It’s a problem when you consider it a problem that I might not die in a car accident.

** EDIT **
I believe I misread the article, and as such this reaction was not really warranted. Next time I will try to wake up a bit more and have a cup of coffee before I begin my internet blathering.

Leaving it up as a note to self: I am not to be trusted.
** END EDIT **

If driverless cars save lives, where will we get organs?

You won’t get them.

By all means, work on the 3d printing thing. Bust out the stem cells. Figure out how to make mechanical replacements. Throw money and science and whatever else at the problem to get it solved. But don’t hold off on technology that will actually keep people from dying.

Isn’t this basically just saying we value the lives of people who need organs over the lives of people that the organs come from? Or is it just saying we’re already used to the problem as it is. We’re used to shrugging and saying “Car accidents, man. What’re you gonna do?”

We do this a lot. Where we have made our peace with a problem, grown comfortable with it and even found ways to benefit from it, we do not want interference. Because there’s a system in place now. If we change it, then we have to start working to figure out a different problem.

Problems are hard, and I had other shit planned to do today, you know?

It’s like when people say, “We can’t have solar and wind energy, it will put so many coal miner out of a job.” And then suddenly the push to have a safer way of obtaining energy and clean up our environment so we can continue living on the planet is a War on Coal.

Or, “We can’t legalize cannabis or end the War on Drugs in general because we’d have to fire some police, and departments would get less funding and there would be fewer prisoners to use as cheap labor, and . . .and stuff. Really important stuff would be . . . different.”

When you depend on the existence of a problem, you don’t want that problem solved. It’s one thing to try to make the best of a bad situation. But to deliberately prolong the bad situation so you can continue to derive the benefit is another thing altogether.

** WARNING: DIGRESSION IMMINENT **

While we’re on the topic, driverless cars won’t just affect people waiting for organs. It will affect insurance companies – fewer accidents and no way to place responsibility on any driver involved if one does occur. It will affect car manufacturing, because cars will be required to hold to totally different standards. Also, they might be the ones shouldering the insurance burden, if accidents would only happen because something in the car failed.

It will also affect police – fewer speeding tickets for one. Fewer reasons to stop people for another. Oh the car was driving erratically? Guess I’d better hang out and call AAA or whatever, thanks for the heads up, officer. No reason to pull me out and have me walk a line. No reason to have a look around in my car. Whatever was failing was not a result of my actions.

** Digression has passed. Please resume. **

Anyway, if we are so gung ho about holding off on life-saving technologies in an effort to save lives, what’s up with all these lazy assholes just laying around hospitals on life support. That’s basically an organ garden.

If these humans are animals, what stripped them of their humanity?

Cop Calls Ferguson Protesters ‘Fucking Animals’

People need to understand that we are all animals. We are domesticated, well trained animals that have (for the most part) learned to depend on and trust one another for the best chance at survival. This is a bargain we strike with each other, and it helps us quell the impulses that brought our more primitive ancestors success.

If you want me to keep to this bargain, you must also subdue your impulses. You cannot allow your fear of what I *might* do cause you to preemptively attack or restrict me. You must treat me as an equal. Through all the conditioning and socialization, I must still be able to find the path that sees at least my most basic needs met. I must not be abused. I must not live in fear. Otherwise I am cornered. And cornered animals tend to forget their training. They tend to snap and bite.

I’m not saying it’s right, I’m saying it’s what you can expect to happen.

Michelle Bachmann has gone full retard.

Michelle Bachmann has gone full retard.

On Wednesday – the day before she helped kill her party’s border bill, and two days before she helped write its alternative – Bachmann appeared on a right-wing radio show. “Now President Obama is trying to bring all of those foreign nationals, those illegal aliens to the country and he has said that he will put them in the foster care system,” she said. “That’s more kids that you can see how – we can’t imagine doing this, but if you have a hospital and they are going to get millions of dollars in government grants if they can conduct medical research on somebody, and a Ward of the state can’t say ‘no,’ a little kid can’t say ‘no’ if they’re a Ward of the state; so here you could have this institution getting millions of dollars from our government to do medical experimentation and a kid can’t even say ‘no.’ It’s sick”.

I like how she qualifies it with “we can’t imagine doing this, but . . .”

Yes, yes you can imagine it, Michelle Bachmann, because you did imagine it. You imagined it. This idea sprang from YOUR heart and mind, not a liberal agenda. You are the one that can’t imagine any reason to take in and care for children that doesn’t involve profiting from them.

