Posted in Quick Hits on November 17th, 2015 by Ed



Posted in Quick Hits on November 13th, 2015 by Ed

I wrote about 2/3 of an NPF for today, realized that I hated it because it's garbage, and further realized that after the week I had I really need to sleep in a bed urgently. So rather than attempt to start over at this late hour and in this condition, I'll merely remind you that your car might not be sufficiently prepared for the 2016 election and give you a rain check on NPF. I'll post a worthy one shortly.


Do it.


Posted in Quick Hits on November 9th, 2015 by Ed

Scott Walker is begging for money to pay off the debts of his kamikaze run at the Republican nomination. If that concept isn't sufficiently hilarious to you, get a load of the letter he sent out to his supporters:


Our race for president didn't turn out the way we wanted. While we are disappointed, there are always new ways to serve others and plenty of conservative reforms to enact in Wisconsin.

Our "Scott Walker for America" campaign may have ended, but we attracted a tremendous grassroots team of supporters. Together we share a deep and enduring commitment to getting things done, putting things right, and moving America forward.

For a kid who grew up in small-town America, whose family didn't have a lot of money, the opportunity to run for President of the United States is an experience beyond my wildest dreams and an experience I will never forget.

There are three things I want to tell you, Friend.

First, thank you for believing in me and our campaign for President.

Second, I am back in my office in the state Capitol working on our next round of big, bold, conservative reforms. We have made incredible strides in Wisconsin, but we are not done yet. Our proven reforms have been a model for other states to follow and we will continue to build upon those reforms in the months and years to come.

Third, as things changed dramatically in the presidential race, "Walker for America" incurred a campaign debt and it is my hope that you and all of our supporters will chip in and make an online contribution of $10, $35, $50, $100, $250, or more so we can end this campaign in the black. It is a lot to ask, I know, but we feel personally obligated to make sure that every small business that extended us their good faith and credit is repaid. And we are hoping we can count on you to help.

When God closes one door, another one opens. While I don't know exactly what the future holds, trust me, we will continue leading the fight for big, bold, conservative change in Wisconsin and across America.

Thanks for believing in me — and in our cause.

Scott Walker

P.S. Every good thing in my life has come about through teamwork. Tonette, Matt, Alex, and I are so proud to have you on our team. With your good help, we will end our presidential race on a positive note with all of the bills paid. It is your contribution of $25 or $250, $50 or $500, or $100 or $1,000 that will erase every penny of outstanding debt from our campaign together. Thanks in advance for helping out. I sure appreciate it.

Every good thing in his life has come about through teamwork? I thought heroic individualism was the key to success. Personal responsibility. An Army of One. Bootstrap-pulling. All that bullshit.

Let's spend Monday having a good chuckle at the idea that Scott Walker feels personally morally obligated to pay off his debts…with other people's money. If that isn't a microcosm of the worldview and philosophy of people like Walker, I don't know what is.


Posted in Quick Hits on October 14th, 2015 by Ed

In a first of its kind ruling, a jury in Milwaukee found a pawn shop with a history of minimal adherence to, if not open disregard for, gun laws liable for the death and severe wounding of two men to the tune of $6 million. Unless it's a pawn shop owned by a shipping magnate the suit, which will obviously be appealed, effectively puts the place out of business. Congress recently passed a ridiculously unconstitutional law shielding gun sellers from liability suits so the verdict came as something of a surprise.

Did I mention the two guys were cops? Yeah I guess that's important. See, when a cop dies the justice system swings into action like Thor's hammer. They matter, and the people who do them harm must be punished quickly and decisively. When people who don't matter, like black men or kindergarteners or your friends and family, are shot it's really just a tough situation in which everyone's terribly sad about what happened but really what can you do? You can't do anything except maybe have more people carrying more guns until everyone feels safe or we've all shot each other, whichever comes first.

Given the disinclination of Congress and state legislatures to touch the issue with a 10-foot pole, requiring liability insurance for guns (as every state does for cars) may be one of the few feasible tools available to curb gun violence. Everybody knows that half-assed adherence to existing firearm laws is a problem – off-book sales at gun shows and online are remarkably common – but the problem appears insolvable. By requiring whoever is the owner of record (presumably from the most recent legal sale of the gun) to have liability insurance the number of under the table sales would plummet quickly. Nonetheless, I'm sure that as usual we will decide that since there is some conceivable way to get around an insurance requirement that is definitive proof that we shouldn't bother passing one. You know. Typical NRA logic.


