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Sic Semper Tyrannis!

I just finished paying our taxes.  It never fails to amaze me how much our “fair share” comes to every year.  Unsurprisingly, my politics take a decided anti-tax, small government turn (OK, it’s not that big a turn) after I fill out those forms.

But, DaddyBear, the government needs that money to pay for the things it provides to you!

No, it doesn’t.  The only things the government provides to me that I really care about are national defense and a teeny pinch of public safety (some law enforcement, air traffic control, that sort of thing).  The rest is, in my humble taxpayer’s opinion, cruft that has glommed onto the taxpayer’s pocketbook over the years.

  • Public Schools – Close ’em.  Reopen as private schools.  Don’t want to pay for your kids to be educated?  Then do it yourself and quit asking the rest of us to do it for you.  And don’t give me that “I pay for schools because I don’t want stupid people” crap.  Public schools don’t prevent people from being stupid.  Heck, we’re lucky if they prevent people from just being ignorant.  Stupidity is both hereditary and learned behavior, and it cannot be cured.  Quit wasting time and money trying to educate the portion of the school-age population that doesn’t care.
  • Law Enforcement – You know, I’ll take a nuanced approach here.  Sheriffs departments and federal marshals can stay. Maybe a few other specialists can as well, but not many, and on a case by case basis. Citizens become responsible for their own security again.  Take the money you save in not paying taxes for police and get yourself the tools and training you want to use to take care of yourself and your family.
  • Fire and EMS – Privatize them.  Either insure yourself against their use or just pay a fee to use their services.  Don’t want to pay the monthly fee to have fire coverage on your house?  Then I suggest JiffyPop and StayPuft marshmallows.  It also might cut down on frequent flyers in EMS if it hurt your pocketbook to keep calling Ambulance Driver over to take care of your boo-boo.
  • Roads – Privatize them or just quit worrying about it.  Seriously, a 4×4 with knobby tires would be cheaper than this.
  • Courts – Since we got rid of the police, the amount of criminal proceedings should go way down, so we can eliminate most courts, judges, and prosecutors.  Of course, we’ll still need courts for civil proceedings.  We do love to sue each other, don’t we?
  • Welfare – I don’t think my position on so-called “entitlement programs” is much of a secret.  Get rid of unearned benefits for those who are capable of finding work.  The world needs ditch diggers and sewer scrubbers, and I’m tired of paying child support for kids I didn’t make.  Now, ask me politely for charity, and you might just be surprised.  It’s the whole “Pay this or we shoot you and your dog” aspect that gets under my craw.
  • Prisons – I’m a big fan of Judge Roy Bean, myself.  Of course, if someone really just needs a time out from society to think about what he’s done, then I suggest tent camps, leg chains, and work crews, in either Arizona or North Dakota, take your pick.  Concrete walls and roofs are for law-abiding citizens, not convicts.
  • Finally, I reserve the right to condemn and push for the elimination of anything that seems superfluous.  This is my fantasy, so I get to make the rules and change them as I see fit.

I’m going to go grumble over a tumbler full of something strong and smoky.  I hope my mood gets better as we get further and further away from April 15.

I must disagree

Fox News is reporting on a woman who has been asked to stop doing something nice.  A Minnesota woman has made a habit of meeting the school bus every afternoon with a basket of cookies.  She’s apparently been doing it for years with no reports of youngsters bursting into flames or the bus dissolving into a pit of cholesterol and elevated blood sugar. Can you imagine?  Someone doing something kind and fun in order to get to know the people in her neighborhood and bring a little happiness into the lives of others?

Unfortunately, like most other nice things in our world, all it takes is one jackass to spoil it for everyone.  She’s been asked by the school district to stop because someone complained.

She’s not letting it get her down.  She’s going to try to continue meeting people in her area, and has a sunny outlook on life and people:

“People are good,” Tabat said. “I’ve yet to find someone I can’t find commonality with. We’re all crawling around on the planet dealing with circumstances in our life, and most of us just want to raise a nice family and be successful in however you define success and for most people it’s just surviving.”

While I admire her spirit, and I wish her success, I have to disagree with her when it comes to people.  Individually, people tend to be decent.  Heck, some of them are downright saintly.  But taken in groups or as an aggregate, people tend to be less than intelligent, panicky, and mean.

Anonymity in a crowd, or in a process like complaining to the schools, brings out the worst in them.  If you need an example, go ask Tam about her trevails dealing with trolls.  The fact that it’s rather difficult for someone outside of Fort Meade to connect Imadoofus694ever to John Q. Dickhead of suburban Minneapolis invites the little guy with the pitchfork on his left shoulder to sound off.

A lady walking into SUPERBIGBOX retailer on November 15 may smile, hold the door for the little old man who has his arms full, and may even buy a bucket of popcorn from the cute Cub Scout out front.  The day after Thanksgiving, as part of the mob of unbridled avarice that has gathered at that same door, she is quite willing to trample orphans and kittens in order to get a great deal on the latest cell phone and the doll that not only eats, but throws up on you if you hold it just right.

Individuals are good and decent.  People aren’t worth a bucket of warm spit.