You imagined it, and it caused that feeling of righteous indignation to swell within you, spreading the delicious warm glow of superiority to flood through your system.

Because of that, you knew just tossing it out there like it is the only rational reason would fucking work, because you know your marks are going to do the same thing. They will hear it, the red haze descends and rational thought gets shouted down while emotional reaction thrashes and roars. You know you don’t have to provide any evidence because you know you won’t be asked for any by the people to whom you are speaking.

Fuck you, you manipulative, deplorable sow.

I dislike resorting to name calling, I apologize for that last bit. As well as this next one.

[youtube=http://youtu.be/dy7kb5ABsyk&w=500]

This is not about R. Kelly

But let’s talk about R. Kelly for a minute.

Columbus is hosting a ‘thing’ called the Fashion Meets Music Festival (FMMF). The headliner for this event was meant to be R. Kelly. This did not sit well with several people in Columbus, so they became very . . . present in the lives of the people organizing, sponsoring, attending or otherwise involved with the event.

Bret Adams (who handled the booking) said there was no issue with R. Kelly as the headliner. Why? Not because he was acquitted – that was not the crux of Adams’ argument. Not because he believes in R. Kelly’s innocence. He saw no issue because it presented a good opportunity. Because, fame. Because, money.

Look at the things he says – the things he emphasizes. He is telling you exactly what he thinks is important.

Adams, a Columbus lawyer and sports/entertainment agent, didn’t see a problem in the booking of Kelly, acquitted in 2008 for child-pornography charges — and who last week made headlines for an unreleased music video with Lady Gaga whose racy storyline appeared to condone rape.

“This is one of the biggest R&B guys in the country,” Adams said. “The guy headlined Bonnaroo.” 1

“I don’t even think [Kelly’s inclusion] was a debate. We don’t have a national R&B act, and we wanted to fill that void, and he’s one of the best-selling artists of all time. Why wouldn’t we?” said FMMF cofounder Bret Adams. “He’s good national press for us and Columbus. He’s a nationally known name. He was not convicted of anything. He was acquitted. If we wanted to limit our artists to people who never had brushes with the law or were not good people, then you can eliminate quite a few across the board. We’re running a festival to help brand the city of Columbus. We’re not the morality police.”2

And then he starts telling you who he thinks is important.

“[If] somebody from O.A.R. or Michelle Williams — who just retweeted all our stuff — or any of our headliners had an issue with it, then I may take a look at it,” Adams said. “Every artist is entitled to their opinion about performers [on the bill]. We feel differently about it. He was a great catch for a first year festival that had no track record, and we’re going to put him in Nationwide Arena.”2

So what he is saying is essentially that the guy is too famous to pass up. The fact that he fucks young girls and pisses on them for sexual gratification is irrelevant. But just in case the details of his past are bothersome to you, remember that he was acquitted (despite the giant pile of evidence), so technically, it’s ok.

He attempts to validate his reprehensible opinion with the fact that some celebrities retweet information about the festival, and he’s not changing his mind until someone that matters (hint: not you) takes issue.

This guy represents way too much of humanity.

As a society, we let the rich and famous slide. People who are well known and have a lot of money do not go to jail – they pay fines and settlements. Why?

Well, in the case of entertainers, imprisonment means someone is losing money – record labels, publishers and studios are motivated to keep their meal tickets out of trouble. Maybe we do that too. It could be that we are considering them not in terms of a person with accountability, but rather in terms of their value to us. If a celebrity goes to jail, they are not amusing me, and I might miss that.

But I think a part of it is that there is some understanding – we all want something that is inappropriate to want. Unfulfilled desire is the nourishment of fantasy. And though we might not act on those desires, most people don’t really ever let them go, either. Nor admit to them. Instead, we quietly imagine scenarios in which we get everything just as we wish. We fantasize about what it would be like to exist with no rules.

I think we like believing that there is some situation that lets us us have that. Some measure of accomplishment or power or status that exempts us from the rules, that lays out all the world before us like a buffet and says Here, enjoy without restriction. It’s what you worked for, and you have arrived. You have earned this. The average person typically feels exceptional anyway.

Rejecting transgressors, telling them that they are bad and wrong, and that there are limits to what wealth can get you out of is also telling ourselves that there are limits. We don’t want hard limits. Even if we rationally know we’ll never have that kind of wealth, it may simply be too painful to openly admit that some things shouldn’t be reduced to a monetary value.

