Problems with gov’t employees? Have ya’ read Dilbert?

Ever read Dilbert? Have ya’ noticed Dilbert doesn’t work for the government?

There’s been a lot of talk lately—I’ve seen it and heard it and read about it in a number of sources—denigrating the public employee; the government worker. Everyone has at least one anecdote about an ill-tempered, inefficient, ineffectual, lazy, disinterested leech, sucking down a taxpayer-provided paycheck they perceived owed to them, without any regard to producing any actual work for said paycheck. But whenever I hear someone proclaim that such a “worker” is endemic to people who are paid with tax dollars, I wonder, has this person ever worked with more than a dozen people, anywhere?

First, let’s get one thing straight, the “government employee” covers not only clerks at the DMV and IRS, but your local firefighters and teachers. (And don’t try to sidetrack my discussion with stories about ineffectual teachers, who only retain their position because of tenure–yeah, I have those stories, too. But for every one of those, I have more about teachers who did what they did for love of what they did, whose mission it was to impart some amount of knowledge onto those unwilling to learn it–some of whom made a real difference in the way I see the world, for the better. No, do not denigrate teachers around me.) And as I write this, I do realize there are those who believe even the fire department a waste of tax money, who feel it should be all volunteer, funded by generous donations from the wealthy (who would be able to if only they didn’t have to pay taxes), and if no one showed up to put out the fire in your house then it should be your problem. No, I will not point out where that attitude is likely to find them. To those people, well, I would tell them to get the fuck off my blog, but they’re incapable of reason.

Has anyone here ever worked for a large corporation? How about a company with more than two-dozen employees? In more than one location? Ever had to deal with someone who was, shall we say, less than efficient? Did you ever have a coworker who was only in their current position because it was the only place that would tolerate their personality? Or enjoyed their job because, no matter how trivial, how menial, it afforded them some small amount of authority over others?

And yes, the stereotype of the “government employee” exists for a reason. I have family who’ve worked within the government, and they’re full of stories of employees they couldn’t coerce to actually do any work. But I feel that reason is because so many of us come into contact with them, more than the employees of any other company. We’ve all been to the DMV and the Post Office.

But think about the other, private, for-profit companies we’ve all had to deal with. The cable company. The phone company. Certainly those are models of efficiency, aren’t they, since profit is their only incentive?

The one thing the government agency doesn’t have is sales people. When you call the cable company to inquire about service, you can hear them smiling over the phone while bending over backwards to get you to sign up. “We’ll even send over a masseuse, to rub your shoulders and ease away any stress caused by the install.” You want to share anecdotes? Tell me about all the times you called this private, profit-making company asking for satisfaction.

How about the phone company? “Would you like a decaf soy latte while you wait for me to transfer all the numbers from your old phone to your new one? Shouldn’t be but a moment. Sorry for the delay.” Tell me about what happens when you call back to that company whose stock is traded publicly on the market. Surely they’ve managed to cut through bureaucracy and red tape, right?

And I haven’t even gotten to the real irony. Those pedagogues railing against “government waste and inefficiencies?” Do I need to point out that many of them are government employees? Politicians whose very job it is to be in charge of those bloated systems, who continue to proclaim, year after year, no matter who is in charge, that they could fix everything, if only everyone else would let them—they are the ones touting “smaller government,” and (gads) “privatization,” attempting to perpetuate the myth (yes, that’s right, myth) that a privately run corporation, with only profit as its motive, is somehow more efficient than government.

Because private corporations, like Enron, aren’t prone to the corruption we see in government. You see, opening the field up to private companies, like Comcast and Cablevision, fosters real competition, and with increased competition, among companies like AT&T and Verizon, prices will come down. And with reduced government interference through regulations, international conglomerates like British Petroleum would be able to better address the needs of their customers, who are free to go elsewhere if they’re dissatisfied.

