Friday, November 22, 2013

The Kobayashi Maru

The Kobayashi Maru
By Emma X

Emma X
The Ship of State is being reprogrammed
one legislature at a time, because ultra-

Conservatives are in denial about 
ideological death.

I didn't intend to mention Rob Ford in a blog again.  Once was necessary, as he was the large coked-out elephant in the room, so to speak.  But the situation with Mayor Ford, who with brother Doug continues headlining his "Five Star O Canada Grandiose Denial Variety Review", has caused reasonable questions to be asked.  “Why not just remove the bum from office?” for example.  The answer is, under current Toronto law there is no mechanism to do so.  Common sense says that one should exist.  Canadians are struggling with that problem as we speak.

Ford Nation, The Ford brothers' news and
information show, was cancelled after one
episode.  Sadly, viewers may never know who
won the Shrek look-alike contest.  While Mayor
Rob Ford remains firmly in denial, amused
American observers may not realize it could
happen here.  The American version of Ford
Nation may be playing in a political venue
near you very soon.
Cut to the great State of Wisconsin, where Conservatives in the State Assembly last week very quietly passed a proposed Constitutional amendment that would limit the recall power of constituents.  Currently, Wisconsin’s constitution allows for the recall of any elected official for any reason that the voters see fit, including no confidence.  The proposed amendment would limit the recall right to only cases where an elected official is convicted of a felony or an ethics violation.  Republicans deemed this move necessary after Governor Scott Walker came narrowly close to recall last year as a result of his changes to collective bargaining rights, a successful union busting push.  Voters felt betrayed by Walker, who was elected on a ‘jobs and job creation’ platform.  They initiated an unsuccessful recall move against Walker and several State Senators.

The same Cheesehead politicians
who censured a fellow legislator for using the word
 'vagina' are now pushing to protect unpopular Conservative
policies and politicians by limiting voter recall rights.
 Cheese + Football + Beer + An Inattentive  Electorate
could equal a permanent Republican foothold in control of
Wisconsin State politics.  The same statute would
limit recalls for county and municipal officials and school
board members also.  The proposed Constitutional change
will come up for a vote in 2014.

As you might imagine, the proposed Wisconsin constitutional amendment was passed on party lines.  All Republicans voted for it, and all Democrats voted against it.  Once again party politics threaten the legal power of voters to keep elected officials from running rampant through the ideological mine fields of political territorialism.  And as we have seen before, what is successful in one Conservative State is often repeated in others.

Hail, Columbia!
Florida Congressman Trey Radel admitted to buying
and using cocaine this week.  His long term drug use
was helped along by taxpayer subsidized trips to
Columbia.  The Tea Party Representative admits to
a problem and says he is getting help.  But he did not
resign, nor did his Party ask him to.  A Conservative
vote with a monkey on its back is still a Conservative

So we should not be too critical or even amused by the plight of our Canadian brothers and the Bacchanalian carny show they are trying to deal with up North.  It may turn out to be a Grace of God situation.  Not only have we reached a point where scandalized Western politicians are not willing to consider stepping down from office for any reason,  rational voter recourse may soon be a moot point as well.

Boldly going where no man has
gone before.  
Wisconsin State Legislators
are pleased with their efforts to entrench
Conservative rule for the long term.  Ultimately
it will come down to the voters, as Republicans
are the majority in both State Houses.  That's
why they continue to focus on Gerrymandering

Republicans are abandoning the 'Southern Strategy' in pursuit of the 'Kobayashi Maru', which is to say, if you can't win the game, change the rules.  Forget that the rules are there to protect constituents against the possibility of an American Rob Ford, or worse.  In this war the most important thing is to take and hold strategic ground, and make no mistake, it is a war. One in which voter rights are acceptable collateral damage. So we can expect more politicians like Rob Ford or Trey Radel, because things like character and purpose are not even worth lip service when facing full-out ideological battle.  But having a partisan ass rooted in a powerful chair that will always vote the Party agenda, now that's government by the people!

Integrity was always overrated anyway.  And what's a little aberrant recreational behavior among well meaning friends? Go Badgers.

