Thursday, February 28, 2019

Government is a disease.

Title seem a little extreme, I'll admit. But looked at from a social health standpoint, government is the thing that ruins everything.

Want to start a business? Want to buy a house, or get married, or even get a dog? Hell, you want to drive your car to Grandma's house? Government is there! And it is mostly in your way. And YOU pay for it too, that's the best part.

What set me off today? This is a situation I keep seeing over and over again, and it means something. Headline: America's Cities Are Running on Software From the '80s

The only place in San Francisco still pricing real estate like it's the 1980s is the city assessor's office. Its property tax system dates back to the dawn of the floppy disk. City employees appraising the market work with software that runs on a dead programming language and can't be used with a mouse. Assessors are prone to make mistakes when using the vintage software because it can't display all the basic information for a given property on one screen. The staffers have to open and exit several menus to input stuff as simple as addresses. To put it mildly, the setup "doesn't reflect business needs now," says the city's assessor, Carmen Chu.

The particulars of this clusterfuck bear repeating.

In San Francisco the assessor uses a Cobol-based system called AS-400, whose welcome screen reads, "COPYRIGHT IBM CORP., 1980, 2009." As the city tax rolls jumped 22 percent over two years, workers were struggling to keep track of the changes on their ancient systems. At one point they fell three years behind. It's a "lot of manual work" just to perform basic functions, Chu says.
Searches that should seem simple take much longer because of the system's quirks. If a resident contacts the agency saying her house should have a different assessed value, a worker has to look up the block and identification number that's technically taxed; there's no way to filter by address. Also, all street numbers need to have four digits, so 301 Grove St. becomes 0301 Grove St.

Need I emphasize, this is San Francisco. The place where all the biggest brains in computing live, work and play. If you can't get somebody to sort out your fucked up mainframe in San Francisco, then a disinterested outside observer would have to conclude you are not trying to fix it. This is not East Moose Antler Montana, where the deer and the antelopes play.

Friend of mine works in a computer junkyard. This guy knows every damn thing about the Old Iron from the now defunct Digital Equipment Corporation. He can take apart and fix a worn out DEC TK50 tape drive to as-new condition. Why does he have a job fixing 1980s tape drives from a company that died in the 1990s? Because the federal and provincial governments of Canada are still running DEC-VAX mainframes, that's why. Also SUN SPARC stations, Silicon Graphics worstations, IBM AS-400 minicomputers, all kinds of obsolete hardware from the 1970s to the 1990s. Running software that may have originated in the 1960s and been upgraded in the 1980s. All this ancient shit is slower than your phone. Most of it is slower than a flip-phone.

Now, speaking of private businesses, we can safely assume that there are none still running faulty databases on antique AS-400 hardware from the 1980s. Why? Because they would be OUT OF BUSINESS by now. Who is going to hire a company to do anything when their order-entry department is three years behind?

Why is every state and federal government in North America in this position? Because they do not experience any pressure to get their work done. There is no eeeevile profit motive to work harder and do more. They just keep doing what they always do, the way they always do it, until one day they come in and the computer is a puddle of melted slag on the floor. Then they hide the evidence, and beg for more money.

We see this exact thing played out in nature. Businesses are like predators, always active, always hunting for new ways to make money, to cut costs, to stay ahead of the competition. Governments by contrast are like parasites. They latch on to a host, and they quietly suck the blood out of it nice and slowly, never making a fuss, never moving so the host doesn't notice their blood disappearing. Like gut worms.

Lately there's been evidence come forth that a few gut worms from time to time increase the health of the host by stimulating the immune system. But we all know that too large a load of parasites will kill anything, even an elephant.

That's where we are today. Sucked dry by a parasitic infection that does no work and adds nothing.

Here endeth the rant.

The Phantom

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

PayPal partners with SPLC to shut down Conservatives.

Yep that's right, the Southern Poverty Law Center tells PayPal who to do business with and who to deplatform.

The CEO of PayPal has revealed the multi-billion dollar service partners with the leftist organization Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to decide who should be blacklisted from their company. Using "company corporate values" as their defense, PayPal has taken intentional steps to deny access to conservatives.