So, I salute Mrs. Tabat and her efforts to make her neighborhood a better place, as well has her perspective on humanity.  For me, I’ll just continue to watch the world through more suspicious filters.

Things That Get Under My Skin, But Shouldn’t

  • Someone trying to phonetically spell something, not knowing how to do it properly, but knowing how to do a few letters properly.
    • Bonus points for using multiple words for the same letter.
    • “That’s F as in Finger, B as in Bravo, M as in Moby, F as in Foxtrot, and C as in Cupcake.
    • Either learn to do it properly, or just be a total goofball with it.
  • People who use Harry Potter jargon to describe personal relationships and other people.
    • You are not a wizard. I am not a muggle.
    • You did not snog your significant other.  You gave her a peck on the cheek.
    • I don’t care what you solemnly swear to, you’re still a twit.
  • Being told I’m immature because I still feel joy in things I liked 30 years ago.
    • Bonus points for being told this by someone who lives on a diet of office drama and romance novels.
  • Puritans and purists.
    • Leave me alone to do what I want to do as long as I’m not harming you.
    • If I wanted to hear about how I should be living my life, I’d get a psychic and contact my mother.
    • I’m so glad you live in a black and white world where you have the freedom and means to be politically or religiously or whateverly pure in thought, word and deed.  I live in my world, which is as messed up as a football bat and I’m doing what’s right for me and my family.
  • Being told that if someone had been in the military, they’d have been a 4 star Airborne Ranger Green Beret Delta Force SEAL rescue jumper, and I should treat them with the respect that earns.
    • Bonus points for the goober who tries to tell me about how the old Soviet Union ran, that we should have gotten involved in Bosnia sooner, why we should start a war with North Korea, and why their opinion is more valid than mine because they knew this one guy once who knew stuff and junk and all I ever did was be a dumb Army guy.
  • Being told how hard freshman year in the dorm was and how easy I had it going to basic training and AIT at the same age.
    • Really, Captain Crotchfire?  You had to live on ramen and potted meat from the convenience store at the end of the month and it was a few days until the next check from Mom and Dad arrived?  You had to get a roommate that summer to make ends meet?  You actually had to consider getting a job before you took out another student loan?  Must have really sucked.
  • People who try to impose today’s political correctness on entertainment from decades ago.
    • Yes, Virginia, cartoonists used to put smoking into their work for children.  I’m sorry you’re offended.
    • I’m sure Walt Disney and Friz Freling would be offended by the abject sexuality and bloody-minded violence of your cartoon of choice.

Let us never speak of this again

If you’ll excuse me for a few minutes, I’m going to talk about NASCAR and stuff that’s local to Louisville.

This past weekend, after years and years of whining and pleading, Kentucky Speedway finally got themselves a real race.   The NASCAR Sprint Cup held its first race in Kentucky, and it was a goat screw.  Not that NASCAR did anything wrong.  If the measure of success of a racing organization is that the race started on time, officiating was impartial and effective, and the race ended with a clear winner, then NASCAR was successful.

The people who run Kentucky Speedway, on the other hand, poked the pooch in a major way.

I’m not a racing fan.  Not that there’s anything wrong with it, but it just doesn’t trip my trigger.  I’ve been to Kentucky Speedway for various events a few times and it’s been a cluster of massive proportions each and every time.  Parking is a nightmare, there aren’t that many hotels or restaurants in the little town of Sparta, and there is exactly one major highway through that area, Interstate 71.  I-71 at that point is a multi-lane highway, but the exits to the speedway are one or two lane.  Guess where the chokepoint for the Speedway is?  If you said “Exits and/or routes to parking”, have yourself a cookie from the tray at the back.  Anyone who’s ever driven from Louisville to Cincinnati on race day could tell you there was no way that over 100,000 people were going to get through that area in less than 8 hours.

Since there aren’t that many hotel rooms convenient to the Speedway, the planners must have known that most people would be driving in.  Here’s how I see the high level plan for getting people in and out of the area:

  • Get them on the highway
  • The Lord miraculously increases the throughput and carrying capacity of I-71 and the smaller highways around Sparta by 200%
  • Get them off the highway
  • The loaves and the fishes miracle is recreated, but this time it’s “Traffic control and parking spots”
  • Get them out of their cars
  • Get them into the track
  • Fill them with as much beer and fried food as we can while extracting every last penny they brought with them
  • Get them back in their cars
  • Will the Lord never stop showering us with more miracles?  Moses re-appears and parts the Redneck Sea so that everyone can get back on the highway
  • Everyone drives home
  • Go home and count the money
Instead, what happened was that I-71 became even more of a bottleneck at Sparta than it normally is during a race and people sat in their cars for hours trying to get off of the highway and either park or drive home.  Some had the exquisite experience of paying to see the race in person and then listening to it on AM radio from the highway within sight of the track.  
So OK, Kentucky, you had your chance, and you blew it.  You put your NASCAR style speedway way out in the country so that there’s no existing infrastructure to support it and you didn’t build much around it.  You got NASCAR to sponsor a race, and then you turned I-71 into the biggest parking lot east of the Mississippi.  If you’re lucky, NASCAR will allow you to continue to hold minor races for it, but I never want to hear you whine about the big races never coming here again.  
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