The voter nuclear option.  This week Senate Democrats voted to allow the 'nuclear option' in clearing Republican filibusters.  In so doing they violated their own ethical concerns about precedent.  After the government shutdown Americans thought politicians had learned their lesson, but in fact they are opening their arsenals and expanding their offensive.  The only option their constituents have is to nuke them at the polls in 2014 and 2016 in hopes of curtailing a longer ideological war.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Men Behaving Badly, Sports Edition

Men Behaving Badly, Sports Edition
By Emma X

Emma X
Men need a stronghold to protect against
the feminization of Western culture.  Of
course, I don't object to the pussification
of anything.
I have to admit, men and women think differently.  And I am no great football fan.  So take that into account when I tell you, I don’t get the NFL locker room culture thing.  It seems to me that if behavior is wrong outside the arena, it must be wrong within.  But again, what do I know?  Men seem to need a place to behave badly, and one of the last great bastions of the free expression of unfettered testosterone seems to be the sports locker room.

Not all cultures produce good things,
but current and former members of the NFL are lining
up to tell us that what's going on in locker rooms is
traditional and harmless.  Simply put, that means that
it was done to them, and they in turn did it to someone
else.  That is how cultures are perpetuated and personal
image is protected.

Still, if somebody chooses to call you a half-n*gger on tape, that is either the greatest expression of cross-racial affection, or one of the crassest examples of team building correspondence in sports history.  In our current culture it’s hard to tell, and that is the basic problem.  We have too many sub-cultures within our melting pot society.  Rules of social behavior are badly integrated and too complicated for common understanding.

The Red Power Ranger
in the Room.
At 6'3", 320 lbs. Dolphins left guard
Ritchie Incognito is a beast on the field.
In all the interviews and cable news
chatter about this event, NOBODY has
even mentioned the possibility of

steroid use as a factor in his socially un-
acceptable behavior.  Everyone involved
agrees that that part of sports culture
can never be discussed publicly.
Miami Dolphins left tackle Jonathan Martin has been soundly criticized for taking offense to what is understood to be traditional NFL hazing because he doesn’t understand the culture.  All he endured was designed to make him a better player, to allow him to get tough emotionally while he trains his body to get tough physically.  His inability to cope makes him weak.  Making his discomfort public brands him a rat.  Whatever goes on in that rarefied place of male-on-male dominance is sacred enough to deserve silence.  So shaking down fellow players for $15,000 in lunch money in sports culture is not playground bullying.  It is character building.  Those of us outside the culture need to understand that this is not about traditional right and wrong; this is how a rookie becomes a veteran.  It is how a boy footballer becomes a man.  It is a beautiful thing.

Culture protects what a society
Once that is understood, there is
no conflict of message.
But what is Jonathan Miller supposed to know coming in to this culture?  He came from a place where you stood up to racial slurs and lunch money shake-downs.  But once in uniform he is supposed to view the same abuse as tough love.  I understand his confusion and frustration.

I suppose I could do better contemplating the wisdom of these sterling right-of-passage traditions if the sport of Football were not continually draped in public scandal.  But this is a brotherhood whose members have recently been involved in activities that challenge the culture outside the iconic temple, a list that includes, but is not limited to, rape, drug rape, spousal abuse, spousal murder, murder, drug and alcohol abuse, animal abuse, pederasty, cheating, gun running, whoremongering and generally unacceptable social behavior.  Of course we should still hold up players as American heroes. Differences in culture just makes conversations with the kids a little more complicated, that’s all.

It's a man's world where no one escapes
without physical, mental or emotional injury.  We
condone the violence, so why complain about what
 it takes emotionally to reach the end zone?
Best case, a professional footballer can look forward to a painful short career where he receives undue adulation and a pass on bad behavior that will be immediately revoked when he leaves the sport.  He will then join our wider culture that presents more restrictive rules.  He will face civilian life with a raft of physical injuries, including probable brain injury resulting in massive anger issues and memory loss, and a pair of testicles the size of peanuts.  He will be sporting an ego the size of Mount Rushmore but will have zero usable business skills.  He will face life as a still young man with a drastic reduction of income and a disproportionate statistically high probability of shooting himself to death.  But hey, that’s what the locker room culture is for, right?  To toughen him up for the game of real life.  I’m beginning to see how good it all is now.