Oh, no, let’s not have Big Brother further their socialist takeover and monitor the water we drink and food we eat. Let’s take some personal responsibility for the contaminants we ingest. If we’re not happy with our private water supply, or electric company, we’re free to employ someone else. Let’s make sure our money doesn’t go to anyone undeserving—and if they need it, that only shows how much they don’t deserve it—and pay for schools for other people’s kids. I mean, the only reason someone would become a cop in New York City is for the government pension, am I right?

Let’s all agree to call bullshit when we see it. No, I am not asking you to excuse the woman at the Social Security administration who got angry with you for filling out a form wrong, nor the person in the unemployment office who spent 20 minutes reading to you out of someone else’s file—after you pointed it out. No, I’m not suggesting it’s excusable because you can’t get Verizon to take off a download fee you swear you never incurred, or a bank to reverse the insufficient funds fee they charged you when you withdrew too much money from their own ATM. I’m asking you to remember that these are people. People who are being told what to do by other people. And those people don’t always have interests that are in line with yours.

Published in: on August 30, 2010 at 7:52 pm  Leave a Comment  

If this is parody, it’s not very good

That the author clearly meant it in all seriousness makes it pretty fucking hysterical.

On the evangelical Christian blog, christwire.org, I recently came across (if you’ll excuse the expression) this post: How to Spot a Masturbator. What the fundamentalist is wrong with these people?

If I could say just one thing, it would be, “BWAH AHAAHHAHAH AHAHAHAH AHAHHAHAHA!!!”

I mean, come on. (to use a phrase) I wasn’t sure this site wasn’t a cheap imitation of The Onion after reading the sidebar [screengrab]:

Srsly?

Seriously?

Not only is masturbation something “that can be dealt with in the privacy of your own home,” (HA!)  it “also threatens workplace safety and the overall productivity of our economy.” (WTF!)

Wait, it gets better. Wanking it also causes people “to think more about sex and less about their work at hand.” [emphasis mine]

The author maintains that, despite all of the drawbacks, “masturbation still remains very popular in America.” Ya’ think?

Also, “this degree of self-manipulation goes too far in familiarizing men and women with their bodies.” How far? Not that far. (Most people stop after the second knuckle.) Evidently the god in whose image we’re supposedly created is a vile and shameful creature we should be ashamed of.

So how do you find these masturbators? “There are people who claim they can identify a masturbator with one glance.” I have but one criterion myself: do they appear to be breathing?

Get a load (for lack of a better word) of these images [which I jacked (ahem!) from their site]:

does anyone you know look like that?

The text reads: “If pushed, he will lie, cheat and steal to support his habit.” Wait, we’re still talking throttling the little German soldier, not heroin, right? “Many college students fall victim to this lifestyle.” Well it’s about time, I’d say.

OK, A) how did you become privy to the size of Snooki’s “marital aids,” or is this just something you picture in your mind – a lot? (“Tunnel of Fun” was his description, not mine.) B) Even if the size were relevant, I don’t see how the color would be, even if she used said sexual aid to apply her makeup. By contrast, I doubt sweet Penny could use her pencil-thin makeup applicators the same way. (And don’t get me started on what those lips look like they’re plumped up from.)

The last picture on the page suggests that Matt Damon’s clean cut appearance is due to abstention from personal pleasure.

Now, get this: in his bio, the author, one Stephenson Billings, is noted as a “Children’s Party Entertainer and Antique Soda Bottle Collector all in one special, blessed package!” Hey now! Sounds perfectly innocent, I swear! Get your minds out of the gutter!

And let’s not overlook the suggested links at the bottom:

Suggested Moral Readings for You
  • Courageous Kansas State Student Gives Up Masturbating For Jesus
  • Gay Homo Agenda Makes New Penis Toy For Children
  • The funniest part? The absolute irony? In all of the comments at the bottom, the author’s own replies have been (excuse me) “thumbed down” enough to not be visible, while everyone else makes ridiculous fun of him.