Let there be no mistake, the SPLC is the hardest Left there is out there. They've been the moving force behind getting a lot of people kicked off social media, Youtube, and now PayPal.

In other news, various conservative companies and organizations have been suspended by Visa and Mastercard, such as David Horowitz and the NRA.

I do not see this ending well.

The Phantom

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

No Whites Yoga!

Wish I was making this up.

Brown Girls Yoga - Every Thursday from 5:10 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Brown Girls Yoga is a yoga class students who identify as Black, Indigenous, or as a People of Colour, and who currently or formerly identify as female.
We welcome students from all bodies-types, sizes and skill-levels. We also provide a Queer- and trans-positive space.

What to bring: Bring your own yoga mats. (Some yoga mats available on site.)
Registration: No registration required.
Location: Main Activity Hall, Multi-Faith Centre

Brown Girls Yoga is joint program presented by the Multi-Faith Centre in partnership with First Nations House and the Centre for Women and Trans People, University of Toronto.

Seen first at Small Dead Animals

Friday, February 22, 2019

RIP Peter Tork of the Monkees at 77.

Godspeed, Peter.

Its funny, Peter Tork is one of those people I never think about, but he was a big part of my television life as a kid.

So sad to hear he's gone.

The Phantom

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Martina Navratilova, now a Conservative? Really?

Outspoken radical feminist, professional lesbian agitator and sportswoman Martina Navratilova is now a Conservative.
"It's insane and it's cheating," the famously gay tennis star said in a Sunday op-ed published by the Sunday Times.
"Letting men compete as women simply if they change their name and take hormones is unfair — no matter how those athletes may throw their weight around," Navratilova said of transgender players' efforts to be recognized under their "chosen" gender.
This is not her first transgression against the Received Word:

This is far from the first time the 62-year-old player has spoken out against transgender players. Only a few months ago the multiple Wimbledon winner wrote on Twitter that men can't just "proclaim" themselves a female and then play against real women. "There must be some standards," she wrote, "and having a penis and competing as a woman would not fit that standard."

I do fear that Ms. Navratilova will now discover that the obvious biological truth is not a defense.

On the bright side, this particular bridge-too-far is separating the Reality Based people from the fruitcakes. Madam Martina has picked Reality over politically correct insanity, so I'm willing to cut her a little slack on the man-hatred. Some girls have good reasons for that sort of thing, and it falls under the "free country" exception. In a free country, you're free to be filled with hate all you want. Hard way to go through life, but none of my business.

The Phantom

Update: That didn't take long!

Athlete Ally, a group advocating LGBT inclusion in sports, has severed ties with tennis legend Martina Navratilova despite her longstanding advocacy for gay rights. Her crime? She disagreed with the idea that biological women should be forced to compete with biological men in sports, and especially tennis. To Athlete Ally, this constitutes heresy against transgender identity.
"Martina Navratilova’s recent comments on trans athletes are transphobic, based on a false understanding of science and data, and perpetuate dangerous myths that lead to the ongoing targeting of trans people through discriminatory laws, hateful stereotypes and disproportionate violence," Athlete Ally said in a statement announcing they were severing ties with the openly gay tennis legend.
How long before all the chickenshit sports gear companies dump all Martina's sponsorships? Couple more days. maybe?

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Rule 4: DC Comics cancels book for blasphemy.

In an interesting turn of events, DC comics has cancelled a series because of a ShirtStorm.

DC Comics is set to release an outrageous and blasphemous new series featuring Jesus Christ as the sidekick for an "all powerful" superhero.

Let DC Comics know that this comic is inappropriate. It should be immediately pulled from their release schedule.

According to Fox News, the "Second Coming" comic "reimagines why Jesus left earth the first time and is coming back again." Author Mark Russell recently shared a bit about the concept behind his comic. He explained, "God was so upset with Jesus's performance the first time he came to Earth, since he was arrested so soon and crucified shortly after, that he has kept him locked-up since then."