So the bottom line is I’m not too rigid to learn, or to embrace fraternal culture.  I will  therefore leave you with this newly formed message of my affection:  Hey,  wassup you half 'whatevers' (dear reader, please fill in your own racial, gender or intelligence negative identifier)?  I want to sh*t in your orifice and slap you and your slut of a mama, with whom I have committed perverse sexual acts that she loved.  Kill, kill, kill!   It’s all out of a place of love, people.  All out of love.  I expect you all to pay for my Thanksgiving trip to the Bahamas, you worthless little four-eyed Google+ geeky genderless f*cks.  When you have, we will both feel spiritually enhanced, and emotionally more mature.  Thanks for reading.

The Roman's loved blood sport, and so do we.  We just imagine ourselves to be a bit more civilized.  We don't want to make direct association with the resulting emotional carnage.  If that happened, we might have to question our cultural values.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Breaking Bold

Breaking Bold
By Emma X

Emma X
There are no bad politicians.  There
are just bad choices.
By now I’m sure you have heard that Mayor Rob Ford of Toronto was finally forced to admit that he smoked crack cocaine.  After denying the allegation for months, the existence of a video of the unfortunate event forced Mr. Ford to come clean with his constituency.  His excuse was classic.  He didn’t remember smoking the illegal substance because he was roaring drunk at the time.  Whew!  What a relief for the citizens of Toronto.  Your mayor is not a chronic crack head.  He is just a blackout drunk.  So if would-be terrorists will please politely adjust to the Mayor’s life style and attack during the normal Monday through Friday work week when Ford is presumably sober, denizens of the fourth largest city in North America will sleep soundly in their beds.  No worries here.

The Right Honorable
Mayor Rob Ford
 on a sober day.
His example may be a good object lesson
for impressionable Canadian children.
The tape of Mr. Ford smoking a rock in a known crack house was seized with other evidence in an illegal gun bust.  The good Mayor did not mention that he broke the law he is sworn to uphold, just that he used some bad judgment.  I mean, we’ve all been there, right?  I can’t count the number of times I have been caught smoking with gun runners in a known crack house.  Anyway, how he got to the establishment, and mention of the company he keeps were not part of his Mea Culpa.  He will not step down from office, and he will not promise to quit drinking.  He merely suggests that everyone get over it, while he gets back to the work he loves.

He seemed such a quiet man.
Nobody could have possibly seen this thing coming.
Instead of "who would you like to have a beer with?"
Canadian voters must also decide who they would
prefer to smoke a rock with.  It's just another
option.  After all, the motto of Toronto is
The icing on this reprehensible cup cake is that he made his confession at City Hall on ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’.

Yes, sweetheart, the world is a
scary place
 and the people making decisions
about your life and well-being are drunk and corrupt.
Now that you've met the Mayor, let's go get some
ice cream.

When I was a child I thought that our leaders must be the smartest people in the world.  How else could they reach such an important level of responsibility?  With the wisdom of age I came to find out, as we all eventually do, that our leaders and elected officials can be far from responsible.  Any well connected person can gain office.  Their motives can be self-serving. Their ethics can be questionable.  They can be intellectual underachievers, narcissists, extremists, mobsters, alcoholics, womanizers, flashers, married closeted gays, bullies, crack smokers, thieves, pathological liars or sociopaths.  And since sour cream also rises to the top, many of our most prominent statesmen could proudly be all of the above.

It was just a Crackcident and it won't
happen again.  For some personalities, any attention,
even negative attention, serves an unfulfilled need.
Not every politician is morally corrupt, of course.  But those trying to serve their community are soon perverted by the system or weeded out.  Early on they come to realize that they are cogs in a political machine fueled by patronage and cronyism.  So I suppose the end of constituent innocence can’t happen too soon.  ‘Bring Your Child to Work Day’ may be an appropriate object lesson in this freakish political age.   We should think of it as ‘Scared Straight’ for future voters.