    OK, let the pud pullin’, unemployed hand-shakin’, Darth Vader battlin’, chicken chokin’, Onan the Barbarian euphamisms begin.

    there is no SATA Clause…

    New copy of Disk Warrior that can’t repair failing directory because of hardware error: $100

    Testing by Apple technicians, who did the same Google search I did to assume it’s a failing drive, but ascertained it was not a bad logic board: free at store

    Instructions on how to pry open “no user-serviceable parts inside” iMac: free online

    New hard drive to replace drive reported as “failing” by hardware test: $85

    SATA drive dock to replicate old drive to new, but still doesn’t work because new drive reports same bus error: $20

    New SATA cable, which should have been the first thing checked/replaced but which turns out really isn’t the cause anyway: $4

    New Mac, with the new OS and Intel chip that I really wanted/needed anyway, which is still cheaper that most other hardware fixes: about $1,000

    Being able to field strip a “non-user serviceable” iMac blindfolded from taking it apart so many times and knowing more about error messages and SATA drive replacement than most technicians, instead of just buying a new machine and being done with it: two weeks of my life I won’t get back.

    a parent’s worst nightmare

    From Australia, but it happens here (US) with frightening regularity
    clipped from www.dadsontheair.net

    Department of Child Stealing

    a distraught father who has spent the past 13 years desperately trying to have his son returned to his care and protection, following the boys’ removal from his parents’ care
    on the bases of allegations of abuse and neglect, which were subsequently proven to be false.

    Again our own investigations show the frightening speed and ease by which your biological children can be removed from your care, by any of these government agencies on the basis of the flimsiest of evidence, unsupported hearsay or vindictive false allegations.
    the governments’ own reports show that tens of thousands of the nation’s children are removed from one or more of their parents every year with the help of a number of government agencies

    More questions urgently need to be asked in order to establish the possible underlying causes for such a disturbing high level of government involvement in the child stealing racket that appears to be taking place.
      blog it
    Published in: on February 9, 2010 at 10:37 am  Leave a Comment  
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    Well just pound me in the ass and call me fish

    Homemade shiv not included.

    Seriously. Is this what you want your kids playing with (rated T, 13+)?

    I sometimes think the various “Dope Wars” and “Mafia” games on Facebook, and certainly the likes of “Grand Theft Auto” are in bad taste (scoring points for engaging in criminal activity), but is this any better? I don’t know if they’re related to all the other “tycoon” games out there (Railway Tycoon, et al.) but this is going too far.

    Or is it?

    From the game description: “Private prisons have become the new growth industry.” Unfortunately, that’s true. And herein is the underlying problem. The description goes on: “You will construct and run an efficient rehabilitation facility with nothing but money on your mind.” [emphasis added]

    You are clearly not concerned with “rehabilitation” when there’s “nothing but money on your mind.”

    News flash, folks: this is not a game – this is currently going on in this country in the real world. The US ranks 1st in the world in per capita prison population. That is, we put more of our citizens behind bars than any other modern nation. Why? Because we’re inherently so bad? Because we’re so much better than the rest of the world at fighting crime? Or because it’s in the financial interests of a select few?

    We’re building prisons at a frightening rate – and still the ones we have are grossly overcrowded. We have a drug policy that puts teens in the hole until they’re middle aged for having the audacity to get high. I could go on. I’ll only mention tangentially the conspiracy theory about the plans to lock up large segments of the US population – like we did to the Japanese American citizens during the onset of WWII – during an imminently anticipated “civil unrest.” Good thing we don’t protest any more.

    [CD-ROM Game – PRISON TYCOON.]

    Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 2:24 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    2010 California Marriage Protection Act | Safeguarding marriage from the evils of divorce

    2010 California Marriage Protection Act | Safeguarding marriage from the evils of divorce.

    Best. Cause. Ever.

    Seems some would like to choose from the scriptures like it was a buffet.

     

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    My insurance company wants to sue my 3-yr-old

    In an effort to not have to pay the ER bill I incurred, Captial BlueCross is suggesting I go after my preschooler for the money.

    Let me explain. One nice, quiet, peaceful summer evening, as I was putting my then 2-year-old son to bed, he retaliated by sending me to the emergency room.