To exist with other people, you must always consider the rights of other people. End of story. You will literally never have a break from it. This fact frustrates your id to no end, and it desperately searches for loopholes and exceptions. It hates being told no. However, the more advanced parts of the brain (aka super-ego) are usually able to convince it that compromise is the way to go – so long as everything is fair. It is easier to quiet your urges when you look around and see equality. When you have a comfortable life coupled with a solid understanding that those comforts are provided by mutual compromise, things can be stable. Any discrepancy, however, demands an explanation. Once the id has been told that there is a path that sets it free, it is done with compromise. It applies all the pressure it can muster to bring the whole mind into its service.

And that is what wealth does. It promises a place above everyone else. It says “You could have a little more, if only you were a little better.”

There are a couple of issues with this. The first is that it leads to thinking “Since I have more, I must be better. However I came by this wealth, it must mean that I am better.” Not lucky. Not selfish. Better.

Wealth is alienating because it sets you above everyone else. Looking around and finding no other like yourself, it seems unreasonable that their rules should also apply to you. That would imply that they are the same as you, which is clearly not possible. If they were your equals, they would have found a way to become wealthy too. You can’t really be blamed for taking more if you yourself are . . . more.

The second is that, given a limited pool of resources, one person having a little more usually means someone else must have a little less. No matter how well the entire group does, demanding a larger piece for me also demands a smaller one for everyone else. If the wealth of a few people grows unchecked, eventually, they don’t leave enough for everyone to survive. So now everyone else is scrambling to make ends meet. And some will. But because there isn’t really enough to go around now, some people are impoverished.

Poverty puts people in survival mode. It makes us desperate. To those who are making ends meet, desperation is unsettling. Desperation makes pride a luxury. It makes people discard politeness and actually ask – or even beg – for help. But the class of not quite poor, but not quite rich folks – let’s call them the middle class – are comparing themselves to the rich, so they feel poor too. Everyone is now clinging a little more tightly to what they have.

Poverty, like wealth, is alienating. Looking around, you find so many with advantages (not being poor) that you lack. You don’t really see a way out of your situation or how you got into it, but you know everyone thinks you are poor because you are lazy drug addict or a welfare queen. Wealthy and middle class alike see you as a little bit less – perhaps you begin to internalize this and see yourself that way too.

People who have great need and a lowered opinion of themselves become a little more pliable than a person who lives in comfort and has a higher sense of self worth. A middle class person with comfort and a fear of losing it is a little more pliable than a comfortable person with no fear.

Here we see what wealth is. It is not just having plenty. It is having control. The point of wealth is to remove the word ‘no’ from the vocabulary of others. To bring other human beings into your service. To make their effort and sacrifice count more toward your indulgence than toward their survival.

So we say it is ok to let a celebrity rape and then offer a settlement rather than be made to face the same penalty a poor person would. And when we do that, we confirm that they are better than us. They must be, if even those beneath them will acknowledge that it is so. As far as he is concerned, he faced no penalty. Paying a million dollars for fucking a thirteen year old girl is not a penalty to him. It is a transaction.

These are the people we celebrate in America, while raging at the poor for feeling so entitled.

1http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/life_and_entertainment/2014/06/25/Music-Fashion-fest.html
2http://www.columbusalive.com/content/blogs/thelatest/2014/06/fashion-meets-music-headliners-announced.html

http://www.billboard.com/articles/news/75529/r-kelly-indicted-on-child-pornography-charges
http://blogs.villagevoice.com/music/2013/12/read_the_stomac.php
http://www.slate.com/blogs/xx_factor/2013/12/16/sexual_assault_allegations_against_r_kelly_now_online_thanks_to_jim_derogatis.html
http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2008/06/long_live_the_little_man_defense.html
http://abcnews.go.com/TheLaw/story?id=5065392
http://www.businessinsider.com/r-kelly-sexual-assault-details-2013-12
http://www.mtv.com/bands/r/r_kelly/news_feature_051304/
http://www.dispatch.com/content/stories/local/2014/07/28/kelly-canceled.html
http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/bering-in-mind/2010/08/17/oedipus-complex-2-0-like-it-or-not-parents-shape-their-childrens-sexual-preferences/
http://aspe.hhs.gov/hsp/11/adolescentsexualactivity/newmedialitrev/index.shtml
http://www.avert.org/age-sexual-consent.htm

Stop taking our jobs, poor people.

