

It’s just another signal that one of our two major political parties in America is completely batshit insane.


Filed under fear porn, Tea Party

Relatable, Now With Electrolytes

Today’s front page of The New York Times has a story on Jeb Bush trying to lose weight, which is fine, I get that the political punditry wants to “humanize” presidential candidates and present a picture of them as “real people.” But this particular a piece of bullshit pissed me off:

The rigid abstemiousness runs the risk of putting him at a dietary distance from an American electorate that still binges on carbohydrates and, after eight years of a tea-sipping president, craves a relatable eater in chief.

What. The. Fuck.

America “craves a relatable eater in chief” who “binges on carbohydrates” like they do? No. I’m going to stop you right there, buckaroo. I don’t know from under which rock reporter Mike Barbaro pulled this piece of conventional wisdom, but let me say: nothing shows how out of touch you are from the rest of America than stupid statements like this. Americans don’t drink tea? Low-carb diets aren’t popular in the U.S.? Have you been to a fucking grocery store lately, buddy? A real one, not one of those little New York City corner delis, I’m talking the goddamn Kroger or Safeway. Do you ever step outside Manhattan for more than two hours?

Can we please stop portraying the American electorate and American politicians in such childish ways?

I am sick of this bullshit that crops up every four years, when the punditry suddenly decides it has its pulse on “real America” and it knows what we “crave” in a presidential candidate, which is to be exactly like their (completely false) image of us. We want to have a beer with them! But not any beer, certainly not one of those gay beers from Yurp, it has to be a manly-man beer! A Budweiser!

Do you people even hear yourselves? Do you hear how insulting that is to us, we Real Americans in the “flyover states,” not to mention how insulting it is to the candidates? Fucking-a.

Memo to the New York Times, writer Michael Barbaro, and the rest of you idiots in the political media: you have no fucking clue what America craves, so stop with the idiotic “real America” framing. You’re making fools of yourselves.

We do not have the luxury of playing that stupid media game this time around. We simply do not have the luxury of pretending to give a crap that the presidential candidate put Dijon mustard on his hot dog instead of a Real Murcan Mustard like French’s (irony alert). We do not have the luxury of debating whether Hillary Clinton should have gone to Taco Bell instead of Chipotle. And I am not going to pretend that because I live in Nashville, Tennessee my diet consists solely of deep fried fat balls and a side of sweet tea. It does not.

I am not going to pretend that I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s on a Paleo Diet instead of binging on microwavable Mac’N’Cheezybits like Real Murcans. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he’s a conservative hawk who has embraced the architects of his brother’s Iraq War fiasco. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because while he claims to favor small government, in actuality he inserted himself into the Schiavo family’s darkest hour. I can’t relate to Jeb Bush because he would return us to the same pro-corporate, pro-wealthy policies that sank the economy when his brother was in the White House.

What he eats for dinner isn’t even on my damn radar, you fools. Stop treating the electorate like idiots.


Filed under 2016 Presidential Election, media, rants

War On Terror Electric Boogaloo

Hey kids, let’s shoot a machine gun with the Navy Seal who killed Bin Laden! All it takes is a cool 50 grand:

Key contributors to a conservative group have received a special invitation: For $50,000, they can shoot guns and hang out this June with Robert O’Neill, the former Navy SEAL credited with killing al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.

The offer was recently made by the ForAmerica organization. Those invited have until May 10 to RSVP for an event at the Amangani Resort Hotel in Jackson Hole, Wyo. The facility offers picturesque views of the Snake River, and is on the southern tip of Grand Teton National Park. A room there can cost more than $1,000 per night.


The ForAmerica group is run by America, Inc., of Reston, Va. It was founded in 2009 by Brent Bozell, a conservative commentator who also started the Media Research Center, which provides a conservative critique of the media. It received nearly $4.9 million in contributions in 2012, and $2.5 million in 2013, according to tax documents.

I am so sick of this jingoistic, pro-war, amygdala-tweaking, “wrapped in the flag and carrying a cross” bullshit fascism-disguised-as-patriotism we’ve come to expect from conservatives.

But hey, maybe I’m just being melodramatic, right? Silly woman. But nothing speaks — no screams — a morally bankrupt culture louder than this. Nothing screams that institutional conservatism is made up of a bunch of sick fucks louder than this.

War is not entertainment. Assassinating Osama bin Laden may have been necessary (I say may — because we never did have a national conversation about that, did we?) but for God’s sake, don’t turn it into a fucking fundraiser! Don’t cheapen this entire chapter of American history by monetizing it, for fuck’s sake.

What the hell is wrong with these people?


Filed under advertising, Afghanistan War, gun violence, rants