This is not about the good citizens of Canada.  Rob Ford didn’t invent anything.  There is nothing new under the sun.  But in the past, once caught in an illegal and embarrassing act, a politician’s career was over.  They would resign immediately. Now we enable them with the option of two weeks in rehab with weekends off, and deem that sufficient time and energy to atone for any public faux pas.  The Rob Ford story is just another ludicrous example of the death of shame in Western culture.

By the way, Mr. Ford's approval rating went up after his heart-felt public confession.  We get the government we deserve, folks.  Indeed we do.

Postscript:  On Friday another video was released of Ford revealing his mastery of the F-word in a drunken rage, a performance suggesting that his drug use might not be a one-off.  Clearly Mr. Ford needs help.  We sincerely hope he finds it outside of public office.

Yabba Dabba Jabba
Ya koon tacha poonoo nee sah.
Ya ee eema loh kah yah lee.
No biggie, eh?  Welcome to Toronto.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Hot Swapping

Hot Swapping
By Emma X

If Obama can't get it up by
website failure may
defund his flagship health care program.  He
claims his enrollment Blackhawk is down
temporarily due to stress.  He hopes this
 infelicitous flaccidity will be resolved by
late November, allowing celebratory holiday
penetration of participating insurance vendors
by qualified participants.
Emma X
America still leads the world in
technology and political failures.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a bureaucratic government in possession of a critically important software roll out will fail to load test.

Obamacare Death Panels turned
out to be servers that could not support the
load generated by poorly integrated software.
That being said, one has to come to the conclusion that God does indeed love Republicans.  Or maybe he hates universal health care.  Whatever the reason, we now have airways full of government appointed Luddites explaining why they didn’t understand that software components designed by multiple vendors might not work when integrated, or that multiple thousands of people trying to access a single website at one time might crash the server.  We unfortunately have come to expect these kinds of idiotic government failures, but in a twenty-first century economy where commercial systems work seamlessly to keep American commerce functioning at a world class pace, the Obamacare rollout is embarrassingly quaint.  Failure was highly avoidable.  But then the government process itself tends to collapse under stress.  The American electorate now fully understands that it has a government that cannot legislate; that it also cannot function in the technical arena should be no surprise.

Load Tested and Approved.
The NSA has proved that it can process huge
volumes of data seamlessly and efficiently.
Why not interrupt monitored domestic calls
to offer access to the health care marketplace?
They already have the basic enrollment
information for every qualifying American
citizen.  And every German citizen, for that
matter. And world-wide Yahoo and Google
So now we have a Health Care Enrollment system that is limping along with daily hot swapping of code and no end-to-end system testing.  We can look forward to some serious hacking exposures, both short term and long.  And it may not be long before the loyal opposition is rightly proclaiming data security risks, and possibly some successes with illegal enrollment data acquisition.

Wetware Hot Swap
Wouldn't it be more efficient if we could change
out disfunctional politicians while the legislative
 system remained up?  Productivity and functionality
 would improve immediately.

The Obamacare rollout is working as well as the legislative process that created it.  In the victory wake of a government shutdown blamed on Republicans, the Democrats have handed them a spectacular public start-up failure that conservatives can attach to a negative public perception of the legislation itself.  They have hot swapped an historical triumph for an embarrassing technical defeat.

The Victory Lap
Republicans tried every method to
derail Obamacare.  Help finally came
from an unexpected source.

Still, one day soon people will be able to use that new-fangled system of tubes and pipes held together by electrician's tape called The Internet to shop for affordable health care.  In the meantime pick up the phone and call for assistance.  It won't get you health insurance any faster, but it will give you time on hold to consider how well your January enrollment might work, and what medical supplies you might want to stock up on, just in case.

The Bright Future Of Affordable
Health Care.

There will be seven million registered applicants
by March, 2014.  Guaranteed.

Kept in the dark and fed bullsh*t?  President Obama knew nothing about problems with the Obamacare website roll out.  He also knew nothing about controversial IRS or NSA activities.  Loyal public servants protect their President.  But if his chronic lack of awareness is real, he should be officially titled Mushroom in Chief.  21st Century politicians need to learn that the technology of the day does not allow for explainable lapses in oversight.  Either way, Angela Merkel is about to impart to him the need for high level executive accountability in all things technical.  Sadly, Obamacare does not provide insurance against political embarrassment, domestic or foreign.