My kid’s boredom trumps your kid’s hunger: Haunting Teen Unemployment Rate

So, this douchebag wants the minimum wage to stay low, so people will hire kids, so he doesn’t have to deal with his kids over the summer.

You know who actually needs these jobs more than your twat kids? People trying to support their twat kids. People with fucking degrees and student loans. People who bought into the whole “go to college so you don’t end up flipping burgers your whole life” are taking all the burger flipping jobs. Because every job is in demand – including the shitty ones.

And if you keep the minimum wage low, your kid is still unlikely to get the job. You know why? Because the adult who needs it is still there. Because at any wage, the adult that needs to take this job because there isn’t anything else is still a more attractive prospect than a kid who is literally just there for lack of something better to do. But now the adult has to take two minimum wage jobs because they go for $7.50/hr instead of $15.

Prioritization.

At my job there are many ticketing systems to prioritize incoming work. For some of them, I have been hearing “this is going away soon” since I got there. I have been a part of a couple of attempts to consolidate systems, which were discarded over cost, schedule or someone deciding to go a different direction. So here is another shot at it.

I need a jar on my desk labeled “Fucks to give”.

Inside the jar will be tokens of some kind – slips of paper, marbles, poker chips – whatever. Each of these will represent a portion of my attention span that I can dedicate to some task. In other words, a fuck I have available to give.

When someone comes to me with something they need, they must first check the jar to see if its empty. If it is empty, check back later, because I am out of fucks to give right now. If there are tokens, it means I currently have the bandwidth to give a fuck about you. Take a token and tell me what you need. The person would hang on to this token until I have fulfilled the request. When everything has been tested/verified/validated, they give the token back. If there is some issue that cannot be resolved they hold on to the token until it is – because I have to give a fuck until it is.

If I resolved your issue and you released your token, you need another one if you expect me to give a fuck about you again. If you have another issue, you need another token. Two issues means I am giving more fucks about you than someone else.

So let’s say I start the average day with ten fucks to give. Two developers contact me with issues – two fucks given so far.

Then an urgent request – developer wants it done right away. Well that means I am being asked to give more fucks about you than everyone else already in the queue. That’s gonna be three fucks to get bumped to the front. So after two regular requests and one urgent one, I have given five fucks so far today.

One of the original two wants to know why his request is taking so long? Sorry, dude – got a priority request. Should have let me know I needed to give more of a fuck about you.

My boss would have to use it as well. You have a special project for me to work on? Fine – how many fucks do I need to give about it? Five? Now I am out of fucks to give for the rest of the day. If these requests go over into the next day, then I start that day without any fucks to give too.

As a company wide system, you could track who is holding up resources. Like, you could see a little virtual jar next to someone’s name in a chat client. You’d be able to see who is holding everyone’s tokens and how long they’ve had them.Then you could clearly see who gives a fuck about who. And when you’re bouncing around from person to person trying to get help on something, you can verify at a glance that it is futile, because there is nobody in the company that has even a single fuck to give about you.

Bus people stories: suffering for your art

Profile photo of Jessica

Overheard on the bus this morning while a sir was discussing infidelity with the bus driver:

The only way I would cheat on a woman is if it was Keisha Cole, and that’s because that woman can’t write good songs unless she is suffering. I could be faithful to her, calling her everyday, and hooking her up with breakfast in bed and all that and she can’t write because she’s happy.

I say “I’ve been cheating on you with your sister, and sleeping with *unintelligible name* besides – now I need you to go into that back room and write a hit record.” I say that, and she’s crying, but she’s an artist again.

Beyonce don’t need it though. I’d be faithful to Beyonce.

I don’t care for spiders.

Profile photo of Jessica

There is a spider intruding in my domicile, who, lacking the common decency to remain hidden from sight, is splayed out rather proudly on my dining room wall. On a white wall, in sort of overlapping spotlights provided by one of the floor lamps. Blocking my way past the table by not providing me a wide enough berth in which to maneuver.

I found it kind of irritating that it did not scurry away at my approach. It didn’t even pull all of its legs in and try to be small. It was offensively oblivious to my proximity. I thought it might be dead – like it might have just wanted a really dramatic place to die or something – so I leaned a little closer to look at it. It turned slightly in disdainful acknowledgement, but otherwise would not budge.

I’m not moving either.

Another slight turn. Challenging. Like, Hey, what’s up? You see something you like?

Eat a dick, spider. I don’t need anything on that side of the room tonight anyway. I’ll get it in the morning, when I have forgotten you are there.