There was a petition associated with this campaign, it got 20,000 signatures. DC decided that they didn't want to be on the news for blasphemy, and folded.
The Guardian was shocked, simply shocked I tell you:

But the comics publisher has now told retailers that the series has been cancelled. The decision follows a 200,000-signature petition from anti-abortion, anti-LGBT conservative campaign site CitizenGo calling on DC to pull the comic. "Would DC Comics publish similar content about other religious leaders, such as Muhammad or Buddha?" said the petition. "This content is inappropriate and blasphemous."

Leaving aside the answer to the question (which is "no" obviously, DC Comics would NOT publish similar blasphemy about Buddha or Mohamed) what's happened here is interesting. For years we have been amazed that a single phone call will cause a school board, a publisher, a TV show, basically any public body to cave in to SJW demands. One single complaint gets nativity scenes deleted from Christmas decorations at City Hall all over the Western world.

Here's one going the other way. That never happens. It never matters how many people complain about blasphemous or otherwise objectionable art, music or video. Governments and media never ever care how many people object to that stuff.

Except this time they blinked. This time, the community at large complained, and DC backed off. Live by the ShirtStorm, die by the ShirtStorm.

I don't view that as a good thing, sadly. What would have been nice is if DC respected their audience and didn't try to print this shock-schlock bullshit. I suspect they cancelled this thing because it is a turkey and they know they're going to lose money on it. The cover art looks like shit, the inside can't be better. No doubt they hoped a nice spicy bit of the usual controversy, where a few Christians yell and then get shouted down by the media horde. Except this time the horde didn't get any traction, and the Christians showed up in numbers. An accountant did the math, and that was that.

What's not good about this is one flavor of mob censorship is not better than another flavor. Lefties. righties, this is not the distinction that makes a difference. The distinction is -freedom-. There is no freedom when all that decides what gets done is the loudest mob. Freedom is telling the mob-du-jour to go fuck themselves and doing what you want.

Therefore, I can't celebrate this as a "victory" of decency against assholes. This is two sets of assholes fighting. What we want to do here is sell guns to both sides, and then run the survivors out of town on a rail. (Figuratively speaking of course. One can't take for granted that some ninny-nanny won't call the cops over a figure of speech, these things must be explicitly laid out.)

Friday, February 15, 2019

Big Study: Video games do -not- cause violence.

Another moral panic bites the dust.

A new study from the Oxford Internet Institute claims to have found no link between time spent playing violent video games, and increased aggressive behavior teen teenagers.

Wow, really. You think? Like since every teenager in the friggin' world has been playing Doom and Quake since the 1990's, if the games caused violence we should all be dead by now. Why do we keep seeing this "X causes violence!!!" trope in the news then?

This was supported by co-author Dr Netta Weinstein from Cardiff University who said: "Our findings suggest that researcher biases might have influenced previous studies on this topic, and have distorted our understanding of the effects of video games."
This is a polite way of saying what Mark Twain said previously, waaaay back in history there, "figures don't lie but liars figure." A sentiment so obvious that it is probably carved in hieroglyphics inside a pyramid somewhere.

Tuesday, February 05, 2019

Karl Marx's gravestone vandalized, oh noes!

If this isn't a sign of the times:

The suspected vandal damaged a marble plaque which was taken from Marx's original 1881 gravestone and incorporated into the 1954 monument.

Images of the defaced memorial, which attracts tens of thousands of visitors each year, show what appears to be damage done by a hammer to the lettering of Marx's name and the marble on which it is mounted.

I am not a fan of vandalism. I'm not saying it is a great thing to go out and smash up monuments to people I don't like.

What I am saying it that the Karl Marx grave marker sat undisturbed in London since they planted him in 1881, until now.

What I am saying is that this is the New Rules starting to bite down. Lefties have been breaking statues of Churchill and George Washington and pissing on war monuments for 20 years. Somebody out there decided it was time the Left had one of -their- monuments destroyed.

The Grauniad  was very distressed that their favorite dude Karl had his grave messed with. I hope they will think about it the next time somebody takes a hammer to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and they want to cheer him on. A faint hope to be sure, but still.

The Hopeful Phantom