    OK, not exactly, it wasn’t intentional (so he says), but he threw his head back, straight into my mouth, splitting my lip open vertically across my unstraightened teeth.

    After the blood stopped gushing, I gathered the courage to examine the inside of my lower lip, discovering it split almost completely through to the other side. Opened up just like, well, a pair of lips.

    When I got to the ER, I explained to the admitting/intake clerk what happened – that my son’s head struck my face, splitting my lip open. She shook her head, took notes, gave me a bracelet and told me to have a seat.

    As an aside, it occurred to me as I waited that anyone who opposes state-run medical facilities for fear of having to wait to see a doctor has never actually been to an “emergency” room. No, I was not in mortal peril – it was evening, and a weekend, so there would be no GP to consult. Still, I waited most of the evening to see someone.

    I eventually did see the triage nurse. He took a look inside my mouth and concluded I would require stitches. When he asked how I came to have this injury, I reiterated the above story. He was amused, but not unsympathetic.

    I was then admitted inside, and proceeded to wait further to see another medical professional. An attending nurse prepped the room, pulling out all manner of instruments for suturing deep lacerations. And then I waited some more.

    Eventually a doctor’s assistant (I believe – in any case someone capable of attending to my injury and making a qualified examination thereof) came in and said that my lip had mostly healed already (!!). I could have stitches if I wanted, but that itself would be painful, and that area of the mouth heals very quickly (I didn’t think I had waited that long). So off I went back home, with my discharge papers, new bracelet and an ER co-pay bill in my hand.

    To the point of this story, I did tell the attending doctor(‘s assistant) the same story about how my lip came to be that way.

    Months go by, and I get the Explanation of Benefits from CBC. They’re denying payment, because they’ve come to believe that the injury was the result of an auto accident (?). They suggest filing a claim against my auto policy.

    The part of my brain that believes conspiracy theories wondered if they were trying to weasel out of paying – “clearly the nature of your injuries suggests they were sustained in an automobile accident” – but having a wife who works in the health care field, I understand how someone could write down the wrong code on a form, and my injury could be misclassified. I call to clear up the confusion.

    The clerk I spoke with was more than pleasant. He, like everyone, was amused at my retelling of how my son came to bust me in the mouth. He said he would make the proper notations, and that would be it.

    Always be wary when someone in that position says something like that.

    I’ve just now gotten a letter – a form to fill out, actually – an “Other Party Liability Report.” My “contract contains a Subrogation provision that includes the right of recovery for benefits provided when a third party has first payment responsibility.” In other words, tell us who’s responsible, so we can go after them for the money.

    They want to know if it was (again) the result of an auto accident, or was work-related. Under “Section 2 – Complete this section if another person or party was responsible for the injury/illness,” it asks, “has or will the person file a claim against the responsible person or the insurance company?” Then it asks for their insurance information – uncuriously, it’s the same as mine. It then asks if I’ve retained an attorney.

    No, I wasn’t planning on suing someone with the same last name who lives at the same address, who’s on my insurance policy. Yes, I know forms like these often get kicked out automatically by “the system” and that they’re usually applicable, but considering everyone involved should know by now how it happened, I shouldn’t have to explain it again.

    Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 3:01 pm  Leave a Comment  
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    The Bad Sleep Well

    the title of an old Japanese movie, in case you were wondering how anyone at Bank of America could sleep at night. Thousands of loans where both the lender and the borrower could have been helped by modification end up in foreclosure anyway. Ever wonder why?
    clipped from open.salon.com
    “According to my records there were no attempts by Bank of America to reach me,” I assert.  He tells me according to his records I’m incorrect so I ask for specific dates and times of these alleged attempts to reach me.  “We don’t keep a log of those,” he responds
    I could go around in circles all day with this guy bending his absence of critical thoughts into origami baseball bats and beating him senseless with them but I see no point.

    Foreclosure: Staring Down the Barrel of a Loan Mod Ray Gun

      blog it
    Published in: on November 4, 2009 at 10:51 am  Leave a Comment  
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