Posted in Quick Hits on October 4th, 2015 by Ed

Last week I pointed out that Caterpillar is laying off thousands of workers, many of them from its central Illinois operations. But don't worry because alternative employment is on the way: the local paper notes that franchise restaurants are blowing up here. Not literally blowing up, but as the kids say. Let no one ever again question the munificence of the free market!

In a happy coincidence, the property developer that provides a home to these various franchised gristle huts is run by the wife of the Caterpillar CEO, so I imagine they can sort out how many people making decent money to fire based on the needs of the menial service industry over a light dinner every now and again.

Oh, and since I can't think of new things to say ever ten days when there's a noteworthy mass shooting – we have to separate them now into normal background static mass shootings and ones that are actually shocking enough to merit attention for a day or two – I'm just going to repost Bill Bonds now that I've already taken the time to type up the transcript.


Posted in Quick Hits on October 1st, 2015 by Ed

Donald Trump says that if he is president, all of the Syrian refugees accepted by the United States "are going back."

If the Cardinals start me at quarterback this week, I want to start out by establishing the ground game. I really feel like we need to get David Johnson more involved in the offense, and the tight end position has been under-utilized in the passing game. Moving Larry Fitzgerald to the slot has worked out brilliantly so I don't see a need to make changes there. At least once I want to take some deep shots at Michael Floyd, and of course you have to throw the occasional post corner to Smokey Brown to keep the safeties honest over the top.

Oh, sorry. I thought we were playing "fantasy scenarios" and I wanted to use one that's equally likely to happen.


Posted in Quick Hits on September 22nd, 2015 by Ed

By now even people who don't follow automotive news have heard that Volkswagen has been caught red-handed pulling a scam on US and EU regulatory agencies. By submitting cars with altered software for testing – allowing its diesel models to appear to produce considerably less pollution than they do in reality – the company effectively defrauded consumers, government regulators, their own dealer network, and, you know, the planet. Even before lawsuits and criminal penalties are handed down, the scandal figures to cost the company at least the $7 billion it has set aside for the cost of updating consumers' cars to meet the stated pollution standards. For the unfamiliar, diesels achieve excellent fuel economy and tend to be more durable in the long term with the downside that they are very dirty in terms of emissions. For years the promise of "clean diesel" seemed too good to be true. Turns out it is.

This is no accident, of course. The deception was premeditated, cleverly planned, and flawlessly executed. Whenever corporate America is caught in a scandal like this I am left scratching my head at their logic. In this instance it was, from the very inception, only a matter of time until the truth was uncovered. Some car magazine or consumers' group would conduct a test using their own equipment and find exhaust emissions far dirtier than the company stated (and EPA certified) figures. How does the company simply plow ahead in this situation? Do they start down the path of trying to cheat and then, finding themselves in too deep to back out, go for the gusto? Do they delude themselves into thinking that they are so brilliant that they will fool everybody? Do they believe that they will be caught but that no one will dare prosecute them? Did they cynically decide that they would make more money off of the deception than getting caught would cost them in the long run? Or do a handful of people within the company decide that since they are highly unlikely to be held legally responsible personally, they will benefit from the deception handsomely and then live off the proceeds after they're eventually discovered (and probably fired)?

It's hard to conceive of any situation in which this wouldn't end badly for the company. If anyone could come up with a suitably grand delusion, though, it's the kind of people one finds in corporate boardrooms and office complexes these days.


Posted in Quick Hits on September 15th, 2015 by Ed

A friend posted a notice for this job on social media. To be clear, there's nothing remotely wrong with the job itself. It looks like a good one, in a good location, for a good organization, and likely at non-poverty compensation levels. By the time I reached the end – "Requirements" – I thought immediately of yesterday's post about online / for-profit universities peddling useless paper while Americans rack up billions in student loan debt. I'm not going to parse the entire job posting, but here are the major functions of the person who holds the position:

Primary Purpose: To enter and acknowledge gifts and accurately maintain data for Minnesota Orchestra donors, updating records in a timely manner according to standard business and accounting procedures.

Gift Processing
· Enter gifts received by check, lockbox, telefunding, internet and other sources
· Ensure accurate and efficient entry of all gift and patron information
· Troubleshoot questions about gifts with appropriate fundraisers as they arise
· Review and balance gift entry totals against deposits and/or reports

Acknowledgement Processing
· Generate acknowledgements through database and mail merge for all gifts following internal business practices
· Edit, print and distribute letters to appropriate fundraisers for signature
· Maintain accurate tracking system to ensure all letters are mailed in timely manner

Communication (Internal/External)
· Generate daily email to department with lockbox and check details
Complete and send corporate matching forms
Follow up with patrons with expired, expiring or declined credit cards
Assist Manager of Development Operations and other staff as needed

Database Integrity
· Update donor information based on gift entry forms and other communications
· Update demographic information received in daily reports from Ruffalo Noel Levitz
· Research returned mail for current addresses and update database accordingly
· Other duties as assigned

Pretty basic, right?

The first requirement is "Four-year college degree."

Can anyone explain to me why a Bachelor's Degree is necessary to do any aspect of this job? No offense intended, but this is essentially a secretarial / data entry position. If you can work an Excel spreadsheet (as a lot of high school graduates or 2-year degree holders can no doubt do competently) there is nothing here that you can't do. Most of it amounts to data entry, sending emails, compiling summaries of data on donations, and so on. One of the stated primary responsibilities is mailing letters. And a four-year college degree is the first requirement listed.

We talk a lot about the problem of creeping credentialism – the insistence by employers that basically any position that does not involve french fries or a mop be restricted to college graduates – and this example belongs in the Hall of Fame. People are rational. Maybe not smart, wise, curious, or reasonable, but they are rational in that they respond to incentives. If you tell people that they can't get a job unless they raise two goats and a palm tree, the majority of people are going to respond by becoming impromptu goat / palm tenders.

By all means, apply. Looks like a decent job. What it doesn't look like is a job that requires a $100,000 degree to do competently. People will continue to throw money at diploma mills in direct proportion to the share of entry-level positions restricted to the most over-credentialed applicants.


Posted in Quick Hits on September 3rd, 2015 by Ed

I intended to write a good old fashioned chest-clutcher about the European immigration "crisis" but unfortunately yesterday I was far too busy winning the internet on the social medias. As a bonus feature I get called a lot of names in the comment sections. But even though I have fun with it, not all of this stuff is funny. In fact some of it is downright sad.

Previously I considered social media accounts no more than a diversion. Now I feel like they're taking on a life of their own, and that I'm getting not-bad at the format.


Posted in Quick Hits on August 25th, 2015 by Ed

I am a small and petty man, and that is why I am just about ready to drop to my knees, rediscover religion, and pray to an assortment of deities for the nomination of Donald Trump. Lindsey Graham – Lindsey fucking Graham! – is right: if Trump wins, "That's the end of the Republican Party." That is not hyperbole. If he is the nominee, the presidential race will turn into the kind of one-sided ass kicking that we haven't properly seen since 1984, 1972, and and the FDR years. In modern elections there are groups of states that Republicans and Democrats simply can't lose. Anyone running with the "D" after their name is going to win California, and any Republican who isn't literally frothing at the mouth will win the Deep South. Trump is so bad he could lose states Republicans never lose. States Republicans would practically have to try to lose. Hell, Texas will be in play.

Gallup released some startling numbers recently about Hispanics' views on the GOP clown car of candidates. Turns out Hispanics don't like Donald Trump. Hispanics really, really, really hate Donald Trump.

trump hisp

Translation: "We're pretty meh on most of these people, except for this guy. Fuck this guy." Not like it matters though. There aren't a lot of Hispanic voters in the U.S. anyway, right?

Bonus amusement comes from the fact that Ted Cruz appears to be the least popular of the non-Donald candidates, along with fellow Texan Rick Perry. Perry's stillborn campaign may be the first one to commit seppuku, if the whispers are to be believed. We'll, uh, miss him. He was really…present. For some of this.

Everyone pray with me on this one. I haven't wanted something to happen this much since I wanted someone to tackle James Harrison.